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XXXChurch Pastor and Porn Star Find Some Common Ground

February 5, 2011|4:37 pm

It's a dirty job but somebody's got to do it.

A lot of churches may shirk from preaching on pornography but Craig Gross, co-founder of XXXChurch.com, a ministry which helps people addicted to porn, will make sure the taboo topic takes center stage on the pulpit this Sunday.

During National Porn Sunday, over 300 churches will trade their regular sermons for a 40-minute video, featuring Gross and several NFL stars, that will help get their worshippers talking about the problem.

But are Christians who attend church service on Super Bowl Sunday really the ones who need this message?

Yes, according to Gross, who likens pornography to the "elephant in the pew."

"People assume that porn is that guy over there, not that woman over there, not that grandpa over there, that elder, that pastor or that honor roll student," said Gross to The Christian Post. "The stereotype with porn is that it's someone else's problem but in reality it seems to be lately almost everybody's problems."

From experience, Gross said most of the people with whom he has counseled with turned to porn following some trauma in their life, from abuse to depression. Some find it easier to fulfill their sexual desire in a fantasy world then the real world and others simply can't stop watching it after they stumbled onto it by accident at an early age, said the 35-year-old pastor.

"I've met 20-year-old virgins who have never had sex, never had abuse but they've found porn at an early age and they just can't stop," he said.

"You can't put everyone who've looked at porn in a box."

Regardless of how someone got exposed to X-rated material, according Gross, the outcomes of porn addiction are always bad.

"I believe it's tearing apart homes, breaking apart marriages, and it’s not having a positive effect on families," Gross said Friday in a CNN debate with porn star Ron Jeremy.

Jeremy, who has starred in over 200 adult films, agreed with Gross that porn addiction is a problem and even voiced support for the pastor's ministry efforts.

Jeremy and Gross became friends after meeting at a porn convention where the Las Vegas-based pastor was handing out Bibles that said "Jesus Loves Porn Stars." The pair have debated on college campuses across the country.

"If Craig can find them and help them, there’s nothing wrong with that," said Jeremy on CNN. "I don’t want to see people hurt or have problems. I like what Craig does, believe it or not."

The porn star, however, argued that that porn could be consumed recreationally and that it isn't the fault of the porn industry that people become addicted.

"We want healthy, happy people watching porn," said Jeremy.

Gross told The Christian Post after the CNN interview that he doesn't "buy" the argument that porn can be enjoyed responsibly.

"I've met more people who have problems with it," he said. "I think it's a dead end and it's going to lead you to something that you would never thought you would do."

Citing research that the average child first sees pornography at age 11, Gross said porn has "warped their view of sex."

"This has become their sex ed. They watch porn and think that this is what sex is going to look like. They are going to be disappointed with real sex because it doesn't match up to the expectations that they have placed on with porn," he explained.

He also added that people who watch porn have a decreased desire for sex.

"They're not pursuing your spouse, the one that you should be in a relationship with, because they are getting [their] needs met through the video. It's much quicker, it's easier, they don’t have to deal with any issues because there is no one else involved in it," said Gross.

Gross, who leads Strip Church in Las Vegas, which reaches out to women in strip clubs, said the Bible is pretty clear when it comes to the issue of pornography.

"It says 'run away from sexual sin.' It also says don't even look at a woman with lust in your eyes. When you're viewing pornography, you're thinking about somebody else. That's kind of the grounds for why I would say this is wrong," he said.

In addition to providing churches a platform to talk about the problem of pornography, XXXChurch.com also encourages accountability through its filtering software "X3watch," which sends an email or text message to a person's accountability partner every time he or she visits a questionable website. The accountability partner will receive the time, date, and URL of the website.

Critics might say that an internet monitoring software is not the emblem of trust in a relationship but Gross thinks otherwise.

"It's not a bad thing to have accountability. It doesn't mean you are an addict. It means you want to have integrity. It means you want accountability; you want to have people that speak into your life and have permission to talk about things that trip you up," he said.

This is the third year that churches will be observing National Porn Sunday. The first event was held in 2005 and then in 2007.

The ongoing discussion is important, said Gross. He said that sex and food appear to be the toughest topics to address in the church because pastors themselves may battle these addictions.

"Some of our leading pastors in America are way overweight and they are the ones you see on TV every week and no one is ever talking about that. We stay away from topics in the church that pastors are struggling with themselves," Gross remarked.

For those who think their porn habit is beyond their ability to overcome, Gross offered these words of encouragement, "You can be in for the fight of your life but it's worth it. It's not easy. You're not going to be by yourself. It's not going to be quick. It's a bumpy road. But it's worth getting on that road. Otherwise, it will take you to a place that you don't want to go. There is never a better time than now to address this."

Gross will be at Presence Church in Addison, Texas, on Sunday morning. He said that Jeremy agreed to attend the service as part of their deal to appear on CNN together.

On the Web: www.pornsunday.com

Source URL : http://www.christianpost.com/news/xxxchurch-pastor-and-porn-star-find-common-ground-48847/