Last year I put out a call for a Queer Theology Synchroblog. In August the synchroblog happened and it was awesome! So we’re gonna do it again! Here is the official call for this year’s synchroblog!
As we approach the synchroblog I’ve been doing a bit of writing about Queer Theology (and will continue to) until the new synchroblog goes live. I’ve written a Quick and Dirty Intro. to Queer Theology, a post on Why Queer Theology Matters , and a post on Bodies.
Today I want to talk about a project that I am working on that means a ton to me. A couple of years ago, my friend Caidin and I started talking about starting a camp for young adults that would help them to reclaim their Christianity and equip them to change their communities. We started Camp Osiris.
Steam has slowly been building at the camp as we have continued to explore what types of programs are most needed and we have recently shifted some of our focus and rolled out some really exciting new stuff. Yesterday we rolled out a completely redesigned website and announced some of our new programming. We’ve also been creating a community on our page on Facebook; sharing good news stories from around the country. Here is more of what’s happening and some of the thinking behind it:
I have experienced the power of learning to read the Bible with a queer eye and I am passionate about helping other people to do the same. To be able to reengage with a text that has often been used as a weapon against our community and instead to learn to read it in a way so that it speaks to our current experience and provides comfort, hope, and challenge. I am convinced, too, that queer theology is not just for queer folks: that engaging with queer theology can deepen the faith and the experience of straight and cisgender people as well.
At Camp Osiris we wanted to create a program that would help people to uncover the revolutionary queer power of the Bible, that would encourage them to reclaim their own Christian tradition, but that wouldn’t stop there. We want people to identity the changes they want to see happen in their home communities (church, school, neighborhood) and we want to help equip them to go back home from Camp and make those changes. This camp is about more than just dealing with the clobber passages or learning to defend ourselves against Biblical attacks. It’s about reclaiming our sacred text. It’s about uncovering the connections between various forms of injustice and realizing that queer people can work for the freedom and empowerment of people from all communities; that our liberation is intertwined.
We realized that it’s not just young adults who are interested in our programs. So many queer and/or trans* folks never really got to have the “summer camp” experience in a safe place where they could be themselves, so we have added programming for adults.
We have also heard from allies that they want a place to come and learn more about what it means to be a better ally to their friends, to the people they work with and for, and for the people in their church communities. They want resources, but even more than that they want a safe place to ask questions and to be in community with other people who are trying to work in solidarity with the queer and/or trans* community. So now we have one retreat that will have a special ally track programming to equip allies to do this work in their own lives and their communities.
We have also heard from folks who want a queer and/or trans* only space to talk about what it means to be a queer and/or trans* Christian, to grapple with texts, to learn from our own history about being an activist and so one of our camps will be queer and/or trans* identified people only.
When you come to one of our retreats you experience a weekend of great conversation, a lot of laughs, and a powerful community. And when you go back home the connection doesn’t stop. We work hard to stay in touch with campers, to continue to support them in the work they are doing in their home communities, to get them the resources they need and connect them to folks locally (when we can). We want folks to be confident to make change in the communities that they love.
If you want to know more about how to be a part of this great community, please let me know. Make sure to check out the Programs page for more detail about the upcoming retreats (we are still finalizing locations and once we have that information, registration forms and costs will be available).
We would love to partner with churches and other non-profits to both get the word out about the camp and also to see how we can support one another. Caidin and I have done several workshops for non-profits about trans* issues, the needs of queer youth, queer theology, and more. We’re also going to be doing a series of workshops in the new year about community building, grassroots activism, and rural queer issues. We would love to share these experiences with you if they could be of help in your organization.
We would also love for folks to join us financially in being able to offer scholarships to people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to come. At this point, this work is a labor of love for both Caidin and I. We’ve been running the camp without getting paid, and often by paying for things ourselves (although we have had help from some generous donors). We want to be able to offer these experiences to anyone who wants to come without money being a barrier and we need help to be able to do that. More information about that is on the website, but you can also talk to me about that if you or your church/organization is interested.
Please keep us in prayer as we move forward and thank you for your support thus far.
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