Chris Johnson's Testimony
Although I had been impressed with ESA from afar, I never thought there would be an opportunity to contribute somehow, but God surprises. At one Palmer event that focused on human trafficking, Kristyn suggested that we examine the influence of pornography as a major factor in human trafficking. That got my attention! She expressed something that I had been trying to formulate in my head: 'Let's make the line connecting these two injustices clearer.'
I ended up having the wonderful and unique opportunity to assist Kristyn my last year at Palmer. In addition to doing research and helping with presentations, she had me interview a number of experts in anti-pornography work. Focusing on coming against pornography and delving into real talk with men is very freeing to my spirit. Additionally, being around the fine folks that ESA attracts makes me feel at home. I felt very much within my authentic, God-created self at July's roast of Ron Sider and the following conference. I thought, 'Now, these are some folks I'd like to hang with and learn from.' I love the community.
ESA's approach is holistic. They really seek to engage many different perspectives, theologies, approaches, and convictions on the issue of sexual injustice.
There is still a lot of work to be done. But I am convinced that as we work with God to heal sexual brokenness, we get closer to the core of ourselves and of how deeply God seeks to redeem us. The issue of pornography and sexual trafficking is not only about lust but also gender equality. I really feel that the more men see women with the value and equality God intended, the less we will see men harming others through sexual exploitation.
I just started a new job as Covenant House Atlantic City's pastoral minister. Covenant House serves homeless youth as a visible sign of God's love and grace. My work with ESA and what I learned about exploitation prepared me in unique ways to work with these vulnerable young people.
Christian theologian and mystic Evelyn Underhill said that "at its essence, worship is our response to the eternal." My worship—my response to God's love—is most authentic when I seek to understand what God is saying and is best expressed in my deeds for Christ.