A Gay in the Life for Dec. 20, 2012

For Weekly SurgeDecember 18, 2012 

From a Dolly Parton wig to lunch with a bishop

Someone asked me if I have trouble focusing on a topic when I write this column for Surge. I suppose that’s a fair question and the answer is no. I happen to be one of those rare people in life who seem to have random experiences and can weave them into a decipherable and sharable series of paragraphs. This past week was no exception. I had three remarkable days in a row and I had to sit down and look for the proverbial message in the bottle that the universe was sending to me. So, off we go.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will confess to you that I am an Episcopalian and that I take my spiritual life seriously. I have been anxiously watching the organizational chaos between the National Episcopal Church and our local diocese. Back in the summer, at the National Convention, the Episcopal Church made great strides in its ongoing movement to extend equal rights to the LGBTQ community. This included a big step forward by clearing a path to ordination for transgendered community as well as the creation of a liturgical service for the blessing of same-sex marriages. This did not sit well with some of the more conservative members of the church and the Diocese of South Carolina is one of the groups that became quite vocal about the matter. I immediately made up my liberal mind that my views are correct and anyone who opposes them also opposes me and I have been composing a scathing revue of the parties involved ever since.

That was before the miracles of Hanukkah began unfolding along with the holiday parties that allow all of us a welcomed escape from the responsibilities of a very long year. Yes my friends, the first two nights of Hanukkah kicked off for me with the longstanding custom of holiday galas with open bars. I was one happy Juda-Buddha-Palian. That’s my personal term for my belief system which includes more than one tradition. I am an equal opportunity worshipper.

In order to protect the innocents, I will avoid naming my friends and associates who contributed to my general mischief making and delinquency, but they know who they are. Somehow between Friday and Saturday nights, I managed to consume a number of Jell-O shots along with another traditional holiday social lubricant known to the public as Seagram’s Seven Crown. Before anyone asks, no, I did not drive. But I did leave my preppy, buttoned-down persona in the closet just long enough to launch into what can only be described as my stand-up comedian mode.

I began to visit the other tables to check in on people. Everyone seemed happy. So happy in fact that at the Saturday night party, one of the hosts started a fashion show which included more size 13 stilettos than any man should ever own and an assortment of accompanying wigs. With everyone in a festive mood, it wasn’t long before all of us took our turn wearing one or both of these items and walking around the house just to prove we were good sports. This should have fallen under the Vegas mantra of what happens in Surfside Beach, stays in Surfside Beach. But no, thanks to Facebook, the evidence was public knowledge before I made it home. To make matters worse, I had to get up on Sunday and make it to church. Good times.

This particular Sunday involved a visit from the Bishop of the South Carolina Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence. A visit from a bishop is always an extraordinary day in a parish church. On this occasion, Bishop Lawrence was here to celebrate the Confirmation and Reception of the new members of the church. It was a wonderful event with plenty of joy for the congregation. The service was followed by a luncheon in the parish hall and that’s where the random universe came into play.

I was still nursing the repercussions of Friday and Saturday nights and eating a salad when I looked up and the bishop was making his way to my table. Who could have seen this one coming? Yes, my friends, your humble columnist enjoyed Sunday brunch with the bishop and his delightful wife. Surreal, right? We had a pleasant conversation and it was mercifully steered away from any controversy. We talked about things we have in common such as California and our love of Trader Joe’s. We shared our thoughts on church music and the liturgy. I found Bishop Lawrence to be engaging, sincere and quite likeable. His wife and I discussed which reusable shopping bag design from Trader Joe’s is our favorite. She is definitely a person I would like to take on a shopping trip.

The Episcopal Church bases its theology on the “three legged stool” concept which includes Scripture, Tradition and Reason. I think my Sunday brunch brought reason to the table in a very tangible manner. Mrs. Lawrence asked me not to believe all of the negative press about the bishop and I am inclined to agree. There are issues where we are at opposite ends of the spectrum but those issues do not have to make us enemies. In spiritual life and in secular life it’s important to sit at the table in peace with others. If I can go from a Dolly Parton wig to lunch with a bishop within a matter of hours, I have to believe there is hope for us all.

OUT & ABOUT

Monday, Dec. 31 – Pulse Ultra Club will host its first New Year’s Eve Party. The evening will include free champagne and party favors to help you ring in 2013. Immediately following the countdown to the New Year, you can enjoy the first show of the year. Breonna Tenae, Jamie Monroe, Kerri Nichols and Kelly Rae will headline. Club Pulse is at 803 Main Street, Myrtle Beach. For additional information call Ken Phillips at 315-0019.

Friday, Jan. 4 – The kickoff for the First Friday Happy Hour of 2013 will be from 5:30–7:30 p.m. At press time, the location has not been confirmed. Visit www.firstfridayhappyhour.org for additional details.

Have a thought, comment or Out & About event? Send Drew Levy-Neal an e-mail to Drew.Levy.Neal@gmail.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @Drew_Levy_Neal.

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