Engaging CultureStrategy & Marketing

How Your Organization can Avoid a Crisis

After writing various posts on handling a crisis, I thought it might be good to write a little on AVOIDING a crisis to begin with. As I said before, it’s impossible to completely avoid issues like this – especially in larger organizations with many employees. And as some readers mentioned, it’s not about rules – because you can’t always enforce rules. Integrity has to be a part of the organization’s culture.

Nothing’s foolproof, but here’s a few ideas I follow that might help your organization avoid problems in the future:

1) Build a glass office. Not entirely of course, but we’re remodeling a new building we just purchased in Burbank, and we’re installing glass doors in every room. We’re also giving the offices and edit suites windows as well. Keep things out in the open in your office design, because if there’s nowhere to hide, less hanky-panky can happen.

2) Never travel with the opposite sex unless there’s at least one additional employee with you. If I have to travel with a female employee, I always bring my wife or another employee along as well.

3) Have multiple filters for handling finances. When I purchase anything, or return from a trip with travel expenses or receipts, that money goes from me to my assistant, then to our financial manager, then finally to our CPA. At any stage, they all have the authority to question anything – even though I own the company!

4) No private emails. Don’t put anything in an email that you wouldn’t want printed in the newspaper. Once you hit “send” – you have no idea where that email will end up. A recipient who’s your friend today might not be next week. The number of pastors, ministry leaders, or executives that have been fired over emails would amaze you.

5) Web filters. We’re a small company with only 10 employees, so this isn’t a major deal. But if we grew much larger, I would invest in web filtering software. Why take the chance?

6) Meet with clients of the opposite sex in public places or with other people in the room. Enough said.

Are there any other suggestions that have worked for your organization?

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32 Comments

  1. Some great, common sense ideas there. I am extremely careful about being alone or overly friendly with females. Apart from my wife. 🙂 It's so important to not only make sure nothing happens but also to ensure that the right thing is seen to be done. My wife knows that I make a point of that kind of transparency and I think it's another way of honoring her and showing the value I place on our relationship.

  2. I think it would be good to point out that the opposite sex thing refereed to in  #2 & 6 goes for both married and unmarried. I have a good number of people in my generation (young x-gen) that differentiate those two things. I see no difference.

    On web filters, I would highly suggest (I beg you) using it if you have 1 employee. There is no reason (as cheap as they are) to not have that installed, no matter the size of the company.

    There are tons of options outside of 'filtering' that get the job done these days. You can use monitoring software and other options that all get the desired effect. Filters used to get a bad wrap b/c they blocked so much stuff, but they are MUCH more effective in the way they work now and are not as intrusive in blocking unnecessary stuff.

    Another rule I've seen is placing all computer monitors facing the public area. So if someone walks by your glass door or window, they can see what's going on. My old college had mirrors on the walls so that anyone around could always see what's on other people's monitors.

  3. Wow. I'm impressed.  I like all those suggestions.    On the monitors facing the public area – I would assume that might not work in offices with sensitive material like doctors offices or lawyers offices and such.  But I still think it sounds like a good idea if you can do it.

    Great ideas!

    I have a favor to ask Phil and the readers here.  I am moving next week (Friday) back to the White Mountains in New Hampshire.  I have a friend that is going to help me with the drive, but to be honest this always takes a lot out of me and I usually end up having a serious crash at the end. 

    I would appreciate your prayers and thoughts from the 30th of May to the 7th of June.  I'm not sure if I will post much during then but I will try.  However, do keep me in your thoughts – especially w/ safety and the cost of gas!  LOL.  It has increased over 200 dollars since I originally budgeted.  Crazy!  

    Thanks.  I will miss chatting with you all.  I think I will experience Phil Cooke withdrawals!!! 

     

     

     

  4. “1) Build a glass office.” Literally that is what the company I work for are doing right now:-). All the meeting rooms are translucent outside and transparent inside while the directors offices are transparent completely. Workspaces are open plan but well spaced out for the astronauts amongst us. Long before we got here (to designing the new premises this way) everybody from the least to the greatest practiced an open transparent form of communication. It was just a matter of time when that would translate to the way we do things physically. It is only the prayer rooms that are closed off and they are actually like booths with one open space room for group prayer. But one big thing that we do a lot is to present the idea of the freedoms that come with living right, faith filled, fear free, establishing a mindset of right thinking and the continual discovery of who we are in Christ in God and how that reflects everything we do. Good points all around though.

