I’m a queer Christian – and the Christian part is important.

This is part two of two – if you missed it, start here with I’m a queer Christian – and the queer part is important. 


3407749381_595ca12eff_b

Photo: Dave King, Flickr.

The Story we’re told is a story that society tells – subtly, repeatedly, persuasively. But in the Christian world, the story is told explicit, constant and aggressive. In many Christian circles, cisgender, heterosexual and monogamous identity/relationships are not just normal, they’re obligatory.

To say nope, that story doesn’t describe me, becomes then not just an act of deviance; it’s an act of disobedience.

Unless of course, you happen to have been taught the sort of Christianity in which God doesn’t make mistakes. Unless you struggle and question and doubt that God could make you one way, and then tell you to suppress that identity indefinitely. Unless you come to accept and be glad that you can be Christian and queer. Excellent.

The difficulty with being queer though is that you end up without a story to refer to. When you admit to yourself, and to the rest of the world, that The Story society tells of Boy-Meets-Girl-One-True-Love-Forever is not your story, you’re left with a bit of a blank. And a lot of questions.

How does this part of the story go?
What if I feel like I want…?
What do I do after…?
How do I know when to…?
What if someone else…?
Is it okay that…?  

When you don’t find your own story in books, film, pop songs or soap operas – you’ve got to write your own script. And I can’t speak for any other queer people, but I’ve found myself getting it pretty badly wrong. My story so far is full of plot-holes, character flaws, dead-ends and repeats.

What’s gone wrong? Is this what I get for going off-piste? Is this proof that The Story is the one true story, the only way to find fulfilment and contentment?

It’s taken me a while to realise, but I think I’ve cracked it. Saying nope to society’s story, and nope to a narrow version of Christianity’s story, doesn’t mean saying no to God as the guide for my story. If anything, it means I need to be listening much more carefully.

All those questions, they’re questions I need to take to God. 

What now…? What if…? Who says…? Is it okay…? What about…? 
I’m hurt. I’m scared. I’m in love. I’m not sure. I’ve made a mistake. I’m stuck. 

As Christians we’re so used to hearing that people who are living society’s story are meant to take those questions to God, and listen for God’s voice. It can leave us feeling alone when we have those questions in our queer stories. But God isn’t just God of The Story. Our God is God of our stories. All stories. Queer stories.

If we’re Christians, queer or not, we’re not left alone to script our stories – thank God. 

Advertisements

About Claire

@claireylegs Keen on Jesus. Keen on justice. Ministry assistant in the Great North East. Blogger. Find me in: coffee shop / church / pub / bed.
This entry was posted in Recent posts, Sex and sexuality and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to I’m a queer Christian – and the Christian part is important.

  1. “Saying nope to society’s story, and nope to a narrow version of Christianity’s story, doesn’t mean saying no to God as the guide for my story. If anything, it means I need to be listening much more carefully.” Yes!

  2. Bernard says:

    Hi Claire. Thanks for your two part post. I would agree with you that the story you were told by society (which is also told by some streams of Christianity) as detailed in Part 1, is at the very least slightly distorted in various of its aspects. I would also agree that to challenge this distorted story is necessary.

    However, I’m not convinced that to respond to the distorted story by further categorising yourself is the best way forward. By so doing, I would suggest that you are taking up another story, currently being written by various parts of society, which may itself be tinged with aspects of distortion. Personally, I would recommend just sticking with, just a Christian, or, follower of Jesus . . . but also recognising that we also have many other aspects, attributes and characteristics which are integral to our individuality. But that is my opinion, and not yours.

    As previously highlighted by the above commentor, in Part 2 you state, ‘Saying nope to society’s story, and nope to a narrow version of Christianity’s story, doesn’t mean saying no to God as the guide for my story. If anything, it means I need to be listening much more carefully.’

