Brothers and Sisters, so I thought I was going to be writing another St. Mary diary when I asked for this week this year and hoo boy is that ever not happening.
It would have to be the person in process of entering the Episcopalian church who'd have volunteered for this week, wouldn't it. The one who, as it ultimately turns out, ended up landing there because of Robin Williams and didn't realize how the chain of causation until last night.
The material below the orange squiggle has a very heavy Have A Tissue Handy warning on it, because I got to thinking last night when all I had was an Ave Mary A embed and sobbing and now all I have is sobbing because I'm having issues with getting the embed code from the last diary I used it in.
Feel free to skip to the comments. If there had been another topic I could have taken I would have, but once I remembered everything I just couldn't bear to. Not when this is so different from everything else that's been said. Not when I was told growing up that just living your life as a good person and letting people know you just happened be Christian instead of In Their Face witnessing - they derisively called it Lifestyle Evangelism - wasn't worth anything. Well, it was to me.
You'd be amazed what two words and being yourself can mean to someone else.
Welcome to Brothers and Sisters, the weekly meetup for prayer* and community at Daily Kos. We put an asterisk on pray* to acknowledge that not everyone uses conventional religious language, but may want to share joys and concerns, or simply take solace in a meditative atmosphere. Anyone who comes in the spirit of mutual respect, warmth and healing is welcome.
I was maybe nineteen probably twenty and my best friend was carded when she bought the DVD. I had never heard so much concentrated swearing in my entire life and I loved most of it.
But the most important moment for me in all of "Live On Broadway" is one little pair of two words stuck in the middle of a riff on Christian denominations: that single second when Robin Williams says "my church".
Without an ounce of apology or embarrassment, and immediately making fun of his own denomination's issues as he made of anything other than the Catholic Church's priest problems. Without trying to set his own denomination up as The One True Way To Be, either.
I had never heard another Christian be able to do that. There was always either apology or denominational conflict.
And I had seen parts of The Birdcage and knew what part he'd had in that, so that was actually the first time in my entire life I'd looked at an openly gay-supportive Christian over the age of thirty and known what they were.
Plus there was the fact I'd gotten in all sorts of trouble over my sense of humor in church, and been influenced into trying to pray away ADD and was still emotionally coming of of that in fact, and was just irreverent enough in my private prayers that risking out loud prayers in church just wasn't happening in case I slipped up. And there was Robin Williams, being so much worse than what I was on all of that and still saying "my church" with that sense of pride and identity.
That stayed in my subconscious the entire time I was on my way out of the SBC and searching for a new place afterwards: 'there is someone less likeable to the fundies than you, and he found a place, just keep looking and holding on'.
It took someone wearing the "Top Ten Reasons" Episcopalian shirt to church one Sunday for me to connect where I've ended up to that day watching that DVD, and at the time it was pretty hilarious. Nice round circle.
I'm one of the lesser jokesters in the congregation. Everyone who hears about it is horrified that I tried to pray anything away. And the BCP makes the praying out loud fears not matter anymore.
And I finally managed to understand why the early Christians felt the need to call each other brothers and sisters. That's still raw and wild and new.
Last month I was on a trip and managed to visit some Episcopalian churches in a completely different part of the country. And near the end of the trip, I ran into one of those shirts in a church bookstore and had to smile. There was a feeling almost like recognition, like I was on the cusp of having my subconscious denominational identity finally switch from being an exile trying to find an individual congregation to stay with for a time to actually being something different after so long. And so I figured that hey, after a few weeks or months someone would link some of his Episcopalian humor and I'd get the full feeling and it'd make sense with the rest of it, wouldn't it? Nice warm thought, that.
That was a month ago.
Monday night when I heard the news, my first motion almost before I could think was to grab for the prayer beads that were lying next to me. I caught myself, because I'm really sensitive to 'would the other person want me doing this for them' religious practice issues, and my subconscious threw out, "Of course he wouldn't mind, he's one of us."
And then I may have thought a few of his favorite words.
Being an exile hurt a LOT less…