Been pretty busy lately, hiking and all, but I did finally decide to visit a church. I figured it was time for me to visit an affirming church because at least at an affirming church I would not be subject to cheap shots from the pulpit aimed at drumming up support by slamming the LGBTQ people who certainly wouldn’t be willingly sitting at that church. I figured that most churches that are affirming don’t actually preach sermons about gay people, so even though I haven’t exactly figured out what my beliefs are, I would be pretty comfortable there. The list of affirming churches in my community is not very long, so I compiled the list and began to debate which one I should visit first. Many of the churches on the list were very different from churches I had attended in the past. Most were Episcopal. I knew Episcopal churches would feature liturgy and some different ways of doing things so I did some googling to see what I would be in for. Yes yes, I do my homework before darkening the door of any unknown church. After much debate, I picked one. Thinking it probably wouldn’t be the place I would end up, but they are hosting an event that looks interesting (read progressive) and so I felt it would be a safe place to figure out how to navigate an Episcopal service before I visit a place I might actually want to join. What I found there shocked me.
Oh, what a stereotypical lesbian I am in the fall. I adore flannel shirts. I love an extended hike through a colorful forest. And if I can extend the hike into a camping weekend I am all for it. I love pitching my tent in the leaves, pumping up my air mattress (I’ve aged enough that unless I’m backpacking somewhere, I break out the coleman), and warming water for tea on my camp stove.
I enjoy the solitude of camping even more now that I have a roommate. I just love being out and alone. Usually. And yet if I have service, I post pictures to Facebook – look at my campsite, look at this pretty view, look at my breakfast. I want my experience to be witnessed. I want to share it with someone. No one ever wants to join me on an adventure. Honestly, for most of my friends it would be kind of awkward to spend that much time alone together. Camping for two is camping for a couple. Whether the sleeping bags get zipped together or not, spending days alone together is the perfect activity for two people who are getting to know each other in an exclusive romantic way.
What would it be like to make two cups of tea? What would it be like to have another hand to help pitch the tent? What would it be like to wake to a fire built by someone other than me? What would it be like to point out little things like pretty rocks or spiders to each other while we hike? What would it be like to chat over the chirping of crickets? What would it be like to make love under the stars?
I have seen and done some amazing things. And no one knows. Stories are so much better when they involve people. Friends. Companions. Lovers. I have a lot of memories of places I’ve been, but for the past several years, I don’t have a lot of good stories to share. Because most of my memories are just me. And that isn’t super entertaining.
Will the same be true of my whole life? I’ve gone to great lengths to make sure the adventures keep coming, but will I get to the end of my life and find that my story is boring because it lacks people? Are crazy experiences and memories of cool places enough to build the story of a life if that life is lacking a co-star? Even Tom Hanks had Wilson.
There are gay Christians out there. They are actually Christians who read the whole Bible and pray and practice spiritual disciplines. There are people who take the Bible pretty seriously and support gay relationships (committed, monogamous gay relationships usually) . Gay Christians aren’t dancing around naked wearing beads and holding a Bible that consists of 2 verses. I had no idea. What can I say, I live in really conservative circles. No one talks about gay Christians and when they do they portray them as the antichrist – evil people who have completely turned the Bible on end to suit their own purposes. That’s what I thought when I first saw this post. The image I had in my head involved snapshots I’ve seen from pride parades plus tacky crosses. I didn’t read the post for a while, but finally my curiosity got the best of me.