After considering whether or not to attend, he finally decided they would go. Here’s part of what he says about the event:
The first half of the show passed without incident. Then, during intermission, I stepped outside to have a cigarette. While I was standing there, one of the drag queens—a seven-foot-tall black man in heels who was wearing a massive replica of the Eiffel Tower on his head—approached me to say that he was a preacher’s kid too and that he had grown up in the church. He went on to explain how much he loved my mom and how worried he was about her cancer.
“Please tell your mom that I’m praying for her and that I love her,” he said, Eiffel Tower bobbing as he spoke.
“Well, let’s get a picture together so I can show my mom who you are,” I said, letting my guard down a little and taking a photo with him. Stubbing out my cigarette, I went back inside for the second half of the show.
Near the end of the show, a drag queen got up on stage and began spotlighting the famous people in the crowd…. And all of a sudden he said, “Did anyone here ever watch the ministry show Praise the Lord?”
I thought, Oh, no, here it comes. But half the crowd raised their hands and cheered (and chuckled). I think they were expecting someone to come out and impersonate my mom or something. “Well, Jim and Tammy’s son, Jamie, is here,” the emcee said. And suddenly, this huge spotlight hit me.
As I blinked into the blinding light, the emcee asked teasingly, “Are you straight?”
“Yeah,” I said, blushing and pointing a thumb at my wife, Amanda.
“Lucky girl,” the emcee said….
And then the emcee got real serious. Standing there in high heels and a sparkly dress, he said: “You know, this is where Jesus would be if He were alive today. Jesus hung out with the tax collectors and the prostitutes and the sinners…” He then launched into a three-minute speech about how Jesus loved everybody without judgment.
Then he looked back up at me and asked, “Jay, are you still doing your church?”
“Yeah,” I answered.
“Oh, that’s so wonderful, best of luck to you on that.” And everybody clapped.
So there I was, stunned, not knowing what to make of this. One minute a drag queen was making cracks about whether I’m gay, and the next minute he was saying these really amazing things about Jesus and grace. I looked over at Amanda, not knowing what to expect, and she had tears in her eyes.
“This is incredible, Jay,” she said. “A roomful of people, where you don’t know who believes what, they are talking about Jesus. They’re talking about His love and grace and how much they appreciate the fact that you, as a preacher, are here with them, that you’re willing to come out to the show and share this with them… This is where we’re supposed to be,” she said. “This is where God has sent us.”
I realized she was right.
That night, in a burlesque club in Los Angeles, I saw people hungry for the love and truth of Christ. Not the judgment and rejection they’d experienced their whole lives in the church, but the real deal: revolutionary grace.
That’s what they welcomed into their midst. That’s what grace is all about: loving one another and understanding one another and sharing in Christ together, no matter who we are or what others might think about it.
From: Fall to Grace, by Jay Bakker. Chapter “Saint Paul and RuPaul”, pp. 104 - 107
I highly recommend this book!