A Queer Faith

Morgan. 25. Queer Woman of Color. Loves Jesus. Dates Hannah. Feminist.
This blog will explore Christianity and non-heteronormative sexuality. I dedicate it to all the people who've asked me questions I still struggle to answer.

Insomniac Christians

 So, I give up on the imperative that I can reach God by my own means. I give up on all the ways I should on myself and accept that I am already accepted. There is no ladder to get me there. There is no step-by-step that will land me in God’s good graces. I am in it. I am here. I am lying in the hallowed ground of the love of God. And everyday, I will choose to see it. I will accept that I am here. I will breathe slower in gratitude.”

This was a perfect read for me today as I continue to resist the urge to strive for perfection and “earn” love.

Vicky Beeching, Christian rock star 'I'm gay. God loves me just the way I am'

"What Jesus taught was a radical message of welcome and inclusion and love. I feel certain God loves me just the way I am, and I have a huge sense of calling to communicate that to young people. When I think of myself at 13, sobbing into that carpet, I just want to help anyone in that situation to not have to go through what I did, to show that instead, you can be yourself – a person of integrity."

After what Beeching has suffered, why not discard the faith that considers her sinful and wrong?

"It is heartbreaking," she says, her eyes glimmering again. "The Church’s teaching was the reason that I lived in so much shame and isolation and pain for all those years. But rather than abandon it and say it’s broken, I want to be part of the change."

Heavy Heart

My heart is heavy—that’s what I thought this morning, lying in bed, reading the #iftheygunnedmedown article The Root published this morning.

Which happened after I’d viewed an info-graphic explaining the problem of street harassment.

I feel burdened by racism, sexism, and homophobia. This queer black woman [ black-female-queer] feels worn and incapable of handling these massive institutions of injustice.

I’m also frustrated with my Christian peers who seem determined to ignore these problems— to keep a “healthy” distance from these people, especially when they find some aspect of these identities offensive.

As if Jesus did not meet people where they were. As if scripture didn’t tell about a God who became human and put himself in the midst of people who the current religious society considered less than…second class.

As if God-with-us didn’t affirm the dignity and full humanity of these people by his very interactions with them.

Why are male Christians choosing to remain aloof to rape culture and street harassment?

Why are white Christians ignoring the police brutality directed towards black and brown bodies?

Why are straight, cis-gendered Christians OK with queer individuals being  denied jobs, and housing, and funerals in places created to worship God

God who is love, God who said that all the law could be summed up in the command to love our neighbors as ourselves…

I kept waiting to be offended by this book but the offense never came. I can’t promise others on either side of the debate will feel the same way but I highly, highly, highly recommend this book to anyone concerned about LGBTQ- Christian relations. Thank you #AndrewMarin and #InterVarsityPress for this gem.

“Generally speaking, I don’t know any believer—gay or straight—who doesn’t want to be like Jesus. And here is our chance to be just a little more like him: stop asking and answering close-ended questions in an attempt to determine if someone is on ‘our team’ or ‘their team.’ Jesus modeled a life about kingdom ways and thinking, not pinning down—or getting pinned down by—circularly legalistic debates of politically charged matters. As such we have the ability to follow his model and elevate our questions and answers past the same means that have tragically only haunted the GLBT-Christian relationship.” 
"Every stereotype can be broken with a face, and every face has a story…We’re not called to speculate about genetics or developmental experiences or spiritual oppression in faceless groups of other people. We’re called to let the Holy Spirit whisper truth into each person’s heart. And we’re called to show love unconditionally, tangibly, measurably…All God needs are willing hearts to extend his unconditional love for all of his children—gay and straight. This is our blessing. This is our bold calling. This is our orientation."- Andrew Marin, Love is an Orientation.

I kept waiting to be offended by this book but the offense never came. I can’t promise others on either side of the debate will feel the same way but I highly, highly, highly recommend this book to anyone concerned about LGBTQ- Christian relations. Thank you #AndrewMarin and #InterVarsityPress for this gem.

“Generally speaking, I don’t know any believer—gay or straight—who doesn’t want to be like Jesus. And here is our chance to be just a little more like him: stop asking and answering close-ended questions in an attempt to determine if someone is on ‘our team’ or ‘their team.’ Jesus modeled a life about kingdom ways and thinking, not pinning down—or getting pinned down by—circularly legalistic debates of politically charged matters. As such we have the ability to follow his model and elevate our questions and answers past the same means that have tragically only haunted the GLBT-Christian relationship.” 

"Every stereotype can be broken with a face, and every face has a story…We’re not called to speculate about genetics or developmental experiences or spiritual oppression in faceless groups of other people. We’re called to let the Holy Spirit whisper truth into each person’s heart. And we’re called to show love unconditionally, tangibly, measurably…All God needs are willing hearts to extend his unconditional love for all of his children—gay and straight. This is our blessing. This is our bold calling. This is our orientation."- Andrew Marin, Love is an Orientation.


"In a culture that sees gays and Christians as enemies, gay Christians are in a unique position to bring peace…We’re Christians who know firsthand what it’s like to feel like outcasts and to be hurt by the church, and that gives us important perspective that the church needs. We’ve become very aware of our reliance on God’s grace at a deep, personal level in a way that many Christians haven’t. We’ve had to fight for our faith, questioning everything and making us rebuild our faith from the ground up, truly claiming it for ourselves and not just accepting what we were always taught. We’ve had to evaluate what works and what doesn’t in the church, and that’s made us stronger and made our faith stronger. We’ve had to learn to put our ultimate trust in God instead of in the human institutions of the church." -Justin Lee

Finished this at the bus stop today [highly recommend it]. That quote is one of the realest descriptions of my own experience. 

