RETHNK exposing america’s dirty little
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to around the world Page 12
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SUFFERING | THE NEW MODEL T | BRAILLE | LOVING THE ELDERLY
RETHINKING GOD IN TODAY’S CULTURE. SEPTEMBER 2008
Because your friendâ€™s cousin Jimmy isnâ€™t quite the â€œweb designerâ€? he made himself out to be. Website Design â€˘Logos & Branding â€˘ Biz Cards Church Websites â€˘ Band Posters â€˘ E-Commerce
LMG Concerts is proud to welcome to Portland, Fall 2008
Grant OCTOBER 30, 2008 ROLLINGS HILLS COMMUNITY CHURCH
SEPTEMBER 14, 2008 SUNSET PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
OCTOBER 23, 2008 SUNSET PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
NOVEMBER 21, 2008 ROLLINGS HILLS COMMUNITY CHURCH
Michael W. NOVEMBER 7, 2008 SUNSET PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH PRODUCED BY LMG CONCERTS
DECEMBER 12 & 13, 2008 ROLLINGS HILLS COMMUNITY CHURCH
Editor’s Letter The first time I met Craig was through email. I asked if he would donate some books to a ministry I was spearheading. The second time, he spoke at a youth event I put on at our church – I invited him to speak after I found out a few of the teens in my youth group were addicted to porn.
It used to be that you’d have to subject yourself to a large amount of embarrassment, making a personal appearance in a local store, etc., to purchase pornographic material. Now, thanks to the rapid growth of the virtual highway, we can subject ourselves to wide varieties of pornographic material with just a click of a button. Some see it as perfectly acceptable behavior and others see that it’s destroying lives. Not just sexually, but emotionally, spiritually, and for some, physically. When you tune into the ministry that Craig Gross has started, you will soon discover that hundreds, even thousands of people, are affected by this on a daily basis. Marriages are being destroyed, girls are compromising their bodies in magazines and movies, lives are lived in darkness, and people committing are suicide to run away from it all. If you want to know facts, here are a few: the average age of first internet pornography exposure is 11 years old, 17 percent of women struggle with pornography addiction, 47 percent of Christians say that pornography is a major problem in their home, and 4.9 billion dollars are spent on internet pornography alone. Unfortunately, the list goes on and on. We interviewed Craig this month because we feel that his ministry is making a difference. And even though they have received much criticism from the church and elsewhere, it doesn’t amend the fact that many lives have been changed and saved because of xxxchurch.com. They are meeting people right where they are. They are diving head first into what Christ defined as the lonely, the hurting, and the dying. They are being light in darkness. And most importantly, they are being Christ to those who need Him most. It’s time to put down the magazine, stop frequenting your favorite website, and pick up a solution that only Christ can give. It’s a solution that will save your marriage, your family, and will bring you the freedom that you’ve wanted for a long time. Step out from the darkness and enter His light.
Bo and Melissa Lane are the proud parents of the world’s most beautiful children. They also are the publishers of RETHINK Monthly. Talk to them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Craig Gross talks porn, lust, Las Vegas and what you can do to run away from the addiction of it all.
Bo Lane > firstname.lastname@example.org Melissa Lane > email@example.com
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LeAnn Lane > firstname.lastname@example.org
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John Piper, Joel Christie, Lindsay Goodier, Mary Owen, Pete & Jo Lessing, Mike Yoder
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Cover image by Ryan Pavlovich Other images by: Lucy Jodlowska, Johanna Lessing. All images used by permission.
THE LOCALS OREGON’S OWN
THE MODEL T OF THE 21ST CENTURY CENTURY
BugE Facts Creator:
“Great Scott!” First came Doc Brown, the wacky scientist who invented the flux capacitor (a device which makes time travel possible) after slipping off his toilet and bumping his head.
We all secretly fell in love with his time-traveling DeLorean in Back to the Future – begging our moms and dads to buy us one for Christmas. But now we say, “Move over Doc, we’ve got something more practical.” And it’s something that we don’t want to keep a secret. Some might say that Mark Murphy, designer and inventor of the BugE, is equally as wacky as Doc Brown for creating such a vehicle but we think he’s an eco-friendly, gas-saving genius. The BugE – a street-legal electric vehicle that carries one person comfortably in its aerodynamic design – costs about one cent per mile. And with gas at an alltime high, never having to go to the pump again is sounding sweeter and sweeter. “People are looking to downgrade,” Mark told us, “and these Geo Metro-type vehicles – which previously couldn’t be sold – are now worth their weight in gold. So, in this next generation, people will be looking to the electric vehicle.” We couldn’t agree more. And costing less than $6000, we just might ask mom and dad for something new this year.
75% Oregon-made content 95% United States content 5% Europian content
Weight: 385 lbs
Max speed: 50 mph
20 miles at 40 mph 30 miles at 30 mph 40 miles at 20 mph
Any standard 110-volt outlet
Cost per mile: 1 cent
Less than $6,000 SEE FOR YOURSELF. www.bugev.net
What’s the greatest crisis among people today? Great coffee. Greater impact.
