Walking up the dark stairs, not really knowing what i was walking into, the thought occurred to me, a closed-for-the-day pub is a perfect third place to start a church. Its not church, its not someone’s home, but it’s focused, its on purpose. I arrived at the top of the stairs without a friend in the room and awkwardly stood there, taking in the different figures sitting and standing in front of me. The youngest in the room would be…. me. The oldest, a possibly post 60’s aboriginal woman, or a barely sub 60s grey haired man. When we had parked the car, my friend pointed this man out and commented that he was sometimes a cross dresser. When i asked why, she answered ‘i don’t know’. A cross dresser for Jesus… #legend
Most of the rest of the room was made up of mid twenty early thirties professional looking men and women. I found a ridiculously comfortable chair in the corner of the room and sat down in front of a table full of beers wines and iced water. Discussions were had all around the room, including one i had with a man that reminded me of someone from Canberra.
SMALL WORLD – there was a woman i used to go to a church with back in Canberra.
The time together began with some light meditating on Joy Peace Rest Salvation and Hope. People around the room shared on what they thought those words meant to them. We then got up and did some body movement exercise in response to fundamental church services not really knowing what to do with movement. The guy running it asked for our vulnerability to try out new things with him. He asked so humbly, it was incredible. It felt weird to be moving around in church but defs hooked into some dreams i had when i was younger in church. Specially with reference to a lot of drama camp stuff we tried out.
The talking time went very short. We heard some announcements including some political activity they were involved in concerning the stolen generation, of which two of their membership were a part of and a planned church camp they were going on purely to hang out, and then a house warming that was on a weekend so they could all hangout during the christmas break. We then turned our attention to a friendly faced man who announced that he would teach us how to make shampoo. Lemon, cucumber and vinegar in a blender and bobs your uncle. To make it a conditioner you crush coffee into the mixture and your laughing. He told us how to make tooth paste and referred to knowing how to make a whole bunch of other stuff. I was fascinated and hooked.
I then spun back around in my throne-like padded seat and started speaking to a well dressed man. We got talking about what brought him to Sydney and what he did for a job. What he enjoyed about community and how he was involved in building the back bone for an online LGBT community. and thats when i began to join the dots. After a conversation in the car on the way home my heart nearly lost it, in a dance of excited joyful aha moments.
So up until now your probably thinking – so you went to a church in pub WOO HOO… idiot. But there were tiny little things about this kind of strange gathering of incredibly beautiful people that sent my heart a flutter.
Their meetings weren’t carbon copies of the last one.
They were heavy on helping people – as the church itself ran a soup kitchen, a christmas outreach, a pub, as well as their huge involvement in politics.
They tried new things. They were group oriented. The guy running the meeting tried his hardest to involve everyone in the dialogue.
The teaching was practical – who teaches how to make shampoo in church?
– he was sharing his heart for the world to simplify our chemical intake and a more hands on approach to living.
But the biggest thing that excited me was, this group was a group of individuals craving Jesus. And no offense to my background, but they were in the midst of a group of people who are usually ignored or even oppressed by the church, for this group was largely made up of members of the lesbian gay bi and transgender community.
Lets stop for a moment there. Gay people want to meet Jesus too? Why wouldn’t they? Jesus is…. great.
But most of us hear of someone’s opposite sexual persuasion and completely shut off. They can’t be near Jesus… Why do we have that response?
So i’m sitting there having all these cool things dawn on me at the same time and i got so excited.
A church in the midst and apart of a large community gay people, who feed the hungry, befriend the homeless, fight for the stolen and hang out with each other because they want to.
That sounds like Jesus.