Rabu, 24 September 2008
Beginning of a Male Porn Star’s Career
My name is Ryan and I am an "Ex-Porn star"!
I was known as Trent Roe/Rowland. I was in the business in 1994-95. I did nothing but
straight sex. I thought that I had fulfilled a lifelong dream by moving to L.A. to be a
carpenter just like my brother and it just wasn’t enough! I told the friends back home in
Fox Lake Illinois that I was going to California to, “Get Paid to Get Laid”! When in
actuality, I was in it to get revenge on women. I had been in a few bad relationships and
was faithful every time. I was hurt and only by a few women. I craved “REVENGE”. It
took me 7 years to find the industry not even knowing, I lived in “The Valley of Porn” in
the San Fernando Valley.
On New Years Eve 1994, I was driving down White Oak Avenue a block from my house
and I saw a blonde in a BMW. I smiled and she waved back. That was Teri Ray/Rey. She
pulled over right behind me and I got her number. I called her a few days later and went
to her house around the corner from mine. In minutes we were on her bed having sex and
then she sprung it on me. Her line of work was a Porn star and the first thought I had was,
that I had just been infected with H.I.V.! She saw the look on my face and could tell I
was terrified. She assured me that everything was o.k. and that everyone is regularly
tested (once, 1-ce, Once) a month. For some reason my heart started to beat again. She
informed me that my talents could be used to make money. Thus, the “Beginning of a
Porn Star’s Career”!
She introduced me to a roommate of hers named Warren Scott. He wanted to get stoned,
so I ran home and got him a bag of weed. I had been selling pot for years. He continued
to try and convince me that we looked like brothers and that we could be the “Next
Sensation” in the porn industry. After about 2 ounces later and 2 month’s had gone by, I
fell. I needed the money and Warren was a pretty cool cat, and a great “Drug Customer”!
He had all the contacts and convinced me that we could get rich. He said “if you can do
this, you can do anything”!
I came up with the name Trent Rivers and for some reason that got screwed up on every
shoot!?? Go figure! The first was the worst and I can’t even tell you why, but I pulled
through and got my first check. Gee, $100.00 for 45 minutes. That was what I was
making as a carpenter in 8 hours. I, like most, kept my day job and did shoots when
Warren would call me and I could make the time. I was cool with it and within a month I
had a reputation. We were kickin’ the crap out of the “Rick and Dave Show”! That’s
what our goal was. Rick and Dave were pigs and we wanted to be bigger and
However, my fear got the better of me. By now I was getting calls from every producer in
the business, Jon Morgan, Alex Katz, you name em’. I started to go to casting calls at
“World Modeling Agency” and that was when it hit me. I felt like every chick in that
place on Van Nuys Blvd. wanted to “RAPE” me! I was walking out and then I saw my
brother’s old roommate Don walking up the stairs, I froze. I had known him for years
because he was a popular nightclub manager of a few of the clubs we built all over L.A..
In fact Don has known me since I was 15 when I visited California the first time in the
summer of 85’.
I freaked out. I was terrified to let him see me and tell my brother. I hid my face all the
way down the stairs from Jim South’s office. I hated what I was doing. I realized then
that I have 4 sisters and if they found out, I would never hear from my family again. I
talked to a friend of mine that I was getting my weed from and he made a good point. He
reminded me that I had a good clientele for customers that are a bunch of coke heads and
drug addicts. True story. He assured me that if I did a few more Flicks and upped my
drug sales business, I could make a hell of a-lot more then 150 bucks a shoot! Gee, did
ya’ see the huge increase in my pay? Thought so. Ha Ha. We started to rent out the house
for porn shoots and I had everyone calling me for Coke.
By now I had to make a decision. Stay in the Porn Industry or quit. I did the obvious. I
thought about it over the next 2 weeks. I decided that the last time I saw my step father,
he was switching the remote control pretty damn fast when I would walk in the living
room. I got smart and looked at the buttons very closely. The “channel back” button was
worn out so I tried it to see what channel he was on last. Guess what? We had a pirate
box and the Spice channel was on! Holy Crap! I was getting calls from them. I had to quit
“Now”! My whole life in the porn industry was closing in on my personal life at home. I
thought if anyone see’s me on Spice, I’m dead as far as family is concerned.
I quit that minute. I went on with the contacts I had and kept polluting people’s lives with
the drugs I could provide. I was making a killing. I was cleaning up my act, so I thought!
I went from making 300-400 bucks a day shooting porno’s, to almost $1200.00 every
other day selling drugs and keeping my face off film. I was 25 back then. I thought that
was some pretty cool revenge. Then I thought about the revenge factor and how much a
slap in the face the business is to men. I was getting top pay just like everyone else. Only
thing is the revenge wasn’t working. I was making 150 bucks and some chick just walked
away with $3,000.00 in one shoot! That was a slap in the face. By the end of the week I
found myself with Morgan Lefay, cruising around so she could by a new car! “SLAP”
and the last one I would take!
I thought about the 10 nieces and nephews I had and how devastated they would be if
they saw there uncle in a Porno. What kind of crap is that? What the hell are they doing
watching porn’s anyway? I didn’t want that to happen and now it won’t if Shelley
Lubben and I can help it! If they do, then they will have to face Shelley and I
“AS A TEAM”!
We are full blooded “Christians” and for those of you that are unaware of what that is
allow me to explain. We were so afraid that we would be going to hell that we reached
out and someone found us. That someone was “Jesus Christ” our Lord and Savior. We
understand the sins that we have committed may never be accepted in society’s eyes, but
that isn’t for us to change, that is God’s will. Being a Christian means this: we believe
that Jesus Christ died for our sins on the cross and as long as we can say with our mouths
“I believe Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior” I will be forgiven for “ALL” of my sins no
matter how terrible they are!
We were lost souls walking the Earth looking for attention when we should’ve been
searching for the Lord. We wanted to be noticed because we thought we were good
looking. We just went about it the wrong way. Looks don’t make a person, your
personality does. I have always gotten people to laugh and that made me happy, but it just
wasn’t enough. The things we go through when we are children reflect on our adulthood
and the outcome of who we decide to be when we get older.
I had difficulties finding a girlfriend when I lived in Fox Lake Illinois because it’s a small
town and back in the 80’s was only home to 15,000 white people. All of the pretty one’s I
had a crush on in grade school were already taken and having sex. That kinda disgusted
me being 17, but got to be attractive when I got the opportunity to move to L.A..
Remember that video David Lee Roth put out in the 80’s, “California Girls”? Gee, wasn’t
that a Beach Boys tune? Kinda sucks to admit that the television/MTV is what corrupted
me to begin with, but was the end of my destiny overall! I hate television and the media
because they always distort what is real and will probably do the same to this article as
As for the reflections of my Porno’s haunting me, they don’t, but they did at one time not
long ago. I had a relationship that I thought was genuine. I had a woman that I thought I
was in love with until I realized that I should’ve been honest about my past before we had
sex. (another, Un-Christian Like motive)
Our relationship continued until one day my computer crashed. Being that she was a
computer wiz she tried to fix it. When she lied and said the board was cracked and she
had to go through my hard drive to save my files, she found a box cover she thought I
was proud of. I was at the 13 year mark of getting over my past. She flipped and mistook
me for Warren. I admitted to her that who she thought was me, wasn’t. In fact I was the
guy with the long hair on the top left.
Admitting to my past I thought everything would work out. How wrong I was. She
continued to torment me on a daily basis and eventually down loaded 3 of my movies.
Gee, lets’ just contribute to the Porn Industry and give them more money and better
search results with those purchases! She then made me sit and watch the crap I was in
and critique them, piece by piece. That was the last straw and I knew were this
relationship was headed. I packed my stuff (Clothes) and split for 2 weeks. By the time I
got over this torment, I went home at 6am and found some crack head in my bed with my
woman. She said he was an “Ordained Minister”! Since when does any Minister jump in
bed out of wedlock? Which reminds me. Back to my “Christian Faith”:
I have completely given up on having sex until I am married. I am now attending Church
4 days a week and I have found the truth in God! I went on an Encounter with the men
from “The Shepherd of the Hills” church in Porter Ranch, California in November 2007.
That was the most incredible experience I have ever had! I since have changed every way
of thinking in my life and I truly understand now after 37 years, that God is finally in
control of my life. I can also add that I have finally found the woman of my dreams. I met
her online. “Yes online” at www.faithbase.com a dating website for Christians. We
figured out that we attend the same church, both hate Sushi, both are German, Irish, and
French. We also lived on the same exact street in 2001 less the 200 feet away from each
other! Both our grandmothers are full blood German and we both know Shelley Lubben!
Gee, the list goes on and on and on. All I know is that we are both ready and willing to
live a happy life together and keep ourselves pure for the Lord in our Christian Faith!
I have never met such a beautiful woman (inside or out) that actually accepts me for who
I am and not “WHAT I WAS”! I am glad to say that my family is completely aware of
what I am doing and they are totally supporting me with my decision.
I thank Shelley Lubben and Family for being so strong and being so patient with me. I
know that they have been waiting for this testimony for over 6 month’s and I am finally
ready to face the world with my story so that together, we can help to save the children of
the world from becoming exposed to the Porn Industry and help “KILL IT”. We are also
reaching out to the men and women that are currently trying to deal with these issues as
we have for many years. We do not want to see another suicide or death that will destroy
another family ever again! I am doing God’s Will and I thank you Jesus Christ, for saving
my soul on 11/03/2007!
Amen and God Bless
Rabu, 17 September 2008
BAGAIMANA MEMBANTU ANAK-ANAK YANG KELAPARAN
Untunglah hanya sedikit orang Kristen yang memiliki prasangka buruk
bahwa orang yang lapar adalah orang yang terlalu malas bekerja. Yang
masih belum jelas dan perlu kita pikirkan adalah apa penyebab
Penyebab kelaparan tidak berdiri sendiri. Kelaparan bukan keadaan
yang terjadi satu kali, misalnya akibat dari kurangnya hujan
(kekeringan) atau gagalnya panen (paceklik) saja. Lebih dari itu,
kelaparan berhubungan dengan beberapa faktor yang saling berkaitan,
meliputi perang, buta aksara, sakit penyakit, air kotor, tekanan
pemerintah, penyalahgunaan narkoba, kerusakan lingkungan, perumahan
kumuh, keterbelakangan pendidikan, dan kriminalitas -- ini hanyalah
beberapa contoh kecil.
