Faith and Sexuality

a week with the queers

a week with the queers

Okay, so maybe the title and header are a little misleading. It was four days. And we stayed in cabins, so I guess it doesn't *really* count as camping, but the prevailing idea remains, and I think it's really important to write about it and talk about it.

As a queer person, and specifically as a queer Christian who grew up in a lot of conservative Christian circles, I went into this four day glamping trip with exclusively other queer people with an odd mix of sheer excitement, trepidation, and wonder. I mean, when you really think about it (and when I would tell people about what my plans for the end of July were), it does sound a little crazy doesn't it?

I was about to fly from Minneapolis to Nashville to go to "queer summer camp," as we had all collectively dubbed it, with about 15 other queer people that I had only otherwise met on the internet, specifically from Twitter. Sure, many of us had interacted extensively online before and many more of us had FaceTimed each other or otherwise gotten the chance to spend time together virtually, but this four day trip was going to be the first time that many of us would be meeting each other in person. And for me, it was going to be the first time I would be meeting any of these people in person.

this summer is sacred

this summer is sacred

Something I noticed recently is how we often don't pay all that much attention to the progression of the calendar year, because for the most part, it's become mostly irrelevant. We say that the first of January signals the beginning of a new year, but because of how central the school year is to so many of our lives, whether we're students, or parents of students, etc., the beginning of the calendar year usually feels a little more like the middle of the year, with Christmas break and all.

Likewise, summer often tends to feel like the end of the year, with the end of summer relaying that the school year is about to start again. That's generally when I feel like the majority of us tend to feel like we're approaching a new year, as the fall rolls around.

Despite our general indifference/ignorance towards what actually constitutes the beginning or end of a given season, I've found myself acutely aware of just how many months have gone by over the course of 2018, and maybe that's why this current summer, the summer of 2018, feels peculiarly sacred.

when you have to leave them behind

when you have to leave them behind

If you know me or have been reading along with me for a while, you already know a few things: there's this really long, complicated relationship that I've been in the process of sorting through and getting over, there's something about the intersections of the sacred and secular that really speak to me, and there's something I always love about a good metaphor. You probably know a few more things too at this point, but those are the three I'm sticking with this time around.

Now, if you follow me on Twitter at all AND follow me on here, you might be a little jarred as you go back and forth, because apparently Twitter is where the sarcastically dry part of my personality resides, and around here is where the contemplative part of me lives. But something I read on Twitter the other day put me back in that reflective position, thinking about how sometimes we need to leave people behind as the absolute best choice we can make for them and for ourselves.

What got me thinking about all this was this tweet from Jonathan Martin I came across the other night.  The part that stood out to me goes like this:

Sometimes God is leading you to a place where other people who have been important in your life cannot follow.

guarding your heart isn't very christian

guarding your heart isn't very christian

You could probably blame it on a lot of things at this point, the entirety of the atmosphere of Pride Month, the release of Queer Eye season 2, actually having time to myself (a full month after finals ended), or a myriad of other things, but there's been a lot on my mind recently. And perhaps more than anything, I've been thinking about relationships again, since it finally doesn't sting too badly.

Something I've been realizing as I've been reflecting on the last six months without this boy and how everything between us ended, is that so often as Christians, we're socialized to do romantic relationships in an unhealthy manner. I'm an Enneagram type 2, and in many ways, I think that Christian culture has socialized so many of us into doing relationships like disintegrated 2s, and I think what it comes down to is this: the entire cliche notion of, "guarding your heart" that you probably heard so much about growing up, isn't very Christian at all when you boil it all down.

reclaiming worship music for the queers

reclaiming worship music for the queers

If there's one common thread that's been running through this entire year of 2018, it has to be the fact that everything about this year feels incredibly different and new than any other and in a different way than any other, something I've already talked a little about

Something that's been a big part of this unfamiliarity is perhaps how I finally found my way back to church and how it's finally become something meaningful again. I write a lot about being queer, and if you follow me at all on Twitter, you'll notice that I tend to float around the queer, progressive, #exvangelical circles. Those places have provided me virtual community I've never been able to find before, and at the same time, I know that my faith is still an integral part of my life and who I am. And for all the ways and times I've been burned by Christians and the church, there's something deep inside of me that reminds me that isn't who God is. And so I'm still here. I still call myself a Christian, albeit hesitantly sometimes, just because I know of all the different connotations and pictures people will get in their head associated with that word. But if there's been anything about organized Christianity that's been particularly sticky for me (anti-queer theology and the like aside), it's worship music and the often problematic relationship Christians have with it.