“It’s probably why I used to be a stripper”…REALLY???

polar plunge 8

By Kenneth Justice

~ A while back one of the assistant managers at a coffee shop I hang out at was sitting at my table sharing stories; she and I have known each other for the better part of two years. She’s in her late 30’s and married with two children. In the middle of her telling me about a trip that she and her husband recently returned from, she looked up toward the door, “Dammit, excuse me for a minute, my father is walking in” and she walked over to greet him.

Apparently her father has been an alcoholic her entire life and was rarely there for the children while she was growing up, “My dad left my mom when I was in grade-school and he would disappear out of my life for years” she said,

Gosh that sucks” I said

Yea, it’s probably why I used to work as a stripper when I was younger; daddy issues” she said

I would never look down on a woman who used to work (or is still currently working) in that industry, but I couldn’t help but feel for the woman and wonder; did she really want to take her clothes off for men to make money…..or was it something that could have been avoided if her childhood had been different?

According to a recent research study, one third of all women working as strippers in the UK are doing so because they can’t afford the cost of education, and it makes me wonder; what kind of society have we built where women feel obligated to get naked for men in order to pay their tuition?

I think the situation would be different if it seemed like more of a ‘choice’ when it came to women working in these kind of industries; and I’m sure that there are many women who get into stripping because they simply want an easy job. But what about the woman with 5 children and no husband to help support them? What about the woman whose father has all but abandoned her throughout childhood and she’s been left on her own to fend for herself as she grew up?

Growing up in a strict conservative Christian environment I often wore rose-colored glasses. I had this idealistic belief that the church would come to the rescue of every orphan and single mother who was backed up against the wall financially. Then I grew up and realized that the church culture I was a part of was so disconnected from the rest of society that there was little room in the life of the church to reach out to the people in need.

—-) Many religious people find it easier to go on mission trips to Cambodia then to offer free babysitting to the single mother who lives next door to them

—-) Many religious people find it easier to involve themselves in long debates over theology and science than to simply help out the young couple across the street who are both stressed out to the max working dead-end jobs simply trying to get their electric bill paid on time

—-) Many religious people are more comfortable attending church meetings than becoming friends with strippers who take their clothes off for men in order to pay for their education

It’s never my intention to write scathing articles about Christianity or to attack the religion unmercifully, but as I sat their listening to the mid-30ish woman talk about her drunk dad and how she eventually became a stripper…..I couldn’t help but wonder; where were all those smiling faces I used to see at church when I was kid when it came to this young woman’s life? All those fellow Christians of mine who would show up so faithfully to Sunday worship……where were they when it came to the fatherless children who live in their neighborhoods?

I guess I write articles like this because I used to be nothing more than your typical Christian hypocrite. I was faithful to showing up to the church building when the doors were open; but the minute I stepped outside I was ignorant to the real issues that people around me are struggling through.

It’s a crazy world we are living in now,

—-) Unemployment in the U.S. has remained astronomically high and the jobs that are available for young people tend to be entry-level meaningless positions

—-) One third of women in the UK turn to stripping to pay for their education

—-) According to one study, 1 in 3 children live in a home without a biological father present

There are so many people in need throughout the Western World and unless we are intentionally turning a blind eye to them; you can’t step outside without running into these people. But where does it leave us? How can one person make a difference in the midst of a world that has gone mad?

Theologian Ronal Sider writes, “God’s Word teaches a very hard, disturbing truth. Those who neglect the poor and the oppressed are really not God’s people at all—no matter how frequently they practice their religious rituals nor how orthodox are their creeds and confessions.”

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee this morning,

Kenneth

I will be in Pittsburgh this weekend! I’d love to have you join me for coffee! Check out my homepage for official dates and locations!



Categories: Religion

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84 replies

  1. Excellent post!! I couldn’t agree more!

  2. Excellent post. Kudos to you for sharing.

  3. Fabulous post as always! Your statistics are pretty right on! We live in a very sad society. -:(

  4. Kenneth, I am really appreciating the way in which you discussed this woman’s plight — without condemnation. As a society, we need to continually reflect on how our values and ways of living affect members of our immediate and global communities. Thank you for giving us cause to reflect.

