Friday, February 19, 2010

The First Step Towards Healing

I recently had the opportunity to interview activist Brandt Russo about his Operation Starvation, a hunger strike to raise $15,500 to feed starving children. Yesterday Reject Apathy--which is Relevant Magazine's social justice-themed digital magazine--published the article online, and it got some good feedback.

Then this morning I checked the website to see if I received any more comments. There was a comment that read "To see Brandt's latest project, click this link." I click the link, and it was a picture of Brandt naked. Since I was at work, I quickly clicked away. I couldn't investigate it, so I just dismissed the commenter as a troll. About five minutes before my shift ended, I checked the website again, and there were a few more comments. Two of them said nasty things about Brandt, and the third one was from Brandt himself.

He said that he's been struggling with pornography addiction for years, and it was time for him to get help. He also wrote about it on his Facebook page.

After dinner I checked my email and saw that Brandt sent me a message on Twitter. "Did they seriously delete the article?" he said. "I'm sorry for all of that drama, dude." I checked the website and sure enough, the article was gone. One of the Relevant editors emailed me and said they took the article down because they didn't want to start a flame war: one half calling Brandt a fake, and the other half defending Brandt. I emailed him back and said I understood. Then I emailed Brandt and told him I'll be praying for him.

On one had I'm kind of disappointed, but on the other hand I admire Brandt for being so honest about his struggle. I can understand where he's coming from, too. Many times I've felt like I had to put on a mask and pretend that I have it all together. Meanwhile my dark secrets eat me up inside. Guilt and shame torture me day and night. I feel like I'm dying, but I don't want to say anything, because I'm afraid of being exposed as a liar.

But confessing is the first step towards healing. When Jesus said, "Ask, and you shall receive," He wasn't lying. In those dark moments when I'm at my lowest and I"m on my knees begging for help, I hear that still small voice saying, "I'm here." And then the healing begins, slowly but surely.

I pray for Brandt and his healing. It's a shame all this had to happen at once. But hopefully now he can get some help.


  1. You might want dig just a little, sir. Brandt Russo has more than just a porno addiction. These pictures (there are worse ones) came to light because he was making unwanted advances towards a girl on a web chat. There are profiles for him on multiple "swinger" websites that say he will travel to meet women and contain some disturbing info: "Safe Sex - I'll tell you later." He only chose to come clean because he knew the information was already out there. In his apology he skewed the truth to make himself seem better, and in the first version he actually accused our forums of engineering the whole thing by sending a spy to seduce him. Brandt is simply trying to spin this situation to save his PR front so that he can keep up his "ministry" which consists of getting a free ride in life by taking a little off the top of donations for expenses. It's irritating how the most disgusting sort of liars and con-men can play Pious and if their dirty laundry gets aired they can just mutter something about David and Bathsheba and everybody will go along with it. He's not king freaking David, okay? He's not even Shane Claiborne. He's a liar and a sexual deviant who only ever tells the truth as a last resort to save face.

  2. Fortunately God can use broken and disturbed Christians as they are. Lets face it, if only perfect Christians could be used by God then no one be used.

    Some Christians struggle with sins that are public, some that are private. Some struggle with sins that are viewed as more horrific then others based on what society says is normal or perverse, but the great thing about it is that God views a gossip and a pedophile the same and has the power to heal and forgive them both.

  3. Everyone has their own idea when it comes to the details of what exactly God is like. With respect, I feel that if your God sees no difference between a gossip and a pedophile, your God is a fool. While I respect the view that sin is sin and nobody is righteous, there are practical differences you can't ignore. It's like the difference between not being a racist and pretending ethnicity doesn't exist. It's fine to say that everyone can heal and everyone can change, but you can't take a gambling addict to Vegas and you can't give an alcoholic a beer. Brandt's elevated status gives him access to women, and really I should think the right thing to do in Christian love would be to take away his access by taking away his ministry-based stardom.

  4. jay you say there are photos ect where are they? he sets off red flags for me also.