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We Can’t Have Nice Things

by Rachel Ceballos on August 5th, 2014 in Industry

Christians, This is why we can’t have nice things.

First off, I am a Lady Pastor. So if that already makes you crazy in the face and ready with a Mark Driscoll quote, maybe you should stop reading right here.

Seriously. Go home and make yourself a delicious sandwich.

Secondly, I am one of those girls who had the absolute pleasure of hanging out with Sheena in Chicago at the porn ponvention just a few weeks ago. I deeply love sharing summer fruit, t-shirts, bibles, lip-gloss and kind words with my new friends at these porn ponventions. I can’t wait to see these porn stars and let them know that someone, from the dysfunctional tribe known as “Christianity”, cares. Because let’s be honest, the family of God is like any family. We have some weird aunts and uncles who just seem to ruin every good thing they can get their hands on. People who love God, but love their own dysfunction more.

Most of the time when I see all of the hate online, I just move past it, because I can see that people spit out what they struggle with themselves; the classic “hurting people hurt” mentality.

But I am too close to this situation.

I have watched, with my own eyes, this sweet girl open herself up on the Porn Convention floor for a moment to believe that someone can still look her in the eyes and tell her that NO MATTER WHAT, SHE IS LOVED BY GOD.

And by saying that, we do not condone her life choices, but rather we glorify the God of the universe who is working in her life.
That He gave her life and I trust God enough to be able to speak to her without me having a perfectly crafted theological statement about weed.
Because I trust God enough to move in her life, it allows me the ability to simply love her and let her work out her faith between her and God.

Isn’t that so beautifully simple? Trust God, love others and let His Holy Spirit do the rest? Because what I can see about this amazing girl is that she is on a journey and I pray that she continues to be honest and share her heart and soul, and to cry out to a God who I know hears her and would never turn His back on her.

One comment I read especially stood out to me: “Never talks about the consequences. I know it’s easy, but yes, we are to love, but not once have you condemned the behavior.” This breaks my heart because most people who know God as someone who condemns them has never really met the God of the Bible. The God who would do anything to lead His people to reconciliation and freedom in Christ. That’s where it becomes serious in my mind.

I turn back to those commentators on the page and I wonder if they know Jesus Christ. That may sound harsh, but when people only speak about the God of wrath and that his followers need to bring condemnation, I don’t know the god they speak of. God came into my life through the love and patient care of other believers and they didn’t begin the conversation with my biggest sins. To know God is love. And the more you are with God, the more you want to be like Him. It begins a process of letting go of the things that hurt or break us. Jesus could tell people to go and sin no more, because HE WAS GOD WEARING FLESH. He called us to love Him and to love others because none of us know what is going on in the lives of others, and none of us can seem to get past our own selfishness. We try to be like little god’s and place ourselves above others in the hopes of seeming removed from sin and sitting in a superior place. But here is what I know: we are all sick with sin and pointing it out in others reveals our own brand of sickness (Tweet This!).

To quote one of the brilliant college students that I work with and love; “This is why we can’t have nice things.” That for every beautiful glimpse God gives us of his redemptive work on this earth, somebody is going to take a dump on it. Sheena, I hope you know that God’s family is kind of messed up, but He is a perfect God who continues working in all of us (Tweet This!). There are so many people who will be there for you regardless of what you can do for them and we hope to know you for years to come with no hidden agenda; except to extend some non-creepy love and care, and let you know what God has shown us from our own experiences.

And to all my Christian brothers and sisters who love to post long rants on comment sections and point fingers, I hope you feel safe in your self-imposed palaces of crazy. God is not safe by the way. I pray that someday He calls you away from your safe church, your safe life, and causes you to love someone different than yourself. I pray you begin to lose the numbness, the rage, the need to always be right, and for you to be rocked to your core by the knowledge of God loving you even in the midst of your never ending quest for sin and self destruction. Once you have let that life-changing realization hit and can admit your own huge porn/meth/food/self-hate/misogynist/lying habit you will find that God has not left you either.

