Wow! After a day a Greenbelt here in Cheltenham, England I now know why so many people implored me “You must go to Greenbelt!” From the Tiny Tea Tent (organic, fairly traded and solar powered) to funky and deeply moving performances (and a tad bit subtle at times), this feels like home. Plus Jimbo has been the PERFECT host and a great help to me as I prep for my presentation.
Tonight I share Talkin’ Trash in the Homo No Mo Halfway House. As I was preparing my notes after spending a few hours at Greenbelt, getting a feel for the crowd, I realized that I only ever presented this talk/performance in academic settings–American University, Sarah Lawrence, University of Puerto Rico, etc.. But tonight I will speak to Christians, Emergent Christans, Crunchy Christians, Post Christians, Straight Christians, Gay Christians, even Chapstick Lesbian Christians (kinda the fruit and granola version of lipstick lesbians).
So I decided to includ my Pastor Meadows character in the mix of excerpts I perform. Also, I will share the struggle that gripped me for so many years with the question, was I a Christian struggling with homosexuality or a homosexual struggling with Christianity?
You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. How true, but for so many years the truth that I clung to actually kept me in bondage, kept me from growing spiritually and living the abundant life I had been promised.
On my flight over I sat next to Father Peter, a Catholic priest from Nigeria who just finished studies at Cornel University. It seems I have some sort of gay plane ministry to possible religious oppressors. But just like the genuinely nice couple I had met from Focus on the Family last year on a flight to Colorado Springs, Father Peter remained open as we talked about queer issues in the church. As I told him of my struggles to change, to “get right with God”, he admitted that I said things he had never heard before.
He continued to come back to the refrain, “but be sure to remain open to biblical holiness” (nice way of saying you need to repent of being gay or at least acting on it). Holiness means something to me. I don’t believe I can live my life any ole way but need to be led by the Spirit, by the still voice within.
But who gets to decide what biblical holiness looks like? Usually the people in power. Just like the white Christian colonists imposed all sorts of cultural restrictions on the Black Africans in Jesus’ name, some straight Christians have imposed their norms on same-gender loving people and people with gender differences. I mentioned this to Father Peter who responded that he knew exactly what I meant. The Bible has been used to oppress and control others while promising liberation. Lord knows women understand this.
Okay, gotta go and hear the amazing James Alison speak on the clobber passages.
So 10:00 tonight, Greenbelt in the Foxhunter Cabaret…I’ll let you know how it goes.