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Strippers in church

Strippers from Casa Diablo, a vegan strip club (only-in-Portland?) were in church and part of the sermon/dialogue a few weeks ago.  The minister preaches – and practices—radical inclusion.  His stewardship sermon last Sunday was Please don’t Give Us Money, if you are in debt, struggling to make ends meet, have hardships. I bet pledges increase.

I admit to cognitive dissonance, or maybe living your values challenges the internal hypocrisy we’ve accommodated – yeah, homelessness is terrible but I don’t give to panhandlers. I felt uncomfortable standing next to six-foot tall women (in stilettos) who are heavily tattooed and pierced, and whose figures, fully clothed, look more like Barbie’s than the average church matron’s. I’d feel uncomfortable in line with six or seven runway models, too.  What does my feminist-liberal sensibility say about all choices?  What about when we are on the same side – like fundraising for the defense of immigrant children? 

People are so hungry for this experience of radical inclusion. I think it’s great, and I support it; but we may feel uncomfortable.

Having common cause with strippers is easier than appreciating the driver of the pick-up truck I tailed in a traffic jam, close enough to read all his bumper stickers: “Go Ahead, Honk – I’m Reloading.” 

Hospital work was a lesson in radical inclusion, on a daily basis.  The paraplegic with swastikas on his biceps and white supremacist messages on his chest was tenderly cared for by African immigrant nurses.  I volunteered to discharge and wheel a patient to the curb myself, who routinely cussed out “my” staff; the legal department advised me not to do that, even though he was malingering and his benefits had ended.  The staff were more tolerant than I was. 

I have no grand insights.  We have our professed values, and our self-image.  We choose the way we live.  It’s nice when there is occasional overlap.

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