You know how when some TV show writers are feeling a bit of the old writers block and they throw together a “retrospective” episode flashing back to the scenes that got the most laughs or tears? Well this post is a little like that except it’s not so much writer’s block as having so many posts percolating at the same time that I can’t seem to finish the “next” one.
It has been a year now that I’ve been at this craziness we call blogging so today, instead of my Connect the Dots post, it seemed like as good a day as any to look back over my year of blogging with Patheos to share a dozen or so of my favorite posts. Some of these posts shocked me in how people responded, some of these posts are deeply important to me for personal reasons. A few of the posts I was honored to simply be the hostess for another’s faithful voice to share a glimpse of their stories. All of these here and even the wonky little “what was that??” posts this past year is a part of my own process of becoming.
Being in community with you in this way has forever changed me and I am immensely grateful for all of you, even the trolls, for being companions on this journey we call faith. As we continue to muddle our way forward I will keep you all in my prayers as I ask for the faith, courage and insight to be more vulnerable, write more boldly, invite more voices to the table and experiment with new projects. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being here with me – I am because we are.
And perhaps most of all I’m proud of you mom, and you dad, for the incredible courage you had to allow the love in your hearts to win out over a lifetime of understanding the world so very differently.
Sharing Biscoff Cookies and Jesus
by Geoff Crider
Where was the Christianity I remember from Sunday School? The one that taught me many of the values I have used to guide my life since? I assumed it was gone and I was the lone survivor. Kimberly assured me there were multitudes of people just like me, herself included. I didn’t know because I was too afraid to look.
Life as a queer chaplain
by Laura Arnold
Life as a queer chaplain? It’s messy and moves me to a fearful place sometimes. Being thrown out of rooms and having relationships cut off because I’m queer hurts. Listening to gay bashing and knowing that it is also directed at me sucks. But life as a queer chaplain is also beautiful, almost beyond words. I am trusted with the stories and worries of closeted and uncloseted queer patients who want and need support but won’t talk to other people for fear of being judged.
I read and hear the phrase “homosexual lifestyle” so frequently that I have decided it is time to tell the truth about my homosexual lifestyle. The best way I can think to do that is simply share scenes from this past week. I hope you will not be shocked, I hope none of the scenes below are offensive.
Here is my truth – I am so very sad to see the throngs of people lining up at Chick-Fil-As around the country. The pain in my heart radiates to every fiber of my being. I am heartbroken to see so many “Christians” enjoying the pain they are inflicting on their neighbors. It is a travesty of the faith we share to tell the Cathys, and the world, that I indeed am a second class citizen in my own country, that my family is worth less than theirs and that my children should be ashamed when they begin school on Monday morning when it comes time to tell their peers about their family. Every waffle fry you buy, every nugget your feed your children tells them that it is ok to bully that kid who is a little different. It might just be telling them that you won’t love them if they are gay. Every smug sip you take from that lemonade tells the world that your version of following Christ includes inflicting pain on your neighbor. That is not the Christ I know from scripture, community or the experience of Grace. That is not The Way of the Cross.
… fill your bank account, provide more touchdowns, win the heart of the hottie you have your eye on, keep your tire from going flat on that dark and rainy night, stop hurricanes or holocausts, prevent homicides or sex trafficking.
But today, National Coming Out Day, just a couple of days before Pride in Atlanta, Iam placing my favorite family snapshot on my desk. I’m not going to tie a rainbow balloon to the frame or march it into the office making a scene like Baton Bob. I am simply going to take it out of my bag, place in on my desk and then go grab a cup coffee. It is such a simple thing really. How many of my non-gay friends have not even considered the significance of your unquestionable freedom to do things as simple as tack up a photo of your last camping trip on your scratchy cubical wall? But there it is – the little, seemingly insignificant things that actually matter a great deal.
In case you weren’t sure, I’m a Christian. But wait, I’m notthat kind of Christian. I’ve felt it and said it dozens of times. Have you? You know, when someone finds out you are a Christian and you feel like you must clarify, or worse, apologize? We see the pictures on Facebook. We read the stories on HuffPost. We watch the videos on YouTube. We hear the stories of people hurt deeply. We read the posts from friends and family right on our own timelines and many of us carry the wounds deep inside of us. We are bombarded with the pulsating sights and sounds of “Christians” who are the very reason you don’t want anything to do with Christians. Millions have been hurt or totally turned off by Christians such as Pat Robertson, Tony Perkins, Mark Driscoll, Creflo Dollar, Debi Pearl … local pastors, aunts, uncles, moms and dads. Unfortunately I don’t have to belabor this point too long – these stories permeate our culture.
If you are a seasoned ally or just taking your first steps, I hope you will share your thoughts, struggles and celebrations from your own journey to becoming an ally. If you are a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender person I hope you will share your own suggestions for how folks can be allies.
I hope these will help you on your journey.
I woke many a dark morning, knotted in anguish with the entirety of my cavernous being crying out for release – asking God to change me. And God did.
As it turns out, the answer to my prayers was to accept God’s creative genius calling me to live into this crazy and beautiful life as a queer Christian.
1. To put nothing before The One who is Love.
2. To not worship Mammon, The Constitution, The Bible, culture or technology (sorry Facebook).
3. To only speak God’s name when I am either talking to or about God. Ecstasy counts since it could be argued I am expressing gratitude…
See, I am the sort of Christian that is not theologically down with the whole substitutionary atonement thing – especially penal.