Donny's Ramblings


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To Mr. Anderson and Mr. Friel from "Way of the Master"

The following letter was written a few minutes ago in response to the audio clip heard here, in which Todd Friel Bashes XXXChurch. As I say below in the comment’s section, I have no opinions pro or con about Way of the Master. All I know about it is that Kirk Cameron is somehow involved and that Todd Friel does a radio show for that ministry. Beyond that, I know very little about it. I’ll assume it does the world some amount of good in one way or another. Bashing on X3 is all I’m addressing with this letter.

Mr. Anderson,

From your website I understand you are the General Manager of Way of the Master Radio. Howdy. 🙂

Many months ago I watched a video response on You Tube to Rob Bell’s Nooma video “Bullhorn Man”. Since I’d only recently become a Christian at that time, and had no idea who the man in the video was, I kind of brushed him off as yet another judgmental Christian the likes of which I’d hated during my 9 years as a porn producer. I found his arguments petty and, well, argumentative. My impression was, “This man just doesn’t ‘get it'”.

Doing a google search for Todd Friel a few minutes ago, I discovered that the man criticizing XXXChurch in an audio clip I just heard on X3’s website is the same man I heard ripping on Rob Bell all those months ago. The first thought in my mind was that a person who must spend their time publicly criticizing and pointing out what is wrong with other ministries must really not have much of one himself.

That, however, is a bit judgmental of me. And I’ve learned that being judgmental of the judgmental is still… judgmental. I have to constantly remind myself of that, because everything inside of me wants to scream words like IDIOT into the face of people who would rather tear down those who are out making a difference, instead of getting off their lazy “Christian” butts and reaching into gutters to pull out those who are passed out in the mire.

All I can say to this fellow is that not all of us are going to ever agree on what Jesus would or would not do. If you’d like pure honesty, I’m not much of a fan of Pete the Porno Puppet, but I do think it’s a very big mistake to devalue and discredit the entire ministry of XXXChurch because of one’s opinions of such a puppet. Pete’s purpose was served when Jay Leno heard of the Pete and Ron Jeremy clip and told the entire NATION about xxxchurch.com. Out of the millions watching that night, if ONE person took a trip to the website and found hope for a porn addiction it was all worth it. The ONLY people “offended” or upset by Pete are other Christians who think it is “inappropriate”. Aren’t we supposed to be the mature ones? How can we go into the gutters and pull out the sinners if petty things like this offend us so deeply? Like Dr. Bill Giovannetti, Pastor of 2,000 member Neighborhood Church in Redding, California and Professor at Simpson University (a Christian university) always says: Christians need to give up their right to be so easily offended!

What I DO know from personal experience is that for the last two years of my porn producing career, the perspectives I had on what Christian are was changed by the staff of XXXChurch. There were always Christians standing outside the porn conventions holding up signs telling me that I was heading to hell. I’d pass by and give them a one finger salute. Their message was NOT getting through.

But there were these guys inside telling me and those around me that there was NOTHING we could EVER do to make God love us any less. NOTHING. And over the course of two years I gave them a lot of hell on their website and on my blog. They responded like Jesus would have responded. They turned the other cheek, and offered more of the same message: “There is NOTHING you could EVER do to make God love you ANY less”.

I saw a vision of what a Christian SHOULD be in those men and women, and it opened my heart up to receive the message God wanted me to hear.

To Todd:
My dear Mr. Friel, as you are questioning whether or not a ministry is producing fruit… kindly allow me introduce you to a man who produced more than 2 million pornographic images and hours and hours of video, who hated Christians with a passion and did everything he could to cause them grief, and who has been completely changed by God’s love and the willing “vessels” he put into that porn producer’s life, and who is now 3 months into Seminary, on his way to becoming a Pastor:

Me.

Sincerely,

Donny Pauling
http://www.donnypauling.com/


48 Comments

To Mr. Anderson and Mr. Friel from “Way of the Master”

The following letter was written a few minutes ago in response to the audio clip heard here, in which Todd Friel Bashes XXXChurch. As I say below in the comment’s section, I have no opinions pro or con about Way of the Master. All I know about it is that Kirk Cameron is somehow involved and that Todd Friel does a radio show for that ministry. Beyond that, I know very little about it. I’ll assume it does the world some amount of good in one way or another. Bashing on X3 is all I’m addressing with this letter.

Mr. Anderson,

From your website I understand you are the General Manager of Way of the Master Radio. Howdy. 🙂

Many months ago I watched a video response on You Tube to Rob Bell’s Nooma video “Bullhorn Man”. Since I’d only recently become a Christian at that time, and had no idea who the man in the video was, I kind of brushed him off as yet another judgmental Christian the likes of which I’d hated during my 9 years as a porn producer. I found his arguments petty and, well, argumentative. My impression was, “This man just doesn’t ‘get it'”.

