What I Learned at a Porn Show

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The wheels of the plane just left the safety of the ground, and my heart is completely full.  I am leaving Vancouver after spending four days at the Taboo – Naughty but Nice sex show. To be transparent, I was a bit apprehensive heading into this experience. I had all the normal thoughts, concerns, and reservations swirling around in my mind. I knew I was covered with prayer. I also had the unending support from my wife. I was partnering with XXXChurch and a team from across Canada. XXXChurch is a great organization focused on helping people out of porn addiction and ministering to people in the sex industry.

Our goal at the sex show wasn’t to convince, or preach, or initiate a debate. We weren’t there to change someone’s mind, belief system, or way of life. We had one goal: Engage in conversations and let people know that Jesus loves them. To the ex-catholic who was filled with rage we said, “Jesus loves you.” To the transgendered man, who had beautiful nails by the way, we said, “Jesus loves you.” To the couples in various types of relationships, we said, “Jesus loves you.” To the people who equated Jesus to Santa Clause, “Jesus loves you.” To the adult entertainers and sex toy exhibitors – yes, the same message.

In a religious culture where Christianity has become a religion of intolerance, judgement, and conditions, (at least that is the overwhelming perception out there), people were shocked – blown away – amazed – confused – taken back – intrigued – that we genuinely desired to connect and not cast judgement. People didn’t know how to respond when we handed them a Jesus Loves Porn Stars sticker and a Little Book of Hope. Some screamed expletives in excitement and others gave us blank stares. Some looked in bewilderment trying to comprehend what was unfolding infront of their eyes at a sex show and others unashamedly asked questions.

As I sit thinking about the past four days, the faces of so many individuals stick in my mind.

  • Kevin is having twins in twenty days. Michelle and I shared marriage and relationship advice as he faces some significant life choices. His genuine hug of appreciation at the end of our conversation took me by surprise and is etched into my heart forever.
  • Thomas sells sex toys at the various conventions across Canada. Amanda has intentionally been building a relationship with him over the past five years. He has become like a brother to her.
  • Ivy is a young lady who works at a local strip club. She received a book this past Christmas from a team of people who lead a local Strip Church.
  • The gentlemen who came back an hour after he received a Jesus Loves Porn star sticker to ask, “What is this all really about?”
  • Amanda, the transgendered man with purple hair, who stood and talked with us for an extended period of time.
  • The Seattle Seahawks fan who couldn’t believe Christians were so nice.
  • Ronnie, the kilt wearing, chain-mail making, guy who desperately just wanted to have a conversation.
  • The numerous exhibitors who stopped by to get Jesus Loves Porn Star stickers – the most sought out item on the convention floor.

But it was Hasan, the Turkish Italian chef who has been living in Canada for 25+ years, whose face rises above the others. He was at the show multiple days and we connected on three different occasions. Our first conversation had something to do with Jesus, Mohammed, and Mohammed’s sex life with his 90 wives. (The stuff I heard you can’t make up. I will keep this rated PG.) Our second conversation was about Hasan’s sex life. I now know way too much information. But it was the third time that he came by that the conversation shifted. He paused and looked up at the banner and said, “So, Jesus really loves porn stars?” I simply replied with a smile, a yes, and then I let him know again that Jesus loved him too. The Little book of Hope that I had tried to give him on the two previous conversations, I guess the third time is the charm. He freely grabbed it and said he would read it.

I am not sure what will happen with Hasan, Thomas, Ralph, Kevin, Amanda, Ivy, and every single individual that the team had an opportunity to connect with. We do not have a list of names to follow up. We did not have one person accept Christ and didn’t baptize anyone.

This is what I know:

  • The love that Jesus showed the Samaritan women by sitting and having a life conversation, was shown to everyONE.
  • The love that Jesus extended to Matthew, the chief of sinners sitting at the city gate, was extended to everyONE.
  • The same love that overwhelmed the women who was caught in the act of adultery, overwhelmed each person that we connected with.
  • The same love that restored Peter, and that has also restored me, was at the center of every conversation.

I was thankful to be part of a team of people – flawed and imperfect, but willing to empty everything from within to put love into action.

Oh yes, I almost forgot. What did I learn at the porn show? (Yes, that is the title of this blog post.)

Canadians are really nice.

 

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