"Pole dancing for Jesus." Seriously? OK, there's something wrong here. I mean, "Jesus Didn't Tap" is one thing. But this? It must be an April Fools joke. After all, it's posted on April 1. And Mr. "Wisenheimer" himself, Mark Oppenheimer, authored the story.
Alas, a quick Google search shows that, indeed, the former-stripper-turned-born-again-Christian Crystal Deans has in fact Christianized her pole dancing classes. And predictably enough, there are plenty of critics. "Pole dancing has transcended from strip clubs," blasts one blogger, who admits that it has become a more mainstream form of exercise, but objects to the lingering "sexual aspect."
Ah sex. Oppenheimer theorizes that this is the story's initial draw. "People are reliably called to attention by the promise of a little skin. And there is something extra naughty when the skin belongs to a Christian, presumed to be a good girl gone bad--the kind of girl who, to quote the old blues song, goes to church on Sunday, then cabaret all day Monday." Yet, in talking with Deans, Oppenheimer discovers someone who simply wants to redefine herself and others. "This has helped a lot of people," Deans explains. "It’s helped people with weight. It’s helped people spice up their marriages. It’s done a lot of good things."
As for the stigma of pole dancing? "I go to church every Sunday and I pray," says Deans . "I talk to God things like that I think there’s nothing wrong with what I do. I teach women to feel good about themselves, to feel empowered and we get in really good shape. God is the only person that judges so anybody who wants to judge me, feel free to but I'm good with God, so that’s what’s important to me and I really don’t care what people think."
So this curious case becomes an example of one person's effort to empower bodies and souls. No joke.