Indecent Exposure...

I've been preaching at a little community church (they call it a "SoulCafe") for the last few weeks - filling in for a pastor friend.

Last Sunday, I was preaching about "The Church on the Other Side" and how God's people need to be free of fear.

I hadn't gotten very far into my discussion when a woman in back blurted out: "I have a story about fear!"

I nodded to her to continue.

"Well," she began, "this was back in the 60s, in California. I was kidnapped. But I chose not to be afraid of this man, because I KNEW that if I played the scared victim card, I was going to die that day. So this man took me back to his hotel room and told me to lay down. I asked him: do I have a choice. He said: you have the choice to die..."

At this point everyone in the room is sweating a little, wondering (a) what is going to happen next and (b) what the hell is happening to this church service. But it gets better...

She continues, "I decided, Dear Lord, I'm not going to lose my life for a piece of ass!" I'm not kidding here, she really said all this, "I'd been with men before when I didn't want to, and this was gonna be no different - I told myself. So he had me - twice - and then asked why I tried to argue with him about it. I said, Oh, I'm so sorry, but my husband died years ago and I haven't been with a man since then, which was a lie, cause I'd been with men since then. But I didn't show that man I was afraid, and I survived that night because of it. And when I got home I called the police and they showed me mugshots and he was a serial killer who had been killing prostititutes that summer."

I tried to pick up my message after that, but it was tough. Everyone in that room had sweaty palms and was feeling a mix of shock and awe at this woman's story.

One of the men leaned to his 13-year-old son and said loud enough for everyone to hear: "See Matt, this is the real world here."

I was proud to be amidst a group of people so willing to face the grittiness of the real world without feining "offense." Sure, we were all a little wide-eyed, but there are plenty of churches I've been in where the ushers would have escorted her out mid-story for her language and graphic imagery.

God bless the church that is UNAFRAID of reality. "Wise as serpents, harmlessa as doves." (Matt 10:26)

read more about my thoughts on Christianity in the real world at


HCJoel said...

It's been a while since I've been here and I'm glad to read some more of your thoughts. I am excited to hear about this incident. It's awkward as hell and not smooth but life isn't so church won't be. Of course, I'm not of the position that church should be chaos. But accepting all people in the church (which I find terribly difficult to do) will mean we have these moments.
We had one such incident (not quite as uncomfortable and WAY more humourous) a few weeks back in which a large man, clearly intellectually delayed, walked out on to the stage and asked if he could have some of the pastor's pop in the fridge. It was freaking brilliant. It was hard to rebound for our pastor but he did it well. After being reminded of the subject of his point (i.e., Jesus), he offered something like, 'So Jesus said to Peter... "Do you want a pop?"' Awesome.
[Sorry if this is a duplicate. I wasn't sure it got saved. Hahaha. 'Got saved.']

2Pete said...

Hey Joel, just noticed you're a fan of Deep Space 5 and Mars Ill. Sweet. Good taste.

I love your story of the challenged guy asking for pop. I told my wife and she laughed, which is a good sign. She's a tough audience.

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