What is an ordination… and why does it matter?
Ordination is a very large word that means someone is being placed in the position of pastor. That is what happened to the founder of Xpose Hope. She became a pastor.
Many pastors preach sermons, and lead churches. But not all pastors have that job.
There are visitation pastors, and they just visit the sick and the shut-ins. They bring communion, they pray, they provide companionship.
There are youth pastors, who work with teenagers, and children’s pastors who work with young children.
Some pastors lead organizations, like Xpose Hope.
But why does Xpose Hope need a pastor?
Some of the girls we work with need help because they have found themselves in the system. They are incarcerated or in treatment programs. They need a friend, a leg up, someone to care. When a member of our team goes in to see them, if that person is a pastor, she can assist with basic needs items. She can also often have better access to the woman, without affecting her family visitation.
It’s also easier to gain access if a girl has a need like prayer before a surgery, or to assist her in finding social service options when those needs exist.
Doesn’t that cost a lot? Hiring a pastor?
It could, and perhaps our organization will be large enough to pay a pastor. But for now, Betty will be doing the same thing that she has always done, at the same pay….Zero dollars. This ordination was requested and granted just to serve the folks in the industry better.
Because that is what it is all about…we exist to show love. Period. That’s what we do. We don’t want anything in return. If you need a friend, that’s what we hope to be. A hand up when things are difficult. When life is not fun. Or someone to rejoice with you during times of success and celebration.
Some in the industry don’t want that, need that or like it. But others figure it’s always good to have friends who care.
So our founder was ordained…she’s a pastor. But she’s still the same person, and we are still the same organization.
Now, if we could only afford a church “secretary!” Well, we can dream, can’t we?
Our hearts were saddened by this morning’s tragedy. We love the management, staff and dancers at Xpose and we will be providing trauma counseling soon. Call if you need to talk.
Catches your attention, doesn’t it? What a great sign!
Yes, there are those who would consider it sacrilegious. But then again, Xpose Hope isn’t about religion, so we don’t care.
There are those who would consider it pretty contemptuous, but not us.
Because we think it’s true. And why do we think that?
Well, let us start with the fact that God is a God of love. And that’s just what it is about. Not candle lighting or attendance or wearing a certain type of dress and having a matching purse.
Then, let’s look at that old book that so many like to wave at the adult entertainment venues, as they wag their fingers. What’s it called? Oh yeah, the Bible.
Which by the way, is a love letter. Yup…it’s about how God reached out his arms and died for us…
So anyway, let’s chat a bit about that big thick book and some of its stories. See, the Bible is littered with stories of women and men who are “in the industry.” Yup, in that book they are called prostitutes and eunuchs.
So one of the first women mentioned is a woman named Gomer. Gomer was a prostitute, and God told one of his main guys to marry her. Not just that, he said, “And she’s going to run around on you and she’s going back to the clubs…so you’d better get ready to follow her. You need to love her all the time, even when she’s not very lovable. Because that’s how I love you!”
Then there was Rahab. Rahab was in the industry. One night, a group of men showed up at her place of business/home, and said “Hide us!” She was compassionate and she risked her own life to hide the men. Later, she put a red cord out the window (used back then as a signal that she was “busy” to other customers, to tell the men when it was safe to attack the city. In exchange for this act, her entire family was spared from the onslaught.
Not only that. That woman—she is one of the only women listed in Jesus lineage in the Bible. No kidding. It’s the great-great-great-….well several greats back—grandmother of a guy we know today as (you’re going to love this) JESUS.
Yup. Jesus’ great-great-great….grandmother was a prostitute.
You get the idea.
Long before we had DJ’s and runways, Jesus loved those in the industry—because that is what he does. Period. Really. He doesn’t care what you do for a living, he just wants to get to know you. When life is good, he wants to celebrate with you, when it is bad, he wants to hug you. He’s like us to be nice to one another and take care of each other. It’s about relationships. That’s his goal.
So this club has it right. Their strippers are loved. By Jesus and by us.
Anyone who thinks differently, can drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to have THAT conversation.
A year ago, three women set out to do something pretty revolutionary. Instead of telling people about “church” we would go be the hands of Jesus to those in the adult entertainment industry. We’d love, and we’d expect nothing in return.
A year later, we got so much more than we expected. We got the most wonderful hugs and welcomes. We got lovely letters, and we even had one manager help us in a makeover (Thanks Dani!) We’ve grown from three to more than twenty volunteers, and we have made a lot of friends.