Ironisnya, angka statistik terbesar penyebab kelaparan berkaitan
dengan anak-anak yang terabaikan. Jeff Sellers, dalam majalah "World
Vision", meringkas fakta memilukan tersebut seperti di bawah ini.
* Anak-anak selalu menjadi korban perang. Namun pada dekade terakhir
ini, terjadi peningkatan jumlah anak-anak, sebagian masih berusia
delapan tahun, yang diberdayakan untuk ikut berperang seperti
layaknya tentara di tengah banyak konflik.
* Obat-obatan dan minuman keras telah memberi dampak buruk terhadap
kehidupan anak-anak di pedesaan, pinggiran kota, bahkan
kota-kota di seluruh dunia. Obat-obat terlarang adalah penyebab
utama timbulnya penyakit pada bayi-bayi, anak-anak, dan
orang-orang dewasa yang hidup di kota-kota di Amerika Serikat,
menurut Steve Joseph, Komisaris Departemen Kesehatan Kota New York
(New York City Health).
* Jutaan anak kehilangan kesempatan untuk memeroleh pendidikan yang
layak karena mereka harus bekerja membantu menghidupi keluarga.
Mereka sering dieksploitasi dan dipaksa bekerja dalam situasi yang
kurang aman dengan upah kecil. Di beberapa negara, anak-anak lebih
banyak dicari untuk dipekerjakan ketimbang orang dewasa yang tidak
punya ketrampilan. Alasannya, orang dewasa lebih sulit
diintimidasi dan cenderung menuntut kondisi yang lebih baik.
* Sebanyak seratus juta anak mungkin hidup di jalan-jalan di
perkotaan di seluruh dunia. Sebagian besar tidak memiliki
keluarga. Beberapa anak ditelantarkan begitu saja; lainnya lari
dari rumah karena dianiaya dan diabaikan.
* Enam penyakit yang dapat dicegah -- cacar air, batuk akut,
difteri, TBC, polio, dan tetanus -- menjadi penyebab kematian
jutaan anak setiap tahun. Banyak juga anak-anak yang meninggal
karena dehidrasi (padahal mudah diobati dengan gula dan air).
* Di beberapa negara, hanya segelintir anak yang mengenyam
pendidikan selama beberapa tahun. Anak perempuan dan anak-anak
cacat bahkan hampir tidak mendapat kesempatan memeroleh
pendidikan. Hal inilah yang menutup kesempatan bagi mereka untuk
menjadi orang dewasa dan memenuhi kebutuhannya sendiri.
Kini, kebutuhan untuk merawat mereka sangatlah mendesak dan penting
untuk dilakukan. Anak-anak yang menderita kekurangan gizi akan
tergantung pada perawatan orang lain selama hidupnya karena
kerusakan otak yang terjadi akibat absennya nutrisi utama selama
masa-masa penting pertumbuhan mereka.
Setiap hari, lebih dari 40.000 orang meninggal akibat
masalah-masalah yang berkaitan dengan kelaparan. Saat ini, negara
Afrika menjadi tempat yang paling memprihatinkan karena 20 juta
orang di sana, di Ethiopia, Sudan, Mozambik, dan Angola, terancam
kelaparan. Namun, kemiskinan juga ada di dekat kita. Lebih dari 32
juta orang Amerika hidup di bawah garis kemiskinan -- 40% di
antaranya adalah anak-anak -- dan sebanyak 4 juta orang Amerika
tinggal di jalanan. Beberapa angka statistik menggambarkan
kemiskinan di Amerika.
Pada tahun 1989, para wanita yang kecanduan obat-obatan melahirkan
375.000 bayi; 470.000 bayi dilahirkan oleh ibu usia remaja yang
belum bekerja dan tanpa ayah. Dua puluh lima persen dari seluruh
wanita hamil tidak mendapat perawatan menjelang proses persalinan,
sementara Amerika Serikat menduduki peringkat ke-18 sedunia dalam
hal kematian bayi. Dua puluh lima persen murid SMU putus sekolah
sebelum lulus dan 75%-nya tidak mampu menulis surat lamaran
pekerjaan. (Gordon Aeschlimamn, GlobalTrends, Downers Grove, Ill.:
Intervarsity Press, 1990).
Jelas, dunia yang kelaparan ini memerlukan respons yang utuh dan
cerdas dari orang-orang Kristen. Kita beruntung karena Tuhan tidak
hanya memberi kita hati yang penuh belas kasihan, namun juga kepala
yang dapat berpikir dan kemampuan yang mampu mengimbangi
tantangan-tangangan tersulit dalam memerangi kelaparan.
1. "Mensponsori" Anak
Mensponsori anak mungkin merupakan respons paling lazim yang
telah kita pahami dalam menghadapi kelaparan. Dengan sangat ahli,
beberapa organisasi dikelola untuk memenuhi kebutuhan orang-orang
yang tiba-tiba terjebak dalam tragedi kelaparan, banjir, gempa
bumi, atau perang. Organisasi-organisasi yang sama itu juga
melaksanakan proyek pengembangan jangka panjang yang dikerjakan
bersama-sama dengan masyarakat yang membutuhkan. Dengan 18 -- 30
dolar, Anda dapat membantu memberikan segala nutrisi, pendidikan,
dan perawatan kepada seorang anak di Afrika, Asia, atau Amerika
Latin, yang tentu saja dibutuhkan mereka di kemudian hari.
Hanya sedikit dari kita yang mengenali anak yang kelaparan secara
pribadi. Kelaparan merupakan tragedi tak dikenal yang nampaknya
jauh dari lingkungan di sekitar kita. Bahkan, kita tidak dapat
membayangkan anak tetangga kita sekarat karena kelaparan. Program
sponsor anak dapat membantu kita melontarkan pertanyaan mendasar,
Apakah saya mengetahui nama orang yang kelaparan? Hal ini
merupakan sesuatu yang sangat pribadi. Keuntungan paling besar
dari program sponsor anak (selain kebutuhan anak yang jelas dan
mendesak) adalah bahwa sang sponsor menerima foto anak, lengkap
dengan nama dan asal usulnya. Mengenali anak yang kelaparan
secara pribadi membuat kita menyadari dengan lebih serius dampak
yang ditimbulkan oleh kelaparan bagi dunia. Jika Anda tidak
mengetahui nama-nama orang yang kelaparan, pertimbangkan untuk
bergabung dalam program sponsor anak.
2. Anak Asuh
Terdapat sekitar 325.000 anak asuh di Amerika sekarang ini.
Sebagian besar dari mereka adalah korban kekerasan, baik
pelecehan seksual maupun kekerasan emosional, kehilangan orang
tua karena meninggal, atau kemiskinan yang membuat orang tua
tidak mampu lagi merawat anak-anaknya. Beberapa dari anak itu
dilahirkan oleh para remaja yang hamil dan menolak untuk aborsi.
Kita harus bertanya, "Ke mana perginya anak-anak itu?" Seorang
anak asuh berada di bawah perwalian pengadilan, maksudnya anak
tersebut secara hukum dipelihara oleh negara. Pengadilan akan
memutuskan ke mana anak-anak tersebut akan pergi, dan sayangnya,
hanya ada 125.000 keluarga di Amerika yang mau membuka pintu
rumah mereka. Seharusnya tidak demikian. Ada satu gereja di
Amerika bagi setiap anak asuh. Orang-orang Kristen bisa
menjangkau dan melayani "orang-orang yang terabaikan itu".
Memelihara anak asuh jelas lebih menyita waktu dan energi
dibandingkan program sponsor. Namun jika orang-orang Kristen
mengatasi kebutuhan ini bersama-sama, anak-anak itu bisa
mendapatkan keluarga yang menyenangkan. Lakukan pendekatan
terhadap badan penggembalaan gereja Anda dan ungkapkan gagasan
mengenai anak asuh ini sehingga gereja menyetujuinya dan memberi
kesempatan untuk mengasuh paling tidak satu anak. Karena
pengasuhan anak merupakan suatu keputusan penting yang harus
diambil oleh sebuah keluarga, maka gereja bisa saja membentuk
komite yang dianggotai oleh orang-orang yang tertarik dengan
masalah pengasuhan anak. Tugas komite tersebut termasuk
menyediakan bantuan nyata bagi keluarga yang mengasuh anak
tersebut. Anggota komite bisa juga mengajukan diri untuk mengasuh
Cari informasi di kantor pemerintah lokal di daerah Anda, pusat
terapi, atau gereja mengenai pengasuhan anak. Masing-masing
negara memiliki aturan dan prosedur sendiri-sendiri.
Mengadopsi anak merupakan bentuk bantuan paling tinggi yang bisa
diberikan bagi anak, tapi jelas memberikan tuntutan yang paling
besar bagi keluarga yang bersangkutan. Contohnya, ribuan anak
Amerika Utara tidak akan pernah memiliki ayah atau ibu. Mereka
hanya akan berpindah-pindah dari satu keluarga asuh ke keluarga
asuh yang lain sesuai persyaratan yang ditentukan pengadilan
sampai mereka berusia delapan belas tahun. Pada dasarnya, mereka
adalah yatim piatu. Rasul Yakobus mengatakan bahwa memelihara
yatim piatu adalah ibadah yang murni. Bentuk pelayanan kepada
sesama ini mencerminkan agungnya kelemahlembutan dan belas
kasihan hati Allah bagi manusia. Bapa Surgawi kita begitu peduli
dengan kondisi anak yatim piatu yang memprihatinkan.
Mungkin Tuhan menggerakkan Anda untuk mengadopsi anak. Jika Anda
terdorong mengikuti tuntunan Allah itu, ada beberapa hal yang
bisa Anda lakukan untuk memulainya. Bertanyalah dengan orang tua
yang sudah pernah mengadopsi anak. Anda akan mendengar banyak
kisah sukses yang membahagiakan serta kesulitan dan kegagalan.
