Thursday, September 27, 2012

God’s Rainbow Realm (Matthew 13:44-46)

The kindom of heaven is like a buried treasure found in a field. The ones who discovered it hid it again, and rejoicing at the discovery, went and sold all their possessions and bought that field.
                Or again the kindom of heaven is like a merchant’s search for fine pearls. When one pearl of great value was found, the merchant went back and sold everything else and bought it.
Mathew 13: 44-46
Untitled Self Portrait with C.B.M. by Kim Leutwyler
Let’s play “word substitute.” Instead of “kindom of heaven,” let’s read “sexual orientation” and “sexual identity.” The parables then would read sexual orientation is like an unknown treasure that once discovered brings great rejoicing. And sexual identity once discerned is as rich and glorious as a pearl of the greatest value.

If you are playing this game with straight friends they will not get how freeing and affirming these parables are. For them, sexual orientation and sexual identity have never been hidden or sought after. It’s hardly a treasure but more of a given constant. For queers, however, the discernment of deep identity markers which set us apart from the (hetero) norm can be either an experience of anxiety or liberation – often a mixture of both. Even more reasons for us to identify with the thrill of these parables. Leutwyler's self portrait captures the sense of  "neediness" which lends urgency to the searching and boundless joy in the finding. 

Yet, while our word game has been campy and a bit subversive, let us be careful. These are not parables of sexual expression they are parables of the empire of the Sacred. However, there is an insight to ponder for we can justly paraphrase the parables as: “The kingdom of God is like discernment among les-gay-bi-trans-queer/questioning-intersex-asexual people. Like sexual orientation, once the kingdom has been discovered there is great joy and peace of the soul.”

These paraphrases point to a broader understanding of God’s empire than traditional interpreters care to undertake. Entering the kingdom as a sexual minority is in part celebrating our sexuality before the face of the Sacred. A transgender person experiencing congruity is a kingdom moment; two women making a home of love and care is a kingdom moment; males’ pleasuring one another in intimate fun is a kingdom moment; a questioning person making discernment is a kingdom moment.

When the kingdom of God happens for and among queer people it must also happen for and among our sexual orientations, our sexual expressions, and our sexual identities or it will not be God’s gracious reign in our lives. In the end our word game may not be a game at all. Rather it is an insight as precious as buried treasure or a pearl of great price – God’s empire is a rainbow realm.


  1. Native American and other aboriginal peoples looked upon gay persons as "touched" by God...they were reverenced and held in esteem.

    1. Wish we might learn a bit from our interfaith sisters and brothers. There's some evidence that parts of early Christianity (up to the medieval ages) were much more tolerant than what we assume.