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This is Mindy: The Ex-Porn Star

This is Mindy: And this is how I destroyed her life by making her a porn star

Don Pauling- Confessions of an ex-porn producer

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Note: I must warn you that what I’m about to share with you is very dark.  If you are in need of a “pick-me-up,” this story is not for you.  For some, this article might be quite depressing.  For others, it might be a wake-up call, causing them to think of a side of pornography they’ve never before considered.  The latter is my intent.  Also note that I have Mindy’s permission, and indeed encouragment, to share her story.

When you tell a person what they can’t have, they’ll often try to convince you that you’re wrong.  This is especially true for the college-aged, who have recently left the safety of the nest to try their wings out on their own for the first time.  When recruiting new porn actresses, I understood this very well and used it to my advantage.

I worked from a nice home, and I often let the house and our lifestyle do the selling for me. A new prospect would arrive after having driven through one of the better neighborhoods in town and, prior to sitting down to interview in my home office, would be shown around the property like a valued guest.  My girlfriend and I had things the interviewee didn’t have. The photos of us were taken at vacations spots where the girl likely hadn’t been, and the “famous” people with whom we posed were people she’d recognize but likely hadn’t met.

There were psychological reasons for this:  I not only wanted her to feel comfortable in a warm, non-threatening environment, but I also knew she’d start painting herself into the picture.  “Porn can give me this lifestyle?” she’d ask herself.  “No, dear girl, this lifestyle isn’t for you,” I’d say, “You can’t handle this business.  What if your dad finds out you’re working for me?”  The more a college-aged girl was presented with questions like this, the more she’d argue that I was wrong and this life was something she could handle.  When her life began falling apart, I could pat myself on the back for having warned her against getting involved in the first place.

A natural

One December day a girl named Mindy arrived at my house.   She’d turned 18 barely a month before her interview.  I wish I could deny playing the part I played in her story.  For a long time after I left the porn industry, I simply didn’t want to talk about it.  Mindy is the reason my cell phone number has never been changed.  She has it memorized, and to this day she’ll call when she’s at her worst and has nowhere else to turn.

Back on that first day, I knew I had a money-maker.  I verified the age on her ID because, well, she looked really young.  I’d already been in the business four years by this time, so I had a pretty good handle on the demands of the market.  I knew men would go crazy over this girl.

I initially emailed samples to clients who owned websites.  Every one of them either matched their largest order size, or ordered more of her than they had of any other model I’d submitted.  One client who specialized in the “teen” niche – which requires a model to be over 18 but look younger – started asking if I’d be willing to partner with him on a website dedicated exclusively to Mindy.  We made a proposal to her:  she’d receive 25% of site revenue, I’d receive 25%, and my new business partner would keep the remaining 50%.  His portion was larger because he would be responsible for all website development, hosting and promotions.

Mindy was the easiest porn model I’ve ever worked with.  She had a natural charisma, beautiful smile and a melodic laugh.  She loved life, and enlivened any room into which she walked.  At the beginning of her “career,” she could have been the poster child for “bubbly personality.”

Prior to the launch of her website, Mindy’s fan base had already exploded.  We shared the feedback we received with her, using it to inflate her ego and prod her along.  She clearly believed that she was going to become a celebrity.

When an 18-year-old girl begins making $10,000 per month, she most likely isn’t going to know how to handle that amount of money.  Mindy was no exception.  She wanted to take care of people by giving them money and buying things for them, and she wanted to have fun.  Not being promiscuous by nature, she wouldn’t go home with fans, but she could be found passed out at parties.  She was raped several times over the years.

In time, the lifestyle I had saddled her with drained all light and sparkle from her eyes. Where once a girl existed who would light up a room just by being herself, now there was a girl who would often literally begin a sentence laughing and end that same sentence in tears

No happy ending

The first time Mindy told me she’d given her life to Jesus, and wouldn’t be doing porn any more, I was actually happy to hear it.  I’d seen what had happened in Mindy’s life, and I felt bad, because I knew a big part of the blame was on me.  Her decision meant I was going to lose one of my best-selling models, but at least I wouldn’t have to keep looking into those haunted eyes when she was around.

