Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to Nebuchadnezzar, “Great Ruler, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If you throw us into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to overcome the blaze and rescue us from your hand. But even if God does not rescue us, we want you to know, Great Ruler, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold that you set up.”
illustration from the Book of Mormon
I consider myself steeped in the long and rich spiritual traditions of judeo-christianity. Yet, I freely admit that the god concepts that inform my relationship to the Sacred are different. Straight god images have only served to block access to the Holy as they are often used as instruments of spiritual bullying.
My image of the Sacred does not fear sex and sensuality. The Holy does not consider it shameful to express a love that cries out to be celebrated. This sense of God and what God is about in creation, needless to say, gets me in trouble.
In one incident it was suggested that I should be immediately fired – not because I’m gay, but because I publicly joked about being a gay man married to a straight woman. On another occasion I was vehemently told that I was setting “the cause” back because a retreat team I was a part of named our event “QueerSpirit.”
The unspoken notion present in these incidents is that the Sacred desires and needs these criticisms delivered to an upstart queer minister; delivered by those invested in heteronormative concerns. Nothing I said or did on these occasions would have raised an eyebrow had the issue been safely wrapped in the straight worldview.
The problem is that I am not straight and I do not care to worship a god who is straight. For that matter I do not care to worship a god who is queer. I prefer to worship the God of all humanity and all creation. For me to worship any lesser god would be an act of idolatry.
In this passage, idols are seen as the bane of uniformed people. Idols served the purpose of picturing the gods, preserving confidence in these gods, and supplying supernatural means for blessing as well as means to avoid disasters. The idol of heterosexuality, as captured so wonderfully in the illustration from the Book of Mormon, certainly provides for all of these amenities in the face of contemporary sexual anxiety. Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego the idol which enamors society simply does not move me to worship.
My views most certainly place me among the heretics. Agreeing with these three heroes of faith, whether or not the one true God rescues me, I will not bow down. I cannot worship something less, no matter how straight acting it is.