    • Thank you! This is a topic I think about a lot because I LOVE traveling, and I would love spending my life working in other countries in the social work field…. but I have to ask myself; am I doing enough for the people who live in my own neighborhood?

  5. I have often made the same remark about mission trips to other countries. Certainly, they are a good thing, but we are surrounded by so many needs! We just need to look up and look around. Often, helping those around us may seem more daunting because it requires a pure “leading” of how best to help the other person or family. We must close our mouths and open our eyes and ears. I have a long way to go with this, but I see that I don’t need to travel far to be useful. I have a friend who was once on a flight with Mother Theresa. Instead of taking a probably much needed break, she walked through the airplane at the end of the meal and collected all of the rolls passengers had left uneaten. Needless to say, the flight attendants were none too happy, but she used those rolls to feed the poor.

    • Cate,

      Exactly, I would never want to be guilty of throwing stones at people who go on mission trips…. but I have to ask myself am I first and foremost reaching out to the people who literally live across the street from me??? And HOLY COW what a great story about Mother Theresa; she’s one of my heros :-0)

  6. ‘not God’s people at all’ is correct, in my opinion. Sider had it right. It isn’t easy to attend to the needs of others who are poor, homeless, out of work, etc. I hear expressions of ‘I will pray for them’. Well, that’s nice. But, does it help?

    We are so easily entertained today. We spend way too much time at a keyboard or in front of a TV. Instead, could we be directly helping to relieve our neighbors of some grief? It requires us to make a choice.

    • “We are so easily entertained today…..”

      Jim, you sound like you may have read Neil Postman’s book “amusing ourselves to death” one of the greatest books IMHO on the topic of entertainment and our culture.

    • Well, no, I haven’t. I’ll look into it, tho. It sounds ‘amusing’.

      It’s just my observation about the insatiable need people seem to have for something to do. So much of it is in areas other than productive or creative pursuits. Whole industries and economies are built on it.

      Last night on Frontline, I watched their show about TB in Swaziland Africa. They have nothing relatively speaking. A quarter of the population is AIDS infected. TB is rampant. Treatment nearly kills them.

      It was a sobering stark reminder that my world is very very different. Makes me wonder how can they be helped.

  7. I was very fortunate that my parents paid for my college education. Recently, I had a friend that was a former stripper sit down with a woman that wanted to get out of the club. She gave her all kinds of contacts to look into financial help. Both these women were seriously abusing drugs and alcohol to be able to degrade themselves with the men. If any person thinks this is a “harmless” entertainment, they should read their stories. Sexually abused as girls and very much ignored by adults. They both are attending church now and find support there.

    • Ellen, great example.

      I’ve personally known a couple young women who came from ‘stable’ homes, didn’t do drugs, and turned to stripping because, to put it simply; they were lazy and it was easy money. But I suspect those women are in the MINORITY when it comes to the ‘average’ stripper, and the more typical story is probably the type of one you’ve pointed out. Thank you 🙂

  8. Don’t get me started on religion .Period. Most of my friends and I dropped out of believing anything when we were juniors in various Catholic schools. Why? The priest were the worst. They beat us just for the hell of it .Viscious, sadistic men they were. like I say in my book, the Devils are in the pulpit,because for all the churches there are,(doing Good) (for themselves). I’ve never seen a church of Satan. Don’t get me started.

    • Kenny,

      Your story reminds me of the song by Death Cab and the lyrics, “In catholic school, more vicious then roman rules, I got my knuckles bruised…. by a lady in black” that’s from memory so I might have a couple of the words wrong, but so true, no?

    • And Guys in white with tailored-handled quarter inch leather straps. Years later they told me “We had to or you wouldn’t learn. ” What can I tell ya? ” .

