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Ministry reaches out to exotic dancers

The Giant Noodle

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Baylor University graduates Brett and Emily Mills of Waco spend their days, and many nights, reminding the city’s 40 or so exotic dancers that Jesus loves strippers.
The couple’s “Jesus Loves Strippers” ministry reaches out to individuals they believe the church inadvertently casts away.
Every month, the couple and about a half-dozen volunteers hit the Waco strip club circuit — Sonny’s BYOB, Show Time and Two Minnie’s — with bags of gifts from local sponsors filled with makeup, cookies, bandages and school supplies in August.

Co-founder Brett Mills and volunteers Leah Colucci, Kellie Gibson and Kristen Campbell gather bags of makeup and food to bring to Waco strippers.
Rod Aydelotte/Tribune-Herald
Wearing purple “Jesus Loves Strippers” T-shirts, Emily Mills and the female volunteers approach the dancers in their dressing rooms early in the night. They use the gift bags as ice-breakers and, more often than not, conversations flow from there.
The volunteers don’t bring Bibles. They don’t launch into talk about God.
Many of the strippers, they find, have long felt disconnected from faith.
“Only God can change a person,” said Emily Mills, a 32-year-old mother of three. “Our goal is not to go in and change them, but make them realize that God loves them no matter what they do and where they are.”
Instead, they talk about their children. Their boyfriends. School. Hopes for the future or just for the night.
Brett, 34, from Houston, and Emily, from Tyler, met at Baylor among 2,000 students in a large-group Bible study.
They met singing in the Bible studies and, together, questioned the effectiveness of what they were doing.
“For me, there was beginning to be a disconnect,” Emily Mills said. “Church was not relevant to everyday people. I feel like there were a lot of people out there who Jesus would have walked with that probably feel alienated by the church.”
They visited other types of ministries, including one in Austin that reaches out to strippers.
They were determined to build a similar ministry in Waco.
“The church can reach out to the homeless and the down-and-out, but it doesn’t know what to do with sex,” Emily Mills said. “It’s just so taboo.”
So, in 2005, they started Jesus Said Love, followed by its extensions, Jesus Loves Strippers and Jesus Loves Truckers — all divisions of Bartimaeus Ministries Inc., a nonprofit organization.
Brett and Emily also tour as a Christian music duo, but their full-time jobs are expanding the ministry.
With a pack of volunteers, they make their rounds at the clubs once a month, but spend the rest of their time developing the relationships with the women.
“Ninety-nine percent of them don’t really want to be there,” Emily Mills said. “Most say that they’re just going to do it for six months until they can make enough money to get on their feet. The danger is that it becomes a lifestyle. That’s when it takes a toll on a woman’s soul.”
One 31-year-old mother of four daughters explained she started stripping in September, after having danced in similar clubs for a decade or more.
When times got rough and she couldn’t pay the bills last fall, she turned to taking her clothes off to make more money. She told Emily Mills in the dressing room of a Waco strip club that she felt she had no other choice.
The dancer asked the ministry volunteers if they could help her find a different job. Emily promised to see what she could do.

CONTINUED: Waco ministry reaches out to exotic dancers | Wacotrib.com
 

Goshin

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Intresting. Certainly one sure way to reach out to people is to establish trust relationships and try to help them with their problems.

I hope that they are maintaining their principles though, namely that stripping and strip-clubs are "not OK" with Christian principles, and that the strippers need to get out of that line of work as soon as possible. You don't necessarily have to be in their face about it, but you can't soft pedal the fact that strip clubs and stripping are not considered moral under Christianity.
 

Sov

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You don't necessarily have to be in their face about it, but you can't soft pedal the fact that strip clubs and stripping are not considered moral under Christianity.
I dunno, gluttony is a sin too. As long as John Hagee can weigh 435 pounds, Christian chicks ought to be able to give lapdances.
 

digsbe

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I dunno, gluttony is a sin too. As long as John Hagee can weigh 435 pounds, Christian chicks ought to be able to give lapdances.
John Hagee is not God. Sin does not justify more sin either.
 

Sov

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John Hagee is not God. Sin does not justify more sin either.
My post was tongue-in-cheek. I'm an atheist and I have no problem with lapdances.

Sorry if this comes as a shock. ;)
 

Geo Patric

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there is good reason to believe that the same hebrews that brought us YHWH employed temple priestesses who would indeed dance naked and even put out... all in the name of worship, natch.

