Donny's Ramblings


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Selfish Motivation, Perhaps?

As I read through numerous Christian oriented blogs and message boards, I marvel at the differences between those who take a more traditional approach to Christianity, versus those who make Jesus’ love the central focus of their beliefs. There seems to be a major movement toward the latter, and I’m very happy to witness it.

Those who follow the traditional path seem to receive pleasure in constantly reminding others of their sins. That has always annoyed me greatly. Lately I’ve surrounded myself with people who are motivated towards pursuit of a more “Christ-like” version of Christianity, and that seems to help diminish my burning dislike towards traditionalists. I hope to someday extinguish the urge to slap the judgmental upside the head, and instead embrace them in understanding, but for now I am still in head-slapping mode.

Psychology became a major interest to me while in college, and that interest continues to this day. I constantly find myself wondering what it is that motivates people to behave as they do, regardless of whether said behavior is positive or negative. What makes them tick? This morning I read a few blogs that vaguely remind me of the Westboro Baptist group (the “God Hates Fags” people). When blogs lean toward this approach, hate slogans seem to find their way into the comments section upon occasion. Why those who wish to represent Jesus would ever choose to use such terms is beyond me, but I do have a theory I’d like to propose:

I think it has to do with self(ish) motivation, as opposed to self(less) motivation. I’d be willing to stipulate most of those who are being selfish may not realize they’re doing so. Before clarifying what I mean, let me give some background information on what leads me to this conclusion.

When I was in high school my athletic abilities were not that great. I participated in sports, but in football, for instance, I was much more likely to be found playing the position of guard (the water bottle) than actually being a guard on the field. Academics were a different story. I excelled and received high marks in honors courses with hardly any study required. When nobody else was able to answer a question, the teacher often called on Donny. I had to try hard to keep the huge smile off my face when I was able to answer questions that stumped the rest of the class. That was my sense of “power”. I loved pointing out that those who had excelled in sports from previous high school years had graduated and could often be found working a cash register at Burger King, but “academics” from previous years were pursuing college and graduating with professional jobs.

In all aspects of life, I find people who put others down to make themselves look better. One reason for doing this is because a certain feeling of power comes with making oneself appear more “important” than someone else. This is true of Bible Thumpers as well, and from my very unscientific observations it appears to happen more to those who have no “power” in other aspects of their life. Thumping others upside the head with scripture provides a feeling of empowerment. God’s will is often cited, but I really don’t think the motivation has a thing to do with what God wants. It has to do with the selfish desire to feel power. And what better source of “power” than God himself? It’s hard to argue against “God said you must do such and such and this is the scripture that proves it!!”

I feel called to love others despite their sins. I have little chance of living up to that calling, but I look forward to making the attempt. To truly do what God asks of me I have to assassinate my desire for power, and must instead focus on becoming humble. One blog I read said something along this line:

Jesus could have done anything he wished, yet he decided to serve.

God, help me find the strength to do the same.


12 Comments

Being Judgmental of Those Who Are Judgmental (and Election Results)

I’ve ranted about a lot of things I dislike about Christians. So much so, even family members have begun writing to me. One of the emails I received was from a woman who never stopped praying for me the entire time I produced porn. In part of her email she said:

Maybe I could also encourage you to try not to be too judgmental of judgmental people, if that makes sense. Everyone is at different spots in their journey and I’ve learned that God gives us gobs of grace! Seems like the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. There’s a verse in Psalms that says that God is gracious and slow to anger, full of compassion and of great mercy. Anyway, He is thrilled to have you home where you belong and your story has already touched so many people! Don’t forget to take care of yourself and get help when you need it!

I really should have been picking my words a little more carefully and not lumping so many people into one group. I know I’ll never stop raising issues that annoy me, but I have no problem proof reading my blog entries a little more, searching for ways to tone down my tendency to stereotype Christians. It’s funny how appropriate the title has become for this blog. Donny’s Ramblings, in which I rambling endlessly about random topics. I will admit, I have been meeting so many like minded Christians since September 25th. From the emails I’m receiving, it appears many churches are moving in the right direction, concentrating on becoming more like Christ and less like Pharisees. I’m encouraged and am confident that movement will continue. It is very exciting to see this happing!

