Jesus Needs New PR

Jesus Needs New PR


PLEASE WATCH THIS STORY FROM NPR: 'For Prostitutes, An Alternative To The Streets'

My wife and I have given often to the ministry mentioned above. I’ve met its founder, Becca Stevens, several times. She’s a dear soul. And Jessica has volunteered for the ministry.

If you’re looking to support an amazing cause, consider giving to Thistle Farm/Magdalene House…

Spread the word. Tweet this story. Tell your Facebook friends. Let people know about this amazing ministry…

(Thanks to Nicole for sending me this link)



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Dianna

posted April 25, 2011 at 5:34 pm


Dude, can I work there?



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    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted April 25, 2011 at 7:26 pm


    You would seriously LOVE Becky. She’s your kind of people.

    :)



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      Dianna

      posted April 25, 2011 at 8:42 pm


      Get me in contact! :) This is the type of ministry I’d like to be involved in – I have a big heart for those in prostitution. If Becca has some sort of opening or knows a similar ministry who I could work for, it’d be wonderful to hear about that.

      On a related not: have you seen the documentary Very Young Girls? It’s about a similar non-profit in NYC called Girls Education and Mentoring Services (GEMS) and they do a lot of really good work with girls who got into prostitution at 12 or 13 mostly because of older pimps who preyed on vulnerable kids. It’s … disheartening, but very educational as to what the world of prostitution is like and what we can do to help those in the trade.



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        kate

        posted April 25, 2011 at 11:47 pm


        You would love this organization called Streetlight. It’s for girls coming out of trafficking situations to get healing. Definitely check them out :)

        http://www.streetlightphx.com/



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        cindyc

        posted April 26, 2011 at 11:00 am


        Dianna,
        You may also be interested in a charity called Love146. It focuses on the international sex slave trade. They have a great website also!



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        Dianna

        posted April 26, 2011 at 11:46 am


        Aha, you girls are great! I’ve heard of Love146, but not Streetlight. I’ll check both of them out and see if they’re hiring. Thank you for the information!



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        Sara

        posted April 26, 2011 at 8:37 pm


        For anybody who is interested and has Netflix, Very Young Girls is available for instant streaming so it’s easy to check it out.

        Also Dianna, I don’t know if you’d be interested in International Justice Mission but I have some friends who are missionaries in Africa that highly recommend that group. They might be hiring :)



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          Dianna

          posted April 27, 2011 at 11:05 am


          Haha, I applied at IJM. They didn’t want me. :( But yes, that sort of organization is also one I’ve been looking at.



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LRA

posted April 25, 2011 at 6:05 pm


Very cool! Thanks for sharing!

(Why call it Magdalene house, tho? Mary Magdalene wasn’t a prostitute.)



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    JamesW

    posted April 25, 2011 at 6:43 pm


    No, but she needed the healing that Jesus provided. And so do girls and women who have found themselves involved in prostitution.



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      LRA

      posted April 26, 2011 at 7:25 am


      What healing has Jesus provided? Jesus/God is silent when it really counts. I speak from experience.

      Notice that it isn’t Jesus that is doing anything to help these girls, it is people… people who are content to give Jesus and not themselves the credit. I think what these people are doing to help these girls is great, and I don’t want to take away from that. But if Jesus wanted to help these girls, he could have done it by now, but chooses not to. I simply cannot understand how anyone can continue to give a silent “God” credit for anything. When children are stolen from their families and repeatedly raped for years on end, “God” does nothing about it. When children starve to death in developing countries, “God” does nothing about it.

      Oh, you may say that those things happened because of people. Sure. But what about natural disasters? Did people cause those? What did the residents of Japan do to cause the tsunami? How can you explain away so many deaths and such suffering and misery when “God” created our planet the way that it is (with plate tectonics and all), meaning “God” created tsunamis.