If yer wondering why that damned heathen would say such a shameful thing, we need only look at Mosaic law, which bars it. Now, ya gotta understand, Moses did not instantiate laws against things that were not practiced... why make laws against things that people don't do?

and, significantly, though after deuteronomy (which was written hundreds of years after the other 4 books) women were essentially barred from participating in religious practices at all, PRIOR to that time, it was pretty common. How do we know this. Well... the word for priestess and prostitute were identical in ancient hebrew (zonah).

and... of course, just as christianity got its beginnings as a jewish cult, judaism got its start as a canaanite cult. Evidence? lots... aside from the fact that Abraham was born and reared in a canaanite town, the Talmud tells us that his father was a merchant of canaanite idols, consider the hebrew names for god in the Tanakh: El Ohim and El Shaddai. Compare that with the canaanite god, El. And El had a female companion, Astarte/Asherah. Asherah appears in the Tanakh, too. Canaanite worship involved symbolic couplings between priests (representing El) and priestesses (representing Asherah).

another one of those matters where YHWH seems to have had a change of mind.

it might get me back in church.
geo.
 

Geo Patric

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dp.... pls disregard
 

Geo Patric

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a bit of clarification. the above paints a prejudicial and not quite accurate picture.

the definition of 'zonah', as a woman of questionable morals probably derived from the an earlier usage meaning 'priestess' after the peractice had been discontinued. contemporary usage among orthodox jews is to refer to a jewish woman who has had sex with a non-jewish man.

in fact, some priestesses likely did engage in sex during worship all through mesopotamia and likely included the early hebrews. Such women should not be viewed as 'temple prostitutes', though. they were not prostitutes. Most, in fact, would likely have been particularly chaste and abstaining from sex for a considerable portion of their lives (rather like nuns, today).

my apologies for being flippant about a rather sensitive matter.
geo.
 
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Goshin

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a bit of clarification. the above paints a prejudicial and not quite accurate picture.

the definition of 'zonah', as a woman of questionable morals probably derived from the an earlier usage meaning 'priestess' after the peractice had been discontinued. contemporary usage among orthodox jews is to refer to a jewish woman who has had sex with a non-jewish man.

in fact, some priestesses likely did engage in sex during worship all through mesopotamia and likely included the early hebrews. Such women should not be viewed as 'temple prostitutes', though. they were not prostitutes. Most, in fact, would likely have been particularly chaste and abstaining from sex for a considerable portion of their lives (rather like nuns, today).

my apologies for being flippant about a rather sensitive matter.
geo.
If the ancient Hebrews had temple priestesses that engaged in sexual practices as part of their position, that wasn't a legitimate part of Judaism, but rather a practice copied from non-Judaic peoples that was put a stop to at some point; I also don't see it as relevant to the modern Christian church's stance on such issues as strippers and strip-clubs.

At any rate I was addressing the issue from an "internal context" relevant to Christianity, without any concern for how those outside that context view the issue of strip-clubs.
 

Aunt Spiker

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Wow.

No, seriously, wow.

I don't recall ever in my life actually reading about a church reaching *out* to the 'questionable people' or the 'heathens' - I have only ever *always* heard about the church insulting them, putting them down, turning a blind eye and just "praying for their salvation"

This is actually news.

Now - onto more important matters:
One 31-year-old mother of four daughters explained she started stripping in September, after having danced in similar clubs for a decade or more.
what's her secret? I've had 4 kids and sure as hell, even after losing 20 lbs, aint fit to be a damn dancer!!
 
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Geo Patric

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If the ancient Hebrews had temple priestesses that engaged in sexual practices as part of their position, that wasn't a legitimate part of Judaism, but rather a practice copied from non-Judaic peoples that was put a stop to at some point; I also don't see it as relevant to the modern Christian church's stance on such issues as strippers and strip-clubs.

At any rate I was addressing the issue from an "internal context" relevant to Christianity, without any concern for how those outside that context view the issue of strip-clubs.
well... dunno if it is up to you or me to determine what is or is not " a legitimate part of Judaism". once upon a time, religion and sex had a much more positive relationship. We lost a lot in the paternalizing of our societies.

lemme know when that sanctimonious preacher 'saves' the monied horndogs that PAY the women to titillate them. Or remonstrate with the culture that reduces women to commodities. Tell me when that preacher rejects the paternalist 'christian' view that women are the font of "sin".

and you get to view it how you like. when you post it in a public forum, i get to view it how I like and i like to view it in a real world, historical and humanist context.

geo.
 
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Geo Patric

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Now - onto more important matters:


what's her secret? I've had 4 kids and sure as hell, even after losing 20 lbs, aint fit to be a damn dancer!!
yeah, auntie, that struck me too... perhaps in Waco they are not as discriminating.

then again, maybe she works out.

geo.
 

