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Exposing Faith Through the XXX Church
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Exposing Faith Through the XXX Church

By Paul Strand
CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

CBN.comHOLLYWOOD - Two young California pastors say the church isn't facing up to one of the nastiest temptations facing most believers these days, which is pornography. So these men have started up a controversial ministry to take on porn.

Pornography's gone big time. Thirty million people are now logging on to some 300,000 porn Web sites daily.

Craig Gross of xxxchurch.com (Triple X Church) said, "We've talked to people who've lost jobs because they've been looking at it at work. We've talked to people who've gone bankrupt. We've talked to people whose marriages have been destroyed."

With pornography becoming more of a radical problem in society, at least a couple of southern California pastors have decided it needs to be dealt with...radically.

So Mike Foster and Gross started up a web ministry that calls itself "The number one Christian porn site." And they set up booths at America's biggest porn conventions. The purpose? To help people break free from porn.

Foster said, "I think it's time for Christians to be aware of the issues and be pro-active, and not simply let the wave of pornography sweep over us."

And it does hit Christians.

Gross said, "We found that the church and the secular world, there's really no difference in who's struggling." For instance, a survey of men at a Promise Keepers rally showed half had looked at porn in the week just before the rally.

"For so long it kind of was the dirty little secret," Gross continued.. "The church really wanted to pretend and hoped that this thing just goes away."

But a survey done by Christianity Today magazine found 37 percent of pastors admit to struggling with pornography.

Gross said, "And that's why I think they don't want to talk about it amongst the congregations, because it's something they're personally struggling with."

One way to fight back is the xxxchurch.com, a web address deliberately picked to lure porn-seekers who type in the letters "XXX."

"And if you are personally struggling, go to this site, and you are going to realize, you're not alone, that there are other people out there struggling with the same things," said Gross. "We have sections for wives, sections for parents, sections for teenagers. One of them is a prayer wall where you can post your prayers and read about how porn is really affecting others. We have an 800 number where you can call in."

Another freebie that xxxchurch.com offers is "accountability software" that shoots off a biweekly list of web sites you've been visiting to two people of your choosing.

Gross says, "It takes away the secrecy, and a lot of the problems that people have on-line, if you're willing to let someone else see what you see."

The other major purpose of xxxchurch is to let porn industry professionals know Jesus loves them. Gross and Foster have been to several porn conventions, accompanied by their mascot Rex the Rabbit, their answer to the Playboy Bunny.

At these porn shows, they pass out postcards that say "Jesus loves porn stars." And it is this outreach that has caused outrage in some Christian circles.

Foster said, "We have people going 'how do you go to a porn show and keep your purity and, ya know, keep from falling into it?' And the reality is, we're just two guys going to a place where Jesus would be. The church, for the most part, thinks people are going to come to us. That's not the reality of the situation. We have to go to them."

It was at one such convention that Gross and Foster first crossed paths with "Jimmy D" DiGiorgio, an actual porn director.

DiGiorgio said, "I've probably directed in excess of a hundred adult movies." Jimmy D sat in his booth for three days observing the pastors in theirs. "And I can't for the life of me figure out what they're all about," said DiGiorgio. "I saw 'xxxchurch, number one Christian porn site. Finally I got up and walked across the way and sat down and spoke with them for awhile, and I found out they were like missionaries in a sense, coming to the porn convention. 'Oh, I get it. You guys are like Jesus walking with the lepers.'"

Just on a lark, this director of such porn flicks as "Lesbian Talent Scouts" offered to shoot, without charge, a commercial for the pastors.

DiGiorgio said, "'You're probably not going to accept this offer,' and they said, 'Why wouldn't we? You're going to shoot it for free!'"

The team decided to aim the ad at kids, because they are getting hit with porn at younger and younger ages - the average age when they first see it is now 11.

Part of the commercial read, "Have you come across a bunch of magazines in your dad's closet that show pictures of lots of naked mommies? Did it make you feel kind of yucky?" The ad was done, the friendship cemented.

"They're great guys and they're actually fun to hang out with," commented DiGiorgio.

Foster said, "The reality is the porn industry, for the most part, are nice people who are just normal people just like church people, just like me and Craig, and we've actually struck up some great relationships with them."

Meanwhile, the pastors just go on being outrageous. They decided to turn their car into one huge billboard for xxxchurch.com, much to the dismay of quite a few churchgoers.

"We've actually been to a couple of churches where they've actually called the police on us because they were scared of the car," said Foster.

DiGiorgio remarked, "They take a lot of heat for what they do. They're also quite outrageous in their approach to it. They have that Barnum and Bailey kind of thing going for them."

But does any of this work? Have they seen any fruit from this at all?

Foster said, "Well, actually one of the fruits is standing right there. We spent a lot of time talking about Jesus, talking about Jimmy, and where his relationship is at with the Lord."

When asked if the pastors were getting through to him, DiGiorgio replied, "I'm sure that you and your viewers would love to have me say 'yes.' But unfortunately, 'no. I feel the faith that they have, okay, if you will, I sense that about them. I can feel it. It's a real thing. It's almost a tangible thing. Has it become contagious to me? I have to answer 'no.'"

Foster admits Gross and he are not seeing any converts to Christ yet in the porn industry, but they're belligerently optimistic.

Foster said, "And so it's a tough ground that we're planting seeds on, but I really think, with God's power, we're going to see a lot of great fruit come from that."

The web site's been much more successful. More than 50 million hits so far. Many believers back the pastors' efforts, but says Foster, "...then there's the other side of the church that thinks we're complete nut-zos, and we're doing the work of the devil."

But Gross says the church needs to get the log out of its own eye before judging others. He said, "For Christians, our message is really clean up your lives, because we think porn and sin keeps you from doing the work that God wants you to be doing."

Learn more at xxxchurch.com

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