|The Coffee Shop|
The Coffee Shop
“When in Rome, do as the Romans do”
It was evening time at a coffee shop in City Hall Singapore. The patrons come and go, many tourists from Australia and New Zealand. At about 8pm, the scene changed.
The couple in the table in front of me was a young gay couple, early 20s, talking about fashion business and they were very talented, intellect with perfect English. They were confident, expressive and entrepreneurial.
A family came and sat in the table behind me, a conservative family that you would find in the HDB heartlands but not so often in a city café. They had two gay sons in the 40s I thought? But it soon became evident hearing their loud gossips in Chinese by the Gay couple that the family had accepted the gay couple into their midst.
A group of gay men in their late 20s, then came in, 6 of them, energetic, playful, bitchy, waiting for time I guess before the evening main draw at the gay pub or disco down the road. They talked for the whole hour.
Then a rather quiet gay couple came in, early thirties perhaps, and sat quietly sipping their coffee and talked very gently. In all, there were 13 gay men, and 2 straight ladies!
I left soon after for my partner of 10 years stepped in. As we walked out, a gay malay couple walked passed-by in a rather quiet empty Saturday night in Singapore city centre.
The Gay/inclusive Christian churches that I went to probably only fit the young intellectual and highly educated couple in the early 20s. We may claim we are inclusive, but our sermons perhaps catered narrowly to the liberal intellectual. We wouldn’t be the show case for inclusivity anyway for many of us are middle class or higher, a part from a very few which we would gladly do our act of charity to help out.
Gay/inclusive churches are terribly like mainstream Methodist, High Anglican, for all intention purposes except for their sexual orientation in time for which nobody will care too much. The Audis, BMWs, the Jaguars, etc lined the car park much the same as these churches.
Our Queer theology actually doesn’t matter that much for gays in their small numbers would never be the spearhead of any mainstream liberal Christian movement. We are often too focused on our partner and we should be for they have become the source of strength and survival in a difficult and lonely world. We only have our partner in this world, for our families have rejected us.
Sadly we are not the revolutionary radical activist that some paint us to be, but we are so loving that we wouldn’t even hit back when we get abused and kicked out of the churches or called evil names! May God bless our enemies!
Gay churches often failed miserably when we imposed some sort of liberal emphasis to love thy neighbour to minister to the least. That was never our domain, for we are the folks in the city centre drinking our coffee, shopping for bags and the latest fashion, and minding our business and struggling just to survive.
Our domain and talent is in the areas of plays, singing, writing, acting, film making, photography, arts, architecture, design, fashion, legal profession, medicine, and that’s what a cross over from gay Christendom to the World would look like. We are perfect for the glamour of Hollywood and Orchard but not for the slumps of the former wall city of Hong Kong with her drug addicts and prostitutes where even the angels would not dare visit.
God visits us where we are – at the Coffee shop in the city centre where we reside most of the time and camp often. He doesn’t barge in to ask us to love our neighbours by going out to Geylang to help the prostitutes, or visit the construction sites to help out the foreign workers being ill-treated, but would instead asks us to buy Him a cup of coffee.
God would join us in the Coffee shop in our meaningless gazing of life passing by the city centre of Singapore or counting the number of gay men in a coffee shop in the city.
I had a dream that night, a return to the Coffee shop and a deep sense of peace came over me. Jesus was there, and how amazing it was as a Christian I can have access and commune directly with God.
Surely God is everywhere some may protest, and yet invisible for without putting on Christ and His righteousness by faith we are unable to dwell in His abode.
Yet, even then Christ may walk by us, for often, we didn’t offer Him a seat or even a drink and He walked passed by as not to impose on us.
We may say that aligning with Christ’ good works is sufficient, but He called us to believe in Him, His death and resurrection, that we may be in His Kingdom, and having kindom relationships drinking coffee with God.
Lord, what is my purpose in life? Surely it is to commune with God and be at rest for that is all we could do when we enter the coffee shop.
If a coffee shop can have 12 gay men over a two hour period, surely it is not too difficult to have a gay church. All it takes is good coffee, sandwiches, and cakes.
Yet, God asked us to consume Him! to receive His word which brings with it renewal, life, strength, and Holiness. We are changed just by being in His presence
In essence when Christ leaves to return back to heaven for the night, we find ourselves continuing on the ministry of Christ to be with those who are hurting, sick, despised and the outcasts not to condemn but to have a good cup of coffee with them.
And yes, we are exclusive, we don’t drink with anyone, only those who invites us in.
But God doesn’t asked us to do what we are not naturally – He would sent us out two by two, couple by couple to the Arts, Entertainment, Media, fashion, and literary world to Cross Over that all may be touched by the Saviour’s love to know Him as their Lord and Saviour.
We are gay after all.
We are gay after all.