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Posts Tagged ‘Queer’

Maundy Thursday

There are only a few minutes left before this day is over, but I realized this evening that it’s time to share something I wrote last year on Maundy Thursday.

Even a few weeks ago, I didn’t think I’d ever share this poem. It still sat too close to my heart. In some ways, sharing this poem is also a coming out. Not that I’m queer. I think I’ve already made that clear.

I am a person of faith. For my world to make sense and my life to feel like it actually fits who I am in my innermost being, I am queer and I am a person of faith.

Maundy Thursday last year was when I knew that I could no longer just be one of those things. I had to accept. Otherwise parts of myself.

Saturday night, I am being confirmed in the Anglican Church of Canada, because that is the place where I have found a home and a community of faith that affirms and celebrates all of who I am.

To Patrick, Alastair, Bill, Gillian, Kevin and all of my church family at St. John the Divine (there are too many to name, but Michael and Paul get special mention since they convinced me to come to last year’s Maundy Thursday potluck and service), there really aren’t enough words to say thank you for welcoming me and helping me find my way back home. Instead I share the words I wrote last year on Maundy Thursday.

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Maundy Thursday at St. John the Divine

The altar stripped bare

each piece carefully and thoughtfully removed

layers peeled away

harsh, barren surfaces

and yet …

 

The light dimmed

The sanctuary in near darkness

and yet …

 

I cannot look away

I long to stand up

to walk out the door

to return to the life

I’d chosen away from

all of this

and yet …

 

As my soul is stripped bare

tears of anger and bitterness

of regret and heartbreak

stream slowly down my cheeks

and yet …

 

I cannot look away

I long to stay and never leave

this moment

and yet …

 

I’ve never felt so broken

and yet so completely whole

so lost beyond hope

and yet so relentlessly found

so without a single word to speak

and yet so full of truth undeniable

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It’s Time

It’s time

 

Time for me to make clear

Something I thought

Was obvious when I wrote

The Price of Hate

 

Most understood

Some asked questions

To clarify rather

Than make assumptions

 

On that day

And on the days since

I have felt

Unconditional support

And love

Overwhelming love

Healing love

Soaking in to places broken

For far too long

 

But today

In the midst of

Bathroom bills

In the aftermath of

Orlando

In the facebook posts

Run rampant

It is apparent

Some of you missed

What I said

Or ignored

What I said

Or forgot

What I said

Or didn’t care

What I said

 

So let me be

Perfectly

Crystally

Entirely

Explicitly

Proudly

Clear

 

I am not straight.

 

I. Am. Queer.

 

Perfectly

Crystally

Entirely

Explicitly

Proudly

Queer

 

It is not your business

To know why I claim

That particular word

I am a private person

My sex life

My love life

My romantic desires

Are none of your concern

 

It is enough for you to know

 

I am queer

 

And have always been

Even when I didn’t

Acknowledge or

Understand or

Speak that truth

 

So when I say

What I need to say

In this moment

Today

I hope your ears

Are open to hear

 

You are someone who

Matters to me

Whose friendship

I value

A relationship

I hope

Can continue

 

But …

 

When you speak hate

When share hate

When you keep silent

In the face of hate

Toward anyone

Who is

 

Lesbian

Gay

Bisexual

Transgender

Asexual

Aromatic

Pansexual

Intersex

Gender Fluid

Gender Neutral

Two Spirit

Non-Binary

Queer

And any other letter

In the gloriously

Rainbow coloured alphabet

That makes up

The people I claim as siblings

 

When you tolerate hate

Against my family

You are speaking hate

Against me

 

It is not

Against an unknown evil

With an agenda

Contrary to God’s will

You are spewing hate

At someone you

Have known for years

Someone you once called

Family

Classmate

Student

Colleague

Youth Leader

Mentor

Pastor

Friend

Or whatever other label

You choose to apply to

What we shared

What connected us

 

And yes

Sharing posts

Making comments

Supporting political movements

In the name of religious belief that

Vilify

Misgender

Stigmatize

Deny rights to

Denigrate

Dehumanize

Is speaking hate

 

