Participating in this synchroblog today – follow along and join in – thanks to Anarchist Reverend for the idea. Really inspired by this vision of transformational community & church, that is provoked via queer theology and trans* experience.
Queer became a little and then a lot wonderful for me the year two good friends fell in love and announced it to the world. They, in their enjoyment of and seeking out of safe places to be together in Belfast,introduced me to queer art. During these encounters I experienced acceptance, encouragement and permission to explore, ask questions and articulate things I had maybe previoulsy kept to myself.
At the same time I began to pursue liberative sacred text interpretations and theologies for bodies, gender and sexuality for some writing I was doing and I discovered to my delight and gasping, thirsty relief some of the most inspiring progressive thinking, worship and encounters – too many to all include here, but here is one of the most important:
Re-membering My Body
I became aware in my experience as woman and as a sexual being, that oppression was written upon my body; in terms of beauty, in terms of sexuality, in terms of prophetic role and in terms of violence. My body was a site of struggle and was also used from a place of privilege as white, perceived heterosexual, attractive, educated and wealthy to oppress other bodies who were excluded. A sense of dis-ease with the body and dis-memberment and dis-embodiment pervaded mine and others experiences, and my limited sexual theology and education, the gender norms I was prescribed and the theology and revelations of faith I was taught, exposed and served to reinforce these wounds.
The queer God & Christ revealed themselves as subversive divinity through the voices of the excluded; the queer theologians who have been & are very busy queer-ying the Christian inheritance.
This Christ body, impaled on a crucifix, essential image and icon; has been distorted by theology and teaching that urges us to forget the body, leave lust and the flesh behind. This Christ body is also a site of struggle; is unstable, where meanings and understandings have been afixed and prescribed and yet known and unknown. The Christ body in the gospels is both present and absent, within and upon the body is torn flesh, wounds, blood, sweat and tears and the revelations of the transfiguration, the eucharist and the ascension among others hides the body and reveals the body in many ways and with many meanings.
The appearance/disappearance structure of Christ’s resurrected body serves to emphasize the mediation of that body – its inability to be fully present, to be an object to be grasped, catalogued, atomized, comprehended. The appearance/disappearance serves as a focus for what has been evident throughout – the body as a mystery, as a materiality which can never fully reveal, must always conceal, something of the profundity of its existence – Graham Ward
As a body theologian, I have encountered the queer God in a calling to recover and re-member the/my body via a queer incarnation: a peeling back of the norms, prescriptions and regulations inscribed upon it that bring harm, pain, oppression and injustice.
You have united divinity with our dust…a doctrine so concerned with God made flesh must be concerned with the body in every sense – Marguerite of Navarre
It’s not easy, not easy to shake off what has been and is trying to be written upon my body, but I find myself scared, daunted, curious and excited as I recover and re-member, what is my body, what stories does it tell? How do I bear the divine image? How do I heal, become whole, become embodied? I am nowhere near any of these discoveries, but committed to exploring. The queer God has given me a call, that I believe can really change the world, and it’s times like these we really need to hope in something that might change the world…
We must be brave enough to live with and love difference whilst sharing in the subversive revelations of the incarnation, we must strive in the face of those who wish to remain certain, powerful and privileged, to set our bodies against the systems that not only isolate and alienate, but also placate and stagnate us. We must be conscious to embrace the divine within and between us revealing the tension of revelation and mystery, presence and absence, the now and not yet.