Once it was out of the church building, though, it didn't get many laughs. In fact, it received a lot of frowns. "I have a question," one guy said. "But I don't want to pay."
It occurred to me that many people who are outside of the church often assume the main motive of the church is to make money. We weren't winning friends here; we were ending conversations before they started.
I covered the "pricing" with paper and tape. Once all that could be seen was "Ask a Pastor Anything", the questions flowed.
Today, I listened to the following questions, some accompanying stories, and did my best to represent a flawed institution and a perfect God.
What does faith mean to you?
What's a pastor?
Do I have to believe everything exactly right first?
How do I know if I am gay or straight?
Is there a trans-friendly church in Anchorage?
What do you think about hell?
How do I talk to my parents about who I am?
How do I let go of a hurtful past in the church?
How do I start to pray?
Who can help me with my housing situation?
How do I begin to hope again?
Do you have on-line services?
Where are the porta-potties?
Will I ever feel at peace in a church again?
With other people from Lutheran Church of Hope, we handed out stickers, apology cards, and bubbles. We listened, laughed, prayed, and represented. We said "I don't know" and "I am sorry" and "You are loved".
Someone gave us a dollar.
It was worth it.