      At some point is is better to realize that suffering happens because we live in a universe that is driven by impersonal forces. It is a lot easier to accept suffering when you realize that it is not directed necessarily at you personally and that there is no “savior” who could help you but just won’t.

      What these women need is expert help to get them out of their situations and good counseling (grounded in psychology, not religion). What these women need is for law enforcement to do its job, and take down the rings that allow for this stuff to go on. What these women need is a government that will provide assistance for them to live with some kind of dignity while they sober up. What they need is to have some kind of education or training to provide them with work skills so that they can earn a living wage. In short, what they need is to live in a society that is advanced enough to ground its policies in social science, not woo.



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        James Williams

        posted April 26, 2011 at 3:14 pm


        I generally stay silent when you say these things. I understand why you believe as you do, and I respect your right to do so. But I respectfully disagree. The fact that I cannot explain the tsunamis or other ills of the world in a way that satisfies you does not make my understanding of God’s part in this any less valid than yours.

        Peace.



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          LRA

          posted April 26, 2011 at 7:59 pm


          Never said it did. But I’ve heard Christians say that “putting it on Jesus” is the answer all of my life, and frankly, it isn’t the answer. If you look at history, you can clearly see that it isn’t the answer. The answer is to study the problem and come up with pragmatic solutions. The answer is for humans to help themselves.



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          JamesW

          posted April 26, 2011 at 9:28 pm


          Where did I say otherwise? If I would have said “they need Jesus, nothing more and nothing less” then you’d have a point. But I didn’t. You and others are taking my comment, which was meant to agree with MPT and others, into pretty much the opposite of what I meant to say. You all jumped all over the anti-Rob Bell group for the same type of shenanigans a few weeks ago that you are pulling now. Shame on you.



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          LRA

          posted April 26, 2011 at 9:44 pm


          James…

          There is no shame in questioning the “healing” that you purport Jesus does. I contend that Jesus does not, and as such I elaborated on what I think.

          I don’t think Jesus is *ever* the answer. Clearly, I disagree with people like MPT and Dianna on this one point and I agree with them on others. I wasn’t trying to blow up your comment into something you didn’t say, but merely to comment on what you *did* say. If that came across wrong, then I’m sorry.

          You did say that these women needed Jesus’ healing. I ask you again, what healing? A clear and unbiased look at cross-cultural history and the history of science and medicine reveals that Jesus-followers fare no better in this world than non-followers. That is the argument I was suggesting with my comment. I was suggesting that when it comes to healing, human solutions can be tracked and measured while there is no evidence at all *whatsoever* for “Jesus-healing.”



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          JamesW

          posted April 26, 2011 at 10:34 pm


          L,

          (what is your first name, anyway?)

          The tone of the replies to my quick comment in this sub-thread have come across as much more than respectful disagreement. Yours and Dianna’s, and others. If I came here with guns blazing and looking for a fight, then I’d understand. But in this case, I was thanking Matt for highlighting this problem and for highlighting some who are trying to help be part of the solution. So I was surprised that so many comments came out (a) disagreeing with me; and (b) doing so based on something I never meant to say.

          That said, it is my contention that Jesus came for many purposes, and one of those is contained in His statement when He announced His ministry. From Luke chapter 4: “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”

          That stated mission is consistent with my experience. I have experienced Jesus’ healing of my wounds, which were deep. I have been freed to live a much better life as a result. If you want details, feel free to email me at middletree at gmail dotcom. I’m not going to detail it all right here.

          Do I care if my personal experience is anecdotal or if it fits within some measurable metric? Not really. I do care that others know that the healing is there for them, as well. I fully respect your right to disagree, to want some measurable evidence. Such evidence is not as important to me as it is to you.

          I also fully agree that the way to get these ladies out of that kind of life requires several things, including financial provision, rehab, medical help, counseling, and several other things I’m too sleepy to think of right now. I never meant otherwise, but danged if some people think I did.

          I’m going to bed. Good night.



