Monday, March 31, 2008

What is unspiritual? -- Part 2

The initial posting on this subject came from some meditations I had on a story I found on the internet. It was about a former stripper & a former prostitute in Las Vegas, NV, who found the Lord & were now ministering to people there in "the sex trade". The accompanying pictures showed these ladies as not looking out of place with their former occupations. The article indicated that a number of the people they ministered to also attended services at their church -- not clarifying whether these ladies were also attendees or whether they pastored the church. All of which gave me some interesting food for thought.

When I attended a conference in the Netherlands about a decade or so ago, one of the things that impressed me about the hosting church was that the ladies' ministry went out on the streets & had a regular ministry to the prostitutes. It was pointed out that this was much safer for them to do because men were likely to be taken by the girls as "johns" having an ulterior motive & taken by the pimps either as "johns" trying to get away with something or as other pimps trying to steal their girls.

More recently, I had several opportunities to visit friends in Las Vegas. Although some of it was not legal in Las Vegas, "the sex trade" was definitely not hidden there. And I asked my friends if anyone from their church was doing something similar to what I described being done in the Netherlands. And I was told it was too dangerous. Which, in the American criminal environment is probably true. Yet, I started this meditation talking about the two ladies who do minister to that segment of society. And, when I first read about them, I thought about that ministry in the Netherlands & also those in my home church who have had a ministry on "The Block" in Baltimore. And it quickly becomes pretty evident that such ministries take a very special calling. Otherwise, there will be no effectiveness in trying to reach out.

And, as for these young ladies looking like they fit in with the culture they're ministering to, I don't recall the Bible indicating that Jesus didn't fit right into the groups He ministered to. The Pharisees were quite good at pointing out that He hung out with drinkers, gluttons, prostitutes, tax collectors & sundry other sinners & that these were Jesus' "friends". In similar fashion, some of the more mainstream ministries (evangelical & otherwise) might be uncomfortable having these two as part of their congregation. But the girls get into places & share Jesus with people that others might never reach.

My particular church holds the belief that there are situations where women can teach, but that God's plan is that (following the "chain of command" of headship) men are the ones to pastor others. I believe the original languages of the Bible support that stance. Other ministries believe otherwise. In my mind, if these ladies are indeed pastoring their church, I'm not sure I can fault God for making an exception to His own rule. If they're truly reaching that segment of society for Christ, then they definitely have a special calling. And, if what they do is all outward, done in the flesh or completely out of His Will, God will deal with that in His own way, too. Either way, it's God's business, not mine.

In any case, we can pray for these ladies & their ministry. And be glad that God's people, God's plan & God Himself can't be put in a box. And know that, no matter what, God's plan will be accomplished. Amen

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