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The Same Kind of Human: Seeing the Marginalized and Exploited through Eyes of Grace

The Same Kind of Human: Seeing the Marginalized and Exploited through Eyes of Grace

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The Same Kind of Human: Seeing the Marginalized and Exploited through Eyes of Grace

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Dec 11, 2016


"Perhaps the separation between someone like him and someone like me...was not so wide after all. Perhaps we were just two sides of the same coin, two facets of the same kind of human."


To the everyday person, these words conjure up a variety of thoughts. How does one arrive there? Is it by choice? Why don’t they just stop, or go get a job? Can a person like this really change?

Christine "Clarity" McDonald, survivor of human trafficking and author of the memoir Cry Purple, challenges the biases and assumptions we commonly hold about exploited and marginalized populations. Through stories of her own lived experiences, Scripture, thought-provoking commentary, and practical resources, she unveils the humanity of these individuals and helps us to see them through the eyes of Jesus—eyes of grace. In helping us see the humanity of those we often judge or shun, she empowers us to instead reach out with arms of love and a message of hope.

is an internationally recognized author and speaker on the social injustices facing marginalized populations today. As a survivor of human trafficking, homelessness, and addiction, Christine is on a mission to bring justice and awareness to the forefront of social change through legislative work, speaking, and compassion. She is a believer in Jesus Christ, director of www.christinesvision.org, and the Program Director of the Restoration House of Greater Kansas City. She resides in the St. Louis area with her young son, Rickster.

Dec 11, 2016

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The Same Kind of Human - Christine McDonald



This book is dedicated to the men, women, boys, and girls that have died in the midst of their darkness, their marginalization and exploitation, and to those that are still alive in the midst of their pain. May the following pages help us be better humans to the hurting that are all around us.

Special Thanks and Acknowledgements

I want to thank everyone at every event, every fundraiser, every training that posed the question to me, How can I help? What can I do? You inspired me to create this book.

I also want to say special thanks to Ellie Humes for her amazing gift of writing as she assisted me in ensuring I was not pushing my readers away with my words so they could receive a message, and for her willingness to assist in this project with the commentaries.

Ellie Humes is a former counselor and social worker turned freelance writer and public speaker. She holds degrees in psychology and government and a Master’s in Human Services, with a specialty in Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves helping people tell their stories. If you are interested in contacting her concerning her writing services, she may be reached at EllietheWriter@writeme.com.

I thank my primary editor, Britney Hamm, for her willingness to take on the project and her efforts to elevate my work to the next level.

Britney Lyn Hamm is a writer, editor, and graphic designer who resides in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband and three young children. She is passionate about leveraging the power of written and spoken speech to inform, inspire, and transform lives! You can contact her at britneylynhamm.com or britneylynhamm@gmail.com.

I thank the production team, Leonore and David Dvorkin. They proofread the book, did the final editing, the print and cover layout, the e−book conversion, and all the technical work necessary for the publication of the book. David’s website is www.dvorkin.com. For details about the Dvorkins’ editing and self−publishing services, please see http://www.dvorkin.com/epubhelp/.

I thank the individuals that stepped up to assist in designing a book cover, which was far out of my sightless abilities. Although I did not use the original design, I want to acknowledge their time and efforts and commitment to my work.

I want to especially thank Dr. Rodney Hammer and the Restoration House team for their encouragement of my work and message—and their hearts to change lives of victims of commercial exploitation in the greater Kansas City area.

And to The Rickster, for his patience with me as I devoted time to work on this project.

And lastly but most importantly, I thank God for being with me, for loving me as I was and as I am, for blessing me and filling me with hope, healing, and joy.

Reviews from Readers

When we hear of suffering, so many of us are deeply moved in our spirits to respond. But, often, our response focuses on the completion of a deed or service, and we can miss the person whose suffering we hoped to ease in the first place. Or we become overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem and decide that if we can’t end all suffering, we won’t try—the thought of failure or guilt getting the best of us. The Same Kind of Human: Seeing the Marginalized and Exploited through Eyes of Grace is a beautifully woven picture of how God sees each one of us and how He would have us respond to those who are suffering. In a world of slick marketing and the desire for easy, clean-packaged ministry, this book confronts, convicts, and helps us see ourselves in each and every marginalized person who shares this earth with us. After all, we are all the forgiven and beloved children of God— and if we now rest in the embrace of Christ, shouldn’t we be His arms to those who have yet to experience it?

