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This week I really wanted to throw in the towel. Embracing tension, searching for nuance, thinking the best of, treating with respect, choosing kindness. These are things I deeply value. And yet this week, I seriously wondered whether embodying these attributes actually just made me complicit with injustice and oppression. I wanted to yell and scream. I wanted to pick up signs and march. I wanted to call people out with as much strength and power as I could muster.
Given their context, Jesus is doing something rather bold. You see, women did not commonly interact with Rabbis with such outright openness as Mary had. In an age when patriarchy diminished the role and value of women, Jesus blatantly challenges the oppressive system that distorted the perception of female importance.
Many of us in the LGBTQIA community know what it feels like to be othered. As we think about the annual conference theme, “Love Undivided,” it is important to highlight that some within the Q Christian community also feel othered because of the ‘great debate’ between Side A and Side B positions. When relational divides are present, it is easy to judge one another’s choices and behavior.
As a means of creating a roadmap leading to conference, let’s begin where we left off, with a heavy focus on “belonging.” All are beloved children of God, not only because God is gracious, but because we all bear God’s image and likeness.
These three individuals bring unique experiences and qualifications to Q Christian Fellowship. By having a foot in their area of professional expertise along with their part-time role with Q Christian, they will be able to truly be in touch with the real-world needs of our community.
It’s entirely possible that when we start to lay claim to our belonging as children of God, it will feel scary and perhaps even painful as we expose parts of us that we have hidden away from our friends, families, and churches in order to win their approval. We will feel our world breaking up- rocked by a seismic acceptance of self- and under the shifting layers will emerge a new existence, gleaming with God’s goodness and ready for the world to behold and celebrate.
When Jesus looked at the multitude, he saw people as being harassed. I used to believe this was just about personal evangelism—that we needed more workers in the harvest field who would help people pray to receive Christ. But now I see that Jesus was asking for more workers who would stand in the gap to guard and advocate for people who were being harassed. For Jesus, love took the form of helping to protect vulnerable people.
There was me on one side, sitting alone at my own party, ogling the pretty girl on TV. Then there was a small fissure beginning to grow wider and deeper in the carpet, where on the other side sat my friends, gathered around a pizza box (that had barely been touched) fighting over boys.
Religion and faith are neither inherently “good” nor “bad”. Religion and faith are powers to be used responsibly. As a pastor I am not opposed to religion. I am a student of Christianity and our neighbors of many faiths. As a pastor it is my duty, privilege, and calling to actively resist violence, especially violence done in the name of religion.
Shame was burgeoning throughout my body like a viral disease because I thought my version of ‘God is Love’ and gender nonconformity were inherently damaged. But while I tried to smite out the authenticity that produced my shame, I was in fact compounding my shame. In fact, the more intensely I embraced shame, the more convinced I was paying an appropriate penance unto God. Needless to say, I was fixing the wrong mechanism with the wrong remedy.
In the Fall of 2017, we asked for your opinions. We were in the middle of our transition as a community and you shared your thoughts and concerns. From that incredible feedback we were able to identify aspects you felt to be imperatives for the future of Q Christian Fellowship. Most importantly, we heard you asking for Q Christian to help empower the lives of LGBTQIA Christians.
it started with grief. it started with the grief that comes from a recent loss steeling yourself for the reminders that sneak up on you. preparing for how different your life is going to be now, the new normal of grief.