A newly ordained pastor in Chicago took preaching to the next level.
On Dec. 12, St. Luke's Lutheran Church announced on Facebook that seminarian Aaron Muser would be "preaching in drag," and invited churchgoers to wear clothes and accessories that made them feel the "100% best version" of themselves.
The next day, Musser dialed up the fabulousness and led the Bible study event for kids dressed in a blonde wig, makeup, and a white dress with gold tassels. He described preaching in drag as a "dress rehearsal" for what a life of joy could look like.
"Preaching in drag is a theological reflection on joy," the pastor wrote on Facebook. "Joy overflows so abundantly it can't help but make itself known."
"I have an awesome story to share with you today," Musser told the children during the event and asking them if they've ever seen a drag queen before. "I am also a boy most of the time when I'm here, but today," he said while flipping his hair, "I'm a girl."
St. Luke's Lutheran Church shared photos from the event with pride on their Facebook page and quoted important messages from Musser.
"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," the pastor said in the pulpit.
"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?”
The post got mixed reception on social media, with many hundreds of people leaving negative reactions. However, people in the comments section showed their support for the pastor in drag.
"Thank you for your inspiring and empowering message of beautiful joy!" one user wrote.
"This was one of the most inspiring services I have attended in a long time! Joy comes in so many places, but Joy can only come when you allow yourself to be liberated," commented another.
"Everyone has a fabulous spot in God's house and heart! Thank you for being the embodiment of that message and looking great while doing it," said one user.
Musser was ordained in the summer and has written about incorporating queerness in his teachings.
"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, where he also stated that he is openly gay.
Earlier in December, a US pastor from Indiana was removed from his ministry after he appeared on HBO's We're Here in drag wearing a huge pink wig, sequined leotard, makeup, and high-heeled thigh boots.