An introduction to queer spiritual health: Christianity

As someone identifies as a Christian and queer, I’ve been pretty sad about the lack of a voice that queer people have within the Christian community (in the larger culture). Part of why I wanted to start this blog was to discuss openly that queer people have spiritual lives, defining spirituality broadly, be it religious or simply something that gives you a reason to get up in the morning. The larger conversation of our current culture is still grappling with this, especially with the Christian faith.

With Jennifer Knapp’s recent coming out as a Christian musician and a lesbian, the debate was brought back out in front, or at least covered more in mainstream media. When Jennifer Knapp was on Larry King, the talk was very focused on whether people can be Christian and gay. Which of course, thousands of queer people are Christian and have no problem with it. All you have to do is walk in to an open and affirming United Church of Christ church, a Metropolitan Community Church, or a Quaker Meeting (or many, many other deominations) to find queer Christians.

We’ve all heard “love the sinner, hate the sin” from some aspect of the Christian community at some time. Usually, its thrown at you with what feels like fake love. Those saying it claim to be trying to be loving and non-judgmental. Yet, they are still looking to change their queer brothers and sisters. It makes me sad that they can’t see that. While they are not openly hating or being physically violent to queer people, it still feels like spiritual violence to me. Organizations like Exodus International feed out of this idea and cause lasting damage to queer people of faith. Truth Wins Out is a great resource for ex-gay survivors of programs like Exodus International.

Whew! That’s a lot of information. I definitely want to talk more about this later, including other religions, biblical self defense, and more on trans people and religion. I’d especially love to hear about people’s journeys of faith, spirituality, and atheism.

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6 responses to “An introduction to queer spiritual health: Christianity

  1. Great post! If you haven’t seen it already, watch For the Bible Tells Me So. Also check out Mary Lou Wallner’s stuff: http://www.teach-ministries.org/main.html . Also Irene Monroe writes awesome things about queerness, race, faith, and whatever: http://www.irenemonroe.com/home/ .

  2. I was SO excited to hear that Jennifer Knapp came out. When I was in high school, she was by far one of my favorite musicians (although no one topped Tori Amos at the time). I got rid of all my Christian cds when I first came out because I was still Catholic and just about ready to leave the Catholic Church. I didn’t think I had any space in Christianity at all. I am SO THANKFUL to have found a Christian church community that embraces EVERYONE, including me, a woman who also identifies strongly as a lesbian and feminist. I once again bought Jennifer Knapp’s music and have a new found appreciation for her. I LOVE the new album. Anyway, I look forward to reading more!

  3. It’s amazing, isn’t it, how ardently some segments of the Christian church have worked to keep queer people out (or in (the closet), as the case may be)?

    I for one spend much less time trying to figure out whether I can be queer and Christian, than dealing with the rejection I’ve felt from some of God’s self-proclaimed BFFs. And I think that’s where the disconnect lies between the prevailing Christian culture and queer culture: As long as the question of whether people can be gay and Christian stays on the metaphysical level (i.e., Is it existentially possible to be both?), the church will continue to miss the point. I don’t really believe it’s the Christian’s job — as Christian — to work through metaphysical questions. (That work is for the theologians, the philosophers — good work, to be sure, but in a different realm entirely.) Christians are called to take care of those whom no one else is taking care of: As far as I can tell, that’s about it. We are supposed to love people, not question the kind of people they are.

    With that in mind, I’m in the (very slow) process of starting a queer Christian literary magazine. Hopefully it can become a place where metaphysical questions of belonging can be asked, as well as a forum for the sort of incredible art that always results from hope and perseverance in the face of rejection or reticence. I’d love any and everyone with any interest in the subject to check it out, and submit something if they feel so compelled: http://www.stsebastianreview.com.

    Also, here’s a project that was recently undertaken at Gordon College, my alma mater, wherein anonymous gay students describe their experience growing up in the church (I’m number 3): http://www.ifitoldyou.org/

  4. ohhh you know... it's just me

    bravo missy!! my heart is singing!! 🙂 i just want to give this post one BIG, GIGANTIC HUG!! sending you a shout out from a straight friend who wildly, crazily loves Jesus, and who loves the heck out of all my queer friends!!!

    keep shining your light- there’s a lot of darkness out there. my prayer is that those who have felt outcast by the “church” come to know that God holds them close to His heart, and loves and accepts them… even more, He CELEBRATES them just as they are!!

    (and yes…jennifer knapp is simply amazing. the fact that she has come out now just makes her more so 🙂

  5. so much love right now, for you blog, for the commentors 🙂 , for jesus, and for big ole queers. all the time

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