Baca kisah-kisah tersebut di perpustakaan di daerah Anda, minta
kepada kantor departemen sosial di daerah Anda untuk mengatur
pertemuan dengan staf yang bertanggung jawab dalam bidang adopsi
di bawah pengawasan negara. Adakan tanya jawab dengan badan
pengadopsian anak dan berbicaralah dengan anak yang akan Anda
adopsi. Bertanyalah kepada Allah, semampu Anda, untuk mengerti
apakah Anda dan pasangan Anda memang terpanggil untuk mengadopsi
anak. Keputusan Anda ini penting dan harus datang dari lubuk hati
yang paling dalam karena keputusan ini harus lebih banyak
menguntungkan pihak anak. Mintalah keterangan juga tentang
beragam pengeluaran yang berkaitan dengan pengadopsian anak.
Jika Anda merasa ini adalah pimpinan Tuhan bagi Anda, bertanyalah
kepada pegawai pemerintah mengenai aturan-aturan mengadopsi anak
di daerah Anda. Mereka, dan mungkin beberapa gereja di daerah
Anda dapat memberi informasi tentang organisasi pengadopsian anak
yang memiliki reputasi yang baik. Pertimbangkan apakah Anda
bersedia mengadopsi anak keturunan campuran atau anak yang
memiliki sedikit cacat tubuh. Seperti yang kami sarankan dalam
pembahasan tentang anak angkat, cari tahulah apakah gereja lokal
Anda akan bersedia membentuk kelompok pendukung yang dikhususkan
untuk membantu Anda dan pasangan Anda saat melakukan keputusan
penting ini. (t/Setyo)
Judul Buku: 50 Ways You Can Feed a Hungry World
Penulis: Tony Campolo dan Gordon Aeschliman
Penerbit: Intervarsity Press, Illinois 1991
Halaman: 9 -- 11 dan 45 -- 50
Selasa, 16 September 2008
A Starting places
My name is Tracy Coggin and I was an exotic dancer for six years in the Portland Metro dance circuit.
My heart is to give former dancers like myself a chance to heal, a place to go and someone to talk to about what they have been through or still are going through.
The pain and shame of dancing doesn't stop when the music does. I have been out of dancing for over 13 years and would love to help in any way possible; I would like to keep young women from making the mistakes I did and encourage them to come out of the industry.
There is so much pain after the dance is over. I love life and I feel that God has given me something special that I can share with other women.
I hope that you can trust that I understand where you're coming from. I lived in the shadows of my dancing career for 13 years--being public about something so painful can be a little intimidating at times--but I figure that if I could dance in front of a crowd naked, then this is nothing.
I would like to open this webpage to all women that have some form of porn addiction; from dancing to prostitution and everything in-between.
There are women out there that are addicted to porn on the internet or watching porn movies. I know what it is like to have a secret and not be able to share it. Please, give me the privilege to at least listen to what you have to say.
Life for me now is what I have always hoped it would be. All my life I have searched for something to fill a void, from alcohol and drugs to sexual promiscuity but now I feel whole again.
I have learned to forgive myself because I know that God and my family, (I am married and have 2 son's) have forgiven me. My family is very proud of who I have become because they know what I have been through.
Woman at the Well Ministries, PO Box 3634
Hillsboro, OR 97124
Please Call (503)799-0673 Serving Portland, Beaverton, Hillsboro Oregon Areas
Tracy wants to reach out to former dancers like herself . Her vision is to help with the needs of other women and to help prevent young women form making the same mistakes that she has.
Tracy spoke to the Senate in Salem, Oregon on April 10th, 2003 about changing the age of Dancers and Patrons in Under 21 clubs.
She has taken a stand with people in her community by picketing in front of Mr. Peeps (a local porn shop) to show her support, as well as participating in discussions with the promoters of the porn industry.
Tracy's heart is to help all women that have any type of pornography issues. She would like to help them stay out of the adult industry; from Prostitution, Adult Film, former dancers and women that have any other porn addiction. Her vision extends beyond the realm of dancing.
Kamis, 11 September 2008
Former Porn Actress and Prostitute
I was born in 1968 and grew up in southern California. I am the eldest of three children and was born a strong-willed child with a "spirited" personality. The first 8 years of life my family attended a good church where I learned about God and Jesus. As a little girl, I knew and loved Jesus very much.
When I turned 9 years old things changed in our family. We moved to Glendora and left the church and friends we knew and loved. My parents stopped attending church and our family drifted away from God and each other. I grew up not having much of a relationship with either of my parents, although they were not bad people. Much of our our family time was spent sitting in front of the television. Our family loved to watch television. I still remember most of the episodes from the 70's and 80's shows. I watched a lot of television and from it began to develop wrong and harmful thinking. My Mother always said the tv was the best babysitter.
Growing up, I was different than other kids. I was highly creative and writing poetry and short stories at a young age. I was very frustrated because I had no place to channel my creative energy. My parents didn't involve me in extracurricular activities and most of the time I was very bored. At 6 years old, I wrote, directed, produced and "starred" in plays I put on at my school. My first grade teacher saw the creativity in me. She told my mother that she was amazed by me and she wanted to see where I was when I was in my 30's. She believed I would become a Hollywood actress or movie producer.
I was also peculiar in the fact that I began masturbating and had sexual tendencies at a very young age. I was sexually abused by a girl and her teenage brother when I was 9 years old and from then on had several sexual encounters with both girls and boys before age 18. Sex became confusing to me. Sex meant "love" to me as it felt good to be wanted by someone and receive attention but at the same time I felt dirty. I didn't recognize until later that I had been sexually violated as a child.
As a teenager, I looked for love in boys and alcohol and started having sex at age 16. My teenage years were filled with constant yelling and arguing between my parents and I. I had a mother who was often mad at me and a father who seemed busy to have a relationship with me. I don't remember anyone saying "I love you" during those years. My parents weren't bad people but I felt they didn’t take much interest in me and I became a rebellious resentful teenager who acted out to get attention. But instead of get their attention, my parents preferred to maintain peace in the home. So I was allowed to do things like dress up as a playboy bunny at age 15. I was allowed to date boys they didn't know. At 15 I was allowed to go to a prom with an 18 yr old boy who got me drunk for the first time. This began a lifestyle of partying for me and I started hanging out at nightclubs using drugs at 16. My parents knew I had alcohol problems but they didn't know what to do with me. We attempted family counseling but it was short lived. So I went searching for a new family and found "love" in the wrong crowd, drinking alcohol regularly and getting high on marijuana. My parents went through a lot of anguish because of my actions, and finally–being at their wits end– told me to leave home at age 18.
I ended up in the San Fernando Valley with no food and no money. A “nice” man saw I was upset and told me how sorry he was. He put his arm around me and consoled me and then offered to help me. But then he told me he knew a man who wanted to have sex with me and he'd give me money. I was still in shock and so full of rage because my parents kicked me out that I didn’t care anymore so I accepted his offer. I sold myself for $35 and a life of prostitution began for me.
Before long I met a madam who introduced me to the "glamorous" side of prostitution. She taught me every trick of the trade and how to manipulate men. At first it seemed exciting with men giving me money, jewelry and gifts but soon it became a life of slavery. I found myself having bizarre sex with strangers and began to hate it. Clients would do things like break condoms on purpose or follow me around and stalk me. One man tried to kill me and hit me with his truck. Another man carried a gun whenever he was with me and threatened to kill me if I didn't perform certain sex acts. Men made demands on me and I was constantly having to lie in order to get out of very frightening situations. I became a professional liar and could literally lie my way out of anything. I even lied my way out of several DUI's and several near death experiences. This is the standard for the sex industry and is the main survival tool for any stripper, prostitute or porn actress.
The sex industry lifestyle was getting worse and worse for me and I felt like I had no where to turn. Jesus kept tugging at my heart but I ignored Him. I figured, God wasn't taking care of me so I had to do what ever I could to survive.
This vicious cycle of working as a prostitute and exotic dancer in Southern California lasted for eight years. While working as a prostitute, I became pregnant three times from clients and it devastated me. A million questions formed in my mind each time. How could I let this happen? How would I take care of the baby? Should I have an abortion? Where could I turn to? I didn’t even know who the fathers were for two of the pregnancies. Then I remembered Jesus and I begged Him, “Please help me”. God comforted me and I knew I could never kill a life so I kept my baby. Two of the pregnancies ended in miscarriage but one of them did not and I had my first daughter, Tiffany, at age 20. She is mixed with Asian and is very beautiful. I tried to go back to doing only exotic dancing, but prostitution crept up on me and was hard to resist, especially as a single mother.
After a few years as a single mother and working as a prostitute and dancer, I began to drink very heavily and developed a terrible addiction to alcohol and drugs. Tiffany grew up a sad little girl neglected and her innocence was often violated. As she grew older she realized strange men were "visiting" me and was angry with me. I use to make her hide in her bedroom while I "entertained" clients. She also saw me in "peculiar" relationships with women. She didn't totally understand it all but she definitely was subjected to living with a lewd wild woman. I was such a bad mother, that I use to give Tiffany a beeper and make her go to the park while I pulled tricks. She was only four years old.
I began to see myself as a complete failure. I lost all self worth and hated myself for being a horrible mother. I was so tired from always trying to survive. There was never any rest from the lifestyle. Men followed me home, slashed my tires, called me at all hours, came over drunk in the middle of the night, and even attempted to kill me. To function, I always had a big bottle of Jack Daniels on hand. Sometimes I'd go sit in a corner with my bottle and cry out totally drunk to Jesus, "Please help me!", but it seemed He wasn't there. Yet I always felt a strange "protection" around me.
As my painful journey progressed, I became involved in the adult film industry. I learned I could make quick easy money and it seemed safer and more legal than prostitution. Many of the prostitutes I knew were getting raped and sent to jail and I didn't want that to happen to me. Also by this time I was a hardcore alcoholic and drug user and pretty incapable of making rational decisions.
