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8/25/2006

HOW RELEVANT IS RELEVANT?: WHORES IN GOD'S HOUSE

I want to see whores in God's house. I think He does too. I think most of us Christians want that, or know we should, even if we'd never put it quite that way.

I put it that way because, well, I like the word "whore"...mostly because I can't stand it. It's a prickly word that gets albums banned from respectable Christian book stores. It's the last word we want our mammas or daughters called. It's a dirty word, the dirtiest word for those who trade themselves for money.

I use "whore" because I've been one - I still act like one some days. I trade myself for the rusty change of temporary pleasure or power. Always have. And I don't want you to give me a cleaner name, to distance me from the gutter and the corner I once worked by relabeling me "prostitute" or "pre-Christian." I've been too dirty and lowdown to deserve so many syllables. I was a whore.

No five letters have as much power, as much punch.

Except "grace."

It turns beer into furniture, gang bangers into fathers and friends, the wealthy into middle class and whores into brides. I've seen it.

I saw it on her face as the choir sang and the preacher stood waiting. I stood corrected. I was wrong to think this didn't - to think this couldn't - happen in a place like that. The robes and the organ and the suits and pews weren't enough to keep her away. God and His seductive grace were in that church: In the woman who left her respectable job at the bank to bring her lunch every day day at noon. In the women who shook her hand and hugged her neck and smiled genuinely that morning. In the suited man who walked her to her seat, arm in arm.

In that "irrelevant" place there was something more powerful my arrogant young mind hadn't accounted for: grace. And where there is grace the rules of popular culture and common sense sometimes get changed. People get changed. Where there is grace there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, housewife nor whore. Or is it that in a place of grace there's an awareness that we're all ex-slaves and whores?

All I know is what I saw. A woman who walked the streets running to grace. And because of it too.



Read HOW RELEVANT IS RELEVANT? Parts 1 and 2 and 3 and you're caught up.

10 Comments:

Anonymous ann said...

Did I see her testimony on the 700 Club?

8/25/2006  
Blogger Kathryn said...

grace indeed.

8/25/2006  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

AMEN and AMEN!!!

Beth

8/25/2006  
Blogger Mike Harvat said...

Word. I think my church should hear this story...

Lately we've been caught up in trying to cater to the cultural expectations others have placed on us...we're raising money for a new A/V system, and it's much needed, but I think it's important to realize that there's a fine line between enabling effective ministry and just living up to expectations.

If we lose sight of our First Love, it doesn't matter how many projectors we buy...

8/26/2006  
Anonymous Rodd Jefferson said...

Shaun,

We've been running a series on grace at my church and I've been loving it. Preparing the messages have been a real challenge to me - at the heart of things I don't want whores in church, but God's grace is big. What's more convicting is the ranking I place on people, and yet I am the reason Jesus died on a cross even if I were the only one on the earth.

What a great five letter word - grace.

8/27/2006  
Anonymous ann said...

We were talking this afternoon at lunch about "relevence," three young couples and my pastor and his wife. We got on the subject of the "seeker churches" and "productions churches", and soon everybody was talking about "what the sinners want." Suddenly, it struck me. "It doesn't matter what the 'sinners' want! We have to do what God wants! The 'sinners' might not come, but that doesn't mean we stop doing what God wants!" It came out of my mouth before I worried if it would offend anybody. It didn't.

8/27/2006  
Anonymous holly said...

I am a whore in God's church. you know the story in the Bible where the woman is caught in the act of adultery, yet Jesus is the only one who doesn't accuse her? Well, God has shown me that He loves ME that much. no, I haven't been in an adulterous relationship, but my heart is still dirty. Truth be told, I have committed adultery towards God becuase I haven't loved only HIM. Yet, His grace is sufficient for even me! Praise God!!
I was a victim of rape years ago and have lived life like i was nothing because of that. Even though I am married to a minister, I have not gotten involved actively in God's business. Today, in my baptist boring church service, God spoke to me- called me out and told me that He doesn't accuse me and is not disgusted by my past. While I was yet a sinner, He died for me. We DO need "whores" in church... real people with real stories of God's amazing grace at work in their lives. THank you for sharing this Shaun. Blessings on you and your ministry.

8/27/2006  
Anonymous euphrony said...

Isn’t this what it is all about, after all: winning sinners of all stripes to Christ?

In the vein of this story, I wanted to share the story of Amy Dupree, as was told to me by those who know her (visit here or here to read a little about her). Amy was a highly successful stripper in Dallas. Every morning, after her night’s work, she would head towards home and stop off at a convenience store to buy a case of beer. And every day, the same man as the cash register would great her. His bible sat on the counter by the register, she had noticed, and every day he offered her God’s blessing. He knew her profession, but did not condemn. He told her about his church, invited her to come, and she would refuse. Until she didn’t. She goes to the church one Sunday and she hears a sermon on how our bodies are the temple of God, and this sticks with her. When she returns to work, she finds herself questioning her chosen profession and quits on the spot. Now, she works to minister to others in the "adult entertainment" industry.

Grace and patient love, indeed, are powerful.

8/28/2006  
Blogger Sarah said...

I used to have exceedingly strong opinions about churches. About theological arguments. About how the church is run. And in some ways, I still feel strongly. But last summer, God got a hold of me. I had been saved for 7 years and could've told you anything theological you wanted to know. I could've talked to you about relevance and popular "methods" of running churches. I could have told you so many things.

But none of them mattered. And last summer God grabbed me as I was running by, distracted by things that were of so little importance. He captured my heart and invaded my thinking and I caught a glimpse of what grace is. It changed my life.

Ever since last summer grace has constantly been at the forefront of my heart. Grace hunted me down and said that all the things that I had thought before didn't matter. Theology didn't matter. Methodology didn't matter. Relevance didn't matter. Jesus mattered.

What a great post. It brings to mind a few verses that have captured my heart this past year, Titus 3:3-9.
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.


Great series. I enjoyed it immensely.

8/28/2006  
Blogger Brody Harper said...

that pretty much nailed it.

8/28/2006  

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