San Diego Churches(This is an article written for my weekly San Diego Reader column on spirituality and places of worship.)

Wally the Wiener, a 15-foot inflatable penis, stands erect behind XXXchurch’s “Erotica LA” booth. Wally is just one of XXXchurch’s attempts to get attention from the 40,000 pornography fans and stars at the convention. “We have to use outrageous methods to get people to pay attention,” said Craig Gross, a pastor, and one of the founders of XXXchurch. In 2002, Pastor Gross and Pastor Mike Foster founded XXXchurch to create porn awareness, accountability, and recovery to people inside and outside the church.

Pastors Foster and Gross have received a lot of attention because of their involvement in the pornography industry. “At the Erotica show, people are wondering why two pastors are here,” said Gross. “But this is exactly the place Jesus would go. He wouldn’t stand outside picketing the porn industry. He would want to meet these people individually.” This year, XXXchurch’s booth gave “Jesus Loves Porn Stars” T-shirts to porn stars. “We handed out 245 free T-shirts. This is a way for us to plant seeds with porn stars and help them get out of the industry,” said Gross. “We stay in contact with many of the porn stars to keep a dialogue going.” Last month, Trinity James was the first porn star to leave the industry through this campaign. “Trinity was living in Las Vegas and has been doing porn and legalized prostitution for four years. She realized that this is not something she can do any longer.” XXXchurch raised $14,400 to assist James’s transition, which included the cost of the move to Indiana and tuition to cosmetology school. Gross said he hopes this is the first example of many porn stars’ exodus out of the industry.

Full Article: XXXchurch