Book Review: Dancing for the Devil by Anny Donewald
Have you ever wondered just what can bring a girl to the place that she would strip off her clothes and dance in front of men for money? In this explosive memoir, Anny Donewald chronicles her journey from all-American girl, to sinful stripper, to child of God.
The first half of Dancing for the Devil was a real eye-opener for me. Looking through Anny's eyes, I was in some ways able to see why she made the choices that she did. She really shows how girls are caught up and deceived by the devil and their own minds into doing things they once thought undoable. She describes her own sexual abuse as a child at the hands of a college basketball player. She shows how she felt so unworthy of God's love and grace--or the love and forgiveness of her family. Her parents offered her many avenues of escape, but she turned down every one to return to her life of "dancing for the devil." She fell further and further into a life of dancing, sex, alcohol and drugs. During her second pregnancy God reached out His love to Anny Donewald and saved her from her wicked life. She began to attend church, read her Bible and understand His forgiveness.
The part of Anny's book where she describes her life after her salvation is the part where I began to have issues. I take great offense to her views of the church of being unloving and legalistic because they do things like protest strip clubs in their towns. I cannot believe that God would ever call a Christian person to go into a strip club, and view the wickedness that goes on there, even if they felt that they were doing it to win strippers to Him. Does God love strippers? Of course. But He hates their sin. We cannot forget that even though they have many times been deceived, abused and forced into the XXX industry, their lifestyle is still wicked and sinful. There is no such thing as a Christian stripper. When God saves someone, He calls them out of their sin, and they will be ashamed of it. Singing gospel songs on a stage in a strip club while wearing a G-string doesn't make a person saved. I believe that it is a great work to go and try to win these girls to Jesus, but not by stooping to their level. Yes, they need to hear that Jesus loves them, but they also need to hear that He will not accept their sin.
Dancing for the Devil is a powerful story. It is a real example of the grace of God in action. It is amazing to me to see how God changed Anny's life. It is amazing to me that she is reaching out to others who have fallen into the same sin that held her captive. Even though I don't agree with her methods, I applaud Anny Donewald's efforts to reach those who have been largely forgotten with the gospel. Dancing for the Devil really opened my eyes to the ways that young women are drawn into this lifestyle. While reading this book I felt a true compassion for those who believe there is no way out of the life they have chosen, no escape from the mistakes of their past. I truly hope that Anny's ministry, Eve's Angels, will be able to reach some of them with the love and grace of God. Anny Donewald and I may not be on the same page spiritually, but I'm glad I read her testimony. It will remind me to be not so quick to judge in the future.
I was given an advance copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.