When I did my first adult film something very "dark" came over me. I could almost hear the devil say, "See Shelley, I will make you famous and THEN everyone will love you." A powerful strange force enabled me to perform at intense levels only to come off the high and find myself shattered from the shame and degradation. I loved the attention but hated myself at the same time. I loved to hear how great I was but hated the brutal sex. I began to do very hardcore movies and only more drugs and alcohol could get me through them. It was like I had something to prove to the world and to everyone who had ever hurt me and when the porn industry opened their big arms to me and invited me into their "family", I finally found acceptance. But the price I paid for family "membership" was the price of my own life. I sold what was left of my heart, mind and femininity to the porn industry and the woman and person in me died completely on the porn set.
I also risked becoming infected with the AIDS virus like other porn stars did. I played a crazy and deadly game of Russian roulette with my life. The industry did not and still does NOT enforce condom usage so STD's and HIV were and are still a high risk among porn actors and actresses. In May 2004, The Adult Industry Medical Foundation (AIM), which offers monthly voluntary testing of porn performers for HIV, announced that five pornography “actors” had tested positive for the AIDS virus. I was luckier than those actors. God had spared me from contracting HIV. I did however catch herpes, a non-curable sexually transmitted disease. I wanted to end my life. At the time I caught herpes, I had no help and no one to help me deal with the disease. But since AIM came on the scene, the organization claims to have lowered some of the spread of HIV in the adult industry and increased awareness among performers. But the truth remains, porn actors continue to risk their lives and spread disease. In an interview on Court TV with AIM founder, Sharon Mitchell, also former porn actress, admitted that among porn actors today there are "7% HIV, and 12-28% STDs. Herpes is always about 66%. People are medicated with acyclovir for herpes, which is very effective in preventing the herpes outbreaks. Chlamydia and gonorrhea, however, along with hepatitis, seem to stick to everything from dildos to flat surfaces to hands, so, pardon my expression, but we are usually up to our asses in chlamydia." Those are her words and the interview can be found at http://www.courttv.com/talk/chat_transcripts/2001/0723mitchell.html
Nothing is more devastating than to receive a positive test for a non-curable sexually transmitted disease. I wanted to end my life.
I swallowed a number of prescription pills and sliced my wrists but it seemed no matter what I did, I couldn't die. The pain was overwhelming and I had terrible mood swings. One minute I walked around like a zombie and then the next minute I'd throw fits of rage, yelling and breaking things. I was mad at God, hated myself and hated my parents. Only alcohol and drugs could soothe my pain. I cried out to Jesus to help me and tried to give up the lifestyle but within a week I'd be back in the vicious cycle. I lost all hope and hated my life. I was completely hopeless and life was utterly meaningless. After becoming infected with Herpes, I quietly left the porn industry but went back to prostitution to survive.
In 1994 I met a man named Garrett. He was 22 years old and innocent compared to me. I told him I charged money to date. He pretended to need my "services" for a bachelor party so I gave him my card. He called me often to go out but I kept saying no. I wasn't able to have a normal relationship because my heart was completely black and cold toward all men. Later on though, for some GOD reason, I changed my mind and went out with him. We became friends instantly. As we spent time together, my broken black heart started to feel again. I remember feeling actual physical pain in my heart when Garrett tried to get close to me.
I tried to keep the relationship distant but it was hard because Garrett made me feel like a little girl again. He'd come over and we'd get high on meth and play checkers and cards for hours. We were like two little kids having fun. I hadn't had "fun" since I was a little girl. Garrett and I would talk about everything and one day we both brought up Jesus. Both of us grew up as kids loving and knowing Jesus Christ. I learned that Garrett was raised in a Christian home and grew up attending Christian school. For two people who met at a bar, this was an amazing "coincidence". I opened up about the trauma I had been through and he was there for me. He knew I did porn and was a prostitute but he felt so bad for me. He said He wanted to rescue me. I never met any man like Garrett. He saw something in me no one else did. He was a friend to a prostitute, just like Jesus. We knew God was working in our lives so we turned back to Jesus and got married on February 14, 1995.
Our new life together began as a total disaster. Garrett lost his job after we were married because he was high on drugs at work. We had to go on welfare and receive financial help. Everything got worse and the temptation for me to go back to the old lifestyle was overwhelming. But God had a better idea. Garrett joined the Army.
After basic training, Garrett returned a new man, free from drug addiction and on his way to Fort Lewis military base in Washington state. I became pregnant and gave birth to our daughter, Teresa, in 1997. I was able to quit drinking during the pregnancy but soon went back to alcohol.
Every time I held my new baby, I was reminded how utterly rejected I felt by my parents and all the men and women who abused me. God allowed me to feel the deep pain so He could heal me but I couldn't handle that pain. I grabbed alcohol instead. But the pain was getting worse so I went for counseling at the Army mental health clinic and was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Impulse Control Disorder, Alcohol Dependence, Depressive Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was prescribed zoloft, sleeping pills, lithium and counseling. I was given anger management videos to watch which only made me more angry! I went through the Army’s substance abuse program but still drank. I was also diagnosed with early cervical cancer and told I needed to have surgery. The consequences of the sex industry were catching up with me. I wanted to give up. Nothing was working!! But God had a better plan.
God led Garrett and I to attend an awesome church called Champions Centre in Tacoma, Washington where we were taught how to live a champion life. The church is known for building Champions for life through the wisdom of God's Word. I was taught how to live a life where I could overcome ANYTHING because with God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. With God, I had true forgiveness from all my sins and a chance to grow into a whole new person without being perfect first. That was a relief! I learned that God loved me unconditionally, regardless of my past, and even had a plan for my future. God had a plan for my life? It was like someone turned the light on for me.
In November, 1999, I gave birth to our daughter, Abigail, and though I drank alcohol during part of the pregnancy, God spared her life. After she was born, God FINALLY answered my prayers and took my alcohol addiction away. I began sobriety on April 9, 2000, and it was a very special time in my life. I started to hunger to know God more and to learn everything about being a "normal" woman. I started reading books on how to be a great mom and wife and how to cook and take care of my home. I watched other women to learn how they did laundry, how they dressed, how they talked to their husbands and their kids. I was a perpetual EAVESDROPPER for many years. I would be standing in the meat section of the grocery store and listen to the lady next to me describe how to cook a pot roast and then I'd run home and try it! I hung out in the grocery store just to learn!! Literally, I probably have over 100 mentors who don't even know how much they mentored me. I had to start ALL OVER from scratch and rebuild my life and learn how to be a normal person living in a normal society.
I also practiced God's principles in everything I did and began to experience real joy for the first time in over 10 years!! God also helped me learn web design so I could have a sense of accomplishment and use my creativity. I owned and operated my own web design business for 4 years. I also began attending college and am almost completed with my Bachelor's in Theology degree.
Because I chose to follow Him wholeheartedly, He blessed everything I touched just like His Word promises:
Jn 13:17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
After walking in that first day to the Champion center broken and shattered, eight years later I walked out a Champion woman healed and excited to live life! God restored me from drugs, alcohol addiction, painful memories, mental illness, sexual addiction, sexual trauma, and the guilt and shame from my past. God took me out of the old life, offered me a new life, and though I couldn't see it in the beginning, I put my hand in His and took a chance on Him. That was the best choice I ever made!
God also restored my femininity and healed my sexuality, which is a major miracle for me. After doing prostitution and porn I lost ability to function sexually. The fact that I can enjoy a healthy sexual relationship now is an absolute miracle. God also healed me of the non-curable disease Herpes (HSV 1-2). I was part of a special military study for pregnant women with herpes at Madigan Army Medical Center in 1996 and when I was tested they said I couldn't be in the study because there was no Herpes virus in my blood. Even though I had become infected with Genital Herpes in the porn industry in 1994, the test came back negative! I also am cancer free as the doctors were able to remove all the cervical cancer. He's Jehovah-Rophe the God that heals us!
God also healed our marriage in a remarkable way. Garrett and I have a beautiful and loving relationship and are best friends!
God has done many other miracles in my family as well. Garrett has a great job so I am able to stay home and be a Mother and do outreach to porn stars and porn addicts.. Our three Champion daughters are being raised with the knowledge of Jesus Christ. My eldest daughter Tiffany, who is now 18, has forgiven me and allows me to be a Mother to her. She has overcome many things in her life and now shares her story with others to inspire and encourage them. I am SO thankful I didn’t have an abortion because Tiffany is a beautiful brilliant young woman with so much to offer. She attends college full time and is a musician.God also restored my relationship with my parents and brother. God is good!
As you can see, Father God has been working very miraculously in my life these past twelve years. I did have to go through eight hard years of recovery. I had to make the choice to start my life over and believe what God said about me, not the lies of the devil or the lies I believed about myself. God became my true Father and He taught me how to love, forgive, and look to Him for my identity, not my past. I also learned how to live a successful life by practicing God's principles in everything. Whatever God's Word said about it, that settled it for me. I became a powerful new creature through the power of Jesus Christ, a Champion for life!
God now sends me out to proclaim to the world the reality of His awesome love. How He made each one of us in His image and that we are completely loved and accepted. How He sent His Son Jesus to free us from drugs, alcoholism, sexual addiction, rejection and all the lies of Satan. I love to show the world, that YES God took a porn star and prostitute and made a Champion out of her. God is the best Father and wants all of His children to find their way back home to Him so He can heal them and raise them up to be Champions too. But it's a choice only YOU can make.
I also want everyone to know that whatever God did for me, He will do for you. He'll do this because He LOVES you and sent His Son Jesus in order to give you a whole new life. All you have to do is come to Jesus and learn from Him.
Mt 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Do you want rest for your souls? I know I did. I was sick and tired of being beat up by life. I was tired of living everyday in survival mode. I just wanted peace and to find real love but the world couldn't give it to me. I searched for love in men, in material things, in fame and riches, in drugs and alcohol and I STILL came up empty. All I wanted was a normal life. Then I discovered the truth:
Jesus came to give you life and give it more abundantly (John 10:10).
Sure enough, I FINALLY found the life I always wanted.
Why not put your trust in God and His Son Jesus and really experience the abundant life? It may not happen overnight, but I promise you, it WILL happen. I know this because it happened for me. I am living proof that God exists, that He loves YOU no matter what you've done, and that He has a perfect plan and purpose for your life.
