When young pastor Matt Brown announced he was supporting a ministry for women in the sex industry led by an x-stripper, he was expecting applause. Instead, he got cold stares and an e-mail inbox filled with angry letters. (News article.)
Seems Matt took the command of Christ to reach the down-&-out seriously. Jesus often went to the wildest parties where the guests were prostitutes, thieves, drug users & drunks. And then there is that little command to "show compassion for the least."
So when Matt decided to help an ex-stripper turned evangelist to reach out to strippers, he got the cold shoulder.
But he gave the money anyway & the stripper-turned evangelist really did get some of those ladies to come to church.
That's when the problems started. Soon the rumor was that the young pastor was using the church's money for lap dances & "other things." And it didn't help that the stripper-turned-evangelist was quite a looker.
Reminds me of Tony Campollo who once set up a birthday party for a street prostitute in a little resturant where the ladies of the evening used to congregate. A rather judgemental customer asked Campollo what kind of preacher was he, & what kind of church was he at, that would do that. He replied that he was the kid of preacher that would do what Christ did & give a birthday party for whores.
Can we really say we love people like Jesus did, if we're more concerned about how it looks than how it touches lives?