The Covenant Eyes Podcast

#TonicMasculinity vs. #ToxicMasculinity, Special Guest Bill Donaghy, Theology of the Body Institute

March 04, 2022 Hosts: Karen Potter, MA Ed., Brandon Clark, and Sam Black, and Rob Stoddard from Covenant Eyes Season 1 Episode 224
The Covenant Eyes Podcast
#TonicMasculinity vs. #ToxicMasculinity, Special Guest Bill Donaghy, Theology of the Body Institute
Show Notes Transcript

“#TonicMasculinity vs. #ToxicMasculinity” 

 Special Guest Bill Donaghy, Theology of the Body Institute

Over the past few decades, a dagger was launched into the hearts of men with the phrase #ToxicMasculinity, the idea that masculinity is toxic to our culture. In this episode, we're joined by Bill Donaghy of the Theology of the Body Institute to talk about how authentic masculinity is actually good for our culture and to propose the solution of #TonicMasculinity.

Key topics covered in this episode:

  • The corruption of masculinity is the problem, not masculinity itself
  • Why we see a crisis in fatherhood today
  • Authentic masculinity leads to authentic femininity
  • Practical steps for living out #TonicMasculinity

More Information:

Bill Donaghy is a senior lecturer and content specialist for the Theology of the Body Institute, a Certification Program instructor, and an international speaker. He's worked in mission, evangelization, and education for over 20 years, with a background in visual arts, philosophy, and systematic theology.

He teaches as an adjunct professor for Immaculata University as well as Homeschool Connections, teaching Catholic homeschoolers with live, interactive courses for primarily middle and high school age students. Bill is also the co-author with Chris Stefanick of the RISE: 30 Day Challenge for Men program at and editor of the STRIVE initiative with Matt Fradd, a current Covenant Eyes resource (

He and his wife, Rebecca, live just outside of Philadelphia, PA, with their four children.

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Karen Potter: Hello everyone and welcome to the company i've podcast i'm your host Karen potter and joined by my famous co host brandon.

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Karen Potter: How are.

00:00:17.670 --> 00:00:19.800 Famous but i'm doing pretty good, how are you Karen.

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Karen Potter: i'm doing great you're pretty famous with that amazing your resource that just came out restored vows everybody knows your name is a powerful amazing resource, though i'm just glad you're here today Brandon.

00:00:29.880 --> 00:00:36.540 yeah well to God be the glory, you know he uses our pain and makes music with it so we're very excited.

00:00:37.110 --> 00:00:44.910 And if you're just tuning in and listening as well, I want to welcome you and just tell you a little bit about the podcast you may be wondering what it's all about.

00:00:45.150 --> 00:00:56.700 Well, we talked about some tough topics like pornography, because we are an accountability software and resources company that seeks to help people struggling with pornography, but the best part is we don't just.

00:00:57.450 --> 00:01:09.870 Talk about a problem we have some solutions, so we bring on professionals each week and share must have resources and tools to battle against pornography, because we're here to help you succeed that's what it comes down to Karen.

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Karen Potter: it's her dive and i'll tell you i'm really excited about today's guests and i'm going to introduce them in just a moment, but first I just want to remind everybody that's listening to the podcast that.

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Karen Potter: family.

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Karen Potter: We want to make sure that as many people are receiving the information from our amazing guests as possible and that only happens by you, sharing it with your friends and family.

00:01:55.140 --> 00:02:04.230 yeah absolutely it's, not just for us, I mean we love downloads, but it is for you, because all of the information that we talk about the guests, we talk with they're like.

00:02:04.560 --> 00:02:14.220 Top of the line experts in the field when it comes to helping in the battle against pornography and Karen i'm really excited for our topic today.

00:02:14.520 --> 00:02:28.590 i'll introduce that and then you could introduce our wonderful guest it's tonic masculinity versus toxic masculinity Now this is interesting i've heard of toxic Max toxic masculinity but not tonic so i'm excited to get into this.

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Karen Potter: Absolutely, this is gonna be a great topic and our guest today is bill donohue did I say that correctly perfect alright.

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Karen Potter: We are just super super excited to have you here, you are a senior lecturer content specialist for the theology of the body Institute.

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Karen Potter: As well as a certification program instructor and international speaker as well, very busy, but he took some time out of his busy day to join us today he's worked in missions evangelical.

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Karen Potter: Space as well as education for over 20 years and has a background in visual arts philosophy and systematic theology did I get that right.