Kylla Lanier

Deputy Director

Truckers Against Trafficking

Christine grabs the reader’s attention from the first page and doesn’t let go until the last, if then. She mixes a deep personal faith with her story like I have never seen before. She doesn’t pull any punches, even with herself, when it comes to the truth. As a survivor, I have been involved with deep introspection for some time, but she helped me move to a deeper understanding of the effects of sexual abuse. I thank her deeply for giving a nod to the effects of sexual abuse of males. From a touching story about Christmas Day to horrific acts of violence, she is truth and grace.

Greg Holtmeyer

Executive Director

The Phoenix Project

In this book, Christine leads the reader toward immersion into the raw emotion of the marginalized and exploited, and she goes beyond that. As the second half of the title explains, she helps the reader to see these victims of society as God sees them, Through Eyes of Grace— that is, through hearts filled with unconditional and unrestricted love and compassion. The fact that she, in the midst of her own pain, reached out to give comfort and friendship to a woman who was invisible to so many, is one example of the Christ–likeness that Christians strive for, but only a few achieve. Christine is one of the few, and her life and story exemplify the healing power of God’s love and grace.

Diane Yearns

LPC, Board Certified Christian Counselor

Independence, Missouri

Through her genuine and vulnerable voice, Christine reminds us that we must learn to love people well. Sometimes, where compassion and emotion meet comes a hindrance instead of a help; although well intentioned, it becomes self–centered versus selfless. This book is a reminder that God chooses to use us as a tangible expression of his love for others.

Lindsey Ellis

Executive Director

The Covering House, St. Louis, Missouri

Far too often, the survivor–leader voice is ignored due to expressed frustration. Thus, while understandably angry, non–survivors close their hearts and minds to receiving the transformational education that only survivor–leaders can offer. Through her own acceptance of love and freedom in Christ, Christine extends grace and mercy to those who desire education on the topics of marginalized and exploited populations. This book is an invitation for all people to explore themselves, alter their perspectives, and receive love in order to offer it to others.

Dr. Karen Countryman–Roswurm

WSU Center for Combating Human Trafficking

Christine’s book is an invitation to sit at a rustic table, coffee in hand, and look through a window that seems to come out of the darkest place of one’s imagination. Christine humanizes those disregarded as prostitutes and yells through the pages that society can do more, we can do more, for all those dehumanized and forgotten. This book is a must−read for anyone hoping to understand the struggle trafficking victims face and the fight they incur daily while facing death.

Brent Messimer

Rescue Innocence President

In The Same Kind of Human, Christine McDonald boldly takes the hand of the reader and walks them through the experiences of the marginalized, sometimes unseen, and often rejected members of our community, all the while challenging believers to live and love as Christ would do and arming those in the helping professions to meet all individuals on their level and create environments that optimize healing.

Samantha M. Floyd, MSSW

Fierce cruelty overshadowed by a fierce redeeming love. Through the many parts of raw and excruciating truth, McDonald reveals the ultimate love story of the redemptive power of Jesus Christ. Her story compels the question, What would it look like if we loved people through His eyes and not our own? We challenge you to not only read the words written in these pages, but to truly allow them to penetrate your heart so that it propels you to seek out the invisible and see them as He does—loved, valued, sons and daughters of the King.

Darrin and Keri Major

Founders and Pastors of The Tree Church/Tree 197 Ministries

In the late 18th century, former African slave Olaudah Equiano wrote an autobiography detailing the horrors of the African slave trade. His eloquent personal narrative is credited, in part, with a shift in British public opinion about slavery and the basic humanity of Africans, giving great support to the abolition movement of the time. Slavery was no longer seen as acceptable or inevitable just because things had always been that way.

Christine’s book offers this same paradigm shift today, as it reveals the raw and real story of prostitution (the unfinished work of the abolition movement). Like Equiano’s, her story compels a humble, reflective reverence for human suffering. I pray that it may forever alter your perspective on the toll that childhood sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, and the commercial sex industry exact on their victims and upon our society.

The difficult reality that we must face is that for girls born into cultures, demographics, and families that devalue girls, a hellish plight is often their fate. This devaluation of girls is not just a cultural norm in faraway countries; it is also deeply embedded in modern American society, where girls are raised to see their value as human beings linked to their appearance and their sexual purity. This confusion exists even in churches where female purity is taught as a value, a message particularly harmful to girls who have experienced childhood sexual abuse.

