I went to a strip club

strip clubA while back I was asked by a group of pastor’s wives to go with them to strip clubs.

That sentence alone sounds strange. But hang with me.

At first I was a little hesitant. And not for reasons you might think.

I love people. Especially ones who are broken; it’s part of my purpose. But, given what I’ve walked through, I know how fragile hurting people can be.

And I know how insensitive the church can be.

And I was uneasy.

But, these weren’t just any pastors wives.

They had a vision.

One that longed to love on women that society had thrown aside.

It reminded me a lot of Jesus.

So, I jumped on it.

Their plan was to visit these clubs once a month to deliver a meal and gift baskets. I joined them the first night and I’ll be honest, I had NO IDEA what to expect.

Now, I had my fair share of time (back in the day) in bars and such, but I’d never been to a strip club. I was totally unaware of what I was walking into.

We arrived and the bouncer ushered us back into the dressing room where we introduced ourselves and began distributing the gifts and food.

I was shocked by what I saw.

And I’ll tell you why:

I was raised to believe that no good comes from places like that. Which is probably true on many levels. (I wouldn’t suggest making it your go-to for date nights)

But, I was filled (as were many church kids) with fear about “places like that”. That “those people” were heathens and doing all kinds of sinful, shameful things.

Which, again, is true of strip clubs.

And bars.

And many other places.

Even churches.

But, these girls – these lovely, girls – were so…..normal.

As I talked with one in particular, she reminded me of any young mom I’d talk to in the school pick up line.

Minus the fact that she didn’t have much clothing on – I tried not to focus on that.

(Oh dear God, she’s talking about strippers in a Christian blog and talking about them being half naked. We should not EVEN be thinking such things! First, my sweet friend, it’s okay to laugh. Like seriously, it’s OKAY. The fact that 4 pastors wives and their pregnant friend even went into a strip club is kinda funny. If you’re going to love like Jesus, you’re going to find yourself in some pretty awkward situations. And if you don’t have a sense of humor, you’re toast. Like seriously. So, I give you full permission to go ahead and laugh at the mental picture) 🙂

They showed pictures of their children, talked of pregnancy (I was pregnant at the time) chatted about trying to get back in shape after having a baby, etc. It was SO NORMAL.

But, as we talked and I looked into their eyes, I saw women – young, broken women. Who had stories, probably much like mine or yours.

We didn’t stay long. They had a shift to work, and we didn’t want to overstay our welcome.

But, as we left, they thanked us.

More than once.

As I drove home, I totally fell apart in my car.

Not because I felt sorry for them. Not because I thought I was so much better than they were. Not because I pitied their circumstance.

I cried because my heart was broken.

One thing God continues to do in my heart, is humble it. Like over and over. Countless times, I think I’m going in to love on some lowly soul and then I walk out, completely undone because the condition of my own heart was exposed.

I wept in my car – realizing the way I had viewed women in that profession.

Because, people – that could have been me.

It could have been any of us.

Had my journey taken a few different turns, I very well could have been on the receiving end of that encounter.

Man. I WAS WRECKED.

I had my baby shortly after that visit and didn’t get to go back for the monthly visits to see the women.

But, I stayed in contact with one of the women organizing it and every so often, I ask her how it’s going.

They have been visiting them for a year now and received permission to leave a prayer box where the women could leave prayer requests.

The first few times they collected the box it had silly things written in it.

But they continued to leave it there.

Over the following weeks and months (as they continued to love on these women), the prayer requests got real.

Real situations

Real hurt

Real needs

Last time my friend and I got together, I asked about the strip clubs and this is what she said:

Her eyes always, always fill with tears when we talk about it because God is SO in love with these precious women.

She said, “The women are starting to reach out more. I’ve been texting with one and getting to connect with her a bit deeper”

We talked a bit more and she turned to me and said something that I am  still rattled by.

“You know what one of them said to me last time?”

“What?”

“She said that she was so glad we come to visit them because we’re not like the other churches”

I said, “what did she mean by that?”

She said, “Apparently other churches send them hate mail. ALL THE TIME”

I’m sure my face turned three shades of white.

Complete shock and disbelief gripped me.

We both looked at eachother and about fell into a pool of tears right there.

People – church –  WHAT ARE WE DOING?!

Did we forget (or do we just sing it songs) that Jesus was a friend of sinners, the outcast, the lonely?

Did we forget that it’s God’s kindness that leads us to love others?

That ALL OF OUR GOOD BIBLE LOVING STUFF are like filthy rags without love?

Jesus was UNAFRAID of walking in love to the least of the least.

Like the scum of the scum.

He walked right in, sat down and ate with the outcasts of society.

Gross, ugly messy people.

And the religious HATED HIM FOR IT.

A few years ago, I met with another pastor’s wife across the country who shared with me a similar ministry, although after months of developing relationships with the dancers, they asked the owners a crazy question.

They asked to hold a Bible study.

 IN THE STRIP CLUB.

Just for the dancers.

Surprisingly, they were given a yes.

(Something about it building morale in the employees, but whatever. It was a surprising yes and they were thrilled)

So, they started leading a Bible study in the club.

But, something was missing.

And those serving knew it.

The women they were ministering to needed to be led by a man – not because these women were incapable, but because of the damaged, skewed image they had of men. They needed to see a man who was safe – they needed a man who loved like Jesus.

