2019-10-23 ssl-pornpizza

Author and pastor Blaine Bartel speaks to a packed house at Church That Matters during its “Porn and Pizza” event Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. SUBMITTED by Rusty Gunn

Rusty Gunn isn’t afraid to tackle tough and controversial issues.

The Church That Matters lead pastor likes to think outside of the box, and some of the church’s events have raised a few eyebrows.

Church That Matters recently hosted “Porn and Pizza,” an event to bring to light and start an open conversation about pornography and its effects on men, families, children, and the community.

On Sunday, Oct. 13, Church That Matters was filled to capacity with men, ranging in age from teenagers to men in their 70s.

“No one is immune to the temptation of pornography,” Gunn said. “Many addictions to pornography begin by accidentally going to a porn site by misspelling a website domain or by clicking on something inadvertently that leads to a porn site. Seven out of ten men are looking at porn and no one wants to talk about it. Most men feel extreme guilt and shame because of it. Most men want to stop but can’t. It’s time to get it out in the open. It’s time for a change.”

Key note speaker, Blaine Bartel, shared his story of losing his ministry, marriage, and almost losing his life due to his addiction to pornography.

“(Porn) becomes a habit,” Bartel said. “It feels harmless when it starts out. Who am I hurting? I’m not hurting myself or anyone else. It seemed like not risky behavior.”

The event, catered by Andolini’s Pizza and hosted by CTM, offered hope to those who are ensnared by pornography, and Bartel shared some tools to win the daily battle. The former Church On the Move pastor, also offered tools to those who are not currently struggling in this area so they can stay free from the traps of pornography and help others who are struggling.

Bartel is also the author of the book “Death By A Thousand Lies: My Cover Up, My Crash and My Resurrection from Sexual Addiction.”

Bartel, who is the senior pastor at Northstar Church in Frisco, Texas, told a packed house that pornography wasn’t his only addiction, and it led to a sexual addiction that involved meeting strangers online for sex.

After watching pornography for a while, it wasn’t enough. Bartel had to have the real thing, and it started with a shady massage parlor. That was the beginning of the end; however, it wasn’t until a stranger Bartel was meeting for sex recognized him as a famous pastor in the Dallas area. That was the end.

Bartel asked for help and let his secrets go, but that was after he lost everything.

The pastor has now been sober, or free from sex addiction, for 10 years, and he used the church and God’s grace to get there.

Gunn said, “This matters!” Addiction to pornography is destroying marriages, threatening jobs, and damaging lives, and we want to do something about it. What begins as an ‘innocent look’ and a moment of pleasure leads many men to a path of destruction they cannot get off of. Pornography rapes the mind and robs men and women of the sexual intimacy and pleasure they are intended to get from their spouse. More than half of divorces today name online pornography as a primary reason for the marriage break-up.”

Bartel completely opened up about his struggles and did not leave anything out.

“I looked at porn to escape. Any addiction is to escape, and most men are looking for an escape,” Bartel said.

​Kirk McCracken 918-581-8339

kirk.mccracken@sandspringsleader.com