You are entitled to

Your theology

Your belief

Your point of view

Your fear

Your emotional reaction

To something you

Don’t understand or

Don’t experience or

Don’t acknowledge

 

You are not entitled

To use any of

Those reasons

To lessen

The innate value

Of another human being

To take away rights

To block protections to

Ensure safety

To make someone else’s life

Harder to live

 

Be grateful

For the privilege

You have never needed

To realize you have

 

Use that privilege

Make the world

Safer for all people

Do what the God

You claim commanded

Act justly

Love mercy

Walk humbly with your God

Defend the oppressed

Love your neighbor as yourself

 

If you can’t

If you won’t

Don’t be surprised

When I decide to

Prioritize the well-being of

My rainbow family

Over your need to

Prove you are

Righteous and faithful

At the cost of

Our mental health

Our dignity

Our lives

 


 

I’ve never recorded me speaking one of my poems before, but it is too easy for people, especially within the Christian community, to share and make what they think are “innocent comments” without realizing the impact it has on real people that they actually know. I read one too many of those posts recently and decided it was time to make clear where I stand.

 

For those who are prepared to engage in respectful dialogue, I welcome your thoughts and am prepared to engage in that conversation with you. However, please be aware that your “theological questions” are my day-to-day life.  As such, I retain the right to disengage from the discussion and/or block your involvement, if the conversation turns from respectful engagement and generous spaciousness.  (Thank you to Wendy VanderWal-Gritter for encouraging healthy dialogue!)

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I wanted to do this
In my own time
To wait until I was ready
Until I had the answers
Rather than questions
I’m still asking myself

I wanted to do this
When I felt secure
To wait until I’d talked
With those I owe
Deep levels of trust
To share face to face
Or at least Skype to Skype

I wanted to do this
After I’d told my family
To wait until the perfect moment
Had revealed itself
And I was ready for
Every potential response

I wanted to do this
When I knew how to explain
Forty years of truth
Buried so deep
All I knew was brokenness

There is an awkwardness in
Maintaining silence
My safety net of procrastination
Wrapped tightly
Trying to contain the
Chaos of rediscovery

But something happened

Ten thousand children
Thrown away
And my silence feels like complicity
My safety net of waiting
Feels wrapped around my throat
Taking away my breath
Cutting off the words I ache to speak

There is no right time
I may never be ready
I may never be able to explain
There is only the moment now
And in this moment
My safety net must unravel
Else I lose the ability to speak

Heart broken

Ten thousand children
That’s how much some people hate
People who also claim belief in a god
Whose very scriptures teach
Love your neighbour as yourself
Care for orphans and widows
In their distress

Ten thousand children
Starving and in need
Support ripped out from
Under their precious lives
An act of hate
Called righteousness
In the name of protecting
Orthodoxy
From the scourge
Of homosexuality

How can people
Called to be like the god they claim
Who has named himself Love
Hate us at such a price to
Ten thousand children

Tears fall as words flow
Years of learning
Straight was right
Queer was sin
My heart breaks
Am I the only one
Who feels the stab of
Soul-crushing guilt
As if my existence
Is somehow to blame for
Ten thousand children
Dropped in a heartbeat of hatred
When one organization
Makes the tiniest movement
Towards acknowledging our rights
As human beings
Created in the image
Of the divine

This is also the price of hate
But unlike ten thousand children
I have a choice
I will not pay their price
I will not take on that guilt
Being queer does not
Equal broken
Nor does it mean excluded
From the faith of my childhood

I will stand up
I will proudly claim my truth
I will meet their fear
With love
For myself
For the world around me
Even for those who hate
Together may we stand in the gap
For ten thousand innocent children

—–

If you haven’t heard about what happened that caused ten thousand children to lose their sponsors through World Vision in the United States because a powerful group of people who call themselves Christians decided fighting against gay rights was more important than caring for the most vulnerable among us, you can read the details here, here or here, just to point you to a few.

I already sponsor a child through Compassion Canada whom I plan to continue sponsoring until she ages out of the program. I am pondering sponsoring another child through World Vision Canada which follows Canadian laws regarding non-discrimination.

You’re also welcome to visit my other online home at Poeming Out where this will also be posted.

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