  9. Amen. I once joined a committee at a church we were attending because it was called “Church and Society.” I assumed we would be working out ways the very large, rather wealthy church could improve the lives of the many poor people and migrant laborers in that town. I was wrong. And when I asked why we were talking only about what went on inside the church…dinners etc, I got nothing but cold stares.

    My husband thinks he’ll probably go to hell. He was nearly a Catholic priest but left before final vows. Then he divorced and remarried. Yet he makes people’s lives better every day. (Specific details about how he does that are in a longish piece I posted called “Nonexclusive, nonsexual behaviors of a mature dominant man.”) He inspires me to be a better person, to look for ways I can help from the place I am. I wish I could convince him of the truth of how I see him. Maybe reading this article will be a start.

  10. Agreed! Although, I am not so sure that stripping is “an easy job.”

  11. Dear Kenneth,

    First can I just totally embarrass you and say you are so freaking cool. This is the STUFF we need to be saying and discussing. So thank you, first. 🙂

    Second, I just don’t get why our society teaches self reliance, self this and that, independence, make it on your own, blah blah blah without ever seeming to acknowledge that NO ONE makes it on their own. And not to sound to trippy, but those people struggling whom we ignore at best and judge harshly at most, those people are us.

    We have to get to a place where we honor our inter connectedness. When they suffer, you suffer. When she strips, you expose yourself too. People often don’t help other people because they are too afraid to get to truly know themselves. If they did, they’d have the love and wisdom to reach out. They’d see we are all in this together.

    At least this is what I believe 🙂

    Peace~ Allison

    • “Second, I just don’t get why our society teaches self reliance, self this and that, independence, make it on your own, blah blah blah without ever seeming to acknowledge that NO ONE makes it on their own. And not to sound to trippy, but those people struggling whom we ignore at best and judge harshly at most, those people are us”

      Yea, its kind of like we teach that kind of shit so we don’t feel guilty for not helping other people… right? Because whether we are religious, atheist, agnostic, or whatever; because we are human we should help others who are in tough situations!

      Thanks for the great comments Alison 🙂

    • I agree. As a musician, my goal was to write and record an album completely on my own. Due to my focus on self-reliance, I accomplished it … and since there was very little involvement in its creation, there was very little interest in its release.

    • Wow, Jason, that is a powerful thing to say. I understand though, as an artist it’s hard to collaborate sometimes. I will remember your words and I thank you for your reply.

      Peace ~ Allison

  12. “I guess I write articles like this because I used to be nothing more than your typical Christian hypocrite. I was faithful to showing up to the church building when the doors were open; but the minute I stepped outside I was ignorant to the real issues that people around me are struggling through.”

    I understand that completely. I do not think that these Christians are always bad people, but I do think that they are not aware of the real world out there. I was 25 when I first learned that there were people out there who did not believe in God. The fact that I was THAT ignorant scared the hell out of me, literally.

    If Christianity could be reformed into something that did change the world for the better, only then could I be a part of it.

    • Chandler, yea there is a lot of insulation within Christianity; Christian kids grow up simply not realizing what the real world outside of their community is really like.

    • I am sad to think that I was one of the people who thought that there were two kinds of people and that they were either children of God or Satan. I can no longer believe such a thing.

  13. Wish I was deaf sometimes!

  14. And Kenneth hits the BULLSEYE again! What a great article. You are so spot on that most churches would probably shun you and see you as a troublemaker. I know, because I have been there for making observations like yours.

  15. what you believed in your youth was pretty close to what the New Testament teaches for the church to be…you are right, many- not all- of the so-called church are not actually operating like Jesus’ disciples. They have developed what many of us now term “Churchianity,” a religion that is not based on Jesus’ words and definitely not the original church. that is why i, like many others, are part of a return to that church that includes helping the orphans and widows and not helping a building, a pastor, or hypocrisy. Check out http://www.thelastreformation.com.

  16. I love God, but my dealing with Christains, they are some of the meanest people. Way back when I was a single Mom, I made my living off mt tips at Restaurant. The after church folks never left a tip.