We know that when we first began visiting, there were a LOT of sideways glances and most of the dancers wondered “What do they want from me?—You don’t get anything for free.”
We hope that when we don’t take the cash that is offered, and we don’t insist you come to church with us or sing hymns that ladies, you know we just really care. We really just feel like someone should come and say “You were made beautifully and wonderfully, and God has always loved you. You are his precious daughter.”
If you want to go to church, awesome. If you want us to do a once-a-month service for strippers, fantastic. If you get baptized, we’ll celebrate with you. If you are looking for an industry friendly church—we can help. But that isn’t what it is about.
We just hope that you’ll know where you can turn when the world is dark, and life isn’t fun. We hope you know that God has always loved you, and He has always just wanted you to look up and say “Hi, can we talk?” It’s about a relationship with Jesus, and we hope, one with us. Because we really do care.
We care that some nights your feet ache, and you’re going to be short on the power bill. We care that your daughter has a toothache, or that your mom passed away. We care that you just got your AA degree, and that you hope to be a graphic artist.
It’s been a year. Some months, we weren’t sure we’d have enough in the account to buy gifts. Other months, we struggled with weather, and sometimes we just had a fantastic time having coffee with one of the dancers we’ve met, or painting a dressing room! What a marvelous, up and down, crazy year.
What’s coming next year? We hope we’ll have a few more teams to go to more clubs. We hope to be able to help girls with small needs, and to makeover another dressing room. We hope that our gifts won’t be lame, and that it won’t rain every time we come to visit, making us look like drowned rats. But we hope next year, mostly, for more hugs, more coffee meet ups, to just get to know you as people. And for you to get to know us.
Happy Anniversary to Xpose Hope. Every wild and crazy volunteer, and every single bouncer, dancer, bartender and club owner we serve. You are wonderful! May this relationship last forever!
After our makeover, we had a lot of club managers and dancers chatting with us about the number of volunteers we were able to amass, and how far some of them came to participate.
We had people who were painting, laying carpet, installing moulding, re-laminating the tables, decorating and providing food for the volunteers. They came from Hillsboro, Portland, Oregon City, Milwaukee, Forest Grove, and Vernonia. They spent twelve grueling hours creating a makeover so amazing that one caller said she could not believe it was the same room when she showed up for work.
During conversations at the clubs, we were asked why would these people come do this? Simple, to let the folks who work in that club know they are loved by us, that we value them. We wanted them to know that our love is more than words. We are willing to invest our time, money, and hearts into them as people. We really care. We wanted to remind them too, that to God, they are cherished and amazing. Some dancers know that. Some don’t.
We were asked “What’s the process for getting in touch with God?”
The process. Well, that’s an easy question, and a hard question. But let’s explain it like this:
There was a process. We separated ourselves from God by sinning… when Eve took that apple and shared it with Adam, the close relationship that God had with humans, it was severed. No more were we able to walk and talk with God and have that personal connection. God is holy, and he cannot exist around what is unholy. Let’s face it, none of us are holy, NONE. Not even those who may be a bit self-righteous. None of us are holy or “righteous.” It says so in the Bible.
But He wanted to be in connection with us, so He decided that the process was too much for humans–impossible, in fact. Someone had to be sinless to go through the “process”. So he sent his son to die, and complete that work, that process.
And He then gave us an “EASY BUTTON.” Basically, you call out to God. You let Him love you. You say “God, I’d like to use the sacrifice of Jesus to start over with you.” That’s the easy button.
It is as easy as saying, “Hey God.”
Prayers aren’t anything in particular. There are no fancy words you need, or knowledge you need to talk to Him. Just hit him by saying “Hey, can we talk?”
Sometimes, honestly, I just tell him, “Dad, I’m really pissed off right now.” He gets it.
He’s there to listen.
And He even has answers.
There is no process required from your end. There is no need to be in a certain job (or out of a certain job), wear a particular style of dress, be giving a certain amount of money, or doing anything special. In fact, nothing we do can get us that relationship. Nothing. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.
Because Jesus did it all.
He just wants you to take that gift He has given and hit Him up once in a while for a chat. Anywhere, anytime.
Hit that easy button, and just chat.