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        James Williams

        posted April 26, 2011 at 3:17 pm


        And by the way, I was trying to give you a quick answer because you asked a question. No need to jump down my throat. I was the only one who even attempted to answer. I also posted this after I dug a little, but it got deleted: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Magdelene#Identification_as_a_prostitute



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          LRA

          posted April 26, 2011 at 8:04 pm


          I wasn’t trying to jump down your throat. Disagreeing with your speculations and having decent evidential standards isn’t jumping down your throat. Calling you a jack*ss would be jumping down your throat, and I certainly wasn’t trying to do that. :D

          Also, thanks for the wiki post. Poor Mary Magdalene has been unfairly smeared throughout history. But then again, when have women in general not been smeared and maltreated (especially in the context of religion) throughout history?



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          JamesW

          posted April 26, 2011 at 9:40 pm


          What do you mean by decent evidential standards? I believe in God of the bible. I feel I have some sort of relationship with Him that I will be trying to figure out for the rest of my life, but it’s definitely there. I am sorry your experience is different. I really am. But why does it harm you or bother you that someone has beliefs they cannot substantiate in such a way as to fit your criteria? You’re not just disagreeing. You are coming across as if to say that not only do you not believe, but you don’t want anyone else to believe, either.

          No, I cannot prove God, the bible, Creation, Noah, the burning bush, Jesus’ resurrection, the talking donkey, or anything else. I can’t prove it. And I’m content with that. Why do you seem bothered that others might be content with evidence that doesn’t meet your standards? Why not just live and let live? Why not just nod your head in respectful disagreement? To my knowledge, nobody has insisted that you agree with them about anything. I sure haven’t.

          In this case, I have been hurt in the past, and I have found that I needed Jesus to come in and heal my wounds. That healing brought me to a place where I didn’t need to rely on unhealthy behavior. Likewise, it is my contention that most, possibly the overwhelming majority, of prostitutes have gotten into that lifestyle for a variety of reasons, but all rooted in woulds. Things that were done to them that were not their fault. They need Jesus. They need decent jobs. They need help to break addictions. They need counseling. They need all the help that has been listed in this sub-thread up to this point. But IMO, that’s all falling under the umbrella of Jesus bringing them what they need in order to facilitate the healing and breaking free from dependence on that way of life. Most of those things may not be church-based, but IMO, it’s Jesus who responds to prayers by bringing them those things. I don’t see how anyone can be offended by that.



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          JamesW

          posted April 26, 2011 at 9:42 pm


          all rooted in woulds.

          should be

          all rooted in wounds.



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          LRA

          posted April 26, 2011 at 10:02 pm


          “To my knowledge, nobody has insisted that you agree with them about anything.”

          Really? So when the Republican Religious Right tries to interfere with my right to self-determination (via controlling my body as I see fit) they aren’t literally using my body to insist that I agree with them? How about when they de-funded stem cell research and affected the field of science that I was working in (regenerative biomedical science)… did they not insist by affecting the work of many fine scientists that we “agree” by force with them?

          You are a Texan, right? Do you vote Republican? Because if so, you vote for a party that would happily remove my right to teach proper science in a science classroom in favor of woo, thereby enforcing something on me that I not only know is false information, but also I strongly disagree with for philosophical reasons.

          And speaking of Texans, did you know that according to our state constitution, I cannot run for public office because I don’t declare belief in a “Supreme Being”? Who is forcing whose beliefs on whom here?

          You see, James, we live in a society where neo-theocratic nuts are ruining our democracy and the name of those thugs is the Republican Religious Right.

          And you wonder why I try to talk sense into people?

          I mean, if you were living like the Amish, what would I have to say? The Amish aren’t trying to lobby congress to outlaw electricity! The Amish don’t vote in huge blocks to enforce their way of life on others who clearly disagree with them.

          But many (in fact, most) of the people of Texas do. And I’m sick of the “tyranny of the majority” (to borrow a phrase from JS Mill’s “On Liberty”).

