I think to think of myself as a spiritual seeker, always in search of enlightenment in whatever religious form it may take. (Provided it doesn’t require detonating stuff, which really tends to complicate things.) And not long ago, my partner and I went to a very edifying church service.
The minister wore a zebraskin cone bra, a cape, a semi-see-through nun’s habit, and a one-piece bodysuit with actual headlights. She lit a piano on fire, fought a dragon and slithered across the floor like a stripper with vertigo.
The house of worship was an 18,000 seat arena. The sermon was all about love, acceptance, treating everyone with respect and kindness, and personal empowerment. There was more pageantry than a Catholic mass and almost as much drinking. It was, in essence, Church With Swear Words.
The leader of this faith was Lady Gaga, who apparently believes that connection to the divine involves showmanship on a level not seen since Cirque du Soleil teamed with Cher.
And really, is that such a bad thing? I grew up on many of the same Christian values – love one another, do unto others as you would have them do unto you – as the ones Lady Gaga espouses, but they were presented in a package that included hymns sung like funeral dirges, Biblical readings that required a CIA code-cracker, and a level of mind-numbing cheerlessness that implied God would smite you for breathing too loudly.
I’m not sure where we got the idea that church was supposed to be dreary and tedious, but I just can’t help but believe that as long as the message is love, God probably doesn’t so much care about the costumes, and whether you fund the spread of his message through tithing or t-shirt sales.
Oh, I just got a mental picture of my childhood minister wearing a zebraskin cone bra. I’d better go wash my eyes out with soap.