    That certainly is the key. Neither society’s stories, nor certain narrow versions of Christianity’s stories, (nor, I would say, any other story) should be our guide, but only God. The details of his guidance is found, I believe, in the Bible. But then, of course, the interpretive debate begins!

    Anyway, thanks again, and regards. And I wish you well in your careful listening. Bernard.

    • Claire says:

      I guess I’d see ‘queer’ as I’ve defined it as more of an un-categorisation rather than just another category. It’s saying that we’re assumed to be in a category (straight, cis-gendered, monogamous etc) automatically and I’m opting out of it – I’d much rather just be a Christian than be assumed to be a straight Christian, for instance.

      Does that just sound like a cop out though?!

      • Bernard says:

        Hi Claire. I’m sure it is not an intentional cop-out on your part, but I would still say that though you have defined ‘queer’, as ‘… more of an un-categorisation rather than just another category …’, I would suggest it stills comes down to being another category … it is the category that stands outside and across from the particular categories you are opting out of. Also, it is actually a category already being defined by others, and by taking on the additional label of ’queer’ you link yourself to those definitions to a certain extent (and take on their stories), as well as yours.

        Of course, labels and categorisations have some use on certain occasions, and in some contexts, to describe various aspects of our being. But I am of the view that in the context of your post, the negatives of an additional label to ‘Christian’, outweigh the positives. I believe each person is ultimately unique anyway, and so I’m not convinced it is a good idea to take up such additional labels. In doing so we end up putting ourselves in a box with a certain number of others who identify with the box (or are put in the box by others), but each of whom is quite individual, and different in some way or other, to others in the box to their right or left. We also end up separate from other boxes that other groups construct, and possibly in tension with them.

        For me, it would be more important for us to look to grow in our understanding of the unique person we each are, and then to bring each aspect of ourselves, and the whole, into the light of God. We are far too complex beings to be limited by restrictive labels. That is why I think it is better to stick with the label of Christian, or, follower of Jesus etc, if that is who we are, and not be otherwise designated.

        I would also suggest that the current emphasis on the suggested importance of labelling ourselves regarding our sexuality or gender, may well be another distorted story that society is telling us. Better, in my view, is to stick with the story God tells us in the Bible, though as I mentioned above, we then face the challenge of the interpretive debate regarding the details of that story.

        Trust this response is not too long and makes some sense! Bernard.

  3. Anton Green says:

    I have posted on part 1 but apart from Elizabeth and Bernard there are no other posts and I am surprised as I thought the topic would have generated much more response.

    • Claire says:

      Hi Anton,
      Thanks for your comments. I agree – I expected to cause a little more controversy! What I’ve found though is that many of my own friends and acquaintances have messaged me privately in response, rather than posting public comments, which is in itself interesting. Many have said this is a conversation they’re having or starting to have, and have shared stories or asked for pointers to resources to find out more. So I’m encouraged that people are engaging with the issues of faith, gender and sexuality – but perhaps less keen to do so in a very public forum. Does this ring true in your experience?

      Claire

      • Anton Green says:

        Hi Claire…..I think it does ring true to a certain extent. My main scruple is around how the issue may for some be a factor in undermining faith because it confronts them with the area of biblical interpretation and the concept of biblical inerrancy. I have no wish myself to undermine anyone’s faith and that is the reason I have become a bit more circumspect around who and how I dialogue and debate the issue with. I guess I have benefitted from extensive Facebook debates initiated by Bishop Alan Wilson C of E suffregan Bishop of Buckingham who is campaigning for full acceptance of same sex relating within the church. Quite a few of those debates are pretty full blooded with evident strong feeling from both sides…I did benefit however from having an early exploratory paper I wrote critiqued by a bisexual Christian woman who is in a permanent partnership with another woman who has a brilliantly logical mind. This actually was most helpful to me and assisted me when I wrote my presentation for the leaders debate in my church where I was asked to explain the revised thinking/case for a non traditional view on the subject.

Have your say:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s