on being a queer who preaches

Confession time: I’ve always felt a little sheepish about leaning into queer theory or identity as a lens for theological interpretation, as though “I can do theology without needing to rely on those dimensions of identity to interpret the actions of God in the world.”

But I realize that this position is just as much about my lingering internalized shame around my queerness as it is my desire to hold to a “prisca theologia,” a “pure [i.e., orthodox] theology,” as though I would ever somehow be exempt from the condition inherent to humanity, namely, that humans understand God as conditioned by their social, political, and cultural lenses.

But to deny this dimension of experience is to deny a large part of what it actually means to be human. We each have our own endemic languages and experiences that allow us to perceive and understand the work of God in the world.

My clinging to what I thought was “orthodoxy” is what made me feel “okay” for a long time, to the detriment of finding ways of expressing my experience of God in ways that actually convey what it feels like to experience God’s action in the world.

Which is why I feel the need at this point in my life to lean a little more deeply into “queerness” as one of the lenses through which I experience and interpret reality, as a dimension of my embodiment in this lifetime.

I’m in the middle of some deep work around internalized shame with respect to this part of my humanity—shame which I’ve done a good job of projecting out into the world around me, sometimes not in a constructive fashion.

Healing from years of internalized shame is an ongoing process and I can’t pretend I’ve got it figured out in the least, but one of the best ways I’ve learned to do it is by being vulnerable.

And it’s why I decided to write my sermon for tomorrow, Pride Sunday, in a “queer” direction, considering the way that the very experience of Divine Grace transcending and defying our expectations about how grace “should” work—in other words, defying a rule for the sake of greater love—can be understood as a “queer” act, in the ancient, holy, Other sense that is inherent in that English word.

And my hope is that I’ve somehow figured out a way to translate this experience of grace into language that, well, people like me can understand. I don’t know, but, I trust that the Holy Spirit will do what She does with my feeble attempt to snare the Wild Goose in a net of words. She won’t be had so easily!

tl;dr I’m really excited about my sermon for tomorrow, please come to church because i can’t wait to share with you more about how love changes everything, yes I’ll post it here afterwards