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Bill: You did.

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Karen Potter: Oh, my gosh i'm very excited to learn more about all of that.

00:03:14.100 --> 00:03:20.850 yeah absolutely and I should add to he's The co author with krista phonic of the rise 30 day challenge for men.

00:03:21.210 --> 00:03:30.690 been through that it's awesome for for men out there listening it's really great and the editor of something that's close to our heart and strive initiative with matt frat.

00:03:31.020 --> 00:03:41.880 The 21 day porn detox for men, he and his wife Rebecca live just outside of Philadelphia Pennsylvania, with their four children, what a blessing, that is bill thanks so much for being on with us.

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Bill: Absolutely, thank you Karen brandon it's good to do with you, this is a topic really close to my own heart as well, so i'm very pumped.

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Karen Potter: Well, great with that i'd love for you just to kind of get started with kind of explaining to us a little bit about this topic today what is meant by toxic masculinity and.

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Bill: What yes.

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Karen Potter: i'm very curious about that.

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Bill: yeah as brandon said I think we're probably all a little familiar with one of these.

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Bill: Probably after the hashtag me to movement, a few years ago we saw another hashtag flying around that really.

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Bill: almost like a torpedo and right into the hearts of men and that's what we want to open up today hashtag toxic masculinity.

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Bill: it's this idea that somehow just inscribed in inherent in man is the kind of.

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Bill: penchant for domination, aggression and manipulation that it's somehow in us and, therefore, that, whatever that is that virility that power has to be taken away because it is such a danger, and it is bringing a lot of.

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Bill: pain, not just to the hearts of women, but to children to family life and other structures so toxic masculinity now my tonic of masculinity which I would love to see that hashtag trend, you know I can do it my own ways, but.

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Bill: tonic is a word that really means kind of like an elixir a strong the juice, something that invigorates gives you power.

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Bill: masculinity is God designed, it is a tonic masculinity as God inscribed in genesis in the first man.

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Bill: is an essential draft it's a gift and it really it can make the family thrive, it can make women thrive Adams task in the beginning, was to be a tonic.

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Bill: To allow Eve to flourish and the Garden of Eden, to also flourish, so we can see masculinity is not the problem, the corruption of masculinity to something toxic is the problem we need the tonic.

00:05:45.720 --> 00:05:56.700 there's so many directions, I want to go with what you just said, but one of the things that I think about right is the the opposite of the cultural vision of masculinity right and that's.

00:05:57.030 --> 00:06:13.320 been in a fusions five man right how husbands are called to lay down their lives for their wives In doing so, they lay down their lives for the family and wonder if you can speak to that just call in general as a man and and becoming a man of God.

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Bill: yeah you know we have to always do, if we want to understand.

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Bill: Our identity as men.

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Bill: And if we want to understand our femininity, as women so it's awesome that brandon and Karen are here this chat with me your icons of the masculine and the feminine okay so let's own that.

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Bill: To understand this identity, we go in scripture it's rooted in genesis chapters one into the blueprints for human existence are right there.

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Bill: And when we talk about authentic masculinity or the topic of masculinity we look at Adam the first task of Adam in the Garden of Eden.

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Bill: is profound and the to Hebrew words are so so good shalimar means to guard or protect and a Buddha means to care for or cultivate back to that idea of flourishing so life can be abundant.

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Bill: So a man's inherent strength okay spoiler alert men and women are different, we believe a man's.

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Bill: His very physiology his strength is meant to be at the service of shalimar we use it to protect and to guard the garden right, not just the Garden of Eden, but the garden of eve of woman.

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Bill: This doesn't mean that we're better than that would be toxic, it means that the modality in which God wrote us and made us is that the service of love it's at the service of woman.

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Bill: So you can see, like the importance of getting steeped in scripture to understand who we are, we go back to the beginning and that's where we realize what authentic masculinity looks like.

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Karen Potter: That is so powerful and so good, because oftentimes, you know as a mom with a son, you know I raising him culture is against you know our sons, you know it really is it's raising them to believe that that they do have toxic.

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Karen Potter: masculinity, and so we have to fight back against that, and you know I remember when he was growing up, you know if there was a movement among parents in our groups that you know we don't want them playing with toy guns or swords or you know learning to be like.

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Karen Potter: You know princes and protecting the Princesses and I really took issue with that because I felt like that is very scriptural is inside of men to want to protect right, and in that.