PORTLAND/SISTERS - What if a little coffee bean could help change the world? The people behind Cauzal Coffee believe it can, and through the economic power of this little bean, they are seeking to respond to God’s heart for the poor. Because coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world, Cauzal founder Don Jacobson realized the potential of harnessing its popularity for humanitarian efforts. More than 126 million Americans drink coffee every day. Retail coffee serves up $9.2 billion annually, and the food service sector tallies up $8.7 billion annually (coffee-statistics.com). Cauzal Coffee taps into that industry for good by allowing consumers to put their coffee money to work for a Cauze™ they believe in. Every time a customer purchases Cauzal Coffee, the company contributes 25% of the purchase price to a preselected Cauze of the customer’s choice—human trafficking, HIV/ AIDS, unclean water, or hunger. This allows people to provide high-impact support with a low-impact change to their grocery budget. Considering that half the world’s population lives on less than two dollars a day, a six-dollar contribution(based on a two-bag order) provides the equivalent aid of three days’ wages to people in need. That’s why Jacobson firmly believes that every sip matters. Cauzal Coffee also offers turnkey humanitarian fundraisers for individuals (MyCauze™), groups, and nonprofit organizations (OurCauze™). For nonprofits, using OurCauze can provide an additional income stream without cannibalizing existing giving. Conscientious consumers will also appreciate Cauzal’s commitment to the principle of stewardship. The company’s coffee beans are primarily sourced through Farm Friendly Direct™, a sustainable sourcing program that pays farmers a fair wage and gives back to their communities. Additionally, the company uses 100% recycled shipping containers and has organic and shade grown coffee blends available. Cauzal’s Web site features an interactive virtual “coffee shop” and audiovisual presentations of four humanitarian efforts to choose from. When you visit www.cauzal.com, you’ll be encouraged to “discover Cauzal, the premium coffee that tastes good—and does good.” SEE FOR YOURSELF.
PORTLAND - David Sanford believes it’s the loss of faith. Not loss of salvation—but loss of faith in God, in the Bible, in the church, or in Christian beliefs. Sadly, many people feel their church isn’t a safe place to talk about something like this. And, as a result, of all the U.S. adults who consider themselves to be Christians, 31 million have quit going to church. Thousands more will join their ranks this week. David Sanford’s new book, If God Disappears, drops the guilt and
compassionately addresses the personal, practical, biblical, and theological issues surrounding this crisis. Is it really possible to lose one’s faith? How can you help a friend who is struggling? If God Disappears reaches out to those who are spiritually drifting—or are on the verge—and compassionately empowers them to re-embrace their faith. A former Corban College adjunct professor, David Sanford explores a series of nine “faith wreckers” and nine “faith builders” to help us better understand which circumstances and attitudes undermine our faith and which ones draw us closer to God. Even if you feel like God has disappeared . . . it’s not too late.
Salem/Keizer film sheds light in the darkness KEIZER - In 2006, Oregon business entrepreneur Don Jensen founded the independent film company Dirt Poor Films as an avenue to provide entertaining film that also addresses timely and relevant issues facing our families. One of those key issues: the internet. According to Jensen, “The internet has tremendous potential, but at the same time, tremendous danger. People don’t realize what’s sitting in their house and affecting every member there.” Driven by this concern, Jensen and his team chose A/S/L: Age, Sex, Location, as their first film project. Film entirely in Salem and Keizer, Oregon with local actors and film crew, A/S/L, brings home a message to teens, families and all of us about the dangerous doors we can open with a simple mouse click. Experts estimate that 50,000 sexual predators prowl the internet for children every day. They use the anonymity of the internet to target both boys and girls of all ages. According to FBI profiler, Jennifer Eakin, “Online predators are
typically technologically savvy.” By using searchable user profiles on instant messaging and chat rooms plus social networks, predators easily find information about potential victims. Parents have to be on guard to protect their families. Eakin continues that “the age of the victim is going to go down because we have more and more kids for whom the internet is a natural part of their lives, and very much integrated in their daily lives.” A/S/L opens the door for people to examine themselves and their relationship with the fantasy freeway we call the internet. All you have to do is turn on television series like Dateline and 20/20, to know how prevalent internet issues are and how frightening the stories can be. The compelling stories featured in A/S/L demonstrate how easily adults as well as teens can be pulled into an anonymous internet playground. But when fantasy becomes reality, reality is much more dangerous in the light of day. GET IN THE KNOW. www.aslthemovie.com RETHINKMONTHLY.COM_7
ASK PASTER JOHN
How do I talk to people in times of suffering? I think you need a wise, tender, patient, and discerning heart when you approach a suffering person, especially one who has just entered profound shock and pain. There are situations where the reality has landed with such force that what’s needed first is support, before explanation. And you need to come in alongside with a lot of simple affirmations that “I am here.” Like Job’s friends, seven days and not a word. Those were good days for Job. Good days for Job. It’s when they opened their stupid mouths and began offering inadequate explanations which put Job in the guilty seat that they became false comforters. So to be there physically and offer a lot of touch, prayer, support, and common burden bearing (like providing meals, cleaning the house, and doing the practical things that need to be done when you’re at the hospital all day long)—those kinds of things communicate the love of God in a very powerful way. And then we try to discern when they are ready to hear more biblical truth. You probably should start with the massive truth “God is for you. Believe him.” They may not feel like believing him, but you just keep saying the truth, “God is for you. Christ died for you. ‘He who did not spare his own Son ... how will he not with him graciously give us all things?’ (Romans 8:32)” And then, as they perhaps press you over time for why this has happened, then you can move towards truths that feel, at the beginning, more difficult. I mentioned some time ago during a recording that there are a couple families in our church right now that are beautiful testimonies of the fact that it does take time to come to rest in the sovereignty of God in the midst of great crisis. So I want to give people time. I’ve got this phrase that I learned from the book of Job that talks about “words for the wind” (Job 6:26). And I think it means that sometimes you say things in the midst of a crisis that nobody should take seriously. They should be words for the wind. Say you’re sitting and listening to somebody and they say something like, 8_RETHINK MONTHLY
