Addiction to pornography has exploded to epidemic proportions, infiltrating churches and holding our pastors, friends, and family members prisoner. But no one---not even the church---is talking about this dangerous and destructive addiction. The Dirty Little Secret follows Pastor Craig Gross as he breaks the silence and begins his ministry XXXchurch.com, a website devoted to fighting pornography. As he meets people in the industry and those addicted to porn, Craig exposes the very real, human face of pornography and the destructive physical, emotional, and spiritual toll it takes. The Dirty Little Secret plainly reveals the addictive lure of pornography, explores the pain and brokenness it causes, and challenges us as individuals and as the church to talk about and openly fight pornography. Don't be tempted to keep this secret any longer. If this book won't make you roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, then you need to check your pulse. ---Skip Mathews, president, Integrity Online
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Craig Gross founded Fireproof Ministries and XXXchurch.com and is the author of several books, including The Dirty Little Secret and Questions You Can't Ask Your Mama about Sex. He currently lives in Pasadena with his wife, Jeanette, and two kids, Nolan and Elise.
The Dirty Little Secret
Copyright © 2006 by Craig Gross
Requests for information should be addressed to:
Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
The dirty little secret : uncovering the truth behind porn / Craig Gross with
1. Pornography. 2. Pornography — Religious aspects — Christianity.
Krummrich, Carter. II. Title.
261.8'3577 — dc22 2005034021
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CHAPTER 1: THE PORN PASTOR
It was a stupid thing to do, but I did it anyway. I turned my car
into the “Porn Mobile.” I painted my website domain XXXchurch.
com and the slogan “#1 Christian
Porn Site” all over my black
Scion XB in big, bold-faced letters. On the passenger door is the
wording “A porn site for the whole family.” The car is unavoidable.
I drive it on the freeway and roads where I live in Riverside County,
California, garnering stares from just about everybody. The words
cover the entire car, running from the driver side door all the way
to the back. At the time, I was excited. The design schematic and
graphics were high quality, and I was so excited that I called all my
friends and drove my new ride to their houses to show it off. This
is the car I had been driving to buy groceries for my family and
to visit friends. Now I think back to my rash decision and smile.
Would I do it again? Probably.
I first realized something was wrong when the driver of the
car next to me threw his milk shake onto my windshield. A thirtytwo
ounce soda came the following week. People
either gave me
a thumbs-up or the bird. How could a simple gesture such as putting
the word porn on the outside of a car generate such a big response?
I can’t drive anywhere without somebody running up to
me and asking what the car is about, or telling me how they have
struggled with porn. Azusa Pacific, a Christian university, almost had the car towed from their parking lot. Even my wife doesn’t want the car parked in our driveway, so I keep it covered.
Last month, I lent the car to my friend Dave because his broke
down. In that month, a Christian driver waved a Bible at him from
the road and visibly prayed for his soul. His best friend, an artist,
hid behind his sculpture in town because Dave waved to him from
the Porn Mobile. Dave’s wife wouldn’t drive it at all. He had even
been threatened by the police with a misdemeanor for taking pictures
of the car for our website.
Later, I realized that I had turned my car into a hot-button
issue. What I have learned from driving around a car with the
word porn all over it is that people don’t want to talk about this
issue. The word makes people nervous, afraid, uncomfortable,
Here’s an experiment: Say the word porn at a dinner party
sometime and see what happens. Depending on what kind of dinner
party you’re at, you are more than likely to be confronted with
blank stares, nervous twitching of hands, sweating brows, and
anxious laughter. Some might spill their drinks and others will
leap through flaming hoops to be first to change the subject. For
the rest of the night, they’ll avoid you and probably won’t invite
you back to the next gathering. Four years ago, I would have had
the exact same reaction. Being a pastor doesn’t change any of this;
I would have avoided that trip to the porn gutter at all costs. This
was my subconscious attempt to pass over the issue as if it didn’t
exist. To me, porn was a dark world inhabited by lost sinners selling
their bodies and souls over to a flesh-driven abomination.
Try telling this to me now, four years into my strange and
remarkable journey with the XXXchurch. In fact, the very word
that makes people fidget or sweat has become part of my title.
Media sources like CNN, The 700 Club, and The Daily Show have
dubbed my partner, Mike Foster, and I the “porn pastors.” We are
the creators of the XXXchurch, a ministry that confronts porn on
two levels — that of the church and that of the porn industry. The
seedy and the sacred — a hybrid of the world we represent and the
world we inhabit, despite the misgivings of many Christians
and the animosity of those in the porn business.
So what am I? A pastor? A pornographer? You might not believe
it, but Mike and I are ordained ministers. We can do weddings
and funerals and have the certificates to prove it. You wouldn’t
know it by looking at me. At age twenty-nine, I still dress as if
I belong at the skate park. I’m a generation gap, black earrings,
cargo pants, youth culture, long hair, SoCal, skate shoes kind of
guy. You could say your average grandmother wouldn’t approve,
though mine does.
I am married with two kids and live in a suburban house. My
son is two years old, and I have a newborn baby girl. My wife has
gotten used to some of the people
I surround myself with and
work with, but I don’t think she’ll ever get used to the car.
Strange that I find my calling is to battle porn. Why should
we even battle it? If you watch or read a lot of Christian
material on the subject, you’ll hear “Just don’t do it!” As if becoming
a Christian suddenly erases a man’s or woman’s drive to look at
porn. Then there is the Christian
notion that porn is a pastime of
only the sinful and wicked. Pornographers and porn consumers
fit somewhere between liberals and homosexuals on the scale of
Christian good and evil. What about the stripper who needs to
support her children? What about the pastor who has a secret
addiction to porn? What about the pornographer who wishes he
could erase some of what he has seen and done because it haunts
him at night? The issue is a little more complicated than good and
evil, black and white. The human being is a hazardous jumble of
wires, not the strong cables we like to think of ourselves as.
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