On Saturday night at ten o’clock, I went to church.
Our leader wasn’t a Pastor. He was a twenty something six and a half foot drag queen in size fifteen spiked heels.
We didn’t sing hymns. We clapped and sang along as people dressed in the garb associated with the opposite gender lip synched to a variety of pop tunes. At the end, we were invited to the stage to dance with the performers, and many of us did.
There was no talk of God or Jesus, true. And yes, our décor featured a giant phallic symbol as well as an entrance that recalls the one at the end of a birth canal (Wait, that part is exactly like church.)
We weren’t in a church, but there was a beloved community who came together around one of our youngest members to support him in making his dream of becoming a drag performer come true. Many went so far as to create drag characters and rehearse numbers to fill out a show. In the end all rejoiced that they had taken this journey.
The Bible talks often about letting a young person take the lead. In reality, churches seldom do so. Elders have a tendency to latch onto power and hang on with a death grip. Minor aspects of community life, such as coffee hour or the format of bulletins or seating, take the place of theologically important matters, such as compassion for the oppressed or hospitality towards strangers. When young Pastors are hired, often folks undermine their fresh ideas and new initiatives.
Churches say they want more young members, but most want young members that are clones of themselves and share their priorities. The world has changed a lot in the last hundred years or so. If we understood our priorities as having to do with truth, justice, finding simple joys and being loving, we would find much in common with others in different stages of life from us.
That is what church should be. If you don’t find that in church, go out and seek it elsewhere, or make it happen.