“I don’t think God can love me and do this.” Well if you know that person, and they’ve walked with God a long time, instead of letting that word go in your ear, lodge down, and produce doubts in you about their faith, you should just let the wind blow that word away. You should tell yourself, “That didn’t come from their heart. That’s a word for the wind. Just let it go.” Because they’re going to regret saying that, and they didn’t really mean it. It’s just that they don’t have words right now to express their pain, and that seemed like one that would work. I like to bring people along far enough so that they don’t ever say things like that, but as a pastor I don’t have the luxury of dictating what my people say. I just want to be patient and helpful. If a person is finding no comfort in believing that God is involved even in our catastrophes, I think it helps to point to the opposite, to see whether the opposite of God’s involvement is more comforting to them than his involvement. I think what people might need to hear at a point like that is, “If God is not powerful enough to stop that accident, what help can he be to you now?” In other words, get people to think just a little beyond the immediate statement of theological problem that they’re raising, so that the consequences of rejecting a sovereign God are felt to be as awesome, ominous, and terrible as they are. And how precious it is that we have a God on our side right now in our crisis who can, in his sovereignty, work everything together for our good, which we wouldn’t have if he were the kind of God who couldn’t have stopped that accident. We should be patient with folks and not assume that their windy words are the last word. By John Piper © Desiring God www.desiringGod.org
John Piper is the Pastor for Preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He studied at Wheaton College, where he first sensed God’s call to enter the ministry. He went on to earn degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary (B.D.) and the University of Munich (D.theol.). John is the author of more than 30 books. He and his wife, Noel, have four sons, one daughter, and an increasing number of grandchildren.
y l n o e h t C
re a w t f o s y t i l i b accounta on the internet
MOVE OVER SUMMER, A NEW SCHOOL YEAR IS HERE!
HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY SCHOOL YEAR. Brought to you by the good folks at Dynamic Life
Loving the elderly Some of the most precious times in my life have been spent with the elderly – baking cookies with my grandma, talking about literature and enunciating phrases like “How now brown cow” with my grandfather, and most recently, meeting new grandparent figures. Unfortunately, instead of revering their wisdom as is custom in many Asian countries, the American culture tends to try to forget about our parents and grandparents. We place our elderly in nursing homes as early as possible because we don’t have time to care for them ourselves. I’m not trying to put a guilt trip on anyone who may have a parent or a grandparent in a care facility; it just seems we give up hope on our elderly far too early. Today I spent time with two of the most brilliant people in the world, and both of them are over 90. Buddy, at the age of 91, still works at a funeral home. He has lived a full life. Though I don’t know much of his story, he immediately latched on to me this morning when I walked into church, causing me to feel some of the most genuine love of Christ I have known in a long time. He insisted that I sit next to him during the service, and even invited my boyfriend Drew and I and the pastor out for a nice lunch afterwards. Buddy’s stories sometimes aren’t completely clear due to his quiet voice and Louisiana accent, but his joyful and loving heart shines through his face and actions. Winnie, at nearly 93, is about as feisty of a woman as they come. You don’t put anything past Miss Winnie, who was once a businesswoman at the top of her game in New York. Though today was only my second time to see Miss Winnie, I am impressed that both times I have seen her, she has been perfectly put together, wearing a suit and looking very chic for a woman in her nineties. Drew has a special heart for Miss Winnie. While she may not be as quick as she once was, he is determined to keep her mind sharp as long as her body is here and encourages her to converse, read, and 10_RETHINK MONTHLY
watch TV. Leaning forward intently in her chair, looking very crisp in her bright blue suit, Winnie expressed her concerns about her care facility. She worries that there aren’t enough people in her wing to help stimulate her mind. She’s like a rocket scientist forced to return to junior high. I wish I could spend more time with the elderly. They cause me to slow down and view life in a timeline perspective, realizing that I will most likely be in similar shoes someday. Usually, when going to visit an elderly person, we “youngsters” enter with the mentality of, “I’m going to cheer them up and do a good deed.” But we are the ones who end up feeling uplifted. We give love, and we are given a love that has had time to brew over 80 or 90 years. But sometimes they cannot return love. Alzheimer’s has paid its toll on my own family, finally taking my Grandma Goodier last year after she suffered with the disease for almost 10 years. The last time my sister Amy and I visited her, she could not remember our names, much less tell us she loved us. But that’s when we have the opportunity to love the helpless. In the incredible book Touch, Pastor Rudy Rasmus says, “Ultimately, our reward for loving people isn’t the positive response of those we love. It’s the smile of God on our lives.” Sometimes we will receive a positive response when we reach out in love to the elderly or to anyone. Sometimes we won’t. But if our heart is to please our Father and to love with pure intentions, we can be sure that He is smiling over us.