    • Yea, there is a new website that is making national news in which Restaurant Servers talk about their experiences serving Christians on Sunday afternoons; its not making Christian community look very good as we hear stories about bad tippers and bad attitudes.

    • I don’t doubt it– among my denomination (LDS/Mormon) I recall admissions about us being lousy tippers (as in, not leaving a tip at all). I’ve tried very hard to be better about that since… although, these days, the family and I rarely go out anymore because we can barely afford to, let alone do so and tip properly.

      These days I just look forward to church dinners, I guess, but… well, that’s another story about community, which Kenneth has also addressed. Our ward (congregation), for a while, they seemed so eager to rush home.

  17. I heard a quote once that I wholeheartedly believe: “People seek affirmation, and not information.” The church definitely falls into that category. The institution goes to Cambodia to “affirm” to themselves that they are doing God’s work; while at the same time ignoring the “information” about how their very neighbors are suffering. Good reminder for us all to work more within our circle of influence and less on our circle of concern.

  18. I’m a single mother, and my son’s father chose not to be involved. At all. It is not an issue for me (anymore), but I’ve attend plenty of churches that “snubbed” me. I still attend, because it’s important to me for my son to be raised with a spiritual base, and I think we’ve finally found a church that practices what they preach. I’ve never seen a more giving group of people. It’s not the most friendly church I’ve ever attended, but it is the most giving, in time, in money and in recognition. To the community, to missions and to each other.

    Is it wrong that I’m totally surprised? That I’ve become so used to the churches that you’ve described above that the random acts of kindness shown to me have just floored me?

    Great post today! 🙂

  19. If 1 in 20 homes is in need to provide food on the table for children. No scientific number here.
    When 19 homes put down one dollar it means a week of food for a week for that one family.

    What is wrong with peeling an extra potato or boil a cup of rice extra.

    Have we become so ignorant that the education we NEED is made so expansive.that only thos who can effort can attend

    Isn’t that creating a bigger gap between rich and poor. the one gap every president or politicians trying to close.And still prices going up and more people struggle.

    It is not even a religious thing of not helping. It is US the human who is failing
    But maybe that is just being short sighted.

  20. Has nothing to do with God’s work…What is wrong with a society that values sports’ heroes and movie stars as superheroes and can’t put money into the important things like education to encourage our future problem solvers, the environmental concerns, and the infrastructures that are crumbling around us?

  21. Ahh, bless you for this post!

    One of the hardest things for me today is that really sheltered Christian attitude. Along with that comes judgment because if you haven’t walked through the darker sides of life, you simply won’t understand. Intentional or not, that kind of holier than thou attitude does a lot of harm.

    I’m reminded of who God chose to write the bible, to serve as disciples for Christ. Murderers, thieves, tax collectors, and prostitutes, a pretty rough crowd, but the Pharisees already had all the answers.

  22. Thank you for speaking up for us single moms. I could write a lot on this, but I’ll just say – thanks.

  23. My first question (maybe I missed it in the post) is, did her family go to church? If not, then the blame can’t really be placed on the church. Christians do love and care for others, but if the doors are closed how are they to know what’s going on behind them? Also who’s to say that someone didn’t offer to help, but was turned down by this woman’s parents? That happens a lot! Parents love to stop their children from going to church and building that strong foundation. Plus sadly, most people who claim to be Christians are just walking around with the title, but with no proof. True Christians are very rare.

  24. Very well written, Kenneth! Nice job!!

  25. Wow!! Those numbers are scary! I don’t know what the statistics are here in the US…but I would assume not too far from the numbers in the UK. I really admire you for the truth. I know exactly what you mean about learning about God’s word in church, and once church is over, everyone returns to their regularly scheduled programs. I like to study and observe people and I always wonder what people’s stories are. I seem to be a people magnet, and attract people who just want to vent. I could be in a grocery store, looking down the aisle to see if the item is there, and I am stopped by stranger. A stranger who has no one to talk to. I find myself in conversation with people for much longer than I intend to be in the store, but I know they obviously need to vent. I believe as humans we are all blessed with something to help others. For some it’s finances, and others (like myself) it’s listening and providing encouragement. Thanks for the post, it is definitely an eye opener! Please let me know if I can reblog.

