see you at the (stripper) pole...

>> Monday, January 11, 2010

I went directly from living on the streets of Chicago, New York City and the caves of the Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois (and sometimes on a school bus with a melting pot of people stemming from an assortment of stripes and colors), to living in the ghetto near Detroit with some friends. Even though I was considered to be a prude because I had never been with a man in the biblical sense, I decided to be a waitress at the local Showgirls Club with a roommate. I didn't even make it a day before the girls had talked me into giving dancing a whirl (a classy way of saying stripping) I was thankful that my near-sightedness obscured the faces of that packed club; making it easy for me to pretend that I wasn't being ogled by a bunch of guys, but it did nothing to protect my other senses. Their lust was palpable and the air was heavily laden with hurt and addiction.

It was in that club that I met a dancer who grew up a Christian and had spent most of her teens running from the God she encountered in Sunday school. Somewhere along the way she had lost her faith, but had managed to keep her desire to return to Him...eventually. We talked a lot about Jesus and how He had this peculiar way of showing up wherever we were. We missed Him, but had no idea how to return. We felt as if we were too far gone, and even if we did go back, there was this paradigm problem to address. How did the world that was opened up to us fit into the Christian model that was presented to us in Sunday school? In that moment, we were no longer just strippers. We were two prodigal daughters mourning the loss of a relationship with the Savior; discussing theology, and desperately wanting to be reconciled. Right smack dab in the belly of a strip club, the Almighty broke through. We didn't have a Bible, but I know that the Great I Am was there with us --weeping.

We all have this way of putting God into this neat and tidy little box and He has a knack for blowing the sides out of those boxes. We like to think that He will only show up in X church, in X denomination, in X conversation, in X way; but this is obviously not how He works. I have seen God show up in a strip club. I have seen Him speak truths to me through homeless crack-addicted children. He was there with me as I sat in a bathroom watching a prostitute use a blow-drying wire for a tourniquet so that she could shoot up speed, just as He was with me when I poured my heart out to Him asking Him to rescue me.

People go to the ends of the earth for the people they love. Why would the Creator be any different? In what unconventional places have you encountered God?


Jody January 11, 2010 at 6:59 AM  

I love you Mandie!! I love what you have to say and how you say it...raw and rock!

About Me January 11, 2010 at 9:09 AM  

thanks, jody :) (you know i love *you*!)

Dorie January 11, 2010 at 10:22 AM  

i love this Jesus who doesn't hide his voice until we are in the so-called right place at the right time. He can make ANY time and place right, simply by speaking. i'm glad you and the other gal had ears to hear Him through all the other noise of your environment.

Hippie Housewife January 11, 2010 at 2:22 PM  

What an amazing God we serve.

Burkulater January 11, 2010 at 5:52 PM  

You're an amazing writer who never stops amazing me with your love for Christ. Love this post.

About Me January 11, 2010 at 6:30 PM  

Cliche, I know, but I am thankful that we serve a God who is bigger than the depravity of man. I am glad that there is a God who is in the business of loving on vagabonds and losers, otherwise I'd be a lost cause.

Thank you all for your kind words. I'll keep them for a rainy day.

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