Doing a google search for Todd Friel a few minutes ago, I discovered that the man criticizing XXXChurch in an audio clip I just heard on X3’s website is the same man I heard ripping on Rob Bell all those months ago. The first thought in my mind was that a person who must spend their time publicly criticizing and pointing out what is wrong with other ministries must really not have much of one himself.

That, however, is a bit judgmental of me. And I’ve learned that being judgmental of the judgmental is still… judgmental. I have to constantly remind myself of that, because everything inside of me wants to scream words like IDIOT into the face of people who would rather tear down those who are out making a difference, instead of getting off their lazy “Christian” butts and reaching into gutters to pull out those who are passed out in the mire.

All I can say to this fellow is that not all of us are going to ever agree on what Jesus would or would not do. If you’d like pure honesty, I’m not much of a fan of Pete the Porno Puppet, but I do think it’s a very big mistake to devalue and discredit the entire ministry of XXXChurch because of one’s opinions of such a puppet. Pete’s purpose was served when Jay Leno heard of the Pete and Ron Jeremy clip and told the entire NATION about xxxchurch.com. Out of the millions watching that night, if ONE person took a trip to the website and found hope for a porn addiction it was all worth it. The ONLY people “offended” or upset by Pete are other Christians who think it is “inappropriate”. Aren’t we supposed to be the mature ones? How can we go into the gutters and pull out the sinners if petty things like this offend us so deeply? Like Dr. Bill Giovannetti, Pastor of 2,000 member Neighborhood Church in Redding, California and Professor at Simpson University (a Christian university) always says: Christians need to give up their right to be so easily offended!

What I DO know from personal experience is that for the last two years of my porn producing career, the perspectives I had on what Christian are was changed by the staff of XXXChurch. There were always Christians standing outside the porn conventions holding up signs telling me that I was heading to hell. I’d pass by and give them a one finger salute. Their message was NOT getting through.

But there were these guys inside telling me and those around me that there was NOTHING we could EVER do to make God love us any less. NOTHING. And over the course of two years I gave them a lot of hell on their website and on my blog. They responded like Jesus would have responded. They turned the other cheek, and offered more of the same message: “There is NOTHING you could EVER do to make God love you ANY less”.

I saw a vision of what a Christian SHOULD be in those men and women, and it opened my heart up to receive the message God wanted me to hear.

To Todd:
My dear Mr. Friel, as you are questioning whether or not a ministry is producing fruit… kindly allow me introduce you to a man who produced more than 2 million pornographic images and hours and hours of video, who hated Christians with a passion and did everything he could to cause them grief, and who has been completely changed by God’s love and the willing “vessels” he put into that porn producer’s life, and who is now 3 months into Seminary, on his way to becoming a Pastor:

Me.

Sincerely,

Donny Pauling
http://www.donnypauling.com/


20 Comments

Do Me A Favor

Please do me a favor – watch this video. It’s only 10 minutes, 24 seconds long:

001 Rain | Rob Bell : Nooma.com (click here to watch)

You may have to wait a few minutes for it to load, depending on your internet connection speed.

Tell me what you think of it. Personally, I love the Nooma videos (and both of Rob Bell’s books: Sex God and Velvet Elvis). At the time of this writing I’ve purchased 8 of the 15 Nooma videos that have been produced to date. My favorite is Breathe.


32 Comments

Emotional Roller Coaster, a Healed Ear and a 45lbs Lighter Donny

I started writing this on April 3rd, 11 days ago. I wrote most of it, saved it as a draft, and haven’t returned to finish it. Today I intend to do so.

Before becoming a Christian, I’d never seriously considered ending my life.

Ever.

Ever ever ever.

So after surrendering my life to God… after He begins doing amazing, powerful, profound things for me… after having real encounters with the Creator of the Universe… why is it that after all of that I arrived at a place where I seriously wished to die?

This happened just a few days short of a month ago. John says I played it down when I very briefly mentioned it in my “Dear Daphne” letter. He says I did so because I’m afraid that if I tell the truth people won’t like me as much. People might stop reading my blog. People might think I’m not really a Christian. People might think I’m crazy and, as such, might not want to listen to me speak.

John is very blunt. I love him. He’s my best friend and he knows me pretty damned well. He calls it like he sees it and trusts me enough to know I won’t be offended when he does so. He knows I respect that about him.

And really, what is there to be afraid of? I discuss everything here, and because of that I’ve received dozens of emails thanking me for being transparent. Telling me that this blog speaks into the lives of many.

I feel that’s what I’m supposed to do here. I feel that very strongly.

So now I’m going to tell you about the emotional roller coaster I was riding.

It felt like the world came crashing down on March 16th.

On that day:

– I’d just settled in to a new place to live after the bank took my house. The new place isn’t nearly as comfortable as what I’ve been used to, and having two roommates takes a bit of adjustment, especially when you have to share a bathroom with one of them.