I hope that you go and love someone with that very same kind of love.


Listen to the latest (and first) Craig’s Car Ride podcast to hear more from Rachel, Craig, and blogger Seth Taylor on this topic and the controversy surrounding the Sheena video and blog Craig Gross posted yesterday called Yes! Jesus Loves You Sheena. Also, check out Seth’s blog about grace that further delves into these matters.


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We Can’t Have Nice Things by Rachel Ceballos is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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  • Mud angel

    I think it is wrong to condemn her. But I also think it is wrong to support her line if thinking. True Christian conversion involves not only accepting Gods love and Christ’s sacrifice but also choosing to follow Christ. This poor girl is in darkness. She doesn’t see how her sin is hurting herself and especially others. Let her read the confessions firm or the wives forum and see. She needs to see it in love, not in condemnation. If she truly believed God loves her, that is good. But does she love him? Does she love others? Does she trust him? If so she can’t ignore scripture anymore. She needs to see Satan’s lies. One of those lies being that this is what God wants. “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (‭Romans‬ ‭6‬:‭1-2‬ ESV) has she been shown this?or “Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. (‭Romans‬ ‭6‬:‭13‬ ESV)” If not we are not treating her with love. Love does not let his sister darkness. “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. (‭Galatians‬ ‭6‬:‭1‬ ESV)” And if she sees this but will not change does she love God? Then she is not an example of grace, but of arrogance. “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. (‭Galatians‬ ‭6‬:‭7‬ ESV)” I desire her to be spared from what she is reaping, not to condemn her.

    • It is such a delicate issue and i agree with you, true love should also seek to save Sheena from the harms of sin. i know that for the sake of people like her, i have to keep my mind and life pure, no matter how challenging this can be. i hope XXXChurch can eventually have a loving discussion with her to explain how the sin of porn robs her value, but God tremendously values Sheena.

    • Trent K

      It’s not that simple.. I work in an addiction recovery ministry (in addition to being healed of a nasty heroin addiction by our Lord Jesus). You cannot just go up to an addict or someone held in deep bondage, point out all their sins, false beliefs, and say to them “Yes, God loves you… But where’s your love for him?”. If I was in my addiction I would tell you to $&%# off.
      These people are going out to these porn stars and loving on them (they are not, as you put it, “supporting their line of thinking”).
      Our Lord has put young men in my life that are just beginning their sobriety and most of them haven’t even made (in their hearts) a decision for Jesus yet. Anyone in recovery ministry will tell you.. Scripture whipping people does not work.

  • Bill Rose

    Well said Rachel. i have been a Christian for years and its only been in last decade I quit condemning myself let alone others. The church has been so worried about making sure everyone knows what they are against they have lost sight of what God is for. Keep fighting the Good Fight.

  • This is me giving you the biggest high five! Love your fire, your honesty and your passion!!!

  • Margeaux Hogue

    Amazingly well said Rachel!!! You are so loved Sheena and we are praying for your journey! xoxo

  • mattie_b

    I’ve always supported XXX Church and currently work with fighting against Sex Trafficking (XXX Church came out to my outreach in CA in October at the Capitol). I appreciate the people who reach out to those in porn. I pray for your ministries. I am a member of the Ekklesia – the Body of Christ which Jesus is purifying. I believe true discipleship requires relationship while evangelism does not (evangelism should lead to us making disciples however).

    In understanding that some of us are more geared toward mass evangelism and others toward specific discipleship, I believe we need to do both: condemn sin and love people while being led by the Holy Spirit. It’s speaking the Truth in Love (Eph. 4:15). For some people, their sin has become their identity, therefore, we must break down that false identity of lies down with the Light of the Truth.

