At My Old Gay Starbucks

At My Old Gay Starbucks April 2, 2009


Most everyone at the Starbucks at which I’m now sblogging (being “sitting” + “blogging,” doncha know) is gay. I know this because my wife and I spent 10 years living in the neighborhood in which this Starbucks is located, Hillcrest, which, to quote the Wikipedia entry on it, “is the residential and commercial hub of San Diego’s gay and lesbian community.”

Not that I’d need that history to realize I was in Cafe de’ Gay. It’s not like anyone here is struggling to keep Ye Oldye Closet Door shut.

I can’t believe how ungroomed I feel am. Holy cow. Do I even own a comb? Or a razor? Or a belt? Or shoelaces?

God, I’m like homeless person. With a venti latte.

I just had lunch with the dean of the Episcopal Cathedral in this neighborhood. I don’t know what’s happening in other Christian denominations, but I can definitely tell you that there are a ton of gay Episcopalians. There are at that church, anyway. Cavernous sanctuary fills up, every 10:30 service. Wall-to-wall.

It’s so weird. When I attended First Presbyterian Church San Diego, everyone there considered me a liberal Christian. But when I started going to Saint Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral of San Diego, one mile away, I was considered a conservative.

Two groups. Both Christian. Yet they hold ideas about Christianity—about the very nature of God—radically different from one another.

Isn’t it weird to think that so many Christians who are so sure they’re right about who God, is and what God wants, are actually as wrong about all that as they could possibly be? Just wrong wrong? About God, of all things?

Yikes! Speaking of right and wrong, I just looked up to find a fully-uniformed cop standing directly over me.

She just now wandered away.

Okay, so if life isn’t exactly like those Russian nesting dolls that contain ever smaller duplicates of themselves, then I just don’t know what is.

One love, y’all.

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  • I'm pretty sure all of us are utterly and completely wrong about at least one aspect of God. I'd like to think that I'm only wrong about a few minor things…but wouldn't we all!

  • Skerrib: But, I mean, either the liberal OR the conservative Xtians are wrong about a TON more stuff about God than is the other. The gay issue, universal salvation, the reality of hell, predestination, the salvific nature of the cross … a whole BUNCH of us out here are dead, flat-out wrong about the very nature, purpose, and process of God.

  • Allen

    I'm pretty comfortable with the idea that God is more complicated and more simple than I'll ever know. Helps that I belong to a denomination (Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)) where one of our main tenets is "We're not going to tell you, figure it out on your own," also sometimes said as "No Creed but Christ." If I had God figured out, wouldn't that make me God? And last time I checked, I was human and wrong about a great many things. Those two core laws Jesus mentions, about Loving God and Loving Neighbor, are difficult enough to grasp without getting into all the no-meat-on-fridays-predestination-saved-from-hell-by-grace-virgin-birth-angels-with-wings-fourteen-names-given-for-the-twelve-apostles-do-not-lie-with-a-man-or-eat-shellfish controversies.

    Thanks for once again observing Christianity's follies. We all mean well, hopefully…

  • Right or wrong….It's all about the love…first love God…second love the people in this crazy world we live in.

  • Nah, I disagree John. I don't think either the conservative or liberal Christians are WAY more wrong about God than the other. Too much disagreement within those camps on many of those same issues. Plus there's always the possibility that both sides are WAY wrong.

    Now will you PLEASE send me my $1000?

  • Skerrib: Doesn't seem arguable. There are conservative, right-wing, "evangelical," fundamentalist Christians, and there are liberal/progressive Christians. They have radically differing ideas on Christ: different character, different process, different purpose. Different God, if you come right down to it. One of those camps/belief systems is wrong.

  • I don't think that all Christians necessarily are wrong about God, but rather that we've all experienced Him in different ways. We've all built up an idea of who God is for ourselves and then joined up with others that have a similar view (and thus creating denominations). The key is not about being right or wrong, but rather about seeing Him from a different angle than our own. The problem with not keeping an open mind about other angles of who God is, turns us into fanatics of a certain view and we become so proud of our own view that we believe that it is the only true one.

  • I’m imagining you there…watching people, thinking and loving all you see 🙂 Write on!

