Coming out: Questions at the center of Queer Faith

I’ve been waiting to write about my sexuality and my faith for a while, but I’ve always found myself too closeted, to dispassionate, or too fearful, and therefore silent. Now while I’m still very much scared, my long process of coming out to my family and friends being definitely OVER, and having a strong desire to begin using and improving whatever gifts of language that I have, I’m excited to open up this new chapter of my life with all of you.

This is going to be the first time that a lot of you will be hearing about my queerness in depth. This is also going to be the first time a lot of you will hear about my faith. I know for a fact that most of you, QChristian and St. B’s friends aside, this is going to be the first time you hear about these two parts of my identity intersecting. I feel like I’ve done a very good job of compartmentalizing these seemingly opposing parts of my life, really only coming alive when I’m with a very specific group of people, with whom I share faith and queerness and this is something I want to change.

Through this process of writing, I want to center my experiences on questions. I welcome questions. I believe that questions are central to both of these parts of me, LGBTQ(uestioning)IA+ and faith communities alike. Neither exists without questioning. Neither exists without doubt in some shape or form. The process of coming out to myself was painful and rife with doubts about my own perceptions and judgements and value as a person: if my basic role within a community is to be a man who marries a woman to have children with that woman, then what is my value without having the urge to do that?  On the other side, my faith journey has been full of questioning the reality of reality itself, questioning the implications of an almighty being who CARES about my actions and being baffled by questions of whether all of this was meant to happen or not. I can tell you though that together, they bring up a whirlwind of even more painful questions, like

“How the fuck am I supposed to be gay and loved by God at the same time?”

This was the first of those LGBT-oriented faith questions that I wrestled with and it was also the one that I answered with the most satisfaction; God loves me no matter what. It helps now that I don’t believe that being gay or that acting on my sexuality is sinful, but central to coming to those conclusions was the realization that my God is a God who loves unconditionally, and I could be L I T E R A L L Y having orgies involving blood sacrifice and I would still be welcome back into his house the next day (don’t worry mom, I’m not doing any of those things).

Honestly I’m still figuring most of these questions out. Nothing is really concrete for me yet. And that’s okay! Doubt being central to both in the way that it is, I’ve come to accept that my burden is to be especially good at doubting, and searching and questioning and I think this is the same for just about any queer Christian.

This is essentially why I want to write: to force more people to “come out”, and to cast more doubt into the lives of those who are sure about things (including MY OWN). Assurance often a very comfortable place to be, and I’ve found that the people who have assurance about me and my people are often those who find themselves declaring publicly that we shouldn’t be allowed to marry based on 6 very controversial bible verses, or that my trans family shouldn’t use the washroom in public. One area in which I have very little doubt is this: that compassion comes from a place of not knowing, and trying to understand and bring into love nonetheless.

I don’t want to turn this into anything more controversial than it already is right away, so I won’t say anything else just yet. Its controversial enough I think by virtue of who is writing it, and my sexuality and faith. This is merely an introduction to something I’ve been putting off for years and finally have the energy, time and courage to pursue. I hope that you will all hold me accountable to this endeavor and I value your input greatly. So much so, that I would really like to have this project centered on questions from people who want to involve themselves in this. If I can work on this with a community of people rather than something that I am just engaging in myself, then I feel it will be a whole lot more productive for everyone involved.

I’m really excited to work with this group of authors on something that I believe will be eye-opening for a lot of people. I hope this is ultimately somewhat fruitful. I have absolutely no idea where this is going to go, but I’m very optimistic. Bring your doubts and your questions and we will celebrate them together. Faith is not founded in certainty; rather my understanding of my Creator ends with the knowledge that They are a great mystery, and in that mystery is found something. I’m still trying to figure out what that is, but i know it’s incredible. So let’s think about all of these things together. Bring your questions forward; be open about those things you don’t know and we will learn to doubt together. This, i think, is ultimately Church.

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