Friday, April 12, 2019

Not a Blip on the Radar, but Still... (Exodus 3:7)


"If who have been told you don’t measure up, or you don’t fit in, or your kind is no good, or God hates you, then you know the type of moral injury I am referring too."


Then the Lord said, "I have observed the misery of My People in Egypt, and have heard them crying out because of their oppressors, and I know about their sufferings."
Exodus 3:7 (HCSB)


Recently I’ve had to wrestle with the “why” of this humble blog. I find that a good question to come back to after starting it nine years ago.

The blog itself was the outcome of a failed book. Way back then I had the notion of writing a book of devotions for the queer community encompassing one passage of scripture from each of the sixty-six books of the Protestant bible. After shopping the book idea around to a number of queer-friendly publishers, it became clear that no one wanted to touch a manuscript that promised to sell all of four or five copies.

I asked myself, Why a book? Why that format? I realized it wasn’t a book I was after. What I was after was a place where sexual and gender diverse people could come and find the good news of God’s infinite love from a corpus of sacred texts that are often used to suppress naturally occurring romantic feelings. Of course, behind this desire was my own pain. If who have been told you don’t measure up, or you don’t fit in, or your kind is no good, or God hates you, then you know the type of moral injury I am referring too.

Those who come to this blog somewhat regularly, know that this blog is all but dead. By blogging standards I’m not even a blip on the radar and, if truth be known, I have pondered wether to pull the trigger on it and pull the blog down. In the blogosphere there is nothing worse than an old languishing webpage drifting in the void, gathering dust from neglect and desertion. The truth of the matter is that I have worked through my pain and the baggage it entailed and the motivation to regularly update the blog and to fan its embers into a fire waned a couple of years ago.

My wife and I (a reminder that we celebrate a mixed-orientation-marriage, see Nonconforming Relationshipsremain in a loving and faithful relationship to each other and our kids and our menagerie of pets. Further, I have no problem approaching the bible from my social location as a gay man and I’ve said what I felt I needed to say from a perspective of faith and grace about the pressures facing the queer community. In this respect, the original whys of the blog have long been satisfied.

So why is it I cannot bring myself to pull the blog down? I think it is because queer people still need a place to come and hear their voices in the dialogue of faith. For so long we have been denied a seat at the table of the church and this blog, in its own way, provides an ottoman to rest a weary soul on. People historically oppressed by the bible need to understand that the bible speaks liberation to them. LGBTQ people need to know that their wellbeing is also in front of the eyes of God. After all, the image above is not a spoof or a parody but rather an actual item put out by an actual group that wants to kill me and my kind. In the face of such atrocity in God's name, I cannot help but to hear the words of God spoken to Moses as addressing me as well:  "I have observed the misery of My people in Egypt, and have heard them crying out because of their oppressors, and I know about their sufferings."

11 comments:

  1. Olaf Hoeckmann-PercivalMay 18, 2019 at 11:55 PM

    Why is this url named "bitchy-bible"? Why do you use so many profane words? Why use posting titles such as "Bitch slapped by prayer"? Have you ever been bitch slapped? Is this not offensive to women? Why post bondage picture? Do you enjoy these?

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  2. Hi Olaf, nice to meet you and great questions. 1) I'm am unaware of the url you are referring too. The url for this blog is "thebibleindrag.blogspot.com." When I google the url you have seen I come up with a facebook page that I am unfamiliar with. But I will keep seeking this out. 2) The name of the articles posted here are meant to grab attention. So many LGBTQ+ folk are injured by the church and I have found article names which match this sense of injury help make the blog more related to the LGBTQ+ community. 3) The term "bitch slapped" is, or was, a common phrase in the LGBTQ+ community referring to insults and actions of violence against one's person. Unfortunately, as the article indicates this has occurred to me. 4) If the term was used pejoratively for females, yes it is offensive. In this context it refers not to women but to attitudes and injuries. 5) Like the title of the articles, the graphic arts used on this blog are chosen to attract attention and to send the message that LGBTQ+ people are safe with these articles. If you read the article then you no the answer to the last question. I find it fascinating that the post with the most dramatic image has the largest readership. I just hope the notion of the post - to freely give your personal power over to Christ - has as wide as a receivership. However, I suspect I am wrong on that. Any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask. I hope we can meet someday and share a conversation over coffee.