  5. Boy, I have struggled with that travel one.  Almost 2/3s of the time, my account manager has been male.  My choices have been travel alone and hope I don't miss writing anything down (not smart–since I am generally running the meeting); or take him along and struggle with this issue.  Taking a third person has not been an option as the client is never willing to pay for that and the margins are too small to simply "eat" the cost.  I try to hire female AM as much as I can, but it is hard!

  6. There are two personality traits which are excellent predictors of a person's likelihood to engage in serious misbehavior.  The first is Projectivity.  People who are predisposed to fancy outrageous things go on around them are outwardly projecting unconscious emotional impulses.   The second is an exaggerated concern with sexual "goings-on".  Awareness of these traits can be helpful in avoiding genuine impropriety within your ministry.  If someone is forever stating that the "Spirit" is telling them a group or individual is "evil", or engages in lewd speculation, then that person may not belong in ministry.  These people avoid policing themselves, and you are mistaken if you think you can monitor their behavior 24/7.

    Being mindful of the outward appearances of sexual impropriety can prevent weak Christians from ginning up outrageous slander, so there is some value in being a stickler for convention.  That being said, when being mindful of convention unnecessarily complicates healthy relationships between the genders, it's an unreasonable handicap.  What's the point of being sisters and brothers in Christ, keeping one another at arm's length?  Don't be goofy!

    Only through example can young Christians learn the practices that allow the genders to support each other gracefully.  It's an art form, not a codified system.  Who would you have provide that example to those you mentor?  Is it reasonable to leave them ill-prepared to authentically engage half of humanity?  Either we strive to mature the Saints, or proceed under the assumption they don't have what it takes to grow up.  That's a judgment against the body of Christ I'd rather not make.

  7. I understand the challenge you pose.  In those cases, one organization I know will have the two employees travel on different flights and stay at different hotels.  It doesn't cost more, so that helps the budget.  Over the top?  I don't know.  But it does limit the opportunity for anything to happen.

  8. iBoss from Phantom Technologies is a good solution for web filtering in a small office.

    http://www.iphantom.com/

    We use it at home and it works great. Good price and simple to install and operate.

    Nothing to install on clients.

  9. I agree with the ideas above but I think the root of the problem lies with men (mostly) and their inability to control their sexual drive. God has designed us that way but expects us to exercise self control. But that can be really difficult in our western culture when we are constantly bombarded with sexually explicit images on a daily basis.

    There is a course (and soon to be released book) called 'Valiant Man' by Allan Meyer, senior pastor at Careforce Church Australia. It teaches men how to live with sexual purity. http://www.careforcelifekeys.org

    Well worth a look. 🙂 

  10. What a topic Phil. It seems like it is such an epidemic problem these days.  I can't tell you how many people I have known who have made huge mistakes traveling or working too closely with members of the opposite sex.  My employer,  a church, has strict policies against two people of the opposite sex eating meals, riding in cars and especially traveling without a third party.  I must admit, some of my friends outside of ministry don't understand the boundaries, but like my boss says…"You'll never get knocked out by Mike Tyson, if you never enter the ring with him." 

    As far as the cost,I humbly say take your income and subtract half (divorce).  It's worth it.

     

  11. Last weekend I was privileged to don the uniform of a Civil War era Federal Marine and participate in the mock defense of Wilson's Wharf.  As I stood in formation, shoulder to shoulder with my "brothers in arms", a brisk breeze blew a nearby lady's skirt up, exposing her ankles.  In keeping with their roles, the men of my unit expressed appreciation for the exposure of a "well turned ankle"! 

    These men are mature, well educated and comfortable in their roles as fathers, brothers, husbands and friends to women.  Their wry wit highlighted their sophisticated understanding of the nature of sexual tension.  Sex starts in the brain.  They intimately understand that what they find erotic and how they respond to it is fully subject to experience and conditioning.  In short, their sexuality belongs to them.  They use it when and how they choose to.   For this reason and many others, it was a pleasure for my daughter and I to camp out on the bank of the James and relive the primitive conditions of a Civil War era camp.  There was no artificial sexual tension of the sort that would have been present with lesser men.  Everyone present was free to laugh, talk, work and play together comfortably.  My husband and son have other interests, and enjoyed the freedom to be elsewhere, doing what they love. 