– That afternoon Wendy let me know that there’s no hope for reconciliation on any sort of romantic level, and when I heard her reasons for feeling that way I knew she was serious.

I had to face a very serious issue from my past that I’ve been trying to forget.

– I was still upset that, the day before, a man from the adult industry… a man I used to consider a good friend… publicly posted the following message to me, where hundreds if not thousands of people could read it:

If you think you are some reborn Christian, you have lost it. Seriously, I anticipate the day I hear/read about you offing yourself, and I will state now that not only does it not surprise me, but it doesn’t sadden me either. You have inner demons that must be cast out, and at the rate you are going, death is the only thing that will help that along.

– Feelings of rejection (Belinda) begun raising up inside, once again (sometimes I still can’t wrap my mind around how someone can move on so quickly after 6 years of being together – deep inside I know it was my fault, but that doesn’t always satisfy my questions).

– My counselor was out of town.

– My dad, too, was out of town: on vacation for the entire month.

I started thinking, “Lloyd’s right. I should do the world a favor and take myself out.”

I don’t want to discuss the full details of that day because, looking back, I am very embarrassed to have felt that way at all. But I will tell you what kept me from parking my running car in a garage at my former residence, where my garage door opener still works, and listening to music until I went to sleep: I ended up making a call for help. That call brought me down to earth enough that I deciding to check myself into a mental hospital instead of doing something really stupid.

The hospital turned me away. It was after normal admissions hours.  I was informed that in order to be admitted I’d need to go to the emergency room of a regular local hospital and ask for a counselor to be sent.

On the way to the ER I became angry and asked myself what the hell I was doing. Why was I being so stupid? It turned out not to be necessary to check in. Simply attempting to admit myself made something change inside of me, so instead of going to the ER, I went directly to the church for Friday night service…

where God healed my ear. It had been hurting pretty badly for several days. During the service, a man whose name I don’t know started praying for it. Less than 10 seconds into his prayer I started hearing popping noises, the pain went away, and it hasn’t returned.

How can one continue wallowing in self pity after God heals their ear?

God, that was a really good way to refocus my mind back onto you. Thank you for that.

The next day I read Donald Miller’s To Own a Dragon. I was very embarrassed about how I’d felt the day before. How could I have allowed such thoughts to enter my brain?

I was feeling normal again.

For a few days.

The beautiful conversations I’d been having with Wendy were over. There’s nothing more intimate than connecting with words and being on the same page. But that intimacy had to stop.

Once again, I started feeling like I had nobody who truly cared. I bought into that lie. I didn’t sink again to a level where I wanted to die, but I sure was feeling sorry for myself. Today I can’t even remember why.

Because of all of this I realized I was giving myself way too much free time to ponder things that don’t need to be pondered. I immersed myself in work, which is why this blog hasn’t been updated as regularly as I’d like. Dealer Web Concepts, the business I started to help auto dealers with their internet marketing needs, now services 7 auto dealerships in 4 towns. I had to drop one client due to a conflict of interest with another. That turned out to be a good thing, however, because I have no idea where I’d find the time to service them.

Is now a good time to take a break and mention that I’ve lost 45 lbs? I haven’t been at this weight for almost 6 years. Not long ago I read a comment made on an internet message board by Belinda’s new boyfriend, alluding to him wanting to be “the bigger man” and I couldn’t help but snicker a little. Because now he literally IS the bigger man. But I digress.

Dear God, you’ve allowed me to work past my hatred of Mark to the point where it no longer exists, now please help me lose the residual bitterness as well.

Besides immersing myself in work, I’ve begun attending more home groups. Surrounding myself with like minded people works wonders. When I was growing up, the churches I attended never had small groups. Are these a relatively new creation or were we just clueless? Home groups are amazing! And the churches I associate with have so many to choose from! I attend a Singles group, a Single Parents group, a Christian Sportsman group and another group that wouldn’t quite fit into any particular category.

Feelings of being “alone” no longer exist.

As a Christian I’m still an infant, but I’m loving every experience, good and bad. I’m so far from perfect it’s not even funny. Thank God for Romans 7 verse 17-25. I’ve used those scriptures to help lead others to surrendering their life to God, but I personally find a lot of strength to stand back up each time I fall down.

Here’s Paul, the man who wrote the majority of the New Testament upon which literally BILLIONS of people have lived their lives, talking about his personal struggles. Not struggles he USED TO HAVE, but struggles he faced as a Christian, all the time. “The Message” translation says it best:

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help!

I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it.

I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway.

My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up.

I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

As Rob Bell talks about in the first of his Nooma videos, so many people think being a Christian means you have to have your life in perfect order. But Jesus himself said he didn’t come for those who have it all together. He came for the sick.

Thank God for that.