So life is slightly manic at the moment! However I have found maternity leave a great inspiration for finding things to rant about and now have found 5 minutes to myself (!) to blog about one of them…..the lapdancing church!
In Bournemouth it seems churches are OBSESSED with building projects – I guess this may reflect an ongoing trend elsewhere but I wouldn’t want to speculate! One of the local congregations looking to expand their empire (I said I was going to rant!) has undertaken a massive development in the heart of the town. This particular brand of christian denomination does not have an egalitarian theology and I think personally has a sappy complementarian approach that smacks of, at best, patriarchy in disguise and, at worst, blantant misogyny. Masked behind the ‘we value women BUT’ argument I have struggled to balance their theology with the justice I see advocated by Jesus and his radical treatment of women. All this aside I was shocked to see the hoardings of this congregations building works. Granted the building is also going to be student accomodation, but clearly a development by the church (their own signage is on the hoardings), I was amazed to see a poster for a local lapdancing club!
As a signed up, happy-to-shout-it-out, feminist I am not a big fan of lapdancing clubs. I think they perpetuate the objectification of women, an issue which has far-reaching consequences. Sex as commodity and women as property to be brought and sold are not what I see as Kingdom values. Why, oh why, then are this church seemingly, by default (or not,) advertising this kind of ‘service’ on their development? Does no-one else see this as an issue?
I have contacted the church to ask them why the advertising appears on their hoardings. Their response was disappointing claiming the hoardings are owned by an outside company and so, as such, they have no control! I don’t know that I believe this in all entirity so I am pursing an activist approach and looking to get my own advert on display. I may go for a poster for Rob Bell’s new book, or maybe one for the local spiritualist church. I wonder what would move them to action.
Because for me the issue is that they don’t seem to see the issue. I can’t help but think there may be a bigger reaction to something that they can evidently contradicts their theology, but perhaps their own view of women (submissive / second-class?) is actually inherently linked to their passivity on this problem. If you hold that a woman is not really a full person, but merely subject of her husband (heaven forbid she is single) then how women are treated is of little importance. But it is important to me! What does it say to those in my community? That the objectification of women is fine by us as christians? That lapdancing is another consumer product that we as Church will happily endorse?
So I am really happy for people to join me on my mission to get the church to make the company remove the advert. The company must have a price – how much will they pay to remove the poster? How much is the rsepect and dignity of women worth? How much do we care about modelling a radical, justice fuelled, non-compromising faith over empire building? Who’s with me?!