    People who accept responsibility for their own sexuality enjoy lives of greater privilege and freedom.  I know people who imagine sexuality is an unmanageable urge.  Their self imposed handicap prevents them from being trustworthy.  Since they imagine they can't control their sexualities, they don't try very hard at all.  More offensively, they imagine the rest of us don't manage our sexualities either.  If they see a friendship develop between a man and woman, they engage in lewd speculation as to the nature of the relationship.  For these reasons, I give these people a wide berth.  Their refusal to manage their own sexualities or reign in their filthy imaginations is a source of intolerable offense.

    Over my husband's long career, he's mentored many young ladies, and frequently chosen women as partners for his PT sessions or lunch companions.  Every once in a while lewd speculation has reached my ears, only to be severely quashed.  Women cannot enjoy equal opportunity if they are not mentored and collaborated with in the same way men mentor and collaborate with other men.  It's an issue of fairness and integrity.  My husband is a leader of Marines.   He does the right thing for the right reasons.  

    Over the years I have watched people fail to accept responsibility for their own sexuality.  They've made a mess of their lives and those of others.  I've watched them whine that the thrill was gone from their marriages, as if this was not fully under their control.  I've watched them alternately harass, annoy and discriminate against their female coworkers, never admitting to themselves or anyone else that they knew it was wrong and were fully capable of doing better.  I've watched them roll around with 3rd world sex workers, willfully passing by once in a lifetime chances to explore, learn and witness.  I've watched them go to ridiculous lengths to engage in adulterous liaisons that took a wrecking ball to their marriages, their careers and unit cohesion. 

    I'm here to tell you that there's no way to stop an irresponsible, immature person from mismanaging his or her sexuality.  The premise that their sexuality is unmanageable gives them permission to fail to manage it, and fail they do.  Giving them silly rules to live by won't keep them in line.  By giving them the silly rules, you enforce the cognitive distortion that they're not capable of self control.  It only encourages them to act out when they're not being monitored.  The same guy who considers himself virtuous for openly shunning a female coworker at lunch will wallow in filthy excess as soon as he knows no one is watching. 

    I often read and hear people ask why Christians have such problems with their sexuality.  (Divorce, Adultery, Pornography, raunchy scandals)  DUH!!!  I don't care if you manage to get every lady in your denomination to wear a burkah and sit on the other side of the church.  You still can't stop people you've conditioned to believe they have no self control from acting inappropriately at the first unmonitored opportunity.  Furthermore, putting the most sexually dysfunctional person available in charge isn't very bright either!   Most of these guys are transparent in their perversion.  Whaddaya expect?   

       

  12. I think what you're referring to is the same thing someone posted on the last blog post, and that is integrity.

    Having been in the industry of helping men and women out of sexual/porn addiction, I wish it were as easy as you make it sound, that all we have to do is control ourselves. I think I hear this more commonly from women talking about men. While what you're talking about is true, the simple fact is that it's not that easy.

    This is why Billy Graham put in stipulations for travel and being alone with other women. He knew he didn't want to even be put in position to have to resist. It starts with keeping yourself out of those situations, and Graham took a proactive approach. While I'm sure he had to exercise his own control in situations and has an incredible amount of integrity, much of that started with what I just mentioned, never putting himself in the position to have to resist.

  13. Nope.  I'm talking about the cause and cure of of "unable-to-resist-so-it's-not-my-fault-itis".  The fuel of perversion consists of a dynamic tension of simultaneous lack of self-mastery and constant rebellion against externally imposed controls.   With this so well understood, why foster perversion by providing the external controls immature people demand as validation of their lack of self-mastery?  It’s a recipe for disaster.  On a comfortably repressed subconscious level, they fully intend to live down to your expectations and their self-fulfilling prophesies.  They’ll do it too – again and again and again!   

