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Over the past couple of decades, we’ve talked about many, many elephants.
The elephant in the church.
The elephant in the pew.
The elephant in the room.
We’ve even carried around and set up elephants at various events we sponsored such as this enormous monstrosity.
And while the venues or audiences have varied, the “elephant” has always been the same thing – the fact that porn consumption and other sexual struggles are far more common than we all want to admit or even acknowledge.
And so it’s kind of ironic that the organization that loves to talk about elephants hasn’t acknowledged a pretty big one that many people have asked us about.
What happened with the founder, Craig Gross?
What’s his deal, and how does that relate to XXXchurch today?
Those of you who have only grown acquainted with our ministry over the past 12 months may have no frame of reference, but anyone who has followed XXXchurch in the past is likely familiar with Craig Gross and his involvement with the birthing of XXXchurch.
Likewise, you may very well be aware of his new direction and recent ventures involving the legalization of cannabis, the creation of a line of cannabis products, and his delving into other “plant medicines” including hallucinogens like mushrooms.
And so, in 2019 when Craig decided to publicly hang up his “porn pastor” title to pursue these new projects it caught some attention, especially from Christian media. New articles started coming out with click-worthy headlines such as…
This pastor wants to promote the spiritual side of marijuana
Well, the XXX Church Guy Has Started a Christian Weed Website
Former Porn Pastor Craig Gross Expands Evangelical Boundaries Again with Christian Cannabis
Former Adult Pastor Launches ‘Christian Cannabis’
XXXchurch Pastor Craig Gross promotes ‘Christian Cannabis,’ says weed makes it easier to worship
And my favorite…
Jesus Would Have Been Cool with Weed, Says ‘Christian Cannabis’ Pastor
When these articles started coming out so did a fair share of criticism. Both from evangelical leaders and the people XXXchurch aimed to serve. In fact, XXXchurch’s largest supporting church and longest standing partner completely and abruptly ended their support of the ministry.
Of course Craig anticipated some of this which is why he sought to pass the front-facing leadership responsibilities on to me at first, and then ultimately Brittni and Rich Delamora. It was around that time I resigned for several reasons but admittedly, some of it was due to the fact that I was personally not on board with Craig’s new direction.
Nonetheless, fast forward two years later when I approached Crag about acquiring the ministry from Fireproof and relaunching it with brand new leadership at the helm.
Enter the New XXXchurch.
Why do I share all this?
For one, we still get questions from “concerned” people asking things like…
- Is Craig Gross still in charge?
- Does XXXchurch still work with Craig?
- How does his new direction affect the work of XXXchurch?
- Is XXXchurch now “pro-marijuana”?
And the list goes on.
I’ve answered many of these questions via email when they come and even addressed these concerns in this video.
So rather than repeating these answers here, let me move on to the bigger topic at hand. Why does it matter what Craig is or is not doing now when it comes to this ministry.
For some reason, and especially in Christian circles, we have this tendency to want to discredit anything of worth someone did if they later walk away or are seen as falling from grace. That somehow someone’s choices today (good or bad) invalidates what they accomplished previously.
You see this happen in the church.
You see it happen in politics.
You see it happen even with how we paint history.
And the truth is that good work is good work and it should stand on its own.
- Craig had the guts to do something no one else did at the time.
- Craig was willing to call out issues that everyone else wanted to avoid.
- Craig was willing to gamble by giving opportunities to unproven people.
- Craig put himself out there when very few would have done the same.
And so as we celebrate XXXchurch and all it has done, we can’t nor should we get around recognizing the founder who began it all.
XXXchurch has always been a place for those seeking help with their sexual questions and challenges. And nothing about that has changed.
Leaders come and go. I am no exception to that rule. But it’s the impact of the work that matters the most so let’s celebrate that rather than dancing around elephants that stand in our way.