One of fun trips we allow ourselves is a trip to Indianapolis each year to see the AMA/FIM Supercross (indoor motorcycle dirt-track) races. Yes, I know, you'd never peg me for a motorcycle-racing guy - but it's a good time. The racing is the one "sport" I get enthused about, and it's something that Chris introduced me to that I really "get." The race is held at the reasonably-new Lucas Oil Stadium, downtown Indy, which is a really nice venue.
The racing has been particularly fun this year because the two "big-name" racers, James Stewart and Chad Reed, are both out with injuries. Without adding to the drama between these two, I would just say that the racing has been much more exciting without either of them - and it wouldn't bother me a bit if neither of them came back this season. A lot of younger racers have had a lot more chances to shine without them, and to be honest, it's much more exciting to me.
I could get into the other "dramas" - especially related to perennial bad-boy Jason Lawrence - but I put this kind of crap in the same category with People magazine and Fox News: "sound and fury, signifying nothing." The race was fun, with lots of switch-ups and battles going on.
The big stories, for us, came afterwards. Chris is a small-town guy, and had never seen homeless people as up-close as we did walking from the car to the stadium. Men and women, sleeping on the sidewalks under the railroad overpasses - it un-nerved him to see them that up-close. Chris had been less than happy about the way his week at work had gone - but he was a lot more grateful as we went home than he'd been in a while. Travel does open one's eyes...
I'd told Chris I wanted to stay overnight in Indy because I'd wanted to visit Jesus Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) on the east side of town. Their pastor, Jeff Miner, had written The Children Are Free: Re-examining the Biblical Evidence on Same-sex Relationships, and had appeared on the Gay Christian Network's "GCN Radio" program. His book had been the first one to discuss the possibility that how I'd been reading the Bible regarding same-sex relationships might be off-base (long before I had a same-sex relationship, I should add), and I really wanted to see what JMCC was like.
So off we went - stopping at Hubbard & Cravens coffee-shop on Carrollton first. We got to the church, and were greeted by two people, welcomed, handed two "visitor bags," and pointed toward the refreshments and the sanctuary. Can you guess what happened next?
Now, I know - two gay men at an MCC church (made-up primarily of GLBT members) is not a rarity. But two people - regardless of gender or orientation - at a church carrying "visitor bags" should be a red-flag (or at least bright-orange) for a church to welcome the strangers in their midst. Yet not a single person welcomed us, introduced themselves, or acknowledged that we existed. We went through the service, and except for the prayers said over us by the person giving us communion (which I have always loved about the MCC), we remain untouched until the service end.
Pastor Miner was standing at the door at the end of the service, and I introduced myself and thanked him for The Children Are Free. When he was done greeting worshipers, he showed me the other resources JMCC had available. But other than the greeter and the pastor, not a single member of the church noted our presence.