Come and bless Adonai,
Come and bless Adonai,
The intersections between race, gender, and sexuality are fraught with luminosity. It is the spaces created by these intersections that offer a prophetic voice of wisdom and new way of existence. Being black or white, male or female, and straight or gay is simply too finite for a world of infinite complexities. God created us to be multi-faceted and multi-dimensional. The human experience is dense. Liberation theology is placing God in dialogue through the vantage point of marginalized oppressed groups. Marginalized voices stemming from race, gender, and other socio-political locations have an opportunity of visibility through liberation theology. This idea of visibility is particularly important to my identity as a GenderQueer person. In an effort to begin to interpret Christianity from the lens of GenderQueer embodiment this particular experience visible. This has been an eight month investigation of what it means for a GenderQueer person to reclaim traditional interpretations of theological insights via praxis; for it is the GenderQueer, multi-cultural, and pansexualembodiments that are closely aligned to a vision of God physically manifested on Earth. This is the ultimate triad of creation and embodiment, and the theological dialogue is vastly rich at these intersections. The depth and scope of this article is the deconstruction of the performance and social construction of the gender binary. I am largely focusing on the theological praxis embodiment of the GenderQueer experience of which sexuality and race are peripheral informants of this work. Through the lens of GenderQueer identification, the acknowledgment of the power of gender in its social construction and performance thereof allows us to move beyond the gender binary, which creates a seat at the table for GenderQueer bodies.
-taken from “Seraphim Delight”
which describes itself in the sidebar as
AN EXPLORATION IN GENDERQUEER LIBERATION THEOLOGY
GenderQueer – A person who identifies as neither male nor female. GQ individuals might identify outside of all trational gender binaries entirely.
Liberation Theology – A mode of interpreting the Divine from within an oppressed group.
Questions? Me too. Stay tuned.
*All genders, sexualities, identities, and people validated here.
Coming to terms with one’s self is not easy for homosexuals in a society where gender is limited to either male or female.
Raymond Alikpala, 46, a lawyer and formerly a seminarian, knows very well the anguish of living in the shadows having done so in the first 38 years of his life.
“I came out because I was tired of hiding who I really am. I wanted to be able to finally live my life honestly and proudly. I stopped caring about what others would think should they find out I ambakla (gay),” says Alikpala.
He shares his story of growing up a devout Catholic and harboring the secret of his homosexuality in a book “Of God and Men” to be launched June 16, 2012 at 3 p.m. at Bestsellers Bookstore, 4th Level, Robinson’s Galleria, Pasig City.
Alikpala said a number of his friends encouraged him to write his story “as catharsis for my years in the closet.” He felt however that “it was much more than that.”
Perhaps because of his years in the seminary, Alikpala’s objective in writing the book is more evangelical. “To spread the good news that God loves bakla, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders and transsexuals as much as She loves all Her other children.”
In response to my post “‘It’s no sin to be gay.’ See how easy that is, Andrew Marin?” folks have made the point that Andrew’s work is valuable, because he is “building bridges” — because he is, as one reader put it, “creating stepping stones from one end of the spectrum to the other.” They appreciate Marin establishing a neutral, non-judgmental, values-free middle ground where parties on either side of the gay-Christian debate can meet to together discuss and explore the issue.
The problem, though, is that when it comes to the issue of LGBT equality, there is no such thing as a values-free middle ground. There can’t be, because that is a moral issue. And that means it’s about a very definite right and wrong.
And it’s a moral issue of no small consequence. There couldn’t possibly be more at stake. The people on one side of this debate — the majority, which wields all the power — are claiming that, in the eyes of God, those on the other side are less than human.
No matter how strenuously he or she might deny it, the fact is that any Christian who does not forthrightly and unambiguously assert that there is nothing whatsoever inherently immoral about same-sex relationships has chosen a side in this conflict. To a starving man, the person who can’t decide if they want to share their food is no better than the person who refuses to (emphasis added).
– more at John Shore, Huffington Post
I think it is most appropriate today to begin our reflection on the Scriptures by focusing especially on the first lesson, where Isaiah is trying to reassure people that God is about to do something new, if only they have the courage to respond to what God is doing. We should remember that these are people who have been driven out of their own city and land. Jerusalem was destroyed and the temple was left in flames. They had to go off into exile, and were in exile for 80-some years. By now, they had become accustomed to the way things are.
Isaiah is preaching to them that it is time to go back and have your place again, and live where God gave you the land to be yours, but they were hesitant. They’d gotten used to the way things were. That’s when Isaiah said, “Do not dwell on the past.” They were thinking back to the time when Moses had led them out of Egypt, freed them from slavery and established the Jewish law. They were trying to hang onto that.
God said, “Look, I’m doing new things. Now it springs forth. Do you not see?” Further on, He said, “I have formed this people for myself. They will proclaim My praise. Neither have you satisfied Me with the fat of your sacrifices. Instead, you would burden Me with your sins and wearied Me with your offenses. I am the one who blocks out your offenses for My own sake. I remember your sins no more.” God is saying to them, “There is a new opportunity now. Let go of the past. Be ready to follow where God is leading you now.”
(Extract from a homily by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton for the 7th Sunday of Ordinary Time . And to that “Amen, we say, Amen”)
Isaiah 43:18-19, 21-22, 24b-25
Psalms 41:2-3, 4-5, 13-14
2 Corinthians 1:18-22
Growing up as the daughter of a Baptist minister, Candace Chellew-Hodge had a deep love of God and commitment to the Christian faith. She was also a lesbian, for which she encountered extensive bullying, as school – and in Church. Finding that her attraction to females meant that the God she loved did not, after all, love her, she tried to kill herself. Thankfully, she survived the attempt, and went on first, to found the online Christian magazine, “Whosoever”, to study theology, and then to enter ministry. She has also written an LGBT Christian survival guide, “Bulletproof Faith“.
