Donny's Ramblings


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Ron Jeremy Likes Worship Music

I stumbled across this video over on Craig Gross’ blog. I gotta share it with you! Craig was traveling with Ron for the Porn Debate tour and writes:

So, we were catching up on things, sharing where we had been most recent and I mentioned that I was at a Christian conference the night before with a band. He then says….”I love that Christian Music.”

So, I had to pick up my camera and the rest is below.

We listened to the Chris Tomlin and Steve Fee albums cause I don’t have any Michael W. Smith on my Ipod or the Time Life worship album. I will try and track those down for our two debates next week. Look for Ron and I at a worship concert soon. I will make sure he stays awake.

Good stuff. And the ending is hilarious!


4 Comments

XXXChurch: New Site & HackFest 2008

XXXChurch.com - New Design - ScreenshotXXXCHURCH.COM SITE REDESIGN

The new xxxchurch.com site redesign has been launched. Click here to check it out. I had a blog called “the Industry” located on their site, but since I only updated it once every month or two Craig decided to simply link to this DonnysRamblings.com blog instead. Craig and I talked about having an RSS feed from here that would automatically repost articles to XXXChurch.com but I don’t see it so I guess that idea was scrapped. There are several new columns on the site written by numerous others so check it out. And leave them COMMENTS. Those of us who write really get a big kick out of your feedback. That means you’re reading. That means we’re not talking to ourselves.

HACKFEST – MONDAY, MAY 5, 2008

To explain what Hackfest is, I’ll quote Craig Gross:

Once a year we gather together and try and raise some money for the ministry. We do this by playing 100 holes of golf and none of us our golfers. Each of the staff will assemble a team. We’re playing 100 holes of golf in one day and the goal is to raise $25 a hole. You can start by sponsoring yourself at $1 a hole, that’s a $100 donation from yourself, then ask others to do the same. If that means getting 24 people to donate $1 per hole each, 5 people to donate $5 a hole, whatever… It’s up to you. You don’t have to collect the money. All you need is an address, phone or email from the person so we can contact them and collect. This is where those booklets will come in handy. ALSO, if you’re not living in the Grand Rapids area, we will fly you here, put you up and feed you.

Since I like to be flown in, put up, and fed, I’m looking for sponsors. I’m taking Craig’s advice and sponsoring myself for $1 per hole. Which means I’m invested a hundred bucks.

The goal is $25 per hole total, so I need 24 more sponsors at a buck a hole or… well, I’m sure you can do the math.

If you’d like to sponsor this hacker, please email me and let me know what address/phone number to put on file for XXXChurch to collect from later. I need your help, and so does XXXChurch.

Besides… I hear Rob Bell is going to be there. I want to golf with Rob. Really badly. And I’m not gonna stop buggin’ y’all until I’ve reached my sponsorship goal. Seriously.


16 Comments

Interview: Former Model Roschel Wynn

Roschel Wynn modeled for me when she was 19 years old. Yesterday I interviewed her for this podcast (which is also going to be released on the XXXChurch podcast as well as Jason Harper‘s Triad Podcast). She wanted to share her story, her experiences.

Beginning with a shoot that incorporated both photos and video content, her first job for us was for a Playboy owned website. She also modeled for a handful of amateur sites that purchased content from us. Even though she did all “solo” work and never touched another person, the work she did for us still affects her to this day.

Roschel reads this blog, so if you’d like to say something to her feel free to leave a message.

This audio interview lasts 33 minutes, 16 seconds. You can listen here:

Or download the file here:
Right click and save to your hard drive…


8 Comments

Fleecing the Saints, and Other Random Thoughts

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.

Until later…


24 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/


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/


8 Comments

A Message From a Former Model

For some reason, I’ve been really feeling compelled to contact one of the girls who modeled for me. I finally tracked her down and had a conversation with her via Yahoo Instant Messenger a few days ago. Amongst other things, I asked if she’d mind allowing me to interview her for the column I write for XXXChurch.com. I promised to keep her anonymous.