    • Not speaking for Kenneth, but, a number of us have reblogged his articles (I have done so on a number of occasions) and I don’t remember requesting permission, or reading anyone else doing so. I therefore don’t think you need permission, but kudos to you for such courtesy in asking! I do mean that sincerely.

      Reblogs show up as comments (automatically, too, I think) along with any additional comments/thoughts you add to it; adding such commentary seems courteous from my understanding of blogging etiquette, so, there is that.

  26. Gotta say from many points of view I simply love my country (first college is free if the marks are good, meaning sometimes there are 5-10 people for one free spot to be admitted into a college). What happens to others who do not pass the exam? They just apply for a payed college (low level and few hundred dollars/year) or just get hired after highschool (happy case). So no striptease for tuition! If you are not able to pass an exam why bother to stress paying for?
    Thus we have lots of minuses as a community especially regarding to voluntary activity and helping strangers. Perhaps because 80% of population is too poor to work for free and help others?
    Then will a priest do for free a funeral for a poor be it Christian or not? I have no clue…So many contradiction!

  27. Women are paid less than a man for the same job, while they work, look after a husband, kids and home. It looks bleak.

  28. Now now now…this type of talk makes the guilty feel really uncomfortable. We’ll have to pray about this a bit more and get back to you.

    Sorry, Kenneth…couldn’t resist a little sarcasm. Perhaps the absence of “community” in the church is far more chronic than in western civilization at large. At least, western culture, recognizes its shortcomings even if it is unwilling to change. The church prefers to stick its head in the sand…and maybe things will work themselves out, ha!

    Good post my friend.

    • Pardon my genuine curiosity– honest, I don’t ask confrontationally, but to understand, but, how does Western culture recognize its shortcomings? What would be an example? This is just my experience, but, I think that some failings at church stem from Western culture; the posts Kenneth has written about community come immediately to mind. If church culture is in denial, how does that compare to what Western culture generally, especially in what it admits? Is that a comparison to just the secular part of Western culture, or are we choosing the church-going folk, too? Would it differ denomination to denomination?

      What about those in Western culture who do not have a church, but are still religious? And would the term ‘religious’ exclude those who do not believe in a god or gods? Or would it include those who profess conviction in their beliefs– be it skepticism, doubt, and disbelief in the theistically religious?

      This is just me… it just seems a sort of comparison between a barrel of sand, and the beach that it came from, all heads stuck in that barrel of sand aside.

    • I think I hear what you are saying Jake. Generally speaking my statement is broad and is probably confusing. Sometimes I spontaneously respond without thinking that someone will actually read what I have written, ha!

      Let me just say that I had been part of the religious scene for many years and my experience is that the secular world shows more compassion, more justice, more generosity, more understanding, more patience, more love, more grace, etc, than many (Christian) religious folk who warm a pew every Sunday. I agree with everything Kenneth said, and I would say that for the most part Christians are better navel gazers and more concerned with the heathen in other countries than what is happening with the neighbour next door. “Community,” in a general sense does not seem to be on the Christian radar anymore.
      I’ve been described as a social butterfly on occasion…I’ll talk to anyone, anywhere, but the last time I visited a new church in our neighbourhood no one bothered to greet me. I thought it might have been an off day so I went back two more times…same result, no greeting…other than the people I went out of my way to meet. There was a lot of people there…but no one was interested in welcoming a stranger in their midst. One might think this was an isolated incident but sadly it is not…at least not where I live; its happened time and again in any new church (to me) that I’ve gone to.

      As for other beliefs or religions I cannot say, and so perhaps you are quite right when you say, “it just seems a sort of comparison between a barrel of sand, and the beach that it came from, all heads stuck in that barrel of sand aside.”

      Now that I’ve ostensibly painted everybody with the same brush I know this observation is not existential to all Christians. I happen to attend a church that is anything but isolated and self loathing.

