[I’d love for you to read this update, but please know, I am not using a filter nor am I dumbing down what I experienced for the sake of offensive material]
I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I signed up. All I knew was that I was going to Atlantic City for eXXXotica… the nation’s largest adult entertainment expo. Let me put it more simply: I knew I was going to a large porn convention. I am a Christian and I love Jesus. Because I love Jesus, I also love people. It doesn’t matter who they are or where they come from…I just love them. That was my motivation behind going to eXXXotica. Myself and a dozen others went with an organization called XXXchurch, a non-profit designed to reach out to those in the sex industry and their patrons. We simply went to tell people one message: Jesus loves them.
For three days, my surroundings were x-rated. Upon entering the main doors, “hotties” greet you, dressed in 6″ heels, a g-string, and pasties barely covering the nipples. That was not an uncommon scene. In fact, most of the “hotties” and “entertainers” wore something similar- minimal clothing, high heels, and glitzed makeup. The exhibitors at the expo were set up just like any job fair, festival, marketplace… the difference being the material in which they sold or advertised. Nearly every table would greet the guests of the expo with nearly naked women [and some men], x-rated materials of hardcore and softcore pornography, and of course… giveaways and freebies of their merchandise. Fetishes of all sorts were present-Dungeon and S&M sex fetishes were actually a large area of the venue. People could meet and get pictures with their favorite strippers, porn stars, and other lady entertainers. Tables everywhere were selling dildoes, various forms of vibrators, condoms, flavored condoms, lotions and sensual massage oils. Don’t forget the “lolli-cock” stand… chocolate and fruity flavored lollipops in the shape of varying sizes of penises. In case anyone wanted to test their balance skills paired with sexual pleasure they could also jump onto the mechanical penis… basically a mechanical bull but not a bull. The other option was the pleasurable see-saw which we were lucky enough to have right next to our booth of XXXchurch. With exhibitors to met every fantasy, lust, fetish, and more, every person coming to eXXXotica would leave happier than when they came in…
Surely not an environment for the easily offended or the prude. Good thing I’m neither.
And yet… Jesus loves them. Yes even them.
How dare we, the collective Church, believe that the love of Jesus cannot extend to those of this industry. Jesus loves the strippers, the go-go girls, porn producers, porn stars, escorts, and don’t forget the consumers and patrons. The moment we start thinking Jesus can’t or won’t love someone is the moment we have missed His heart. It is the moment we have missed everything He lived and died for; His reason for everything is love. Not the grotesque display of love as shown at an expo like eXXXotica, but a love that goes deep, that is intimate, that is real, that is tangible and that changes your life forever. That love infiltrates the darkness. By XXXchurch being present at eXXXotica in Atlantic City, we brought forth the light of Jesus’ love into a world deemed unfit and unworthy by so many in the Church. With scrutiny by Christians, we proceeded to be present. We proceeded to tell people that Jesus does IN FACT love porn stars and everyone else associated with the industry. Jesus loves them all. I’ll take it an even further step… Jesus loves even the child pornographer. The rapist. The molester. The trafficker. The pimp. He loves every single person that I saw walk through those front doors passed the “hotties” with the pasties and the mechanical penis. He loves every single one of the ladies walking around in their 6″ heels. He loves every single porn producer selling their merchandise. His love goes deeper.
In the midst of the hypersexualized environment that I had voluntarily placed myself, I and my friends of XXXchurch gave out books called “Jesus Loves Porn Stars”. They were actually the Gospel of John with stories of people from the sex industry mixed in, people that discovered how true His love really was for them. We gave those brightly colored books to anyone who would take them. People love free stuff, so we gave it to them along with HOT Pink “Jesus Loves Porn Stars” stickers. In fact people loved the stickers so much they kept coming back for them. We would stick it on their arms, chest, even butts… and for the ladies.. the boobs on top of their clothes or their pasties. But the point was that we were walking into their lives, their turf and were not afraid and not backing down. We don’t go to convert everyone. We went to share His love and let His love do the rest. I know there were so many people that didn’t get the books, either from refusing to take it or just not stopping by our booth. But there were those… the ones that took it were maybe snarling, laughing, chuckling at the sight of seeing a colorful covered book with the line that “Jesus Loves Porn Stars”. Some took it with appreciation. But I know, I just know, that some of those people will open it. They will read it. They will discover.. discover truth and love unlike anything they have ever seen or heard before. Some of them will take it another step… they will contact XXXchurch, among the many others thousands a year, and want to know more, want to be free, want to have love- real love- His love.
I will do this again. Some day, hopefully soon. But beyond that, I want to not forget. I met some amazing people this weekend. I also met some creeps, some drunks, some pervs that I even still cannot forget. I met some amazing ladies of the industry. I can’t forget them either. Jesus loves every person I met this weekend. Not a single one was not worth my time or money to be there. Every conversation and every Bible or sticker we gave out matters to me because it matters to Him. I have list of people I met and I will be praying for them.