More than anything, I was a hate-filled, selfish man.  My hatred was fueled by the hypocrisy I’d witnessed within the church during my teen years, as well as the perceived, ongoing hypocrisy of Christians who would lecture me about the life I was living, yet want to see what new pornographic content I’d produced.

While I was happy to see the lights return to Mindy’s eyes, I was not happy to be on the receiving end of her attempts to save my soul.  She definitely wasn’t prepared to discuss such matters with me.  Had she not decided to try to witness to me, I might not have made such an effort to drag her back into porn.  But since the church ladies who met with her on a regular basis had encouraged her to “plant seeds” into my mind, in retaliation I decided I’d try to remove Mindy’s faith entirely.

Already, she was having a hard time making ends meet.  So I asked her if she understood that old religious men were the ones who had made up the moral rules prohibiting her from participating in her website.  I began pointing out inconsistencies in the Bible.  After having spent so much time with her – at one time she even lived with me – I knew how best to manipulate her into seeing things my way.  She’d come back to the lifestyle every time.

And as time went on, things only got worse. I made her do things that she had refused to do at first. Sometimes Mindy would protest, but she knew she wouldn’t earn any money if she didn’t do it. She started identifying as a prostitute, and started taking drugs. I guess they made it easy to do what she was doing. She bounced from house to house, living with random older men who’d use her for a time and then send her on her way. One result of this is that she has no idea who her son’s father might be.

I wish there was a happy ending to Mindy’s story, but there’s not.  Not many months ago, she called in tears, begging me to adopt her two kids.  The state had taken them one too many times, and she was no longer eligible to have them returned to her.  Her social worker had informed her that a close friend or family member could be given priority, and she wondered if I would be willing, as the rest of her family was not.  I gave it thought and prayer, but realized I’m not equipped to take them on.

This photo was taken while touring the Playboy mansion with my then-girlfriend and one of Playboy’s managers, to whom we answered and to whom we turned in the content that we created.)

Porn harms…period

I’ve now known Mindy for almost 13 years.  I could write more than one book about her life alone.  What is important for you to know is this:  when I led her into pornography, her life was forever changed. Random strangers still recognize her and make assumptions about her.  She fights hard with the mental illness.  There is nothing at all attractive about what happened to her.

I wonder if the men and women who found the images and video content we produced of Mindy so appealing would find it attractive if they knew what it cost her.  I wonder if they would be aroused if they knew the reality.

But while I was the one who put her in front of a camera, the Law of Supply and Demand also means all of us who have consumed pornography are part of this cycle of broken lives. Mindy’s story is not unique; it happens in some form or other every day, repeatedly. Mindy is someone’s daughter. What if she was yours?

At the same time, while there is an enormous amount of darkness in Mindy’s life, there are also things I find encouraging.  Even though she became pregnant through rape, and even though she knew she might not be able to provide for a child, abortion never entered her mind.  Her children might not have been afforded the best life possible with her, but they do have life, and I have no doubt that they prefer that to the alternative.

I also take courage in the fact that Mindy never gives up. There are situations she has faced that are just as bad as or worse than those I’ve shared, but she doesn’t give up. She’s never once threatened to end her life, she doesn’t whine, and she reluctantly accepts physical assistance. Sometimes she goes to church, other times she does not, but she’s never blamed God for her circumstances.

What I need from you, dear reader, is a promise that you’ll pray for Mindy.  Please don’t do so as a one-time thing. Add her to your daily or weekly prayer list. It has been almost 13 years since porn began affecting her life, and the images and video we created together will be around until long after she has departed this world. There will never be a time when prayers for her are wasted.  If you’d like specific things to pray for, I’d suggest praying that her mind is healed and that her children are cared for in loving, nurturing environments. The most recent update I have about them is from a few months ago. They were in foster care at that time.

And finally, please help share the message that pornography hurts real people. Let’s humanize those who are involved in its creation, so that fewer consumers find it appealing.  If you’re a consumer, please do whatever is necessary to stop consumption.  Encourage your children to become warriors, fighting for those who aren’t willing to fight for themselves by refusing to ever become consumers of pornography.They have done a great job with their marketing campaign to sell products such as t-shirts, hoodies and wrist bands that are intended to make porn “uncool” for young people.  Perhaps browse their store and make a purchase or two for the youth in your life.  Let’s work to change the way porn is esteemed, transforming the attitude that “everybody uses it” to “it’s just not cool” in ways similar to anti-smoking campaigns.  We CAN do it.