      Anyway, I think I will leave it at that, but I do thank you for calling me to task.

      ~ Dave

    • I appreciate your thoughtful comment, sir, and I think I understand your perspective better now. I wish it were different, but you’re right, and such is the stuff of what Kenneth writes about. Thanks again.

  29. Like everyone else is saying, great stuff!

  30. Reblogged this on Undercover Jesus and commented:
    Excellent article!

  31. I remember reading in the news years ago about this philanthropist about town who was warned before he ‘came out’ (as a wealthy donor), that he was opening himself up for abuse. “In the Beginning was the Word”. There’s probably a good reason it wasn’t a ham sandwich or a rent voucher, free college tuition or an evening’s babysitting. Ha! God’s been around the block a little longer than our poor Philanthropist.

    More soberly, I think it’s unfair to criticize Christians for not being social workers. It’s a religion, not a social welfare organization. And they are doing nothing more than following in Christ’s footsteps. They reach out with the Word. The Word is what they have to offer. This is exactly what Christ did. From the scriptural I’ve read and heard, each instance of Jesus doing a good deed was either followed or preceded by instruction. Around our area the Union Gospel Mission and the Salvation Army continue in this tradition. Generally, if you follow the scriptural commandments your life will improve. And the Churches I’ve seen generally take care of their own. But from the Church’s point of view, how many times must they seek after people who spurn their Word, when there are so many others in need who want to hear? My guess is that the single mother next door wouldn’t give their religious beliefs much credence, and the Cambodians would.

    P.S. As an aside, the last pole dance I met was on a plane bound for Las Vegas, where he was making out like a bandit flipping repos to busloads of buyers.

    • I hadn’t thought of it that way. As I thought of examples that I figured might be to the contrary… well, as I mused on it, I still had to agree.

      I guess the challenge is to make sure the actions match the words.

    • Thanks for your response. Yeah, the challenge is always to become a better Christian.

  32. Awesome! I want to work harder at gettiing to know my neighbors. Our society used to be that way!

  33. I think you’ve said it all here. I’ve said it before that a dogma or religion can easily become a false idol. I’d love to see a church community that openly reached out to single mothers or struggling students. I think I mentioned a place I attended where they offered support for people struggling with porn addiction. I can imagine these same issues in a pamphlet.

    > Need a babysitter, but can’t pay? Bring your child to our free daycare and/or so-and-so’s house.
    > Thinking about stripping or other dehumanizing methods of paying for your loans? Please attend our weekly finance help group.

    I’d say those things are crazy because those kinds of people don’t typically attend church. But then, I would have also thought a church reaching out to porn addicts in the congregation was crazy.

    • I think maybe that’s why my denomination has chosen to keep its addiction recovery program through Family Services pretty generic and encompassing, or at least to downplay any specifics. I can say that because I was involved in it and similar sorts of programs, and a lot of it was also to keep confidentiality and trust.

      Not to say things were perfect– it’s hard for me to explain because I still need to consider that confidentiality and trust– but I can say I have witnessed the frustration of single mothers, and I remember my time as a struggling student (and struggling ex-student) all too well. I know the leadership counsels us to reach out– how much that sinks in with the congregations– well, I don’t know. We are pretty big on free will (we’ll typically say “agency” or “free agency”) so I guess I’d say that’s up to each individual member.

  34. I doubt there’s anything I could say that hasn’t already been said but I’ll say it anyway because I know you love to hear it lol. 🙂 The hypocrisy is unbelievable. For me, it boils down to the fact the thought is the poor don’t deserve help until they accept Christ as their Savior and then and only then will things get better – via God, praying, etc. Yeah…I’m all for prayer and stuff but let’s face it…God speaks in riddles and the help provided is usually not something that comes to us clearly. There does come a point where we have to help ourselves and each other. I never could understand how people seem to think they’re in God’s good graces if being so judgmental, hypocritical and just plain mean are their way of life. There’s the potential I’m wrong and that really that type of thing really is what God wants but personally, I’d rather err on the side of being kind, or even too kind at times, than the other way around. Just a thought. 🙂