Shelley, American Missionary and advocate for human rights
Shelley Lubben is a mother, a missionary to the sex industry, fighter for truth and advocate for sex workers and porn performers who are abused by the adult industry.
Shelley is also a former porn actress fighting tirelessly against the pornography industry which affects most of the world in a destructive way. Unrelenting in the cause of human rights, Shelley is passionate to educate people all around the world about the abusive and illegally operating porn industry as well as inspire the world to stop viewing pornography and stop contributing to the destruction of men and women who are being abused daily in the pornography industry.
Shelley recently testified against the porn industry regarding the secondary negative effects it causes on industry workers as well as the general public at California State Capitol in support of AB2914 Adult Entertainment Tax bill which will tax pornography and the adult entertainment industry at the rate of 25% of gross receipts received in this state on or after October 1, 2008. This important tax measure will help individuals and families deal with the physical and emotional effects of the adult industry.
Porn Industry Facts:
Eleven porn porn stars died from HIV, suicide, homicide and drugs in 2007.
Between 2003 and 2005, 976 performers were reported with 1,153 positive STD results.
66% of porn performers have Herpes, a non-curable disease.
Because of the huge epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases, drugs and prostitution, and abuse toward adult industry workers with lack of help available, Shelley and her husband Garrett founded the Pink Cross Foundation, a nonprofit public benefit corporation created to reach out to adult industry workers offering emotional, financial and transitional support for those who want out of porn and the sex industry.
Shelley has been working with adult industry workers since 2002 when she began volunteering as a teacher and counselor at local rescue missions and prisons in the State of California. She has worked at Madera Rescue Mission, Bakersfield Rescue Mission, Central California Women's Facility Prison, and Valley State Prison for Women and has traveled throughout the United States as a speaker and counselor on the negative effects of pornography at various recovery programs, churches and secular organizations. Shelley and her team currently work with hundreds of people struggling with pornography addiction in the Pink Cross Foundation Help Forums at http://www.thepinkcross.org/ as well as reach out to thousands of porn stars and sex workers through outreach and individualized care packages.
A former stripper, prostitute and pornographic actress in the 80's and 90's, Shelley suffered major negative effects of the pornography industry and was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depressive Disorder, Impulse Control Disorder and substance abuse due to years of trauma from the sex industry. In 1994, she was infected with the non-curable disease Genital Herpes while making a pornographic film and later developed early cervical cancer. Shelley had three unexpected pregnancies from prostitution acts, two ending in miscarriages. Later, with her husband, she had an Entopic pregnancy and a third miscarriage. FOUR total pregnancy losses. Shelley understands very well how destructive the pornography industry is.
After finding God through Christianity and enduring eight hard years of recovery at the Champion's Center in Tacoma, Washington, Shelley was able to live a normal healthy Champion life.
Shelley is currently pursuing a Bachelor's of Theology degree at Vision International University in California and is near completion. Shelley has attended Pierce College in Tacoma Washington for her general academics, Wisdom For Life Leadership School in Tacoma Washington and Harvestime International Bible College where she received a Christian Workers Certificate in Biblical Studies in 2003. Shelley majors in Theology and minors in Creative Writing. Shelley is also the president of the Pink Cross Foundation which is a non-profit organization that reaches out to porn stars and sex workers to help them rebuild their lives as well as helping those who struggle with porn addiction. Shelley enjoys raising her daughters, learning about Catholicism, web development, volunteering at local rescue missions and prisons, reading about great Reformers, inspiring people to never give up and is extremely involved in missionary and social work.
Shelley speaks knowledgeably on such topics as the secondary negative effects of prostitution and pornography, the Adult Entertainment Tax Bill AB2914, the truth behind the porn industry, how to overcome pornography addiction, the risks and effects of sex work, and other subjects to include Theology, Christianity,and more.
Shelley wants to warn America what the porn industry's mission is:
To completely destroy you and your family through its ability to lure you, support your addiction to porn and make a profit off of it.
Some of pornography's lies:
Porn doesn’t hurt anyone. But the statistics are clear. According to comScore Media Metrix, 71.9 million people visited adult sites in August 2005, reaching 42.7 percent of the Internet audience. At $12 billion a year, the revenues of the porn industry in the U.S. are bigger than the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball combined. Worldwide porn sales are reported to be $57 billion.
To put this in perspective, Microsoft sells the operating system used on most of the computers in the world (in addition to other software) and reported sales of $36.8 billion in 2004.
Pornography is not only highly addictive material but also promotes lies about women. "Porn," Shelley says, "exploits and devalues women. Porn converts women into objects rather then people with feelings and opinions of their own. Even soft-core pornography portrays women as sex objects who exist only to give sexual satisfaction to men. They are “pets” or “playmates” valued only from the neck down. Many porn addicts now admit they find it hard not to view women as chunks of meat because of viewing pornography."
Another lie the porn industry wants you to believe is that we porn actresses love sex. They want you to think women enjoy being degraded by all kinds of repulsive acts. Please read an excerpt from my upcoming book
Many believe the widespread fairytale that women enjoy making porn movies but in reality there are no happy endings for the women of porn. Women do NOT enjoy making porn movies and a closer behind-the-scenes look will show you several reasons why.
In the world of hardcore sex, an average day on the set for a porn actress is a long and tedious process. Women are told to come in around 8 am for makeup but it's only to make sure porn actresses arrive on time to work. Porn stars have a habit of arriving late because they're often hung over from drugs or alcohol from the night before.
After make up, porn actresses usually wait around long hours until it's their turn to do their scene. Some scenes take an hour and some take several hours to film. It really depends if the male actor in the first scene could "perform" or not. It also depends if female actresses have to stop the clock because they can't handle the pain of a hardcore sex scene.
While waiting around, jaded porn performers usually end up in the rest rooms with bottles of alcohol and lines of speed or outside in their cars for a heroin fix or gathered in the back yard with other actors to smoke marijuana.
To add to the mind-numbing process, women are never able to experience sexual pleasure because of the continuous cutting during sex scenes. In the background the director constantly yells, "cut" and the flow of action is interrupted in order to get a better shot, adjust lighting or to wipe up bodily fluids. Repeatedly pornographers stop the scenes and ask actors to "freeze" in position during very hardcore sex acts, which causes great physical and emotional pain for porn actresses.
I speak from personal experience when I say to be in the middle of a hardcore sex act with several actors at the same time and told to "freeze" in position for several minutes while lighting or cameras are adjusted is extremely painful and degrading. It's also very humiliating when scenes are stopped in order to wipe up bodily fluids such as semen, feces and blood.
Despite the fact that women do not enjoy making porn movies, they continue to lie to their fans and proudly insist they enjoy making porn movies. Of course they do. They get paid hundreds and thousands of dollars to lie because this is their occupation. Porn stars are paid professional liars who know how to "act" and they do it well. In fact, because porn stars spend a great deal of time in front of the camera and never step out of character, they usually have greater acting abilities than mainstream Hollywood actors.
I used to brag endlessly to fans and pornographers about my extreme "Italian" sex drive and how I loved making porn movies. I would go on and on about how I needed more and more to fulfill my insatiable appetite. I lied 100% of the time to 100% of the people. Lying is the native language of porn stars because they can't afford to tell you the truth. Not only would it ruin the fantasy for their fans but more importantly, it would ruin the amount of their paychecks. Don't believe porn actresses when they proudly proclaim they enjoy making porn movies. They're ACTING.
Furthermore, most porn actresses admit they've experienced childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse and neglect by parents which ultimately led them to the porn industry where they were exploited and suffered even worse abuse.
Porn is NOT glamourous.
Porn is virtually everywhere on earth. It affects everyone. No matter where you go, it’ll be in your path. It will reach you through its TV networks, pay-per-view movies on cable and satellite, Internet Web sites, in-room hotel movies, phone sex, peep shows, and magazines.
But Shelley Lubben will be there too, right in the porn industry’s face exposing its ugly naked truth and offering a message of hope to those who want out of the trap of porn.
Pink Cross Foundation: http://www.thepinkcross.org/
Shelley’s web site is: http://www.shelleylubben.com/
Shelley's Myspace is: http://www.myspace.com/shelleylubben
Minggu, 07 September 2008
"For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart." II Corinthians 5:12
Recently someone that I sincerely love and care about approached me concerning the color and style of my clothing. He proceeded to explain to me how the way I dress is not Christian, and he very clearly told me that the color black, which appears so frequently in my wardrobe, is inherently evil. I wasn't really surprised, because I had heard that same message many times from him, as well as from other believers, and so I attempted once again to show from the scriptures how colors were not a matter of righteousness but of personal preference. As in times past, he began misquoting bible passages, ignoring my points, and even outright denying clear scriptural teachings. Unfortunately for many, this is not an isolated experience. Since the birth of the Christian Church, Satan has unrelentingly attempted to divide believers, who comprise the very Body of Christ. One way in particular that he has been especially successful has been in the arena of judging based on outward appearance. Appearance-based judgments have been a problem for God's people as far back as there have been a people called by His Name. In this message, I wish to show the unconvinced reader from scripture, that color and clothing are not matters of righteousness, but rather that the real clothing we need to be worried about is the spiritual armor of God (Eph 6:10-20).
My ultimate goal through these articles is to encourage brothers and sisters in Christ to establish unity amongst one another--unity that looks past clothing style and hair color and one that looks to the heart and the soul. However, in order to do so, you--the reader--must do one thing. You must open your ears to God's teaching, you must open your eyes to the truth, and you must open your heart to His voice. As long as one places man-made traditions and stereotypes above pure scriptural teaching, one will never be able to understand messages such as these. I only ask that before continuing, you pray a sincere prayer to God, asking Him to help you open your mind, honestly consider what the Bible has to say, and help you set aside your preconceived biases toward this subject. Ask Him to help show you the truth of the matter, because no matter how hard I try, I myself can never convince anyone--only the Spirit can. And the Spirit only will if you give Him a chance. So if you've spoken to God about this and feel that you are ready to give the topic a fair trial, then I encourage you to continue.
First of all, what are the general problems that most people have with "gothic" or black clothing styles?
