activism at work.
chalk spray paint on shoes.
police. lots of police.
going, doing, going, doing, GOING, DOING.
in the name of the father, son, and holy spirit guide, use, and ENFLAME.
I probably sound crazy and I will tell you right now: you are correct. in fact, I’ve embraced my insanity. you have to learn to bear with it to live with it, what can I say? but I would hope that those I love would tell you that my insanity is not without a heavy dosage of passion. and yet, I’m not sure I realized just how crazy I am until yesterday. I believe in creating a stir for good.
we began our day with worship, then jumped into backpage (info on backpage and how to fight it below) calls. my face uncharacteristically faced a form on a computer and The Guitarist held a cell phone for calls. and so it began.
Nia, 28, black. will fulfill your wildest dreams.
Mariana, 22, Columbian. petite, new in town.
Kasey, 24, black. be gentlemanly and discreet.
Paige, 20, white. looking to have a good time.
it’s a sickening thing to look into the eyes of someone you love while they call a prostitute, let me tell you, especially when you’re feeding them the numbers. and yet your heart soars with love at the same time. love, love for the girl on the other end, confused and indifferent. love, love for the man across from you giving bits of himself in the name of ending trafficking.
and you pray intercession upon intercession and make eye contact and mouth “I love you” and take the necessary notes and breath yourself into a state of being alright. not good, not great, but able to bear it until you break because not now.
then comes the street art, the chalk spray, and the flocks of cops. it turns out I have the spirit of a radical. bless The Guitarist’s heart. picture a small white girl dressed like a hippie, with a bottle of chalky spray paint, marching downtown with her head in the air and you get me. the sixties miss me. and it was empowering.
halfway there, one of us says, “that spot looks perfect.” and that perfect spot was in front of at least a dozen cops. our camera lady goes “whoever does that gets dinner on me.” to which I pull the can from The Guitarist and bounce across to the sound of him saying, “she’s insane.”
Me: Hey! May I ask you a question?
Cop: A half question equals a quarter, a whole question 50 cents, and a dumb question 75 cents for wasting my time.
Me: I’m sorry, sir, I’m broke. But I can smile pretty.
Cop: *laughs* Ask away.
yeah, I’m nuts. but also I got to educate a dozen cops on the truths of the sex trade and now they’re aware. and no, they didn’t let me spray it there, but they told me to keep doing it. and yes, The Guitarist and I got free dinner.
fast forward to the streets. beautiful girls walking in the cold to the sound of their stilettos on the concrete. and they are sweet sweet girls. fast forward again and the only sweeter girls are the ones in the strip clubs. the girls that we think of in disgust, these beautiful daughters of God, our SISTERS, who’s smiles shine brighter than starlight and hug better than church ladies.
today I held hands with a girl named Cookie and prayed blessing into her heart. I think her face broke with her big smile and she sighed, “you’re so pretty and you’re so sweet to talk to someone like me.” and a piece of my heart shattered because the only thing that makes me “better” than her is the amount of clothing on my body. it was her first night. she was nervous, she was scared, and she was doing what she had to do. and that lipstick pressed into her hand from my hand opened the way to press christ’s love into her heart. her manager told us to come back. “the girls love y’all, they talk about it for days.”
last night I met a girl 4 months pregnant on a street corner, avoiding eye contact because her pimp was watching us from the car. she shifted foot to foot and sighed, “all I want’s a burger. and I want to go into hibernation.” her pregnant belly peeked at us from her mini dress and she rubbed her arms up and down before saying, “you ladies are real sweet, but you’d better go.”
what makes us better than these girls? what makes us think in disgust, to whisper about these girls? they’re just like me. they’re just like you. these beautiful girls, with stories that shake you and smiles that break you and kindness in their hug wraps. news flash. they’re just as good as us. they’ve been dealt the wrong cards in life and they’re doing what they have to do, often by force.
so, I admonish you. I admonish the church. why aren’t we helping the powerless? why are we not the ones building relationships with these girls every. single. week? why are we not the ones breaking down the unseen barriers constructed by a compartmentalized church and a society that romanticizes things that should be anything but romanticized?
it’s because we’re afraid. it’a because we’re scared out of our ever loving minds of things that we think are unlike us. of things that we believe are wrong. of things that we think will dirty our hands.
but guess what. we’re 20 shades of wrongs. and we need to learn 21 shades of right, by the grace of a savior that is more than we’ll ever be. so, friends. brothers, sisters, I encourage you. I beg, I plead. pray. intercede. then GO. get the hell out of your comfort zone and GO.
lord Jesus Christ, have mercy.