This article was originally written for LifeSiteNews, and posted here:
http://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/this-is-mindy-and-this-is-how-i-destroyed-her-life-by-making-her-a-porn-sta

(…Lifesitenews.com pretends I no longer exist, and this article is no longer at that url…)


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The Hardcore Truth || An Ex-Porn-Producer Reveals 10 Myths About Pornography

The Hardcore Truth | An Ex-Porn Producer Reveals 10 Myths About

By Matt Fradd and Donny Pauling.  Click the image to get your free copy!

Covenant Eyes has decided to give away the eBook written by Matt Fradd and yours truly.  In this 30 page eBook, Matt and I discuss porn in a very open way that will open the minds of many.  The short length of the book is done on purpose:  this is for someone who needs to read what we’ve got to say, but doesn’t want to spend hours on end reading a full length book.

This book is a handy resource for anyone who wants to be able to help those struggling with porn, who want to educate those who think porn is “no big deal,” or those who want weapons in their own personal arsenal when fighting an attraction to pornography.

Click here to get your free copy: Hardcore Truth: An Ex-Porn Producer Reveals 10 Myths About Pornography.


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Conversations with Ted Haggard – A Prelude

Last week I had the privilege to sit down with Ted Haggard, who was in town to attend a Pastor’s conference at a local church. In the coming days I’d like to share with you several things I discussed with him.

Ted Haggard Tweet Last Wednesday

One of Ted Haggard's "Tweets" from Last Wednesday (screencap from my iPhone's 'Tweetie' app)

Going into our conversations, I had my B.S. detector turned way up. If Ted tried to sugarcoat any of his actions, if he tried to downplay anything, if he was disingenuous at all, I’d be the first to scream it from the rooftops. But I can tell you this, dear Constant Reader, the Ted Haggard I met with was a very warm man, humbled by his own sin nature and holding nothing back. I saw a man who loves Jesus, a man who was at times sad, at other times upset, and above all, didn’t make excuses for his actions. To be honest, I saw a man who I identify with.

So often we put religious leaders on a pedestal, and if they fall we are hurt on a deeper level than we’d be if most others in our lives were to fall. Some of us are angry and resist extending forgiveness. Some of us scream of hypocrisy. Still others celebrate the comeback of fallen leaders like we would that of our favorite NFL team, down in the 4th quarter, but who miraculously pulls off a last second victory to win a conference championship for a place in the Superbowl.

And why is it that the comeback of a religious leader is so celebrated by some, you might ask? Perhaps it’s because we see someone who isn’t the closest thing to God in the flesh, as we’d formerly esteemed him or her, and who is, after all, one of us. Perhaps it’s something else entirely. Whatever it is, I’ll admit that I am one of those who has been heartened by watching Ted Haggard’s recovery with the support of his amazing wife and biological family, especially so after speaking with him in person, asking some tough questions and receiving real, honest answers.

Our first meeting took place last Monday morning.  I turned on my Sony digital audio recorder and we spoke for nearly three hours. Early Tuesday I received a Facebook message from Ted asking if I would call him on his cell and discuss meeting yet again for a follow up interview, as there were some things on his heart that he really wanted to make sure I shared with those who read the article I write about him. This second meeting lasted nearly two hours, and like the first, I took my pastor along to contribute to the conversation. In fact, I’m sure you’ll be able to read some of Dr. G’s thoughts on his blog at some point.

I’m requesting that you come back and read about these conversations, and invite a friend to do the same. Invite your entire email address book, all of your twitter followers, your Facebook friends, every person still on your MySpace friends list, and your entire church congregation.  I’ll have the first article up no later than this coming Monday afternoon – hopefully sooner – and intend to follow it with others. Regardless of your thoughts on Ted Haggard’s crisis, I know you’ll find something of interest.  I look forward to sharing this experience with you.

See you then!


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An Email From a Beautiful Girl, both Inside and Out

Parts of the following email fill me with happiness, yet other parts break my heart, all at the same time. I’ve stayed in contact with this girl over the years since she modeled for “soft core” (meaning: posing solo/alone) images. She’s had ups and downs, but is now in school and has a really cool secretarial job. If you have a heart at all I think you’ll “get it”. I don’t have to write what is said between the lines, and I don’t have to talk about some of the things that have happened in her life. In fact, I’ve removed a few paragraphs because they were very personal. But enough remains that I think you’ll get the picture.

