In Old Town Spring, Texas, near Houston, God-fearing women are paying tribute to Jesus in a very unorthodox way: by pole dancing. On the second Sunday of each month, Pole Fitness for Jesus classes are held at Best Shape of your Life, where women can swing and body-roll to the strains of Christian music and perhaps, like in the case of student Tiffany Booth, "feel a spiritual connection." Says instructor Crystal Dean, "God gives us these bodies and they are supposed to be our temples and we are supposed to take care of them and that's what we are doing."
Of couse, as pole dancing tries to transcend the stigma of the strip club, those resisting its integration into the mainstream aren't hard to find. Dean said one man waved a Bible outside while class was in session, and then there're the Purgasons, who run Lord and Nature, a Christian gift shop, right next door. The shop's Dee Bovati (who apparently discounts Psalm 149:3, which says, "Let them praise his name with dancing; Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre") cautioned, "We have to watch those boundaries that we cross over and not allow the enemy to take it in another direction." It's interesting how close Pole Fitness for Jesus can be to Pole Fitness for Satan.
The Sunday classes are free of charge because Dean says she doesn't want to make a profit on God's day. And she very reasonably doesn't believe in the separation of Church and Exercise. "They're going to church and worshipping God and it was just a way for them to continue that."