    This creates contention and pain but like a skillful surgeon cutting out cancer, it is necessary. Remember, we are the LIGHT OF THE WORLD (Matt. 5:14) and Jesus specifically said what good is salt that loses its flavor? (Matt. 5:13).

    If you choose to continue to read, know I am using my time to tactfully write and use scripture, something that needs to be present in more of our conversations because God’s Word is the final authority.

    Not mine. Not yours. Not opinion.

    The first thing we read in the Gospel is Jesus and John the Baptist both preaching LOUDLY and passionately, “Repent and be saved!” (Read Matt 4:17 where Jesus goes preaching this message in public).

    The Greek word for “preach” (again, which Jesus, John and later the disciples and Paul would do) is: kēryssō (Strongs G2784). It means to officiate as a herald, to proclaim after the manner of a herald always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an AUTHORITY which must be listened to and OBEYED; to publish, proclaim openly: to PUBLIC ALLY proclaim.

    So, my simple question is this: do we preach the Good News in today’s culture with the boldness and authority to call people to repent and obey Jesus?

    Because if we do not, we really are not loving anyone but our own ego since we are not willing to be persecuted or rejected for Christ. Now, use tact, use wisdom, know your audience and build relationships BUT ALWAYS PREACH IN BOLDNESS! God is into changing lives not building your popularity.

    Let’s look at what Jesus said – and why people began to hate Him so much:

    “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.” John 8:24

    “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not
    believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:18

    “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:16

    Thanks Jesus, those words got you crucified and everyone abandoned you, even your own disciples but, it had to be said!

    Let’s look at some more NT stuff:
    “7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in
    flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe,[a] because our testimony among you was believed.” 2 Thess. 1:7-10

    Look, if we love our neighbor and our beloved friends lost from the GRACE of Jesus, we need to get motivated ourselves. We need to remember the Lord is coming back in judgement – “our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29).

    How do we efficiently, boldly preach the message of repentance? We must first be willing to be labeled ‘condemning’ even though we are not condemning at all but being loving with a message of Truth: Jesus bore ALL sin so we would not.

    It is time to repent and witness and love.

  • Mathias Bjorkman

    It’s not a black and white case. Before judging Sheena each should ask how they would respond if it was them that was in Sheenas shoes. It’s a delicate case. Make the sin revealed should be done at some time but we all have sin in our lives and all sin is equal. I think when we are finished with dealing with sin in our own lives we can lovingly help others concoure theirs. I’m not good with speaking I front of people but if needed I want to give some assistance.

  • Shaniece A Braz

    I…am absolutely sad about this article. Did u just question someones salvation because they address sin? “Well Jesus addressed sin bcus HE WAS god in the flesh”. So did Paul, James, Moses, John etc. God is Love. But his wrath is stored up for the children of disobedience. As a christian we should proclaim the death of Christ but His death doesnt make much sense to unbelievers when we neglect to talk about sin.

  • Shaniece A Braz

    Sheena we do love you. Our comments arent meant to attack u but we were concerned about whether or not this organization is sharing the truth with which is also why we commented hoping ud hear about what God truly wants from us; His creation.

    • candy

      I belive sheena knows exactly what god wants from her that why she feed the homeless she involved anti bulling she help feed the children that are homeless and the mothers that need help sheena adopt dog on death row from animal shelter so see those i sure you aprove of that is the real sheena yes her job is porn but that her job sheena a wonderful girl i know i am her mommy

  • Yovonne

    Jesus loved the Pharisees, too. If they had turned to Him, He would’ve welcomed them with open arms, knowing that they would continue to struggle with their sin. It’s great to acknowledge that he loves porn stars, but we need to remember that he also loves the judgmental and legalistic, also, He seeks a relationship with them, they also are on a path, they can be changed through a relationship with Him. To paraphrase Sheena “How are you going to tell them that their sin is greater than her’s is?” So tired of seeing on here how her sin is better than someone else’s. It’s been real, XXXchurch, but I’m outta here.

