I will admit, I have an extremely low “chitz” tolerance. Which is to say, I hate cheesy religious resources that seem out of date and out of touch with the modern day, the modern world, and modern experiences. They’re lame, they’re tacky, they’re chintzy. (They also have a fantastically repellent effect, but I digress…)
My low “chintz” tolerance reacts perhaps most strongly to religious resources on purity and chastity. There is no quicker way to get me to leave a room or conversation than to present me with a book on purity that features two acne-faced teenagers holding hands and staring coyly at each other on the cover. They usually also have braces. And baggy, acid wash jeans (the kind that were popular in the 90’s, not the kind that are popular among hipsters nowadays). Sometimes, it’s a group of racially diverse friends having good, wholesome, non-sexual fun! They’re often making a pyramid like cheerleaders used to do. Good grief, the pyramid.
Behold, two grave offenders taken from my very own office supply cabinet.
Does that groom not look a little too psyched?
Is that group of racially diverse friends not doing a version of the pyramid? Ick.
Why do I bring up my low chintz tolerance? In part because it constantly bothers me and it’s nice to get it off my chest. Secondarily, to try and strike up a little street cred with you, the (hopefully college-aged) reader.
I vow to you (in my best hopeful politician voice) that I will not try to provide you with tacky, chintzy, out-of-touch resources on practical matters of faith in any of the following mediums:
books, brochures, tracts, pamplets, DVDs, CDs, MP3s, ebooks, audiobooks, posters, handouts, religious art or jewelry, t-shirts, bumper stickers, or temporary tattoos.
Finally (and most importantly), I bring it up because I have a fantastically non-chintzy resource for you.
It’s emphatically NOT lame.
And it has to do with purity. Hear me out!
A few weeks ago, I posted a link on our Facebook page to an article by Matt Fradd on how to cleanse your mind from pornographic images (which has since tragically been deleted, which is a real shame because it was genius). A trusted and beloved friend of mine said that he’d been reading Fradd’s book, “Delivered: True Stories of Men and Women Who Turned From Porn to Purity” and that if I wanted, he’d send me a box of books for the Newman Center.
“Free stuff?” I thought, “Okay!” Plus, the cover featured a cool blue-colored gradient with a knotted rope hanging down the middle, kind of like the type we all had to scurry up in middle school gym class. You know, that difficult task of upper body strength that you thought was impossible? (I see what you did there, Matt Fradd. Well done, sir.)
I checked the mail recently to find that the books had arrived and you guys! This book. is. amazing. Truly. The descriptions on the cover really don’t do it justice. The book is incredible. I for one have never struggled with pornography addiction, but so many countless of my friends have and I’ve been hurt by its effect in romantic relationships. It was even healing for me. If it’s healing for me, I can only imagine how healing it is for those who actively struggle with this very prominent issue (which does not just affect men, ahem). It’s short, easy to read, conversational, non-judgmental, non-preachy, approachable. Basically look up every synonym for “friendly”, “good”, and “empowering”, and you’ve got this book.
Can you tell yet that I like this book?
So here’s the deal: we’re giving it away….for free! Swing by the Newman Center anytime and pick yourself up a copy. I’ll have some hanging from the cork board outside my office, and some in the Newman Center Common Room library so that if someone’s standing in the hall you can still pick one up discreetly in the library if that’s what you want. If someone else is in the library, come to my office, scratch your nose with your thumb and say something like “The black bird flies at midnight” and I’ll get what you mean. Or maybe just ask for it.
Purity and chastity are major issues of the Christian lifestyle, and they’re both issues that each one of us has to face on a daily basis–men and women, single or not. Pornography is hugely and destructively addictive. I don’t have to convince you of that; you already feel that when you’re involved with it. If you need to talk about this issue, I am here. Or go to one our parish priests; just cause they’re celibate doesn’t mean they’re not sexual and they know what an issue pornography is today.
Happy, non-chintzy reading!
UPDATE: A special thanks to Ryan Foley of Covenant Eyes for providing me with a link to the article that I thought had been taken down: here it is!