In regards to being judgmental about judgmental people: POINT TAKEN! And I thank you for pointing it out.

__________

I have to say I’m at peace with the results of our midterm elections. I wasn’t very happy with the way my party has been handling many issues, and it’s probably a very good thing to make drastic changes to get the attention of those who are drunk with power. I don’t think the Republican party has served our interests very well lately. As I mentioned before, I was tempted to switch parties, and in fact I still consider making a change. I’m thinking about registering as an Independent, because I truly believe that’s what Jesus would do.


44 Comments

Ted Haggard and Christian Response

Last night I traveled to Yuba City to attend a service where Craig Gross from XXXChurch was speaking on pornography. While there I spoke with a Pastor from a church in Sacramento. Amongst many other things, we discussed Ted Haggard. That discussion is what prompted this blog entry.

Why is it that when a Christian messes up we respond with the love of Christ, yet when sinners mess up we talk about the quick trip to hell they’ll be receiving? Jesus always did the opposite – he held Christians to a higher standard and provided grace to sinners. Wouldn’t it be great if we began to show God’s grace to all sinners, regardless of what they’ve done? Wouldn’t it be great if we could all remember the word “Christian” is supposed to mean “like Christ”, and that to uphold our position as Christians we actually need to love people, rather than judging them so harshly?

Even if it was just “a massage” as Ted claims, you can bet it resulted in a “happy ending”. Does he think he’s kidding anyone by trying to downplay his gay tendencies? While there will be inevitable consequences for his actions, I have to say that I am not overly bothered by his “sin”. I have no problem instantly forgiving that sin. My heart goes out to him and his family. The part of his story that annoys me most is the simple fact that he had the balls to so vocally oppose gay marriage while partaking in gay activities. That level of hypocrisy harms the world’s perception of every Christian.

The response I’ve heard from most church leaders has been one of love for Ted. What a great day it would be if those same people responded with kindness for Democrats who face some moral failure. How nice would it have been if President Clinton had received the same loving understanding from the Christian community that Ted Haggard has received?

If we, as Christians, begin responding to our friends, neighbors and sinful politicians with the same love so many are showing Ted Haggard right now the world will truly be changed, don’t you think?


50 Comments

HALLOWEEN 2006

To me, Halloween 2006 is:

  1. My brother’s 30th Birthday
  2. A great opportunity to spend a fun night with my son, watching him wander his neighborhood in a really cute penguin costume, overcoming his shyness and knocking on doors because that candy reward is SOOO worth it, dad!

Growing up in Pentecostal churches, I heard all of the legalistic reasons why Halloween shouldn’t be celebrated. Thankfully most Christians don’t seem to have a problem with Halloween anymore. Perhaps on this issue the evangelical population has finally realized that what really matters is what’s inside one’s own heart. Hopefully that attitude will continue to spread into more aspects of life. If we all lighten up a little we’ll enjoy life more.

Those who still have a problem with celebrating Halloween can suck my big toe.


25 Comments

What I've Learned About God From Watching Christians – Part 1: Parroting

Indulge me as I give a rebellious outsider’s view of one of the reasons why so many people are turned off to God due to his beloved Saints. I’ll call this “What I’ve Learned About God From Watching Christians.” You may find such ramblings to be petty, but judging from the title of this website it still appears to be mine. Neaner Neaner.

Since Brother and Sister Stick-Up-Their-Butt seem to lack a sense of humor, let me assure you I am writing tongue-in-cheek (kinda). I promise not to allow my views of God to be influenced by people. I’ve done that before, which is part of the reason I got to the place where producing porn seemed like a good idea.