Today I received this message from her:

Donny-
Hey, well I’ve been thinking about our convo the last couple days and i finally went on your myspace to read some of your comments to see if you were truly being honest. I saw the last comment from the guy talking about seeing your pod cast on xxx church and so I decided to watch it. I’m so happy for you and I want to ask for your forgiveness. I was a horrible Christian when I was doing what I was doing. I was not only putting myself in a horrible position but I was putting you in that position too by allowing that to go on. I also wanted to tell you that I’ve hated you till now. I know it sounds extreme but I blamed you for where I was at. If it hadn’t been for you taking those pictures I would still be able to hold my head high. Now I’ve realized that that was Satan. He was telling me to blame you when all along I should’ve been blaming myself for everything that was going wrong in my life. I needed someone to blame other than myself. You were it. I’m sorry. Also I forgive you. I forgive you for taking the pictures. It sounds stupid because that was your job and I’m forgiving you for your job but for some reason I feel like I needed to say that. For what it’s worth. I would love to do the interview and if you want a testimony on screen I would love to tell my story. You don’t have to keep me anonymous. I feel like it makes more of an impact if you can see that person, it’s real. But it’s up to you, I’m just God’s tool. He makes everything good. Thank you Donny. You’ve helped me more than you know. Please give me a call when you have a chance. Talk to you soon. God Bless
-R

I removed the rest of her name because I want her to be very sure she’s okay going on record or on camera. If she’s sure about it, I look forward to allowing readers to place a face with yet another story of how porn affects the lives of those involved.

I am also very thankful for her forgiveness.

There will likely be more on this story in the near future…


2 Comments

An Email I Received Today

From the boyfriend of a former model. He became her boyfriend after she had worked for me. This model keeps in touch with me from time to time. I’ve cross posted this to my MySpace blog as well as the column I write for XXXChurch.com.

My name is (Name removed) you don’t know me but my wonderful girlfriend had worked for you. Her name is (Name removed). When i heard she did a couple photoshoots with you it was probably the one thing that made me wonder if I could truly love her. I blamed you. I have since realized that I love that amazing girl no matter what. We have been together for a year. We have our own place together and couldn’t be happier. I had asked her why she still talked to you and what she said made a lot of sense.

“I have to learn to forgive myself and I want Donny to know I don’t blame him, he is probably doing enough of that on his own.”

I know a little about you from what she has told me and from the porn sunday blog you posted and I just wanted to let you know I think you’re doing good . I know it probably dosent mean much coming from someone you have never met but it makes me feel better to let you know. (Name removed) is loved with all my heart and is doing well. I hope life is good and that you are doing well also.

Wishing you the best of luck.

(Name removed)

This email… I don’t really know what I think about it. I can put myself in the place of this man and empathize with how he feels. This is the first email I’ve received from the boyfriend of a former model. I really am glad he contacted me.

Just a month or so ago I had another model that told me it’s hard for her to find a boyfriend. She’s an amazingly beautiful girl, but once a new love interest hears about the work she did for me he usually leaves. For a specific instance, she shared a story about a guy she’d been very interested in for quite some time. Things were progressing well for her until he learned about the modeling she’d done for me. As soon as he found out about it, he no longer wanted to date her. When she talked with her mother about it her mom said she could totally understand how the guy felt and didn’t blame him at all.

Both of these situations are examples of how porn affects the lives of those involved long after their “career” is over.

Here’s my response to the email above:

(Name removed),

I am glad you contacted me. I really don’t know what to say. I was a very selfish person, making money at the expense of other people for so long. I never took the time to consider how it would affect the models for the rest of their lives. I always justified my actions by saying “I warned them and they signed a release.” The truth is that I knew better. I had a bigger perspective. I chose myself over each and every model who worked for me.

I’m so glad you looked beyond the work (Name removed) did for me. She’s a really great girl who needs a good man in her life. She was young and naive, and I’m glad you don’t hold that against her.

I have no excuse, but thank God things have changed. As you know, I no longer produce porn. I now travel the country in an attempt to educate people about the realities of that industry. I don’t want to take away anyone’s rights to work in the business, consume porn, or produce it. But I do want people to realize there are real life consequences.

For what it’s worth: to you, as well as to her, I apologize. I wish the two of you nothing but the best. They say “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”. I don’t think that’s just a cliché. For (Name removed), and for me, I think it’s very true.

Feel free to email me any time.

– Donny –


44 Comments

The First 3 Pages

I’ve begun writing a book. I’d like to share the first 3 pages with you. Please let me know what you think.

Chapter 1: I’m Out

It’s early September of 2006 and I’m sitting in the office of Playboy Vice President Joe Lackey. Joe calls in Mark Navarro, one of his managers. The two of them have an offer to present to me.

“We want to start a new site and we think you and Belinda are perfect to produce the content for it,” Joe tells me.

Mark lays out the details. The models we specialize in recruiting would indeed be perfect for this project. The offer of an additional $4,000 per day on top of what we’re already shooting for Playboy is fantastic. I leave the office in high spirits.

On the drive back to Redding I decide to speak with God. This isn’t something new: I’ve been doing a bit of praying from time to time, especially since the XXXChurch team started getting inside my head starting almost 2 years past, slowly changing my perception of Christianity.

