Commentary: Changed life-From ‘borderline bordello’ to pulpit

By Rudy Rasmus, Special Contributor…

I was 34 years old before I became a Christian. In all of the years before that, I was in a terrible business, connected to the sex industry. My dad and I owned a business in a tough Houston neighborhood, a motel that catered to prostitutes and their customers. For my entire life, up to age 34, that’s what I did every day. I literally lived in a house of pain.

Rudy Rasmus

When I was 5, my dad told me how we were gonna make money. He called me “Big Shot Mister President Boss Man.” He said, “Big Shot, we are going to make money off other people’s pain.”

Every day, in and out of this “borderline bordello,” there were people. There were buyers and sellers, and most of the sellers were female. Because I was raised without a conscience, it didn’t matter. My entire life, I spent every day in that place not caring who got hurt, why, or even the cost. We profited from darkness.

Recently, I was reflecting on just how significant Christ is. I wish I had known about Christ back then. There were people around me who did the church thing and people who said they were Christians, but my dad taught me never to trust preachers and church people. He said they were all full of it. For most of my life, I believed he was right.

Twenty-eight years ago, I walked into this building that just happened to be a Methodist church. I was still in the “family business,” but I’m at church with my wife—who actually introduced me to Jesus. I’d go, I’d sit, I’d leave and go back to work. And I did that for five years.

During those five years, there were people in that church who would say, “Rudy, we love you.” And I’d reply, “Yeah. Right.” My daddy told me about people like them. He said they’d say one thing, but do another. As I lived life, I began to believe that.

But I’d show up every week, and these people kept telling me they loved me. One day, five years later, I believed it. And that’s when life got interesting.

Early in my life, I lived recklessly. I did things to my mind and my body that weren’t good for me. No one told me, “You know what, Rudy, there’s another possible way you can go.”

So at 34 I found out, and for the past 22 years I’ve been on this ministry path. And on this path are a lot of folk who used to have lives like mine.

I’m constantly reminded how God loves me. For most of my early life, my business was the sex trade. I had no idea the ages of the girls who worked in and out of our place; I didn’t care. And I’ve had many opportunities over the years to recount and to repent. I wasn’t a bad guy, but I didn’t do good things. And in spite of that, Jesus said, “You can come be a part of my crowd.” And that unconditional love God showed me is why I’m so committed to this faith today.

The Rev. Rasmus is co-pastor, with his wife Juanita, of St. John’s United Methodist Church in Houston. This United Methodist News Service commentary was adapted from his opening sermon in November at the Imagine What’s NEXT young adult conference in St. Louis.

Special Contributor to UMR

Special Contributor

This story was written by a special contributor to The United Methodist Reporter. You may send your article submissions to
kevin@circuitwritermedia.com
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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
 

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