Each week in advance of our upcoming Love Undivided Conference, Q Christian Fellowship will release a series of devotionals intended to spiritually prepare you for the radical love and belonging you will feel while in Chicago with us. We invite you to prayerfully use these devotionals in the weeks prior to Conference!
Week 3 Supplement
The Towel: A Story of Testing
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.
I was haunted by MLK and Tutu’s words about silence and neutrality.
“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
Week 3 — October 15-21
I love the story of Martha and Mary in Luke Chapter 10. We read about two sisters, Martha who angrily toils away over a hot oven to serve Jesus and his disciples and Mary who sits, savoring the experience, at his feet.
In a huff, Martha tries to snap Mary into action. The expectation is Mary should be serving, too. Martha is convinced Jesus should say something to her seemingly lazy sister. Doesn’t Jesus want to scold Mary?
When Jesus does not take Mary’s side, it’s a rather profound moment. In Luke 10:41-42 we read, “‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’”
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.
Week 2 — October 8-14
All Are Beloved Children of God
Sadly, 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 some within our 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 viewpoints and behavior. ‘Othering’ another is often used to categorize those to whom we do not relate, inspiring separateness because our differences place us in opposing theological, institutional, or political camps. We may even use our differences to scapegoat one another.
“Relational dualism” is a term that defines how barriers delineate the right from the wrong, the in from the out, and the clean from the dirty. Relational categories like these strip us from being able to identify the God-given value of others. Just as dangerous, these categories often keep us from recognizing the God-given value of ourselves. We have become accustomed to feeling worth because we’ve created a list of standards we can achieve. When we do this, we identify more with our works than with our essence, forgetting that we bear the imago Dei. We become captives of what we can (or think we should) do, rather than who we are. We fabricate a false sense of safety.
Week 1 — October 1-7
All Are Beloved Children of God
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. Let us imagine for a moment that you and I have shed all of our familial, cultural and societal labels. I venture to say that we would be left with nothing more than our pure essence as God's children. Consider the possibility that inherently we are all the same, intended to share in deep and unchangeable equity. If we all believed this incredible supposition, I believe there would be no prejudice, patriarchy, or discrimination of any kind.