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  • Writer's pictureMetta

Rewinding

In "Queer Liberation Theologies of Latin American, Asian, and African Contexts" taught by Dr. Hugo Cordova Quero, I really valued learning more about global Christian Queer theologies for many reasons. But one important one for me was growing my understanding of the number of queer and trans people that are continuing on in Christianity even with the history of Christianity and colonialism. There is significant ongoing harm being transmitted to practitioners of this faith through a range of harmful messages to Queer and Trans people, and full on rejection and attack of Queer and Trans people from omitting them from congregations and excommunication to supporting violent oppression. I know many people who left Christianity for this reason, seeking out an environment where they would be supported and be able to engage in religious practice without shame, or fear of harm or retribution, and with the ability to proudly be in spiritual community with their partner and their family.


But what about for those who stay?


I needed to "try on" that thought. Try on the concept of "staying". I had decided not to stay, even though I was raised within Protestant Christianity. I left for many reasons, not just messaging I had seen and heard around queerness and transgender existence.


It mattered to meet the many authors of the materials we read for this course. Because for those conveying a personal queer theology within Christianity, it means they stayed. They are still Catholic, or Protestant. Their faith still matters to them, is still important to them, still resonates with them, even while they are pushing back at structures of harm around them. And I really respect that. And what is more, some people are not only creating queer theologies but also creating spiritual space and sanctuary for queer and trans people. While I knew about these kinds of spaces existing, I hadn't really connected with the importance the faith had for these practitioners. Both in their continuing on in their faith, but also bravely being visible and speaking up and spreading their counter narratives to larger trends within Christianity. I really valued knowing that globally there are people continuing on their faith, in China, in Latin America. And knowing also that they are doing this work even if struggles are extreme for some, as danger is very real for some of the people out there doing this work.


Notable in one article was the pastor who had created a queer inclusive space at great sacrifice, but hadn't initially made the space welcome to trans people. Which also points out the hierarchies that exist, the kinds of phobia that exists even within queer community. How even when pushing back, there can still be trends of judging others and omitting some, stemming from the kinds of internalized toxic messages we have continued to receive from structures of domination.


I really appreciated liberation theology getting back to core messages of Christianity that I believe in, and this appearing within queer Christian theologies. Core messages of the sanctity of all. In a loving God. In Jesus being against empire and being with those that had been cast out. Not in trying to change anyone, really instead being with those that have been left behind.


It also got me really wondering more about the history of Christianity before colonization. I would like to commit to understanding more of the early history of Christianity. For example, recently remains were found of an ancient gravesite in England of a woman. She was likely of high status due to the nature of the items found with her, and many of them had Christian symbolism. There is evidence that she might have been an early Christian leader. This increased my curiosity of what Christianity was like before being hand-in-hand with systems of oppression and domination and capitalism and empire, before being connected more with power and control.


Rita Nakashima Brock and Dr. Rebecca Parker wrote "Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of this World for Crucifixion and Empire" and I am intending to read that book now, as a starting point of this inquiry.


I don't think Christianity is "waiting for me", I've done Old and New Testament study. I still struggle with the old and New Testament, in terms of resonating with the material there. I resonate more with the reading of Buddhist Suttas and Sutras, and my deep Buddhist faith and practices. But I want to be able to have more of a way to connect with the bigger picture of Christianity. I engage with many people, queer people included, that have a deep connection to Christianity and it is something that brings them comfort and strength. In terms of chaplaincy, I will continue to engage in people with a wide range of faiths and beliefs, and it's important for me to spend time understanding important currents in faiths separate from my own. I'd like to understand more of how people are seeing and interpreting information, practices, and texts, and creating spaces of inclusion. Not just arguments about text from the bible. And not just spaces of inclusion in terms of inviting everyone in, inclusion in terms of spaces that are primarily queer and/or trans and Christian. The global queer theologies course has been such an important starting point in this for me, and I'm sure will lead my identifying more writings/talks by global queer Christians that are forging new paths. This also includes my engaging more in Black liberation theology and the liberation theology of Latin America and other global movements in expanding my understanding.


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