After so many years of being away I guess I’d hoped God’s people would have evolved to some higher level of communication in their relationships with both Him and their fellow Christians. Alas, that does not seem to be the case. Please pardon the apparent attitude problem and read on. Perhaps I’m too easily bothered, but I know there are others like me who are bothered by the same seemingly small issues. There’s a point to be made at the end of this blog entry. Kinda like a monster waiting at the end of the book, but better.

From observing the Saints, it appears God made us all to be robots. He wants us to say the same things, and not only that, he wants all of his creation to repeat the same phrases throughout eternity. In every language.

It seems God doesn’t want a “personal relationship” with us after all. He wants a structured one. He has protocol for speaking with or about him, at least that’s how it appears. Brother Stick-Up-His-Butt seems to think we have to speak or pray in certain ways while communicating with God. Pardon me for assuming God hears everything we say and therefore is used to hearing us talk like, well, normal human beings. I’ll try to remember to put on my holiness cloak the next time I pray or speak with a fellow Christian.

It’s only been a month since the surrender and I’m already saying to myself, “I need to stop going to church so often!” I feel God’s presence all over me while praying alone, so perhaps with time I’ll get over my issues and begin to feel more from Him during services.

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve been loving the sermons. Bill Giovannetti from Neighborhood Church is a great speaker. He delves out information I can use in real life. Kris Vallotton from Bethel is likewise talented. I love listening to both of these men. I just have a problem speaking with some of the church parrots I meet each week. I’ve never been much of a parrot fan.

Donny’s definition of parroting would have to be something like: “when everyone in a particular group of people use the exact same terminology or use the same phrases, over and over and over again”. I get tired of people who think they impress me by speaking verbatim with phrases written a few thousand years ago.

If you walk into a protestant church in just about any country I bet you’d hear them saying the same things Christians say here, just translated into their local language. The same “power phrases” are repeated by everyone. Parrots, I tell ya! Parrots!

“Squawk! Glory to God! Squawk!”

Do people even have a clue what they’re saying? Do they comprehend the words that escape their own mouths? Seriously, now. How many of you, off the top of your head, know what “hallelujah” means? No! no! don’t go look it up. Just tell me what it means. What do you mean you don’t know? If you don’t understand why do you say that word so much?

This morning I drove by a church that had a sign out front advising that “Children’s Hallelujah Night” would be this coming Wednesday. For some reason I don’t feel motivated to take my son to Children’s Hallelujah Night.

“Squawk! Glory in the highest! Squawk!”

Somebody please tell me what that phrase means. Why do we teach each other to repeat it? Why do we teach it to our kids? It doesn’t really mean anything to everyday life.

“Squawk! God is Good! Squawk!”

Of course he’s good. He was good when you told me that last week while shaking my hand with your fake smile. He’ll still be good next week when you repeat that exact same phrase yet again. Sorry if you were expecting me to respond with “yes he is”. I’ll work on that.

“Squawk! God, you reign forever! Squawk!”

I guess God would forget he reigns forever if we didn’t tell him all the time in song.

“Squawk! How awesome is the Lord Most High! Squawk!”

Since Jesus is the “Lord Most High” that might explain why I never hear “Most High” referring to anything in normal conversation, unless I walk in on a group of stoners debating who’s hitting the bong most.

“Squawk! God bless you, brother! Squawk!”

I don’t remember sneezing, but thank you anyway.

“Squawk! Praise the Lord! Squawk!”

Right now? I haven’t even had coffee yet. Maybe later, k?

“Squawk! Squawk!”

I spoke with one Christian girl just a few days ago about some ideas I’ve been having. Because of the words I used, she questioned whether or not my ideas came from some sort of cult. I re-worded my thoughts using terms she’d hear in church and all of a sudden she exclaimed that she totally agreed with what I was saying.

Not everyone is like this, of course. There are Christians who understand a real relationship with God doesn’t require a totally new vocabulary. I am hopeful that number increases as more people experience the freedom of being able to just be themselves… as more people realize they are loved “as-is”.

Wouldn’t it be nice to bring non-Christian friends to church and have them meet real humans instead of robots or parrots?


