THE PORN PASTOR

I couple of weeks ago I mentioned Pastor Craig Gross of XXX Church on air and got a wave of responses from viewers.  Most were concerned about what he was doing, and that I would ‘endorse’ him.   Although I would never do what Craig does, I have no trouble endorsing what he is trying to do.  Gross has identified that pornography is a huge problem amongst men, non-christian and christian alike.   In a Promise Keepers Men’s Ministry survey of christian men, 59% admitted to being consumers of porn.  And as one speaker noted, “And the other 41% of you are lying.” Not entirely true, but in another survey a shocking 37% of pastors admitted to be users of pornography.

The Internet for all its positive uses is the major cause of epidemic porn consumption. There was a time when if you wanted pornography you needed to visit an adult book store or go some sleazy strip club where someone might spot you.  That alone was enough to keep the christian men away.  Today however, porn comes to you.  It is a $4.9B industry with over 4.2 million sites on the internet which accounts for 12% of everything on the net.

Internet Pornography Statistics
Pornographic websites 4.2 million (12% of total websites)
Pornographic pages 420 million
Daily pornographic search engine requests 68 million (25% of total search engine requests)
Daily pornographic emails 2.5 billion (8% of total emails)
Internet users who view porn 42.7%
Received unwanted exposure to sexual material 34%
Average daily pornographic emails/user 4.5 per Internet user
Monthly Pornographic downloads (Peer-to-peer) 1.5 billion (35% of all downloads)
Daily Gnutella “child pornography” requests 116,000
Websites offering illegal child pornography 100,000
Sexual solicitations of youth made in chat rooms 89%
Youths who received sexual solicitation 1 in 7 (down from 2003 stat of 1 in 3)
Worldwide visitors to pornographic web sites 72 million visitors to pornography: Monthly
Internet Pornography Sales $4.9 billion

Unless you are extremely diligent you cannot avoid it.  Gross (you’ve got to love the name) has determined he is going to help christian men get free from this plague. http://www.xxxchurch.com/ He has an online test to see if you have a problem.  BTW, if you have to take the test to find out, then you do.  He has a program that you can put on your computer as a safeguard.  Not only does it block the sites you should not visit but it will send a report to your designated people if you try to visit questionable sites.  Craig is not a hilarious speaker, but I did crack up when he suggested that making your mother one of your designated accountability partners was a sure fire way to beat the habit. (I think the pun is intended).  He sponsored a program called Porn Sunday that corresponded with Super Bowl Sunday and he recruited several high profile players as spokesmen against the prevailing battle men have with their flesh.  Here is one report where the female journalist is downright incredulous.

I met Craig a couple of months ago at a Promise Keepers men’s conference.  The two of us were on this year’s PK circuit and a lot of Canadian men heard his uncompromising message about how to walk free from this deadly trap that ensnares men, taints their view of women and sexuality, and often destroys marriages.  Don’t think for a minute that you can lust after other women and keep the home fires burning.  Jesus said that “…if look at another women with lust in your heart you are guilty of adultery.” Incidently, 17% of porn consumers are now women, so it is no longer just a male problem.

One thing Craig is doing which is fascinating are the Porn Debates.  He travels to university campuses with male adult movie star Ron Jeremy.   He has been in 2,000 adult films and slept with over 5,000 different women.  The two of them debate the subject in front of 100’s of young people.  Ron is for, while Craig is against just in case you haven’t been paying attention.  Here is a Nightline version of the debates.  I have included all 10 parts if you are so inclined… about an hour and half of material.  It is always important to know both sides of an argument before you take a stand on annything.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3dDXppgUpI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDZYEbrTD2g&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngIe2gqH5Zc&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVgEMmRTSJA&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voFi6FPdU4E&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9bBlr0c9I0&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxKo2bAsJcg&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUa-ilW3wn4&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSY859lsqGs&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5j00SifV-c&feature=related

The part of Craig’s agenda that most people don’t get is his ministry to those in the porn industry.  He has printed a bible called Jesus Loves Porn Stars.  He sets up a booth at porn shows and hands out 100’s of these bibles.

His critics claim this is a compromise of the gospel.  Before we throw stones I would ask the age old question; What would Jesus do?   These are exactly the kind of people Jesus hung out with and the religious establishment criticized him for it.  The fact is, Jesus does love porn stars.  Could I do what Craig does?  No, I don’t think I would put myself in a place where I was surrounded by naked women and live sex acts.  But then, I am not called to that either.  Apparently Craig is.  I asked him about the temptation factor and keeping his eyes off the ‘subjects’.  He told me he takes his wife with him as a buffer when he goes to these things.  So he is trying to be careful.  One thing I am doing is praying for him, and so should you.  It is the ones on the front lines that are the first to be taken out.  Lord help him.

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