Saturday, 20 October 2012
By Tom Zuniga
“Every time a man knocks on a brothel door, he is really searching for God.” — G.K. Chesterton
I’m attracted to openness and vulnerability in writing — blogs, books, you name it. I can never get enough stories on the human struggle; the messier, the more honest, the infinitely more encouraging.
A former porn/sex addict, Michael John Cusick boldly confesses all in Surfing for God: Discovering the Divine Desire Beneath Sexual Struggle. His book opens with a chilling allegory I won’t soon forget.
A starving skylark meets a traveling peddler, and the bird begins trading his feathers for worms — two big, juicy worms for just a single feather. A no-brainer of a deal until eventually, the skylark is unable to soar anymore. The skylark desperately tries to return worms for his feathers, but the peddler coldly rejects the poor bird.
I’m particularly burdened by this story for the quote that follows, paralleling my own empty dealings with pornography:
“The heart of God breaks when we give away our feathers for worms.”
Pornography: a cringe-inducing struggle people hate talking about. Especially Christians. Cusick strives to close this daunting divide by boldly confessing his own sexual stumbles. From pornography to prostitutes, Cusick holds nothing back and affirms struggling Christians aren’t alone.
Cusick meticulously maps out the brain — “a man’s most important sex organ” — and details the dopamine-charged reactions spurred by pornography. For anyone unfamiliar with brain chemistry, these chapters of Surfing for God prove particularly enlightening.
Pornography addiction is often compared with other addictions, but Cusick outlines the devastating differences. Pornography addiction knows no limit, comprehends no halting reality of a full stomach or “overdose.” It’s infinitely readily available, persistent with rapidly escalating levels of brutality.
From accountability relationships to extended prayer and processing time, Cusick prescribes a self-practiced approach to pornography. Says Cusick of the spiritual fight:
“[S]piritual disciplines are not about trying to be more spiritual, or grasping for God to get something from Him. Instead, I like to think of spiritual disciplines as a way of allowing God to grasp me.”
Surfing for God uplifted me, but it also broke my heart. Vividly reminded me how Creation desperately longs to reconnect with her Creator. Pornography burdens Christians and non-Christians alike, but it’s merely one of myriad grasps for the Creator.
Despite my own repeated pornographic pitfalls, my God has remained faithful, always there to grasp me back. By book’s end, Cusick gives distinct voice to the Creator, employing the headlining Chesterton quote to penetrate the heart of the pornographic struggler:
“Each time you surfed for porn, I know that you were really surfing for Me.”
I long to open up about my own pornographic stumbles in the coming months — a daunting call I’ve actually felt for years. Surfing for God certainly inspired me in this pursuit.
I’d recommend this book to anyone for its sheer honesty, but also for the tragically widespread reality of pornography’s direct and indirect victims. Even if you don’t struggle with it, you surely know somebody who does.
It’s scary, but take courage. Confront your struggles. Open yourself to others.
And find the grasping God you’ve been surfing for all along.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”