by Dr. Karen Oliveto, Pastor
Two weeks ago, I attended the Lady Gaga concert in Oakland. It was a rainy night, but the rain didn’t dampen the spirits of concert goers as we stood in line waiting to go in. The crowd was a wonderful mirror the beautiful diversity we have in the Bay Area. Hugs, laughter, singing and dancing broke outside spontaneously as the crowd inched closer to the doors.
Except for one man.
Standing close to the crowd was a man dressed with a coat covered in slogans like “hate the sin, love the sinner” and “hell is for eternity.” The man was shouting at the crowd so hard that the chords of his neck were bulging and his face was beet red. He shouted things like “You’re going to burn in hell!”
The man was quickly forgotten once Lady Gaga took to the stage. People were swept up by her performance. In between her songs, she asked people to support local homeless shelters and in particular, shelters for homeless lgbt youth. Then, she did something I totally wasn’t prepared for–Lady Gaga actually… well, there’s only one word for it… PREACHED!
She began by talking to Jesus, “Jesus, some people say you only love a certain kind of people. Some people say that Jesus only loves only one kind of person and not everybody, not every race, not every ethnicity, not every sexual orientation. But Jesus, you have blessed me…I’m quite certain that Jesus must love everybody. Jesus. Loves. Everybody. With that, the crowd acknowledged the blessing she had given them through shouts and claps of affirmation.
I had to wonder, as I thought of how the crowd responded to Lady Gaga’s message of love and how they responded to the evangelist’s message of hate, which one touched more hearts that night?
I hope Lady Gaga comes to GLIDE some day. Here, she will find a place that preaches love, peace, and justice. She will hear how lives have been changed through love and compassion. She will see that at GLIDE we celebrate the fact that, “Baby, we were born this way!”