So, I don’t really go to people’s pages… but I clicked on yours and holy shit you went into a debate with Ron Jeremy. It made me happy. I can’t stand that guy. I’ve never seen him, in action, haha, but he’s an old slimy gross porn weirdo. And he gives me the heeby jeebys. Yuk.

I was going to say, also, that it’s not that I regret what I did as far as the shoots etc, some wierdo is getting his rocks off to my picture somewhere and that is a little disturbing, but I learned a lot. I learned that I don’t have to be slutty, to be sexy. I don’t have to be revealing to reveal beauty. I was a kid, at 18 honestly, no one can make decisions like that without someday most likely regretting it. I still don’t feel grown up, I still feel weird signing contracts, like even for a Macy’s card, because I think, will I regret this later. Mostly with contracts, you can cancel cards, etc. but with something that steals images of you in a way that you later regret, it really hits home, and I think about it a lot.

I used to be a lot more concious of my low self esteem, I always made sure I felt good about myself before leaving the house, I usually wore makeup and did my hair and I liked skimpy clothing, but really, now, now that I feel like I am a good person and I am beautiful no matter how crappy I think I look compared to the crap on tv, I just look back and I think about how stupid I was. I always try to learn from my mistakes, and that was one of them.

I thank you though, for being pretty damn cool about it the whole time, you never asked me to do anything that I felt was super weird, you never pressured me. And I still have the discs of the shoots, the few that I did, like two or something, plus that one thing… although I look cute, I don’t look pretty. I look like a HO to be honest. and it’s so far from myself that I feel like it wasn’t even me. What was me, was that night I called you, and you came and got me. Sorry if I am bringing things up that you really don’t wanna think about, but overall I am just glad that you got out of that whole thing. And that we kept in touch because you’re perhaps the only person in my life that understands me in this way, with the whole porn thing. I totally hate porn, now, and I kinda did before. Thats why I wanted only to do solo non video stuff… etc.

You’re a great guy.

I just kinda had a moment and my heart came out a little.

You understand me in a lot of ways no one does, and no one ever will, because you were the sole being that shared that experience with me. I don’t regret it, I learned from it. It was something I could see as becoming a trap, easy money etc, but it’s not easy, because it’s not easy on the mind. It doesnt hurt me anymore, it did for a little bit. But I’m a resilient person, I have been conditioned my whole life to be that way, to overcome major obstacles.

The naked body is kind of sacred, even more sacred to me since I showed it all because it made me realize how much it meant to me. That I should not share it freely, that it should be exclusive. A temple.

I asked if she’d let me use her email on my blog or when speaking to people:

I hope your talk goes extremely well! Ya, use whatever you want of what I say, it’s a compliment to me that it is worth something.

I’ve read through this several times. Sometimes I smile. Sometimes my eyes fill with tears. Do you get it? Really, do you? If you’re consuming porn, just stop. It doesn’t matter if you’re a producer or a consumer, in the Supply and Demand Circle we all play a part.


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Thank God for Evolution

Put this on your reading list, fellow Christians:


“Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World” by Michael Dowd

This book is on my reading list, as I feel it should be for every Christian who discounts evolution or for those who, like me, believe in Theistic Evolution and would like more information to use in our discussions.

Evolution and Creation are NOT mutually exclusive, my evolution-rejecting friends.

At the beginning of this book there is a list of the “Author’s Promises”. I decided to share four of them with you:

To those of you who have rejected evolution… I promise that the secular version of evolution you have rejected is not the version of evolution presented in these pages. Indeed, if the understanding of our collective past and the vision of our common destiny outlined here do not inspire you to be more faithful in all your relationships, to find new ways to bless others and the world, and to awaken eagerly each morning to a life filled with meaning and purpose, then please continue to reject evolution!

To those who accept evolution begrudgingly (like death and taxes)… I promise that this book will provide you with an experience of science, and evolution specifically, that will fire your imagination, touch your heart, and lead you to a place of deep gratitude, awe and reverence. You will also find here effective ways to talk about evolution to any friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors who are biblical literalists or young earth creationists.