    Simply put:

    Some people want to act out on inappropriate sexual impulses, yet not accept responsibility for having done so.  They tell themselves that sexual impulses are irresistible, so they don't have to feel remorse for failing to resist their impulses.  If you agree with them and demonstrate your endorsement of this fiction by providing the external monitoring on a limited basis, you've given them the ideal situation to act on their worst impulses.    They get to act out sexually, and they don't have to accept personal responsibility for having done so.  "Anyone", they reason, "Would have reacted to temptation in precisely the same way!" 

    As a side issue, I'm also warning about the hazards of legalism and adding to God's word in matters of sexual purity.  It's a serious error.  Making up rules that segregate people of opposite gender causes them to ascribe virtue to keeping away from each other!  Shunning half of the body of Christ is not virtuous.  It's bad for you and it's bad for them.  If you want to enjoy the full range of adult human relationships, you're going to have to take responsibility for your sexuality, instead of expecting the rules and external monitors to keep you safe from your supposed inner demons. 

    There are cultures that believe it is women who are more sexually aggressive than males, as opposed to our belief that it is the male who lacks self control.  Whatever! 

    Christians of both genders can and do enjoy a wide range of mutually beneficial relationships.  The range widens considerably for those who accept responsibility for their own sexuality.  

    Think about it.  I'm a Marine Corps veteran and a black belt in karate.  I'm 46 years old, and I've lived a rich life full of wonderful people who enjoy life to the fullest too.  In all my years, I've never had any trouble with the opposite sex.  Men respect me, I respect them.  Men who give out signals that they don't respect themselves and cannot respect me are not allowed close.  (Sure, I could take 'em down, but I might chip a nail in the process!)  Women with the same issues don't stay long in our circle of friends either.  It's simple.  We don't need the drama.  What these people find sexually exciting, we find to be a barrier to genuine intimacy. 

    It is a barrier to intimacy, this insistence on pretending not to be in control of one's own sexuality.  Sure, it gives people "permission" to act out, but the costs are prohibitively high.  It decreases the pleasure of appropriate sexual relations and takes a wrecking ball to families, communities and institutions.  It's a pain in the posterior, to put it mildly. 

    Anyone who tells themselves and others they can't control their sexuality is actually communicating that they don't want to control their own sexuality, and will act on their basest impulses at the first opportunity.  Who needs that? 

  14. 'The fuel of perversion consists of a dynamic tension of simultaneous lack of self-mastery and constant rebellion against externally imposed controls.'

    Jesus was the only human to exercise full 'self-mastery.' Have you sinned today? What ever happened to grace? No one is perfect and some people need mentoring or counseling from where they are to where they need to be. I don't think anyone is suggesting or giving people 'permission' for their impropriety. I think what I hear you saying is that 'we' are doing that indirectly by suggesting it is not possible for them to have full 'self-mastery'.

    Original sin is at work here, and we have to find a middle ground. No one is perfect, reality is what we have to deal with here and now.

     

    Something I failed to mention earlier is that Graham did not only put those boundaries in place to keep himself from temptation, perhaps even more so, it was because he wanted to be beyond reproach. Any and all leadership (a typical standard for elders, etc.) should be held to this strictly. Personally, and Biblically, I don't believe leadership should be held to a higher standard than any other Christ Follower. We should all live beyond reproach. Sometimes this means not being in a room, car, trip with someone of the opposite sex.

    This is not about being legalistic, it's about having a Christian witness that is clean of impropriety (real or otherwise imagined).

  15. "I think what I hear you saying is that 'we' are doing that indirectly by suggesting it is not possible for them to have full 'self-mastery'."

    Yep, that's what I'm saying.  Good grief, I'm not alone.  That's what many Psychologists would tell you.  Sociologists would say it differently, but they'd weigh in the same.  I'm saying that our policies matter, and have second and third order impact.  We cannot afford to be short-sighted, nor do any of our decisions occur in a vacuum.  It may be easier in the short run to segregate people by gender, but it's the lazy way out.  As always, short-sighted laziness bears a cost.

    I'm also saying that relationships are hard, and they're worth the effort.  Jesus did not make us brothers and sisters so that we might take one another for granted or fail to reach out to one another.  Further, people rely on their mentors to provide a good example.  Just as successful marriages are easier if your parent's model it, so other relationships become natural if you've been allowed to observe how they work.

