This past Saturday I was at the Porn and Pancakes forum. I currently intend to write a few posts over it, but we will see how far I get and how willing I am to open up on the topic. Here’s my scribbled down notes over it all.
There are two articles that were written about the event:
- Chesterfield Observer – “Porn & Pancakes” (written before the event; now available!)
- Richmond Times-Dispatch – “Evils of porn discussed at forum” (written after the event, published Sunday)
NOTE: As I read around online regarding XXX Church, including comments from anonymous people, it sure seems there is a LOT of controversy over this. For myself, the blurred line between condemning pornography and condemning the people in the industry appears to be a big issue for a lot of people. It appears that XXX Church definitely does not want to condemn the people…. anyway, to the notes!
10/15/07 UPDATE: I found that the Q&A between Jason and Donny is available (well, most of it) as audio online here.
10/16/07 UPDATE: I’m amazed how this post drew somewhere nearly 30 views just yesterday (pretty big number of views for any of my posts), when we had somewhere around 50-60 attendees for the event. But then again, I was informed there was around 1400 views on the RichmondPornAndPancakes.com site before the event, so I guess it’s always safe to take it with a grain of salt.
My intent was to write a post that was less of notes and more of a straight-forward and readable article, but I guess the notes were good enough (if not, please comment). Well, I did write a post for the Chesterfield Daily that went up earlier today that summarized the event (read it here) – so take a look at that.
Here’s some more around online relating to the topic:
- A church wondering what everyone thinks are the “elephants in the church” (note some of the comments relate to sexual sin): The Elephant in the Church
- A Relevant Magazine article written by a woman detailing her struggles with porn: Dirty Girls The New Porn Addicts
- An article by Christian Broadcasting Network getting into what porn can mean for the church that doesn’t want to be dealt with on Exposing Faith Through the XXX Church
- Porn statistics that seem to match what XXX Church referred to: Internet Pornography Statistics
- Church Marketing Sucks mentions about a church making headlines because of their marketing and using the term “red hot sex”: Sexy Church
- Article by ABC News about XXX Church and their biggest critics in The Porn Pastors: XXXChurch.com
Wayne kicked it off with some really “interesting videos” by vintage21.com that made me think about the term religiosity (makes me think of hypocritical “Pharisee” Christianity) — see the videos here. Also a “Baby Got Book” (spinoff of “Baby Got Back”) video by whiteboydj — see the video here.
After the videos, Wayne mentioned the fact that porn affects ALL men – including Christians and pastors (something like 50% of pastors too). He showed the front page cover article in the Chesterfield Observer – which should be readable in a few days here.
Jason from XXX Church
Next up was Jason Harper. Jason is an outreach pastor with (I believe) Capital Christian Church in Sacramento, CA. He stated that the #1 issue in church relates to sexual issues, and that part of XXX Church’s goals is to bring awareness of this. Unfortunately, this issue is the “big blue elephant in the room” that no one wants to admit and deal with, AND that it affects both men AND women (I had mentioned this event to some at my work specifically that it’s for men only, and a woman pointed that women are affected too ).
Jason and Donny from XXX Church – the Q&A
Jason brought Donny Pauling (also from XXX Church) up on stage. Donny is a former porn producer who now has his own company (when I asked him later I believe helping automotive dealerships with their Internet marketing), but as he said today, will be starting bible college in 7 days (Oct 20) too.
Jason and Donny pretty much did a Q&A about Donny’s life and a lot of the behind-the-scenes truth about the pornography industry. Donny said that his name in the industry was Donovan Phillips (I believe that was the last name… I couldn’t hear it well). His dad was a pastor, but he felt and saw a lot of hypocrisy, judgmentalism, etc. in church and Christianity. He kind-of chose to rebel against the church. Well, at some point, he got married (to a Christian), and he was working in a job – life was just “swell”. I believe he said he started producing porn as just a part-time thing, and did this without his wife’s knowledge for I believe 3 years before he finally told her. When he did, their marriage ended. There was a lot more to be said than that, but we’ll leave it at that.
In California, laws are lax and very allowing for the porn industry – that’s why it thrives and is so big there. A lot of those that get involved are normal, everyday people – college-educated, maybe professors, maybe pastor’s daughters. He pointed out that it probably doesn’t help that our culture pretty clearly says all this is okay – kids wearing “pornstar” t-shirts, the immense notoriety for Paris Hilton from her sex video, etc.
But, behind the scenes and after you get involved in pornography, it’s not all glitz and glamour. He said that he saw countless models a few weeks after they pose crying and begging to get their pictures taken down, because relationships are being broken because of it. Problem is he creates content and sells it – and he can’t do that.
Now he segued into pointing out that for those who might be thinking that you (or someone you know), doesn’t pay to see porn, it’s not that simple. The free sites still make revenue, primarily due to the volume of visitors. Providing links on high-volume sites brings in large dollars. Supply and demand.
Lot of those in the industry are there for the money and are primarily writing off and ignoring the issues… but he points out there are costs! It is destroying lives!
Now a few years into producing porn, XXX Church was around and had booths at the porn conventions. Donny saw the guys and interacted with them (he not so positively, but he said they weren’t judgmental but loving).
Due to his existing content sales, he knew several of the big companies including Playboy. At some point, they made an offer for him (I assume a job? I kind of missed that part), and long story very short, he didn’t take it and actually decided to completely step out of the industry. He had been to say the least not very happy for a while and actually praying to God about it. He even had asked God to answer several questions, but at that point, decided to just step out and let Him answer the questions how he chose to. He called up the guys from XXX Church and JR Pauling flew out to be with him.
Donny kind of stopped from his story and stated that the industry is a FANTASY; not a glamorous business! He said however that he believes in the 1st Amendment and that he’s not wanting to close the industry down – just bring awareness and to explain the ENTIRE story about it.
Back to his story – when he stopped producing, he lost his house, cars, boats, fiancee, everything! He said it was just so tough that even his ex-wife (still saw regularly because they had a son) noticed and actually helped HIM through it!
So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
Jason mentioned how this relates to him as a father. Can I as a father set a model and be example for my kids? Even so, what will I do with regards to our culture? It will (he explained how it has already) get to them no matter what… So how do we deal with culture, specifically in our family?
Jason and Donny from XXX Church – How to Identify Where You Are and What To Do About It
There is a study by XXX Church called “numeric progression” on porn usage – how you are curious, then interested, then finding specific time for it, to not being able to go a day without it. I believe it was a 5-step progression, but can’t find anything online about it at the moment.
So, the question then becomes if you are willing to admit it to yourself, what do you do? They list 3 steps:
- Tell God – CONFESS IT!
- Tell others – porn is a cover-up; a big “alone” thing! So get someone else setup to be accountable to, and get the free X3Watch software and set him/her up with periodic reports.
- Clean it up – get rid of what you have and stop continuing the habit
They also continue with some practical advice:
- move your computer so it faces toward the open space (not towards a wall where you have privacy)
- don’t stay up late online – go to bed with your significant other!
- put pictures of your wife/husband and kids around the monitor (a reminder of what you could lose)
- there were more, but I didn’t write them down 🙂
There was a lot of great quotes I should have written down, but didn’t. One in particular I believe was by Craig Gross (XXX Church founder) regarding a question by a broadcaster regarding Ron Jeremy and if he would go to heaven. His response was something to the effect of “Porn won’t be the reason, but not knowing Jesus would be….”
At the end, there was a woman talking to a few people about the event who was from the Richmond Times-Dispatch…. she wrote an article which can be read here (interesting comments!).