This weekend, Xpose Hope will bring volunteers, men, women, young, old, former strippers, prostitutes, pastors, computer geeks, mentors and writers to a local gentlemen’s club. We come bearing gifts of carpet, paint, decor items, curtains and food. We will create an Xtreme Xpose Hope Makeover–and the question that people are asking us is: Why?
Why would you do this? It seems like a lot of money, effort and time, what do you hope to gain?
We hope to gain nothing. We hope to give.
We go into the clubs every month, and we bring a message that you are valued, you are cherished, you are loved. But the place that these folks prepare for work may not make them feel valued or cherished. There is something about changing your surroundings–it changes your heart and your attitude. You know that when someone works to provide beauty to you, that they care.
In order to truly express that Jesus loves them where they are, where they work, we need to provide a solid message that is enduring. Sometimes God’s word is not taught from the pulpit as well as it is in the streets when you give a hug, some extra cash, or a sandwich. We don’t believe that Jesus is waiting for strippers, bouncers and DJ’s to quit the business before He will love on them. We know that He loves them now, while…and He can be there for them when things are dark. Just as He is for us.
It’s been a dark week for some of us. We’ve been under severe attack. Our marriages have been tested, our faith rocked, our hearts broken. But you know what? Jesus has loved us while. We are not crushed.
Those Xpose Hope serves are not crushed. They are overcomers. We know this. Our gift of a bit of paint merely lets them know we are putting our money and time where our mouths are. Our love is true. It’s enduring. Because only comes through us, not from us. It comes from someone who loved enough to give all–for each of us.
This song ladies and gentlemen, is for you. Because you are overcomers. While, when, during…. We love you!!!
Most people have it all wrong.
When people hear about Xpose Hope, they think that we are a “rescue” ministry. We really aren’t. We’re a ministry of support and love.
Let’s face it. We’re a group of women, with few resources, we can’t “rescue” anyone.
We don’t have unlimited funds.
We don’t have huge donors.
We don’t have degrees in psychiatry or justice.
And that’s okay because that isn’t our focus.
What we do is love. We love people in the sex industry. We love strippers, porn stars, bouncers, club owners, prostitutes, johns, bartenders, house moms. That’s our goal.
Some people hear the song “Break Every Chain” and they think we are out to change things, to change the world. Well, in a way we are.
We hope to tell people that Jesus loves them and we love them. We think love changes things.
But it isn’t our job to take girls out of clubs. Some ladies in the industry, believe it or not, like their jobs. (Gasp!) They like their co-workers (What???!!!) Some like their customers and look forward to seeing special customers.
Some do it for the money. The same as some people are doctors or lawyers or food service workers.
But they are all wrapped up in chains. And we hope to break those chains.
How do I know this?
Because I spent my fair share of time in stilettoes. Because when I returned to my very first club recently, it became apparent to me that the reason I had hidden my past profession for so long was the chains that bound me, that hindered me, that pulled me down. (The photo above was taken at that location.)
These chains, this barbed wire, this encumbrance ripped at my soul. It stopped me from going back to others who I cared about and letting them know that Jesus loves them and I love them, right where they are. WHILE. While they are working for a living in lace. While they are in the industry. While.
These fences and wires caused me to hide my past, to be ashamed, to be embarrassed.
But these chains were not placed on me by the industry as many would like to believe. Nope. My shame, my pain, it came from people who believed that in order for God to love me, or for me to be lovable, I had to clean myself up, I had to be different, I had to do certain things to fit into the model of a proper church lady.
Those were the chains that for years kept me from giving a hug when it was needed, praying for a girl who needs to make enough money to keep the electric on tonight, or a club owner who is under stress. Those chains are made in the minds of those who, unfortunately, don’t really get what Jesus came to do.
Jesus is all about grace and freedom. He’s about loving us where we are, and while we are imperfect. Because we are never, ever, even in our best pressed dress with a high neck collar going to be perfect. We will never be “good enough”. That’s why He came. To be perfect. And to hold us when life is just plain hard.
It took me a lot of time and prayer to break free of those chains. Some of them were pretty sharp, and they ripped my soul up pretty deeply. They caused me to hide behind a mask, a fake persona, because I feared being labeled and looked down on by more “perfect” people. Those scars are going to be there for a long, long time.
