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!
Just a reminder that the Synchroblog is ONE WEEK AWAY! Please go to the link above and participate!
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 , a post on Bodies, and a post on Camp Osiris.
You’ll think differently about this when you’re older. Once you’ve aged a bit you won’t be so radical. This is just the ways things are, you’re never going to actually change it, so why try? Once you’ve been out longer being queer won’t be such a big deal. Why do you always have to bring up queer stuff? Why are you so down on gay marriage? Don’t you see that identity politics just divides us? We’re all one in Jesus, you know.
I could blend in if I wanted to. I have the privilege to walk through the world without anyone knowing that I am queer. I could leave my radical ways behind. I could play nice and not protest. I could take whatever rights I have and assimilate. I could stop talking about being queer. But I won’t. I don’t want to be like everyone else. I am not “just like the straight folks”. My queerness is a verb. It is my bodily challenge to the system that keeps people oppressed.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It’s my queerness that keeps me faithful and my faith that keeps me queer. When I read the story of Jesus I see a story of radical resistance. A community called to the margins. A community that isn’t called to blend in.
In Robert Goss’ book “Jesus Acted Up” he offers some amazing wisdom to queer folks. He says:
“A hermeneutics of solidarity challenges queer Christians to articulate their social and theological commitment to practice the justice of God’s liberation. In solidarity with the biblical oppressed, God’s justice shapes their lives as they practice God’s compassion. It transforms their political practice for justice into God’s liberative practice.” (“Jesus Acted Up” 105-106)
My liberation as a queer person is wrapped up in the liberation of people of color, of women, of indigenous people, of poor people. My liberation is contingent on their liberation. And all of our liberation is dependent on an overturning of the whole damn system.
“For queer Christians, God is the justice-doer in raising Jesus to the queer Christ. God identified with Jesus’ practices, his conflict, and his execution on the cross. God embodied justice-doing in Jesus’ basileia practices. God transformed Jesus’ basileia practice and death into liberating power. God transformed the lethal silencing of Jesus into the liberating word of the risen Christ, God’s practice of compassion and justice in the social world. God empowered Jesus as the Christ at Easter. Jesus’ message and practice were no longer muted. The Christian Scriptures become the voice of God’s promise of liberated practice. As queer Christians retrieve the Jesus material as a source for their critical practice, they discover a powerful, subversive memory of Jesus. It is a dangerous memory of God’s insurrection against human oppression.” (“Jesus Acted Up” pg 109)
This means that marriage isn’t enough. Safe bathrooms aren’t enough. Overturning voter ID isn’t enough. Certainly it’s a good start, but it’s not enough. That’s why I can’t blend in. That’s why I can’t stop being radical. That’s why I am a thorn in the side of people of privilege. And here’s the thing: when we erase people’s identities we don’t get closer to freedom. Instead we get silence and homogeneity. I don’t want to live in a world that doesn’t celebrate the things that our uniqueness brings to the table. I don’t want to settle down.
“What Jesus preached is God’s insurrection against human cruelty and oppression. The subversive memory of Jesus’ death and the event of God’s solidarity with Jesus keeps alive not only Jesus’ suffering…but also solidarity with the oppressed.” (“Jesus Acted Up” pg 110)
But it’s even deeper than that: I know how easy it is to stop fighting. I know how easy it is to become the oppressor, to get my rights and run. To work on the easiest fight instead of the most crucial one. I know that sometimes I just want to blend in. And I’ve seen it in the queer movement. I’ve seen the way we’ve gone from Stonewall Riots and ACT UP to corporate Pride parades and moneyed political lobbying. I’ve seen how those who still get angry are told to temper their anger because “it’s not good for the movement” and how those who try to bring up intersectionality (or anything other than the “approved” talking points) are told to wait a little longer, that the movement will come back for them. And I see that in myself as well, the desire to have things be easy. Then I remember the call of Jesus and I try to fight another day.
“Critical engagement is not merely resistance; it is proactive struggle for political change. It is radical engagement of Christian practice, acting in public as a witness to God’s reign It is the practice of resurrection, God’s uprising against the political death of Jesus.” (“Jesus Acted Up” pg 124)
So this is in praise of the subversive queers. This is in praise of the person with the first tattooed on their arm. This is in praise of those who continue to protest even when protesting has gone out of style. This is for those who raise their voices when others tell them to be quiet. I praise the people who use in your face tactics when people around them are calling for tact. I praise the anger in the face of injustice and those who manage to hang on to their loves when everyone around them is telling them to stop. I praise the rebels and the rabble rousers. The insurrectionists and the guerrilla artists. I praise those who raise hell in their corner of the world.
I put my fist up to all the people who are being as subversive as they can be. I stand in solidarity with you. Don’t let anyone tell us we can’t change the world.