After performing in London for the Courage group on Friday night, Jeremy Mark drove me to Cardiff on Saturday for my performance of Homo No Mo for the Welsh arm of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. (As always an amazing taught ensued about theology, the ex-gay movement and British history. I didn’t mind in the least the road works that delayed us for over two hours. )
What absolutely LOVELY hospitality in Southern Wales! I felt like a princess. They fed and watered me, entertained me, hugged me and made me feel like family.
Hospitality is such a gift and a ministry. I often think of ancient morality in the Bible and other literature that demonstrated that how guest and hosted treated each other served as the ultimate sign of someone’s morality.
Look in the works of Homer, in the book of Genesis and so many other texts to see elaborate rituals and practices about caring for guests and strangers. The Bible as well as Roman and Greek literature tell tales about the practice of entertaining divine beings in disguise.
On Friday I met with a conservative charismatic Christian minister in the Notting Hill section of London. As we entered his church, a man with dirty clothes and unwahsed face approached us and embraced the minister.
“He’s my pastor!” the man proclaimed, “and I look out after the church from the street.”
The minister turned to me and introduced the man to me, then under his breath added, “And for all I know he could be Jesus undercover.”
Ah, that the violent anti-gay Christians would read the scriptures to learn how to treat the strangers (or strange ones) among them. Unlike so many other issues that face the church and families (race, class, immigration) so often we lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual folks represent the insider as stranger.
We are in the community but not completly of the community. We present a test, a challenge–How will you deal with the other among you? Especially when the other, the stranger is one of you. Will you make life miserable? Treat the other with fear and contempt? Compell the other to be “normal”? Or will you learn to listen, to extend godly hospitality, and welcome the stranger to a seat at the table?
And as queer folks how do we treat the strangers and strange ones in our midst?