Lindsay Goodier is an editor, a beach hippie and a marathon runner living in Houston, Texas. Read more of her writing at www.goodsforlife.wordpress.com.
RID OF THE GORILLA 4GETTING BY BRIAN JONES
Brian Jones has done a fascinating job with his latest book Getting Rid of the Gorilla. With an approach similar to Craig Groeschelâ€™s Confessions of a Pastor, Brian walks us through his personal struggle with an unforgiving heart and, with timely teaching and personal confession, guides us to a pathway of healing and forgiveness. His stories will make you laugh and cry and will ultimately bring you to a place of confrontation. This isnâ€™t a book you read and simply throw aside; itâ€™s a gorillakilling manual that you will refer to time and time again. The most liberating part comes toward the end. Brian wraps up his thoughts and ultimately points us back to the only true source of forgiveness - a secure relationship with Jesus Christ - the one and only â€œbeast-master.â€? This is a book you need to read.
THE OFFICE: SEASON FOUR
RELEASES: SEPT 2, 2008
Steve Carell (Get Smart) returns in his Golden GlobeÂŽ-winning role of â€œThe Worldâ€™s Greatest Boss,â€? Michael Scott, in Season Four of the hit comedy series The Office! This must-own four-disc set includes every irreverent episode from Season Four, including the five extended full TV-hour specials, plus hours of hilarious deleted scenes and bonus features! Rejoin Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) as they bring romance to the workplace, Dwight (Rainn Wilson) as he continues his quest to be Michaelâ€™s righthand man, and newly deemed â€œWunderkindâ€? Ryan (B.J. Novak), whoâ€™s working to drag Dunder Mifflin into the digital age. Developed for American TV by Greg Daniels, The Office is the intelligent and edgy Primetime EmmyÂŽ Award-winning series that critics are hailing as â€œthe funniest show on TVâ€? (Gavin Edwards, Rolling Stone). Youâ€™ll enjoy the irreplacable remarks, uncomfortable silences and petty behavior again and again! Starring: Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, Ed Helms, Melora Hardin, B.J. Novak, Leslie David Baker, Brian Baumgartner, Kate Flannery, Mindy Kaling, Angela Kinsey
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Oregon to around the World By Pete & Johanna Lessing
Our team had just arrived in Delhi, India after a long flight and we were driving to our accommodations. The taxi driver was weaving through streets, filled with more people than we could count, as an orchestra of car horns were sounding off like a New York City rush hour. The swamping heat was causing me to sweat as 11 people were crammed into a mid-sized van. If poverty had a smell, it was rotting trash mixed with urine and people not using deodorant. I found myself exhausted as my senses were completely overloaded. Then I heard words that brought me to the heart of God. One of the people we are traveling with said, “This is the most beautiful place I have ever been.” If someone would have asked us one year ago, “Where do you think you will be a year from now?” I am not sure my response would have included walking the streets of Delhi or going on a wild bus ride through the mountains of Northern Afghanistan. We never would have thought in our wildest dreams that God would lead us to these unique places where our hearts are challenged beyond belief. So please allow us, for the next 11 months, to bring you into our lives and on this journey. We will share personal stories, funny insights, and see some of God’s wonderful creation through Johanna’s camera lens as we travel to South Africa, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Germany, Spain, Morocco, and Costa Rica. Our prayer is that your hearts will be filled with joy as you delight in God’s goodness. Johanna, raised in Silverton, Oregon, married Pete Lessing after they met on a YWAM Discipleship Training Course. Their journey has led them to explore the “uttermost parts of the world” with YWAM’s PhotogenX team of photographers and missionaries. We’re excited to see their journey laid out for us every month on the pages of RETHINK Monthly. To find out more about Pete & Johanna, or see how you can get more involved both prayerfully and financially, visit their website: www.peteandjohanna.com
Because I care about me Banks suck, don’t they? This morning I was looking at my account, and I saw that I had been charged $160 in bogus fees, and subsequently had to spend the next hour explaining to various bank employees over the phone why the fees were bogus.
