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Killing Jesus

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A few months back, I led a time of sharing and healing for victims of spiritual violence.  I asked people who were comfortable to share their experiences with the group.  One particularly heinous story came from an older gentleman, Paul, who described being violently probed in his anus with a crucifix by members of his Catholic high school youth group.  The intention of their attack was to let him see how painful being gay was.

The folks gathered asked me how anyone can morally claim to act in the name of Jesus when such atrocities and violence are consistently committed against queer folk in the name of Jesus.  My gut reply surprised everyone present, and even me,

“We have to kill Jesus.”

My mind was channeling the Death of God movement.  In 1961, Gabriel Vahanian concluded in his book The Death of God that for the modern mind, “God is dead.”  I would propose that queer folk have reached such a point with regards to Jesus in both their minds and souls.

Throughout history, the church has promoted and perpetuated a wholesale campaign of genocide against queer folk.  How can we trust a homophobic racist classist sexist privileged Jesus with our bodies and faith again?  The truth is that we can’t.

The queer folk that I encounter want nothing to do with the traditional Jesus.  They are desperate for something far more real, incarnational, and relational.  It is not enough to change our traditions around so that we can say that we have resurrected Jesus for the queer community.  There can be no resurrection without death.

The traditional Jesus must die.  

Death is often a painful process.  We are forced to rethink and reknow.  Things have to be given up.

In Matthew 25, Jesus states very clearly that what you have done to the least of these, the marginalized, the oppressed, you have done to me.  Jesus not only kills traditional notions of religion as primarily being about egotistical narcissistic ceremony and sacrament, Jesus places Jesus at the very center of the community outside the gates that the religious establishment has left out and oppressed.

We must give up and put to death our notions of a traditional Jesus so that a resurrection might occur.

I am no longer comfortable walking into a church and acting as if nothing has happened or is happening.  We know that queer folk have been and continue to be locked out, denied communion, and brutalized in these spaces.  These sins run the spectrum of institutional Christianity.  We are all guilty.  For the community that I serve, the traditional Jesus is dead.

Our resurrection has come in the form of the Queer Jesus.

We relied on scripture, reason, and experience to kill the traditional Jesus and discover the resurrection of the Queer Jesus, the God who is truly Emmanuel or God with us.  For our people, this is a concept that they can relate to.  The Queer Jesus is not the same Jesus that was used to brutalize and demean them.  We are talking about love.

The Queer Jesus is leading a movement of restoration.

Scripture plays an important part in restoring a Queer Jesus that is devoid of the historical baggage of the traditional Jesus and traditional Christian institutions.  We are told that Jesus is a constant companion of those that our institutions have left out.  We are the ones who got left out.

After the death of the traditional Jesus and the initial resurrection or introduction, this is who we have found the Queer Jesus to be. 

The Queer Jesus is not normative and rejects normativity as something created by humans to reject and stifle the unique queerness of every individual (our queerness being a result of our being made in the image of God).  Our traditions have become far too normative to hold the Queer Jesus and thus we exist outside of the stifling heavy institutions.  The Queer Jesus is deeply tied to the idea that we can only love our neighbor as our self only when we learn to love our self.  We are learning to throw away the traditional language of affirmation and embrace the language of celebration of the Queer Jesus.

Those rejected by traditional churches are perhaps most holy amongst us, because they are following the path of the Queer Jesus, who was rejected by the traditional religious spaces. 

The Queer Jesus is a rescue mission.

A rescue mission to save a humanity that has made God into a sterile normative image rather than a celebration of the image of God that every human being carries.  The Queer Jesus is the essence of love and acceptance for all people.  Due to the incarnation, there is no barrier between the individual and God.  The Queer Jesus is a celebration of a marginalized Christ and a rejection of the privileged Christ.

The Queer Jesus celebrates all people for who they are at their core, queer.

Amen.

 

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