          So I do what I can to deal with my situation by speaking out against the ludicrous behavior of those who are so filled with arrogance as to try to tell *me* how to live *my* life based on mere speculation.



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          LRA

          posted April 26, 2011 at 10:08 pm


          Oh, and if you want a *really* clear indication of the RRR forcing people to “agree” with them, check out the gay-marriage issue sometime.

          How it is anyone’s business what people do in their private lives (like get married to the person you love most in the world) is beyond me.

          And yet the RRR insists that it is the “Moral Majority”… as if they have any clue what *real* morality is about.



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          JamesW

          posted April 26, 2011 at 10:19 pm


          I meant nobody here, you you were arguing with, was insisting you see things their way. I never brought up the Republican or any other party. I pretty much agree with you that those in power and those who want to be in power do not have our best interests at heart (massive understatement).



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          LRA

          posted April 26, 2011 at 10:31 pm


          Cool. Glad to hear that. This is a public blog, tho, and I write with the public in mind. If we were sitting together in a bar, or at a Sunday dinner, I would use totally different talking points. I would talk to you about your life and mine and I would hope that we could be friends.



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          JamesW

          posted April 26, 2011 at 10:36 pm


          I am sure we would. I live about an hour from you. (South Arlington. I believe you said Plano). Maybe one day.

          Thank for hearing my gripes and responding in an adult way ;)

          Good night.



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          LRA

          posted April 26, 2011 at 10:38 pm


          And for the record, I don’t insist that people see things my way… only that people should expect that someone else may critically evaluate the claims that people offer up in public. I believe in liberty, and that means that I believe that people with whom I vehemently disagree are more than welcome to their own opinions *so long as they also give me the same liberty*.

          I believe that we should all act according to our consciences and that no law in a democracy should *ever* interfere with my right to act according to my conscience except to prevent harm (specifically, suffering) of other sentient beings.



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          LRA

          posted April 26, 2011 at 10:40 pm


          Good night. :D



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    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted April 25, 2011 at 7:25 pm


    I’m not sure. Honestly, I’ve always called Thistle Farm. And Jess too. I knew the other name, but I’ve never called it that until this blog post.

    But the candles rock! And when you burn them, you slowly get your virginity back.

    I made that last sentence up. But they do clear sinuses. :)



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      Elemenope

      posted April 25, 2011 at 7:36 pm


      I made that last sentence up. But they do clear sinuses. :)

      I learned about the wondrous sinus clearing power of bitter herbs at a friend’s Passover seder. Move over Sudafed, gimme some horseradish!



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JamesW

posted April 25, 2011 at 6:57 pm


Sorry for the sidetrack, Matt. This is great and thanks for sharing. Our city (Arlington) hosted the Super Bowl earlier this year and my eyes were opened to the preponderance of prostitution, and just how few prostitutes really are there by choice. It’s a destructive way of life to girls and women who deserve much better. They need Jesus, plain and simple, and thankfully, Jesus knows how to use many different kinds of organizations and people to perform His rescues.



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    Elemenope

    posted April 25, 2011 at 7:34 pm


    Not for nothing, but women (and men!) tend to go into prostitution because they need money (for rent, food, to support kids, perhaps a drug habit, etc.). What they *need*, plain and simple, are jobs with a living wage, and some need rehab if they got hooked on the hard stuff, and I really doubt if it matters whether those things come with a Jesus string attached or not.



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    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted April 25, 2011 at 7:41 pm


    Thanks James.

    Jesus certainly helps these women, some of them more than others. But Jesus is not a fix-all. For these women, Jesus isn’t the first step in the process nor the final step. For most, spiritual nourishment comes in time or sporadically over time. But it happens rarely not before counseling, detox, relapse, counseling, detox, (and often relapse again). The process is long ugly and full of awful pains that most of us are fortunate not to understand and experience.

