Would you come to Breathe?

Todd

Would you go to a church that met in a strip club?

Why or why not?

Thanks for the input.
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I recognize that there are a number of factors that would need to be considered when deciding whether or not to attend a church – their doctrine, their values, their theology, their flavor of communion cracker, etc. Let’s just assume for the sake of the blog post that this church’s stance on all those fell acceptably within your comfort zone.

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19 Comments

  1. May 15, 2008 at 5:34 pm — Reply

    Sure! A church isn’t the building. My sister goes to a church that meets in a bar.

    Besides, what better place to find lost people then where they are anyway?

  2. May 15, 2008 at 6:34 pm — Reply

    Is the strip club open?

  3. May 15, 2008 at 7:30 pm — Reply

    The strip club is open, but there is no stripping occurring during the setup, the “service” and the clean up. Patrons are coming in and getting drinks.

  4. May 16, 2008 at 10:35 am — Reply

    This concept combines the two settings that make me the most uncomfortable in life; church and strip clubs. So no.

  5. May 16, 2008 at 10:44 am — Reply

    Yes. It’s the very quintessence of what we ought to do.

  6. Steven
    May 16, 2008 at 11:16 am — Reply

    Nope. I’m opposed to strip clubs, and I wouldn’t want people to get the idea that we were somehow condoning the objectification of women (or men). But, I would definitely meet in a bar, anytime. I would even get there early and stay late and even talk to people. Yep a bar church sounds good to me.

  7. Grant
    May 16, 2008 at 5:19 pm — Reply

    Steven, my question to you is this. Why is a strip club(objectification of women) worse to you than a bar(promotion of alcoholism)? It seems to me that Jesus was not that worried about what others thought about his ministry. He was worried about loving those who were not loved, and showing people how amazing his father is. If your church meeting at a strip club caused people to think that you condoned the objectification of women it would be something you should work hard to change, not give in and make concessions. What if Jesus had stopped hanging out with prostitutes because of what people might think or say?
    I would go and support a church in a strip club, because i feel people there need so much to be shown how important to God they are.

  8. Sam's Dad
    May 16, 2008 at 6:33 pm — Reply

    No, surely there are other facilities available. Just because Jesus would befriend a stripper doesn’t mean He would gather with His disciples at a strip club. Exactly what point would you be trying to make by meeting there?

  9. May 18, 2008 at 9:24 am — Reply

    I might go, just because it sounds different from any church I’ve been in. I’d be intrigued to see if the atmosphere would be different, if I would be able to sit through a service without thinking “What am I doing here?”

    But I would also respond with my own question: who are you trying to reach? Do you want the typical church crowd? Because by putting yourself in a more secular setting, you set yourself up to be visited by people who are intrigued, who (like me) might otherwise avoid church.

  10. May 18, 2008 at 7:36 pm — Reply

    It only makes sense for those with a message of redemption to be in an environment wherein redemption might, perhaps, be most needed.

    That is the point we are trying to make.

    It’s a point the church at large stopped making a long time ago.

    “The Church” began looking at people as filthy and gross and untouchable rather than with love, grace, and hope.

    We now build fortresses (campuses?), and reach the world with a 10-foot pole. We locked ourselves up in fear and disgust of the world.

    I don’t concern myself with where Jesus would go to help people. I concern myself with where he did go to help people. He sat down at a tax collector’s house which was bad enough for the religious people of his day.

    While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.

    When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”

    On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    I understand many people have issues with us meeting where we do. I guess it balances itself out for I have an issue with people having issues for meeting where we do.

    cb

  11. May 18, 2008 at 7:37 pm — Reply

    Kolby

    I think the question might better be posed to you in this manner:

    Would you attend a function focused on maximizing human potential through the expression of creative arts, thought-provoking dialog, community interaction and practical tools to implement into your daily life for the sake of bettering yourself as well as those around you?

    What if such a group met in a venue which normally operates as a strip club?

    cb

  12. May 18, 2008 at 9:44 pm — Reply

    I would, dependent upon the approach, idea, and mission behind such a decision. Since I know where you guys are coming from I think it is great. It does open up a lot of messy questions, but I don’t think we should be afraid to wrestle with those. The community of Breathe will have to continue to discuss this issue and hold it in tension with other truths, ideas, dissenting views, etc.

