You have a powerful vision for the way the world could be. And we need you to make that vision a reality. Get free resources & inspiration delivered to your inbox so that you can transform the world of your imagination into a reality.
When I realized that I liked guys, I desperately needed to know what my Christian faith said. I consulted my Bible, read a conversation between Tony & Peggy Campolo, and even tried to learn Hebrew and Greek.
I looked for straight people to tell me it was OK to be gay because I didn’t trust gay people. Even the supportive sources I found confirmed that: trust us because we’re objective straight people, we’re not trying to “justify our sins.”
The theme for this year’s Queer Theology synchroblog is “queer creation.” I’m looking forward to reading articles by LGBTQ people on what it means to be a new creation in Christ, about how they’re creating families of their own, and things I won’t even think of until I read about them today.
But most importantly, I’m excited to watch as queer people create theology together; as we converse about God.
So when I think about queer creation, what do I think of?
I think of 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old has gone the new has come” and I think about how more than anything–even “getting saved”–my coming out marked a turning point when I cast off the old and put on the new.
I think about Jesus reminding his listeners that to follow him is costly: you must hate your father and mother, you must sell everything you have, you must drop your nets and walk away from the lives that you’ve known. I think about how coming out nearly cost me my relationship with my family (and how it did for many of my friends).
I think about all the beautiful amazing ways that queer people I know are creating families–being fruitful and multiplying. I have friends who adopted and friends who used artificial insemination, and queer friends who had children with their sexual partners. I think of my friend who told me about how her mom invited her (ex-)husband and his (new) boyfriend over to dinner only a few months after their divorce. I think of my friends who have so much love to give and share that they are in polyamorous relationships: forming relationships on honesty, communication, and consent.
When I was younger, I wanted to be “just like every other Christian,” except gay. Now I am thankful for my gayness.
Are you fed up with debating over and over and over again about whether it’s “ok to be gay”? I am.
And at the same time, I remember when that was the conversation that I wanted to have over and over and over again. I neededan answer, an explanation, just the right… something… that would tell me that it’s OK to be gay, that I’mOK.
At some point, I stopped asking “Is it a sin to be gay?” I didn’t need to ask anymore, I knew the answer: of course not!
When was the turning point? I honestly don’t know. When I joined the Equality Ride in 2007, I was out, I was sure that God loved me, and I was preeeety sure that being gay wasn’t a sin. But I wasn’t positive. Or, at least I didn’t have the language to describe.
I dove in anyway. And that made all the difference.
Surrounding myself with fellow LGBTQ people: some atheists, some Southern Baptists, a few Presbyterians… some who believed that God’s love was for everyone, some who believed you’ll go to hell unless you accept Jesus (but being gay is OK), and some who didn’t believe in God.
It was the doing of theology–of talking about God–that led me to a place of self-acceptance. It was discovering and sharing my own story and listening to the stories of other LGBTQ people that utterly convinced me of the rightness of our cause.
Which, brings me today. My friend Shay and I want to create that opportunity for others–for you. So we created Queer Theology’s first course: Reading Queerly. Reading Queerly is a six-week online course which guides you through the process of approaching faith from a queer perspective, and to find fresh ways to find yourself in the story of faith. The course will look primarily at the Christian scriptures — though, you by no means need to be Christian or LGBTQ to participate!
Last week, Shay and I squirreled ourselves away in a monastery to finish the course content. We’ve been putting the finishing touches on it and are excited to be able to share it with you. So, if you want to learn more and get your spot in the class, you can do that right here.
I have a not so secret secret to share with you: making money is easier than we imagine. Don’t worry, I’m not about to start holy rolling and preaching some prosperity gospel at you. Making money might be easier than we imagine, but making a living is hard. And women, people of color, transgender people, and undocumented residents face additional obstacles that cisgender white men like me don’t have to deal with.
That’s why it’s so important for those of us committed to making this world a better place to talk frankly about making a living. A real living. We have to.
Look at this chart from Mother Jones:
The income of the top 1% of the US skyrocketed from 1979 to 2007, the income for the top 20% grew steadily, while the income for everyone else flatlined or possibly declined–the scale is so skewed from the explosive growth of the wealthy that it’s hard to tell.
It’s Robin Hood in reverse: the rich are stealing from the poor, gobbling up an ever-greater share of the income.
It was easier to pretend that I was straight before I looked I gay porn. That’s when it all came crashing down. Before then, I could brush it off. I was just excited to make a new friend, I was just looking for new clothes in the catalogue, or I was being a good Christian by not lusting after women.
By seventh grade, kids were looking at porn.
My guys friends at church never admitted it outright, but they did talk about looking at their moms’ Victoria’s Secret catalogues. I was righteously (but silently) indignant. We’re not supposed to do that! Even then, I knew better than to say it out loud.
My friends from school were more vocal about looking up porn on the internet. How does one even find it?! I had not one clue.
Have you looked up homosexuality in the Bible? I have. When I first started to realize that I might be not-straight, that was the first thing I did. I spent the remainder of my childhood closeted and devouring anything I could find online that talked about homosexuality and the bible (and then quickly deleting my history, cache, and cookies).
I don’t know about you, but it took me awhile to be comfortable with not-straightness. Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality by Jack Rogers was a huge help. As was Peggy Campolo’s unequivocal pro-gay position in conversation with her Christian-famous husband Tony Campolo.
I was looking for an explanation, for someone to tell me–to convince me–that it’s OK to be gay. But that’s how addiction, not transformation, happens. I was always looking for the next hit to remind me that I. am. ok.
I’ve yet to find the magic bullet, the article that will settle the debate once and for all, for everyone everywhere. Have you?
Instead, what I’ve found is that transformation is incremental, it happens in conversations and relationships, in actions and interactions. I never found the ultimate explanation of Leviticus 18:22 and Romans 1. I discovered that there is so much more out there.
Do you want to dive deeper? I know that I do.
That’s why my friend Shannon Kearns and I are working on Queer Theology–we’re creating videos, resources, courses and more over at queertheology.com. It’s not quite ready yet but we just couldn’t wait any longer so we’re going to launch a four-week online course to a limited group.
You can signup below and we’ll follow-up with more information or you can head over to Queer Theology to learn a little more.
I’m revisiting the Bible and looking again—with fresh eyes—at what Scripture has to say about gender and sexuality. The story doesn’t end with sadness and shame. Let’s journey together to find what hope, healing, joy, and power looks like.