Pride & Faith: Honouring Our Uniqueness

Jun 23, 2022

“Remembering our Unity, Honouring our Uniqueness”

As LGBTQ+ month draws to a close, I wanted to share a few reflections from the team about what it means to us. At the heart of OneSpirit’s code of ethics is ‘remembering our unity, honouring our uniqueness’ and we actively aim to keep our hearts and minds open to everyone. Celebrating difference but not separation. We stand firmly in the position that we are all one, connected through love, and are committed to joining in the awakening of a global and inclusive spirituality.

Maddy’s Reading List

During my undergraduate degree, I had the privilege to work with an amazing tutor who went above and beyond to create a diverse and inclusive syllabus. I would love to share some resources with you today they shared with me, resources that spoke deeply to my heart and supported me as an LGBT+ ally in challenging heteronormativity.

This is My Body: Hearing the Theology of Transgender Christians-Christina Beardsley and Michelle O’Brien (2006)

A collection of transgender Christian experiences with their own faith, bringing in stories of both anger and hope.

The Queer God-Marcella Althaus-Reid (2003)

Rooted in liberation theology and queer theory, Althaus-Reid explores God outside of traditional Christian understanding and the role God has in the lives of LGBT+ individuals of faith.

Gay and Lesbian Theologies-Elizabeth Stuart (2003)

A prominent writer in this field, Stuart critically engages with gay and lesbian theologies withing Christianity, offering a new way of employing these theologies.

Equal Rites: Lesbian and Gay Worship, Ceremonies, and Celebrations-Kittredge Cherry and Zalmon Sherwood (1995)

A collection of worship services, ceremonies and celebrations of lesbian and gay spirituality. Could be used as a reference book for creating beautiful and meaningful services.

ReCreations: Religion and Spirituality in the lives of Queer People -Catherine Lake (1999)

An anthology of experiences with religion and spirituality.

From Queer to Eternity: Spirituality in the Lives of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People-Peter Sweasey (1997)

A collection of work from Buddhists, Christians, Pagans, and many more on their own spirituality.

Art that Dares-Kittredge Cherry (2007)

A collection of artwork that re-imagines traditional Christian imagery.

For me, pride is a celebration that love is love. Pride is still so important today as people around the world are still discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity. Pride is a time of empowerment, where public spaces are occupied to celebrate love, and to also challenge homophobic and transphobic laws and legislation, and a reminder that we have a way to go in dismantling the prejudices that exist in society today. I hope one day we will live in a global society where all individuals are celebrated.

“Our future survival is predicated upon our ability to relate within equality.” – Audre Lorde

Lucy’s Reflection- Pride & Authenticity

Pride starts with the ability to say ‘this is who I am’. To speak that truth to yourself. I am gay. I am queer. I am a man. I am a woman. I am gender fluid. Whatever your truth may be. But taking pride in who you are doesn’t end there. Not everyone can safely share. Very rarely are people free from judgement. And so, they deny part of themselves. Through shame, stigma, and fear that they gain from others. But who are you? Who am I? Who are we to make a judgement over what love should be, what a body should be? Why does it matter to you? What are you afraid of? This year, I’m celebrating what, to me, is a vibrant and authentic community. But part of my pride is challenging people who still stand against love. Recently, we received a series of social media comments on our posts. An individual had gone through our content and chosen to say hateful things on each post that showed a kind of love beyond what they accepted. Sharing their condemnation. Stating that we are going to hell. Stating that our parents would be disappointed. Sadly for them, I am proud. Proud of the beautiful people we serve. Proud that we do not tolerate that kind of hate. And I don’t fear their words of condemnation, because how can truth be damned? If you’re reading this, and feeling cynical or doubtful, let me ask you a question – what do you have to lose by choosing to love others as they are? Love is love, and identity is identity. Pride, for me, is about the full acceptance of who you are, not having to hide or deny a part of yourself because of people who don’t understand. Not being given shame by people who love you with conditions. Pride, is saying ‘I’m here’. Knowing that you can choose who you allow seeing your truth and who you welcome to that knowledge. Knowing that there are so many people out there who will love you for all you are, without conditions.

Pride means looking inwards and feeling confident when you say, ‘this is who I am’.

Pride is working towards the safety and freedom to share ‘I am here, I deserve love.’

Pride is being able to introduce others to another beautiful part of who I am and turning away from those who condemn and judge me.

Pride is what I choose, who I am is my truth.

Nicola’s Reflection – One Spirit

In the context of our “OneSpirit” space, we intend to challenge barriers to participation in life, in spiritual leadership, in ministry, and in love. Holding high the pride flag as part of the healing of multiple devastating forms of suppression is woven into who we are and what we express. We have much to learn too, as “OneSpirit”, and intend to keep doing so.

A Reading from Claire

From Plato’s Symposium;

“Humans have never understood the power of Love, for if they had they would surely have built noble temples and altars and offered solemn sacrifices; but this is not done, and most certainly ought to be done, since Love is our best friend, our helper, and the healer of the ills which prevent us from being happy.

To understand the power of Love, we must understand that our original human nature was not like it is now, but different. Human beings each had two sets of arms, two sets of legs, and two faces looking in opposite directions.

There were three sexes then: one comprised of two men called the children of the Sun, one made of two women called the children of the Earth, and a third made of a man and a woman, called the children of the Moon.

Due to the power and might of these original humans, the Gods began to fear that their reign might be threatened. They sought for a way to end the humans’ insolence without destroying them.

It was at this point that Zeus divided the humans in half. After the division the two parts of each desiring their other half, came together, and throwing their arms about one another, entwined in mutual embraces, longing to grow into one. So ancient is the desire of one another which is implanted in us, reuniting our original nature, making one of two, and healing the state of humankind.

Each of us when separated, having one side only, is but the indenture of a person, and we are always looking for our other half.

Those whose original nature lies with the children of the Sun are men who are drawn to other men, those from the children of the Earth are women who love other women, and those from the children of the Moon are men and women drawn to one another.

And when one of us meets our other half, we are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and would not be out of the other’s sight even for a moment. We pass our whole lives together, desiring that we should be melted into one, to spend our lives as one person instead of two, and so that after our death there will be one departed soul instead of two; this is the very expression of our ancient need.

And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called Love.”

At OneSpirit, we stand for love.

 

~ Written by 2022 Staff; Maddy, Lucy, Nicola, and Claire

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