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The Church: The Limelight (Part8of15)

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*Though this is definitely outside of what I normally write, I’ve decided to publish a novella entitled “The Church.” From Nov. 30 to Dec. 15, I will be publishing the work of fiction in 15 parts. Each day, I will publish a part of the story of Christian and his quest to plant the largest progressive church in the world. I will publish the entire work at the end. Today, I’m publishing PART 8 entitled “THE LIMELIGHT” Enjoy!

 

In the year after the shooting, my profile grew tremendously. Regardless of where I was, the people chanted, “Christian! Christian! Christian! Christian!” In city after city, I did interview after interview after interview. I was exhausted. After multiple failed relationships, I didn’t trust anyone. Through it all, Harvey was the closest thing I had to a friend. Most of the people who helped me start the church got angry when they didn’t get the accolades they thought they deserved and left. I was alone. After everything that happened, I learned to talk about God in superficial ways that didn’t reveal the true questions that festered in my heart. I was struggling. I didn’t know what to do. Masturbation seemed to comfort me more than anything. In spite of it all, our church was huge. Literally, every gay man from within a hundred miles was there every time we opened the doors. When we hit four thousand people coming to the bar at multiple times for multiple different services, I knew we needed our own space.

While I organized a committee, I did that just for show. I knew that I was going to be the person who made all the building decisions. I found a piece of property right in the middle of BoysTown. Before consulting anyone, I bought it. Nobody seemed to care. Then, I flew to San Francisco and found an infamous architect named ReRe to design it. Everyone was so excited. We didn’t have to worry about money. People from all over the country were desperate to fund this unique of a project. At the groundbreaking, everyone chanted our name, “Swinging Dick’s! Swinging Dick’s! Swinging Dick’s!” Though I’d thought about it, I knew we weren’t going to be able to change our name. We also unveiled a statue of Professor Price. We actually bronzed her this time. The entire facility was built within six months. The space was enormous. With room for over six thousand congregants, we were amongst the largest churches in the entire world. Before we moved in, we held one last meeting to determine what we would call the place. Almost immediately, someone blurted out the name we all knew we wanted, “The Cathedral of the Swinging Dicks!” When the day came to introduce everyone to our new space, I was particularly proud of three things. At the front of the Cathedral, we created a pink triangle altar to memorialize our struggle. At the top of the Cathedral, we placed a phallic steeple shooting up to heaven with a cross coming out of the domed tip. Throughout the Cathedral, we made everything as ornate and glitzy as possible. I loved it. I could feel the Spirit of God in the place. When the day of our first service arrived, every major network in the country broadcasted it live. Before I preached, I quickly masturbated in the bathroom. I guess I developed the habit to soothe my nerves. Moments later, I climbed into the raised marble pulpit and declared, “The Cathedral of the Swinging Dicks will swing as long as God does.” Everyone clapped as loudly as possible. I basked in the beauty of it all. The cheering continued incessantly for many years.

Though I poured my heart and soul into making it as diverse as possible, the Cathedral grew whiter and gayer each year. I guess we should’ve anticipated the name “The Cathedral of the Swinging Dicks” might have consequences. I wasn’t thinking about the future. I was only thinking about keeping the space growing. I guess I got caught up in the glow of it all. We sustained a regular attendance of well over five thousand people for all those years. I had the largest progressive church in the world. I wrote more books than I can count. Everyone sought my advice on everything. I was a renowned figure. For some reason, it wasn’t enough. Over the years, I developed a habit of masturbating ten times a day just to keep my head on straight. When Harvey died on his twelfth birthday, I started to reevaluate things. For many years, I gave the church everything I had. I knew I couldn’t give much more.

With ideas of quitting or retiring jumping around my head, I knew I needed to find someone who could achieve the diversity that I dreamed of. I began to travel the country searching for someone to work with me for a few years and then step in as pastor of the Cathedral. I interviewed so many people that my head spinned. I couldn’t find anyone. While visiting family in my hometown of Jefferson, Mississippi, I met a woman by the name of Rev. Dr. Val Buffington. After a few minutes, I knew I’d found the next leader of “The Cathedral of the Swinging Dicks.”

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