Friday, September 16, 2011

Sacred Distinctiveness (Leviticus 19:1-2)

Our God told Moses to tell the entire Israelite community these things:
Be holy, for I, your God, am holy.  Leviticus 19:1-2

For ancient Israel the call to holiness is a call to be separate and different. To be holy is to be set aside by an internal orientation that is not necessarily shared by the broader society. The call to holiness – to be dissimilar – is a call to deep and abiding diversity which marks me separate from you.

For centuries the conformist traditions used these texts to curtail variety and uniqueness. Yet, here, in the book which is used by some for the purpose of making us all the same is the central invitation to sacred distinctiveness.

How wonderful that in our queerness we are called to be different, even as God is different. If we have missed our spiritual role model it may be that we have looked in the wrong place. Over the years I have searched out gay mystics, gay ministers, and a host of other more creaturely expressions of spiritual queerness. Only of late have I turned to the Sacred as that expression.

God is distinctive, as the oceans are distinct from the forest, the arctic regions divergent from the tropics. As an “other,” God is aware of the misconceptions and misperceptions experienced by minorities. Often the target of stereotypes, the Sacred is well acquainted with the taint of being singular.

This is our call as well. Let us orient ourselves to life by our internal compass.
Here, at last is my model for queer spirituality – the God who celebrates sacred distinctiveness and invites us into the celebration of diversity.

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