Russell Brand is an addict. That doesn’t define him, but it is what he identifies as, and what he has to remind himself of every single day.
Most of us would know Brand as the eccentric comedian and movie star with the slightly annoying Cockney accent. But his new book, Recovery: Freedom from our addictions, tells the story of the real Russell Brand, the man behind the image, and the one whose life was a complete mess until 14 years ago.
Identifying as a drug addict, alcoholic, sex addict, and as having various other addictions, this book reveals Brand as humble, brutally honest and a man revelling in the new life that has resulted from him vigorously living out the !2 Steps every day of his life since he came into recovery in 2002.
The last twenty years or so have seen an encouraging increase in the number of books being written focusing on what it means to be an authentic male in our culture. Ever since Steve Bidduph wrote his epic Manhood in the mid-1990s, the growth in the men’s movement has seen more men work towards becoming more emotionally centred and available to their families and other loved ones.
This life-giving trend towards becoming better men has been equally seen in Christian circles. Richard Rohr, Parker Palmer, John Eldredge and others have written and taught much on what a real man looks like in a culture that pressures men to be someone they are not.
Into this mix comes probably the best book I have read on being a man among men. Nate Pyle’s Man Enough: How Jesus Redefines Manhood is a breath of fresh air in the increasing volume of literature on men and their issues.
It is wonderful to see an author be so open and vulnerable about his own vulnerability about not feeling like a man for such a long period of his life. Pyle’s experience will resonate with many men in the Church, including myself. It is only in recent years that I have done a lot of work on what a genuine man looks like. Reading Pyle’s book has allowed me to breathe a huge sigh of relief that you don’t have to be a “warrior man” – as some Christian authors emphasise, to be a godly man.
Christian philosopher Jeff Cook, in his book Seven, uses an illustration originally made by C.S. Lewis on how ridiculous our obsession with lust is in our society. Here’s how Cook describes what Lewis said:
“CS Lewis invites us to imagine that we have visited an alien world where scores of people have assembled to watch a striptease. Imagine, however, that instead of a woman, a small, covered platter is brought out—and with all eyes wide, someone slowly removes the lid, revealing a steaming hamburger. We think the striptease is a joke, but all around us, people begin howling. Others snicker, elbowing their friends. Some just sit quivering in their seats. If such a world did exist, we would not think this display merely odd. We would think something inside the audience was broken. A healthy appetite for food is good, but when appetites turn into manic behavior, something is in a state of disrepair.”
Recently ex-porn producer Donny Pauling was in Melbourne talking about the reality of what goes on behind the scenes in the porn industry. Here are some of the frightening facts that he and others from an organisation called Guilty Pleasure presented:
- People in the porn industry deliberately get themselves onto Christian email lists because Christians click through to porn ads faster than anyone else.
- Playboy owns some of the most hardcore sites in the industry.
- Psychology Today magazine in September had an article about teen boys who get hooked on porn. By the time they were in their twenties, 33% of them couldn’t get an erection.
- If Christians alone stopped using porn, it would reduce the profits of the porn industry by 40%.
- In anonymous surveys, 90% of Christian men, 70% of women and 50% of pastors admit to looking at porn in the last 30 days.
This and other information can be found in the video below:
[vimeo https://vimeo.com/33375303 ]