  13. May 19, 2008 at 8:57 am — Reply

    Cliff

    As a heathen non-believer, I wouldn’t ever attend anything remotely church-like. That said, this group seems like the sort of thoughtful, self critical gathering that I can respect from the outside.

  14. May 19, 2008 at 2:14 pm — Reply

    It depends.

    Are you meeting there for shock value or for a counter-church cultural vibe or do you really want to bring freedom for those within that world?

    As a network of artists, thinkers, dreamers, communicators and we will wait to see the world changer part I might find a more appropriate venue like a club that features art or is going for the cutting edge creative vibe.

    I have no problem with a group of believers gathering at a strip club I just think the needs they have, their brokenness, the pain that puts them in such places is very specific and very real.

    If it is just Christians playing cutting edge church look at what we can do I would suggest a change of address. If it is Christ followers wanting to impact that world I might have to really research why people are in those places, what hurts and burdens they carry. What worries and pain exist and I might aim what I am doing at that.

    The videos would take on a very different feel. They wouldn’t be fun or cutting edge, they would probably be testimonies of people coming out of such brokenness. I might find people who could talk about such things from experience. Sexual addiction, drugs and alcohol.

    Just a note. It will get messy but it will be real.

    Jesus is the answer to all but a message about being cool and creative might seem just as irrelevant as two songs and a prayer to someone in that situation.

    Maybe not but you did ask for feedback.

  15. May 19, 2008 at 10:08 pm — Reply

    Kolby

    I wonder if you would ever go to a Blue Man Group concert or a University sponsored lecture series on the Human animal and why we are the way we are presented by various scholars from different academic disciplines? Or maybe a late night film series at a local theatre showcasing local film makers?

    If the answer to any of the above is Yes, then you would most likely come to and enjoy Breathe.

    I hope, if you are ever our way, you will consider giving us a chance. I don’t know you or your past experience and I will not pretend to relate to you or know where you’re coming from, but you sound like the sort of thoughtful, critical thinking human that would enjoy Breathe from the inside.

    cb

  16. May 19, 2008 at 10:18 pm — Reply

    If ever my travels bring me your direction I’ll gladly give it a chance.

  17. May 19, 2008 at 10:22 pm — Reply

    Darin

    Thank you so much for your feedback!

    I hope, however, we are not in an either/or scenario.

    Why must we either be cutting edge or genuine and sensitive to brokenness?

    I guess I don’t see it in such a way.

    Meeting where we do we see lots of different people from lots of different backgrounds. We are not only dealing with Strippers, Alcoholics, etc. We are also available to people like me:

    People who have profound issues behind closed doors, issues that are not necessarily as visible as the drunk on the street or the stripper in the club. Issues like anger, self-defeat, pride, selfishness, prejudice, fear, loneliness, etc., etc., etc.

    Our location is significant for many reasons. There are many fantastic reasons to be where we are, none of those reasons include being a “cutting edge church”. Pardon me for saying so, but none of us give a damn about that.

    I know many people in the world concern themselves with one-upping the church down the street. I couldn’t possibly care less about that. I don’t even like being called a church. Mostly because such a title carries with it things like being sensible.

    I’m not a very sensible person and I have no real intention of starting now.

    Again, thank you for your feedback. Todd and I have spoken about your suggestions and plan on taking them seriously and pushing forward to embrace the “messy but real” stuff you are referring to.

    cb

  18. May 21, 2008 at 6:42 am — Reply

    Cliff,

    I don’t think you have to be either/or, my point was that if you are not thinking about those other things you already in many ways were.

    I agree that we all have issues and all need help that only Jesus can provide. You are right to say it doesn’t have to exclusively be about those because addictions are addictions. We are discussing that over at my Ning site handsandfeet.ning.com.

    A site where people can share ideas about reaching out into the community as the hands and feet of Jesus.

    I hope I didn’t come across like a jerk. I can be a little much at times. I think a true ministry where everyone can belong and feels that they can belong is a great thing.

  19. May 21, 2008 at 7:16 am — Reply

    Darin, in no way did you come across like a jerk.

    I’ll check out your Ning site. That sounds schweet.

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Would you come to Breathe?