49 Comments

What I’ve Learned About God From Watching Christians – Part 1: Parroting

Indulge me as I give a rebellious outsider’s view of one of the reasons why so many people are turned off to God due to his beloved Saints. I’ll call this “What I’ve Learned About God From Watching Christians.” You may find such ramblings to be petty, but judging from the title of this website it still appears to be mine. Neaner Neaner.

Since Brother and Sister Stick-Up-Their-Butt seem to lack a sense of humor, let me assure you I am writing tongue-in-cheek (kinda). I promise not to allow my views of God to be influenced by people. I’ve done that before, which is part of the reason I got to the place where producing porn seemed like a good idea.

After so many years of being away I guess I’d hoped God’s people would have evolved to some higher level of communication in their relationships with both Him and their fellow Christians. Alas, that does not seem to be the case. Please pardon the apparent attitude problem and read on. Perhaps I’m too easily bothered, but I know there are others like me who are bothered by the same seemingly small issues. There’s a point to be made at the end of this blog entry. Kinda like a monster waiting at the end of the book, but better.

From observing the Saints, it appears God made us all to be robots. He wants us to say the same things, and not only that, he wants all of his creation to repeat the same phrases throughout eternity. In every language.

It seems God doesn’t want a “personal relationship” with us after all. He wants a structured one. He has protocol for speaking with or about him, at least that’s how it appears. Brother Stick-Up-His-Butt seems to think we have to speak or pray in certain ways while communicating with God. Pardon me for assuming God hears everything we say and therefore is used to hearing us talk like, well, normal human beings. I’ll try to remember to put on my holiness cloak the next time I pray or speak with a fellow Christian.

It’s only been a month since the surrender and I’m already saying to myself, “I need to stop going to church so often!” I feel God’s presence all over me while praying alone, so perhaps with time I’ll get over my issues and begin to feel more from Him during services.

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve been loving the sermons. Bill Giovannetti from Neighborhood Church is a great speaker. He delves out information I can use in real life. Kris Vallotton from Bethel is likewise talented. I love listening to both of these men. I just have a problem speaking with some of the church parrots I meet each week. I’ve never been much of a parrot fan.

Donny’s definition of parroting would have to be something like: “when everyone in a particular group of people use the exact same terminology or use the same phrases, over and over and over again”. I get tired of people who think they impress me by speaking verbatim with phrases written a few thousand years ago.

If you walk into a protestant church in just about any country I bet you’d hear them saying the same things Christians say here, just translated into their local language. The same “power phrases” are repeated by everyone. Parrots, I tell ya! Parrots!

“Squawk! Glory to God! Squawk!”

Do people even have a clue what they’re saying? Do they comprehend the words that escape their own mouths? Seriously, now. How many of you, off the top of your head, know what “hallelujah” means? No! no! don’t go look it up. Just tell me what it means. What do you mean you don’t know? If you don’t understand why do you say that word so much?

This morning I drove by a church that had a sign out front advising that “Children’s Hallelujah Night” would be this coming Wednesday. For some reason I don’t feel motivated to take my son to Children’s Hallelujah Night.

“Squawk! Glory in the highest! Squawk!”

Somebody please tell me what that phrase means. Why do we teach each other to repeat it? Why do we teach it to our kids? It doesn’t really mean anything to everyday life.

“Squawk! God is Good! Squawk!”

Of course he’s good. He was good when you told me that last week while shaking my hand with your fake smile. He’ll still be good next week when you repeat that exact same phrase yet again. Sorry if you were expecting me to respond with “yes he is”. I’ll work on that.

“Squawk! God, you reign forever! Squawk!”

I guess God would forget he reigns forever if we didn’t tell him all the time in song.

“Squawk! How awesome is the Lord Most High! Squawk!”

Since Jesus is the “Lord Most High” that might explain why I never hear “Most High” referring to anything in normal conversation, unless I walk in on a group of stoners debating who’s hitting the bong most.

“Squawk! God bless you, brother! Squawk!”

