Earlier this month I related once again to Charlie Brown of the Peanuts comic strip. Linus and Charlie are having one of their lean on the fence discussions about life. The dialogue goes like this.
Linus: What’s the best thing to do with regrets.
Charlie Brown: Well, I think most people try to save them. Then they can take them out now and then and look at them.
Linus: Do you save all of your old regrets, Charlie Brown?
Charlie Brown: Oh yes, I have an award-winning collection!
Most of us do, Charlie Brown. Satan would have us open up that regret collection on a regular basis. Too many Christians live defeated lives because we live in regret of the past and fear of the future. Putting your faith in Jesus should allow us to redeem the past, trust God for the future, and live contentedly in the moment.
So I rarely open the regret lock-box these days. But a recent news story about a reality TV show on the E! Network sent me there. The show is called the Girls Next Door and the premise is to look inside life at the Playboy mansion. Another sign of the apocalypse is that this is the third season of this show. I was blissfully unaware of the show until just recently. Here is why I opened the regret box. I am unlocking a personal regret to plead with any young man who might read this to not get hooked by the “playboy” lure. I did. I regret that. I used to read (?) the magazine on a regular basis when I was single. It is easy to rationalize that Playboy is “classier” than other men’s magazines.
That is a tough one to reconcile with Scripture. The text does not read that the wages of sin are calculated on a sliding scale based on the degree of sophistication. Paul writes in Romans that the wages of sin is death. I suspect that if I were a young man reading that I might write off my pleas to GOMS (Grumpy Old Man Syndrome). But hear me out. This is important to any man who wants to follow Jesus and love his wife (or future wife) well.
Playboy may not be as graphic as other magazines. But it is just as insidious in creating an unrealistic expectation for men. Reality is not perfect bodies and insatiable sexual appetites. I wrote an article defending Baylor University for not allowing students to pose in the magazine. Here is a snippet of that post.
I have “read” the magazine. I do know why men read the magazine. Incredibly, it is not for the articles! Any many who tries to rationalize that is disingenous at best and a liar at worst. Christian men should have no part of it. I am stunned by men who make threatening comments to young men that come to date their daughters and then go out and ogle and lust after the daughters of others. In New Man Magazine author Matthew Paul Turner writes that “pornography alters your view of humanity by objectifying people. And, it’s almost impossible for a porn habit “not to affect the relationships you hold most dear.”
That is truth. You can believe it now or find out, to your dismay, later.
I work in a secular and testosterone driven world. There may be a small percentage of men who can view these types of magazines and not lust. I have not met any of them yet. If you are that man would you join me for lunch (and bring along a lie detector)?
Any men’s magazine can become a “gateway periodical” to more graphic material. That is readily available with the click of mouse. Millions of men have damaged or even ruined relationships because of pornography. The Internet is the meth amphetamine of porn.
Back to the “reality show”. Three gorgeous twenty-somethings vie for the affection of the octogenarian Hefner while living under the same roof. Their combined ages don’t equal Hefner’s age. Now that is reality! Hefner rates the girls and appoints one of the girls as “number one” like some weird parody of Dr.Evil.
The New York Post reports that the show may have a ratings gimmick this season. He might just marry “Number One” according to the Post.
“This is very secret, but the word is ‘yes,’ ” one insider told Page Six. “Hef has decided he will marry Holly, and he wants it for his show, ‘The Girls Next Door.’ Hef thinks business all the time, and looks for a new hook, although he also does really love Holly.”
Hmmm….he thinks business all the time and is looking for a new hook. The afterthought that Hefner “really does love Holly” must certainly make Number One feel special and valued. Hefner reportedly wanted to delay the marriage because monogamy would “kill the show”. Another reason for Number One to be optimistic.
Number One was quoted during season one about the odd arrangement she had agreed to live with at the mansion.
She said she “couldn’t believe” that she’s sharing her boyfriend with the other two busty blondes. But, she noted, “you do funny things when you’re in love.”
I would suggest you do funny things when you are infatuated by money and fame. You do loving, sacrificial things when you are in love. For example, you care selflessly for your dying wife like my friend Bob. You sacrifice for your wife and children. You place your mate first. You love her just as much when her body reflects the effects of child bearing and age. You take seriously the words of Paul when he admonishes followers of Jesus to love their wives.
Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. (Ephesians 5 – The Message)
Hugh Hefner is living the fantasy of many young men. I used to be one of them. But I do not envy him one bit. Because he will never understand what I have been blessed to experience. A wife who has loved me when I was unlovable. A wife who doesn’t care if I am rich or famous or powerful because that is not what she bases her love on. A relationship that has weathered storms together and emerged stronger. Joni’s strength and dignity during her recent cancer journey took my respect for her to a new level.
She is number one. There are no other contenders at the Grumpy Old Man mansion. And there never will be.