    Most of us are leaders, whether we want to be or not.  We've got people watching us, trying to figure out what to do and how to do it.  We owe it to them to figure out how to have healthy relationships with the opposite sex, and model these behaviors.  I'm glad you mentioned Jesus.  He's THE example, but He's not the only one the Bible provides.  Furthermore, there are probably a few mature Christians around each of us whom we can observe for additional insight. 

    Dozens of strong, wise men and women tirelessly and consistently mentored me and continue to mentor me.   While their conscious intention was not to demonstrate that people can and should accept responsibility for their own sexuality, each of them displayed this trait in an exemplary manner.  Due to our very interesting exchange of opinions, I thank God for the lessons He arranged for me.

    Vulnerable Christians I love are watching me, Brother!  I can't afford to show them less of a Christian than I am capable of being.  They're watching me extend my hand in fellowship to men and women, walk and strive beside men and women, and be a sister to all.  Of course I'm not perfect, but I'm no shirker either.  I try.  The stakes are too high not to try.  We all must try.

    You're right, it's hard.  Christian fellowship is often hard.  Frankly, most of the things worth doing are really, really hard!  If being a brother or sister to half of the body of Christ is hard for us, we need to try harder.  We are supposed to help one another, and withholding fellowship is helpful only under rare circumstances.

    C'mon, what would Jesus do?  "Here's the town hussy by the well.  No one's watching, I think I'll engage in a bit of slap and tickle." (Was that how you remember the story?)   Or better yet:  "Gasp, it's a woman.  I'd rather go thirsty than be seen nearby!"  (How do you like that version?)  Get a grip, folks.  You follow Christ, or you don't. No half steppin'.  If you do, it's time to get over yourselves.  Billy Graham is a great guy.  He's not Christ.  Follow Christ.  If dealing appropriately with the opposite is the hardest thing you face while following Christ, you're getting off lightly.

    I've written a lot on this topic.  Yes, mine is the minority position.  Nonetheless, I'm absolutely serious about this.  It's time for the sexual high jinx in ministry to stop.  In part, that requires all Christians to learn how to deal sensibly with sexual tension, rather than exacerbating these feelings with the type of rules that haven't worked in the past and will not work in the future.  We have to seriously examine the roots of the problem, and fix it.  Segregating by gender is a short-sighted, bandaid-over-a-sucking-chest-wound fix.

    That's my position.  I sympathize with people who suffer genuine sexual addictions, and agree that accomodations must be made for them.  The rest of us need to pull ourselves together, pronto!  There is nothing in our faith that mandates dysfunctional interpersonal behavior.  To the contrary, we are to be examples of wholesome conduct.

  16. Please know that overall I do agree with your ideas, though not to the extreme you suggest. I think WAY more men (as well as MANY women) are dealing with some level of addition of a sexual nature and it can't be dealt with by saying 'suck it up.'

    The 'segregation' you talk of and are referring to is only meant in private. Not 'by the well.' The woman at the well… it was in a public space, probably THE most public spot in town.

  17. tm, I agree with your position.  For me, personally, there are issues in life that are very black and white…a nobrainer.  But, not so, for perhaps the guy standing next to me.  We live in the 21st century where our country has been going through a "sexual revolution" since WWII.  Everywhere you turn sex is throne at humankind in an almost assaulting way….if not overtly, then via inuendos, not to mention pornography, rape, incest, etc.  I think it is naive and ignorant to believe that everyone, whether in the body of Christ or out of the body of Christ should be able to snap to it…as in "one, two, three!"  Those are utopias, idealism and something like I've heard and read called Heaven.  The only sinless person to walk the face of the earth was the man, Himself, Jesus.  This is why He said, "…he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised."  This can occur in a moment of time but for others they must hear it again and again and again to become completely free.  Some people are actually bound….more than we care to admit.  If rules, regulations, parameters, restrictions bother a person, then Jesus' teachings are not for those.  The scribes and pharisees lived under rules that bound the people.  Jesus' teachings freed humanity to serve under the "perfect law of liberty."  That liberty, yes, brings requirements of daily living, though without enslaving. Temptation and the like are everpresent but Jesus has provided a way out.  Paul said he buffeted his body, daily.  I suppose we would call that 24/7, today.  It was a battle for Paul, as well.  