“God, it seems to me that Christians have it all wrong,” I begin, “because it doesn’t seem to matter what I do, you want to bless me.”

The immediate jolt that goes through my body feels like electricity. An audible sound escapes my lips, as if all the air is going out of my lungs. The feeling passes quickly, but my hands are still shaking. I pull my car to the side of the road because there is no way I’m going to be able to drive for the next few minutes. It is no mystery what has just happened: God just reached out and touched me. The thing is, this zap didn’t seem in any way malicious. I’m not being punished. I’m not being warned. The intended message flashes into my mind: “This is so petty. I have much more for you than this. You wanted me to prove myself to be real, right? I just granted your wish.”

I’ve instantly lost all desire to produce porn. I can’t explain why, but in that brief moment, that literally shocking experience, my life has been changed. I don’t understand it, but that’s just the way it is, baby.

Once I’m on the road again, I pick up my cell to call Belinda, my fiancée and “partner in crime”. “I have good news and bad news,” I tell her. “The good news is, Playboy offered us another 4 grand a day to produce a lesbian series for them.” Her squeals of excitement fill my ear. She’s not gonna like the bad news.

“The bad news is, I’m not doing this anymore.
I’m done.
I’m out.”

Belinda’s response indicates she doesn’t believe me. “We’ll talk about this when you get home,” she says. But what she doesn’t realize is that I’m dead serious. I’m never going to pick up a camera to shoot porn again. I have no idea how I’ll pay the bills, but porn production isn’t going to be part of my life anymore.

As I drive home I make a promise to God. “God, if you answer the questions I have about the Bible and Christianity I’ll surrender my life to you,” I bargain.

Two weeks go by and God isn’t answering. He isn’t miraculously telling me why, because of the rebellion of a group of people, unborn babies were ripped out of their mother’s wombs in Hosea 13:16. He isn’t explaining why millions of people have been killed in His name since the beginning of time. He isn’t shedding any light on the reasons for the behavior of those board members from my father’s churches who were so cruel, so mean, so… NOT like Christ.

Instead, he is silent. And I am miserable. I no longer want to produce porn, yet God is not taking up the other end of the bargain I’ve offered to Him. Doesn’t he realize I’m eagerly waiting for a reason to believe? Doesn’t he know that if he can just answer a few simple questions I’ll dedicate the rest of my life to Him?

It is now September 25th, 2006 and I’m once again returning from Sacramento, California, this time on personal business completely unrelated to Playboy. I’m contemplating God and Christianity, as I’ve been doing nearly nonstop for the past 14 days. The floodlights come on and I suddenly realize the truth: God wants me to want HIM. He wants me to choose Him without conditions. He wants me to trust Him.

“God”, I begin. “You know I have a hard time believing the sacrifice on the cross was ever really made. You know I have a hard time believing some of the things I’ve read in the Bible. But I feel like I’m supposed to surrender my life to you and trust you to help me through those issues. By faith and by choice I am accepting Jesus’ sacrifice and am surrendering my life to you. God, it feels so good to say that.”

A weight has been lifted off my heart. It seems to beat easier. I feel at peace, and excited about the future. I pick up the phone and call Craig Gross, co-founding Pastor of XXXChurch.com.

“Craig, I just surrendered my life to God.”

Our conversation goes on for a few minutes as Craig tells me he’ll be sending JR Mahon to my house the very next day to spend some time with me. I assure him I’ll pick JR up at the airport and as I end the call I’m blown away that XXXChurch would spend the money to send one of their Pastors out to California just to see me, especially on such short notice. There they go again, behaving as if they represent the Jesus I’ve read about in the Bible. There they go again, further demonstrating the stereotypes I’ve had about Christians for so many years are totally wrong. There they go again, giving me hope.

There is no doubt God’s presence has filled my car. He’s all over me. I’m covered in goosebumps. For some reason I feel compelled to turn on KLOVE, a station I detest. A song is ending, a song whose name I’ll never be able to recall. But as that song ends I know I’ll never forget the song that starts next.

Almighty God.
The great “I AM”.
Immovable rock.
Omnipotent.
Powerful.
Awesome Lord.
Victorious warrior.
Commanding King of Kings.
Mighty conqueror.
And the only time… the ONLY time I ever saw Him RUN…
Was when He ran to me, took me in His arms,
Held my head to His chest, and said “My son’s come home again!”
Lifted my face, wiped the tears from my eyes,
With forgiveness in His voice He said,
“Son do you know I still love you?”
He caught me by surprise when God ran.

Oh, my God! You are running to me? You’re welcoming me home? After producing nearly 2 million pornographic photographs and hours of video, you are still running to welcome me home?

