What is 'Queer Christianity'?

Queer is queer as in questioning, the taking of a query seriously. We may be comfortable with uncertainty in matters of ideas because we seek the certainty of the truths that we know in our deepest heart of hearts, and the determination to be faithful to these truths as we express them in the ongoing story of our lives. In embracing 'queerness', we accept the taunt of 'normal' society that here are weirdness, strangeness, 'questionable' lives but also take pride that our dignity comes from our shared diverse humanity and not from cultural norms.

Queer Christianity works in two ways. It recognises that in the contemporary West, being religious at all is increasingly queer as in weird. How can any serious scientifically inclined person take mythic beliefs seriously, let alone claim them to have some notion of gospel? From being a dominant force in society, still the official religion of the English State, it is fast becoming marginalised and inviting the epithet ‘queer’. At the very same time, there is a growing fundamentalism both in the West and around the world that is ‘conservative’ in the sense of seeking to reassert the values of patriarchy and oppression towards queerness in its gendered and sexual meaning. What then is at stake for queer questioning Christians is the very nature of the gospel and fundamental beliefs of Christianity. From the point of view of this site, the so-called liberalism of contemporary scientific empiricism and the socially conservative reactionary religions of almost any label, are two repressive movements that concrete over the deepest and innermost mystery of our souls for which the gospel is always a protest of the spirit of love, the spirit that calls us to ‘come out’ and speak out of love as our core reality - for Christians a resurrection reality. The gospel of resurrection is not about streets of gold in some future paradise but the promise of new life and the fullness of life in our biological and social lives here and now. It proclaims death to all that is unloving and a rising out of the grave of a graceless existence to embrace Love as the creative and re-creative force of Creation from its centre outwards, a revolution of values from the heart.

 

In most respects, Quaker Christianity embodies all the values of queer Christianity, and in matters of sexuality, their document that is to be found in the Religious Society of Friends book of discipline, ‘Faith and Practice’ is unsurpassable. Indeed this book of discipline began as a series of questions or queries as to the health of its meetings. As Quakers have always held to, its not what we say that matters but how we live, or as Judith Butler, an authority on queerness, might say, truth is always ‘performative’ truth. There is no agreed notion of what constitutes Quaker belief. Instead it holds to ‘testimonies’ of what constitutes the way, rather as in early Christianity in which followers of Christ were known as people of ‘The Way’. It was the Spirit that distinguished them and a faith in its power to bring the Kingdom of God on earth, or as some would have described it, as the way by which we return to the Garden of Eden, the idyll that was originally intended for us to live in. At the outset of designing this website, my writings are included since they provide a philosophy that, in my view, though dense for the casual reader, when ‘unpackaged’ in the form of essays on the blog, will hopefully be useful for ‘Queer’ Christians.

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© 2018 by Stephen Oliver Beasley-Murray