I hesitate to say how I spent Memorial Day weekend, all 72 nonstop hours. But confession, as the eager priest said to reticent acolyte, is good for something or other. (Just don’t get caught doing it.)
Suffice it to say, I was talked into “another fine theological mess” by my good — occasionally daft and overly DKNY wimple zealous — friend, Sr. Serena Scatterpin, Renegade Sisters of Mary.
She signed us up for a coed marathon retreat sponsored by the centuries-old, until recently underground, First Church of the DaVinci Code. (I was surprised to find the event was held a hop, skip, and a hymnal jump away from the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival camping grounds.)
Sr. Scatterpin, who’s read the DaVinci Code cover to cover a dozen times for lenten penance — and has yellow lined passages of 200 spinoffs — did, I blush red to say, tell a little white lie to get us in the door at a discount. She informed our registrar that we — in honor of DaVinci Code author and zillionaire-twice-blessed, Dan Brown — had been legally committed in Windsor, Ont.
“You’ll do beadwork for that, Sister,” I giggled, goose-bumping at the thought of a marriage of convenience between a gay bottom in the know and a religious top on the outskirts of her calling. Gently tugging at her wash-and-wear habit, I ask, “WWJD?” “Probably marry in Toronto,” she winks back.
These are my Cliff Notes, Church of DaVinci Code 101.
+ Auditorium packed. SRO. Sister and I take seats with Recovering Catholic purgatorians. Huge portrait center stage of a smiling Jesus, with tattoo’d arm around demure Mary Magdalene (or Madonna lookalike in drag). Overhead banner: Life’s a royal banquet. Sample the bloodline!
A hundred voice choir sings “I don’t know how to love him. He’s just a man,” from JC Superstar, followed by St. Vitus Dancers interpreting readings from DaVinci Code in 25 languages, including Koine Greek, Church Latin, Middle English, and Urdu.
+Marathon begins. Doors locked. No pee breaks. Cellphones off. High resolution screens lower. Fanfare sounds. Mel Gibson’s “Passion of Christ” loops, loops, and re-loops for 12 hours, Judeo-Christianly uncut. An endurance test of patience (Job’s and mine). Scatterpin nods, snores in Gregorian demi meters. Gets laser beamed by tone-deaf ushers.
Lese majesty that I am (i.e., average lowercase queen), I pass out during the final blood-of-the-lamb kabobbing; fortunately revived by smelling salts hidden in my leather chaps. Auditorium dead silent as lights go up. Mad rush to porta-St. Johns. Scatterpin’s lilies-of-the-valley wrist corsage wilts. Day one ends.
+We gather in groups of 12 for marathon therapy sessions: myself, Sr. Scatterpin, five Mormon fundamentalist pural wives, two soap opera starlets who’ve been married six times each — twice to the same sugar daddy — and three elderly defrocked bishops (trinitarian) who are using Viagra religiously, but never on Sunday.
Our facilitator, saddled with 14 kids and triplets on the way, really gets things hopping by asking, “Will there be safe sex in the afterlife? Or, just virgin births?” Alas! No sooner I say Thy Kingdom Come! a slapfest breaks out among the plurals, the soaps, and the feisty old frockers. Scatterpin levitates. I grab her St. Joan of Crawford ankle-straps, holding on for dear life. Day two concludes.
+Day three is spent forging petition signatures for a statewide ballot initiative to allow women (married, Republican) to be priests. Sr. Scatterpin, bless her, refuses to forge. “If Democrat lesbians can’t tie the knot legally,” she says proudly. “Why in hell should Big Mr. Hubby You Know Who?”