The visual in my mind is overwhelming. I begin to weep.


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Porn Debate (and talking about Jesus with Nina Hartley)

The Debate went great. Craig Gross and Ron Jeremy were introduced by the moderator. Craig gave an opening statement of 10-15 minutes, followed by Ron rebutting what he’d said. Both men made the crowd laugh a lot. Craig then introduced me, and Ron introduced Nina Hartley. After the introductions it was my turn to speak.

I told the crowd right up front that I firmly believe in the free will and freedom of speech of all people and that as such I’m opposed to legislation against pornography. Education, not legislation, is the key to changing hearts. I spoke about some of the realities of porn, sharing behind the scenes information as well as the personal costs of porn in the lives of some of the models who worked for me. I challenged them to make a decision to consider all costs before choosing to participate in the “supply and demand circle” of porn, because all of us in that circle have made our contribution to the broken lives I’d discussed. Perhaps at some point I’ll share more of what I said.

After my speech, Porn star Nina Hartley was then given an opportunity to rebut what I’d said. Since we’ve never debated each other before, she could only assume that since I’m a Christian I’d be the type who wanted to tell her “what she should do with her body and what she should do in her sex life” (my fellow Christians, now is the time I’d like to ask: why do so many of us try to take away the God given free will of others by attempting to pass legislation that denies them just that?). Although I’d taken away that argument by asserting my belief in free will, Nina already had her speech prepared and rolled with it anyway.

Following Nina’s speech, the crowd was given a chance to ask any question they wished to ask. I loved that part. Someone would ask a question, and those of us on stage would debate each other on our thoughts and opinions on the topic raised. I’d love to share some of the discussions that resulted but I think I’ll save that for a future blog entry, because what I think you’ll find most interesting had more to do with Ron and Nina than with the debate.

Ron Jeremy, my friends, is a really soft hearted man. He loves people. I can tell he has a big heart. Despite being told that security would whisk him away from the autograph table 30 minutes after the debate so that he’d have a chance to get something to eat, Ron wanted to make sure every last person had the chance to talk to him. Craig says it’s always that way. And throughout the night, I didn’t hear a negative word towards anyone escape Ron’s lips. If you ask me, I really think there is a call on Ron’s life to help people. To love people. To be used by God to do a lot of good in the world. I believe Ron is in the process of changing his life dramatically, and he may not even realize it yet.

Not much is open after 11pm, so after the debate the 4 of us had a very late dinner at a place called Moe’s, one of the few eating establishments still open near the campus. The food was pretty good. Ron patiently spoke with anyone walking by who happened to recognize him, including a homeless man on the sidewalk asking for spare change.

One of the event’s organizers drove Nina Hartley and I back to our hotels. Along the way I was able to listen to Nina share her thoughts on Jesus. It’s very apparent she firmly believes in what a great man he was. She told the driver all about him. She was right-on in everything she said. Had I not just heard her speaking about her thoughts on porn and polyamorous bi-sexual relationships I’d have sworn she was a very non-judgmental Christian. She understands grace. She understands Jesus’ sacrifice for mankind. She spoke fondly about the wonderful things he did for people, and she never once questioned his existence. I have no idea whether or not she believes he is God’s son, but I know she is well aware of what he did for mankind.

Does that surprise you?

The point I’d like to make with this blog article is that people we call “lost” are really not too far removed from any of us. Like many of those I know from the world of pornography, Ron and Nina are very transparent with their lives. They don’t feel a need to hide their “dark side”. I’m not sure about Ron, but from the conversations we had I know Nina is very much put off by judgmental, hypocritical people who have given her a hard time over the years. Whether it should be this way or not, I firmly believe her own relationship with God has been negatively influenced by the people who claim to know him best: Christians. She commented frequently on the attitudes towards people Craig and I both share: that we love everyone because Jesus loves everyone. There is nothing any human could ever do to make God love him or her any less. Nothing. Nina found that non-judgmental outlook refreshing.

During the debate, a question was raised to Ron asking him when he was going to start a “ministry” to show Christians the error and ignorance of their ways. Ron responded that he would never wish to take away a person’s religious beliefs. Comments on that question were opened up to the rest of us, and I told the audience that while I agreed with the person posing the question that church sucks, I hoped he’d separate God from those who claim to represent Him, because God, my friend, doesn’t suck. The crowd applauded. I also told them that as I’ve been traveling and speaking with Christians at churches all across the country, I’ve been very encouraged to see that many people are also working to put away judgmental attitudes and behave more like Jesus. I know that trend is going to continue. For anyone who is serious about doing what Jesus asked each of us to do, there is no other option.

Because God doesn‘t suck.

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After the Debate