Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sexually Transmitted Disturbance (Mark 4:26-29)

Jesus said further, “The reign of God is like this: a sower scatters seed on the ground, then goes to bed at night and gets up day after day. Through it all the seed sprouts and grows without the sower knowing how it happens. The soil produces a crop by itself – first the blade, then the ear, and finally the ripe wheat in the ear. When the crop is ready the sower wields the sickle, for the time is ripe for the harvest.”               
                Mark 4:26-29

Faggot by Jessicuhh Sophia
Of all the parables we have encountered this one may be the most accessible to sexual minorities. The image of a seed sprouting and growing mirrors for many a queer person their sense of being different. Our straight friends have never had to give thought to the dynamics of coming-to-terms then coming-out. Rarely has their sexual feelings been questioned, or shamed, or held in contempt. If anything their heterosexuality has been an unconscious key to their acceptance by family, friends, and co-workers. Rarely does being straight cause a disturbance.

Queer folks on the other hand, have had to come to terms with how our being different can cause a disturbance to either ourselves or to others, sometimes both. At first it may be just the seed of the thought that we are not like others. Some can articulate this feeling of “otherness” quickly. For some the thought remains nascent and ambiguous.

This seed/feeling begins to take shape. We realize that our sense of “otherness” begins to define how people relate to us. The artist Sophia writes this about her photo: "I had this idea with paint and I wanted to write Faggot on him, nothing to do with him actually being gay, he just offered to do a shoot with me. I do have an idea of painting CUNT on a girl, maybe BITCH too, REDNECK on a white person, NIGGER on a black person. And just have the photos lined up next to each other. Just how society paints descriptions on people, and also how those same people believe those descriptions." Little wonder that Sophia also provided the title for this post.

In the midst of lables and roles fears of acceptance or rejection, of love or hate, of communion or loneliness stir. In this mix as the sprout now takes on the form of a plant self-identity emerges. I am gay. I am lesbian. I am transgender. I am queer. I am asexual. I am intersex. I am bisexual. I am straight, but not narrow. I am these things by my internal compass, but am I also these things due to society's labels? This is the distrubance to ourselves.

When our little seed of a feeling bear's a harvest, we might call our fruit love, or acceptance, or dignity, or community, or congruence, or understanding. I would use the word Pride. We become proud and take joy in being “other” and celebrate our otherness as a gift from the Hand of Life.

According to Jesus this is what the empire of the Sacred is like – a seed, a nascent impression or feeling. We usually don’t experience empires built out of such inconsequential things. Empires are forged by armies and egotistical minds. But not so with the empire of the Sacred, it is organic like a seed. It takes time to sprout. It lives to bear a harvest. This empire does not exist to serve itself. This empire exists to feed the hungry.

As queer people we have been known to hunger for a morsel of peace in the midst of our sexually transmitted disturbance. God’s empire is for us, indeed for anyone left out and left behind by the empires of sexual conformity and conditional love.

“Like a seed,” Jesus intones at the beginning of several of his parables. Small. Humble. Like the unassuming sense that somehow we are different. The kingdom of God and the discernment of being queer, both prepare us to be ripe for the harvest, so that others will not hunger.

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