Special Essay: Pigs in Flight (Sept-Dec 2010)

By Matt Dabbs

by Edward Fudge / Jeff Christian
November 19. 2010

Today we feature a very special guest writer and gracEmail subscriber, Dr. Jeff Christian. I am blessed to be able to call Jeff a dear friend, my regular Greek-reading buddy, and our preacher at Bering Drive Church of Christ in Houston, Texas. I thank Jeff for permission to reprint today’s piece from his blog of 16 Nov. 2010 (http://emptypulpit.blogspot.com/).You can email him at jcbering@gmail.com.

On my way into the office this morning, while at a stoplight on Westheimer, I found myself behind a light brown Corvette. (“Light brown Corvette”… doesn’t have the same ring as “Little Red Corvette.” But I digress.) The license plate was what got my attention. Actually, the fascinating part was that I couldn’t see the plate. It was obscured by one of those cloudy license plate covers. You know, the kind that basically says, “Please pull me over; I’m a criminal with something to hide.” I was directly behind it at a full stop, and I literally could not read two of the six characters.

That car made me think about all the pornography we had lying around the house while I was growing up.

Today, I have a beautiful family for whom I am grateful to God more than I know how to express. Maybe saying “more than I know how to express” is the best way to say how thankful I am. I have loved my wife for twenty years. Two cool kids. Dropping them off at school this morning was an authentic moment of joy.

Not five minutes after I dropped them off, as I pulled up behind the light brown Corvette, I was thinking about the innocence of the twelve-year-old boy who lives in my house. I thought about the twelve-year-old boy I once was, part of whom still lives in me. Those two boys are worlds apart, but face the same exact dangers. That proverbial “inner child” in me is not as angry as he used to be. Or I should say, I have learned how to manage the anger over the stuff I got exposed to all-too-soon. Let’s just say that what I am about to share with you, O faithful bloggerland friend, is something worthy of our righteous anger, especially anger that leads to action.

It has to do with pornography, criminals, pigs, slavery, and innocence lost.

I hid my first Playboy under my mattress when I was eight years old, and found myself in a house during puberty where porno mags and videos were all too available. I had a step-dad who was really into the stuff. I know this is a difficult subject, and that it embarrasses some people, and that your preacher is not supposed to have come from such a background. When interviewing for a ministry position, the committee is supposed to be able to say, “Oh, he comes from a really good family.” So I have heard. But I wanted to put this out there to demystify this secret shame that haunts so many men. It is a secret too easy to hide these days of the internet. I have to make the choice every day to stay away from it. But the memories are still there. The images are still there in my head. I decided to share this because we have to start talking more openly. (As a sidenote, if you are a man who struggles with this, let’s talk.)

“There is a time to speak . . .”

Earlier this year my wife was invited to join the board of Eternal Threads. If you are not familiar with the organization, you need to be. It is a group of people who are making a real difference. The organization began in order to get women out of the sex trade in India. They learned how to weave baskets and purses in order to sustain a living wage.

Although Eternal Threads is still a young company, they have expanded to many different parts of the world. Most recently, they have gone into Nepal. This morning, as a result of simple $3.00 red bracelets, one of which is on my left arm even as I type, three girls have been rescued from slavery today. Three 12-year-old girls will no longer be sex slaves because of the vision of this simple little company. Three 12-year-old girls will not find themselves filmed and exposed in the dark world of internet porn.

My son is 12 years old. I talk to him openly about this stuff. The worst thing we can do as parents is to keep silent. There is a time to keep silent. This is not one of those times.

I do not live under the delusion that you can shelter your kids from all harm. But I do hold that certain things can be done in order to partner with God in acts of creation that redeem others. And one of those things is sheltering 12-year-old boys and girls from contexts that do irreparable harm.

And just how do we do that?

We break the silence.

“There is a time to speak . . .”

It is time to talk openly about the private harm that pornography does to men, women, and children all over the world. Right now, we are driving around with a cloudy license plate cover acting like the danger’s not real. It is time to rescue 12-year-old girls from slavery; it time to rescue 12-year-old boys from things they should not see at such a tender age. If we don’t talk about it more openly, the harm will only continue. And like the cliché goes, if we are not a part of the solution, we are part of the problem.

In George Orwell’s book, Animal Farm, as well as Pink Floyd’s album, Animals, the corrupt power-mongers are represented by pigs. That’s appropriate. Animal Farm ends with that chilling scene when the other animals look through the window at the pigs and farmers sitting around the dining room table. The other animals are no longer able to tell the pigs from the men. That’s what you get for pretending the danger’s not real.

As it was then, so it is today. The pigs are still in power all over the world. People are victimized by other’s greed. But thanks to groups like Eternal Threads, maybe today there will be one less victim.

“There is a time to speak . . .”

Driving to my office this morning, while sitting behind Mr. Smooth Criminal in his light brown Corvette, I said a prayer of thanksgiving. I’m grateful I am not a victim. I’m grateful I can use what little power I have to do some good, whether partnering with groups like Eternal Threads, or simply driving my kids to school in the morning.

And I’m grateful that I can tell the difference between pigs and men.

“You know that I care what happens to you,
And I know that you care for me too.
So I don’t feel alone
Or the weight of the stone,
Now that I’ve found somewhere safe to bury my bone.
And any fool knows a dog needs a home,
A shelter from pigs on the wing.”
Roger Waters


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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1577 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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