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  3. https://thebibleindrag.blogspot.com/p/bitchy-bible.html is the url for your posting "To Bone a Man As a Woman."

    2) Can this also explain the "G-d dammit" on your Twitter feed 19 Feb 2017? The "a-shole" comment there on 29 Jan 2017? Are you also saying that LGBTQ+ relate necessarily to the profane?

    3-4) Of course "bitch" is a derogatory term for women in whatever context. Are you really suggesting that in the LGBTQ+ context it can be justified?

    5) The largest number of views our church has ever gotten on a single social media post was 30,000+, to which I must add a solid "Who cares?" One can pay people or set up a bot to get social media clicks. This really means nothing. For me personally, the profanity and graphics subtract from your messages, and I have to force myself to read past them. They do not open my heart but rather turn my stomach. If that is the affect your writings seek, then you have achieved it well.

    To feed your heart and soul, I send you blessings and peace in Christ.

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  4. Hey again Olaf -

    1) I was unaware of the url - the individual page urls are assigned by the Blogger platform. I had not realized this had been the applied url as the article is a stand alone page. I will see about getting the url changed.

    2) The two tweets you noticed out of all my tweets capture my shocked and emotional responses to what I perceived as enfeebled administration of President Trump. You will note that I did catch my language and further tweets do engage the poor choice of words.

    3-4) Context is important. Words reside within a larger setting and that setting is, in some respects, what helps to add meaning and directions in which the words are used. As the post indicates the words are used to express a sense of injury and wounds as if someone delivered a particular kind of slap spoken about in the LGBTQ community.

    5) I'm excited to hear that your church got 30,000 views. Clearly you can teach me how to better set this blog. It's humble and receives about ten views a week across all its posts. The blog employs strategies that are used by oppressed groups such as 1) a reclamation of words used to shame and embarrass the target group, 2) a use of language from within the group to indicate a matching of the injury and wounds the group suffers, 3) the use of images to sustain the group in sense of pride within itself which reframe stereotypes historically used to shame and belittle the group. The words and images used on this blog are aimed - as the blog clearly says - at LGBTQ people who have been historically shamed and oppressed by certain traditions within Christianity. This blog is not aimed at nor is it promoted for those who are outside the LGBTQ community and allies.

    Others who find this blog problematical often did so because they were shocked to find material which engages the bible in a candid conversation that indicates God is favorable to LGBTQ lives. Those that find this blog helpful are also often shocked to find material which engages the bible without condemnation or disparaging of their souls. In all things, God is graceful.

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    Replies
    1. Seriously? Donald Trump made you openly curse the Almighty, use God's name in vain, break the Covenant of Moses? Perhaps Trump has too much power over your life?

      I understand and appreciate your comments concerning metaphor in context. Yet, metaphoric speech has boundaries. For instance, "bread" to a starving a child will always mean "bread," and when the missionary is done praying the Lord's Prayer and walks away saying "daily bread" is only a metaphor, he condemns the child.

      Likewise, when one reads the curse words "bitch-slap," having grown up in a home wherein my father would work himself up with profanity to the point he would punch my mother while pinning her on the kitchen floor, and we kids would run and hide knowing we were next; this curse can never be a blessing.

      I get that turning curses into blessings is the very pivot of "queering" the Bible. Still, I am hoping that this can be achieved without generating more cursing as it is in argumentation self-defeating.

      Peace and grace.

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    2. I hear you. Please note I never said I was proud of the tweets and did indicate that once I realized where my emotions where I stopped the language. I can only claim that I'm human enough that when a President employs policies which tear children from their parents at the nation's southern border that leads to the death of children and to the adoption of children with no hope of reuniting with their biological parents I tend to see injustice.

