Book Review: The Dirty Little Secret: Uncovering the truth behind porn

A few years ago we took a couple of our kids to Impact – a youth conference on Lipscomb University’s campus (my alma mater). Our kids had a great time, and the conference (it’ really more like a weeklong camp than a conference) was very, well, impacting. The theme was great nice and all, but one night stood out for me, and probably always will. One night a guy named Craig Gross came and talked about his ministry to the porn industry. It was one of the most intriguing, controversial, and interesting messages I’ve ever heard. Beyond all of this, however, it was convicting.

He spoke on two accounts, really. First of all, he shared an amazing story of setting up a “Jesus Loves Porn Stars” booth at the LA Porn Convention, and later the Porn Convention in Las Vegas. Their message, but poignant – Jesus loves the people in the porn industry – porn stars, porn directors – the lowest of the low, in many eyes, Jesus loves them all. Secondy, he spoke of his radical view and understanding of ministry. His first book is entitled The Gutter , in which he more fully addresses his understanding of ministry. The subtitle says it all – where life is meant to be lived.

Needless to say, I have been overwhelmingly impressed with the work of him (and his cominister) As a self-professed porn minister, Gross has many stories to share of life lived in his chosen gutter. When I saw he had written a follow-up book specificially addressing pornography, I knew this would be a valuable resource. He doesn’t stray from his emphasis on ministring in the gutter. I loved this passage,

“We appear to the world as moralists, seeking to outdo each other in the piety race. We are a suburbanite, potluck, turn-signaling, Bible wielding, bumper-sticker group. We own copies of The Prayer of Jabez, which sit neatly by our bedsides. We breed nice guys and gals who’d never be caught spooning or making out in a parked car, let alone associating with porn stars. So many of us go through life without ever getting our hands dirty, waiting to cash in our tickets to heaven an dcollect our gold stars. The equipmnt Jesus gave us wasn’t harps or glouds; he gave us shovels. Jesus loved the prostitutes and cripples of his day, and he loves the porn stars of today. Where we create stereotypes, Jesus created compassion. He embra es broken girsl who’ve never known the love of a father.” (p. 85)

Wow, if that one doesn’t hit you right between the eyes. So, that settled it for me. I told my wife that my calling was to porn stars – we’re moving to California. Yeah, well that didn’t go to well. But, I really believe this is a powerful ministry that has unimagineable power to combat the dark world of pornography ravaging our contemporary society. I think these guys are 100% on the right path. They’ve no doubt taken heat. They’ve chosen a path that is about one step away from the edge, but too few of us are willing to go to that edge, and there are many people dying and jumping off, never to come back.

This book is for women to have been sexually abused and feel as though they’ve lost something they’ll never get back. Women that often turn to selling their bodies and see no alternative. This book is for middle-aged men who have been caught up in a web of pornography and sexual addiction for decades. It’s for women whose husbands and boyfriends have been affected by the images flashing across television screens and computer screens. It’s for parents who have yet to realize the full impact pornography will have on their children (not “might have” but “will have”). It’s for young men who are heading down a road filled with soft core images, that quickly turn to hard core images, which could turn to visiting strip clubs, which could turn to prostitutes, which could absolutely ruin your life. It’s for pastors who are always at risk to the lure of pornography. It’s for parishoners who need to better understand the temptations that are at arm’s length for their pastors.

It’s one of the few books I’ve read that I would honestly say is a “must-have.” It’s one of the few books I’ve sat down to read, and read it all in about three sittings. It’s full of stories that alarm, frighten, anger, and discourage. However, in the midst of these negative headlines, there are also stories of grace, empowerment, and redemption from the power of sexual addiction. It’s convicting, honest, and reassuring.

Anyone who has used porn will be able to identify with someone in the stories that Gross tells. He tells of guys who are in neck deep paying for sex and doings unmentionable things. He tells of others who have dabbled in softcore on occassion. There are guys who have no intention of quitting and others who, like alcoholics, have quit and reused countless times.

This book is forthright and honest. It’s realistic and open about their successes and their failurees. It’s engaging and it’s convicting. Gross’ motivation for this entire ministry has been to open the floor of conversation for the church so it can begin to really minister to those who struggle with this addiction – and the numbers indicate that this is an epidemic.

If you are looking for a book to stimulate discussion on a difficult issue, this is one I would recommend – highly.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Dirty Little Secret: Uncovering the truth behind porn

  1. Wow . . . cool . . . wonder if we can do a porn and popcorn night at our church? Maybe catch a movie . . . oh, wait, that probably wouldn’t be a good idea. What kind of movie would you watch? Thanks for the link. It’s great what these guys are doing. With God knows how many guys looking at porn, I totally agree with these guys in that the best thing we can do is to talk openly about it. If guys would be talking openly about it, even if only in our churches, what great impact that would have? If they knew people were point-blank going to ask them what they were doing when they were alone, where they were, etc. That’s be a huge difference. Accountability, that’s the bottom line. That’s one of the great things about xxxchurch.com if you haven’t been there. They have a great web download that you can download on your computer which sends all the websites you’ve visited to a friend – an accountability partner. You going to go to that website if you know someone else will find out? We need to pass the word around about this. It’s a great idea. Thanks for breaking the silence on the comment posting 🙂

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