I wasn’t sure what to think. I stared at Cliff, wondering if perhaps this friendship of ours was a bad idea; hanging out with him was taking me to unfamiliar and uncomfortable places. Formerly this was figurative. But now, with this idea, it became quite literal.
He had just told me that he thought Breathe, our burgeoning movement, should meet in a strip club.
As I started contemplating the implications of that suggestion, I begin to recognize the brilliance of the idea. Admittedly, my mind went instantly to buzz that could be generated about a “church” meeting in a strip joint. But then, my mind moved to the bigger idea – the fact that our location would say more about us than any website, news story or flyer ever could. First, that we aren’t doing things the traditional way. Second, and most importantly, that we care about all people, even those typically ignored, degraded or judged.
I knew that the idea was going to be a stumbling block for many people. I knew that people wouldn’t get it. Or that people would get it, but disagree. But after two gatherings there, I have no doubt that we are in the right place.
In the comments of the last post, Sam’s Dad raised the point that Jesus would befriend strippers, but wouldn’t hang out with his disciples at a strip club. While I can neither deny nor confirm the scriptural foundation of that point, I will say that I have no idea how I would have befriended Sully, Shannon, Chuck or Dave had we not been gathering at their establishment. I have no idea how I would have grown comfortable discussing significant issues with them. I have no idea how I could bring up God with them.
But I do consider them friends (particularly Chuck the bouncer – that guy is one of the nicest people I have ever met in my entire life, which does make me question his bouncer-credentials). Serious issues have been discussed. They have heard (and actively listened to) God-things.
So my thoughts on the strip club: Breathe is where it is meant to be, doing work that it is meant to be doing. I am unconcerned with the “appropriateness” of our location. I am unconcerned about the roadblocks we will face. I am unconcerned about the less-than-attractive décor we have to battle every week.
I am concerned only with embodying the person of Jesus to Sully, Shannon, Chuck, Dave and all the other patrons who walk through the doors of Club Sensations seeking temporary satisfaction but end up encountering the Eternal.