Saturday night I had an awesome time helping my super best friend since fourth grade celebrate her impending nuptuials. AKA - Bachelorette Party!!!
If I had been wiser, I would have taken Sunday off as one of my vacation days... but I am saving one for this spring when her wedding actually occurs. As it was, I had to get up early, teach and preach the next morning. Yet I promised her sister when I wrote back to RSVP that I would be there, but that she could count on me for a designated driver.
Now, if I am being honest, I have been to more than a few drag shows in my day. We had them to raise money for the AIDS project of Central Iowa. We went to them in divinity school (as a lady... it is much more comfortable to dance at the gay clubs - less guys hitting on you all the time!) And now, I can say that I have been to one back home.
As someone leaned over and mentioned soon after it was getting started: Where else can these people go in Cedar Rapids? (more on that thought later)
It's true. I am marrying her. Well, I'm doing the marrying. I'm doing the wedding... well, I'm a pastor - that's what we do! However your phrase it.
So it came out that I was a minister. And not a "get a license over the internet person" who performs weddings for people who frequent establishments like Club Basix. (I was asked that.) But a genuine, ordained, main-line pastor. Out at a gay and lesbian night club at 1:30am on a Saturday night/Sunday morning.
And do you know where the conversation turned? To faith sharing. Our new friend shared with us that she was baptized Methodist. We talked for a bit about the places we came from. I was asked about gay marriage in Iowa and if I could perform those types of ceremonies. And she asked me to pray for her. And I will. I am.
My adventure at Club Basix began with a simple statement - where else can these people go in Cedar Rapids? And it ended with the realization that there are a lot of hurt and broken people in that building. Folks who have been shut out of families. Individuals who feel scared and alone. Friends who have built new families around one another... new communities of support because their churches turned them away.
What better place for a pastor to visit? What an amazing place to be able to talk, for even two minutes in the freezing cold outside, about the love of God? To leave my own comfort zone, to go and be there on their terms, to listen, and to just be Christ's presence in that moment. There is no place that I would rather have been.