I remember walking into the church. It was small and it was white. The white was holy, but in a surgical way. It smelled of juice and cookies and grandma perfume. The whole place couldn’t have been much bigger than my childhood bedroom. Every woman in the place was a clone. Long skirt, hair in a bun, no smile. My bright unnatural red hair that touched the middle of my back and my grin made a walking, talking car-wreck that everyone had to stop and stare at.
I remember being introduced to the pastor and I told him I was a worship leader from Las Vegas. I remember because he looked me up and down. I decided that he was either:
1. Trying to dissect everything within me to find out who this stranger was coming into his territory claiming to be a woman of God
2. Undressing me with his eyes.
Both felt inappropriate to me, but somehow I think I would have rather had him undress me with his eyes. He would have then only been a chauvinistic pig, instead of a self-righteous snob. Who could really tell the difference though, both options feel the same way: Naked.
I remember sitting down amongst the other 16 parishioners ready to hear what this man has to say. And I’ll-be-darned! Lucky for little ol’ me, I was the topic of the day: a young 18-year-old woman whom he had never seen before. He mentioned how evil city woman were. Those heathens who wouldn’t know Holy water from sewer water! How the way they dressed was of the devil. How their yellow tank tops were used to snare men. I mean, in all honesty, he could have been referring to the general population, but considering I the only one wearing a yellow tank top I will call it safe to assume that one was pointed toward straight at me. This talk went on for a good five minutes.
The funny thing is, all that picking on me wasn’t what bothered me the most. I began becoming bothered when he talked about the evil big city of Las Vegas and all of its bars. As in vodka, beer and pool tables. All those bars that entice men with the evil “liquid Satan”. All those bars that those Vegas folk go into to forget about the Bible and the 10 commandments.
And then he did it. He opened his mouth and said those words that had my head spinning. The words that became the straw that broke the camel’s back (I being the figurative camel, of course):
“Well thank the Lord that the Cross is too big to fit through the doors of those evil Las Vegas bars.’’
“Those must be some tiny bar doors”
(I edited out the other expletives that I used in my response; feel free to add them back in using your own imagination)
Maybe the Love of God is so big, that it can get so small. It can fit into the cracks and the crevices.
Maybe the Love of God is so bright, that it can light up an entire room by merely peaking through a gap between a door and the floor.
Maybe the Love of God is PERFECTLY suited for a bar. Because the Jesus I read about met people where they were without any prerequisites for cleaning up their act. Because Jesus didn’t seem to shy away from where people gathered, including parties with water being turned into wine!
Maybe the Love of God is not being truly welcomed into some churches. Maybe it’s more convenient for the Love of God to stay in the bars with the broken people, the honest people. Maybe some churches are just too busy acting holy, that they don’t have time for the scandalous Love of God that plays no favorites.
I’ll take my chances in the bar.