God with me still. (For my teachers.)

From my family and my church

I learned how to pray

how to sing

how to ask questions in a manner

that wouldn’t make anyone

too uncomfortable. I learned

how to forgive so much

that when my mother expressed surprise

at how much I let my partner off the hook

all I could say was,

“I was taught to forgive.”

From my Jewish friends

I learned how to value community

how to observe holidays

when no one cares enough

to make it easier for you.

I learned how to persevere

when everyone around you

wants you to go away.

From my atheist friends

I learned how to ask

the uncomfortable questions

how to find the beautiful

and (dare I say) spiritual

in science and space.

I learned how to see my people

my family

through the eyes

of those who have no interest

in joining a congregation

no matter how many times

you invite them to church.

From my pagan friends and my witch friends

(because no, those two are not

the same thing)

I learned how to love ritual

how to use my body in prayer

how to bring Feeling to my worship

instead of sitting back

and expecting God

to do all the work.

From Rachel Held Evans,

Brian McLaren, Rob Bell,

and John Shore

I learned that questions

could be faithfully asked

while still being difficult,

that one can still be a Christian

while feeling like an outsider,

that ritual is not stuffy

or suspect

but Godly if I wish it to be.

From Justin Lee and my dear Stephen

I learned that queers like me

can be religious

and political

and sexy and angry and raw

and forgiving

without any of those things

being in conflict.

From my friend Father Phil,

I learned that church

can be a safe place

for queers like me,

for feminists like me,

for doubters and seekers like me.

These people

these teachers

they stand by my side,

holding my hands

as I take a deep breath

and enter a church

still full of fear.

They pray with me

echoing my words

encouraging me to keep speaking,

because, they promise,

God does hear me.

God

they promise me

is with me

still.


Sonja Lund—that’s her above (photo by Greg DeMichillie)—is a twenty-something English major and baby Episcopalian from California. She writes lots of poetry and has recently started a blog on the subject under her pen name, O.E. Leider. She enjoys long walks on the beach, wearing strange clothes in public places, and dismantling the patriarchy.

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