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Thursday, June 27, 2013

"Clean" (Douglas Weiss)

TITLE: Clean: A Proven Plan for Men Committed to Sexual Integrity
AUTHOR: Douglas Weiss
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: Thomas-Nelson, 2013, (236 pages).

Do we realize that men are more vulnerable than we think? Are we aware that even during peacetime in our country, the sexual war has continued unabated? Are we tolerating sexual promiscuity and as a result, failed to be the men that we have been called to be? Do we know that our sex organs do not belong primarily to us? These questions and many more are dealt with in this frank, powerful, and blunt book about the need to be clean, and to stay clean. For the author, as far as our sex organs are concerned, we have only peeing rights! Weiss is adamant that it is God who is calling a "clean nation to rise up and reclaim our unclean culture." This is not an easy task, but not impossible either. So convicted is Weiss that he also insists that there is a tight connection between our sexual integrity and God's destiny for us. For it shows who is our true authority: Ourselves or God?

The book presents a convicting look at the state of unhealthy sexual lust and the problem of pornography. Beginning with some depressing statistics about the state of spiritual cleanliness and how pornography has choked, suffocated, and even killed marriages and family, author Douglas Weiss is on a mission to bring men from filthy thoughts and foolish dabbling in pornography, toward sexual purity in God. For we are not meant to be sexual objects or be participants in objectifying another person.  We are called to sexual integrity. Weiss makes a formidable statement in the book. He calls it a "proven plan for men committed to sexual integrity." Some readers may feel a little ambivalent about this level of confidence. I admit. I was initially skeptical, but reading farther along the book, I begin to share his sentiment and his conviction. For his "proven plan" is anchored on the Word of God, and his convictions rose out of many counseling and personal encounters with men who ought to have known and chosen better. If I can summarize the book, I will describe it in three ways. Stop. Strategize. Stay Clean.

A) Stop

It is one thing to say that pornography is bad. It is yet another to allow lingering thoughts of some sexual objects to remain in our brains, lodged somewhere in our thoughts, only to breed wildly when triggered by an image or a pornographic encounter. While it is impossible to stop the proliferation of dirty thoughts and Internet sharing of porn on the outside, we can certainly do something on the inside. We stop by declaring war on pornography. Don't buy it. Don't patronize it. Don't watch it. The statistics are alarming. For example, based on 2006 data, the porn industry rings in more than US$3000 each second. China. South Korea, and Japan share the top three spots in terms of porn revenues per country. This calls not only for decisive action to stop, but to point our weapons constantly against porn. One way is to attack lust at its root. Another is to draw firm boundaries. Yet, another is to draw up a plan and be accountable to one another. Remember the formula U (You) + P (Porn) = D (Destruction). For if we do not take this seriously, not only will we hurt our own self-esteem, we hurt our family and loved ones too.

B) Start Strategizing

Bring your weapons with you all the time, especially when venturing into a world of sexual connotations and Internet porn. Have a plan that stops any evil lust from even taking root. Adopt a covenant prayer such as:

"Lord Jesus, I am 100 percent committed to love all women today as your daughters and my sisters. I covenant with you to protect all women at all times, in every circumstance today, even in my mind. I hate lust of any kind of all women, and I covenant to protect them all this day."

This is followed up by a firm determination to protect and to cover anyone who is undressed or disrobed. See people with a "holy hologram" to see them as what God had intended them to be seen. Part of the strategy also requires us to have a proper perspective of our own sexual organs. The ownership priorities go as follows. God owns us first. Our spouses own us next. We are the third owners, and our rights are limited to peeing only. Be bold to question leaders on their sexual integrity. Share the program with men in the Christian community. Protect the Church.

C) Stay Clean

Like the gospel story of the room swept clean, only to be occupied again by evil, we need to remember that being clean does not mean we are not vulnerable. If there is anything, we may very well be even more vulnerable. Weiss recommends eleven ways to stay clean.

  1. Fear God, letting our actions stem from a reverence for his holiness.
  2. Be honest, and do not hide our failings
  3. Be truthful to our spouses in our marital relationships
  4. No secrets absolutely
  5. Fantasize not, but anticipate the worst. In other words, keep the consequences visible at all times.
  6. Recognize the exit signs in every temptation situation and exit when necessary.
  7. Be praised and touched by our spouses, to be accepted rather than rejected
  8. Cultivate respect in our marriage
  9. Daily declaration for a life of purity
  10. Prayer
  11. Be the hero of integrity to our wives and family.

Recognize the threats of sexual addiction.

So What?

Never overestimate our ability to resist temptation. Neither should we underestimate the power of pornography. Readers may not find in the book anything that resembles "Seven Habits" or nicely concocted formulas to address the problem of pornography. It all starts with a recognition of the problem and to stop the porn habit. It continues with an awareness of the seductive allure, and to start strategizing both our defenses and our offenses. It continues with regular education, accountability, and utter honesty to ask for help when needed, and to help others when required to ensure that we stay clean. Weiss has given us a whole book, backed by biblical stories and teachings, letting readers see the problem as it is, so that they can do something about it. The book forms a great launching pad for us to start our road to cleanliness, beginning with God, proceeding with humility, and engaging with courageous determination not to lust with our eyes, or to sin with our thoughts.

Gender differences are many, and none more so than the area of sexuality. Sexual sins have caused the downfall of many powerful people in society. Whether one is a President of the most powerful capitalist country in the world, or the most prestigious Ivy League University don, or top positions in corporations or various organizations, men are essentially "born into a sexual war." In biblical times, people like Judas, Samson, Ahab, King David, even Solomon have all been tempted and failed in this area. If one follows the story of King David, one can sense that after his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba, things appear more downhill for David thereafter. If great men of old have fallen, what makes anyone of us think we can fare better? That is why this book is so important. For those who have fallen, it represents a form of hope and recovery. For those who have not fallen, it is a reminder that they are not immune, that we are all vulnerable. Most importantly, it is an opportunity to be clean and stay clean, knowing that every time someone, somewhere determines to keep their sexual integrity pure and holy, there is one LESS person in this world for our children to worry about.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by Thomas-Nelson under the BookSneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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