  18. Evangelical Americans (and I'm one) seem to have more trouble with sex and sexual sin issues than most of the rest of the world.

    Sin is sin.  We should be mature and not sin and walk without sin.  We should also not overeat, get drunk, or pass gas in elevators (I'm going by the spirit of the law on that one ….)

    I expect that Christians will wrestle with sexual sin and "addictions" until Christ returns and we're in a new heaven and new earth with sin in the past.  We don't have to make an excuse for it, but we also seem to have our special hangups and seem to decide what is "nice" sin and what isn't and pretend that accomodating one form is somehow better or worse than another.

    We live in a society where Porn as an industry generates more revenue than all 4 major sports combined.  It's an issue.  We don't have to worry about looking for it, it looks for us.  We can speak from now to judgment day as to what should be.  The point is it's an issue and we go well to work collectively to do what we can to lock some doors where we can and to support on another where we can but in the end we each rely upon God to both protect us and/or guide us through and when we fail or others fail we address the situation, and move on.

  19. Well Amerikan,

    This is the sort of zaniness that makes Christianity look impractical.  Christianity is infinitely practical, and should not be so misrepresented.

    How much more free could Christians be if they simply chose to obey God, because His way is best? 

    To countless Christians, "Freedom in Christ" the absolute security of belonging to God unextricably linked with the euphoria of being absolutely free.  We obey because we want to.  That's our  freedom.  It is profoundly good.  Disobedience is bondage.  Why flirt with bondage?

    Teaching the traditions of men as if they were those of God is a dangerous diversion from God's will for us that tends to engender His wrath.  If God doesn't like it, why do it?  

    Jesus read the pharisees the riot act for laying unreasonable burdens on people.  Do you really want to be party to that? 

    God's way is good.  He's not trying to make our lives difficult.  He wants what is best for us. 

     

  20. Before most of us became Christians, we were unbelievers/sinners, some of us more than others, nevertheless we were sinners before we came to Christ. When we became born-again, our spirits came alive and we could hear and begin to know God. But not everything changed completely especially our minds, our thinking patterns and that is where the work of renewing of the mind comes into being. Not every believer renews their mind on a daily basis and not is not everyday that we feel like knowing God – we still have our sinful nature within us, Romans 7 deals with this dichotomy and dilemma – also cited in Galatians 5. Unfortunately whether we like it or not, sexual immorality is a real enemy and one that carries some weight with it instantly. Yes sin is sin but the Bible is very clear about the sin of sexual immorality both in the old and new testament and it is worth avoiding very much on every level. As it is written “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” This is one sin the Lord actually commands a person to flee and not suggest to exercise self control in that situation (in fact I think it is self control to flee:-)). That said sexual lust begins in the heart and is a stronghold of the mind in the lives of many Christians because of how we perceive the opposite sex often from the world’s perspective or our limited knowledge of what sex really is and the purpose of the opposite sex outside of sexual relationships. Again most people were or are not privileged to have seen good examples of male and female friendships that were respectful and honourable and I believe that this is what we need to re-establish amongst ourselves as believers in the Body of Christ. I think this is something that Elizabeth Conley maybe trying to say. But this will take personal and corporate discipleship for this to be a reality. And it can be done. We need to emphasize in the Body of Christ how the Lord Jesus wants us to relate with one another, male and female, and come to a place where we see our bodies as temples of the living God that deserve respect, honour and love. As it is written “Treat the older women as you would your mother, and treat the younger women with all purity as your own sisters.”

  21. Breaklight,

    "male and female friendships that were respectful and Honorable and I believe that this is what we need to re-establish among ourselves as believers in the Body of Christ. I think this is something that Elizabeth Conley may be trying to say."

    Brother, that's so fundamental to what I believe that I didn't realize it needed to be said.  Now I understand it needed to be said. 

    Yesterday my neighbor stayed home.  He's had a rough time at work.  He needed a break.  We both have puppies, and the two dearly love to play with each other.   At lunch time we sat in his back yard and watched them play.  He had a lot to talk about, and I was honored that he used me as a sounding board for his ideas. 

    Sorry folks, there was no chaperon.  It never would have occurred to him, me, my husband, his wife or anyone we associate with that we might need one!  Now I realize that if a certain type of Christian had been aware of our private conversation, our reputations might be in tatters.

