Less than 48 hours after celebrating the birth of Jesus with my kids, I left them at home and went to Sin City. I don’t regret it for a single moment, because I learned a lot about how to honor God with my life.
It is never too late to have some fun
There is a lie in the Christian world that says fun is somehow sinful. That’s just not true. Fun is not inherently evil or good – it just is. Two people in Las Vegas reminded me on this.
The first was a man, probably in his seventies at the Fremont Street Experience dressed like Cupid, including the little wings on his back. He also sported heart tassels on his nipples and two extra cheeks to share with the world. He jeans had some extra air circulation action going on, because they were buttless. And he was having a great time.
And then there was the ninety-year-old woman outside Walgreen’s. She was pushing her (I assume) husband down the road, who seemed to be having the time of his life. Did I mention she was in a shimmery golden go-go dancer outfit? As I walked into the store, she was posing next to her husband, leg lifted over his lap, as a passerby took their photo.
I need to make room for more fun in my life. But I think I will pass on the air-conditioned britches and the go-go dress.
You can always tell when someone is comfortable in their shoes
I saw plenty of young ladies in their twenties dressed to party. Tanktops masquerading as dresses. It seemed the consistent plan was to wear lingerie with high heels and a smile. It was hard at first to tell who was new to the Vegas party scene, until I watched them walk.
Not since my senior prom have I seen so many ladies dressed to the hilt walk so uncomfortably. The three-inch tiptoe steps. The wobbly knees. The stiff smiles as they try to maintain their balance against the impossible odds of gravity.
I found myself thankful that clothes are simpler for a man, because seventy nine inches is a long way to fall. I also found myself hopeful I am walking well in the proverbial shoes of my life, rather than teetering and wobbling with a forced smile.
There is no place on this world that is bereft of God’s beauty and creativity
I felt surrounded by creativity and beauty the whole time I was in Las Vegas. And I am not talking about the dolled up women either.
The Dale Chihuly exhibit at the Bellagio is breath-taking. I never could have imagined blown glass could be so stunning. The image on the link does not compare to seeing it in person.
The photography from Peter Lik invites you to escape into another realm, and into new definitions of once-simple colors like blue and green. This man knows how to capture the beauty of God’s creation and frame it.
The Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium reminded me of my love for sea creatures. Such grace and majesty mixed with danger is contained in the amorphous shapes of the jellyfish, or the sleek but deadly movements of the great white sharks.
These moments have taught me to stop rushing through my life, but to instead slow down and seek out the beauty and presence of God. If He can be found in Sin City, surely I can find him in my daily life.
“slow down and seek out the beauty and presence of God” YES to this! Glad you had fun!
My wife told me that she thinks I am going soft when I go to Las Vegas and see beauty. 🙂
Hey, don’t knock the go go dress until you’ve tried it, Chris! 😉 I too have seen great beauty in sin city–the fun of knights and knaves, the artistic athleticism of Cirque du Soleil…I could go on and on. (What a place for colorful people to write about too, eh?)
I think it is easy to disparage such a place because although there is intense beauty, there is also intense darkness. I think may be that way in any place where there are so many people–‘sin concentrated’ my pastor says of highly populated areas.
Glad you had a good time. And I’m glad I’m not the only Christian who can appreciate such a place.
Happy New Year to you!
I would need to be paid a LOT of money to wear a go go dress.
I think it’s not just sin that is concentrated. It’s everything that is concentrated. So much….everything. There were times where I felt sensory overload.
I went with one of my best friends, and it was so much fun. My only regret is we didn’t catch a Cirque du Soleil show
Get away from the Strip and Fremont Street and you’ll see even more beauty in this city. I have called this place home for 7 years and there are so many wonderful (and crappy I must admit) things about it.
And thankfully (or would that be fortunately?) I can’t wear those crazy heels. My bad ankle hurts just looking at them. I’m a more sensible gal in the fashion department. Sneakers, jeans and a t-shirt? Works for me!
god is everywhere whether we initially see him or not, as you very well know, my friend. everything we see is his, after all. 🙂
glad to hear you guys had a wonderful time, chris. this is a great post to kick off the new year.