One of the most prevalent Bibles passages that is used to define the frustration people have with the "Gothic" clothing style is I Corinthians chapter eight. In it, Paul urges those that eat meat sacrificed to idols to be careful, and to abstain from that meat if necessary, so as not to embolden other Christians to entering idol temples to eat that kind of meat. Paul writes, "Food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? . . . Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble." (I Cor 8:8-10,13)
Some Christians also apply this teaching to the issue of clothing style/color and say that if the color black offends them, other believers should not wear that color, so as not to make them stumble.
Others outright feel that the color black is inherently "evil," as did the one whom I spoke with, mentioned earlier. They see black as the color of sin, spiritual darkness, death, and wickedness.
Yet others quote I Thessalonians 5:22 in support of their concern, which reads (in the King James Version): "Abstain from all appearance of evil." They feel that those who dress "gothic" or who clothe themselves black are making for themselves an "evil" appearance, which is thus not fitting for a child of God.
Some of the points that were brought up in the discussion I had--mentioned in the beginning of the article--were that first of all, we are to be like Christ, and that in Revelation 1, there is no darkness in Christ's appearance--"He is dressed all in white." The second concern that was brought up was that the color black is "not cheerful". It is a "sad and depressing color." And so, by this line of reasoning, it is again not fitting for a child of God.
I bet now you're expecting me to rant and rave and hurl insults at those who believe these things, but actually I'm going to say that it's OK to have these concerns. These fears are legitimate. It's good to be worried about the spiritual state of your brothers and sisters in Christ. It is acceptable to have worries concerning the gothic dress, because:
A). Black/Gothic dress is often associated with such things as Satanism, paganism, rebellion, etc.
B). Many rebellious and troubled teens often choose the Gothic/Black dress as a form of isolating themselves from authority and family.
C). Our culture considers black a "depressing" color.
D). According to the Bible, the color white represents righteous deeds.
All of these fears are warranted, but there are many times that we fear things that need not be feared. This, I believe, is one of those fears. While it's OK to be concerned over the way some kids dress and look, these fears are not founded or supported by scripture. In fact, to the contrary, the Bible lends support to goths and those whose favorite color happens to be black. I will show you why in just a moment.
So why not? Why isn't it wrong to dress "Goth"? What's wrong with the accusations listed above?
First of all, I would like to address the problems with the popular interpretation of I Cor 8 (the "do not cause your brother to stumble" passage). Primarily, I would like to note that this passage was written by Paul concerning a specific issue, that of eating and drinking.
Secondarily, the religious and cultural atmosphere of the day must also be taken into account. Paul and the Christians of that time were living in an era of division--division between Jew and Gentile (much like the division between whites and blacks that America recently dealt with). Jews of that time were generally far more religious and devout and adherent to the Mosaic Law than are Jewish people today. They were very prone to try to follow the Law in its entirety (while also very prone to substitute the works of following the Law in place of saving faith in God's grace). Since the Jewish Law at the time was very adamant about abstaining from meat sacrificed to idols, Jews were very afraid to even touch meat that may have been defiled through idolatry. However, Gentiles (non-Jews) who were not under that Law felt no problem in their conscience with eating meat that had been cooked in honor of idols, because they knew that there was no god but God--and so the sacrifices to idols were meaningless. However, many Jewish Christians of that time still yearned to adhere to the ceremonial Law, and were thus still very paranoid about not eating any meat that may have touched an idol. When Paul was writing to the Corinthians (who were Gentiles, not adhering to the ceremonial Law), he wished that they--in their liberty--would not offend their Jewish brothers and sisters by eating meat that had come from an idol temple. If a Jewish believer had seen a Gentile believer eating meat from an idol temple, that Jew may have been emboldened to sin in their heart and eat the meat (even though it was not a sin for those Gentiles who did not define their righteousness by how they observed the Law).
In essence, what Paul is saying in I Corinthians 8 is that if a believer follows the Mosaic Law (which Paul, in the first place, discourages [Gal 2:11 - 3:25]), then believers who aren't under the Law should not tempt the believers who are under the Law to sin by doing things that go against what the Law says. Paul is saying that conscience on some issues is relative, and that depending on the strength or weakness of one's faith, some things would be sinful for one person of weaker faith to do while not being sinful for another of stronger faith.
What Paul is not saying is that if one believer just plain doesn't like the color of another believer's clothing (which seems to be the new, modern definition of being "offended") that the other believer should just stop wearing that color. What it truly means to "offend" someone is to do wrong to them or to cause them to do wrong. You are not offending anyone by the biblical interpretation of the word, if you merely wear a color that someone else doesn't like.
Another issue raises itself. Perhaps we have been blindly looking at only one perspective of the matter. Many seem to declare that gothic clothing offends non-goths. But what about normal/popular clothing being an offense? Perhaps those who wear the popular clothing of the day are the ones who are doing wrong, because they encourage others to try to just "fit in" and go with the crowd. This is actually more of a reality than one might think. I faced this problem a great deal growing up in junior high and high school. Many chided me for not dressing like everyone else... those who did go with the flow of the crowd in this way seemed to become more focused on style and fashion than on being an individual. The more footholds we give to society and pop-culture, the further we can get dragged into the way the "world" does things. The question I have to ask is: What is wrong with dressing in a way that separates one from the world? What is so "evil" about a Christian standing out from the crowd?
The second objection to gothic dress is the "Black is evil" argument. Yes, by our culture's standards, black does represent everything evil and only that which is evil. But that standard is just that--the world's standard. Many other cultures think nothing of the color black. It is written in Genesis one, that in the beginning, God created both light and darkness and called them both "good." Scientifically speaking the thing that our brain registers as "black" is merely a combination of all the colors in the spectrum, while "white" is merely the absence of color. So truthfully, it could be said that black is more colorful than white!
Another passage that is oft used to decry "Gothic" and/or black clothing is the "Abstaining from Appearance of Evil" passage (I Thess 5:22). I will not go into great detail on this passage in this article, since I have already written a full article just on that one issue here. But let it be noted that the 1611 King James Version is the only version that uses the word "appearance" in its translation. Why is this? Because since the year 1611, the term "appearance" has taken on new meanings. In the English language, appearance now generally indicates clothing style, beauty, hair color, etc. However, in 1611, the word "appearance" was also widely used as a synonym for "shape," "form," "kind," etc. In fact, these are the terms that are used in the more modern translations of the Bible (NKJV, NIV, etc.). And that is just what the original Greek term which Paul used ("eidos") implies--shape, form, kind. In I Thessalonians chapter 5, Paul is writing about how to live and walk in the Spirit. In verses 12-22 he gives commands not to quench the work of the Spirit, but at the same time to test the works that are supposedly coming from the Spirit (i.e. prophecies) to make sure that they are good. He then tells us to hold on to what is good and to avoid all kinds of evil. Never did Paul mean to imply that there was a color that was "evil" and therefore should not be worn.
Also, the objections that were brought up concerning the Gothic style not being cheerful must be addressed. Firstly, it must be noted that while Christians should always have "joy," there is a difference between Spirit-induced joy and the emotional feeling of cheerfulness. Being joyful, I constantly try to look at things positively and see God's hand working in events for our good. That quality is a fruit of the Spirit (Eph 5:22). However, there is a place for the human emotion of cheer and there is a place for the human emotion of solemnity (Ecc 3:4). Cheerfulness is a quality that is favored by God (2 Cor 9:7), but it is not a requisite for righteousness. Many of the most God-loving saints of the Bible, including Christ Himself, were often without cheer (yet never without the joy of the Spirit). An excellent example of this fact is Job, who while being tested by God could say "My harp is tuned to mourning" (Job 30:31) and "Yet will I trust Him" (Job 13:15). In one breath Job exhibited both sadness/solemnity and joy. And when Jesus wept and agonized over the loss of Lazarus, over the faithlessness of His people, and over His execution, He was definitely not being cheerful, yet because He was completely filled with the Spirit, He had joy throughout all circumstances--seeing the hand of God working for the ultimate good in all those events. So you see, there is a difference between being happy and having true joy. God doesn't command us to put on a smiley face all the time, but He does command us to try to see things positively, because He is in control and will lead us through the valleys of our lives.
And the second issue that was brought up in the aforementioned discussion I had, was that of Christ's appearance in Revelation. The one who I had the discussion with claimed that "there was no darkness in Christ's appearance" and that Christ appeared dressed in white. So first of all, I went to the passage, and surprisingly enough, it doesn't say anything anywhere about Christ having on white clothes. It does say his hair was white, but nothing about his clothing. In fact, in Revelation 19, Christ wears a "red" robe (which represents the blood shed at His death and at the death of his enemies). Rather intriguing that Christ's clothing in Revelation represents death. In fact, to the contrary, in John 7:24, Jesus declares, "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment." We are not to judge one's spiritual status by something so trivial as what color they wear. We are to discern someone's spiritual status by examining the sincerity of their heart and their lifestyle.
In I Samuel 16:7, the Lord says to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature. . . For the Lord does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." So now I ask you the same question that Paul asks in II Corinthians 10:7: "Do you look at things according to outward appearance?" Are you like the one whom James describes in James 2:3 who pays attention to how fine his guests' clothing is and gives preference to the man with the most appealing clothes while shunning the other brother? If so, then I hope you seriously consider what I have shown you from the scriptures and what I am yet to show you. I do not wish to judge you or condemn you if you do have qualms over something like clothing style or color... but I do wish to follow Paul's command in II Corinthians 5:12 to "have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart." I only ask that you keep this fact in mind as we proceed to the final portion of this article.
WHAT’S THE BIBLE SAY?
The Bible (God's Word) actually has quite a bit to say about appearances. And one thing that God makes clear in His Word is that appearances can be deceiving.
God informs us that evil will often come dressed in white. In II Corinthians 11:14, Paul warns us that Satan masquerades as an angel of light, and in Matthew 7:15-16, Jesus warns that false prophets come in sheep's clothing. Jesus then goes on to say that we can not judge them by how them seem, but only by the "fruits" they produce. In other words, they must be judged by their spiritual status, not by their physical status.
Another lesson that we often learn from just observing the events around us, is that evil often dresses nicely. The Mafia dresses in suits and ties, and many a criminal and killer dress normal and conservative, just like everyone else around them. In this day and age, people are easily fooled, because they rely so much on outward appearance in judging the character of a person.