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Karen Potter: And so I just remember that you know, raising my son that that was that was kind of a dilemma, and you bring that up perfectly um How does all of this, that you've been talking about really connect to the crisis that we have with fatherhood.

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Karen Potter: Today there's an epidemic, I mean let's face it.

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Bill: Yes, there is a tech talk about a pandemic that.

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Bill: there's a real pandemic going on with this crisis and fatherhood, I think you know every every man in his life has to move through for modalities or expressions of his masculinity it's the boy.

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Bill: Right, who has to know he's beloved he's the beloved son it's the brother who has to realize he's called to accountability and friendship with others, brothers and sisters.

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Bill: Then it's spousal love, where he starts to get out of himself leap out into a gift of love and then the crown of a man is fatherhood that's where he.

00:09:19.740 --> 00:09:28.560
Bill: gives everything and that giving of his word of love becomes flesh becomes children and the cycle starts all over again right we have beautiful sons and daughters.

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Bill: The same as for women it's just daughter sister spouse mother, so the crisis and fatherhood today is we've been like stag or it's like a quagmire right now we're stuck in the mud.

00:09:40.980 --> 00:09:50.820
Bill: of perpetual adolescence perpetual boyhood Peter pan syndrome we've got you know 40 year old guys with baseball hats on backwards playing video games for seven hours a day.

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Bill: This year we have to go all the way up and out in a sincere gift of self and all those archetype of things you mentioned Karen about you know the boy with the swords and the gun and the warrior.

00:10:03.210 --> 00:10:11.700
Bill: Those are essential john eldridge once wrote boy is a warrior you know boy is his name using, of course, the scripture phrase are familiar with.

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Bill: Eradicating that emasculating that from a boy takes masculinity out of the equation.

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Bill: The equation, from the beginning is, let us make man in our image after our likeness male and female, he created them do you see what happens if we if we ripped one out.

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Bill: The whole thing collapses we've altered the image of God in the visible world the ramifications of that are going to be tragic so.

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Bill: Rather than scrap it all toxic and dangerous go back to the beginning to the word of God to what does authentic boyhood look like Brotherhood.

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Bill: spousal love fatherhood, so the crisis and fatherhood is really a crisis and not understanding the beginning, who we are, the word of God and our place in it.

00:11:01.500 --> 00:11:08.970 that's so good, you know I know we're talking about masculinity bill, but I another thing just popped into my head head as you were talking.

00:11:09.420 --> 00:11:21.810 And it's a term called a feminine genius and I only want to bring that up because I would love you to talk I love for you to talk about how authentic masculinity brings about authentic femininity.

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Bill: Beautiful I think karen's also inside giving a high five she's like yeah let's talk about this feminine genius.

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Bill: So it's interesting there's no masculine genius phrase out there, but that's okay we're at the service of woman, we are the service so.

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Bill: The feminine genius is here's the thing we've heard this we know this inherently before even knowing a phrase like feminine genius have you heard this the hand that rocks the cradle rules, the world.

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Bill: that's an expression from generations past that is deeply true where our boys and girls first forms most intimately but in the body of a woman.

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Bill: coming into the world nursed at the breast of woman growing into maturity physically emotionally spiritually yes, guided by the father.

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Bill: Right who's on the outside, but women has them in the inside, so this feminine genius is this kind of nurturing contemplative.

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Bill: bonding experience you know the mother is the one who can draw in who can who can gather into the heart.

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Bill: The man is the one who can prepare for battle on the outside and draw them into discovery and exploration, so we have to have both i'm glad you bring this up brandon.

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Bill: We don't make sense by ourselves as men, women don't make sense by themselves as women, the image of God, male and female, he created them so it's time to rediscover the gifts of both.

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Bill: And you know the blueprint of all of this, and this is an icon an image that I hope our viewers can take in our listeners.

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Bill: Jesus Christ fully reveals man to himself and makes his supreme calling clear, this is a beautiful document called gowdy man says rejoice in hope from the second Vatican Council.

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Bill: If we want to know who we are, we look to Christ right behind me, is my crucifix Can you see that.

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Bill: And I see the Cross right behind Karen brandon i'm sure you gotta cross somewhere probably around your neck or somewhere.

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Bill: The cross is the is the autobiography of a man, a man is meant to give his total self in love and service.

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Bill: And you know at the foot of the cross scripture says, who was standing at the foot of the cross Mary.

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Bill: Open heart open hands what's mary's cry let it be done unto me according to your word the gift of man lay down his life I received.

