My favorite picture with half naked girls that I've ever seen... was the time the sex shop invited people to church.
It was taken July 14th 2012 in the window of a sex shop in downtown Brantford... the day before we did our first giant outdoor baptism. This was not a group of Christians slapping something over the smutty window. That's what happens when you think adversarially. Actually, when you look closely, you can see that this is ad is on the INSIDE of the window, under the photos of the girls. The owner of the shop actually posted it and gave it position in his window.
Well this is what the ad says.
"Freedom House welcomes prostitutes, gamblers, wingnuts, bad boys, good girls, church folk, folks that don't do church, fat people, skinny people, generous people, wannabe generous people, those who like God, those who don't GET God yet, students, the deaf, the blind, and those with 20/20 vision, seekers, finders, lovers, haters, politicians, the jaded, fighters, the artsy, the nerdy, the disillusioned, the visionary, the rich, the poor, normal people, abnormal people, leaders, followers, the engaged, the disengaged, every tribe, every tongue, every nation, the cerebral, the pretty, the popular and those who don't think they are good enough, smart enough or cool enough, those with shame, and those with no shame whatsoever, kids, families, singles, loners and the big life of the party guys, people who want to get free, live free and free others. Freedom House welcomes YOU."
There is a bit of a notorious bar downtown, right across from our church. Lots of "not so good" stuff goes down there along with pretty exposed-to-the-public table dancing that, while permissible, is not beneficial to the culture of the street... let alone people involved. So we BLESS the people. Blessing and serving doesn't say that we're necessarily in total agreement with everything that's going down. But it's embodying "The KINDNESS of the Lord that leads to repentance"
Romans 2:4 (where that saying comes from) says it this way in the Amplified version:
"Are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)?"
In the summer, as we do our Friday Night "Flippin Friday" free street BBQ's... we invite the
employees (regardless of dress) over for burgers. We show love, kindness and care. We show HONOR.
Every culture of shame responds to being invited into a culture of honor.
And you know what happened last summer? The owner of this establishment came over to our BBQ and said, "I don't know totally why you do this. But I like it. It's a good thing." One night he actually gave us money to keep it going.
The kind of transformation we're praying for and working towards, includes changing a CULTURE. It's not "Conform or get out." It's let walk together towards GOOD and GOD (who IS good) together. Tweet