    That's utterly depraved folks!  It's a perversion of what the body of Christ should be!  People can't possibly want to live that way.  Nor can people who aren't hopelessly twisted already be attracted to such a group.  Don't expect me to join in that sort of behavior!  It's sick, it's wrong, and I won't be party to it. 

    If you honestly think people run around in a perpetual state of sexual readiness, panting for the first opportunity to commit an lewd indiscretion, then our way of life must seem entirely alien to you.  The respect and trust I feel for my husband, my father, my brother and law and dozens of male friends must seem misplaced to you.  Further, the respect and trust the women in my life enjoy must seem pretty bizarre too.  I can't imagine sharing my life with people I don't respect and trust.  I can't imagine worrying about being alone with one of my male friends, or worrying that my husband could not be alone with a woman.  Trust and respect are essential elements in all my significant relationships.  It's clear that many people can't understand how men and women interact with respect and trust.  Well, I don't know any other way.  I don't understand how I could live without respect and trust for the people in my life.  It would devastate me to have to try. 

    It's business as usual around here for men and women to treat each other well.  It's a way of life we take for granted.  Having lived this way all my life, I cannot fathom settling for less.  More importantly, I cannot imagine teaching my children or anyone else to settle for less.  I would be derilict in my duty if I did not model appropriate behavior to them.  I hope to see our way of life perpetuated in future generations.  That can't happen without good role models.

  22. Breaklight….Your words and use of scripture, I completely agree with.  And we should heed.  We all know what a believer should be doing on this issue…scripture spells it out, BUT, in reality and in many worlds it just does not happen.  I know fine Christian homes, where by all rights, the parents were good role models and "out of the blue" daughter turns up pregnant.  What happened?  There are many variables.  I think all of us purpose to "be in this world but not of it."  And, Ms. Conley, with your lengthy "tirade," one would think you never had a temptation, of any kind, in your life.  That is stellar and commendable! However, your rhetorical convictions overshadow the basic truth of what we all are saying collectively.  We have a will…we have God's Word…now obey it.  But, be "wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove."  If that means, "fleeing the appearance of evil," then go for it and be obedient in that respect.  That, my friend, is not bondage…just being smart.  (Sorry, Breaklight, for double-timing your space.)

  23. I have always been "one of the guys" –the lone female working with a bunch of guys on this project or the other.

    I have thought nothing of riding alone in a car or having lunch with a male counterpart.

    Then not long ago, one of the guys confesses to having inappropriate feelings for me. We had been good friends for years.  I'd like to say I shocked, but on some level I know and I had played it to a degree. 

    It was a lesson learned for me.  He resigned off the team we were working on so we would have no reason to cross paths, and I changed how I relate to "the guys".  Phil is right.  Now I have lost a friend.

     

  24. "Lengthy Tirade"

    Sigh, didn't listen to a word, did you?

    I knew I was wasting my breath. Folks, Life is really, really good.  You pass up on so much, and abuse so many, with this over dramatization of "sexual temptation".  By dwelling on it , and making it the centerpiece of your interactions with the opposite sex, you create the very problems that plague so many Christians today.

    Some imagine we who disdain legalistic rules for gender interaction simply “don’t understand”.  They’re gravely mistaken.  We understand human sexuality very, very well.   God created us as sexual beings too.  If we didn’t understand, our lives would be a mess.

    There's so much more to life than illicit sex.  The life God intended for us, for one thing.  Letting it rule your life and circumscribe your relationships is bondage, plain and simple.  That you can't even see this simple truth is just one more bar in the cage.

    Most of us are extremely fed up with the ankle humping lap dogs running around in ministry today, Their shenanigans are getting extremely old.   The behaviors that lead to the public debacles follow well established patterns that are easy to observe and avoid.  Still, ministries continue to endorse these patterns, and continue to have serious problems.

    Sooner or later, one hopes this routine will get old.  Until it does, more disgusting scandals will rock the body of Christ.  That’s not a prophesy; it’s an observation with respect to a well established pattern. 

    Insanity is doing the same thing again and again, while expecting different results. 

    If anyone wants to know how to break free of the cycle, study the behaviors of groups who don't make sexual temptation the center piece of their social interactions.  Why?  Because they're doing something different, and it works!

