I Was Raptured This Weekend…At a Gay Bar

Last night, for my friend Max’s 22nd birthday, I went to the gay bar on Capitol Hill titled,

Dancing is fun!

“R Place”. Needless to say, it was a…cultural experience. The expected crowd showed up: men with intense make-up, old men making-out, shirtless, young men in their underwear, men dressed in skirts, and a whole list of other gender “transgressors”. Here is the twist, there were lots and lots of people whom we might consider “normal”, that is to say heterosexuals who dress and act according to societal, gender stereotypes. What I found at “R Place” was a place of total acceptance. Of course, “R Place” did not promote tolerance. A large sign in the front room informed everyone that rudeness, bigotry, homophobia, and a whole list of other inconsiderate behavior would not be tolerated. I wore red suspenders that read, “I Heart Jesus,” and ignorantly, I feared being belittled. Nothing of the sort ever happened, and as I danced, I could not help but think of the person named on my suspenders.

Jesus once said, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of G-d ahead of you” (Matthew 21.31). While I find the term “prostitute” rather derogatory, what women (or men) involved in prostitution, both in the first century and today, represent are people living outside the dominant, societal sexual norm. This verse applies particularly well to recent events in which people repeatedly discussed the “rapture”, a time when the true believers will enter G-d’s kingdom. However, according to this verse, if anyone were to be raptured, it would be the people at “R Place”, people outside the strict sexual codes of the dominant, patriarchal society.

When we left the sweaty confines of the dance floor, we meandered outside onto the slippery sidewalk being coated in drizzle. While waiting for our friends to come out, I saw a group of people dressed in outrageous costumes. They wore white face paint, sparkling veils, and shimmery dresses. They also were all “males”. Each one wore a name tag. Curious as to who they were (I saw them all over the place in the club), I approached one and asked who they were. This person explained that they are the Sisters (as in nuns) of Perpetual Indulgence. Hedonism and potential blasphemy aside, this person told me they go about teaching people that they are who they are, they are fine the way they are, and they should not feel like there is something wrong with themselves. I would not be stretching to say that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence believed everyone is capable of being loved simply for being themselves. As this person explained to me what they stood for and who they were, I nearly broke into tears. I gave each Sister a great big hug.

In the Kingdom of G-d, everyone is loved for who they are, not for who they are not. These people were exactly what Jesus meant by what he said in Matthew’s Gospel. After all the hate speech about who would get raptured and who would be left behind in tribulation and suffering, I realized that these sexual “transgressors” were racing into the Kingdom. Yes, they were the Raptured, for they, like Jesus, chose to love no matter what. In “R Place”, people are loved. Despite all the sexual dysfunction (dysfunction that occurs in churches nearly as much as gay bars!), the people of “R Place” showed love to those we in the Church find it nearly impossible to love. They loved people for who they are. They acted like they lived in G-d’s Kingdom, a place of acceptance and love. After I finished talking to those Sisters, I realized I too experienced the rapture, if only for a short time. I entered an environment where I held no fear of myself, no fear of what I wore, and no fear of how I moved. It was moving, beautiful, and I truly I tell you, “I was raptured this weekend…at a gay bar.”

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About ben adam

The world is going to hell in a handbasket, and we might miss Armageddon because we're too busy watching MTV and CNN. Please, read a book, throw a ball, bake some bread, and for goodness sake, turn the TV off.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Bible, Christianity, G-d, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Kingdom of G-d, Personal, Reflection, Sexuality and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to I Was Raptured This Weekend…At a Gay Bar

  1. Tyler says:

    This is beautiful. I have had a very similar experience to this. It is a crazy experience to listen to people that the church rejects and labels “the worst of sinners”, and to hear them talk about love and acceptance in ways that are so real and moving you can hardly handle it. I am still not entirely sure how to respond to your story, or what I recently experienced. Other than God is in the least expected places, and we need to rethink… I am not even sure what, but alot.

  2. daynuh says:

    The Order of the Big Red Wood (in Eureka Ca), found this blog to be most helpful in preparing for a local community dialogue regarding our ministry. Thanks for posting 🙂

  3. Juniper says:

    im glad that there are people in the world who dont feel that they have to promote hate and discrimination to follow their religion. im also glad that you got to meet some of the sisters! they are wonderful people, and i’m grateful to be able to know some of them.

