My queer faith calls me to be a virtual voice crying in the wilderness of the Web. I do it by blogging.
I am in the sometimes-lonely borderlands, bombarded by charges of blasphemy from conservative Christians and dismissed as a fossil by in much of the secular LGBTQ community. Blogging about LGBTQ Christian spirituality is not unlike John the Baptist in the desert of Judea, calling out, “Prepare the way for God!”
The God of my queer faith is a wildly inclusive Spirit who creates ever-expanding diversity and loves everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. I see God disrupting all attempts to be defined or confined — how queer!
I wrote this reflection as part of the Queer Theology Synchroblog 2018. They asked bloggers to respond to the question, “What does your queerness or transness call you to do and be in the world?”
We LGBTQ Christian people are often accused of blasphemy while our queer Christian icons have been ridiculed, censored and vandalized. Just last month a conservative Catholic website attacked me for promoting “gay porn” because I blogged about Saint Sebastian as a gay icon.
I wrote about attacks on the work of other LGBTQ Christian artists in my book “Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More.” The debate is usually framed as freedom of speech (for LGBTQ people) versus freedom of religion (for Christian conservatives). But LGBTQ Christians also have a right to freedom of religion.
Christ is queerer than many realize
Christ is queerer than most people realize. Through Christ God becomes flesh — a total, shocking identification with all people, including the sexually marginalized. The historical Jesus befriended prostitutes, lepers and other outcasts, breaking gender rules and purity laws. He was charged with blasphemy as well as treason. He taught love so unlimited that he was killed for it. Even death could not stop him. Now the risen Christ lives in everyone. We are the body of Christ.
I often blog about the queer Christ and queer saints. LGBTQ Christian images are needed now because conservatives are using religious rhetoric to justify discrimination against queer people. My queerness calls me to help heal the damage being done by anti-LGBTQ bigots in Christ’s name. These are my blog articles that got the most attention — beloved by many and hated by a vocal few:
In this Internet age, being in the wilderness means doing my own individual blog here at Qspirit.net. It is a reader-supported blog, not sponsored by any church or non-profit organization. An individual effort, I have the independence and flexibility needed to nurture each person’s unique spiritual journey and do cutting-edge, sometimes-controversial work.
The more common journey is to grow up Christian and discover you are queer. But I’m not a Christian who discovered she was queer. I’m a queer who discovered that God is real and became a follower of Jesus. My faith in God gave me the strength to come out publicly as lesbian.
My queerness makes me a stranger to the mainstream. This outsider perspective is a gift that I feel called to share with the world. I also grew up unbaptized, mostly outside the church, so I naturally connect with others who are alienated from organized religion.
I join other voices of queer theology
My voice joins many other LGBTQ Christians and allies when I call upon all churches to welcome queer people. Many LGBTQ people have been so wounded and rejected by churches that they have given up on God. Let’s follow Christ’s example and be a progressive Christian force in the world. Remember, Jesus said that whatever we do for “the least of these,” we do directly for Jesus.
I also stand with LGBTQ Christians and allies to claim our place within the larger LGBTQ community. We remind the secular LGBTQ community that people of faith add richness of their diversity. We refuse to concede Jesus to the narrow-minded people who act like they own the copyright on Christ, then use him as a weapon to dominate others.
My particular brand of queerness is lesbian. These days being a lesbian sometimes makes me feel marginalized even within the LGBTQ community. Yes, lesbians are the first alphabet in LGBTQIA+, but lesbian books, bars and culture are becoming scarcer. The radical feminist idea of being a “woman-identified woman” was common when I came to consciousness in the 1970s, but it has fallen out of use. So my queerness calls me to continue claiming lesbian identity and proclaiming lesbian existence — while honoring the experiences of all gay, transgender, bisexual, intersex people and allies.
My queer faith also inspires me to call attention to parts of life that tend to be undervalued in our own LGBTQ Christian community. Why aren’t we more connected with the ecology movement? Queer people have been accused of being “unnatural” so much that maybe we started to believe it. But the system that oppresses LGBTQ people, women and people of color is the same one that destroys the earth. I blog about new developments in queer green theology every year on Earth Day, but there is sadly little to report. My queerness calls me to continue affirming God’s love for all creation: not just human beings, but all flesh, all sentient beings, all life, the whole cosmos.
“A voice crying in the desert”
I didn’t identify with John the Baptist until one of my blog readers sent me a thank-you note recently saying, “Your endeavors are deeply relevant and are healing to me. You are a voice crying in the desert!”
As I reflected on the scriptures about John crying in the desert (Matthew 3), I discovered that we have more in common than I expected. For health reasons, I spend most of my time at home, where my spouse (she rejects the word “wife”) and I are letting our backyard grow into a mini-wilderness. I even eat wild honey for a snack like John did — although I haven’t joined him in eating locusts. From this queer little wilderness I listen for Elijah’s “still, small voice of God” and do my part to send it to the far reaches of cyberspace.
All four gospels say that John was fulfilling a much older prophecy about from the book of Isaiah. My queerness calls me to join my own voice with the chorus of wilderness voices throughout history and in our time as prophesied in Isaiah 40: 3, 5:
The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of God…
The glory of God shall be revealed,
And all flesh shall see it together.”
Listen to more voices from others in this year’s Queer Theology Synchroblog:
- A Queer Pedagogy by jennifer caitlín eller
- And It Was Good by Lacy
- being trans – becoming an artwork by Jo Inkpin
- Called To Stories by Shannon TL Kearns
- Coming out Christian, Coming out queer: I want to be like Jesus by Anna Czarnik-Neimeyer
- Millie and George by Alex Kennedy
- My Calling As A Transgender Male United Methodist by Brian Kleber
- My queer faith calls me to be a virtual voice in the wilderness by Kittredge Cherry
- My Queer Place In The World by Dan Wilson
- Queer Calling by Mars
- Queer Calling – Returning a Different Way by J.O Jett Cazeaux
- The Places People Go by Eric Muhr
- The Spiritual Advantage of Being Queer by Russ K.
- Tomb Dwellers – LGBTQ and Bearing Witness by Peterson Toscano
- Twisted Scripture by Lisa Eskinazi
- Well Who Made Her Captain? by Alice Q. Penguin
- Untitled by Anonymous
Top image credit: Kittredge Cherry with rainbow quilt and purple flowering bush by Audrey
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