I’m flying home from Orlando, Florida at the moment. The GPS map on the seat in front of me says the plane’s path will soon cross the Oklahoma/Kansas border and continue slightly south of Pueblo, Colorado.
Last night Craig and I watched the Nightline Debate from our hotel room, not long after receiving an instant message from a friend letting me know that someone on a porn message board had started some “board drama” about me. It turns out a former business acquaintance of mine, a man named “Lightspeed” Steve Jones, offered a $100 reward, payable instantly via paypal or similar payment option, to the person who could find a particular discussion thread I started a few years ago , a little over 7 months before surrendering my life to God, where I told my fellow porn colleagues that I had an “Evil Plan to Go Mainstream” where I’d become a Christian and make a career out of fleecing the Saints. Steve thought this would be a fun bit of information to pass along to X3 and ABC, as if it would derail the message Craig and I shared on Nightline’s Face Off.
Craig’s response? “Tell us something we don’t know.”
Because the thing is, this has never been a secret. For years I’d rant and tell people that I was going to con Christians. It was a fun thing to laugh about while plastered from alcoholic beverages at parties. I used to say a lot of really hurtful, stupid things. I spit venom in the faces of Christians all my porn producing career, and said things much more horrible than the message Mr. Jones offered payment to find. At one point I even told my “Evil Plan” to a XXXChurch staff member during a conversation at their booth at a Las Vegas porn convention, mocking them and telling them Christians are gullible and stupid. I did the same with dozens of other Christians with whom my path crossed during my years of ultimate rebellion. If only I’d been reading the message board where Steve made his offer a few moments after he posted it, I’d be eating sushi with his money tomorrow. I’d have given him the link he wanted rather quickly. Think he’d have paid up?
There are still a handful of people who read this blog and have been constant readers since before I became a Christian. I’m sure you remember my rants against Christianity. Even the very night before finally asking God to take control of my life I posted a message about how Christianity was a bunch of crap based on ancient greek myths such as Dionysus and Mithra and questioned how anyone could believe such garbage. If you’ve heard me speak, the “ancient myth” post was made during the two week time period I talk about where I’d offered God a deal, informing Him that if He answered all the questions I had about Christianity I would dedicate my life to serving Him. As you know, He didn’t take me up on the offer of surrender on my own terms. But once I came to Him anyway I’ve since found many of the answers I sought. The “Greek Myth” answer came courtesy of books by Rob Bell and Lee Strobel, along with a lot of prayer and time with God.
I enjoy sharing these things. It excites me to see how much my mind has been rewired by having a real encounter with the Creator of the Universe. In fact, even during this morning’s Porn and Pancakes event, Craig read the very letter Steve Jones paid to find. You get an “A” for effort, though, Steve. And I still like you despite what you may feel about me.
The church hosting P&P this morning had a great atmosphere and the men who attended were receptive. I love talking to people afterward. LOVE. IT. I can’t speak for Craig, but the feedback we receive really fuels me and reassures me that we’re doing the right thing. One man walked up and said, “You have no idea how much we needed this! God really spoke to us today.” Even though we hear the same response over and over all across the country, it never gets old hearing it.
Some of the men also shared with me their personal struggles with porn. One young man told me he has contemplated suicide in the past due to guilt he’s felt and that he’s had trouble with it since he was in the 6th grade. A group of us discussed how we can still remember the very first pornographic images we ever saw. They are forever burned in our minds. My first porn exposure, for example, was a magazine abandoned in a park near a friend’s house. I still remember the words used to describe what was going on in the pictures. None of these things are new stories. At a past event, one man even admitted things his porn addiction led him to do, and it was rather shocking even for me. Sadly, for many consumers, porn is progressive. It’s not like a person can “just” look at “this” type of porn and be happy viewing the same thing forever. The same ol’ same ol’ gets boring quickly, and it takes something new to satisfy. That’s why XXXChurch mentions porn taking you places you never thought you’d go and keeping you longer than you ever thought you’d stay. Getting conversations started is a good step toward overcoming problems.
I haven’t mentioned this yet, but when Craig and I debated Ron Jeremy and Nina Hartley at Ohio State University back in October I was really shocked at how “behind the times” Ron Jeremy seems to be. Even after filming more than 2,000 adult films, he doesn’t seem to be aware of what’s really going on in porn. I’ve heard him mention some of the more “kinky” porn (his term) as if it’s not really very prevalent. At first I thought he was just saying that to try to prove his points, but I have come to believe that he really doesn’t fathom how hardcore porn has become. When told what’s “popular” amongst porn consumers these days, he scoffs as if we don’t know what we’re talking about. I haven’t viewed any of Ron’s most recent work, but I’m beginning to wonder if he just plays the same roles he’s always played. He doesn’t seem to comprehend that porn has moved in a more hardcore direction. Or maybe he does and he fakes a lack of knowledge really well. I dunno. I don’t think so. What I can tell you is that Craig Gross is very correct when he says the research Ron uses during debates is pre-internet, and jokingly adds that it’s older than Craig himself. 🙂
When I was in the porn world and kept in communication with other producers and webmasters on a regular basis, it seemed as though some groups always wanted to “one up” each other by “raising the bar” to new levels of depravity. I have to admit that what used to turn my stomach early in my career didn’t bother me by the end of it, and as each “new” trend rolled out I was not in the least bit shocked. Once in awhile I’ll hear about something new going on in porn land and it still doesn’t shock me. I just kinda shrug my shoulders and don’t give it much thought. I guess I’m a bit jaded. I don’t know if I should be saddened by that or if it’s just a fact of the life I’ve lived.
There has been some great feedback coming in via text messages, phone calls, email and myspace to both Craig and I. Thank you to all who have taken the time to contact us with your thoughts. And I’d like to send a special “thank you” to Craig Gross. You really showed Christianity in a favorable light during that debate and you were definitely very articulate in getting your points across. Thank you for inviting me along, both for the debate as well as these P&P events. You’re a good man, Charlie Brown. I believe you and all the staff of XXXChurch are really doing God’s work.
We’re crossing the Rockies now. The air is getting pretty turbulent. I’m shutting down so my computer doesn’t keep bouncing into the lap of the passenger beside me.