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When I was a student at a Mennonite high school, there was a succession of male students who publicly disclosed their past “struggles” with pornography in chapel talks. They usually said that through scripture, prayer and perhaps accountability with other male peers they overcame the temptation to continue to view pornography.
As a young woman, these disclosures left me unsettled.
And, unfortunately, pornography use wasn’t discussed much beyond this narrative. These confessions did not address the consequences we all face living in a pornified world, which people in the church are not immune from.
Dove’s Nest and Atlantic Coast Conference attempted to address these realities through a panel event held Feb. 25 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, titled “Being Proactive: Talking Together about the Realities of Pornography in Our Families as People of Faith.”
Linda Gehman Peachey, author of Mennonite Central Committee’s Pornography: Lies, Truth and Hope; Brenda Martin Hurst of Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Harrisonburg, Virginia; and pastor Jon Carlson joined as panelists.
Our conversation affirmed the need for men to talk together about how to support one another and offer accountability, but it didn’t end there. We also included the importance of women’s voices in the conversation, as well as focusing on safety for children and youth.
We named steps that we can take as parents, teachers and church leaders:
[To read the full version of this post on MC USA’s Menno Snapshots blog, click here]
Anna Groff is executive director of Dove’s Nest: Faith Communities Keeping Children and Youth Safe. She is a member of Shalom Mennonite Fellowship in Tucson, Arizona.
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