Faith, God & Family: What Queers Add to Spirituality
By: Paul P. Jesep*/Special to TRT—
Almost 6% of sexual minorities identify as queer, according to a new study from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. This self-designation is no doubt an openness to broader consciousness and self-awareness.
According to a press release issued by the Institute, quoting Ilan H. Meyer, one of the study’s authors, “The term ‘queer’ has a long history with different connotations for sexual minorities.” She added, “Some older people learned it as a derogatory term, but later it was claimed by academics as a critical term and field of study, and some young people may perceive it as an identity that is more fluid than ‘lesbian’ and ‘gay.’ Queer identity seems to represent greater openness to partners of all gender identities.”
Those who live their truth as queer give me another valued and valuable perspective. It invites me to explore the limitations I put on others and myself. The perspective challenges me as to why I see the world in a certain way and whether I’ve limited my understanding of it. Hence, have I limited my ability to spiritually grow?
We may have a self-defeating attitude about doing or becoming something due to the limitations we set for ourselves or by letting others do it. Part of it may stem from insecurity about that which is different or unfamiliar. It also could be intellectual laziness and forgetting that learning must never stop. Perhaps, it’s part of a larger issue science has yet to unlock about the brain.
The brain is an extraordinary organ. Unfortunately, we will never tap into most of its abilities during our lifetime. It may explain why each of us tends to label and limit things. We can’t comprehend the enormity, infiniteness, or complexity of the cosmos. If, however, we are mindful of our limitations and the thought that even several lifetimes wouldn’t reveal all the universe’s mysteries, we may become more open to different people, cultures, and experiences. There always must be a hunger to learn and experience things that are personally new to us.
Too often we impose limits on God (defined gender-neutral). It’s also done toward faith, religion, or spirituality in general. There isn’t a Jewish, Muslim, or Christian God, according to Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.
What did a Christian leader mean by saying there is no Christian God? The Giver of Life is a mystery. Supreme Holiness can’t be given a gender or personality because Supreme Goodness is a Divine Unknown. Eternal Flame is gay, lesbian, male, female, trans, queer, Christian, Jew, Muslim, and more. Infinite Beauty can manifest in many ways. No matter how many names we to use to quantify, understand, or experience Holy Truth, in the end, it’s still a limitation because we’re human.
It doesn’t matter how the Governor of the Universe manifests or becomes incarnate. The Giver of Life chooses when, where, and how. Despite what appear to be differences from one religion to another, there are universal truths from, I believe, the same higher power.
Most folks have heard of the Golden Rule – “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” This is the Christian version. Bahai, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism all have versions of it. Ironically, an individual in one faith may be threatened by someone in another. Why?
Queer is another example of the unfolding Divine Plan. It’s another opportunity to learn from one another. It’s an empowering chance to change and grow while better experiencing the Cosmological Sovereign whose name shall never be known. Queer is another experience that can benefit all of us.
*Paul is a personal chaplain, seminary trained, and ordained priest, and lawyer in greater Albany, NY. He’s the author of “Lost Sense of Self & the Ethics Crisis.”