This woman’s husband (who was a pastor) stepped up and took on the challenge. And, for months the dancers wouldn’t even look him in the eye.

But he kept showing up….

Soon, one by one, the women met a divine love through this pastor’s humble, gentle leadership.

There was prayer.

Women found freedom.

And many went on to lead, healthy restored lives.

All because this group of women and this pastor were unafraid to go where God’s love was leading them.

I’m not suggesting that we all have this purpose.

I am not God.

What I AM saying to you is that if Jesus were here, walking among us, wouldn’t it be just like him to walk into the most un-religious place (strip club or whatever) and completely freak the religious folk out?

Just a thought.

He loved then.

He loves now.

But, he can only reach as far as you and I are willing to go.

Hugs,

Anna

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432 thoughts on “I went to a strip club

  1. I like the message, but I’m pretty sure women aren’t allowed in strip clubs without a man accompanying them. At least, that’s how it is in my state. Also, how did you get back into the girls’ dressing rooms? I don’t think any bouncer with a sensible mind would allow strangers to go into the dressing rooms of their employees. Great message, but this story just doesn’t seem believable to me. Maybe we live in different states and things are different, though.

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  2. Ok I don’t ask this to be callous, but out of genuine curiosity. Anna, do you think it possible that a women could be a stripper and not be “broken”? Can you imagine that maybe to her it’s just a job, or maybe even that she is content or happy doing it?

    Now this I mean to be callous…. I believe that you made up this entire story. Throughout the entire blog you failed to mention a single specific detail. You failed to mention a street name, strippers name, minister name, church name, club name, city, state, country. I believe you just made this thing up whole cloth to push your idea of what’s wrong with society and religion. Please though, prove me wrong. Provide a single ounce of evidence or any amount of detail that would suffice for evidence that this story actually happened.

    Liked by 1 person

    • P.J., maybe you can’t believe the author’s story is a true one. But are you also going to discount the many stories that people have related here from their own lives, and how Jesus rescued them? Jesus does change lives, P.J. If you can’t believe this story, there are millions more you can choose from.

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      • I’m not challenging the validity of anyone persons anecdotal experience, I could care less. I am also not challenging the validity of this article in order to prove or disprove god’s existence or the claim that “Jesus changes lives.” I am challenging this blogs validity because it has thousands of followers and undoubtedly will be shared thousands of times. It will be used to reassure people of their faith, condemn people who are more “religious”, and shame strippers by calling them “broken” and “scum of the scum”. If this actually happened it would be a lot less damning, but given the content and lack of detail, it is quiet obvious it didn’t happen. Let me ask you this though Robert, would you want some form of validation if this was an Islamic blog? or maybe a Jewish or Mormon blog? Hell what about a Buddhist blog? One could easily change some pronouns and swap a Christian message with an Islamic one. What if someone was completely making up stories in order to push a faith other than yours? Again, if anyone wants to provide some evidence that his story actually happened, I’d be glad to change my view of it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I got amazingly saved at the age of 30…before that, I was a traveling musician. One of the clubs I played was up in Canada where I became friends with the owner. A couple of years after I played there, the owner changed his venue to a place featuring the “Canadian Ballet”…more commonly known as a strip club.
    He was looking for a partner, and as I helped him out a few times as a DJ, he asked me to be half owner of his strip club…
    I tell this story because I got to know a few of the girls who worked there…
    There were a couple of girls who were “straight”, meaning not on drugs, and had a plan to make as much money as they could, up to a $1000.00 a night, then quit and lead a normal life.
    But most of the girls were severely broken…formerly abused, on drugs, and lot’s of “Daddy Issues”…
    Although I did not know it then, these girls (and I) desperately needed Jesus…He’s the ONLY one who can change us at the “Heart Level” so the change can actually “stick”.
    My telling this part of my life story could possibly cause me to be looked down on by some of my “More-Holier-Than-Thou” Brothers and Sisters….
    These people would have been the same ones who gave Jesus a hard time for getting together with “Tax Gatherers and sinners”…
    But I can truly say, sinners are the ones who need Jesus and I’m so glad He still goes to them, in this case by the wonderful Believers trying to help these poor, broken girls.
    Remember, he who is forgiven much, Loves much…

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  4. This was so good for me to read. So challenging. I know Jesus is growing me, I know He is, but this opened my heart to areas where I am still holding onto judgment and even, though I hate to admit it, hatred. If this were a ministry I actually pursued, it would stretch me. But it’s so good to realize that Jesus loves in ways that are radical, and He wants me to do the same. And that is so amazing. Thank you for your heart.

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  6. I saw this shared on my Facebook page and I clicked it thinking “Oh goodness, this is going to be an article shaming women in this profession and forcing religion down their throat”. However, after I read it, I was pleasantly supprised with the message. The world needs more Christians like you. This is what Jesus wanted and this is how to live through him- by spreading love and support unconditionally to everyone. Bravo.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. I love your message! This is what churches should look like today. I happened upon your article when my sister in law posted a link to it on Facebook. I see others have found you this way as well. May I suggest that you start a Facebook page where you post links to each article as they are published? I guarantee you it will increase your following.

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  8. Amen Sister, you done good and that’s all that’s ever asked of is. That we, as a people, be good and follow where God leads.

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