Wrong Question


I appreciate all the feedback on the strip club posts over the past couple of days. There has been some very helpful criticism and ideas expressed.

But I think when I asked the question, “Would you go to a church in a strip club,” I’m asking the wrong question (as new commenter Jamie helpfully pointed out in a follow-up email). Calling Breathe a “church” doesn’t really capture who or what we are.

This is something we’ve struggled with since we started talking. “Movement” seems too broad and pretentious. “Non-profit organization” isn’t accurate (although we are certainly experiencing success at not turning a profit). And “church” is far too narrowly defined in the minds of most individuals.

This something we’re going to continue struggling with and through. And we know that. But we’re not going to allow uncertainty about how to refer to ourselves interfere with our certainty about what we are called to do.

What are your thoughts? Any ideas for a descriptive title for us?

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  1. May 21, 2008 at 7:57 am — Reply

    I just like Breathe. What is it? Come and find out.

    It could be a time for… or a place for …

    On your site I might change my about section because for me it seems narrow.

    I do agree that church doesn’t work. Words like gather and experience are big these days.

    I like Breathe because it is very organic, when you start with some of those other words it seems to lose that.

  2. May 21, 2008 at 8:03 am — Reply

    Darin, thanks for the feedback. What about the about section is narrow? I don’t want to be narrow!

  3. Sam's Dad
    May 21, 2008 at 4:12 pm — Reply

    I guess I’m a little unclear about your purposes. I know many of us eschew so much of what the traditional church teaches and practices. However, it appears you guys might be “throwing the baby out with the bath water.” Yes, Jesus did eat at the home of the tax collector, but He didn’t go help the guy collect taxes. There is a difference in rubbing elbows with sinners and participating and approving of their sin. If you knew me, you’d know I’m not a church-going, bible-toting prude. Many of my best friends in the work place are not church goers by any means. My perception is that meeting at a strip club connotes participation in sinful activity. That’s why I think it’s not a good idea. As for what to call yourselves, I’m not very creative. You might try a thesaurus. My criticism of your meeting place, notwithstanding, Godspeed!

  4. May 21, 2008 at 4:42 pm — Reply

    Sam’s Dad

    I appreciate your honesty and directedness in your comments.

    I clearly understand your perception of what we’re doing.

    And I don’t know a more tactful way to express this, but you’re wrong.

    Often times what one perceives to be true will be held and trusted as absolutely true.

    However, in all my study of philosophy, theology, culture and human experience, I have concluded that though I may perceive a given stimulus or event/experience one way, it is not necessarily the case that my perception is reality.

    I understand your perception is, “Meeting at a strip club connotes participation in sinful activity”.

    But your perception is not reality.

    How do I know?

    Because I am there each week.

    You aren’t.

    And this is not your fault.

    We presented sort of an unfair request in seeking outsiders perspective on that about which they are generally unaware for they have not experienced it (Breathe).

    So I do not blame you in the least, but I maintain this: Your perception of what we are doing is incomplete.

    Hopefully with time, prayer, and effort our work will bear fruit. At that time we will cease defending ourselves for our fruit will do all the talking.

    Thank you for your wishes. This is a good fight we are in, and we fully intend on finishing the race.

    With sincerity,


  5. Sam's Dad
    May 22, 2008 at 7:43 am — Reply

    I guess Todd is the middle man between me and you, Cliff. Remember that YOUR perception of what you are doing is not so important as OTHERS’ perception of what you are doing. After all, I think that others’ perception is really your purpose, so you should be sensitive to what that perception is. Not my perception, you understand, but the perception of people in your community. And I’m not talking about others in the church community, but others in the non-church community. It is a difficult thing to balance the call to righteous living, while symbolizing Jesus’ desire to take someone as they are. I fear we are repeating ourselves, so I won’t beat a dead horse. I will say you are absolutely correct in saying that your fruit will do all the talking. I’ll be praying God’s blessing on your enterprise, as I believe your heart is in exactly the right place. Thanks for discussing it with me, and again – Godspeed!

  6. May 26, 2008 at 2:44 pm — Reply

    Todd, the one on your site.

  7. May 26, 2008 at 2:44 pm — Reply

    Breathe site that is.

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Wrong Question