REVIVE at REVIVAL!
So I showed up in New Orleans and had a few days of vacation to explore that beautiful, wonderful, tragic city. I met my friend Poppa T Holder at a hotel -- he's gay, don't get excited -- and we had a great time carousing (by the way, Poppa T is profiled in a terrific article in the recent issue of Out magazine). I sang karaoke for the first time and became enamored of hot sauce, a passion that endures to this day.
When I got to the conference, I had never been to a gathering of the UUCF outside of Harvard Divinity School. There were about 90 people there, and we did things like SING GOD AND CHRIST-CENTERED HYMNS. Some people WAVED THEIR HANDS IN THE AIR (Chuck Thomas, where are you, dude? All grown up, married and a daddy now!). I walked around in a kind of bubble of thrill and confusion and anxiety and tremendously fragile hope. We had workshops on PRAYER and we had a HEALING SERVICE that cracked me open like a little egg and I wept and got a runny nose all over the beautiful people who laid hands on me in prayer and love.
I was BAPTIZED! It turned out to be very controversial with some people who thought it was bad ecclesiology. I didn't think Jesus would have a problem with my being baptized outside of a church community, seeing as he probably just dipped people in the River Jordan, or whatever, without worrying about their community of Christian formation. I wasn't offended by the critics, just bemused. I think there's a way to say, "I have to question the way this was done, but congratulations on this important moment and welcome to the faith." But they were just snotty. Hey, by their fruits ye shall know them.
We all went out to Bourbon Street one night and I wound up barfing into the sink of my dorm room later on. I wasn't inebriated, I swear. I think I was just really excited and overstimulated and the food was too rich for me.
So all in all, it was totally thrilling and really weird because I had never been a Christian in community before, and I made some wonderful friends and just let myself be filled with joy and commitment.
Someone in a UU setting asked me soon after that why I became a Christian. I said, "Because I'm not mature enough to be a Buddhist."
Anyway, I'm very much looking forward to joining the UUCF community again for the --what is it, the fourth? -- REVIVAL conference in New York City in two weekends. When we started this thing, we just had no idea that they would become a tradition, let alone that they would feature speakers like Gary Dorrien and draw participants from all over the country.
Hey, original REVIVAL pals, looking forward to seeing you there, and making new friends.