But the chains themselves, the barbed wire, the barrier between me and my sisters in the industry—those are gone. I stood in front of my club, symbolically wrapped in those chains that Jesus came to free me from—the downward glances from others, the shame, the harsh words that God could not love me because of a job I did. All chains forged by people, never by God. Jesus himself said that prostitutes and tax collectors will get to heaven before the religious leaders he was chatting with. And his lineage includes a famous streetwalker, Rahab.
Those of us at Xpose Hope believe that Jesus can break every chain. He can change perceptions, he can change situations, he can lift us from depression or physical pains. We hope that the ladies and gents we serve in the industry know that we don’t come to judge or to look down on. We come as sisters, the same in every way, in love. We come to support and to care. Our small gifts are a symbol of that, but in the end, it’s about breaking every chain.
The staff and support team at Xpose Hope wish to express their deepest condolences to the family Shantina Turner and the dancers, staff and management at Club Skinn. We mourn the loss of Shantina, and are offering 3 hours of free trauma counseling on June 25 (Saturday) from 2-5 pm at NE Baptist Church at 6701 NE Prescott St. The church has been kind enough to DONATE the room (Thank you!)
This counseling is private, FREE OF CHARGE and without any obligation to you–we’ll have some snacks for everyone while they wait. It is open to staff members, dancers, and family members of Shantina, all those affected by this tragedy.
If you need to talk, please email email@example.com, contact us on Facebook or call us at 971-319-4413. We love you.
After we go out, we love getting emails, Facebook and Instagram posts from the ladies we visit. Sometimes, they just want to say “thank you” and sometimes they have a pressing need. Honestly, we are happy that they know they are worthy of the attention and that we care.
It’s a tough job. If you have never stood for 8-10 hours in stilettos, wrecked your back to get into positions that would make the folks at Cirque Du Soleil wonder how you did that, and gone out to have your car not start, you really can’t understand the life of a dancer. It’s not an easy life, but it pays the bills, and it keeps food on the table.
We also love our bouncers and club managers. They are kind to us, though we know they must wonder what our “angle” is…it’s hard for them to believe, too, that we really want nothing in return. We aren’t in the clubs to condemn or to pull the girls out. We actually want them to know that there is someone out there who cares, and cared enough to die for them. When they feel totally alone, that someone thinks they are the BOMB! And He always will, because He created them. There is nothing they can do or need to do to earn that love. When it’s dark and lonely, we want them to know they are not alone. That’s it.
The bouncers and managers keep us safe, and they smile when we arrive. That’s our total payment, and we love it. We hope they also know that we care about them, we don’t discriminate between dancers and bouncers–Jesus loves you all and so do we.
Sure, it’s just earrings, a bracelet, cookies, maybe some requested brownies that we bring. All things that are not beyond the reach of the recipient to get for themselves. But we bring it with the gift of ourselves, and you know what, with hugs and Facebook messages, the staff of these clubs love us back.
Paying it forward…just to share the love.
On any given weekend evening, our team ventures out. We go out with bags of gifts–earrings, chocolate dipped strawberries, coffee mugs, bath salts…but more than that, we take with us the greatest gift of all. Love.
Why do we leave our families to venture out into the night? Into a world that so much of Portland tries to pretend does not exist? Because it does exist, and there are women and men there who need to know that God loves them. He doesn’t love them when they are cleaned up, different or when and if they change. He loves them now. He loves them during. He loves them when. He always has, and He always will.
It’s an interesting world, one filled with ID checks, hard drinks, and the drag of a cigarette outside the doors. But some of the most real people that you’ll ever meet are behind those doors. Some of the sweetest people–some of the most amazing talents–are waiting there. My life has been made better by knowing these people.
Into the night we step, to give a hug, to check on a pregnant mama, to see how business is going and if anyone needs help to hold a curling iron. We offer snacks, Starbucks cards, and homemade organic lip balm, and in return, we are given compassion and love.
On any given weekend evening, we are chatting about babies, and sore backs and late electric bills. We are conversing with baristas who wear pasties, and bartenders who love a good homemade cookie once in a while. We’re offering rides if cars break down, and knowing that in return, if these folks saw us in need, they’d help us too.
On any given weekend night, we are popping into see those we see as friends, as sisters and brothers. And we appreciate the few minutes they take to let us do that. Because on those nights, we are being given so much more than we could ever take in a bag with a bow.
For on those nights, the men and women of the Portland adult entertainment industry are returning the gift that we brought… love.
Thank you Portland. 🙂