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Bill: And this will bring new life in me so you know, we need to tonic of masculinity self giving love, we need the tonic of femininity nurturing love that gives love back to the world in children.

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Bill: And the both man and the woman raising children and the blueprint of the family right the school of the family.

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Bill: So, so this kind of tonic this kind of vibrant dynamic human life, this is the antidote to the culture of death that we're living in and a culture of selfishness, that is toxic.

00:14:12.990 --> 00:14:19.500
Bill: We have so much to offer if we can figure this out and live the way he lived right Jesus makes our calling clear.

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Karen Potter: it's so good, and you know when you're talking about this specifically with the topic that we address here at covenant eyes, you know pornography addiction and.

00:14:28.860 --> 00:14:29.370
Bill: struggling with.

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Karen Potter: Pornography a lot of that toxic behavior that culture talk so much about a lot of that is formed through viewing pornography, the way that women are objectified and treated in pornography is shaping the hearts and minds of young men.

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Karen Potter: From very young ages, and that is actually feeding this fire of you know, toxic next masculinity and I just how does How does that play into this like How does that feed that, in your opinion.

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Bill: yeah there's a lot here I wish we had another three and a half hours to talk about this, but to keep it short, so the problem.

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Bill: You know, pornography, the practice has been this has been said i've heard this many, many times, the problem with pornography is not that it shows too much of a woman's body, but too little, and we can save it for the same for males in pornography.

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Bill: Pornography stops to short it doesn't go the distance to see the whole person.

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Bill: And so, pornography treats people like objects, like a sexual vending machine, you know I put the thing in I pulled out, I take I appropriate I use.

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Bill: You can't do that in the realm of persons and relationships you can't use people and that's what porn does, we all know, this inherently when someone uses you.

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Bill: sexually or emotionally right or they try to manipulate you for maybe popularity or power, think about high school life oh when you're used instantly you're like that's not right right everybody kind of knows it, so this is the problem with porn what is the solution.

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Bill: Love right, the only response to the presence of another person is love never use.

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Bill: Love never use, so we are, we are hardwired for each other, we are hard wired for beauty, we are drawn you know God put passion in us in genesis.

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Bill: He put the fire of sexual attraction in us this isn't a sin sexual desire and sexual attraction are gifts from God.

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Bill: Can they be derailed can they become self absorbed and self centered, yes, but God puts beauty, not to draw us selfishly in but to get us out.

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Bill: And so the solution to porn is to see authentically see the whole person and it's again back to genesis what is Adam say when he first sees Eve, and really sees her.

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Bill: This, at last, his bone of my bones flesh of my flesh he struck with wonder because he's seeing God in and through her body.

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Bill: Right, not just her body is something to take, but he sees God shining through her body imagine if we could regain this case imagine a culture where we looked at each other and said wow bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh glory be to God for the gift of this person be a game changer.

00:17:17.520 --> 00:17:32.640 yeah sure would so if i'm listening right now i'm thinking man, this is all beautiful stuff and i'm so excited that we're talking about it, but what can I do about it bill, are there any practical things that can be done to start living out this tonic masculinity.

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Bill: yeah you know.

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Bill: I think again some expressions we've heard our whole life if I say the eyes are the windows, to the you know the answer right the soul.

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Bill: I think today in our culture.

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Bill: We I mean for two years we've been masking up we've been shielding up you know spiritually speaking we've been masking up and hiding well before coronavirus so the antidote practically speaking, is to start to look.

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Bill: And maybe it's a challenge, maybe you know i've been addicted to porn i've struggled I fallen before.

00:18:08.760 --> 00:18:15.930
Bill: The antidote is you know for a while certainly custody of the eyes it's a pornified culture we're bombarded by sexual imagery.

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Bill: But we have to move a grace of God, through that and look people in the eye your face is like the sacrament of your heart your personality.

00:18:25.440 --> 00:18:30.480
Bill: started looking people in the eye, the opposite sex, the same sex look, this is a brother or sister.

00:18:31.380 --> 00:18:42.030
Bill: get to know people press in listen to their struggles their joys are challenges look at great art, you know move away from this pornified hyper sexualized image of the body.

00:18:42.480 --> 00:18:52.260
Bill: Look at great works of art, all the way back to the ancient Greeks, the body is the image of God in the world, maybe that's a way to start acclimating myself again to see.