I don’t remember sneezing, but thank you anyway.

“Squawk! Praise the Lord! Squawk!”

Right now? I haven’t even had coffee yet. Maybe later, k?

“Squawk! Squawk!”

I spoke with one Christian girl just a few days ago about some ideas I’ve been having. Because of the words I used, she questioned whether or not my ideas came from some sort of cult. I re-worded my thoughts using terms she’d hear in church and all of a sudden she exclaimed that she totally agreed with what I was saying.

Not everyone is like this, of course. There are Christians who understand a real relationship with God doesn’t require a totally new vocabulary. I am hopeful that number increases as more people experience the freedom of being able to just be themselves… as more people realize they are loved “as-is”.

Wouldn’t it be nice to bring non-Christian friends to church and have them meet real humans instead of robots or parrots?


22 Comments

Dear Pastor Tom

The following is an email I sent to “Pastor Tom”. The backstory is this: On two separate radio shows Tom has voiced his opinion that the pastors of XXXChurch have made unwise decisions when setting up their booth on the show floor of porn shows. He says this because he has a hard time believing men can be surrounded by porn and not be tempted to “sin”. This is the letter I emailed to him in response.

Pastor Tom,

My name is Donny Pauling. My blog can be found at http://www.donnysramblings.com . I was formerly known as Donovan Phillips and I produced pornography from 1997 until September 25, 2006. I’m sure you know my story. It seems everyone does.

I’ve listened to your interviews with XXXChurch. I just have to tell you very simply and bluntly: you’re wrong. Sorry, but you are. And I mean nothing personal by this, but to be entirely honest I never would have responded to you. You’d have done the opposite of “turning me on” to Christ. It is people with the attitude you have in your two interviews that turned me off completely. In fact, part of the reason I delved deeper and deeper into porn was to shove it into the faces of people like you from my past. I wanted to shock them as much as possible and send them hiding behind the “holy” walls of their local church. That sounded very harsh, I know. But I just want to tell you the honest truth. I’ll elaborate more as my email progresses.

Personally, I never would have given the guys from XXXChurch a second look had they NOT been on the floor of the show. If they had stood on the outside of the door I would have looked at them as I did every other “Christian” at that time: judgmental and thinking of themselves as “too good” or “too holy” to come inside with me.

Now please believe me: I understand some of your concerns about putting pornography in front of the faces of men. I used to “give ’em hell” on the XXXChurch blogs and message boards about the exact same issue. Why? Because I knew that’s where my comments would hurt them most. I knew, from my Christian background, that would be where Christians such as yourself would be “hitting them” as well. I pounded away on that same wound because that is where these guys are most vulnerable. I KNEW that the very people who should be supporting them most, the Christians, would undoubtedly pound on them for being in there with all of us sinners.

I don’t think you realize how horribly most Christians hurt people. The judgmental attitude does so much more harm than good. Let me give you a story from my past that really burned me up when dealing with Christians: I attended a church where a very “sinful” woman came to give her heart to God. She was saved and tried hard to walk the path she knew she must walk. But she had fallen so low in her life that it was very difficult not to mess up at times. Soon she’d messed up enough that a few of the “saints” made her feel really bad about it. On a Sunday morning when the rest of us were in church, she put a gun in her mouth and pulled the trigger. Her children were left without a mother and there is no doubt in my mind that a big part of the blame lays on the “saints” who made her feel guilty and unworthy. They were her last hope and failed her miserably.

Because of situations like this I absolutely HATED Christians. I can’t honestly say all of that hatred is completely gone, but I am certainly asking God to take it away. Christians seem to forget that the very word “Christian” means they must be “like Christ”. Jesus was not judgmental. He shunned the saints to hang out with the sinners. He spent his time in those places where the need was greatest. Jesus would have been on the porn show floor with us.