But man, I fought like a hornet, and ultimately I got what I wanted. Well now, after things have been “set right,” I’m calm, but also a little unsettled. When I found out that I had been wronged by my bank, I responded with quick fervor. No, it felt more like righteous anger. “Put me on the phone with someone who will remove these fees. Now.” I didn’t have to think it over, or plan it out. I called the bank immediately, because, well, my assets were being threatened. Obviously. But the thing that disturbs me is that I couldn’t tell you of a time in recent memory when I acted nearly that decisively on the behalf of someone else. I certainly don’t believe I was wrong for calling the bank to correct the error; no, but the problem is that I don’t fight like that for other people. There are perhaps a thousand reasons for this, but at the root of all of them is a simple one; I’m afraid of what it might cost me to care what happens in someone else’s life as much as I care what happens in my own. Because if you really care about someone, then you invest yourself in them. And if you invest your time, and energy in other people, then you will have less time and energy to invest in yourself. I’m desperate to see my dreams become realities. But even more powerful than my desire to succeed is my terror of failure. Earthquakes of paranoia rumble through my mind telling me that if I am not actively pursing my goals and ambitions every single day that I will eventually wake up a fifty-year-old nobody. That if I ignore the various responsibilities of my life that I will become a train wreck. And it’s true; people who ignore their dreams for long enough become nothing, and people who ignore their responsibilities become train wrecks. Whether or not we ever express this or admit it, we know 14_RETHINK MONTHLY
this is true; we are creatures that require maintenance. God knows this too. Which I think is why He tells us over and over and over in Scripture not to worry, but to trust Him, and allow Him to take care of us. He actually commands us not to worry. He also commands us to love others and to be servants. That is precisely what Jesus came here to teach us how to do; love others and serve them. He goes on to say that if we love Him we will obey Him. So as a follower of Jesus, I am left with this rather unnerving question; how do I start loving people more? How do I start serving them? As I am writing this, something embarrassingly obvious occurs to me; there is an overpass three blocks from my front door where homeless folks hang out. (Live.) Something tells me I should start there. If I’m being honest, I really don’t want to go. Not even a little bit. It’s midnight. I want to go to bed. And yet, I’m quite sure that God is telling me to stop typing, and get off my rear and doing something. A Brief Follow-Up I picked up a guy named Dave from under the bridge. We went to McDonald’s and sat outside because the inside-seating was closed. We talked about movies a little, and both of us agreed that “Snakes on a Plane” wasn’t very realistic. Then another homeless guy named Michael showed up, so we swung through the drive-thru again. Michael was a Vietnam vet and didn’t look so great; his hands looked like he had just punched his way out of a coffin and then dug up to the surface. When I was dropping Michael off, he took hold of my shoulder and lowered his head. I think he was praying for me. I’m not sure what to make of any of this. But I know that God is telling me to stop living in the land of hypotheticals.
Joel Christie lives in downtown Orlando, Florida. He is captived by good stories; the Bible, movies, novels, and the flesh and blood stories being told in people’s lives every day. God communicates powerfully through stories.
sept LOCAL HAPPENINGS
SALEM KEIZER AND THE MIDWILLAMETTE VALLEY
2 5 11
THE EXTREME TOUR, is an outreach program for at risk youth, will start on Sept 2 and run through Sept 3rd. The tour will consist of many bands which include: My Second Chance, Prophet X, Fatal Formality, Altar’d, 15 North, Die to Yourself, Kennebec and others. For more information, call 503851-6711 or visit www.theextremetour.com.
The 36th Annual Sublimity HARVEST FEST starts on Sept 5th and runs through Sept 7th. Monster trucks, tractor, truck and draft horse pulling competition, and more. Great music from 5 Guys Named Moe, Joe Stoddard, Cool Conspiracy, Brian Hanson and Carrie Cunningham. For more information call 503.769.3579 or visit www. sublimityharvestfest.org.
OKTOBERFEST, Oregon’s largest folk festival, held in Mount Angel will start Sept 11 and run through Sept 14. Admission is free so bring a friend. Enjoy your day with the traditional Bavarian food, lots of Oktoberfest sausage, a sports program, large arts and crafts show, a care show and more. For more info call 503-845-6882 or visit www.oktoberfest.org.
14 20 24 28 HAVE AN EVENT? TELL US ABOUT IT. RETHINKMONTHLY.COM Salem First Church of the Nazarene will host its 8th annual NEIGHBORHOOD BLOCK PARTY, an outreach geared toward reaching their community, Sunday, September 14 starting at 12:30. They are located at 1550 Market St in Salem. You can call the church office at 503-5813680 for more information of you can visit their website at www.salemnaz.org.
The Seventh Annual RUN, WALK RIDE FOR HABITAT to benefit McMinnville Habitat for Humanity will take place on Sept 20. Help us reach their goal of raising over $25,000. Proceeds go to offering affordable home ownership to families. The first 350 pre-registrants get a free bag and t-shirt. For more info call 503-472-9637 or visit www.machabitat.org.
SEE YOU AT THE POLE (SYATP), a student-initiated, led and organized event, will take place on Sept 24 starting at 7am at local middle schools, high schools and college flagpoles. Students are encouraged to pray for their school, friends, teachers, government, and their nation. To find out more about SYATP call 817-447-7526 or visit www.syatp.com.
Indulge Day Spa’s GRAND OPENING EVENT will be on Sunday, Sept 28 from 1-4pm. Enjoy a tour of their beautiful facility and select a free service (eyebrow wax, chair massage or polish). You can also enter to win door prizes and enjoy special discounts on retail items and services scheduled. For more info call 503-364-3608 or visit www.indulgesalem.com. RETHINKMONTHLY.COM_15
THE SECRET IS OUT.
“I believe, because the scripture tells me, that Jesus loves porn stars as much as He loves pastors.”
