December 12, 2005

Girls Proselytizing Badly


I guess this gives new meaning to the expression "missionary work".

There! Gasp. I said it! That damned joke has been slowly burning a hole in my brain for over twelve hours. I just couldn't resist any longer.

And now for something completely different, I've flipped my more serious thoughts on this business over the fold:

I'm really not sure whether JC's GirlsGirlsGirls is legit or not, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if it is, then it really does not deserve the kind of mockery that immediately springs to mind. Allow me to explain.

Here's what Tanya, Heather and Lori say they do:

JC's GIRLSGIRLSGIRLS is a Biblically based Christian ministry that seeks to share God's message of hope and forgiveness by reaching out in a non-judgemental way to those who are in the sex industry. We pattern our ministry after the very ministry of Jesus by actually going to the people who need him. Our desire is for people to see that Christianity is anything but boring and restrictive. In Christ, we are free to experience adventure, pleasure, forgiveness, hope and peace.

Again, let's just assume for a minute that this is on the up and up. First of all, I would say that these girls' theology is perfectly sound: the Gospels are full of examples of Jesus seeking out the outcasts for inclusion - Mary Magdalen, the Good Samaritan, the laborors who came late, the one lost sheep out of a hundred and so on.

Second, if I read the website correctly, these girls are targeting (primarily) women working in the pron industry itself in various capacities. Now I'll admit that I have, from time to time, dipped into this particular form of, er, entertainment. But although I'm as typically male as the next guy in some respects, there is always a part of me that can't help wondering what wretched personal circumstances drove the women involved to allow themselves to be sucked into an industry which not only robs them of any last shred of self-respect, but also treats them like mere chattel. However, here's one hint: If you're familiar with the genre. think about how many Skinemax films seem to focus on a babe who had a rich, doting father who adored her, and yet somehow sheds her clothes for every guy who happens to cross her path. I dunno who writes these stories, but I'm convinced there is some sort of deep-seated psychological clue in this particular theme.

Anyhoo, my point is that (again, assuming this is legit) this kind of ministry has the potential to restore some of that lost self-respect, to give the people involved something better, some more wholesome sense of personal worth and hope for salvation. In this, I think it would be wrong to treat this effort as a campaign to preach that Jesus says being a pron star is great! (The copy about "freedom to experience adventure and pleasure", etc., strikes me simply as an effort to avoid scaring off potential targets.) If I read it correctly, it is instead an attempt to help a very marginalized group of people evaluate themselves honestly and to know that they are not forgotten, however horrid their circumstances. This may lead some to stay within the pron industry but with a clearer set of priorities, while it may help others get away from the whole business altogether. Either way, I would suggest it's something to be praised, not mocked.

Yips! to JohnL, who expresses some perfectly legitimate reservations. I would only say in response that the Lord know I am no Bible-thumper. But even an old-fashioned, Rite I, don't-touch-me-with-that-passing-of-the-peace-crap Episcopalian like me sees the value in spreading the Word and the necessity, however odd it may appear, of often tailoring that expression to what the target audience is likely to understand.

UPDATE: Sooper Sekret Message to our Moms - I know, I know. But it's Sweeps Week.

Posted by Robert at December 12, 2005 10:44 PM | TrackBack

I see your point (similar to what Owlish said in comments to my original piece).

Still, as much as I don't mind attractive salesladies pushing their companies' wares, I think that the church's sales job should be a bit different. More "of the world to come" than "of this world."

It's great to associate with the tax collectors, lepers, and prostitutes, but you don't have to BECOME a tax collector, leper, or prostitute to do so.

I'll be the first to admit that my reactions may just reflect my fundamental ambivalence about the whole evangelical project.

Posted by: JohnL at December 13, 2005 11:50 AM

I may have missed some of the info, because I was working under the assumption that they had started out as pron stars and then got religion, not the other way around. I can see where this would make a difference. But I politely declined all the requests to drop my pop-up blocker on the grounds that I didn't know any of the ladies well enough for that kind of intimacy, so did not review the entire site.

Posted by: Robbo the LB at December 13, 2005 12:00 PM

I have to agree with Johnl. Even in the famous case of the Woman caught in adultery, after Jesus issued the "Cast the first stone" challenge to the crowd, here final words were to the woman and they ended with "Go and sin no more". He forgives, but he expects it to bring about a change. "It's your kindness that calls us to repentance, O Lord." Not "It's your kindness that makes us feel good about ourselves but not change our behavior". There's a fine line between loving the sinner and condoning the sin.

Posted by: Brian B at December 13, 2005 03:49 PM

I was going to point out that Jesus didn't wear tight sweaters when he was hangin' with the pros, but Brian and John are so much thoughtier about it. I can still hope they are doing good work. By all accounts, hooking is a lonely business. Then again, how many hookers spend their off-time surfing the web for stories of former prostitutes?

Posted by: tee bee at December 14, 2005 10:29 AM