Monday, April 26, 2010

Wired For Intimacy

I just finished William Struthers book, Wired For Intimacy:How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain. For the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and just wanted to jot down a few thoughts in response.

First, it is fascinating to me to read about how the brain functions when we as humans are engaged in relationship, and particularly when engaged in porn. Though the information got pretty technical and difficult to understand, I was fascinated nonetheless. I am amazed how God "wired" us for relationship, and what damage is done through exposure to the pornographic image. Some of the fascinating facts I remember (sorry I don't have page references):

- the development of the male fetus into an adult is pretty much completely dominated by testosterone.

- during and after a woman's pregnancy and childbirth, she produces certain chemicals that provoke the male brain to produce chemicals in response that makes him (me) more willing to care for and help her!

Second, this book adds new light and depth to the familiar adage, "Sow an act...reap a habit; Sow a habit...reap a character; Sow a character...reap a destiny" (George Dana Boardman). Our habits affect us neurologically, especially addictions. Our difficulty in overcoming bad habits (esp. addictions) is due in part to the "neurological troughs" we have created. Likewise, creating new habits involves laying down new neurological paths. Sanctification involves our brains, in ways that we don't normally consider (not just for studying Scripture).

Third, Struthers has much that is helpful to say about the specific challenges men face in following Christ. These are the most helpful parts of the book, but without the brain research behind them they would lack the deep impact that he was able to bring.

Our "neurological pathways" are one of the means God has designed for the process of our sanctification, or being made like Christ. Paying attention to the design of my brain, esp. in regards to porn, not only strengthens my resolve to apply grace to maintain healthy and holy thought patterns, but shows me God's wisdom and grace in designing us for relationship.

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