  4. Tsid says:

    Jesus taught repentance from sin…sexual and otherwise. God loves us no matter how sinful we are…but too much to leave us that way. Those who repent are a part of Gods kingdom and those who don’t repent are still lost. Jesus came to seek and save the lost not leave them that way. The reason the tax collectors and prostitutes were making it into the kingdom of God first was because they were recognizing thier own sin and responding to Jesus call of repentance…the Pharisees were not. All need to repent of thier sin, turn to christ as the one who payed the penalty, and then begin to strive toward living transformed lives of obedience to God. I’m sorry to say that you’ve taken a tidbit of scripture entirely out of the context of everything Jesus taught and stood for. I’m also heartbroken that the those people at the Gay-bar have not yet recognized thier own sin and entered God’s kingdom. I hope and pray that someday they will. Until then I will do my best to love them as christ did…with a call to repentance…”go and sin no more.” Only the truth will set us free. The sisters of perpetual indulgence are not living according to the truth and neither are those at the gay bar. Blessings as you seek the truth.

    • Tsid's an asshole says:

      Tsid,

      Everyone knows your take on it. There was no reason for you to interject here, other than to stroke your own ego, or for the express purpose of demeaning the people this aurthor is talking about. You sir, know this. You did not make this post to reach out to people, but to demean them. You sir, need to look at the 2×4 in your eye before you try to pick it out the twig in others.

      • ben adam says:

        While I approved this comment, I would appreciate that in an effort to LOVE everyone no matter who they are we do not use demeaning name calling as ammunition against people we disagree with. While I agree with the critique, that does not negate his right to his opinion.

  5. While it is true most of the Sisters are biologically males, there are a few of us that are biologically females mixed in. The Sisters practice what we preach about everyone being wonderful being who they are, and we welcome all who feel the calling to the Sisterhood. Thanks for this great blog, it’s great to hear we are reaching people! Much Love!

  6. Ella Mental says:

    Greetings from the Abbey of the Eternal Glow in the Tri-Cities, WA! Yes, there’s even queer nuns over here, doll. Thank you for sharing your experience, Ben!

  7. Sebby says:

    Thank you Ben! More allies like you are needed in this hateful world. I am not a Christian but I do believe in God and I try to live in a loving manner and help those in my communities. Again Thnk You.

  8. Sister Maria Caffeina Mochalatte says:

    I’ve been a Sister for eighteen years now, and it honestly brought me back to Christianity after a period of rejection on my part. Thank you so much for this post—and Sister Belladonna will be tickled that her picture is still floating around. 🙂

  9. ben adam says:

    Thank you so much friends! Especially you Sister Maria! Your encouragement fills me with joy. Keep up the good work!

  10. As a Sister of Seattle’s Abbey of St. Joan, I would like to thank you for your kind words. Your experience is exactly the reason why many of us paint our faces and do the work we do. Acceptance and love – reaching on person at a time.

    xoxo
    Sister Coochie von Beaverhausen
    (another biological female Sister)

  11. Pingback: Why The Bible DOES NOT Forbid Homosexuality | messes of ben

  12. Mandie says:

    Tisd,

    First, I would like to say that it’s not christ.. It’s Christ, He has a name and it’s capital. Second, whose to say you’re right about everything? I know my Father in Heaven loves me for me, and for what I have done, not done, and what I will do in the future. Am I straight? No, am I a Christian? Yes, I am a follower of Christ. One of my best friends happens to be a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence, and many times she has tried to get me to join, and has introduced me to some of her friends. I’m still praying over whether or not I’m going to join seeing how I’m in the process of going through discernment for missionary work. We are all servants in the House of God, no matter what that servitude is called for us to do. Some it’s spreading the joy and love of His name. Others, it’s by being a good person and accepting everyone for WHOM they are no matter if you’re Gay, Straight, Bisexual, Lesbian, Transgender, Pink, Purple, White, Black or Polka Dot. We are people of color, many rainbows floating around and God is there for everyone. Yes, people sin. However, is it a sin to be anything but straight? No, He made us for who we are, and He knows how our life will play out. We are called by His love to do what He sets out for us. If you’re so inclined to feel the need to say we’re sinners, then look into your own life, and see what you’ve done, haven’t done, and you won’t know what happens in the future. I know when I look into the mirror the image I see is what God created. He created me, to be myself, to not hide the true feelings of who I am, to give love, show love, and be loved. And while, we must quote the bible, I believe Ben has it perfectly in this blog of his. However, for you Tisd I’d like to say this… Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, “declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jesus says it all.. So what is to happen, has happened, what hasn’t unfolds daily for us. We are all in our own walks with Christ, and I’m HAPPY to be God’s child, and who God wants me to be.. Which is simply this. MYSELF. The journeys He has planned is yet to be told, as they unfold daily for each and every one of us, we are all on a different path with Jesus, and He knows that, and no matter what He will never stop loving us for whom we are. Also here’s one from Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

    No matter who we are, we are all on a different path. Jesus knows us by name, and He knows our hearts. So to say you’re who religious part? Look out into the WHOLE world of color and understand it’s okay to be different.

    Ben, this is a beautiful piece, and I happened to stumble upon it because my friend Sister Lesbi Joiful Sister of Perpetual Indulgence of the Grand Canyon Sisters posted it on her facebook.

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