00:18:52.890 --> 00:19:01.860
Bill: Rightly, to look at things that are that have been in the classical tradition, for centuries, the Sistine Chapel you know great works by Raphael or Michelangelo.

00:19:02.280 --> 00:19:17.520
Bill: or some of the Impressionist painters, the beauty of man and woman, and this can be an antidote to start to again recalibrate reorient because scripture again says blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God now we're going to see God.

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Bill: Let us make man in our image after our likeness male and female, he created them when we start looking practically right now, after this episode close your laptop or shut off your phone.

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Bill: Look, the image of God is all around us and we spray and pray like bottom, as in scripture Lord, I want to see Lord, I want to see what the glory of God shining in and through the human body to work but it's it's well worth the work, this is the redemption of the body.

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Karen Potter: wow that is so good oh my gosh it just it took me back to my days when I was in Italy and visiting the Vatican and.

00:20:00.840 --> 00:20:10.980
Karen Potter: Seeing firsthand that the art, I mean it was incredible and then to think about our culture, there is such a difference and gosh what what what a great illustration.

00:20:11.370 --> 00:20:19.050
Karen Potter: Of this has been a really good topic and really good, and I know we're just scraping the surface and kind of running out of time here, so I want to make sure that.

00:20:19.320 --> 00:20:29.850
Karen Potter: Everyone knows how to get in touch with you and your resources your organization on what is the best way for people to get in contact with the great information you have to share.

00:20:30.030 --> 00:20:40.440
Bill: Sure, and thanks again for the privilege to chat with the both of you today, I mean again such an important topic so important, well, I jumped off of social media over two years ago, so I no longer.

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on Facebook you.

00:20:43.980 --> 00:20:44.400
Bill: I am so.

00:20:47.160 --> 00:20:49.620
Bill: So I mean my happy place, but I will say.

00:20:49.830 --> 00:20:50.910 At the Institute.

00:20:50.970 --> 00:20:53.340
Bill: We do have our YouTube channel, so I do offer.

00:20:53.700 --> 00:21:01.200
Bill: A once a week at least videos from the theology of the body institute so go on YouTube and look up to be Institute.

00:21:01.650 --> 00:21:12.960
Bill: Our website is to be we offer week long retreats immersive prayerful studies of this scriptural understanding of man and woman masculine and feminine, this is what we do.

00:21:14.130 --> 00:21:22.050
Bill: I teach and travel nationally internationally, so our schedules there I do talks all over the country and it's been such a blessing so that's the way to find me.

00:21:23.640 --> 00:21:28.110
Bill: You can do that there's other sources that actually were quote I think brandon you mentioned strive.

00:21:29.190 --> 00:21:46.710
Bill: What a privilege to work on that project with matt Fred and men rise is a place where I was able to write the structure and all the content and my story was day 23 my story about fatherhood was videoed on day 23 of rise so there's a couple ways to grab me.

00:21:48.270 --> 00:21:55.140 bill thanks so much, this has been such a great conversation we definitely have to have you back and continue it because it's one that.

00:21:55.650 --> 00:22:05.250 I think needs to continue to be had so that it begins to percolate in our hearts and then ultimately spread throughout the culture, so thank you again for for being on with us.

00:22:05.550 --> 00:22:07.470
Bill: My pleasure, it was it was a gift, thank you.

00:22:07.890 --> 00:22:15.720 yeah absolutely and a reminder, if you enjoyed this conversation, and you enjoying the other podcasts that we have, please spread the word.

00:22:16.080 --> 00:22:24.750 You know, it really starts with you and being able to share these great gifts that we have in these conversations and then also leave us review.

00:22:25.020 --> 00:22:31.860 and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts so that you can continue to get these episodes that we bring you each week and.

00:22:32.340 --> 00:22:43.260 The other thing is, you could drop us a note, you know, let us know your thoughts and feedback by emailing us at podcast at covenant that's podcast at covenant Karen.

00:22:44.160 --> 00:22:55.230
Karen Potter: yeah and, lastly, I just want to encourage everyone to be the change, you want to see in the world and get involved in the amazing offerings that we've learned about today, as well as all of the others that are out there.

00:22:55.410 --> 00:23:03.270
Karen Potter: Because we're not going to see change in culture, unless we make that change or smells and get involved and I just want to encourage all of you to stay in the fight.

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Karen Potter: Learn grow and do this together, because we really can make a difference, thank you so much for joining our covenant eyes podcast and until next time we'll see you later.