    • You put that very well. It always astonishes me to see folks claim a religious reason for mean-spirited judgements because they KNOW God wants “those people” to be condemned. There was a story in the news this week about an 8-yr old girl whose Christian school condemned her appearance and sent home a letter that she must dress more like a girl (meaning bows and pink and dresses apparently) (1 link here but there were many others: http://cbs12.com/news/top-stories/stories/christian-school-tells-8yearold-tomboy-dress-more-like-girl-14350.shtml). On Yahoo, the comments section after the story was filled with angry criticisms of the grandparents for complaining because they’d put her in a Christian school and therefore should be faithfully following all their rules! These “Christians” seemed to miss the point that their God had made this kid what she was and that the school was judging her as “wrong” because of how she looked. There does not appear to have been a policy of wearing uniforms at the school – they just didn’t like this little girl wearing short hair, jeans and t-shirts because she looked like a boy and therefore “students have been confused about whether Sunnie is a boy or girl”. The letter from the school further specifies “that administrators can refuse enrollment for condoning sexual immorality, practicing a homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity.” An 8-yr old homosexual?!?!?! I hope God’s riddle in THIS case is intended for the attention of the school officials!

    • It’s really unfortunate to hear about that and to hear that a child is having to feel that anger and prejudice. I have heard stories of where parents knew their kids would end up homosexual at an early age (it can happen) but that’s not even the point. In this case, it could just be about comfort or who she mostly hangs around – I was a tomboy and never got harassed for it so why should she? I had no idea that short hair, jeans and t-shirts were so offensive. Honestly, when it comes to that kind of behavior, particularly toward a child, it really comes down to fear. They don’t understand it because it’s not their “normal” so it freaks them out. I think it’s disgraceful that they have to treat a child that way – that’s not going to win them any fans to say the least. I agree if God really disliked homosexual people so much, He wouldn’t make them that way – people are convinced it’s a choice but how do homosexuals choose who they’re attracted to but heteros don’t? That doesn’t make any sense. But who am I to say? Clearly since I defend them I must be just as big of sinner right? 😉

  35. Not sure that it’s relevant, but this story makes me recall a bachelors party I attended in Niagara Falls where I actually ended up listening to one of the interacting employees who opened up to me about being a little confused as her ex and her current boyfriend were up at the bar getting along well with one-another. Another previous bachelors party, I ended up talking with a girl who had come over from Romania who seemed not to be in such a bad place in her life at the time.

    It makes me wonder what sort of conversations might arise if someone were to do a Culture Monk-esque blog set in strip clubs instead of coffee shops.

  36. There are Christians who don’t walk the walk. Then there are Christians who do. Same as I see on the worldly side of things. A relationship with God is an individual thing. The pregnant teen, woman in prostitution, a stripper, a skater, a lonely backward nerd, all have value. I try to let them talk, do what I can, and don’t judge. God knows there is enough judgement in the world – don’t have to add my two cents. I’m a Christian – a follower of Christ – a people lover. Not all are people lovers who give of them selves – some are like the 99% of the world, Christian or not – they don’t care. Christians are easy to kick around but stop and think – so is everyone else. As an individual, Christian or not, do your part – look up from counting your money, playing that game, sending that text, and see who might need help. Love you guys!

