It was a Sunday morning, the beginning of football season. I was wearing my Dallas Cowboys jersey, ready to root for them. I was visiting my parents who lived in Las Vegas. I looked forward to spending more time with them after the game. They were heading off to church, and I was heading to the casino to watch the game.
That is, until Mom and Dad asked me to go with them to church that morning. They wanted me to meet some of their new friends and to meet the pastor and his wife.
I had nothing against going to church, mind you. It was just that the game would be starting at 10:00, and, well, I preferred watching football to attending church. In the back of my mind was also the fact that their church is one that believes homosexuality is a sin. My thinking was that it would be easier on everyone if their lesbian daughter just took herself to the casino to watch some football.
But I ended up going to church that day. Even though I was almost 35 years old, I was still my parents' daughter, I was visiting their home, and I knew they had their hearts set on my going with them. Little did I know how significant visiting their church was going to be for me.
Mom and Dad introduced me to each of their friends at church that morning. I was impressed with how friendly everyone was. Toward me and toward each other as well. As the service started, the church had a "welcoming time," and folks were out of their seats and literally walking clear across the church to say hello to someone they did not know or had not seen in awhile.
Many came my way, sporting huge smiles and bright eyes. They spoke words of welcome. Some gave me huge hugs. A couple of them told me they were not Cowboy fans, so not to tell anyone ...