To devoutly committed Christians… Whether you are Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Evangelical, Anabaptist, or New Thought, and whether you consider yourself conservative, moderate, or liberal, my promise to you is that the sacred evolutionary perspective offered here will enrich your faith and inspire you in ways that believers in the past could only dream of.

To agnostics, humanists, atheists ad freethinkers.. I promise that you will find nothing here that you cannot wholeheartedly embrace as being grounded in a rationally sound, mainstream scientific understanding of the Universe. I also promise that the vision of “evolutionary spirituality” presented here will benefit you and your loved ones without your needing to believe in anything otherworldly.

Other “promises” are listed, but these are the ones I wanted to include for this blog post.

You can purchase the book on amazon by clicking the image above, or you can visit the official website here.


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Who Decided What Books To Place in Our Bible?

In past blog posts, and on a local message board in which I discuss such things with others, there have been a few people who have asked questions in regards to my statements as to the relationship of the Council of Nicaea to the Canonization of scripture, and my assertion that the men who met at that Council ultimately determined what books appear in the Bible you and I hold in our hands. I haven’t responded to those questions, as I knew that I’d eventually post this article.

FYI: this article is one part (of five) of a paper that I had to write for a Seminary class assignment. You’ll notice it refers to other writings not posted here. Should anyone wish to read the other writings I’d be happy to post them in a future blog post. There are also references in parenthesis to books in the Bibliography from which this paper comes. I’ll post that Bibliography as a comment to this blog post for those who might want that information.


Event #2: Canonization of Scripture

What can possibly be of more importance to the history of the church than the scriptures upon which it is based? Yet few of us have any clue why our Bibles contain the books they contain. Fewer still realize that at the time of canonization, the opinion of the Christian community was split almost 50/50 as to what should and should not be considered as scripture (Pagels, 2004, pages 170-175). While some simply accept the idea that to be considered part of the canon of scripture, writings must be traced to an apostle as the writer or main source, others point out that even those writings traced back to apostles are often in conflict.

Having received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Stanford, and her PhD from Harvard, author Elaine Pagels is the Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University. Ms. Pagels area of expertise is early Christian history. When new religious artifacts are discovered, Pagels is often called upon to help interpret them.

In her book Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas, Pagels points out that there are literally hundreds of pages of “gospels” and “apocrypha” written during the first centuries, many of them documents the average lay person isn’t even aware exist, that contain sayings, rituals and dialogues attributed to Jesus and his disciples. In the early years of Christianity many of these documents were just as well known as the 27 books we have in the New Testament of our Bibles today. The Gospel of John, written at close to the same time as the Gospel of Thomas, reveals a minor rivalry even amongst two of Jesus’ own disciples, and many of today’s best scholars believe John’s gospel was written as a rebuttal to teachings attributed to Thomas. One example of rivalry is hinted at by reading the books that are included in our Bibles: while the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke refer to Jesus appearing to the 11 after his Resurrection (Judas was no longer with them), the Gospel of John says Jesus appeared to 10 of them, as Thomas was not present. And it is only in John’s gospel that Thomas is referred to as a doubter. John’s gospel emphasizes that some of the key beliefs put forth by Thomas’ gospel are incorrect. The Gospel of Thomas teaches, for example, that God’s light shines not only in Jesus but potentially in everyone. Thomas’ gospel encourages the hearer not so much to believe IN Jesus, as John’s gospel requires, as to seek to know God through one’s own, divinely given capacity since all are created in the image of God (Pagels, 2004, pages 30-73).

Many amongst the first generations of Christians disagreed with John’s gospel that Jesus was God in the flesh, doubted his writings were scripture, and did not want his book to be part of what we now call the New Testament. Those believers also took issue with the fact that in a handful of places John’s gospel differs with, and even directly contradicts, the combined testimony of the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. John tells a different version of Jesus’ final days, for example. John also places the story of Jesus in the Temple disrupting the money changers at the beginning of his ministry, while the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke place that as happening at the end of his ministry. Only in John’s gospel do we find the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead, which was an act that upset the leaders of the time so much that they wanted to kill not only Jesus but Lazarus as well, because they were concerned that if he were to go on doing such things everyone would believe in him. It is noted that even early defenders of John’s gospel, such as a teacher named Origen, are quoted as saying that the author of John’s gospel might not always tell the truth “literally” but always told the truth “spiritually” (Origen, Commentary on John, 10.4-6).