Craig Gross, pastor and founder of XXXChurch.com, talks to us about our nation’s raging addiction to pornography, Ron Jemery and the ministries plans to take Sin City by storm. He also argues that the solution he’s offering, is one that can’t be defeated. Edited by Mary Owen | Photos by Ryan Pavlovich RETHINKMONTHLY.COM_17
get free accountability software. www.x3watch.com RETHINK MONTHLY: FIRST OF ALL, HOW DID YOU BECOME THE “PORN PASTOR?” CRAIG GROSS: I noticed this common theme among kids in my youth group – they were struggling with porn and not one was talking about it. Friends of mine – Jake, who traveled with me giving talks on porn, and Mike, a worship leader at these events – sat down with me over lunch and asked, “Why isn’t this being addressed?” So we created xxxchurch.com as a safe place where people could go online and get the help and truth they needed about this issue. We were never like, “Hey, let’s quit our jobs and go pursue fighting porn.” It was more like, “Hey, we’re all involved in youth ministry and these youth are dealing with this, so let’s start a website that can help them.” HOW DID THAT START GET YOU TO LAS VEGAS? After we started the website, I was listening to Howard Stern talking about showing up at a porn show, and thought why not us! We jumped through all the hoops – costs, who would go, could we even go – and six months later, we ended up in Vegas at the adult expo. WHEN YOU MENTION “XXX” IN FRONT OF CHURCH, SOME PEOPLE SEEM TO SCREAM “HERESY!” WASN’T THAT THE RESPONCE FROM MANY PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH? Yeah, but that’s what I think is so great about it. It’s all about the “seedy and the sacred.” You merge those two with xxxchurch.com and it works. For some, it may seem sacrilegious, but when they realize what we’re doing, it starts to make sense. “XXX” is the most popular search category online. That’s the group we’re trying to reach. We aren’t advertising with naked women. You have to go there to figure out if it’s going to disappoint or maybe even help you. SO, THE MINISTRY IS SEEING LIVES CHANGED, MARRIAGES RESTORED, AND YOU THINK YOU’D BE GETTING SOME PRAISE, BUT IT DIDN’T REALLY SEEM TO BE THE CASE. JESUS DIDN’T CALL US TO AN EASY MINISTRY, DID HE? Jesus came to the sick, not the healthy. Actually, you’ll sometimes find more honesty at a porn show than in church. I can stand at the booth and talk to a guy that tells me he’s addicted, doesn’t like his job, or what he’s in love with. No one is trying to impress me with their “perfect life.” 18_RETHINK MONTHLY
WHY DO SO MANY OF THESE PEOPLE SHY AWAY FROM “RELIGION” IN MOST FORMS? People involved in the porn industry, people who look at porn, people who are in that lifestyle are so far from God, they want nothing to do with Him. Some of them have just made a few different turns in their lives than we have. We’re trying to bring a little light into a dark place, and we’re not scared of the darkness. SO, YOU’RE IN THE MIX, GOING TO PORN SHOWS, MEETING PEOPLE LIKE RON JEMERY. I’M SURE YOU GET THIS QUITE A BIT BUT HOW DO YOU REMAIN FAITHFUL TO THE CALL OF PURITY IN THE MIDST OF THIS “DIRTINESS?” At a porn show we are on mission. We’re not shopping there, not walking around by ourselves. We’re standing at the xxxchurch booth, wearing our xxxchurch T-shirts, handing out Bibles. But all eyes are on us. People are waiting for us to screw up, but we’re accountable to a team of people praying for us back home and friends and family at the show. We’re fired up about the opportunity we have, and we’re not going to blow that. WHAT ABOUT WHEN YOU ARE NOT AT PORN SHOWS? We’ve been doing this now for seven years, and we only go to porn shows a few times a year. The rest of the week, we receive emails and phone calls, messages from people telling us that their lives have been destroyed by this stuff. We know firsthand better than anyone about the negative effects on people’s lives. We’ve taken people to jail. We’ve gotten messages from people that their family and loved ones have committed suicide. We’ve seen and heard every horrible story imaginable. Porn kills. SO WHEN YOU GO TO THESE PLACES AND SEE PEOPLE WHO ARE JUST LIKE YOU AND ME BUT HAVE THIS PROBLEM, THIS ADDICTION, IT MUST BE A GREAT FEELING TO KNOW THAT YOU HAVE A SOLUTION. THAT MUST MAKE THIS EXPERIENCE A WHOLE LOT SWEETER. Yeah. When we go to a porn show, we go with a different set of eyes than the other people there. We know what we deal with week in and week out, and get the devastation this causes. We’re not sucked into the lie that porn is glamorous, just entertainment. We see firsthand how this hurts people. These shows don’t bring people closer together. And most of the girls in the industry would rather do anything but porn.