At Religion Dispatches, she has a piece up (“God, Rid Me of God“), reflecting from her personal experience on the rash of teen suicides by American queer youth, and especially that of 19-year-old Eric James Borges. These are a result, she argues, of a “dangerous vision of God”.
Borges had the best support around as a volunteer for The Trevor Project (the org that works to prevent LGBT suicide). He even did his own It Gets Better video. But I fear it was finally the religious condemnation that led this beautiful young man to take his own life. Everyone under the sun can tell you it gets better, but the bottom line is this: If you believe God will send you to hell for who you love, there will be nothing anyone can say to convince you that it gets better—since God never changes, right?
I have seen too many in my community struggle with God—and the image of the bullying God they have been given by their churches and their families. This image of God as a loving destroyer, whose acceptance is conditioned on your strict adherence to “His” rules, has ruined too many lives. What needs to change is not the LGBT child, but this horrible and terribly wrong image of God as a holy bully that is being purveyed by religious institutions and believers.
The trouble is, though, this image of God has worked very well for those in power. Despite growing support for LGBT people in the polls, this issue still has enough of an “ick factor” to make those who talk about the “sin” of homosexuality (and transgenderism!) look like they are the true moral paragons. In fact, GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum’s wife feels secure enough to take up the victim role, accusing LGBT people of “vilifying” her husband—even calling it, without a hint of irony, “backyard bullying.”
Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, responded to Mrs. Santorum: “You love your husband—I get that. You love your faith—fine by me. But when you pretend that hate is love, that lies are truth, and that victims are oppressors, you have become inane.”
Not just inane, but dangerous. It is exactly this vision of God as “backyard bully” that puts LGBT youth on the path to suicide, and it must stop.
–read the full reflection at Religion Dispatches
It should be fundamental to Christian faith that God’s love is unconditional. In my high school RE classes, I was taught that “God is love” is almost a definition of love, for which I was made to underline or highlight in my bible, write out in my exercise book, and memorize for examinations, countless verses that demonstrated that claim (along with many others, such as “God is truth”, “God is light”, “God is mercy”, “God is justice”, and so on. But never, ever, “God is hate”.
Yesterday’s Gospel concerned the story of Jesus and the man possessed of an “unclean spirit”, and how at Jesus’ command, the spirit left, and the man was cured. Far too often, misguided Christians use this story as motivation to “exorcise” the demon of homosexuality from young people in their care, just as the parents of Eric James Borges did. They are wrong. It is not our God-given orientation that is demon in need of exorcism, but homophobia (including our own internalized homophobia), and the dangerous vision of God, that sees God’s love as selective.
The Out Christ arises out of the reality that God reveals Godself most fully in the person of Jesus Christ. In other words, God “comes out of the closet” in the person of Jesus Christ; it is only through the incarnation, ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we understand the true nature of God (for example, God’s solidarity with the marginalized and oppressed). Indeed, the notion of the Out Christ as the revelation of God is supported by Jesus Christ’s description in the Fourth Gospel as the logos or Word of God.
Chris Glaser, the gay theologian and Metropolitan Community Church minister, has written about the Out Christ in his book Coming Out as Sacrament. In that book, Glaser describes Jesus Christ as nothing less than God’s very own coming out to humanity: “The story of the New Testament is that God comes out of the closet of heaven and out of the religious system of time to reveal Godself in the person of Jesus the Christ.”
|“Sermon on the Mount” (from Ecce Homo) by Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin|
Not only does the closet prevent a person from truly connecting with others, but it has a corrosive effect on the self-esteem and well-being to the extent that she is constantly forced to keep her life a secret to others.
(This view of the closet as sinful because it restricts proper relationships with others is similar to the argument of the Jewish lesbian Judith Plaskow, who sees coming out as a religious obligation, for precisely the same reasons).
The continuing theme throughout Chen’s series is a Christological model of sin and grace, seen from an LGBT perspective. It is not enough to discuss sin without similarly considering grace which leads us out of it. From this perspective, the grace that redeems us from the sin of the closet is the courage given to us to come out.
By contrast, grace in the context of the Out Christ can be understood as the courage to come out of the closet, or sharing one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity with others. For LGBT people, the process of coming out can be understood as grace, or a unmerited gift, on the part of God. There is no one correct pattern or single path to coming out. Some people come out very early in life; others wait until much later. For some people it is a slow and private process. For others, it is a fast and public announcement.
Regardless of how one ultimately comes out, the act of coming out reflects the very nature of a God who is also constantly coming out and revealing Godself to us in the Out Christ. Coming out is a gift that is accompanied by other gifts such as self-love, the love for others, and the overcoming of shame and internalized homophobia. The grace of coming out is not something that can be “willed” or “earned”; it can only happen as an act of grace from God.
Read the full post at Jesus in Love blog, where you can also follow the full series:
1) Erotic Christ (sin as exploitation; grace as mutuality)
2) Out Christ (sin as the closet; grace as coming out)
3) Liberator Christ (sin as apathy; grace as activism)
4) Transgressive Christ (sin as conformity; grace as deviance)
5) Hybrid Christ – not yet published (as of Dec 10th)
The picture for this post is the one used by Kittredge Cherry, who says of it:
The photo for this post, “Sermon on the Mount,” was taken in a famous cruising park in Stockholm with LGBT people from local leather clubs as models. “It was fantastic to walk with ‘Jesus’ to the photo spot. People were looking and a little shocked,” recalls photographer Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin in my book “Art That Dares.”