January 5, 2011

Saturday night with the drag queens

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. 

As it worked out, I didn't have to drive at all until the very end of the night.  We had a blast stopping by the piano lounge, the downtown fieldhouse, and then making a stop at Club Basix.  For those who are not familiar, Club Basix is known as a "gay club."  Which was more than obvious when we walked in the door and the drag show started.

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)

The show itself had its highs and lows.  There was one particular number that I was pretty appalled by... okay - it was raunchy and I had to turn away... but for the most part I enjoyed the experience.  I think the best was a rendition of "Bad Romance" by a queen in mismatched pastel boots, gold knickers, a red tutu, rhinestone glasses and a tie-dye shirt... it was ah-mazing.

Later that evening, we were dancing and headed outside for a second for some fresh air.  That particular queen was outside also and we struck up a conversation.  My friend, Cara, had been called out at the end of the show because of our celebrations and so she was asked about the wedding.  As she and I stood there, at one point, Cara replied - and she is marrying me!

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.

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