Julie, formerly known as Porn Star Sierra, left porn on June 20, 2007. In just two months, she walked away from the enslavement of the porn industry, stopped smoking pot, and she found a new place to live. Her new full-time job even offers her full benefits. It’s amazing, but it has not always been the story. Julie came from a violent childhood and moved around a lot. She began stripping at a young age, which ultimately led her to acting in porn movies. Porn shattered her life and after diving into drugs to help deaden the pain, she decided she wanted out. We saw in her a gifted person. Our ministry friend Shelley Lubben meets with her and is committed to helping her maximize her gifting. With great creativity, we want to see Sierra enroll in vocational school that increases her creativity.
connect. www.XXXchurch.com YOU GUYS PRINT THESE BIBLES AND ON THE COVER IT SIMPLE READS “JESUS LOVES PORN STARS.” SO, SIMPLELY PUT, DOES JESUS REALLY LOVE PORN STARS? I believe, because the scripture tells me, that Jesus loves porn stars as much as He loves pastors. Whatever you have done, God does not love you any less. Jesus came to restore the lost. Do you want the message to be “you’re going to hell,” like the picket signs say outside of the show, or “Jesus loves you,” like the Bible says? When people come to the booth and see a Bible that says “Jesus loves porn stars,” they immediately pick it up and look through it. They quickly get this is really a Bible. And then it’s a fun conversation from there. SO WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP FOR XXXCHURCH.COM? We started this ministry seven years ago in Las Vegas at the porn show, and the idea was to go there and never have to come back, but God had other plans. We’ve gone back every year, but this year more than ever I felt God asking, “Hey what if you didn’t leave?” At the time it wasn’t possible, but in the past few months, I’ve shared that with the team and we’ve all sold our homes. Now there are 21 people moving to Las Vegas in a few months. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FROM THERE? As well as keeping the website going, we want to start xxxchurch. There are no rules we’ll have to stick by – no starting at 9, no Sunday school, no worship music – nothing that most churches do. We’ll hit the shows, and have gatherings for people there who are attracted to all the wrong things. Sin City will be our backyard. AS WE WRAP THIS UP, WHAT IS ONE THING THAT YOU WANT TO LEAVE US WITH? The message that Jesus loves you transcends whatever profession or whatever situation you are caught in, to know that there is a God that really loves and there is nothing that can keep you from Him. Recently, I was on national television with Ron Jeremy, the biggest name in porn, and was asked point blank, “Is Ron Jeremy getting in to Heaven?” That’s a question I couldn’t answer. A lot of times people say, “I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, I haven’t figured out all the answers about Jesus yet,” but none of that stuff matters. We all have our excuses, but Jesus came so that we might have life. There is nothing – not even porn – that can keep you from receiving that.
We are honored to see what she has had the courage to do. She wants to use her life’s story to help others. Oddly, most girls who escape porn want to fade into obscurity. Julie wants to go public. She is determined to help others learn the truth about porn. With a five-year-old daughter who doesn’t live with her, she realized that she needs to be a mom to her princess. In time, because of the steps she has taken, her family will be reunited.
GET CONNECTED It’s no secret that porn kills and destroys lives. Every minute of every day, people are buying into the lie of pornography. Every second, $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography. Every 39 minutes, a new porn video is made. We want this to change. If you or someone you know needs help, point them to these churches below. They offer programs for people struggling with the grip of addiction. SALEM Grace Community Church 503-393-7515 | www.gracefamilyonline.com Morningstar Community Church 503-581-2477 | www.morningstarchurch.com Salem First Church of the Nazarene 503-581-3680 | www.salemnaz.org Salem First Free Methodist 503-930-0722 | www.salemfirst.com ALBANY North Albany Community Church 541-926-5291 | www.northalbany.org DALLAS Faith Evangelical Free Church 503-623-8034 | www.faithfreechurch.org [Additional Facts Continued on Page 21] RETHINKMONTHLY.COM_19
braille We took a minute, well several, and sat down with independent hip-hop artist Braille. We met for lunch at the Wild Pear in downtown Salem. He ordered hummus. Then we drilled him on life, hip-hop and his latest album. This is what he had to say.
the anatomy of a hip-hip artist
RETHINK MONTHLY: SO IS IT RAPPER, HIP-HOP ARTIST, OR AM I COMMITTING A SIN BY EVEN ASKING? BRAILLE: It all depends on who you talk to. I’m not the kind of guy who gets all caught up by labels. Labels are objective – just somebody’s opinion. So, I’m a rapper but rap is just one of four elements of hip-hop. You have break dancing. You have graffiti. You have rap and you have a DJ. So a hip-hop artist is someone who embraces all four elements and therefore embraces the culture of hip-hop. So I’m a rapper but I’m a part of the hip-hop culture. But I don’t care at this point – I’m fine with someone just calling me a musician or a poet – because ultimately your product is going to speak for itself. HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN THE HIP-HOP SCENE? I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. My parents split up when I was young. My mom got a job over in New Jersey, so we packed up and moved over there during high school. After high school, I didn’t go to college but moved out to L.A. – sort of my college for music – and became a homeless musician; sleeping on floors, gaining life experience. You know, life experience in music is just as important as learning to make the music. You can train someone how to make the music but if there’s no life behind it, no experience behind it, then they really don’t have anything to share with their audience. It’s when you get past the training and get to the ‘living it out’ that you start having something to say. SO YOUR LIFE STORY BECOMES YOUR TRADEMARK? Yeah, it’s like this is who I am, this is what I do and if you relate to this and like this, then I’m going to keep feeding it to you.
