Thursday, January 15, 2009

Book Review: “The Pornography Trap: Setting Pastors and Laypersons Free from Sexual Addiction” By Mark Laaser and Ralph Earle. Kansas City, KS: Beacon Hill, 2002, 144 p.

Overview—Give a brief overview of the book, including its theme, perspective and approach.

Pornography may be the least discussed and yet most pervasive addiction in our culture. Laaser and Earle suggest that not only are Christians (and especially pastors!) not immune, but may be even more susceptible to this malady because of our fear to "air it out" in the church. In "The Pornography Trap" the authors delve into the causes of pornography addiction asking why pastors are particularly vulnerable. They then turn to the path of spiritual healing by addressing the physical, behavioral, emotional, and relational dimensions of the struggle.

Critique—Offer a brief critique of the book, including elements of strength and weakness.

Laaser and Earle are to be commended for broaching a very sensitive subject. They do so with practicality and grace. Pornography addiction is not going to be broken by sheer will power, so the authors look into the many dimensions of the issue so that it might be addressed in a holistic way. I was especially intrigued with the discussion of the physical dimensions of pornography addictions. However, this section was far too lean on research and documentation. One glaring omission from the "spiritual healing" chapter was a focus on healthy inward repentance and a turning Godward to find the "pleasures at his right hand". What will dislodge the hold of pornography than a more powerful desire?

Application—Offer some specific application to your own ministry— demonstrating the value and relevance of the material in this book.

"The Pornography Trap" is very practical in its approach. I can see myself using many of the tools the authors suggest, from exploring family of origin issues to tests for couple intimacy. The seven principles of accountability articulated in "The Behavioral Dimension" was the most complete account I have encountered so far. Laaser and Earle also offered many suggestions to help people explore trauma reactions and past victimizations. In this way, "The Pornography Trap" will serve well as a handy resource book.

Best Quote—Be sure to include the page number where the quote can be found.

p.96 "Pornography creates sexual isolation. Intimacy is about revealing yourself emotionally to another. Manipulation and intimacy do not go together. Intimacy is never about finding pleasure by looking at another person or fantasizing outside of a healthy relationship. One major challenge with pornography is that its desire leads us away from intimacy to what becomes a need for new types of experiences."

1 comment:

Luke Gilkerson said...

This is a book I've been meaning to pick up. After this review I am even more eager to read it.

I agree that the only way to really "beat" any addiction or compulsion is to be drawn by a stronger compulsion, a vision of the beauty of God. I wrote a post called "A Buzz Better Than Porn" a while back about this:

http://www.covenanteyes.com/blog/2008/04/18/a-buzz-better-than-porn/