A newly-ordained pastor from Chicago is dressing up in drag in order to lead church services with children.
Aaron Musser, who was ordained this summer, can be seen addressing children from a pulpit in his church dressed in a blonde wig, white dress, and makeup before spreading the word of the Lord to children at his parish at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Logan Square.
The event took place last Sunday, and saw Musser read a religious book about Joy to a group of children.
A Lutheran pastor in Chicago offered drag prayer time for children at his church
Aaron Musser, who was ordained this summer, donned a blonde wig, white dress, and makeup to share in worship with the children in his parish
Musser posted a statement from the church stating that his teaching in drag was to teach ‘joy’
‘I have an awesome story to share with you today,’ Musser could be heard telling the story as he tossed his hair either side reports The Post Millennial.
‘I am also a boy most of the time when I’m here, but today, I’m a girl,’ he explained.
Musser wrote in an announcement on Facebook: ‘The sixth Sunday of advent is rejoice Sunday. It’s a chance for us to rehearse what a life of joy could look like. It’s a dress rehearsal. Preaching in drag is a theological reflection on joy: Joy overflows so abundantly, it can’t help but make itself known. Weaving together the day’s theme, queer theory, and lectionary texts, we will ‘dress rehearse’ for joy.’
The lesson was also broadcast over Zoom allowing plenty of other parishioners to witness
Musser is openly gay, as stated in his personal Facebook page
The announcement noted that ‘Seminarian Aaron’ would be ‘preaching in drag!’ adding that the church wanted everyone ‘to wear garments/accessories that make you feel 100%, like the best version of yourself.’
Musser writes openly about incorporating ‘Queerness’ into his teachings stating ‘that Queerness is beautiful and a right’, in one of his Facebook postings.
‘Queer sexualities, gender identities, and gender expressions outpour from the depths of our being. We are who we are. And we can articulate our truth,’ he wrote on his personal Facebook page.
Musser took time to have pictures with other members of church staff before posting it online
Musser wrote in an announcement on Facebook: ‘The sixth Sunday of advent is rejoice Sunday. It’s a chance for us to rehearse what a life of joy could look like. It’s a dress rehearsal. Weaving together the day’s theme, queer theory, and lectionary texts, we will ‘dress rehearse’ for joy.’
‘Queerness is sacred. Certain straights don’t believe that we speak truth,’ Musser notes, adding that he also has a political angle: ‘If you vote red, you vote against me and my rights.’
In a heartfelt posting on the Church’s Facebook page, Musser said that it had been some time before many people had experienced ‘joy’.
‘It’s been so hard to know what that joy will be, because it’s been so long since some of us have been joyful. It’s been a difficult and tiring couple of years.
‘And I decided instead of telling you, ‘this is how I want you to be joyful,’ as we prepare for this dress rehearsal, I figured I would instead put on a dress as so many who have inspired me have done. I decided to follow their example, showing that liberation from oppressive laws clears a path for joy.
‘But allowing yourself to feel joy can be scary. I wasn’t sure how the outside world would handle me when they saw me this morning. Joy is difficult to feel, it’s vulnerable. But isn’t it so beautiful?” he stated.
There were many messages of support online although the church has suspended comments
There were plenty of messages of support online.
‘Thank you for your inspiring and empowering message of beautiful joy!!’ wrote Kristin Engstrom.
‘Aaron, this is freaking amazing,’ added Taylor Walker.
‘Thank you for sharing joy with us today! I’m really feeling it, so thank you! I needed it!’ said Liz Frey.
‘Amazing message! Thank you for sharing this beautiful joy!’ agreed John Thomas Sipf.
Despite the positivity aired online, the church has now stopped comments from being posted.
‘We’ve frozen comments on this post for the time being. We appreciate all the love and encourage you to keep praying for full inclusion, affirmation, and justice for LGBTQIA+ people in the church,’ the church wrote.
Musser’s drag story time is one of a number of similar events that have sprung up across the nation in recent years.
Once upon a time, in 2015, a writer in San Francisco named Michelle Tea got the idea for ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’: men in full drag reading children’s books to kids and parents in programs aimed at providing ‘positive and unabashedly queer role models.’
Since then, Drag Queen Story Hours have been held at libraries or book stores in big cities including Los Angeles, New York, and costume-loving New Orleans.
In some smaller communities, the programs have sparked protests from conservative and religious groups but Chicago, where Musser preaches, is on the cusp of the Republican Midwest while being in a very left-leaning Democratic city.