Under this cultural norm, there is no lower form of life than the prostitute, the one who seemingly chooses to sell her body. She is deserving of our scorn, dismissal, abuse, and, of course, humor. This dangerous and damaging lie dehumanizes those who are precious in God’s sight, those whom He created in His own image, those for whom He died seeing their value as unconditional. This lie is used to justify the vilest and cruelest behavior born in the heart of men.

As a leader in the abolition movement who works to raise awareness and promote grassroots engagement in the fight against human trafficking, I recommend this book as an equipping tool to deconstruct any preconceived notions you may harbor, to open your eyes, soften your heart, and understand some of the complexities surrounding this issue. It is important and relevant to anyone involved in social work or law enforcement, to those who work in sectors combating poverty, homelessness, addiction, violence, sexual exploitation, and human trafficking, or to anyone looking to take God literally when He commanded us to look after and to serve the least of these. Without the invaluable perspective of survivors like Christine, even those of us with the best of intentions can do harm. I pray this book will inspire you to extend love, show humanity, and provide selfless service to a hurting person.

Alison Phillips

KC Street Hope

Do what you can for one—what you wish you could do for many—and I promise it will be enough.

Christine Clarity McDonald

Table of Contents


Special Thanks and Acknowledgements

Reviews from Readers

Foreword—The Same Kind of Human



How To Read This Book

Preparing To Read This Book

Chapter 1: Looking Beneath the Surface

By Way of Introduction

The Power Play

Chapter 2: My Name Is Christine

Chapter 3: The Cancer Called Despair

Chapter 4: I Remember 9/11

Chapter 5: They Called Her Jean

Chapter 6: Please, Don’t Use Me

Chapter 7: The Deepest Scars

Chapter 8: Glimmers of Hope

Chapter 9: You Could Live Through This, You Know

Chapter 10: No Strings Attached

Chapter 11: Tread Gently

Chapter 12: Oh, How He Loves You

Chapter 13: The Man Who Died for Me

Chapter 14: Even to Them

Chapter 15: Being Tamed

Chapter 16: My Back, Your Back

Chapter 17: Rats!

Chapter 18: Come As You Are

Chapter 19: Collateral Damage

Chapter 20: The Pace of Healing

Chapter 21: Unexpected Reconciliation

Chapter 22: Healing Chips

Chapter 23: Blind, but Now I See

Chapter 24: Divine Intervention

End–of–the–Book Reflection

Section Two: Tools and Resources

Chapter 25: Building Trust and Relationships with the Hurting

Rethinking the Gestures

Building the Relationship

Unspoken Responses

Setting the Stage for Trust

Recovering Normal

The Ongoing Relationship

Chapter 26: Considerations for Faith–Based Service Providers

Chapter 27: Understanding Trauma a Little Better

Chapter 28: Adverse Childhood Experience Test

Chapter 29: The Stages of Change

The Stages of Change

Supporting Individuals through the Stages

Glossary of Terms

About the Author

Foreword—The Same Kind of Human

Let’s be honest. We who profess to care for people, religious or secularist, too often want to view people through the lens of our bias, and we want to help people according to our preference guided by that bias. Don’t give to those begging, because they might use the money wrongfully. I’ll give to a trusted organization. But then we don’t offer food, shelter, or informed assistance to the hurting person in front of us.

Christine McDonald challenges us to look beyond our preconceptions and consider the human behind the circumstances of need. She challenges us to see the hurting and marginalized as God sees them: with love and compassion and understanding. And then to use this understanding to help the one God puts in front of us, recognizing they are human like us. And if you are a humanist who sees no divine in the equation, this book will assist you in authentically assisting the marginalized and exploited.

And—spoiler alert!—the Tools and Resources section at the end is an invaluable set of practical, profound insights into how to effectively understand and appropriately assist someone trapped in exploitation or need. How rare to be challenged or gripped by poignant stories and then be given real, tangible instruction in how to truly help!

I’ll never forget learning from Christine about how she often felt invisible on the streets. People would ignore her even when bloodied and beaten, naked or barefoot, or nose pressed to the glass of a fast food restaurant watching happy families eating inside while desperate hunger gnawed at her insides. She taught us to not ignore the person, the human, behind the circumstance. She taught us not to forget the humanity of the one ensnared in street survival trades. Then I found myself with colleagues on a mission trip and coming upon a hungry, desperate−looking woman who sat next to the entrance to a different fast food restaurant in a different city. I denied her request for money because I’d learned from my alcohol− and drug− addicted friends that cash is not usually helpful. But I forgot to remember the human behind the request. Instead, I watched embarrassed while my colleague asked her if she was hungry. She vigorously devoured the food subsequently offered, betraying the depth of her hunger. Several times I have heard Christine and the women in our restoration program note the kindness, the humanity of nonjudgmental offers of simple food.

