Porn

I met some people with a pretty cool ministry and testimony last week. My buddy Justin serves Texas students through Campus Renewal Ministries by helping them find a place to worship that suits them. He also occasionally brings speakers with a relevant message to campus. Last week he brought Gene McConnell and Heather Veitch to give their presentation called Power of Porn. I had seen the presentation several years ago and was struck by Gene’s honest and straight-forward approach to dealing with a taboo subject. It occurred to me that maybe we could interview Gene for FaithVine, a website that I’m helping with. When I mentioned it to Gene he jumped at the idea. I got to interview both Gene and Heather over the weekend.

NOTE: this blog post deals with mature subjects. If you are under 18 or easily offended, please click elsewhere.

A few friends and I went to see the Power of Porn last Thursday, and Hogg Auditorium was packed. I think the final count was 1,100 students present to hear about the hazards of pornography! Awesome!

Gene had struggled with porn addiction for several years, to the point that it negatively affected his relationships with his wife and children. After coming to a moment of crisis he turned it around and has spent the past 20 years speaking against the harms associated with pornography and how to overcome porn addiction. He has keen insight on the harms associated with pornography and the ability to speak truth about the issue without judgment or condemnation.

Heather is a former stripper and film star that grew tired of being judged exclusively on her appearance and being treated like an object. While still working in the industry she went to school to get an education. After graduation she landed a job and found Christ. Now she works full time in missions, helping sex industry workers get out of that business, and hopefully to Christ.

I don’t want to give the entire interview away, you’ll be able to see it on FaithVine soon. There were a couple of things that I thought were particularly interesting though. First, Gene & Heather each had a perspective on the harms associated with pornography, neither of which had occurred to me before.

Gene indicated that the images affected the way he treated women in his daily life and that the secrecy associated with his addiction lead to a distrust of people in general. He thought he was doing something in private, but it ended up affecting his entire life. Heather, a very attractive woman, went into the industry because she was proud of her appearance and liked the attention. Over time she became so self-critical of her outward self that she had a hard time functioning in relationships. She also spoke of a distrust of men.

Heather talked about one other thing that broke my heart. She’s currently on staff with a church, and spends her days befriending workers in the sex industry and prostitutes. Her partner is a former prostitute, and together they focus on loving people unconditionally and helping them get out of that industry if they choose to. If they’re at all open to the gospel she also shares her faith. As we were talking about this she said that leading these people to Christ has become double duty for her. Before she can bring former sex industry workers to church, she has to spend time with the churches making sure that they’ll be welcome and encouraging to the newcomers. She spoke of a few incidents in which the congregations were not comfortable with former sex industry workers attending their services!?! Holy cow is that tragic.

It was really cool to have the opportunity to go beyond the Power of Porn presentation and ask Gene & Heather follow up questions. I so appreciate the work that they’re doing because they’re focusing on pornography’s root issues, and they’re hitting college campuses to share their message with young adults. They’re quick to point out that censorship is not the answer. At its core pornography is an attempt to meet some legitimate needs, acceptance and personal relationships. In order to have any measure of success in dealing with pornography, we’ll also have to address the underlying needs. Their honesty and vulnerability in dealing with this polarizing topic makes their message powerful.

One reply on “Porn”

  1. Chris,
    Thanks for sharing this. I look forward to reading the whole interview. I appreciate how he is going deeper into the depths of why pornography is so epidemic. I also appreciate how incarnational she is going back into her old industry and sharing the love of Christ.

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