It's clear that the so-called "normal" or "popular" style of dressing does not designate holiness... but can it be said that one can dress darkly or in the color black and still maintain a holy lifestyle? Let us go straight to the scriptures for these answers:
First of all, throughout the Bible, God appears in "thick darkness" or in "black clouds" (Ex 20:21, Deut 4:11, 5:22-23, II Sam 22:10-12, I Kng 8:12, II Chr 6:1, Psalm 18:9-11, 97:2, etc). In fact (ironically enough), in Psalm 18:11, it says that God "makes darkness His covering."
Secondly, throughout the Bible, wearing black was always a sign of repentance (I Kng 21:27, II Kng 19:1-2, I Chr 21:17, Job 16:15, Ps 69:11, Is 37:1-2, Mt 11:21, Lk 10:13, etc). Whenever people wanted to sincerely and wholeheartedly repent and ask for forgiveness, they would put on sackcloth (which is black) and sprinkle ashes (also black) on their bodies. For them, and for Christian Goths today, black represented (represents) the death to self and death to sin that must take place in order to receive life in the Kingdom to come (I Cor 15:31). So it seems that the opposite of the matter is true. For a believer in Christ, being clothed in black is not representative of being sinful, but rather of sorrow for past sins and a willingness to live for Christ (i.e. repentance). It is symbolic of the death to self and the offering of one's self to God, which must take place daily.
So, as one can clearly see from the very words of God, it's ok to be concerned about someone's spirituality, but it must be kept in mind that the color of one's clothing does not determine one's relationship with God. And now, my call, scripture's call, and God's call, is a call of unity. That we open our eyes to the truly important matters... the matters of eternal value; that we set aside the trivialities of clothing fashion and embrace our believing brothers and sisters; that we seek to understand and accept people from all walks of life; that we, together, as the Body of Christ, seek to present Christ to all the world who has not yet heard the message of salvation. This is all I ask, that we love one another.
Rabu, 03 September 2008
Appearance of Evil?
"Abstain from all appearance of evil." I Thessalonians 5:22
"Abstain from all appearance of evil," I Thessalonians 5:22. If you're a Christian Goth, you've probably had this verse twisted up and thrown in your face on multiple occassions. There are some in the church who do not put up with sound doctrine and in order to set stumbling blocks in front of their brothers and sisters, they take scripture out of context and use it to condemn other believers. First Thessalonians 5:22 is one such abused bible passage. Are Goths failing to abstain from the appearance of evil by dressing in black, dying their hair, applying makeup, or whatever they do? If you think they are, then perhaps you should read the rest of this article.
First of all, we need to take this scripture in context and then define what is meant by "appearance" and what is meant by "evil."
Let us begin by reading the passage in which verse 22 appears:
19 Quench not the Spirit.
20 Despise not prophesyings.
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
19Do not put out the Spirit's fire; 20do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22Avoid every kind of evil.
The apostle Paul, who wrote I Thessalonians as a letter to the church in Thessalonica, began in verse 19 a discussion of the Holy Spirit. He commanded the Thessalonian believers not to inhibit the work of the Holy Ghost in the church and to allow other believers to prophesy if they received a prophetic message. However, Paul admonished the Thessalonian Christians to test those prophecies with the Word of God. The King James Version (KJV), as you can see, does not have the most accurate, literal wording, since the English language has changed so much since 1611 when the KJV first came on the scene. While it says "prove" all things, it really means "test" all things. If "prove" were the correct translation of the word, then it would mean that Christians are to try to prove the validity of any prophecy made whether or not it really is true. So, as one can see, the archaic words used in the King James Version are not accurate in today's setting. The same goes for the word "appearance" as used in the KJV. Translations like the NIV, NKJV, and NASB have changed the word to "every kind" or "every form" of evil. Paul wrote his letters in the Greek language, and so when we take his work back to the original language, we see that Paul used the word "eidos." This is most accurately translated as "form" or "shape." It has nothing to do with clothing style or pigment color. And what does Paul mean when he says "evil?" The original Greek word used in verse 22 for "evil" is "poneros," which does not mean "black clothing, black hair, white makeup, silver jewelry, etc." Actually the word was used to mean "calamitous, diseased, mischievous, malice, guilt, sinful, grievous, harmful, or lewd." While I'm not saying that Goths can't be sinful, harmful, lewd, etc., I am saying that 'Gothicism' is not any of those things. The average Goth is no more sinful than the average non-Goth. In fact, Goths are some of the most calm, accepting, pacifistic people in Western society.
Therefore, we have established that Gothicism does not fit into the definition of "evil" as used in I Thessalonians 5:22, and also, "appearance" as used in verse 22 is not talking about outward appearance (such as clothing style).
So, what would a person from the 17th century have taken the "appearance of evil" verse to mean? All it means is avoiding evil (mischief, lewdness, harm, etc.) of any kind or form. It has nothing to do with dressing Goth (since the Gothic dress style wasn't fully developed until the 1980's). The apostle Paul was warning the Thessalonians to avoid the evil prophecies in particular. "21Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22Avoid every kind of evil."
When one looks at the passage in context, things start to make a little more sense.
But then the question comes down to this: Is wearing Goth clothing a form of evil?
An interesting tidbit: one of the earliest paintings of Jesus (a 6th century painting in St. Catherine's Monastery in Sinai) features Jesus wearing all black. Click here to view the picture.
Also, another fact is this: "Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light," II Corinthians 11:14. Therefore, we can conclude only one thing--that your appearance does not make you any more or less holy than you already are. Whether your favorite color is blue, red, pink, white, or black, God does not care. (But this, of course, does not excuse anyone from wearing sexually suggestive or immoral clothing).
Since Satan's appearance is an angel of light, does that make him holy? And since Jesus might have worn all black at one point in time, did that make him any unholier then? Of course not!
Paul also wrote in Titus 1:15, "To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted." To those whose minds are impure with hatred, bigotry, and jealousy, the Gothic style appears impure, because that's all they want to see. The poor people who have been raised up in our rich, suburbian, preppy homes, being indoctrinated with all the stereotypes of the previous generations cannot see things for what they are, because they've already had it drilled into their mind that anyone who does not conform to society is strange and bad.
Sheri Luckey Watters, of the Christian-Gothic musical group, "Wedding Party," said, "A dean of a bible college once told me that the way I dress was not conducive to the Christian walk. That's when I told him I had been around the mafia in Florida and they wore suits and ties and were murderers and their clothing was no more holy than mine."
The fact that you can not judge someone by the way they dress is echoed in scripture: In I Samuel 16:7, it is written, "But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance. . . The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.'"
So, in light of all these things, please keep this in mind as you go out into the world and encounter Christians of all types. Be careful not to judge anyone out of stereotypes, "[f]or in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you" (Matt. 7:2).
Love in the blood of Christ,
Selasa, 02 September 2008
The Gothic Jesus
"Even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You." Psalm 139:12
I find it ironic and even somewhat humorous that while many Christians eagerly throw around the popular cliche, "What Would Jesus Do?" they are also the ones who so readily condemn their Gothic brothers and sisters. Why are Goths such common targets?
The answer is the same reason Communism has been able to brainwash billions. If you feed people lies consistently for long enough, they will start to believe them, no matter how ridiculous they know it is. If one keeps telling one's self that the color black is evil, that introverts, poets, intellectuals, etc. are "strange," and that Christians have to be smiley fluffy bunnies all the time, then that's what you'll end up believing.
But the ironic and humorous part of this situation is that Christ, the Head of the Christians who so easily cast judgment, possesses many of the same qualities that Goths are condemned for displaying.
Jesus a goth?
Let me clarify something before we proceed any further into this discussion. The point of this article is not to declare that Jesus is a Goth or that the Gothic mindset is the only right mindset just because Jesus presented a few Gothic qualities. The point of this article is to demonstrate that there is nothing sinful about the way a Christian Goth thinks or acts, since Jesus Christ Himself showed Gothic qualities once in a while.
I apologize in advance if this article offends anyone. I do not intend to belittle or exclude any other believer. I simply wish to put an end to the discrimination that goes on against other saints who think differently than the majority of Christians.
But let us turn our attention back to Christ, the author of our faith. "What kind of Gothic qualities did He display," you ask?
Jesus, the reject
Just as Goths are today rejected by their society, so Jesus was a social outcast as well. There was no place for Him in the culture of the day.
Not many people wanted to accept or love Christ, no matter how "popular" He seemed from the stories we heard in Sunday School. The Bible says that Christ was not handsome at all (Isaiah 53:2). Not only that, but Christ was one of the lowest on the social ladder... He was born in a barn to an unwed peasant woman. Imagine the shame He and Mary must have endured when the neighbors found out that Jesus was an "illegitimate" child (of course, He wasn't, but it must have seemed that way). To add to it all, Jesus was a Nazarene, raised in the city of Nazareth. Nazareth was a military town, and known for its rough crudeness--its drunkards and prostitutes and sinners. Nathanael expressed this sentiment in John 1:46 when he exclaimed "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?"
However, most importantly, Jesus was a social outcast because of the way He thought and reasoned. The same reason why Goths are generally outcasts of society.
Christ introduced ideas to His people that did not fit into the box they had created for themselves. The ideas in His Beatitudes, such as anger being just as bad as murder, lust being just as bad as adultery, His calls to self-sacrifice, loving enemies, and doing your good deeds in secret, were so revolutionary that people didn't know what to do with Him. Christ directly contradicted the religious authorities, preaching that having faith in God was more important than following the Jewish Law (Matt 9:13-14), thereby isolating himself from the established religion of the nation. He also taught that a believer's true family is the family of other disciples (Matthew 12:46-50), so being isolated from His own mother and siblings. And then He claimed to be the Messiah, the Son of God, and even God Himself (Jn 8:58, 10:33, Matt 16:16-18) setting Himself up for the ultimate rejection from all mankind. Christ was ostracized by about every facet of society that existed.