Goshin

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Wow.

No, seriously, wow.

I don't recall ever in my life actually reading about a church reaching *out* to the 'questionable people' or the 'heathens' - I have only ever *always* heard about the church insulting them, putting them down, turning a blind eye and just "praying for their salvation"

This is actually news.
It may not make the news much, but it happens far more often than most people hear about.

I went to a mostly-white church in Charlotte NC. Every Sunday morning, they sent out busses to pick up kids from poor, crime-ridden neighborhoods --- mostly black --- and bring them in for Sunday service followed by a free lunch, then took them home.

The 2nd Presbyterian in my county runs a soup kitchen in the poorest and most drug-ridden neighborhood in town.

I once met a preacher who ran an evangelism outreach to outlaw bikers.

It's not really all that rare.



Now - onto more important matters:


what's her secret? I've had 4 kids and sure as hell, even after losing 20 lbs, aint fit to be a damn dancer!!
My ex-wife has had 3 and still weighs about 95 lbs. Genetics, I suppose. :mrgreen:
 

Aunt Spiker

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It may not make the news much, but it happens far more often than most people hear about.

I went to a mostly-white church in Charlotte NC. Every Sunday morning, they sent out busses to pick up kids from poor, crime-ridden neighborhoods --- mostly black --- and bring them in for Sunday service followed by a free lunch, then took them home.

The 2nd Presbyterian in my county runs a soup kitchen in the poorest and most drug-ridden neighborhood in town.

I once met a preacher who ran an evangelism outreach to outlaw bikers.

It's not really all that rare.
Yeah - I didn't think about those types of things. My parent's church has variosu outreach programs and a food pantry.


My ex-wife has had 3 and still weighs about 95 lbs. Genetics, I suppose. :mrgreen:
BBOOOOO!!!
rock on!
 

1069

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Baylor University graduates Brett and Emily Mills of Waco spend their days, and many nights, reminding the city’s 40 or so exotic dancers that Jesus loves strippers.
The couple’s “Jesus Loves Strippers” ministry reaches out to individuals they believe the church inadvertently casts away.
Every month, the couple and about a half-dozen volunteers hit the Waco strip club circuit — Sonny’s BYOB, Show Time and Two Minnie’s — with bags of gifts from local sponsors filled with makeup, cookies, bandages and school supplies in August.

Co-founder Brett Mills and volunteers Leah Colucci, Kellie Gibson and Kristen Campbell gather bags of makeup and food to bring to Waco strippers.
Rod Aydelotte/Tribune-Herald
Wearing purple “Jesus Loves Strippers” T-shirts, Emily Mills and the female volunteers approach the dancers in their dressing rooms early in the night. They use the gift bags as ice-breakers and, more often than not, conversations flow from there.
The volunteers don’t bring Bibles. They don’t launch into talk about God.
Many of the strippers, they find, have long felt disconnected from faith.
“Only God can change a person,” said Emily Mills, a 32-year-old mother of three. “Our goal is not to go in and change them, but make them realize that God loves them no matter what they do and where they are.”
Instead, they talk about their children. Their boyfriends. School. Hopes for the future or just for the night.
Brett, 34, from Houston, and Emily, from Tyler, met at Baylor among 2,000 students in a large-group Bible study.
They met singing in the Bible studies and, together, questioned the effectiveness of what they were doing.
“For me, there was beginning to be a disconnect,” Emily Mills said. “Church was not relevant to everyday people. I feel like there were a lot of people out there who Jesus would have walked with that probably feel alienated by the church.”
They visited other types of ministries, including one in Austin that reaches out to strippers.
They were determined to build a similar ministry in Waco.
“The church can reach out to the homeless and the down-and-out, but it doesn’t know what to do with sex,” Emily Mills said. “It’s just so taboo.”
So, in 2005, they started Jesus Said Love, followed by its extensions, Jesus Loves Strippers and Jesus Loves Truckers — all divisions of Bartimaeus Ministries Inc., a nonprofit organization.
Brett and Emily also tour as a Christian music duo, but their full-time jobs are expanding the ministry.
With a pack of volunteers, they make their rounds at the clubs once a month, but spend the rest of their time developing the relationships with the women.
“Ninety-nine percent of them don’t really want to be there,” Emily Mills said. “Most say that they’re just going to do it for six months until they can make enough money to get on their feet. The danger is that it becomes a lifestyle. That’s when it takes a toll on a woman’s soul.”
One 31-year-old mother of four daughters explained she started stripping in September, after having danced in similar clubs for a decade or more.
When times got rough and she couldn’t pay the bills last fall, she turned to taking her clothes off to make more money. She told Emily Mills in the dressing room of a Waco strip club that she felt she had no other choice.
The dancer asked the ministry volunteers if they could help her find a different job. Emily promised to see what she could do.