  37. I enjoy your posts because the ordinary ways of living for many people seem so shocking to you. VW

  38. Great post. My husband and I used to “serve” by working as volunteers in the church coffee bar. When this coffee bar was started, it was supposed to be a “ministry” in which people could meet to “fellowship” or have “quiet time” with the Lord, or, if someone had a need, we could give them free food and drinks. The “tip” jar was for a designated mission that changed every month. People were very generous in giving to help others. We really enjoyed being able to provide this service to those who were struggling – a free sandwich, drink, etc., to those who may not be able to eat that day and we loved telling people about the mission of the month that they could contribute to. As the church grew into a “mega” church, the “ministry” changed. We found ourselves providing free labor (only the part-time manager was paid) several hours per Sunday with an attitude by the leadership that we needed to exceed expenses so that the excess could be put into the general fund. Pressure was put on the volunteers to sell, sell, sell. No more free food to people in need and prices that exceeded most every other coffee bar in the area. And the tip jar? That money went to the general fund, as well. As time went on, we felt more and more “used” by the church and increasingly drawn to do something else – something that would reflect the original “mission” of the coffee bar – to help out those who need a meal. So, now, we anonymously provide lunch money to children at the school where I teach. It’s a school where more than 65% of the students live in poverty. We aren’t changing the world, but we are doing what we can where God has put us.

  39. Mother Teresa once said, “you want world peace? Then go home and love your family.”

  40. Did you pre-empt one of my future posts? I wonder? On my RC.me blog, I just wrote about the God business. On my CI,me blog, I was planning to write about a trip to Pushkar. I was lying in my tent, early in the morning, and listening to the temples blare their hymns to the heavens.
    There were homeless people sleeping in the streets, and not one priest gave a damn. This is common to all religions and, in India, religion pervades our lives

  41. A thought provoking post.

  42. I think you slipped up on one of your statistics there. You started out with “one third of all women working as strippers in the UK are doing so because they can’t afford the cost of education” and ended up with “one third of women in the UK turn to stripping to pay for their education” which is a completely different thing!

  43. My mother was a Catholic and she lived her belief that faith without works is dead. I grew up in a home where value was placed on being there for others. I was raised to believe it was better to give than to receive. In my life I’m the one who might babysit someone’s kids on my off time or give them a ride to work or whatever. I do see a huge disconnect not only in Christianity but also when I was UU (which I generally loved). I like that the Grove I belong to is a place more likely to reach out person to person with the gift of our time. And when I worked for The Salvation Army I loved their “Heart to God, Hand to Man” slogan … even if sometimes some of the human beings were not always as kind as one would like.

    When I wanted to divest myself of gently used things that would help others several Christian charities turned me down since they didn’t serve the poor in my area, so I went to my Muslim friends and we found people who could use everything from the computer desk to the set of dishes. I find Muslims to still have a communitarian spirit. Maybe because the ones I knew were all recent immigrants from Egypt.

    We change the world through how we reach out to others individually. Sometimes, just listening to a troubled heart is enough. Sometimes a cup of hot tea or cocoa helps. And sometimes I call the Dean and we arrive at the door with enough food to get some soul (not a Druid) through at least a week. Our little Grove can’t do a lot, but often we can do just enough to make a difference in the lives of individuals.

  44. I went to college (in Canada) with two girls who were single mums & stripped not only to pay for their education, but because the hours allowed them to work while their kids slept & to go to school during the day. It’s sad and at the time I was so young & naive…totally shocked that anyone would have to resort to that.

  45. “How can one person make a difference in the midst of a world that has gone mad?”

    So many answers to this. The first that comes to mind is, with the bar set so low, pretty much anything you do will make a positive difference. The next is more personal. Maybe it’s time to start listening to the clinically insane because ya’all normal people kind of messed sh*t up. But the best advice I can give isn’t even mine… it comes from Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

  46. I read your article with interest. Yes fatherlessness is an epidemic–to the point where I consider it to be the number 1–most important social issue of our time. Everything comes from the stability of our homes and if they are not healthy then neither are our neighbourhoods and our communities and so on. I wrote a book called “A Man’s Work Is Never Done . . . A Novel About Mentoring Our Sons” that speaks about this very topic (a story about a young man and an older mentor and their journey from boyhood to manhood). Churches have not lead the charge to help with this epidemic. They will jump into Uganda and feed the poor but they don’t seem to recognize the depth and the breadth of this issue, which is staring at us from our own back yard, and the importance to our own stability and safety. The church that I attend helps out locally with food banks but we need so much more from them–JIm

  47. Thanks for sharing, great points here that we all need to keep in mind.

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