Sunday, October 30, 2005


A Mighty Fortress Indeed

This morning I went to church! I was invited to do a book signing at a big LGBT church in Dallas, the Cathedral of Hope. Frankly, as a godless heathen recovering Catholic crypto-Buddhist, I was a little apprehensive. But boy, did I get my blue state socks blown off. First of all, I haven’t seen such a huge, diverse crowd of gay people all in one place since…well, since the Halloween parade the night before. But here they were all sober and fully clothed. This place is amazing. It’s a buzzing hive of activity. There’s a bookstore, there are people tabling about the state anti-gay marriage amendment, there’s a Day of the Dead altar with candles and skeletons, there’s a whole kids’ wing, there’s a choir and musicians and big video screens and the joint is packed. Four hundred at the early service, six hundred at the later one. Plus they have a very politicized, progressive mission. As it says in their bulletin, “Jesus was the ultimate liberal.” I hung out for a while as the first crowd left and the second one assembled. In between meeting lots of lovely people and signing books, I looked on slack-jawed at the stunning spectacle of community. Then I stayed for the beginning of the second service. And when the processional began, with people in robes and the organ booming and the stained glass and everyone singing “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” I was ready to crawl to the altar. The pastor was very moving. She talked about the church as a refuge from the busy activity of our daily lives, and from our inevitable suffering, and I almost wept. I think the guy next to me DID weep. At the end of the Lord’s Prayer, he definitely gave his boyfriend a loud kiss. Then I had to leave for the airport, and in the lobby I ran into Lucie Blue Tremblay, who was there to promote The Breast Exam Project. Who knew that all this stuff was going on? I have to get out more.
From one dyke to another....Happy Halloween :)

I just found your blog and I'm looking forward to reading more.

If you get a chance, come answer a few questions at my Q&A blog called The Big Question. It's at:

Take care,
The Cathedral of Hope pastor, Jo, used to be at Friends Congregational Church in College Station - home of the conservative Texas A&M University. She is missed!!
Regarding the racial diversity at the church: it was definitely mostly white (and mostly men). But I saw enough African-American, Latino, and Asian people that it didn't feel at all monolithic. But of course, that's my perspective as a white person.
Speaking of amendments and meeting awesome communities... I'm pretty involved in the activist/political scene here in Portland, Maine, and we've been struggling to keep an amendment including sexual orientation in the anti-discrimination clause on the ballot this upcoming local election. I'd been doing a lot of work on my college campus, and for the first time this past weekend, I canvassed for the actual amendment campaign itself, Maine Won't Discriminate. ...It was like I stumbled on the great hidden trove of smart, involved gay people! It was a side of the Portland community that I hadn't yet encountered. So many intelligent, funny, older dykes. I was flabbergasted. It IS amazing when you get out more.
Told you so.
that's one of the cool things when religion works like it is supposed to ... the sabbath as a time and place when you can leave all the crap at the door for a short while, and rest and renew yourself. and the power of doing this in a like-minded community is immense! the problem is when religious leaders take hold of that power and abuse it.
Exactly. And unfortunately that's happening all the time, everywhere on this planet. Which is why I have a problem with organized religion: the step from emotion-channeling to manipulation is tiny and the temptation to cross the line enormous.
Dang, I should get out more too... Leanne here... I tried to email you and it got bounced back so I did little search. 400 people in the am and 600 people later in an lgbt church in texas? Dang. And you've been working away at a 240 page autobio graphic novel? Dang. And travelling to England? And to that lovely art shop that looks like an apothecary? That doesn't get a dang, it gets a "damn I'M ENVIOUS!". Anyways, please email me whatever your actual email that you reply to is, ok, please?? cheers!
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