  • Matt

    ROMANS 6:1-4 As far as you being a pastor it is not Driscoll it is called the bible that says no read it it is great.

    • Matthew

      With all due respect, the Bible is clear about women’s role in the church. They are called to be whatever God calls them to be…even PASTORS. Sorry my friend, but learn to read the Bible.

      “Women participated in ancient Israelite and early Christian worship more fully than is generally recognized. In the Hebrew Scriptures, women functioned as redeemer figures (Ruth, Esther, and Abigail) and acted as prophets (Miriam, Deborah, and Huldah). Throughout Scripture women appear as prophets at Israel’s most critical junctures: Miriam at Israel’s birth (Exod. 15:20-21; Num. 12; Mic. 6:4), Elizabeth and Anna at the Messiah’s birth (Luke 1:41-45; 2:36-38), and women present at the church’s birth — Pentecost (Acts 1:14). Jesus welcomed women as full disciples; women disciples followed him around the countryside (Luke 8:1-3); he welcomed Mary to learn theology rather than busy herself with hospitality (10:38-42); he discussed theology with the woman at the well and accepted her testimony (John 4:1-26); and he redefined women’s blessedness as obedience to God, making their reproductive function secondary to discipleship (Luke 11:27-28). Significantly, women were commissioned at the tomb with the message of Christ’s resurrection (Matt. 28:5-10; Mark 16:1-11; John 20:11-18), another critical juncture in God’s redemptive work. Women participated in evangelism at Pentecost, hence Peter’s use of the Joel passage (Acts 2:16-21). They established churches in their homes (16:40).

      Paul refers to Phoebe as a ‘deacon’ and uses the masculine form of the Greek word — the term applied to Timothy. Phoebe is a ‘diakonos’ (overseer) of the Cenchreae church (Rom. 16:1). Prisca is Paul’s coworker who risked her life for him (vv. 3-4). Paul even identifies his female relative Junia as an apostle (v. 7). Additionally, Paul affirms that in baptism all classes of people are one (Gal. 3:28). In 1 Cor. 11, he discusses how women should appear when praying and prophesying in public worship. Given Paul’s positive references about women’s leadership and all the stories in Scripture of God empowering them as prophets, two Pauline passages (1 Tim. 2:8-15; 1 Cor. 14:34-35) cannot be legitimately understood as universal commands that women remain silent in church. Narrow focus on these texts has often left the church advocating female exclusion that God obviously does not endorse and Paul did not practice.

      In the early church, women tended the sick, mentored younger Christians, preached the Word, taught theology, and performed liturgical functions. They figured prominently as martyrs in the arena and as monastics engaged in prayer and study. In the Middle Ages abbesses wielded considerable civic and spiritual authority, while other women wrote devotional and theological material.”

      – Kristina Lacelle-Peterson, PHD.
      Liberating Tradition: Women’s Identity and Vocation in Christian Perspective.

      • Bob

        With respect, your examples are not relevant to the office of pastor in the New Testament church. Even in terms of the Old Testament, your examples are not supportive of your position. Women functioning in the roles of judge or prophetess are notable because they are exceptional. Even if you stretch your hermenuetic and make these exceptions a rule, they still do not apply to the New Testament pastoral office. Being a disciple or evangelist or deacon does not qualify one for the office of pastor. All kinds of ministry outside the church is perfectly acceptable for women and you have collected evidence to that fact. However, there is not one single example of a female pastor in the New Testament. Furthermore, the passage from Timothy and you cite can certainly be legitimately understood as universal: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.” (v14ish) He is not providing a cultural reason as support here. This reason is theological, reflecting a complimentarian view on manhood and womanhood and how they apply to roles in the church. I’m not sure why you would say that “God obviously does not endorse” the exclusion of women from the office of pastor. Scripture makes it obvious. From beginning to end you find males in these teaching/leading roles and authority. There are no female New Testament pastors. So it would seem you are basing this obviousness on our own current cultural environment, not Scripture. I’m also not sure how you can say this is something Paul did not practice: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man.” (v.12) That is a very clear statement concerning what Paul practiced. Writing books, studying theology, evangelizing Apollos, being the mayor, being the president, etc. none of these are listed as a qualification for pastor, nor are they evidence that the Bible teaches anything other than what it teaches, which is that the office of pastor is not open to women. Also, a man could have never been the mother of Jesus; there are significant differences in the biology of men and women that were designed by God for both physical and spiritual reasons. And I’m commenting on a 2 year old thread at 3 in the morning while my wife sleeps, proving that none of this has anything to do with men being smarter than women.

