I read an awesome quote from Albert Einstein recently that said, "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness it was created from."
I immediately thought about the church's approach to porn addiction. Hundreds and hundreds of years of sexual suppression and now they are trying to solve the problem they created without having to change. I see organizations and people focusing all of their "healing" energies on teaching people how to have "great" sex in their marriages or develop greater and greater technological and social tools of control and all of the while changing nothing but the language they use to describe the issue. They're still scared of their desires, their bodies, and the other.
I am shocked everyday when I listen to Christian podcasts and read Christian blogs and books at how much energy is put into trying to figure out what is a sin and what isn't. It's mind-blowing. I was listening to a podcast the other day and it was as if the guys on there have a vending machine they have to run everything through before they can talk about it - put the "thing" in the coin slaught and see if it comes out as "sin" or "not a sin". All the while they seem to be completely missing out on the idea that everytime they label another thing like that, they are articulating a very specific theology - they are saying "this is what God is like." It takes the idea of grace and reduces it to the function of a garnish on your plate at Applebees. Like if all of the guys on the show agree that this is indeed a "sin", oh crap……we're in trouble. It's as if Jesus never lived a day on this earth.
Dietrich Beonhoffer wrote in his letters from prison, just before he was executed by the Nazis, about what he called a "religionless Christianity". He was saying that he had come to see that God had been reduced to a psychological crutch for people unconsciously invested in staying in pain and in power more than in real freedom and transformation. He talked about an extreme Christianity that allowed such freedom that we could live without looking over our shoulders constantly, thinking God was there with a ledger, ready to mark down if we had sinned again.
If this is you - trying to figure out what is a sin or what isn't, know this: you are trying to solve the problem you find inside yourself without having to change. And I'm not talking about changing your behavior or desires. I am talking about truly confronting what it is you are medicating with all of that behavior. The answer is to walk straight into the pain you are medicating. Point your face toward the storm you feel in your body and take one painful step at a time. Start with therapy. And please - if you utter the phrase, "I wonder if that was a sin?" - either with your mouth or in your mind, please answer it this way: It is finished. System complete. Doesn't matter.
Now, ask the deeper question: what do you want for your life?