I will need to get your suggestions as a ‘local’ before we go next time. Let’s be honest — we can choose to see beauty or crap anywhere. Even the most gorgeous places in the world. This is part of the radical shift I am trying to make in my life — to find the good.
Thanks for the kind words on the post Tim. And yes, it was wonderful.
I think if we open our eyes, we see God even more clearly in the places the typical “church” has told us he doesn’t visit. God is everywhere, but unfortunately, we have not always done a great job of stopping long enough to see him. Great post.
Love the outlook here, it is a good reminder to look closer. You know, the childrens museum in Indy has a ceiling installment of the glass you saw in Vegas. I wonder if the artist is the same, breathtaking
If fun is sinful, then I am in trouble. Also, loved what you wrote about being able to tell who is comfortable in their skin or not.
I was almost stunned by the recognitions that were coming at me in the midst of my visit. I think I might be learning and growing.
I just looked up the Indy kid’s museum and it is the same artist. He is astounding. Here’s the site –> http://www.childrensmuseum.org/fireworks-of-glass
Leeza, expecially since you are moving to the northwest now — i hear it’s CRAZY up there. 🙂
It was truly amazing to see how many people were so uncomfortable in their surroundings and clothing.
I for one am far too busy on many days checking things off of my list, rather than living my life.
Great piece, Chris! Love it. I think we sometimes forget Jesus had fun
Great piece Chris – excellent. Powerful.
Thanks James — I appreciate the encouragement
John Eldredge’s book, Beautiful Outlaw, was really quite helpful to me in this regard. He showed the playful, whimsical side of Christ that’s always there before our eyes that we somehow always manage to miss.
I love Las Vegas, it’s like evil Disney World. We went there last January and I had so much fun, people watching and tweeting my kids with photos of the crazy stuff we saw, like the tattoo parlor in the mall. You’re right, God’s goodness is everywhere in the world, even in Sin City! (Esp in the Bellagio fountain 🙂
Lovely and inspiring post Chris!
I Have been twice in Las Vegas and had a great time and a feast for my eyes. We were supposed to stay in Bellagio, last time, but because of an electricity shortage, they closed it down and put us in another great hotel, which I forgot. They gave a refound to go back, but we never did.
I love Dale Chihuly! His art is amazing. One of our friends has an exclussive restaurant with two amazing centerliers created by this artist. I have also seen his art in the Madison Museun, Wisconsin!
You are absolutely right…Good and bad is everywhere. It’s what we choose to look at!
Kathleen, I am glad you are freed from spam prison on my site. Otherwise, I would not know that Las Vegas is Evil Disney World. 🙂
Isn’t that picture my wife took just amazing?
We will be staying at the Bellagio next time, I think. My wife fell in love with that hotel.
I am not sure I have ever seen such amazing glasswork before.
It is beautiful, she has a real talent for photography. I watch Ocean’s Eleven every time it comes on just so I can see the fountain scene at the end.
Oh, I need to watch that again. It is included in Amazon Prime, I just found out. Think I know what I am doing tonight 🙂
I’ve never been to Las Vegas and probably never will, but I certainly understand about finding the wonders of God wherever we are. While in Maine, I watched as young men tried to capture the power of the waves with their surfboards. It made me think of thousands who braved unchartered territory for a new chance at life. I watched the sun rise over the waters and wondered what weather would be in store for the day. Yes. There is always something to show us God’s hand and wonder, if we take the time to look.
Oh I get it — Vegas is not for everyone. This was my first visit apart from work related visits. The sights and sounds were not always godly, but we had a good time and didn’t partake in anything crazy
I totally thought you saw beauty in the woman in the go-go outfit. She may have been a believer rocking her gold dress. Clothes and shoes don’t make the person, the heart does.
Now I really want a gold go-go dress, as long as I can wear my converse high-tops all is well.
Always fun to read your stories.
I did see beauty in her vibrancy. I knew in that moment she was dolled up for her husband. I imagined that The Fremont Street Experience was on his bucket list, and they did it together. I hope when I am in my elder years I have that same desire to LIVE
Great thoughts, Chris. It’s important to enjoy life and have fun.
Dan, thanks for checking out a few of my blog posts this evening. Always good to see you snooping around 🙂