People like you, sir, spend your time amongst the saints. You are too good/afraid to sin/ whatever to get out there with us sinners. For that, most of us hate you. In fact, if I gave you the list of adult industry message boards you’d see that I am now facing an enormous amount of persecution from my former colleagues in the porn business simply because I’ve publicly professed my decision to follow Christ. All of that hatred is due to their own past experiences with Christians. Their perceptions of what being a Christian means has been so screwed up by the “saints” that they have no idea what it means to find someone who is truly trying to be like Christ.

That is why the men from XXXChurch got my attention two years ago. They were NOT afraid to come in on my level. They were confident that Jesus Christ would give them the strength they needed to face the temptations they may or may not face, all so that they could focus on their goal of bringing his message of love to me and all of the other pornographers and porn actresses and sinners alike. I gave them such grief for that… so much so that they had to ban me from their sites a few times. But I was testing them. I was beating them up to see if they stood up to it.

In a perfect world you could respond to this message and tell me that I need to put my eyes on God and take them off of men. In a perfect world you’d be right. But here in the real world we have to live with the fact that the only “flesh and blood” most people will ever see from God comes in the shape of those who profess to follow him, and we therefore have to either (a) be perfect or (b) acknowledge that we’re just human beings too. Since “a” isn’t possible we must go with “b”. And having an attitude that we’re too holy to mingle with the sinners doesn’t work for letter “b”.

Now, since you doubt that Christian men can go into a porn convention without being tempted beyond what they’re able to bear, let me tell you a little about said porn shows. I know JR wants you to go with him to Las Vegas to experience this for yourself, but perhaps I can shed a bit of light before hand. Please forgive me because I’m about to get a little graphic, but you’re a big boy and I know you can handle it. Here I go with some examples from this past AVN show in Las Vegas:

1. In one display area there were videos playing where young ladies put suction cups on their genitals. These cups sucked said genitals so hard they began to swell to several times their normal size. The resulting images and videos showed vaginas that were horribly deformed. Sound good to you? (visit xxxchurch.com for help if it does)

2. In another display there were devices being sold that looked like pogo sticks. On part of this “pogo stick” was a penis. The intent of this object is for a woman to place it inside herself and bounce on it. The people selling this item were rather hairy and sweaty. Turned on yet? No? Okay, let me see if I can do better.

3. How about videos of machines that are made strictly to have sex with women? A dildo is placed on the end of a mechanical device that rotates at several thousand RPMs, rapidly penetrating a model on the other end. Do I have you going yet?

You mean you’re not turned on? Your stomach is churning? I know how you feel, because the first time I was at the show I felt sick to my stomach as well. But it really sucks that I’ve already grossed you out because I haven’t even told you about some of the most depraved forms of entertainment being shown on the floor. I haven’t told you about the transsexual who was wandering the floor in his pink dress with his penis hanging out for all to see. I bet that would have moved you, right? I haven’t told you about the objects being sold that are meant to inflict pain on genitals of both men and women, along with the graphic photographs meant to portray how those objects are to be used. I haven’t told you about…. Okay, I’ll stop. Take a deep breath. You’ll be okay, I promise.

See, it’s altogether possible that Christian men who are on a mission to help deliver lost souls from the porn industry ARE INDEED able to resist the “temptations” they run across. And don’t you see how it might make an impact on those of us wandering the floor that these “Bible Thumpers” aren’t afraid to spend time with us in such an environment? It definitely gets our attention and makes us wonder what’s going on. What are these people doing in here passing out “Jesus loves porn stars” shirts? Why are they giving us Bibles? Why are they asking us to sign some chart that says we’ll go without porn for just one week… just give it a try? I can tell you from experience, it plants seeds. My seeds took a few years to germinate, but they eventually popped out of the ground. Why? Because I was seeing men who were truly acting like the Jesus Christ I’d read about in my earlier years. These men were spending time with us “tax collectors” and “prostitutes”. They weren’t standing around having pious discussions with each other like all the pharisees I’d known growing up.

Sir, I doubt you can stomach the things you’d see at a porn convention. But thank God he has a few men who can.

Respectfully yours,

Donny Pauling
Former Porn Producer