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