If John was to be believed, Jesus proclaimed himself begotten of God, equal to God, and God in the flesh. If Thomas was to be believed, Jesus only claimed to have been created by God just as the rest of us, although with a deeper level of connection and understanding. According to Thomas, although he may have been of similar substance as God, Jesus was not fully man and fully God and he wanted the world to know that God’s Light could be found within all of us.

The argument between those who believed the teachings attributed to John and those who believed the teachings attributed to Thomas led to many writings and discussions. It is clear that if the four gospels of our Bibles were Matthew, Mark, Luke and Thomas we’d have a much different view of Jesus than we do now, with John’s gospel as the fourth.

One man in particular, a man named Irenaeus, wrote extensively on such matters. Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp, and Polycarp was a disciple of John. Irenaeus was very much in favor of showing those who followed Thomas’ teachings the errors of their ways. He was of the opinion that those who disagreed with John had “cast truth aside” and “resorted to evil interpretation” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1, c. 180). He was alarmed to learn that even amongst those in congregations to whom he personally traveled as a missionary, many were divided on whether to believe the teachings attributed to Thomas or whether to lean more towards what was taught by John’s gospel.

Irenaeus’ writings became quite influential in guiding the paths of those that would eventually decide which books belong in our Bibles. His opinion could be summed up with his assertion that if those heretics had been right, we would have no need for revelation and “the coming of the Lord” would “appear unnecessary and useless” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies). Through Irenaeus’ writings, it was made very clear that John’s gospel definitely means that God = Word = Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. Irenaeus declared that teachings like Thomas’ gospel were nothing more than gnosticism pushing its influence into Christianity. Even so, the discussion continued after he died in 202 AD, and wasn’t totally settled until late the next century, many years after Constantine became the first Christian Roman Emperor and ended the persecution of Christians.

When I mentioned in “Event #1” that Constantine, after becoming emperor, gave back to the church all the lands that were taken from it, what I didn’t mention was that Constantine also befriended many of the bishops, even writing them personal letters (Barnes, 2006, pages 208-227). The purpose of the Council of Nicaea in 325 was to resolve disagreements over the nature of Jesus in relationship to the Father, in particular, whether He was of the same substance as God the Father or merely of similar substance. As many of us know, this council resulted in the Nicene Creed, which Constantine himself endorsed. Afterward, the official doctrine became such that “all Christians henceforth must accept and participate in the only church recognized by the emperor – the catholic (universal) church.” Even a year before the Council of Nicaea, Constantine made an attempt to legislate an end to “sects” he considered heretical, which included half the Christians in the empire (MacMullen, 1986, pages 59-119). His beliefs on what was or was not heretical (meaning, “wrong teaching”) were greatly influenced by the bishops he had befriended, who were in turn followers of the line of beliefs written by the likes of Irenaeus. Although it is often said that the canon of scripture was issued at the Council of Hippo in 393 and at the Council of Carthage in 397, because of the nature of the politics surrounding the Nicene council and Constantine’s endorsement of it, the books that conflicted with the Nicene Creed were already “on the way out.” The desire (or often times: commands) to destroy those books led those who wished to preserve them to hide and bury them in jars or even graves (we have recovered some of these texts even as recently as the mid 1900s).

In 367, Church Father (and bishop) Athanasius, wrote an easter letter that listed the 27 books we now have in our New Testament (it should be noted that Athanasius was present at the Council of Nicaea, and was very much involved with those on “the winning side”). The Western church approved the same 27 books at the Council of Hippo in 393 and at Carthage in 397 (Garlow, 2000, pg 48). In the alternate textbook assigned for this class, How God Saved Civilization, there is a quote by David F. Wright on page 49 that states the following:

Although churchmen in a literal sense created the canon (the Bible), they were only recognizing the books that had stamped their own authority on the churches. The criteria for accepting a book as canonical (authentic) were sometimes complex. Above all, it had to be written or sponsored by an apostle, and also be recognizably orthodox in context, and publicly used by a prominent church or majority of churches… But the eventual shape of the New Testament shows that the Early Church wanted to submit fully to the teachings of the apostles. It had been created by their preaching and now grounded itself upon their writings.