  25. So you've decided to do things differently.  That's sensible.  Hopefully, you're still treating people like people, regardless of their gender.

    Islandgirl, I've led a privileged life.  I've been ridiculously fortunate in my fellowships and opportunities to serve God.  I've learned from experience that if I talk about my good fortune in specific terms, people think I'm boasting.  I'm inviting them to join me, telling them it's a truly joyful way of life.  Unfortunately, few get the message. 

    I didn't earn these privileges.  I certainly didn't choose my mentors.  It's all a gift. There's a lot of work for me to do today, and wonderful men and women for me to do it with.  It's time for me to get busy.   If we work hard enough, we'll be able to break to celebrate the 25th wedding anniversary of my best friend.  He's quite a guy.  I owe it to him to shoulder my share of the load.

    This will be my last post on this topic.  I've pretty much been wasting my breath.

  26. Ms. Conley, you seem to be the one who is obsessed with the subject.  Your zigzagging discourses prove that out.  And I doubt your "idealistic life" in your "perfect world," is quite as accurate as you portray.  Having been an Army officer myself, educated in secular universities, married for 34 years, and a good bit older than you at 59….I am not that naive to believe you have not stumbled or suffered temptation in some other nonsexual area of your life.  You are the one who has fallen into the trap of legalism on this subject.  Just spend some time reading the gospels and the epistles if you don't think there is some time given to the sex issue.  My wife and I have had a good, healthy marriage and raised two married daughters.  But we have two adult Christian friends who were molested, repeatedly, by a relative in their childhood.  Their struggles in life have been real.  God and His wonderful Word has been a mainstay in their lives.  Through secular and Christian counseling, one has done much better than the other but it has not been easy.  Since you have ALL the answers in your glass bubble world, maybe they should have consulted you a long time ago. 

  27. I pretty much thought I had done and dusted this particular topic until something happened to me just this week (no I did not fall into a sexual temptation:-)). My pastor recently gave me an assignment to help prepare the Church for the Father’s Day Programme. It was the research that knocked me out solid! Sexual temptation is worth avoiding at all costs and it is highly rewarding to live free of it especially if it is a problem even at seed level(it has potential in one’s life but has not been given the right environment to thrive or grow). Not to go into details about the results of fatherless homes and equally bad fathers in the home but some of the consequences of poor and absentee fathers was the sexual perversion that ocurred in both girls and boys. In males, many become abusive and in females, many became promiscuous. Sexual immoralirty is so rampant that they now have kids as young 5-11 addicted to pornography. In one report it was so bad that the even case worker was scared that a girl thought a particular sex act performed on her was considered normal and she was just aged 8! Ironically in their findings, the media plays 75% to why this is such a problem – these reports were not conducted by Christians! But there is good news which was what I was looking for and the solutions though tough have proved very effective – amazingly it was mainly Christian organisations that had real practical solutions to this issue. One of them (there were many strategic solutions)was creating transparent environments. Funny thing was when the guys who had overcome their sexual issues and were recovered, they made the women in their lives more honourable and helped the women better with their self esteem. The men produced respect in the women – that was a fascinating discovery for me. One thing that came out to me was when the men (and boys) had developed the mindset where they did not want to do it as opposed to justifying it or hiding it or still wanting to do it but not given the opportunity/chance to do it. I agree with Amerikan on this, and it is either we can act like it does not exist and hope to God it will go away or we can take measures to deal with it and spread the light of the Lord on it and be free. God’s Word so clearly places it like this “Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But when the light shines on them, it becomes clear how evil these things are. And where your light shines, it will expose their evil deeds. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise.”

  28. This is a very interesting conversation.  I agree with many things on both sides of the conversation.  My personal integrity prevents me from taking advantage of a sister.  At the same time I don't want to cause her any embarrassment or to come under ridicule.  There are no real rules except to maintain my integrity and reputation.

    There is also the factor of causing your brother or sister to stumble by exhibiting behavior that may put them in temptation if they copy my actions.  Drinking and frequenting bars and casinos are examples that can cause a brother to stumble.

    These are things that I think about in my relations with other Christians.  It is a personal responsibility and not a corporate one.

     

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