    Sadly, the “Jesus” that many churches give usually gives up after the second relapse. One woman I remember relapsed 8 times before she began to take the program seriously. And they loved her through each chapter. So I just think saying “these women need Jesus” sort of undermines the vast issues that these women face on this journey. While Jesus helps the healing, recovery is NEVER plain and simple.

    Thanks for the comment, man.



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      @nicolewick

      posted April 25, 2011 at 7:49 pm


      Amen.



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      Dianna

      posted April 25, 2011 at 8:26 pm


      Agreed.

      When I went to India in 2009, it was a trip to learn about sex trafficking and slave labor in India. On our first train ride, we were talking to our (Christian) Indian guide told us that the situation is much much more complex than just “praying them out” and offering them spiritual salvation. The exact quote was “These women – not even God can bring them out. Not even God, if they do not want to come. They don’t see other options.”

      Prostitution (forced or otherwise) is an immensely complex issue and James’ comment simplifies the issue immensely. I have been studying it for nearly two years now, and I still haven’t arrived at a solid conclusion on it. There are major questions about whether or not legalization actually works to help the women (a study done in Amsterdam found that, even with legalization, 1 in 2 of the prostitutes in the rather small red light district were still trafficked in from other countries). There are arguments on both sides, and it’s not an issue that a Jesus bandaid solves.



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        JamesW

        posted April 26, 2011 at 10:15 pm


        Sorry. I should not have typed that before calming down. Here’s an alternative reply:

        Dianna, I am sorry my quick answer seemed simplistic to you. I don’t think every comment needs to be a dissertation. I was trying to give MPT a pat on the back for highlighting an issue which needs all the attention it can get. That one line of my comment was meant to say that it’s my opinion that the body of Christ (that is, Christians) needs to come through and provide all that these women need to get out of this lifestyle.

        Referring to a reply in the comment section of a blog as “simplistic” is unfair and insulting. You made me sound like Forrest Gump. I was in a hurry to put the kids to bed and was attempting to express gratitude to MPT for posting this. I am not simplistic. I went to public schools and a college without a football team, but still.

        You assumed the worst, and I wish you hadn’t. You also assumed that the brevity of my reply meant that I consider Jesus to be a band-aid, which I most definitely do not.

        Please do not be so quick to make such harsh and inaccurate judgments in the future. Particularly when someone is trying to be agreeable and particularly when reading a blog comment, which by its very nature is going to be short and, thus, will be absent of details, nuances, and discussions of complex problems. Thank you.



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          Dianna

          posted April 27, 2011 at 11:09 am


          I did not call it simplistic; I said that it simplified the issue, which is a different thing entirely. But I apologize if my contribution of somewhat greater knowledge on the issue offended you. I’ve heard all too often the “they just need Jesus” response, and I thought my story may help illumine the issue.



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      James Williams

      posted April 26, 2011 at 3:11 pm


      I think my meaning was not clear, but I understand why I was somewhat misunderstood.

      Those things list that are needed: legit jobs (or some sort of provision where a girl doesn’t feel desperate and without hope); counseling, rehab, etc. are all needed, but my point was that it should be part of what the church (the body of Christ) offers as part of its ministry. I am surrounded by many Christians who get this, but you are correct when you say that much of the Church misses this.

      When I said “they need Jesus” I didn’t mean they just needed a hopeful message. Hope comes in many forms, and Jesus is able to do all that’s needed through His people. If only they’d make themselves available to do so in all the ways needed.



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Meagan

posted April 25, 2011 at 7:40 pm


I was late to work this afternoon because of this story. I can’t wait to listen to the other parts. Amazing organization! Thanks for sharing; I was going to Tweet it myself (although you have far more followers):)



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Sara

posted April 26, 2011 at 8:17 am


Thanks for sharing this story. Heartbreaking but wonderful that this women are finding help and hope where they need it.



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Amanda Mae

posted April 27, 2011 at 4:36 pm


I heard this on NPR when I was in the car, and I nearly had to pull the car over, I was crying so much.



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