THAT BEING SAID, WHAT IS YOUR TRADEMARK? Passionate lyricism. There’s more curiosity to who I am as a person than how good of a rapper I am. I started out rapping as a thirteen year old kid. And a lot of people saw me try to do my thing when I was young, awkward, but they saw that I was working hard and going for it. Now thirteen years later, I’m married, have a kid and people are seeing that I’m still going for it and still standing for what I believe. For me, my trademark is just me. I sit down and make songs. I don’t look at what’s popular in the industry, I do what I like and do what sounds good to me and I’ll keep moving forward and keep trying to develop. ALL YOUR MUSIC HAS A SPIRITUAL SIDE. IS THAT INTENTIONAL OR DOES IT JUST COME OUT? As much as I’d like to say that it’s this huge intentional, well thought out plan of how I represent, I’m not really into that idea. I’m not in to manipulating who I am and what I do to make it appealing. I make a record like anyone else would make a record. The Bible says “from the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” So I’m like, “whatever is in my heart, that’s what I want to come out.” And when it comes out, if there’s not enough God in there, it’s because there’s not enough God in my heart. YOUR LATEST ALBUM, “THE IV EDITION,” IS IN STORES NOW. THAT’S GOT TO FEEL PRETTY GOOD, DOESN’T IT? Right now I look at it as progress. It’s not like there are twenty copies on every Best Buy shelf in America but it is available. I have a bigger machine behind me now but I still have to work hard to make it successful. Like if I were to go to sleep for a year, I don’t think my record would progress on its own during that time. I have to promote it to make people aware that it’s out there. It’s feast or famine.
connect with braille. www.braillehiphop.com www.myspace.com/braillebrizzy email@example.com
WHAT DOES THE “IV” MEAN ON YOUR NEW ALBUM? It’s the fourth edition – my fourth solo record – but at the same time, its word-play. In hospital terms, the IV puts medicine in the vain. It’s a metaphor relating to social illness – medicine for social illness. Our society is ill and we see the effects of our illness – like water for the thirsty and food for the hungry. We have people in our society who are ill because their simple basic needs are not being met. In that same sense, a lot of the other illnesses that are going on in our world, roots from being ill with sin and that sin is causing us to do things that are destroying ourselves and each other. Because of that, we need mercy and grace for our illness. And ultimately, this album offers Jesus Christ as the remedy and the redemption for our illness. SO WHAT WOULD BE THE ONE THING YOU’D LIKE TO LEAVE US WITH? I’m not sure who’s reading this and what their situation is, but I know that God is capable of turning their situation around, their problem around. I don’t know what that looks like for everybody but I can simple say that I’ve seen the turnaround in my own life. From the regular old kid with double XL clothes that didn’t fit his body, braces on my face and then seeing the transformation happen as I started following God. Taking all my passions and desires and shaping them into something that has value and bringing me to a place where I can see that value and taste that value. The point is that I’m aware of God and want others to be aware of him too. Again, I don’t know where people are at, but I do know there’s is a God who loves them.
THE TRUE FACTS ABOUT PORN
STRIPPING AWAY THE IMAGE
PHOTO: LUCY JODLOWSKA
Just the other day, I had the opportunity to sit in on a “peer intervention” at an inpatient drug and alcohol treatment program.
Michael Yoder is a married father of three children. He has been involved in local youth ministry for over twenty years and currently oversees the Youth Program at Bible Center Fellowship in Salem, OR. His current position as the Assistant Superintendent of Transitional Services at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem puts food on the table and a roof over his family’s head.
The purpose of the intervention was to allow the patient’s peers to confront him about his behaviors that were preventing him from progressing in the program. Unlike the stereotype intervention, this one is carried out in a caring and concerned way. After the intervention, the person facilitating the training made an interesting statement. He said, “Traditional therapy is centered on comforting the disquieted. This process is about disquieting the comfortable.” He went on to explain that the patients involved in the program have spent a lifetime building up a false image of themselves ,and that, only by having that image stripped away, would the person be able to see themselves as they really are. Until then, they really had no motivation to change the way they thought, lived, and treated others around them. What the facilitator said stuck in my head and stayed there, dangling, un-
til I finally relented and began to ponder it. When I encounter such concepts in the world, I often dissect them, looking for connections to my spiritual life and Christian walk. Suddenly, it occurred to me that the very words of the facilitator summed up a lot of the efforts of Jesus. He, too, came to disquiet the comfortable. At first, this concept may seem contradictory to articles in the last issue about the homeless and their need for us to reach out and meet their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. However, this isn’t the type of person I’m talking about. The people he conflicted were the spiritual leadership that had entrapped the people in their rules and regulations. They had become comfortable in the power, control, and status they had acquired. He disquieted the rich young ruler who thought he had it all under control (don’t we all). And, he disquieted the masses of followers when he told them what it would take if they desired to continue walking with him. I can almost hear him saying to us now, “Hey, if you want to follow me, you’re going to have to hate your mother and father … you don’t need a house to sleep in … you don’t have to worry about your clothes … you have to eat my flesh and drink my blood...” Oh yeah, that last one is where they all walked away. All but twelve anyway. I can’t help but to think right now, would I have made it thirteen?
Thinking about Advertising? Well, think rethink. That was easy.
Building Bridges. Building Bridges. www.salemlf.org
Building Bridges. www.salemlf.org