  • Matt

    I get it I post something that does not fit your view and you delete it. XXXCHURCH are gutless. Stand on the word of God and not pornstars. Love them yes but dont love there sin as you are oking the sin of a women in sin.

  • Matt

    ROMANS 6;1-5 READ IT

  • candy

    I keep posting hope this works! I have the honor too be sheena mommy! she was a perfect child straight As mostly got a job at walgreens at 16 went too collage wanted and still wants too have something too do with the law. moved too vegas on her own paid all her bills she mad only 1200 a month but mean wile what little money she had she go home make lots of sandwitches and walk give them too the homeless! she would see strugling mothers come too her cashier and not have enough money too pay so she take them shoping pay for the whole thing. i laugh she call and say mommy i hungry i say you were just paid she tell me why she was hungry and i made sure she ate she also adopted two dog on death row from animal shelter and she also very involved in anti bulling in schools so see yes sheena adult porn but its her job she is the sweetest nicest girl you can meet and i know god is proud and so am i I love you sheena please befor you judge her read this because this is my beautiful girl.sheena mommy

  • Ashpan

    I had an egg and onion sandwich on rye bread; it was delicious!

  • Satan’s Helper

    Yeah sheena quit your job and live off the money-tree GOD planted in your backyard! If you get hungry just read some scripture and that will fill you right up. Theres nothing wrong with what you do Sheena, if it makes you and other people happy then do it!

