Playing Doctor




Initial Visit?

Monday, March 21

I Don’t Have To Sell My Soul. . .
He’s Already In Me.

There was much disagreement about where my family was going to church yesterday. Most of the family wanted to go to Unity on the Bay. The music is better, I’m told, and the congregants are enjoyable. Dad, however, wanted to go to the Unitarian church out in South Miami. Dad, can be a pretty vocal advocate of his way, but this time it was me who was doing the advocating. The Unitarian church is near Tropical, which arguably has the best dim sum in Miami.

But in the course of the debate, my sister pointed out we could just go to dim sum, and skip church altogether, which put too fine a point on the discussion, so the Unity crowd won out.

When we got to the church and were waiting for my sister, my dads started talking to a friend of theirs. The friend was telling a story about someone in Minnesota who told him that there was a real problem with a chat room in St. Paul called ‘the crystal room’ where people would find others on crystal meth and have sex for thirty-two hours.

‘In the chat room?’ Papa Mark asked.

Apparently not. The story ended with someone having to go to the emergency room after having so much sex that their penis was rubbed raw.

‘If it happened in Minnesota it was probably just frost bite,’ I said, quietly.

Dad heard me and repeating the comment louder. Then everyone started talking loudly about chat rooms and sex, and I reminded them that we were in the sanctuary. My sister arrived and the service started.



Now, for all the talk of the music being exceptional, and having a six-piece band with a choir that looked like they were dressed for a Genesis reunion tour, the sound mixing was unbelievably bad. The bass and organ were mixed high, and the choir was muddied. It sounded like it was mixed by a hung-over Bob Mould. This sounds vaguely interesting, but it was not.

The soloist, a black gospel singer, had an impressive voice and wore a pretty pink sundress, but had a wrap that looked like it was a macramé made of kelp.

A woman read a mediation, which started with a long section from—what I swear was—The Hobbit, with mentions of ‘the middle realm’ and 'the race of man.' It segued into the Book of Matthew, and finished with a poem from Kahlil Gibran, if I recognized everything correctly.

I read the title of the sermon as ‘The Gelding Christ’ but re-read it and saw it was the ‘Guiding’ Christ. While meticulously written and having a couple of good quotes, it was rambling and did not have much point, except that Christ’s peace makes you forget your worries.

Yeah, well, vodka gets the job done too.

At the end, everyone stood up and started swaying back and forth. When everyone started singing hand-in-hand, the lesbian next to me tried to take my hand.

‘I’m sorry,’ I whispered, ‘but that isn’t going to be happening.’


When the children’s choir came out, I looked around and saw all the couples arm-in-arm, others holding hands. Boy couples and girl couples, and boy and girl couples. I saw some couples looking with pride at their children; others looked with the yearning of childless nesters. They didn’t seem to notice that the sound was mixed like shit.

I saw all these gay couples and was not thinking of how much money could be made in ministering to them. In meeting the spiritual needs of people who have been rejected by the churches that they grew up in. The churches they considered home.

Instead, I focused on the joy on their face. Worshipping hand-in-hand. They didn’t seem to mind that the sermon was theologically conservative. Rather, they embraced it.

I’d have a hard time denying that I felt Christ’s presence there, but He’s such a cheese monger, he probably didn’t mind the shitty soundboard either.

3 Comments:

3/21/2005
Blogger jamesdamian writes:

so did you go to Tropical for dim sum?

 


3/22/2005
Blogger dan writes:

Disenfranchised gays are a huge untapped target market, fer sure.

I really alot can't stand going to church. Even the exciting progressive ones, or the less-oppressive normal ones. Group optimism and public rejoicing seem to have the opposite effect on me. I get confused and bewildered by anyone who can conjure up that much enthusiasm over such a vague and intangible concept like religion. My brain is just too hardwired by logical thinking to appreciate it. And I'm not saying that's a good thing. It must be nice to be able to have blind faith in anything, let alone something as comforting as the concept of an afterlife. I hope that didn't come off as anti-religion. I meant it sincerely.

I was raised hardcore catholic, most of which I've erased from my memory, but I can agree that that holding hands business is for the birds.

 


3/22/2005
Blogger hot babe writes:

Dan logical. Right.

 


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