Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Water to Wine

This is the first straight out piece of poetry I have ever posted hear. That's kind of hard to believe. This piece came to me after seeing an article by the same name on a GLBTQ Christian website. I also reflected on a religious education group I attend at my local Methodist church back in NY, and how much other Christians have to teach us Friends about being gracious.

Water To Wine
The miracle of water into wine is an image of change that has never really spoken to me until now. I thank and dedicate this piece to every liberal Christian I know, of all denominations. You are not afraid to have faith.

There is a billboard close to where I lived that shows water being pored, changing into wine in the glass. Come see a miracle it says, advertising a church I have never been to.

Such a powerful image; water into wine.

I am a generation born of a generation of spiritual refugees. A generation who left the church, or where thrown out, fleeing hate, prejudice, fear, and a God without mercy. Like all refugees they brought with them, memories more painful then they could bare, hidden scars and fear of the dark. I was born into a world without the Bible, without God, without grace. I was raised into a religion that had almost forgotten how to pray. There were rules unspoken here; you do not go the church if you are a woman, you do not go to church if you are a liberal, you do not go to church if you are queer. They will only turn you away.

Come see a miracle.

But God does not rest, or take heed to human politics, and God found me when I was seventeen and afraid. I am a child of a generation of refugees, but this war is ending and times are changing. We are coming back to the Church. Welcomed or not, this space is ours, this grace freely given to us, and God speaks to us too. One by one we are listening. See me, liberal, queer woman that I am, I have faith, and this is my church too. The Church is changing.

Water to wine, come see a miracle.

It is raining grace a GLBTQ Christian blogger wrote when California legalized same-sex unions.

It is raining grace.

We are no longer refugees. We are coming home now.

From water into wine.

It is time to take communion again, and this time we are offering the chalice.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Me, The Bible, and the Question of Sexuality: The Really Short Version

I sometimes find myself in rather an interesting position. I am young, very politically liberal, queer identified woman. I am also very much a Christian, and rather theologically conservative especially for a Quaker. I do a lot of talking with and traveling among other Christian denominations. I am also a dedicated scholar of the Bible. Often therefore I am called to talk about my feeling about the Bible and homosexuality. This is the very short version of the answer I usually give Christians who ask:

First off I am a queer woman. Secondly I am very, very much a Christian. I love the church, I love God and I really, really love the Bible. I love reading it for personal strength and understand of God and also studying it academically.
The first think I notice when I approach the subject of homosexuality and the Bible is it’s really not talked a lot about, given the enter length of the Bible. Secondly at least one of the passages usually pointed to as speaking about homosexuality I believe actually doesn’t. It’s been read that way by the church but taken out of theological context I really don’t see how that’s what it’s talking about. There are some parts of the Bible that are however unequivocally condemning homosexuality. I have no answer for this, no more then I have an answer for the parts of the Bible, about war, murder, blood sacrifice and genocide or God’s rather. I don’t believe any of these things are part of God’s Plan but they are in the Bible.
There is something I do know about the Bible though, and that is that its talks about love a lot. All the time in fact, over and over again, Old Testament and New. The Bible talks about love almost constantly, about love for ourselves, for each other and for God. That I know to be Truth, God’s Truth given to us through the Bible. Love, real love, is wonderful, and beautiful. It heals us, builds us up, helps us to be stronger and better then we thought we could be, it sustains us, and lets us do the work that God meant us to do. That love is God and the Spirit with us every day. That love, I believe, doesn’t worry about sexuality. When love is healthy, consensual and nurturing to us, others and God, it doesn’t matter what gender our partner is. Love is a gift from God and I don’t question the gifts God gives me.
Sin is when we turn away form God and Truth and act in ways that are harmful, unloving and ungracious towards others and ourselves. Anyone can act without grace, no matter what their sexuality. In turn though love that healthy and brings us closer to God is not confined by one sexuality, one kind of experience. I believe that is o.k., with me, and with God.