      I also feel sympathy for the household you grew up in. Allow me to say that it is a sad thing when families are disrupted by the eruption of violence and anger. Which is the point of the particular post under conversation, that some religious people injure LBGTQ people as your father terrified and injured your family. Sorrow seems to unite you and I. Even though our experiences are different we both bear scars that leave us groping with how to respond to those still in the path of anger and violence.

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  5. My wife of 31 years is an immigrant, my eldest daughter was naturalized, I grew up on the East side of Los Angeles in an area that was 80% Hispanic; hence Spanish is one of my languages. I visited the US-Mexican border a little over a year ago, as I have many times in the past. I still watch the news on Telemundo (channel 6 here) as well as select "telenovelas." When I served churches on the mainland, we hosted ESL classes, job search services, and immigration help. I participated in a pulpit exchange with a pastor in Los Mochis, Sinaloa. And, my doctoral thesis at Fuller was on how the church could reach out to Hispanics. I have lived in other countries for much of my life, and feel confidant in saying that the US is still by far the most welcoming country on the planet. The injustices that prevail in the countries of origin are so terrible. I do not believe that tweeting against the US government was helpful to even one immigrant. As any immigrant would tell you, one should not challenge the powers that be. Your tweets may have had the affect of simply angering the "migracion." About a month ago there was a large release of migrants. They simply opened the doors of the detention center (because of over crowding) and said "Have a nice life." This was covered on Telemundo news, but not one English network covered it--no political significance I assume.

    As for violence, I have faced down the barrel of guns three times in my life. The car I had in Los Angeles even caught a bullet hole. I have been attacked by a homeless person with a knife. I have had mortar rounds coming after me from Khun Sa's army on the Burmese border. I have even had three drug dealers here in Waimea wait after church on the road to teach me a lesson about calling the police on them. What sorrow? I am overjoyed that I am still here doing the Lord's work! I have even crash-landed twice in airplanes and have lived to sing God's praises. You have put pictures of nooses on this blog. Has someone tried to hang you? What violence do you speak of in your life?

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    1. The noises that upset you so, originated from The National Organization for Marriage, the anti-gay group founded and funded by the Mormon Church, I think this information nulls your last two questions at best. Otherwise, it appears to answer them with a response question. Do you align yourself with NOW?

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    2. Nope. Not aligned with the Mormons. I have been a part of the United Church of Christ my whole life, and my family dates back to the original Congregationalists of 1620 (John Alden of the Mayflower, John Adams, Longfellow, etc.) I consider myself to be progressive, having led a church through the Open and Affirming process myself, and valuing the concept that all who seek Christ should be afforded that blessing. I simply object to Popham's use of profanity and pornography, finding it to be counter-progressive in fact. What woman after fighting so hard for inclusive language would tolerate being referred to as "b-tch" and "c-nt" as Popham does in his writing? Antoinette Brown turning in her grave? I do not think labeling me as a religious zealot is helpful. Also, whoever created the original noose depiction was certainly wrong for the sentiment and incitement of violence.

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  6. Oops sorry—meant nooses not noises.

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  7. Hi David,
    Blogs are odd things. And bloggers, too.
    I started a blog about a decade ago, worked on it diligently for many years, then stopped. My wife (now deceased) said I shouldn't stop blogging, and in retrospect I think she was right. But what is done is done.
    There's an online LGBTQ devotional site you might be interested in writing for. www.loveboldly.net. They're looking for LGBTQ devotional writers.
    I think you need to continue to be patient. You have a lot to offer, to the church, to the LGBTQ community, to all of us.
    BTW, I rarely post anything anymore, although I will probably start up a bit for a project I'm working on.
    But I've learned I don't have to publish every negative questioner and commenter who wanders across my blog. I often respond, but I've learned I am not obligated to engage.

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