This weekend we celebrated my mom’s birthday. In the afternoon, we went to the Great Lakes Medieval Faire, and in the evening we saw Lost and Found play (a band I have followed since high school). It was great fun, but it also reminded me what a small demographic I belong to. I am a member of the tiny segment of society who enjoys creative anacronism and occasionally goes to concerts held at churches.
I was chatting with some of the vendors that I have gotten to know a little at the faire and it came up that we were going to a concert. Here’s a rough rendering of how the conversation went down:
“Oh! That sounds like fun! I’d like to go to a show tonight. Where is it?”
“Well, um, it’s at a church. B-b-but it’s not what you are probably thinking right now…they are total hippies–one of them is even a vegan.”
“Hah! You’re a christian?”
“Yes. But again, probably not what you are thinking right now. I don’t even really like to mention it until I know people better because of all the baggage associated with…well you know.”
“Totally. I didn’t think you were like that. I didn’t get that kinda vibe off of you. I think it’s so cool that you guys are here with your mom. My mom is very religious (Southern Baptist) and she would never come to any of my things. Yeah, this is a pretty godless bunch around here. Most Christians don’t like us too much.”
I wished I could disagree with her, and say that the church welcomes people at least as much as the rhetoric in the program represents.
Lacking the time and inclination to change into more normal clothes, we just showed up in our costumes. When we got to the Church where the show was being held, we were offered a private room to sit in and eat our food. It was very nice and roomy with lots of couches and people seemed to take special care to come and offer us baked goods and welcome us to their church. A couple of the people who came in said, “were you out in Geneva!? That’s a great festival. Did you have fun?”
But there were many more who looked at us as, at best, an oddity. I apparently got several angry looks from men that D. said seemed to imply that I was dressed inappropriately (I was wearing a halter top with a meshy-shrug sweater over it and a floor length flared skirt). D. was confused by this as he is my brother and would not have bought anything for me to wear that was immodest as that would be, um, wierd. J. pointed out that my clothes probably drew negative attention not because they were actually inappropriate, but because they were different. If I had wanted to fit in, I could have worn short-shorts and a tight t-shirt or tank top and no one would have noticed me. But…even when I have tried to fit in in the past it never works anyway; so I have mostly stopped trying.
The thing that I took away from the whole experience was that I am not sent to the people in that particular church, and so it is not necessary for them to approve of me. I am to be gracious and loving to all people the best I can, and wherever I see that God’s grace goes out from me and seems to take root in another person I am to encourage that growth the best I can. Even at the ren faire.