Saturday, September 15, 2007

Are there any Queens here?

No, I'm not talking about royalty. I mean the other queens, the ones who worship Barbra and Liza and Pottery Barn.

I can't imagine how difficult it would be to gay or lesbian in this town, a town which worships Jesus and by default, does not approve of homosexuality. The closets here are full and it ain't because there's a sale on at Marshalls...

Don't get me wrong, there are gays and lesbians in Charlotte. I have some friends who fit this category and they are some of the most interesting and joyful people I know. But so many other people I've met are church goers and there aren't many churches that are accepting of this lifestyle. It makes me wonder how difficult (or not - feel free to post your responses on this one) it is to be a queen in the Queen city.

Speaking of church goers, the quest for a "home" church continues...apparently it is required of a successful Charlotteer (mousekateer???). In fact, one of my husband's colleagues hipped us to the three most important questions we will be asked which include "what church do you belong to", "which Y do you work out at" and, I've blocked out the third. Do other cities have a success checklist too? If so, send me a list and lets compare notes and failures.

On the quest to be saved, we've managed to check out two extremes of the worship spectrum in our first week alone. Our first Sunday found us outside the doors of a modern structure with a soaring sanctuary tower, in a tony established's NOT where we live. Some new friends recommended we check it out, as it has a contemporary service for young families, of which we fit the description. Shocking news...we prefer a more traditional service with old school hymns, comforting scripture readings and sermons we can relate to but which don't include any references to sports teams. Too much to ask?

Without going into all the juicy details, let's just say the sermon on investments and portfolios (how are you investing in Jesus) fit this banking congregation to a tee, but made me feel like both a financial and now a spiritual loser. Great. One of the local public school principals made an appearance as well, to appeal to the congregation to come out and support her poor, underprivileged student body. The colorful anecdote on why their presence was needed included a quaint recalling of one student trying to use dismayed in a sentence and coming up with "my mama dis made me a sandwich to eat", all of which got uproarious laughter. I didn't dare look at the one and only African American family to see their would have been too much.

Later that week we attended a gospel service at a well known African American church. The music and the message were fantastic and literally brought me to tears. It made me realize how happy and spirit-filled these folks were and at that moment, I wanted to be one of them. Unfortunately I cannot sing like Mahala and rarely feel that expressive, particularly in public. The soul food dinner served beforehand filled us in the literal sense and added to the "I'm not in Kansas anymore" experience. The spoiler to an otherwise amazing experience was one church member exclaiming "there as many white people here as blacks!", an unnecessary reminder I am indeed in the south.

Tune in again this week for further stories including "The Y - paging fun people" and "The Dog Walk - calm, lady, calm!".

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