Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Jesus, Voodoo and Gay Bars

As I may have mentioned, I am a news junkie. I read everything. Today I found an article in the Florida Baptist Witness called New Orleans: Where voodoo and Christianity collide.

I'm not a very religious person. I don't have anything against people who are. I don't have anything against people who aren't. I don't particularly like being preached to when I'm down in the quarters or off having fun (like at Mardi Gras). This article has a neat viewpoint though that I don't see very often.

"The difference between the French Quarter and [other] suburban areas is the concentration of darkness," Greg Hand, the church's pastor, noted. His wife Wren added, "There is a very real spiritual oppression that is present here."

This quote kind of sets the tone of the article. I have often wondered if people still think of the French Quarter as the ultimate source of debauchery. I guess they do. I can tell you I have been in strip clubs in Florida, Texas and Connecticut that go much further than New Orleans. There are no completely nude strip joints in NO that I know of.

Abner had visited New Orleans before the trip, but he was shocked nevertheless by what he experienced early Sunday morning in the French Quarter. "It was a really sad, sad sight, walking down the street at 9 a.m. and seeing a bar still open," he recounted. "People were drinking, the music was cranked up and folks were slumped over the bar."

That's called having a good time. I don't know many people who do this frequently. If you are drinking at 9am on a daily basis, you're probably homeless and that happens in every city. Of course, the bars being open at 9am might make it a bit easier. ;-)

Whether it's the tourist visiting the city or the person walking out of a "gay bar," the Hands seek to convey a message of love as they walk around the city. One person who was the recipient of "sowing seeds of love is now here [at church] set free," Hand said.

I'm guessing they had a "gay convert" from this quote. So is the person no longer gay or is the person just going to church now? I can't quite tell. I wonder which bar it was?

Anyway, the article is an interesting read. It is definitely from a viewpoint I don't share but that's why I read as much as I do. I like hearing the other side.

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