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geezeronthequad: A Belated Love Letter to the Duke Porn Star

June 4, 2014

Dear Belle,

I’ve never known anyone by that name; you’re the first. While it may not be your birth name, you’ve chosen it and I honor that here. Names ending in “lle” have a ring of dignity, even class, to them that might say more about the deep places in you than you know. I’m late learning your story. I haven’t seen any of your work but I still know of it thanks to the invasiveness of social media. It brought back memories. When I was nineteen and in college, I met someone who made similar decisions as you. Playboy Magazine’s “Playmate of the Year” made a personal appearance at the local mall at a tuxedo shop run by a college friend. The line to the store’s door ran all the way through the mall. A guy in front of me stood in line with his Mom to get her autograph. To this day, there are still many things so wrong with that! Almost everyone in line had her foldout from the magazine to sign. Being an insecure nineteen year old, I didn’t have the guts to ask a woman to sign a naked picture of herself.

I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. Was she beautiful? Certainly. But the wasteland in her eyes hit me like a slap in the face. It was like I could look into her eyes and see down through to the inside of her feet. The soul had been sucked out of her. Older than you and making more money, she was on tour autographing her body parts on request for thousands of men (and one Mom). She consented and signed the contracts and waivers. So did you; you may have been pressed by circumstances but not forced. But, Belle think about this. We can consent to or choose any road we want but we can’t choose where that road goes. You’re a lot farther down the road than signing airbrushed foldouts in a tux rental place. Another girl, Alyssa Funke, made similar decisions as you but it ended differently. It will be easy to dismiss her saying she “had issues”.

And you have tragically been shamefully treated. The men who jeer you have probably also gawked at your work. The women who glare might be a long way from sexual angels themselves. But you have put yourself out there as meat to be abused even if, and especially if, that’s not who you really are. And when we do that, we attract meat eaters. We don’t know each other but I know you are not meat. You’re smart, smarter than me. I couldn’t have gotten into Duke. Did you want to go to Duke all along? I’ve seen tons of incoming freshmen like you in summer orientations, all wearing the brand new school gear, walking around gaping at everything amazed that you’re really here. Duke became your place – new people, new ideas, all of it heady stuff. I don’t know why you ran out of money – whether you saw it coming or got ambushed. Was there no one to help or were you too desperate and afraid to ask? Sometimes college students feel entitled to something just because they want it. Could transferring to a cheaper school have kept you from the brink of this or did you want to stay at Duke no matter what?

You said that you had no problem with your decision. In fact, it was the most empowering thing you’d done. Empowerment is big today, the hot term, the latest word we drain of all meaning by beating it to death. Empowerment means an infusion of dignity, self-worth, independence  and self-sufficiency. The things doing this for us normally show up well in the spotlight and encourage others. We don’t dread them being “outed”. I’m sort of a combat medic for people’s souls, not an expert or anything, but in the trenches with them while they hold their spiritual intestines in their hands. Sometimes a black thorn festers and oozes down in our deepest places and takes us places we can’t handle or deal with. Maybe something else breathes underneath your feelings of empowerment.

She came out to get water when the sun was high and hot. Better that way since no one would be there. She’d be spared the looks and the spitting. Living with someone outside of marriage in a small town made you a target. Today she got a surprise. He sat there quietly; she never noticed Him until He spoke. He must not be from around here or He would know. And all He did was ask for a drink. He was almost kind about it which shocked her even more because He was Jewish. His respect grew her half an inch. As they talked, He asked to see her husband and her stomach froze into a knot of ice when He said, “…the one you have now is not your husband.” He did know!  She saw everything that failed marriages had taken from her in His eyes. Jerking to hide behind religious talk, she babbled on about the Messiah or something. He might have even had a little grin as He said, “I am He.” She was the only one He ever told quite like that. (John 4:1-34)

Did they even let her dress or did they just wrap her in a sheet before they dragged her through the streets? Whatever drove her into another man’s arms beside her husband didn’t justify this humiliation in front of her family, friends and the town. She may have been set up. And then they threw her in the dirt in front of Him saying she should die; they already clutched the stones. She clutched whatever cover she could and covered her head so anything He said was muffled. But she did hear one thud after another as stones hit the ground and the crown evaporated away. She finally looked up. “Who condemns you?” They were gone. “Then neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” How could He talk about sin and melt guilt away at the same time? (John 8: 1-11)

She was on her knees at His feet in front of others who would want her in the dark but scorn her in the light. How could He be a holy man letting a women like this touch Him? The hard hands of men and deep evil beyond hideousness broke her down to a walking death going nowhere. Until Him; He’d brought wildflowers to bloom from the rags and filth of her life. And now she would proudly wash His feet with grateful tears and wipe them with her hair. What others thought just didn’t matter anymore. (Luke 7:36-50)

A little history I’m sure you already know. Winston Churchill was England’s prime minister during World War II. An interviewer asked one of his generals what Churchill’s secret was in holding the British people together. He said, “There was something about Winston Churchill that transformed the lead of common men to gold.” There is something about Jesus Christ that transforms the brokenness of women to platinum. He has people at Duke who love like Him; all you might have to do is read a bulletin board or follow the sidewalk chalk to find them. Belle, you may never get to see this but I know there may be others considering the path you chose for many reasons that seem good and even empowering. So I hope they see this as well as you. You are not meat. A hidden dignity, beauty and life lies dormant inside you far beyond what you can imagine or make happen just waiting for His touch, His voice. And let me say as one old enough to be your grandfather that I would be proud to take you on my arm and walk you back and forth across the Duke campus or anywhere else we could wipe the smirks off the faces of slut shamers.

Regards, respect and prayers,

 

I know I promised Bible studies for the summer but I had to get this out of my system!! If you think this might encourage a college student or someone who cares about them, then share, tweet, subscribe and all that social media stuff. If you already subscribe to geezeronthequad.com, then you might consider Geezer 1, the Facebook clubhouse for geezeronthequad.com that’s a mix of students, student ministry leaders, professors, administrators, artists, musicians, writers, composers, broadcasters, booksellers, cultural thinkers and entrepreneurs as well as a few campus rats who think that Jesus Christ thinks that universities are special places. Your coming on board would only make us better. Take a look and sent a Facebook request to join to geezeronthequad@gmail.com. If the Facebook dog eats your homework (and he sometimes does), we will ask you to resubmit.

Please return your seat to the upright position and return your infrared night vision goggles to the attendant as you exit to the rear. See you next time on geezeronthquad.com.

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