I was wandering around the internet this morning and came across a poll on a well known Christian website. The question was very simple: "Would you welcome a sex worker in your church?" Thankfully 79% (when I looked) said yes and only 9% said no. I'm pleased that we're finally learning how to live graciously. But it did make me wonder.
Of the 9% who said no was that because of fears of corruption, or maybe they thought it was as a staff position! Are we so afraid of being influenced that we're unable to allow people to come into church and explore our faith? Songs of Praise recently had an ex-prostitute tell her story of how Jesus had transformed her life. How big a risk is it to open our doors to anyone who needs this kind of transformation?
One of my favourite title for Jesus is not Messiah or Lord. It isn't Son of Man or Son of God. It's "Friend of sinners". Of course the people who gave him this name disapproved of the people with whom he spent timea lot of his. But Jesus didn't seem to mind.
Perhaps it would be a good thing for the church to become known as a safe place for sinners, a place where they could find friends. Friends who would love them, accept them, and challenge them, but neither judge nor condemn them.