False intimacy: responding to pornography
CARE is hosting a day conference to equip church leaders and others involved in pastoral care to respond effectively to the needs of people with a dependence on internet pornography.
Day Conference: Glasgow; Thursday, 24th November 2011
The internet has changed many of the patterns of our lives over recent years. Retailing is no longer confined to the high street and the malls; information on virtually anything is only a click away; news goes worldwide as soon as it happens. Mostly, the innovations are beneficial.
With the internet offering anyone the freedom to publish without restriction, inevitably there is also a dark and subversive side. Two contrasting personalities have each shared concerns about the internet. Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google sums up the internet as ‘The largest experiment in anarchy we have ever had’. ‘A trailer park for the soul’ was how libertarian rock star Marilyn Manson described the internet. So, from widely varying viewpoints there is agreement that the uncontrolled and unaccountable nature of the internet can bring threats.
Publishers of pornography, freed from the limitations of printing, publishing and distributing their publications, have grasped the potential of the internet with enthusiasm. Consumers of pornography, freed from the embarrassment and discomfiture of finding an appropriate retail outlet, have responded to this new availability.
Indeed, as telephone technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, reliance on a computer diminishes; anything can be viewed at any time – a special threat to children freed from the home supervision of their parents.
CARE has for long had a concern, and has campaigned for many years, about the dehumanising potential of pornography. This concern was initiated in earlier days by the easy availability of ‘top-shelf’ magazines. Now inevitably the biggest threat is on-line pornography. Our surveys of church leaders have shown that many - 97% in one survey - believe on-line pornography to be a serious issue within the Church, and most had been involved pastorally with parishioners struggling with a reliance on internet pornography. Many of these church leaders felt ill-equipped in offering pastoral support in this area.
Microsoft estimates that 60% of all website visits are ‘sex-related’
A CARE survey found that 97% of church leaders believe online pornography to be a serious issue within the Church
False Intimacy intends to provide understanding and skills to enable church leaders and others involved in pastoral care to bring hope and healing to an addiction which can result in self-absorption, deluded relationships, a distancing from the Lord, and occasionally family breakdown.
The morning sessions will provide an understanding of the cycle which can lead people into dependence. In the afternoon, after a choice of workshops, there will be guidance on offering an effective pastoral response.
Even if dependence on internet pornography may not yet have emerged as a pastoral issue in your church, surveys clearly suggest that within most churches there are likely to be people for whom misuse of the internet in this way will be a lifestyle and spiritual challenge. As our reliance on the internet grows, and as the availability of subversive material increases, it can be expected that this will be a pastoral concern which is likely to become more visible from people both inside and outside the Church.
Ministers, pastors, and pastoral care workers need to be prepared and equipped to respond appropriately. This day conference seeks to provide the knowledge and skills to make that possible.
Conference fee: £25 (includes lunch, coffee and conference pack.
Further information on CARE's web site
Founded in 1983, CARE is a well-established Christian charity supporting and equipping the Church as it engages constructively with politics and public affairs. CARE is represented in the UK Parliaments and Assemblies, at the EU in Brussels and the UN in Geneva and New York.
CARE runs a number of caring initiatives related to its public policy and political activities.
Living Waters UK is a Christian ministry offering understanding, hope and healing to men and women dealing with relational and sexual issues. They seek to offer the grace and understanding needed to explore our issues, in line with God's word. ‘The healing of relationships through the power of the cross.’
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CARE Scotland, 07/11/2011