Whether or not one might wish to disagree with the exclusion of certain books from our Bible that for centuries had been accepted as scripture by half the Christian community, and whether or not one might wish to argue that the ultimate list of 27 books of the New Testament was greatly influenced by political pressures and favors from the first Christian Emperor, there is no doubt that the canonization of scripture is one of the most important events in all of church history. It is literally what millions have built their faith, and lives, upon.


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Focusing on What's Important

We all get so easily distracted by petty things and ask the wrong questions. That’s what hit me as I read this:

Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”

Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong questions. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over.”

Of course, we all know the outcome of that story: Jesus healed the blind man’s eyes so he could see.

I still have goosebumps, literally, from his words. “You’re asking me the wrong questions. You’re looking for someone to blame.” That is just SO like us. Like ME. Asking the wrong questions, and looking for someone to blame instead of searching, while the sun shines, for the work that I COULD and SHOULD be doing.

Today I’m going to try my hardest not to look for someone to blame. I’m going to keep my eyes open and try to see the work that needs done. God help me see it.

(more and more, I’m becoming a Jesus Freak)


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Focusing on What’s Important

We all get so easily distracted by petty things and ask the wrong questions. That’s what hit me as I read this:

Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”

Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong questions. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over.”

Of course, we all know the outcome of that story: Jesus healed the blind man’s eyes so he could see.

I still have goosebumps, literally, from his words. “You’re asking me the wrong questions. You’re looking for someone to blame.” That is just SO like us. Like ME. Asking the wrong questions, and looking for someone to blame instead of searching, while the sun shines, for the work that I COULD and SHOULD be doing.

Today I’m going to try my hardest not to look for someone to blame. I’m going to keep my eyes open and try to see the work that needs done. God help me see it.

(more and more, I’m becoming a Jesus Freak)


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What Would You Do If You Knew Today Was the Last Day of Your Life?

This morning I was reading the words of a religious leader who sends out a weekly bulletin. He quoted something his mother used to tell him:

“Think, what if today was the last day of your life? What would you do with it? How would you treat those you love, and those around you? Suddenly the things around you that have so much meaning will seem so unimportant, and the purpose and meaning of your life will emerge from the shadows.”

Obviously, the purpose of such a question is to make people think on what’s truly important, hopefully causing an attitude adjustment and change in perspective. But as I sat there contemplating this question for myself I realized that what I would do if today was the last day of my life, and I knew it, would be something I do on a very regular basis anyway: I’d spend the day with my son.

I tell him all the time how much I love him, and I have no doubts whatsoever that my actions show it. If I died today, my son would be able to remember a father to whom he was the most important person in the world, who loved to play with him and chase him, who never raised his voice to him a single time in his entire life, and who he could trust to tell anything.

Despite my mismanagement of it, I’ve had a blessed life. I’ve encountered God. I’ve experienced deep love from The Father to his son, and as a father to his son.

If today was my last, I’d take a brief moment to send a few quick emails to family and friends, reassuring them that I loved them very much but that I was spending my very last day on earth doing the one thing that feeds my soul more than any other: laughing and playing with my boy.

How about you? How would you spend yours?


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Signed, Another Chico Girl – Yet Another Letter from a Former Model

I too posed for you years ago… I was only 18 for a few days when I impulsively made the decision to work with you. Unfortunately, it had the opposite effect on my life that it did on “Chico Girls” (above). My pictures were distributed all around town, for free which I was told was impossible…. My life changed drastically. I lost many people who I thought were great friends of mine, put my family and loved ones through more than I would ever have imagined, disrespected my self and my body, became severely depressed and rarely left my house because I was so ashamed… the list goes on. I lost sleep for months and ever where I went I heard whispers… It was the most humiliating experience I have ever been through. It has been almost 6 years since I took my pictures and they still come back to haunt me every now and then. Although I do think I personally made a terrible decision to take these pictures, I do have to say that the experience has made me a stronger person. I used to be somewhat judgmental and now am the complete opposite. I have no negative feelings towards the porn industry and the people in it, nor do I think any less of those involved. I just know it’s not for me. I have now learned to focus on many positive things in my life and have finally been moving forward since this “learning experience”. I am happy for you Donny that you have found your love for God. I hope the future brings you much happiness. God Bless.