Friday, June 29, 2012

Purveyors of Perversion: Queer & Allied People of Faith (1 Thessalonians 2:2-4)

We had, as you know, been given rough treatment at Phillipi, and it was under God who gave us the courage to proclaim the Good News to you in the face of stiff opposition. We don’t preach because of impure motives or deceit or any sort of trickery; rather it was God who decided that we are fit to be entrusted with the Good News, and when we are speaking, we’re trying to please not mortals, but God, who can read our inmost thoughts.                                                                                         
                   1 Thessalonians 2:2-4

Female Thinker, Terrill Welch

Paul and his crew were under pressure. They had a joy to share wrapped in a message of love and understanding. Others apparently had another message, a deceitful and dodgy one. Here’s the problem, which do we heed? If both are presented with the same sincerity and concern what stops me from choosing the dodgy over the fit?

No doubt that from time to time I have chosen the dodgy message. No doubt I chose those messages as they were enfolded in ideas and notions that I found attractive. No doubt I paid a price for my choices.

For young queer persons in whom the tool of discernment is yet to be refined and for whom pressures can be overwhelming the choice is even tougher. After all, messages are coming from family, friends, school, and faith communities. The packages are all polished and well known to us.

Paul adds an insightful criterion for discernment – motives. As I reflect on my own parents’ anxiety over sexual expression I know their motives were clouded by a fear of upsetting God, as well as a fear of embarrassment. The first I can understand as my father was a minister and his religious outlook colored all decisions of the family.

The second is almost unforgiveable. I still wrestle to understand why concerns for what the neighbors thought were more important to my parents then their children’s wholeness and wellbeing. This impure motive still taints the conversations I have with my mother. Her concerns over what the neighbors think continues to push aside her concerns for her daughters and sons.

I also know the other side of this issue. I have encountered, as Paul did, those who hold that I am the purveyor of deceit and trickery. My message is incompetent, and I am a fraud since a queer minister is repugnant. There is not much of a reply one can give to such charges. All that can be said by me and the many other queer ministers who serve the Sacred faithfully is that “it was God who decided that we are fit to be entrusted.”

Again God proves that the channel of transforming love is rarely the places of power and respect. Rather these channels are the struggles of the marginalized and the broken. Here from the margins, as Paul was on the margin, the Sacred entrusts the good news to those who polite society overlooks.

Thinker @


  1. After experiencing the rejection of wife of 36 years - but said she accepted me - claiming she had known since the day we were engaged - accepting apparently as long as I was closeted though still faithful - the fact that I expressed this to her began a downward spiral to complete rejection and exclusion from family life. The pain, emotional burden was unbearable. If, as a mature, educated physician, I was at times at the brink of despair, I can not imagine any young person with confidence and strength to endure without a firmly rooted Faith in the Lord's love - unconditionally.

    1. Amen, my friend. Thanks for sharing some of your story.