Simply put, this policy by the leadership and male culture of the church is that they are committed by “tradition” not to ask questions about your sexuality. If you go to church, there is almost an oath that you won’t be asked directly about your sexuality. You won’t be asked about whether or not you are looking at pornography. You will never be directly asked if you are acting out in other ways. You will never be asked if you are flirting with women or having affairs.
This is the “don’t ask” part of the policy of church leaders, pastors and the general male church culture. In this tradition, the cancer of sexual sin, pain and suffering of men has grown exponentially in the last few decades.
The other part of this tradition, “don’t tell,” is held up by the rank and file of men in the church. If you’re lusting, viewing porn, flirting, cheating, or anything inappropriate, don’t tell. Don’t tell yourself, your wife and your spiritual leaders. Keep your sexual behaviors a secret. We all know this is unbiblical, and I’ll address this more in future chapters, but most of us know this is how the church male culture is currently operating.
Most churches have this same policy for singles in the church as well. In a nutshell, the policy goes like this, “We won’t ask you singles about pornography use, premarital sex with each other or other behaviors, and you don’t tell us, and everyone just pretends we are all OK.”
We have to look at both sides of this ineffective policy if we are going to make any sort of change. Both parts of this policy are very comfortable to our flesh. It’s very easy to pretend every guy you know in church is lust-free, and that they don’t go to adult bookstores or websites or cheat on their wives. When you live in this type of world, it’s great. There is no need to ask or tell, because everyone is just fine.
I remember, early in my career, talking to a pastor about speaking to his men on sexual addiction. He said frankly, “We don’t have that problem in our church.” Today most pastors are not that naïve. The internet has forced pastors and the church at large to face this cancerous enemy. However, traditions have not changed.
Take a moment and count how many years you have been a Christian. For many of you it’s been several, and for others like me, it’s been decades. You most likely have heard sermons or other teachings, one-way monologues on sexual purity of some kind, but has a man asked you straight up about specific sexually immoral behaviors? Seriously think how many times a man from the church has left the comfort of his world to invade yours and asked, “So, Lou, have you looked at porn lately?”
How many times has it been? One, two, five or more? Or are you in the same boat as most American men who have never been asked straight up about this? You read earlier about statistics that point to a major war involving men in sexual trouble of all kinds. How is it that so many of us still act as though there is no war? We simply do what’s comfortable for us.
I suggest we change this policy of don’t ask, don’t tell and instead unleash our army with new standards of engaging this battle. I suggest we go to an ask policy. This means that, like the two-and-a-half tribes who crossed the Jordan, we leave our comfort zones of “I have mine.” Many of your brothers in your local church don’t have the full inheritance Christ died to give them. They are trapped in a secret world, and most of Christ’s brave warriors do not have the testosterone to ask some simple questions on a regular basis.
How do I know? Because I have traveled to churches of almost every denomination, giving men these hero tools to invade their brothers’ entrapment. Many have told me they are free from that point forward because a man looked them straight in the eye and asked them the questions straight up.
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books including, Clean. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com or on his Facebook, by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.