Thursday, February 21, 2013

Prepare for the Haters (Luke 12:39-40 // Matthew 24:43)

(Jesus said) “Understand this: no homeowner who knew when a thief was coming would have let the thief break in! So be on  guard – the Promised One will come when least expected .”
Luke 12:39-40 (Matthew 24:43)

Hate Crime Against The Queer... In The Future by Petrus-Emm

When I engage this parable I hear Jesus of Nazareth saying, “Look there are people in this world who will think nothing of hurting you. Take precautions so they don’t succeed.” This is the same advice I give to my children who are a bit na├»ve when it comes to understanding ulterior motives: “Be aware, be prepared.”

This is good advice for queer people as well. As acceptance of sexual and gender minorities and our allies grows wider, opposition by our detractors and the rhetoric of hate also grows sharper. The last vestiges of irrational anger and abhorrence will never fully accept us as full an expression of human experience as is heterosexuality and binary gender differentiation. We need to acknowledge this reality and prepare accordingly.
The work by the Portio Rican artist Petrus-Emm reminds us of the disfiguring and dehumanizing aspects of hate. By adding "In the Future" to the title of the work he also reminds us that hopes for a queer utopia of total acceptance is more fictional than real. That’s the wisdom of this “parable of crisis”: prepare appropriately against those who would do you harm.
What is appropriate is, of course, up to you to discern. For some appropriate preparation is self-understanding and holding it safe. For some appropriate preparation is public expression of internal realities. For some the family becomes an important anchor, while others need to seek out friendship circles and families-of-choice. We need to undertake the arduous work of discerning what sustains us when the haters are on the move.
Petrus-Emm's motivation for the featured piece comes not from hate that arises in straight circles, but from hate that arises in the queer community. "I've seen how the gay community destroys itself with envy and hatred to each other. There is discriminatory behavior even between gays, adding more and more labels to name different lifestyles... " The artist is taking appropriate action against the envy and hatred within our community by addressing it in a very public manner.
The lesson is still applicable - be prepared. Detractors are located in all facets of life. Choose ahead of time how you wish to encounter them.
Now, those reading this blog who are also lovers of Christ no doubt noticed that I’ve not mentioned the Christological slant of this parable, “The Promised One will come when least expected.” I have not mentioned this slant since it appears to be an addition to the parable by the writer of the gospel. My intention is to encounter the parable as it might have been engaged by its first hearers.
Still, there is wisdom in this slant, albeit, not the “keep your eye on the sky for Jesus’ return.” The wisdom behind this slant lies in the wrestling of the community of faith to appropriate the teachings of one generation (Jesus will return immediately) into the experience of a later generation (we’ll still waiting for Jesus).
Queers of faith wrestle with the fruit of millennia of hetero-centric interpretation of the bible and sin that are not favorable to us. It is up to us to help our communities of faith to wrestle with previous understandings that are no longer helpful or healing – whether it be anti-queer texts, or other distorted interpretations of the bible.
The wisdom of the parable is to be prepared for haters. The wisdom of the slant is that sometimes these haters come in the guise of the teachings and understandings of a previous generation.

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