CONTINUED: Waco ministry reaches out to exotic dancers | Wacotrib.com


Many women I encountered while working in adult entertainment are quite religious already.
Many of them- the nuttier ones- belonged to those proselytizing evangelical branches of protestantism.
I tried to avoid dressing-room discussion with them; not always an easy feat.
I found the best way to get them to lay off was a simple "I'm Catholic", which is not exactly a lie; I've been baptized and confirmed by the catholic church, and have never been excommunicated, although the church and I long ago parted ways (like, as soon as I was old enough to have any choice in the matter).
It seems most evangelicals know better than to poach the Vatican's flock; the few who don't deserve nothing but rudeness.
 

Sov

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Such women should not be viewed as 'temple prostitutes', though. they were not prostitutes. Most, in fact, would likely have been particularly chaste and abstaining from sex for a considerable portion of their lives (rather like nuns, today).
Man, you were doing so well...
 

Aunt Spiker

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On this note of churches helping people - yesterday I found out that my Dad's church is host to a free medical clinic. A few doctors volunteer and hold clinic hours during the week. Everything they provide is donated.
 

Gardener

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Ministry reaches out to exotic dancers...............with a great, bit fist full of dollar bills.
 

reefedjib

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I hope that they are maintaining their principles though, namely that stripping and strip-clubs are "not OK" with Christian principles...you can't soft pedal the fact that strip clubs and stripping are not considered moral under Christianity.
Where does this come from? It is not covered under the 10 commandments. In practice, Jesus reached out to the prostitutes and the homeless. He did not reach out to the middle class, who were serving Mammon. It seems to me that while everyone sins, those in the gutter are closer to God.
 

Aunt Spiker

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Where does this come from? It is not covered under the 10 commandments. In practice, Jesus reached out to the prostitutes and the homeless. He did not reach out to the middle class, who were serving Mammon. It seems to me that while everyone sins, those in the gutter are closer to God.
Exactly - he reached out to them to save them and get them to stop doing these things.
Because he believed they were immoral.
 

reefedjib

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Exactly - he reached out to them to save them and get them to stop doing these things.
Because he believed they were immoral.
I don't think so. Everyone sins. His purpose was not to stop sin - an impossibility - but to show that you can have your sins forgiven. He was not trying to stop prostitute from doing what they did.
 

Aunt Spiker

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I don't think so. Everyone sins. His purpose was not to stop sin - an impossibility - but to show that you can have your sins forgiven. He was not trying to stop prostitute from doing what they did.
Ok, In my mind we're purely debating a book - not a real bit of history (just to put that out, here).

I think people abuse the idea of forgiveness and twist it into that - but I don't think that's suppose to be the original intent behind forgiveness.

If someone's done something wrong and they ask for forgiveness a *crucial* part of that forgiveness being granted is that "I'll let it go - if you promise not to do it anymore"
Forgiveness isn't just beign excused *every* time you do something wrong - just so you can do it over and over.
 
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digsbe

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I don't think so. Everyone sins. His purpose was not to stop sin - an impossibility - but to show that you can have your sins forgiven. He was not trying to stop prostitute from doing what they did.
That isn't true. Jesus came to bring people a message of repentance and to tell them to leave their sins and follow God. He came so that men may be forgiven from sin, and that they would stop sinning. Jesus never said "go on sinning because you are forgiven." He also did tell the prostitutes to stop what they were doing. Jesus offers forgiveness so that we might not be condemned for sin, but he also preached and said to leave it. You can't repent of something that you plan on continuing. You can't ask forgiveness for something and purpose for it in your heart to live in it as well. True we will all sin again, and repentance doesn't mean that you live perfectly. What it does mean though is that in your heart you have recognized sin for sin, asked forgiveness, and stop living in sin (but if and when you fail, God will forgive you if you repent).

Jhn 8:2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.
Jhn 8:3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group
Jhn 8:4 and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.
Jhn 8:5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?"
Jhn 8:6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.
Jhn 8:7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
Jhn 8:8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
Jhn 8:9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.
Jhn 8:10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
Jhn 8:11 "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
(boldness added by me)
Jesus' message was one of repentance through faith in Him. He never said "continue sinning, it's all good."
 
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