“Oppressed groups are frequently placed in the situation of being listened to only if we frame our ideas in the language that is familiar to and comfortable for a dominant group. This requirement often changes the meaning of our ideas and works to elevate the ideas of dominant groups.”

—   Patricia Hill Collins  (via ethiopienne)

(Source: queerintersectional, via ethiopienne)

Sunday Abomination

That moment when you’re sitting in a church in Nashville, TN with your girlfriend and her family and the pastor who you were fond of and thought was a cute elderly man up until this moment detours from his sermon to talk about how the Church is in turmoil because a lot of the people who fill her pews don’t even believe the Bible anymore. Then he throws out the word “homosexuality” and gives a spiel about how the Bible is clear on “homosexuality” being a sin and that if people in the Church really believed the Bible then they would not currently be affirming same sex marriage. He says the Bible is clear that “homosexuality” is an abomination and that people who are tempted towards “homosexuality” can’t help the temptation, can’t help how they feel but can help what they do with those feelings, can help how they behave. 

God.

And then you see your girlfriend’s mom pat her knee in solace, or comfort, or in affirmation of the pastor’s words. And you’re fighting back tears and fighting the urge to tune out the rest of the sermon. But you don’t tune out the rest of the message because you have learned from experience that there is still Good to be found where God is involved, and people who say hurtful things also often say good things.

You want to tear this pastor down and criticize everything he says from this point on but instead you continue to acknowledge his good points. Instead you tell yourself that God doesn’t see you as an abomination. You mentally repeat that God calls you to love your enemy. You comfort yourself with the truth that God loves this pastor just as much as he loves you and God loves you just as much as he loves this pastor.

God loves you queer, young, working class, black woman just as much as God loves this heterosexual, elderly, upper middle class, white male pastor. 

You last for five more minutes before you leave the room and walk to the bathroom, continuously breaking down with each step. You cry audibly when you get there, but only for a minute. You stare at your brown skin, short black hair, and red watery eyes in the mirror. You think, “I’ll never have thick enough skin for this.” You also think, you should never have thick enough skin for this. 

You go back to the service and wait 10 more minutes for the end. You decide to speak to the pastor. You wait in the short line of people wanting to see the pastor after the service. It’s your turn—you tell him how he made you feel and how he would have made any non-straight person in the congregation feel with his words. He eventually apologizes for the hurt he caused and asks your forgiveness, squeezes your arms and kind of moves you to the side with a smile that makes you think he doesn’t understand the hurt he apologized for.

You think that you are grateful that you’ve reached this place where you’re just secure enough in God’s grace and love for you, that statements like that pastor’s no longer make you doubt (too much) your worth before God. You mourn for other LGBTQ persons wanting but lacking that security—persons who are and will continued to be damaged by a lack of love and understanding directed their way and by the holding up of their identity as the epitome of sin, as the one line you can’t cross if you want to be a “true” Bible-believing Christian. 

You think that all you truly wanted from that interaction with the pastor is that he would remember your face and the tears he caused the next time (and every time following) he opens his mouth to discuss “homosexuality.” You pray that it would be so. You pray for joy and peace and to continue to learn the truth. 

Amen. 

Jesus and a Woman's "Place" - The Junia Project

“God has a deep raspy voice - God is a jazz singer. She is a plush, warm and rosy - God is a grandmother. He has the patient rock of an old man in a porch rocker. He hums and laughs, he marvels at the sky. God coos babies - she is a new mother. He is the steady, gentle hand of a nurse, has the cool reassurance of a person pursuing his life’s work and a free spirit of a young man wandering only to live and love life.”

—   Shauna McCarthy (via hislivingpoetry)

(Source: jjrodriguezv, via hislivingpoetry)

In the Formation of Christian theology, we also see white privilege at work. Theology that prioritizes the individual and arises out of the Western, white context becomes the standard expression of orthodox theology. In our understanding of what is considered orthodoxy, we see the emphasis on the individual aspects of faith. What is considered good, sound, orthodox theology is a Western theology that emphasizes a personal relationship with Jesus, with its natural and expected antecedent of an individual sanctification and even an individualized ecclesiology. The critical issues and discussion in theology lean toward understanding issues relevant to individuals and Western sensibilities. The seemingly never-ending debate between the proponents of Calvinism and Arminianism, between predestination and free will, revolves around individual salvation.

Theologies that speak of a corporate responsibility or call for a social responsibility are given special names like: liberation theology, black theology, minjung theology, feminist theology, etc. In other words, Western theology with its individual focus is considered normative theology, while non-Western theology is theology on the fringes and must be explained as being a theology applicable only in a particular context and to a particular people group. Orthodoxy is determined by the Western value of individualism and individualized soteriology rather than a broader understanding of the corporate themes that emerge out of Scripture.

—   Soong-Chan Rah in The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity (via hislivingpoetry)

(Source: jjrodriguezv, via hislivingpoetry)

Christian Persecution In The US? At Box Office, It Pays

“Jesus Creed love breaks down boundaries, but it can do so only when it recognizes that the God who loves us also loves everyone else. It is easy for us to be tempted to think that we alone are the right group, that we alone are the most faithful, and that others are less loved by God because we in fact love them less. But this gets things backward: we my love others less, but God loves them the same. Humans throughout the world and across the street listen for God because they, too, are eikons of God, humans made in God’s image. Here is where we need to begin: with the recognition that everyone can be a seeker for God just as we are.”

—   40 Days Living the Jesus Creed, Scot McKnight

May We Never Stop Speaking

In which this is for the ones leaving evangelicalism - Sarah Bessey

Assurance

"Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely." 1 Corinthians 13:12

I have a goal to read 1 Corinthians 13 every day during Lent. This verse especially stood out to me today, seeming very applicable in my ongoing quest to reconcile queerness and Christianity.