  • Bob

    Well I like your idea about the sandwich but SOMEONE didn’t get enough bread this week. She says I ate too much bread this week and I guess I did so thanks for the marital strife, lady preacher. I pray for you guys from time to time, and come see what’s up here now and again, and I think you guys are doing a valuable service in the Kingdom. That doesn’t keep me from being irritated by you. Not in a bitter way, now. You raise uncomfortable questions for a lot of people so you should anticipate some of these frustrations. My own irritation with you may be different, I hope (I am always dying to be unique since I am un-unique). A lot of your criticism is coming from American evangelicalism, not necessarily the Church. I find it disturbing that you would say “God’s family is messed up.” The Church is NOT God’s family, lady preacher. The Church is the Bride of Christ. I have seen this habit throughout this ministry, of being so critical of the Church. I would be cautious about that. He died for the Church. These “messed up people” you are referring to are sealed with the Spirit of God. Now this is where I get irritated. The evangelical church in America is not synonymous with The Church. I’m not sure a clear distinction is being made regardless of some loose comments here and there that kind of suggest this point is being acknowledged. The term “God’s family” in one sentence seems to reflect a more inclusive view on the matter, while at other times it is suggested that maybe these folks don’t know God at all. There is precision missing here that is not fitting a preacher. Even a lady preacher. And that is another rub for me with you guys. You seem to keep it really vanilla when it comes to any significant theological position. Then lady preacher comes along and tells me to go make a sandwich. And there isn’t even any bread. You know, I didn’t bring it up, you did. You guys seems to want to keep it all booklet-sized-Four-Spiritual-Laws but then inject these little things here and there, being all subliminal about doctrinal teaching. If you guys are a bunch of universalist-free-will-“feel-good”-open-theists who think Paul was full of suggestions, then come on out and say that. Sometimes you say things you don’t mean when you say nothing. I really do get it that you guys do outreach and get folks plugged into churches…I get that method, but that’s where you guys highlight another irritation. The Gospel is actually everything between Genesis 1 and Revelation 23. You’re not exactly a pure outreach ministry; there’s teaching going on here. So some of these comments are expressing frustration because you guys are asking people to open their mouths real wide for a big bite, but there’s just milk on the spoon. There are certainly times when it seems you’d prefer to avoid some of the less user-friendly parts of the book. All sins are the same in terms of Justification, but not all have the same consequences in terms of Sanctification. Jesus said “the one who handed me over to you is guilty of the greater sin” and Paul said (or suggested within a cultural context if you prefer) “every other sin a person commits are outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” It’s a good thing for that young lady to know that Jesus loves her, but someone might want to mention to her, in a friendly way, that she is causing herself great suffering by continuing to abuse herself. You lie to her if you tell her all sin is the same, and we’re all sinners, so there is nothing beyond the usual concern here. And hey, if there’s a line forming on who has caused himself the most grief with sin, save me a place in the very front. I get this creepy feeling from time to time that you guys spare the truth at times in favor of marketability and easy-believism. So I think people are sometimes trying to communicate that, even if it isn’t communicated very well. I guess I can still understand your rant, maybe you guys get tired of criticism, lady preacher. I’m sure I don’t blame you. But I think part of your calling is for there to be a bit of irritation to go around for everyone. It’s not such a bad thing, friction can be very positive. I do think it’s good to come back to an objective perspective. With the exclusion of the world-wide sex trade, the American pornography culture and it’s consequences are first-world problems. I think it is good you guys reach out to these folks, and I don’t want you to stop. But while you’re exhorting the “messed up people in God’s family” to love someone different and going to porn shows and putting gel in your hair, there’s a lot of very serious suffering taking place in the world. I think this ministry IS proof that God loves porn stars, because there are a lot of dying children in the world. The story about the lady becoming a porn star to pay for college is disturbing, primarily in the utter foolishness it demonstrates. Doing porn to pay for college does not count for real suffering in this world. They still crucify Christians in Sudan for crying out loud.The presentation of some of these stories is dramatic in a way that causes me to think you’re all a bunch of democrats. More specifically, that a progressive social justice political ideology predominates, even if it takes second place to the Four Spiritual Laws. Do-gooding is not necessarily redemptive. You guys are really not as cutting-edge as you might imagine yourselves. The next time you see that guy with a megaphone and a sign, you might want to calm yourselves. Those guys generally irritate me, too. But how do you know God did not send that man, too? I have seen people repent with street corner preachers. I have used the Four Spiritual Laws to share the Gospel and watched the Lord save souls. There is no method or formula, there is only obedience. What would you do if Jeremiah showed up outside one of your porn shows? Would you hand him some hair gel and tell him “don’t do it this way, do it like we do” ? Jesus was both accepting and confrontational at the appropriate times. I certainly don’t think your overall presentation of matters should resort to any kind of stone-throwing, but some of these responses to user comments sound like a therapist protecting a patient more than a minister guiding young believers. I think you’re bound for a certain amount of friction in your ministry, and I’m sure it is not easy. I encourage you to always seek wisdom as I’m sure you do, and don’t permit yourselves to get so tired of it that you close your ears to outside perspectives. You’re just not in a ministry that’s going to always be full of rear slapping and atta-boys. Okay…well you know what I mean. If you don’t like that so many of your brothers and sisters are messed up, then try teaching them, lady preacher. That’s part of what a preacher does, right? When I’m wrong about something, my pastor doesn’t say ” you suck, trying loving people more.” He whips out the book and corrects me. You know, with verses and stuff. Now, I need to go make sure my wife has not decided to become a lady preacher too, and forgotten who does the sandwich makin’ and who does the sandwich eatin’ around here.

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