Thursday, June 14, 2007

Our Church

This week, The Stranger sends 31 writers out to 31 different churches in godless Seattle, and first up is the church that Mrs. F and I call home (it's where we got married, and where Lil' F will be having a naming ceremony later this summer):
Why does God hate Saturday nights? Can I take my coffee into church? Do church people care that I didn't brush my teeth, and that I'm still a little drunk? What if I fart?

These questions are on my mind as I enter All Pilgrims Church on East Republican Street and Broadway East, aka "the Big Gay Church." As a Jew, I had entered this church only once before—to go to a yard sale, where I bought five signed portraits of winners of Miss Drag Queen America. They were $2.50 for the set.

The pastor introduces himself as Mark. Just Mark. He's not wearing shoes and pads around the chapel in socks, which poke out from under his floor-length pastor's gown. He's very animated and excitable, and I swear to God Mark can sense my intestinal distress with his wide-open blue eyes. I decide God is less scary than Pastor Mark, and sit quietly at the back through all the singing and praying and whatnot.

The service emphasizes Positivity and Inclusiveness, which are pronounced as if they're spelled with Capital Letters. You are Included and Loved and Forgiven—and so are You, and You, and You. We all are! This gets Obnoxious. At the end, everyone takes Communion, which I am scared to do because I don't want to accidentally turn Christian, so I wander out of the room for a moment. When I return, the entire congregation is Singing in a Circle. Thank God they weren't Holding Hands­­—I would have Thrown Up.

Yes, its inclusiveness is very inclusive--heck, they even take a heathenistically agnostic like myself. But that's one of the things we really like about the community.

And since we're on that subject, here's a video of Iris Dement's "Let The Mystery Be'--one of the theme songs at Cracks Centraal:


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