  • Rachel: Thank you. That felt really good.

  • Brenda

    A friend just e-mailed me a quote by Leonard Cohen which says….."Forget your perfect offering, there's a crack in everything. That's where the light gets in."

    None of us has all the answers—and we don't have to. A cliche which is non-the-less true is that people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. I used to feel judgemental about people who, since they didn't believe as I do, obviously had to be heathens. Now, even though I may think I'm right and they're wrong, it doesn't really matter. Instead I feel very sad for those who are obviously struggling and keep making choices that make their situation worse. It's not my job to demonstrate my superior knowledge (joke). I do need to let them know how much I care about them and do what I can to help. I'm not saying I have arrived (see quote at top of post) but I think I am closer to what God would like my attitude to be. Don't ask how my thinking changed, because I'm not sure. I suspect it had something to do with my going through the school of hard knocks and becoming more aware of my own mistakes. Or call it age and maturity.

  • I'm confused. I'm saying the simplest, most obvious thing possible: Lots and lots of people out there are wrong about God. That's not judging; that doesn't have anything to do with judging. It's just a … dumb fact.

    If five people think that God only lets Christians into heaven, and five other people think that believing in Christ is NOT a prerequisite for getting into heaven, then half (or all, of course) of those people are just plain-ol', flat-out wrong.

  • John,

    You are absolutely correct and it couldn't be more clear and obvious to a casual observer. The fundamental differences in some's understanding of God/Jesus/Christianity, necessarily, makes the vast majority of Christians utterly and completely wrong on at least some aspect their belief system.

    Of course the same can be extrapolated beyond the bubble of Christianity. If everyone could recognize that they are likely very wrong about (at least) one important aspect of their belief system, the world would be a much better place.

  • altonwoods

    One of the things that makes you interesting John is that you're a fun lover and a "truth seeker" As you said,Just about every belief contains elements of truth, and lies. That makes it sort of irrelevant doesn't it? What I see as being most relevant is what truth will save me from the the other relevant truth which is my NEED to be saved.The main thing, is to keep the main thing the main thing…

  • Christine

    Ah John, the fac that I am so often wrong with most things makes me quite comfortable about the fact that I am wrong about God. Will never be right about him, he is just way to amazing and my brain way too not-so-amazing that I am happy in this thought. Love your post, love how you write about the stuff around you and turn it into a huge dmc (deep and meaningful conversation). Very cool, as always love your work

  • sunny

    Thanks for writing on such a still sensitive subject that is very confusing to me personally. For the longest time I've been asking God to truly reveal to me HIS Heart concerning Gay-Dom. I'm totally over that they stole one of my favorite words way back in ancient history and I just want the truth on it. Jesus never gave any New Testament RED LETTER to be 'Fer em' or 'Agin em'..interesting right there. I've tried the ol 'Just follow your heart' thing but honestly, when I do that, I find my upper lip starts to curl in a ugly way and something still unsaved in me wants to say bad things. I do however think they should have the right to be married and be just as miserable as the rest of us. I trust that the Lord will enlighten my darkness on the subject in His perfect timing.

  • I hope he does.

  • I might suggest, Sunny, that, if you are unsure of where God stands on the matter of homosexuality, that you err on the side of inclusiveness. Homosexuality is not a choice; this has been well demonstrated empirically. Some people are homosexual just as some people are left-handed. Does your lip curl in anger when confronted with someone that is left-handed?…blond?…pale-skinned?…dark-skinned? Hopefully not and it shouldn't with homosexuals either.

    Unless someone makes a victim of others, then there is absolutely no reason to think any less or differently of any individual…period.

    [is that better John?]

  • Much. Thank you.

  • And now you can see why atheism can claim it’s the only ‘common sense’ answer!

    (Mind you, the extremist wishy-washy liberal in me likes to think that on matters so big, right and wrong might not come into it. The scientist in me doesn’t like her very much!)

  • Jeanine Petty

    I wonder if Big Gay Al got to read this? He would have liked it….

  • Katie D.

    John Shore! You’re a San Diegan! That makes so much more sense 🙂 Move back and have lunch with me. Crest Cafe?