Do what you can for one—what you wish you could do for many—and I promise it will be enough.

—Christine Clarity McDonald

I am trying to learn to apply this vantage point in life and ministry. Christine, Program Director for Restoration House of Greater Kansas City, has inculcated an organizational DNA of the humanity and value of those who are vulnerable, exploited, and marginalized. We are forever grateful and striving to put it into practice.

This book will help us all remember the humanity of those in desperate situations, those begging or hustling, those working the streets, and those hungry for kindness and a way out. If we heed Christine’s words, we will note the ultimate value derived from being made in the image of God, and apply the lens of love through which God views us all—equally.

You should internalize this book, then get additional copies and share it with your family, friends, colleagues, civic groups, schools, synagogues, and churches. If you haven’t read her first book, Cry Purple, get it and read it, too. You will never be the same. Hopefully, the hurting and exploited around you will never be the same either.

I am learning that the vulnerable and trafficked are vigorously, tirelessly, and professionally pursued by those who would exploit them. Conversely, as one trafficking victim testified, I wondered if anyone would ever pursue me like that to rescue me.

In this, her second book, Christine McDonald inspires us to lovingly understand and pursue the vulnerable with an intense passion that exceeds the profit− or pleasure−driven exploitation of pimps, buyers, dealers, and traffickers. Rise up, people! The vulnerable are, after all, the Same Kind of Human.

Dr. Rodney L. Hammer

President of the Board

Restoration House of Greater Kansas City

Executive Director

Blue River–Kansas City Baptist Association


Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

—Colossians 4:5–6

Human trafficking is a topic that has been making its way into the mainstream over the last several years. The awareness of this issue is greatly rising, and that is certainly good. As awareness about human trafficking and other marginalized populations—such as the homeless, addicted, and mentally ill—has risen, so has the impulse to address these real problems. People want to know how to help. They want to make a difference.

I have read a number of books about how to help the homeless, the commercially exploited, the prostituted, and those generally marginalized. Some have been written by authors who share their own journey out of these places of darkness and hopelessness. The majority, however, have not. Most of the literature that exists in this field fails to inform and educate people from an insider perspective.

The authors of most of these books do not write from personal experience. They haven’t felt the desperation of trying to find something to grasp to continue living. They haven’t faced the barriers put up by service providers that prevent them from receiving services. They haven’t experienced the social and spiritual disenfranchisements that can occur. While they are well–meaning, I haven’t found these particular books accurate in their depictions, nor were their helping suggestions all that helpful.

The need for something more true–to–life has stirred in my heart. It is something I have prayed about often. Perhaps a book on this subject should be written by someone who has walked in the very shoes of those we are trying to help. If we can see and understand the journeys the forgotten and overlooked have walked, then we can better understand the rejection, hurt, and struggles they face when people attempt to reach out to them.

And so I find myself writing this book, sharing pieces of my journey and the stories of others I encountered on my journey, to help the world better understand the thoughts, feelings, and struggles of those who have been exploited and marginalized in our society.


When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

—Dr. Wayne Dyer

In this book, I want to introduce you to the individuality of some beautiful, broken souls. I want to take you to a deeper place of understanding so that you can experience their scars and the crosses they bear. My hope is to expand our sight beyond stereotypes, preconceived notions, and long–held misconceptions of how to help the broken.

This book is not a memoir, although I use lived experiences as part of the message. I couple my experiences with Scriptures and directed commentary to challenge conventional viewpoints, judgments, and understanding. I believe this book can be a tool for a variety of people: people of faith, professionals, individuals who have a desire and passion to help others, and people who wish to understand brokenness a little better. Let us strip judgments and biases from our carnal mind and see with eyes of grace and love instead. After all, are we not commanded to love our God with all of our hearts and love our brothers as we love ourselves?

How To Read This Book

This book can be read individually or as part of a group book study. It is suitable for organizations, helping agencies, churches, ministries, couples, and individuals. Please note that much of the content is intense and raw. While it is not unnecessarily

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