Ahh, the sweet memories of Catholic school in the late 1970s. I attended Little Flower Parish in Springfield Illinois, apparently during the height of pedophile-priests (though sadly, I missed all the fun). I actually wrote about Little Flower in one of my early blogs, and described both the school's racism and it's ancient organ-playing nun (who made even the most heavenly of hymns seem like a Dark Shadows scene change). My experience in grade school made me leave the church for almost 15 years. And when I returned (briefly), I attended a Calvary Chapel in Phoenix, AZ...and only because my partner & I could think of nothing better to do on a Sunday evening. I enjoyed the Calvary service' kick-ass music, though I was a little disappointed in the last song they played - a New Attitude - which was also the theme to Dr. Laura's radio show. Still, it beat Catholic guilt.
So, I called her at home and confirmed. When I saw her at work the next day, she admitted the entire congregation has only - ahem - thirteen people, and that I was welcome to stay for a potluck afterwards. Hopefully, they'll serve something other than applesauce, pudding, and vodka, I thought. I considered wearing a purple tunic & white tennies.
The church was a tiny 1950s thing, with pink plaster walls, old blonde wood, and a 150 occupancy tops. Almost everything within the worship hall was from another time, and the lights, pews, candles, and sound system were straight from an episode of Mad Men. It smelled musty. It was as quiet as a crypt. And with the exception of two children and a couple in their late 30s, the tiny congregation seemed to be as elderly as the surroundings. As I looked at the old folk around me, I tried to imagine just why my coworker had asked me to join her. As a single, mild-mannered gay guy, I was as out of place here as I'd be in an inner-city black church. "Why am I here?" I thought. "What could possibly be the reason that she asked me to" -
But before I could finish my thought, I saw the transsexual take to the podium with her Bible.
It's nice to see that the world has changed for the better.