Skip to comments.Bingo in the Buff
Posted on 10/06/2010 11:21:15 PM PDT by kaehurowing
Bingo in the Buff
By Parker T. Williamson, The Layman, Posted Wednesday, October 6, 2010
This is not your grandmothers bingo, says Marcus Wise, a writer for ArtVoice, a Buffalo, N.Y. area Web publication. Wises article, written in 2008, refers to Saturday night games that are now being played at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, home of Buff Bingo.
The players pitch is clearly intended to attract Buffalos gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender population. But true to managements professed inclusiveness the crowd averages half and half, according to the events hostess and drag queen Gladys Over.
Wise describes Gladys as a six-foot glamazon reminiscent of Pricilla, Queen of the Desert, with her shimmering dresses three changes in the course of the evening inch-long caterpillar eyelashes and black feather boa.
The game is peppered with sexual allusions that display, according to Wise, an unabashed, raunchy sense of humor that would make Hugh Hefner blush. The Oct. 9 event is titled Trick-or-Treat Bingo. During the winter months, crowds will gather for Naughty or Nice? Bingo, Bollywood Bingo, Ken & Barbie Bingo,Erin Go Bra Bingo, and The Real Housewives of Gay Bingo.
In 2008, drag queens Augusta Wind and Vanity Vogue entertained the players, Vogue dressed as a cowgirl and later in a fairy costume bedecked with pink wings.
Big bucks change hands during all this fun and frolic, with the proceeds going to support the Gay Mens Chorus and a plethora of HIV/AIDS related causes.
Diversity and then some
Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church advertises itself as an all inclusive congregation: You are welcome here, regardless of who you are or what you believe. Nobody is too rich or too poor, too good or too bad, too dark or too light, too well, you get the idea. We want Lafayette Ave Presbyterian Church to reflect the diversity of the Elmwood Village, and then some.
As you can see, continues the congregations Web site description, we are a church. That might be scary to some people, and we regret that. We dont want to be scary.
Employing a narrative written and copyrighted by Paul Nixon, Lafayette Presbyterians advertise Jesus as their spiritual leader. Their description of who he is and what he did during his earthly sojourn dimly resembles what the Bible has to say about him. According to Lafayette, he was a Jewish peasant in northern Palestine who left the carpentry business at age 30 and traveled the area as an itinerant, story-telling Jewish Rabbi. Rumors of miracles swirled around him, causing great crowds to follow him.
Lafayettes narrative continues: Jesus was executed by the Romans in the early first century and yet within days of his death, a whole series of persons and groups experienced him alive again. This experience energized a world-changing movement.
Rumor and experience
Careful readers will note that there is nothing in Lafayettes narrative that declares Jesus Christ to be the Son of God. Lafayette says, rumors of miracles swirled around him, but it falls short of saying that Jesus actually did anything miraculous. Also omitted is any reference to Jesus bodily resurrection from the grave. Lafayettes narrative simply says that people experienced him alive after his death. Presumably, a living memory would qualify for such an experience.
Stripped of the claims made for him in Scripture, this Jesus can be anyones Jesus, a Jesus of ones own making. And that is exactly where Lafayette comes out: Across the centuries, there have come to be many different ways of looking at Jesus. Different groups focus on different aspects of Jesus We could add the Muslim Jesus, the Jewish Jesus and more. Each Jesus is simply a unique angle on the same person.
Jesus belongs to the whole world, as much to the Muslims of northern Africa as to the Baptists of south Mississippi. He is not the property of any church or regional culture, says Lafayette. His mission and the apparent mission of his church is to bring in the kingdom God, which Lafayette describes in egalitarian terms.
Jesus, an illustration
Lafayette quotes the Gospel of John: I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: No one comes unto the Father but by me. While declaring that it is impossible to determine if Jesus historically said this, Lafayette affirms that Jesus statement is true in the sense that he illustrates a way of life that leads to God.
That life includes solidarity with poor and socially marginalized people, including a willingness to confront the rich and the powerful about their moral obligations towards persons who are less privileged, and treating all people as precious treasures, regardless of their race, religion or gender.
Lafayettes Jesus is the spiritual leader of movement politics.
Paying the piper
Apparently, Lancasters Buff Bingo proves more fun than financially rewarding, for this dwindling congregation is struggling to pay its light bill. From a peak membership of 1,500 members, Lancaster posted a count of about 90 in early 2008, according to a history of the church posted on the Internet.
In a blog interview with Fix Buffalo Today, Lancasters pastor, the Rev. Andrew Ludwig complained that the churchs operational budget is nibbling away at the endowments principal. Do we have to collapse as a congregation, fold as a spiritual community for the building to find a new life, or can we become more proactive? he asked rhetorically.
Ludwig answered his own question by pointing to religious buildings that have been repurposed in Pittsburg. His centerpiece example is The Church Brew Works, a beer drinking establishment that is housed in the now defunct St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.
A popular watering hole, The Church Brew Works has turned St. Johns sacred symbols into a marketing magnet: By far, the most breathtaking element is the position of the brew house on the altar, says its online brochure. Because the altar was built as a centerpiece of the church, the steel and copper tanks gleaming in the celestial blue backdrop is nothing less than captivating. This extraordinary view is only paralleled by the quality and taste of our beer.
Ludwig is not quite ready to turn Lancaster into a brew hall although Buff Bingo may come pretty close but he is enthusiastic about a plan to convert 50 percent of the churchs physical plant into 20 market-rate, affordable apartments if he can find a way to tone down the organ. Tentatively, we see middle-class empty-nesters as the target demographic, he says.
No, this is not your grandmothers bingo. Nor does it resemble your grandmothers church. Amidst Saturday nights revelry one senses a naked truth: Something precious has disappeared from this place, something that no gamesmanship can revive.
Interesting the way they pick and choose what to believe.
For instance, they don’t know if Jesus really said “I am the Way the Truth and the Life”.
But they do believe he was a Jewish peasant, who was a rabbi, who went around telling stories? So how do they know one is true and not the other?
Hint: It has nothing to do with the truth.
I’m very old fashioned. Something is true, or it’s not. It’s not what you feel. It’s true, or it is a lie. Facts are stubborn things.
Yech. Imagine all the fecal matter ground into the chairs.
Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, home of Buff Bingo.
Is this part of the OPC?
They make no mention of denominational affiliation, but their senior pastor is "a former union staffer with the United Farm Workers and Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers" and they have a (female) Rev. Lynne West on staff, and they make no mention of the Westminster Standards.
I'm guessing "negative" to your question. PCUSA, if I read the signs right, home of a dwindling horde of gun grabbing lefty pagans.
Hopefully they hose down the pews before little old Mildred Jones comes for Sunday services.
Your link is to Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian in Brooklyn. The article is about Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian in Buffalo. Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian in Buffalo is apparently PCUSA (not that that surprises anyone).
I'm out in FlyoverLand. "Lit by torchlight, the domain of cretins and mechanical calculators." (Literary reference, let's see who gets it.) All them NooYawk names and locations all run together for me.
Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian in Buffalo is apparently PCUSA (not that that surprises anyone).
Especially given that the source is the "Presybterian Lay Committee", an embattled orthodox remnant inside the PCUSA.