Strange and shocking
Another quality that most people usually associate with Goths is that they are "strange" and "shocking" in their thoughts and behavior. However, Gothic Christians also share these qualities with Jesus Himself. There existed friction between the accepted norms of the day and the teachings of our Lord. The things He preached directly challenged the authorities and the stereotypes that people had set up, and were considered radical.
Yes, we are to submit to the established authority and follow their laws (insofar as they do not go against God's laws), but that does not mean the popular ideologies put forth by our government and our rulers should be blindly accepted without question. In fact, the Bible encourages us to challenge our leaders and see if what they say is in line with what God says. The Bereans were called "noble" for questioning Paul's doctrines and seeing if what he said was actually true (Acts 17:11).
Jesus did this as well, challenging the religious authorities. There was always tension between our Master and the Pharisees, as the teachers of the law would constantly accuse and condemn Jesus of something, and then Christ would turn around and examine their beliefs in light of the Scriptures (Matthew 9:14; 9:34; 12:2; 23). Jesus even vehemently rebuked the authorities on occasion! So you see, the Goth is more similar to Christ than it appears at first glance.
And just as Christian Goths, by their diversity, are constantly challenging stereotypes (false expectations that society places on an entire group of people of how those people will think/act), so Jesus challenged the stereotypes that plagued the people of His lifetime. There are false notions that all Goths are druggies, promiscuous, addicted to RPG's, or suicidal, when that is really not the case.
Likewise, by Christ's very nature, He is a challenge to stereotypes. First of all, the fact that He was a Nazarene, as stated before, was mind-boggling. Nazarenes were known to tough, crude, thieving trouble-makers. Yet, this man was so harmless that He would not break even a bruised reed or snuff out a smoldering wick (Isaiah 42:3).
Also, the Jews back then had a strong sense of supremacy over other peoples, since God had chosen them as His people. Gentiles (non-Jews) were usually discriminated against and thought of as unclean or lesser persons. But Jesus, displaying His acceptance for all mankind regardless of race, declared that it was a Gentile who had the greatest faith in all of Israel (Matthew 8:5-13). He also praised a Canaanite woman's faith (Matthew 15:22,28) while lamenting over the Jews' lack thereof. Jesus even used a Samaritan, one of the Jews' greatest rivals, as the hero in one of His parables (Luke 10:30-37).
And while even Christ's disciples wanted to shoo children away, Christ asked them to let the little children come to Him. In fact, He declared that the children are the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 18:2-3,10), as opposed to the common stereotype that children were obnoxious or unimportant.
Another one of the big stereotypes haunting the society of ancient Israel was the notion that the more wealth you had, the better your standing with God was. The Pharisees and religious leaders were some of the wealthiest figures in that culture, and they were the most 'religious' as well. So when Christ declared to the contrary, that money and possessions actually inhibit a good standing with God (Matthew 19:24), many of His followers were at a loss. It was a complete paradigm shift.
So you see, just as Christian Goths are known for constantly outstepping stereotypes, so was Christ. And He was hated just as much then as Goths are today.
Finally, Jesus was also a radical, whether we like to accept it or not. His teachings were quite extreme. He taught that only a few will enter the Kingdom of God, and that the path of righteousness is narrow (Matthew 7:13-14), that in the Kingdom, the least will be the greatest and the greatest will be the least (Luke 9:48), and that the Kingdom of Heaven is actually near (Matthew 4:17).
Again, Jesus was a radical in that He was so zealous for God. He drove the thieves and swindlers out of the temple with a whip (John 2:15) and publically rebuked the pillars of society (Matthew 23). The Bible even says that His zeal "consumed" Him (Psalm 69:9). If that is not radical, I do not know what is.
Another quality that can be associated with Christian Goths is that they are in touch with reality. They are not afraid to look at how things really are, no matter how painful or disturbing that reality might be. They would rather be hurt by the truth than be entertained by a lie.
Jesus tore down peoples' masks and saw their hearts, their most inner motives. He was in no way naive as to what people thought of Him. Passages like Luke 2:35, Matthew 9:4, Mark 2:8, Luke 5:22, and Matthew 23:27 attest to this.
And Jesus wasn't afraid to tell it like it is. He didn't sugar coat His message or water it down. He saw reality for what it was and told the truth, even when the truth wasn't pretty. In Matthew 23:27, He saw right through the Pharisees' religious charade, exposing their true motives. He aptly called them white washed tombs--they look nice on the outside, but inside are only full of death and decay. In John 6:60-61, even the disciples began to grumble against Christ's offensive preaching. "On hearing [Christ's teaching], many of His disciples said, 'This is hard teaching. Who can accept it?' Aware that His disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, 'Does this offend you?. . . The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.'" Jesus was not just a cozy little bearded man who gave hugs and talked about "love" all the time. Much of his teaching was harsh, but at least it was in touch with the real world.
The artistic Christ
Goths are known for their love of literature, poetry, artwork, music, and the like. And Christ was an artist and a poet as well. His eloquent parables were the epitomy of perfect speaking and literature. Who else could craft such serious and meaningful messages so artistically in such a way that only true wisdom could discern their meanings?
And just as Goths are known for their love of classic writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and the like, so Christ was able to read and understand the classic literature of His day (the Jewish scriptures) better than anyone else. He was able to appreciate the message and the poetry of the Word of God without reading the Spark Notes.
Though the term "tolerance" is misused a lot in today's Western culture as accepting everyone else's viewpoints as being true without question, the phrase can still be used to refer to the tolerance of natural differences in other people. Christ tolerated and accepted the untouchables of the earth.
The situation of 2000 years ago was a highly patriarchal culture. Men were valued over women, a female's testimony in court was worth only half that of a male's, and sometimes, men were not even allowed to associate with certain women.
However, Jesus Christ accepted the sinner woman who came to see Him while having dinner at a Pharisee's house, while the Pharisee considered himself too high and mighty to be near to the repentant woman (Luke 7:38-39,50). He interacted with the Samaritan woman, who being not only a female, was also a Gentile (John 4:9). This was one of the biggest taboos that He could have crossed.
Jesus saw no difference between the spiritual worth of a man and woman, or between a Jew and Gentile. In fact, the Son of God chose to live among Gentiles (Matthew 4:13) and even praised the faith of the Gentiles who trusted in God (Matthew 5:24-28).
Jesus hung around with people whom society considered unacceptable. He went personally to the sick, the demon-possessed, the prostitutes, sinners, and tax-collectors (Matthew 8:1-4, 14-17, 28-34, 9:1-7, 10-13; Luke 15:1).
Not afraid of the dark
Jesus Christ was also, for lack of a better phrase, "not afraid of the dark." He did not shrink from death, darkness, or the unknown, and He even chose quite morbid illustrations to get across His points. He did not chicken out when the time came for Him to descend from His heavenly paradise to the hellish earthly realms. He gave up His comfort, faced persecution, torture, and death on a cross--the most excruciatingly painful form of execution ever invented by mankind.
In His speech, Christ often utilized disturbing illustrations to explain His messages. In Matthew 18:8-9, Christ commanded that if your eye causes you to sin, you are to gouge it out, and if your hand causes you to sin, you are to chop it off (Matthew 18:8-9).
The images portrayed in His parables were very morbid at times. He compared a hypocrite who condemns his brother for a small sin while having even more sin himself with one who has a plank of wood run through his eye socket (Luke 6:41).
At the last supper, Jesus bid His disciples to see the bread He broke as His crushed body, and the wine He drank as His spilled blood (Matthew 14:22-24).
It was not uncommon for Jesus' sermons to talk about gruesome details (Matthew 22:13; 24:9,28, Mark 9:48, etc.)
Just because a thought is "disturbing" does not mean it is evil. Christ's mindset shared a lot in common with the modern-day Goth's. We should not be so quick to condemn the Gothic subculture as being contrary to Christ and scriptural teaching, when in fact, it is very much in line with the truth.
The real me
Finally, Goths are like Jesus in that Christ based His opinions of people on who they were, not on how they looked or appeared.
While many churches would call the police on a dirty, scraggly homeless person or a hardcore metal Goth if they were to walk into the sanctuary during the Sunday service, Christ looked at people for who they truly were. He saw that many of those who were dressed in the finest clothes and who were the cleanest on the outside, were actually the most corrupt on the inside. And He saw that many of those who were considered the lowest scum of the earth, were actually some of the most righteous people on the inside.
The story of the rich man and the beggar in Luke 16:19-23 is a perfect example of this. Jesus could see that the luxurious man dressed in fine linen was actually one of the worst people, as opposed to the dirty beggar whose sores were licked by dogs.
While most would be irritated by a mass of people following them around, Christ looked on the masses that followed Him as a flock of sheep in need of a shepherd (Matthew 9:36).
In His parables, Christ honored the repentant publican. To Him, the humbled sinner who turned from His ways was a better person than the righteous man who looked down on everyone else (Luke 18:9-14).
Christ, without drawing judgments on people He didn't truly know, accepted and loved the prostitute who repented and yet was rejected by everyone else (Luke 7:38-39,50) and the repentant thief on the cross (Luke 23:40-43).
In like manner, Christian Goths are known for their accepting personalities. Gothic Christians are the modern social equivalents of Christ, who "eat with sinners." We do not shun those that society shuns. We do not accept rumors or hearsay. We base our opinions of people on what we know about them personally. Christ was very Gothic in this respect.
So the point of this article is to show that perhaps, before we begin condemning others, we should examine what we really have against that person and ask ourself, "What does the Bible say about this?"
Instead of being so quick to judge other Christians, let us be a little more open-minded and see if their lifestyle holds up to the scrutiny of God's Word.
If, after a thorough and sincerely open examination of Gothicism, you still find Christian Goths as "heretical," "backslidden," or not worthy of fellowship, then that will be your own opinion, and God will be our Judge. However, I hope that after reading the scripture verses I have outlined in this article, you will believe otherwise.
There is nothing wrong with the mindset or attitude of a Christian Goth, and Christ Himself has given support to this by His own lifestyle. Therefore, we, as Christians, should definitely be more respectful and acceptant of those who claim to be Christian Goths, since, as Christ stated, the family of God is our true family.
Once again, I am sorry if I have offended anyone. I only ask that you take this into consideration in the future.
Love in the blood of Christ,