*Delivered on January 25, 2015 at the Virginia-Highland Church in Atlanta, Georgia
Life is about questions. Sometimes these questions have answers and sometimes they don’t. Who are we? Why are we here? Do we even matter? These are human questions. On this day, I intend to engage these questions from a queer perspective. The Gospel of John in the first chapter says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” I guess you could say that the Word for me is Queer. There are some who might quarrel with my use of the word Queer. Though this word has a checkered past, I do believe that we serve a God who has a history of taking broken things and making them whole. Today, I will use a primary definition of outside of what is normative to describe Queer.
Circling back to our fundamental questions… Who are we? Why are we here? Do we even matter? I think the answer lies in our origins. I turn my attention to Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning…” Beginnings are a curious phenomenon. To think that there are moments where before there was nothing and then there is something boggles the mind. We always want to know what the cause of a beginning is. I believe that God created the heavens and the earth. In a modern age, such a statement sounds silly or even downright Queer. The problem with God language is that God language is often deficient. The true God is always the God beyond God. The true God is always indescribable, uncontainable and beyond our wildest dreams. I believe that the best way to capture both the majesty and mystery of God is to call God Queer. I believe that God creates us Queer in God’s very image. According to Genesis 1:26, we have far more in common with God than we have ever been given the permission to realize. I believe that our creation in the Image of God is the most important piece of our faith. If we are created in the Image of God, then we are created totally beyond any normative constructions and beautifully and magically Queer. There are no duplicates…there are only Queers. There are many who would call me a hedonist for making such statements, I simply tell them that in all actuality I am an Edenist. Regardless of whether you believe Eden was or is an actual place, there is something to be learned by what took place there and maybe a place to return to.
Why do we spend so much time trying to define our self? Why not be who God created us to be in the first place? We have a false impression that identities, categories, borders and boundaries make us safe. I would disagree. Furthermore, I would argue that there is no safer place for us to be than in the arms of the God that created us to be every bit as Queer as God is. The power of the Queer or should I say the answer of the Queer or should I say the Queer origin of the universe is bubbling inside of us and desperate to come out. Why do we waste our time chasing anything other than what we were created in God to be? Everybody wants to talk about spending time with your Bible. I want to tell people that it is time to spend some time with your self. You are a walking testament to the beauty and majesty of the creator of the universe. You are the living incarnational masterpiece of a Queer God.
There in the beginning…right around Genesis 1:27…God creates humanity male and female. Most people want to talk about this gender construction as a binary. I think they’re wrong. In the beginning, I think that each person had a gender that was unique. God created them male and female in the same person. I have often thought that if their gender was blurred then so was everything else. These first persons would not fit into our lines of race or sexuality or any other category that we have created. These were people who were who they were. They were Queer…just like the God that created them. We better not try to push our lines on them. These folks were free and full of unique non-normative Queer life.
Everything was going great. The first humans were living into all the queerness or holiness that God created them to live in. Unfortunately, the Queer party got busted up. The Queers met a temptation they could not resist. The tempter was a snake…but the temptation was the evil that we all fall victim to. In Genesis 3:5, the snake tells the human, “If you eat of the tree, then you will be made like God…” The human ate the tree and the rest is history. Most people think that the first sin was one of disobedience BUT the reality is found in the factuality that the first sin was in choosing to believe that God could be found in a tree and not in the very place where God has always been…INSIDE OF US. Inside of that Queer creation that we are. Inside of God’s Queer Image that we carry. We are the revelation of the Queer.
I believe all evil in this world stems from a failure to locate and embrace the Queer within. You are perfect. God has made us perfect and we have chosen to chase the normative constructions of this world. We have chosen to believe that our value comes from fitting in. We have chosen to believe that our safety comes from staying in closets of our own construction. Let me tell you something…God never intended for anyone to live in a closet. There ain’t nothing safe about closets. People die in closets. People don’t live in closets. So how do we bust the door of the closet down and get back to that place where all of humanity came from? How do we connect with the Queer that God created us to be in the first place?
In our scripture from Mark this morning, Jesus calls Peter, Andrew, James and John to leave normativity behind. Jesus calls them to be Queer. Jesus calls them to embrace the very Image of God within them. Jesus calls them to fall in love with God. Does anybody know anything about falling in love? I am talking about when your entire body tingles. Does anyone fall in love normally? Do you ever look at the one you love and declare how normal they are? Jesus tells the people that the realm of God is here. The time for love in all fullness is here. The time of life in all fullness is here. The Queer is here.
In the movie Big Fish, Edward Bloom is accused of living in a fairy tale by his skeptical son Will. The interesting thing is that when we live into the Queer that God created us to be…people think that we are crazy and living in a fairy tale. I don’t believe that the wholeness of queerness has to wait until heaven. We can be who God created us to be right now! The realm of God is a fairy tale and you are being called to be the Queer fairies.
Jesus says repent…stop trying to be like everyone else…be who you are. Let go of all the normative identities, categories, borders and boundaries. Repent! Be Queer. Believe the good news. Believe the Queer news that you are perfectly made to be a beautiful Queer creation. Peter, Andrew, James and John dropped everything to find and cultivate this new Queer way being whole.
Later, Paul tells the Corinthians that the present forms are passing away. Stop clinging to all of this shit that doesn’t matter…the present forms are passing away. Leave all the normative borders, boundaries and other bullshit behind…be Queer…follow God.
Friends, we can’t change the world until we are ready to change our self. True social change and social justice begins within. The great theologian RuPaul once said, “How the hell are you going to love somebody when you can’t love your self?” The COURAGE TO BE QUEER is the COURAGE TO CHANGE THE WORLD. Embrace the power of the Queer. Follow Mary, Peter, Andrew, James, John, Paul, Ghandi, Buddha, Malala, Martin and a host of others…BE QUEER…and you will not only discover the Queer within…you will discover the Queer in whose image you are made. Let the Queer Revolution begin today. Walk through those doors with a newfound courage to be Queer. Don’t look back…Don’t turn back…to the way things used to be.
BE QUEER. BE QUEER. BE QUEER. Amen. Amen. Glory. Glory. Glory. Hallelujah and…