It is very easy for any of us, including me, to live life in a bubble. We all have our routines set out for each day: we have jobs to do, families to take care of, errands to run - the list goes on. With so little time in the day, every minute gets filled up, and the routine repeats itself again the next morning.
Yet do we ever just stop, take a breath, and look around? Do we ever step beyond the boundaries of our bubble and seriously look at life beyond it? Sometimes we do, and we see things we don't like: human misery, pain, loneliness, sadness. It's in that moment, when we are face to face with an ugly truth that we might not prefer to see, that we are presented with a choice: take action or go back to the bubble.
Dallas does have an underground sex industry. It is not pretty. The buildings are tacky. Some are dilapidated and in dangerous areas. I can't say that I particularly enjoy being in these places. However, working inside are real people. I do enjoy the people. Whether they are women servicing customers or managers running it all, they are real people. However they got there, whatever their stories are, they are all real people. Their feelings are real, their ideas are real, and their dreams are real. In these ways, they are no different from any of us.
Do we treat them as real people? I don't know the answer to that question. Do we see their potential as human beings? I don't know if our society does. I think all of these women - both the managers and the workers - fade away once they enter these places and are forgotten about.
Jesus would never stand for that. Jesus never meant for any of us to be forgotten or ignored. I like that about Him. I like that He never judged anyone and that He went straight to the people that the rest of society had cast aside.
At The Flashlight Project, we do not look away. We go straight into a part of Dallas that most people avoid or prefer to believe doesn't exist. We go because Jesus told us that no one is beneath His mercy and grace. He loves everyone, and that includes the managers and women working inside these parlors. It is up to us, as Christians, to live out our faith by going to these forgotten people and showing them that they are not despised, they are loved, and they are respected as human beings.
They are all real people, and each one deserves the unconditional love and respect that Christ offers everyone.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!