Reviewer: Mary E. Hochmuth
Review Date: July 20, 2020
This short read (90 pages) from CtC Chairman Mike Novotny is a helpful and honest approach to a subject that is often overlooked in Christian circles. Mike shares his own journey with purity, redirects the reader back to Christ, and shares concrete steps for those struggling as well as for friends, parents, and ministry leaders.
When I was asked to write a review for this book, I was eager for several reasons. The author takes a topic that is often considered too awkward and shameful to openly discuss and skillfully addresses it as an addiction, yet not as one that is outside the reach of God’s glorious grace and forgiveness. Read that again. Pornography is an addiction that is not outside the reach of God’s glorious grace and forgiveness. Pastor Mike challenges the reader to become intimately involved with our own spiritual care and that of others, especially those belonging to the household of believers.
“Porn is our struggle, our fight, our concern—because porn is affecting us”.
This book is not only for those addicted to porn but also for concerned parents, betrayed spouses, called workers, and those caring enough to reach out to a hurting brother or sister in Christ who is or has been hurt or enslaved by porn. I have had students in my own classroom, family members, and friends of friends who have struggled mightily with pornography, and I have viewed the damage firsthand that it can wreak on relationships, careers, and hearts. But there is good news amidst all this heartache and pain. It is possible to find healing and restoration. It is possible to go From Dirty To Dancing.
You’ve most likely heard the admonition “Don’t judge another until you’ve walked a mile in his/her shoes.” Well friends, Jesus did just that. He left his throne on high and walked 33 years in our shoes as he took on flesh and blood. He wasn’t too proud to associate with the likes of us. Jesus knew human beings would have a difficult time resisting sexual sins, and this is why He speaks so often about them in Scripture. In the chapter “The Dirty Can Dance,” the author refers to accounts recorded in Scripture where individuals struggled with sexual sins and came away “dancing.” It’s true we have a shrewd and deceitful adversary who seeks to win us over; Satan knows our every weakness and where we are most apt to fall prey to temptation. Yet in the Bible we hear story after story of our Savior spending time with those who were tempted and fell. He understood their struggles. He took time out of His busy schedule to walk with them and talk with them. He says to come as you are, but don’t remain as you were. Isn’t this the story of every Christian? We struggle. We fall. We’re forgiven. This is the power of the gospel.
The author’s straight forward approach to dealing with an addiction to pornography, including timely humor, is refreshing. He begins with the challenge of airing one’s dirty laundry for the sake of accountability. He provides a helpful list of dos and don’ts for airing dirty laundry. When God’s people are too ashamed to confess their sins to one another, Satan gains ground. He tempts Christians to believe the fight is theirs alone. The author stresses that acknowledging and confessing one’s sin is paramount to overcoming addiction. Furthermore, fellow Christians will prove to be worthy allies in the fight. As the body of believers, “Porn is our struggle, our fight, our concern—because porn is affecting us” (p.61). Romans 6:6 tells us God has set us free from the slavery of sin. It is refreshing to be reminded that God delights in His children. He has lovingly set us in church families. The family of believers can help one another with these addictions.
The author compares the fight against porn to dancing. It may seem awkward and uncomfortable at first but following some basic steps can help develop spiritual muscles. The book contains much practical help for doing this. For instance, those who struggle can avert weak and vulnerable moments by keeping in mind their H.E.A.L.T.H., which stands for Hungry, Energy, Angry, Lonely, Tired, and Heart.
The author manages to present an often-depressing subject in a consistently positive way. Instead of feeling shamed and hopeless, God’s children are reminded that “our dirty doesn’t stop Him from dancing” (p.89). Jesus told a parable about a young man who squandered his inheritance on wild and lascivious living; however, when he returned home, he received forgiveness and then heard music and dancing. (Luke 15:25) The same victory awaits all who cling to Jesus’ promises through His Word and the loving encouragement of brothers or sisters in Christ.