Be forewarned: The content about to be expressed in this podcast is explicit in nature, but deals with real issues facing men and women all across the country in all aspects of life – even our pastors.
Author, national speaker on the topic of sex addition and creator of the Sampson Society Nate Larkin joins Jeff this week for An Examined Life.
Nate was raised in the church with a huge amount of honor and respect for his dad – who also happened to be his pastor.
As a kid, Nate looked at himself as the saved, Bible believing churchgoer. The local non-denominational “golden boy”, with the incredible compulsion to preserve and protect the appearance of a “Godly witness” at all costs.
And on the remote outside of his circle were those heathen sinners known as “addicts”. They were the ones in dire need of salvation, which would lead to a sinless life.
Now, when Jeff was 13-years-old, his dad offered him “the talk” which culminated in, “don’t masturbate before a little league game because it’ll make your legs weak.” And that’s about the extent of Jeff’s sex ed.
Nate’s father, on the other hand, came storming into his bedroom one day clutching a pair of underwear stained by Nate’s nocturnal emissions and exclaimed, “You’ve been doing some nasty, NASTY things!”
When Nate tried to scientifically explain the involuntary nature of his nocturnal emissions, his dad wouldn’t listen to any of his “scientific crap” and threatened to beat him if it ever happened again.
That’s when Nate decided to take things into his own hands and take control over his situation in order to avoid any future beatings.
This brought on a tremendous amount of guilt and shame piled on top of his typical adolescent awkwardness and the insecurities that come with a blended family. He quickly found that his “drug of choice” to help cope with all this tension was masturbation and pornography.
He then learned that this obsession didn’t blend with his golden boy of the church personae so he needed to basically lead – in many ways – a double life.
In his mind, he just needed to maintain this double life until he got married, and all of his sexual needs and desires would then be met.
But what he didn’t realize – even after marrying the perfect woman – is that for years, he had allowed porn to create for him expectations for marriage that no woman on the planet would ever be able to fulfill.
For instance, he had “virtually” connected with so many porn stars in his own imagination that he actually compromised his ability to form and sustain a real relationship with an actual person. This led to him objectifying the person that God had given him to have his deepest personal relationship with – his wife.
What he learned is that lust kills love.
You see, sex was designed by God to be very loving and deeply satisfying. But when sex is separated from the whole of the person and becomes just an action upon a body, it is depersonalized and self-centered.
This is the difference between sex and love-making.
And today, this is more tragic than ever with the advent of the internet and an ever increasing penetration of porn in our culture. Now an increasing number of women are being conditioned by pornographers to trade the beauty of marital intimacy for an artificial and ultimately unsatisfying substitute.
This contributes to what Nate has labeled as the general “slutification” of young women in our culture.
They have become willing to trade their own virtue and dignity for relationship. However the results are very often not a true relationship, but instead a lonely, empty shell.
Nate’s book, “Sampson and the Pirate Monks”, helped pave the road for his mutual aid society for Christian men known as the Sampson Society. It’s not specifically a group for sex addicts, but for addicts of all descriptions and other men who have managed to somehow isolate themselves. It’s a safe place to be real with other open and honest guys who share the same goal. Through this, Nate has seen real transformation through Jesus Christ occur.
To walk away from shame and into freedom is a simple yet humble process. To realize Paul’s words that there truly is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.
One reality that many churches are experiencing these days is that this isolation and addiction is running rapid amongst believers, even pastors, today. It’s almost as if there is a fire in our country’s pews and no Christians are willing to talk about the fire or do anything to put it out.
So, how do we begin, as a body of Christ, to nurture our pastors to deal with their own issues that a group like Sampson Society addresses?
Pastors – especially those who struggle – need trustworthy people to walk alongside them. Guys like those found in the Sampson Society.
In a future podcast, we’ll dive into Nate’s personal story, including his hard core porn addiction while in seminary and his devolving to the point of picking up his first hooker on his way to pastor a candlelight Christmas Eve service. All told, Nate estimates that he spent at least $300,000 on porn and hookers. Yet despite all of that – and purely due to the love and grace of Jesus – Nate is happily married today with the love and regard of his kids and a thriving ministry.
You can also contact Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org