Archives for August 2011

Guest Post: Christians for Justice Action

This post is part of the Queer Theology Synchroblog. It was written on the occasion of the United Church of Christ’s 28th annual synod. It is a guest post written by Christians for Justice Action.

Imagine What’s Really Possible…
A Vision of the Next Four Years in the United Church of Christ

“So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
- Revelation 3:16

Here at the 28th Synod, we’ve been asked to imagine what’s possible. We’ve been asked to go beyond figuring out how to grow, and to ask what are we growing for? In the years ahead, we face difficult challenges if we are to survive, and though the questions are easy, the answers are not. Leonard Pitts challenges us “to make headlines for social justice,” and indeed, if we are to be faithful to the Gospel, remain viable in the marketplace of ideas, and provide bold spiritual leadership to future generations of believers, Christians for Justice Action suggests that a radical new self-definition is called for.

So in the spirit of imagining bold new futures, we ask all of you: what if we became leaner, smaller, but more excited, and more awake? What if we framed an even deeper theology of prophetic witness, and true justice action? Specifically (let’s say, over the next four years) we see a future…

…in which all our churches are Open & Affirming. [The statement in UCC churches that says that all people are welcome regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. ed.]

…in which we focus our attention on churches that will and do give to the
OCWM.

…in which “God is Still Speaking,” in all our communities of faith.

Why? Because we believe that we’re the one church that actually gets the Biblical mandate of hospitality right. Because we believe we need to feed energy to where we are strong and vital and growing. Because we believe we can no longer afford to be lukewarm.

So what if we faced the future unafraid, without compromising who we are and what we stand for? What if we were willing to face our death head-on in order to find real life? What if all of us who quietly agree with this kind of future, no longer buried it with our doubts and fears, but lifted it up with our greatest hopes?

We’d love to know what you think. Reflect on it, pray on it, and to any or all of you who are moved by this vision, please to reach out to us at justiceaction@live.com, or on the CJA Facebook page. We’ll be back to you with your reactions within the next two months.

In faith,
Christians for Justice Action (CJA)

Here are the list of participants:

Shay writes Queer Theology Synchroblog home.

Brian writes “Why Queer Liberation Must Be Queer Led”

Cindi writes Queer Theology From a Reluctantly Queer Theologian

Gabe writes The Queerness of Christ: And over Or

Christians for Justice Action write “Imagine the Possibilities Four Years From Now”.

Darrel writes “Queer Theology: Outside the Box” at the Blog of the Grateful Bear.

Ken writes Queer Theology.

Peterson writes Lazarus Come Out!

Mike writes Queer Theology Synchroblog #SCEP.

Cindy writes Creative Differences in the Image of God (this link opens a PDF)

Jules writes Being Queerly Forward

Vince writes Loving Promiscuously: A Queer Theology of Doing It

Alison writes Why I’m Queer Too

Sonnie writes God Made Me Queer

Ellen writes Through A Glass Queerly

Queer Theology Synchroblog

Welcome to the Sanctuary Collective Empowerment Project Queer Theology Synchroblog! The original call and idea for this project is here. The full list of participants is below! More will be added throughout the day as their links come in. There’s still time to get in on this, if you’d like to be included, just leave a link with your blog post here.

Growing up my encounter with the Scriptures was fraught with a feeling of failure. I didn’t read the Bible enough. I didn’t follow it well enough. It came down to feeling like I was just never enough. Then, when I realized my first feelings of queerness, even before I could name them, the not-enoughness became more than just a behaviour or an action, it became me. I was the deeply flawed failure. I was the broken one. (Some would later use words like depraved, sick, disgusting to describe me and my body). The Bible wasn’t a comfort, it was a weapon formed against me. It was a measuring stick that always said I wasn’t enough. I remember vividly sitting in a systematic theology class, doing the homework, and thinking this doesn’t make sense.

So I walked away. Put the Bible on the shelf. Sure, I went to church. I even preached occasionally, but the Bible was disconnected from my life. Then I came out to myself and I had to grapple with the Bible. I had to deal with those clobber texts. So I approached the Bible with intellect. I sought to master it and to understand it. I studied and read, and I understood with my head but it never touched my heart.

But even in all of my walking away from the Bible, God pursued me. I found flashes of the holy in the songs of Antje Duvekot, in the love and conversation of Ember Swift and Miranda Stone. I read Jeanette Winterson’s “Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit” and felt understood. I sat in silent sanctuaries and felt God whispering to me.

I went to seminary. Another vivid memory: I am sitting in the classroom reading the story of the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel. And I realize that the resurrection talked about in the passage is physical. Those bodies were brought back to life with flesh and sinew. And I saw myself in the text; dancing with those bodies brought back to life. Suddenly my head and my heart united and there I was in this Scripture text.

I realize the power of queer theology because it saved my faith. My queerness keeps me coming back to the Scripture and it keeps the text alive and changing. But my faith also keeps me queer. I could easily “assimilate”. Marry a woman, never tell anyone that I’m trans* and those would be completely valid decisions. And yet the spirit of God keeps whispering to me saying, “Be queer.” Because the way I understand queerness, as a verb meaning to challenge and to change; that’s the call I get from my faith. To challenge the status quo, to call out the Empire, to work to root out oppression and bring in the year of Jubilee.

Queer theology isn’t just about queer people. It’s about giving all of us permission to see ourselves in the text. It’s about wresting away control over these texts from the powerful, from the privileged, from the rich and putting them back in the hands of the oppressed, the poor, the marginalized because we were the people who wrote those texts in the first place.

The kingdom of heaven is among us rabble rousers, among us queer folks, among us poor and put out. It’s for all of us who feel like we don’t measure up: People who don’t look like magazine models, men who like to sew and women who like sports, bodies that work differently, bodies that love queerly. This message is for all of us because we all feel like sometimes we don’t measure up.

Reading this text queerly can save your faith. It certainly saved mine.

Here are the list of participants:

Shay writes Queer Theology Synchroblog home.

Brian writes “Why Queer Liberation Must Be Queer Led”

Cindi writes Queer Theology From a Reluctantly Queer Theologian

Gabe writes The Queerness of Christ: And over Or

Christians for Justice Action write “Imagine the Possibilities Four Years From Now”.

Darrel writes “Queer Theology: Outside the Box” at the Blog of the Grateful Bear.

Ken writes Queer Theology.

Peterson writes Lazarus Come Out!

Mike writes Queer Theology Synchroblog #SCEP.

Cindy writes Creative Differences in the Image of God (this link opens a PDF)

Jules writes Being Queerly Forward

Vince writes Loving Promiscuously: A Queer Theology of Doing It

Alison writes Why I’m Queer Too

Sonnie writes God Made Me Queer

Ellen writes Through A Glass Queerly

Steve writes In Solidarity

Matt writes A Love That Goes Beyond Welcome

Dirty Sexy Ministry writes Baptized In Dirty Water