queer theology

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.

getting back together

getting back together

Something that you'll know about me if you've known me for a little while is my complicated relationship with the church. You could say that things have been on-and-off for the last several years since coming out, for all the obvious reasons. Calvinism. Complementarianism. Oh, and of course, the bigger kicker, non-affirming LGBTQ theology.

Just the other night, I was sitting in my car, talking to my sister in the driveway about how for about three or four weeks straight immediately prior to me beginning what would become my 3-year hiatus from church, the head pastor felt the URGENT NEED to sneak something into the sermon about how depraved or broken or lost queer people are, by virtue of existing. It didn't really matter that the sermon had been about Peter denying Jesus three times or the Great Commission or some other completely unrelated topic. Apparently, this particular pastor happened to be massively convicted that he had to speak against queer people. Cool. Not relevant. But I guess we'll go with it.

That was the last straw essentially. At that point, it didn't even feel like a pastor reiterating the church's established beliefs on sexuality. At that point, it just felt like a cruel reminder that at this particular church, queer people were certainly NOT welcome, unless of course they were willing to entertain notions of lifelong solitude or conversion therapy.

And so, I left. 

the sacrifices we make, the losses we endure

the sacrifices we make, the losses we endure

Spring and fall are arguably the seasons when I feel the most in tune with my creative and spiritual energy, and this spring, I've been thinking quite a bit about the cycle of seasons and all the metaphorical wisdom there.

Around March and April is when spring typically starts to roll around in the Northern Hemisphere, and spring always brings to mind several different interrelated ideas. Renewal. Revival. Rebirth. Regrowth. Resurrection. And if you notice, all those words have that prefix re- attached to the front (sorry, everyone, this is where my inner linguist comes out), which tells you that it's a return to something, a going back to a previous state. But the underlying connotation there is that there was a departure from that previous state first, and in all those words, the implication is that there was some form of destruction or deterioration or death.  And as with the seasons, I think this same cycle tends to play out in the lives of queer people as we come into our own. I think many of us tend to wade through a season of sacrifice and loss prior to finding renewal and regrowth. 

queer christians, this is why we're here

queer christians, this is why we're here

Recently, I've been doing a lot of sighing. And I've been remarking to myself, either out loud or silently, that I've been really tired lately. Maybe even exhausted. The funny thing is that the fatigue isn't even necessarily physical. In fact, I think I feel the least tired when I'm in the middle of a workout. Instead, I think the majority of the weariness is mental and emotional.

There are plenty of good reasons for that of course. Working in the intersection of mental health and social services, there are endless opportunities to run yourself emotionally dry, and the process of differentiating yourself and your own emotions and circumstances from those of the clients you work with is draining in and of itself. But more than that, I think I've really been feeling the weight of what it means to just be in the world, and a question that often accompanies that weight is the question of why am I here? Why am I, a queer Asian kid studying at a seminary, of all places, to become a mental health therapist, here? Why am I here? 

the white hair era: dyeing my hair and discovering i actually liked myself

the white hair era: dyeing my hair and discovering i actually liked myself

Late last summer, I finally did something I had told myself I was going to do for a long time. It didn't feel particularly profound or significant at the time. In fact, the only significant part of it was the thought that it would take *at least* a few months for it to all grow out again in the event I didn't like it. And if anything, I think it even felt a little childish. So, no, I wasn't running around with lofty philosophical ideas in my mind at the time, but I went ahead and dyed my hair silver/white anyway. I didn't know dyeing my hair was going to change my life.