What Fresh Hell Is This

I should be sleeping. Because I have a migraine and my body is telling me it needs to shut down. But my mind has been overloaded and won’t shut off, which of course is how I got the migraine in the first place. Processing trauma and abuse in real time is not something I’m accustomed to. I’m much more familiar with post traumatic stress–processing the trauma after it has happened.

I’m not an expert on how to deal with trauma other than the fact that I’ve survived a great deal of trauma and am currently living this experience.

Follow up to last week’s post: We’ve been taught to hate ourselves. And unfortunately, this is a constant thing that runs through my mind. I’ve internalized that hatred of Other from people I’ve grown up with and from society. Trauma is a constant potential reality in my head because of who I am.

Whenever I’m not currently being traumatized, I’m constantly aware of ways in which I could be. Part of this is simply existing as a queer disabled woman. (I’m also gender non conforming but try to at least look “feminine” enough to lessen potential harm in that area)

Trauma is a reality for many other people who live in these intersections. Either physical or sexual trauma or emotional and/or religious trauma. We’re so used to there not being space for us to be who we are. So…we either have to live in spaces hiding who we are, or risk threats if we choose not to hide. I feel like it’s almost as bad either way, but hopefully that continues to get better for us to live our lives openly as we are.

I prefer the option of being myself and not living my life afraid. But it’s hard to get to a point where one is confident enough to do that. The more confident and comfortable I am with who I am, the more uncomfortable others become.

By others, I don’t just mean society as a whole, but Christians. Mostly I mean fundamentalist Christians. Will they ever accept us as we are? Their discomfort ends up being violent towards our very existence in their spaces. So much so, that I identify with Paul’s words in I Cor. 4:10-13.

Usually, I have trouble with Paul’s writings because his epistles tend to be used against me but this I get:

“Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools, but you claim to be so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are honored, but we are ridiculed. Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home. We work willingly with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we were treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash–right up to the present moment.”

Like, I feel like that sums up being queer and Christian in a nutshell. Or maybe…Christians are supposed to love others living on the margins so much, that people hate them. Maybe. Ya know, I’m studying theology and loving who I’m discovering Jesus really is–that he is for me and loves me. And loved the most vulnerable while he physically walked on this earth. ¬†And who loves the most vulnerable still.

These other Christians who won’t accept us treat us like we’re not worthy to worship Jesus alongside them on a given Sunday. They don’t even see us as fully human. Yet we too follow Jesus and bear the image of God.

Even in our more affirming churches, our trauma is often ignored. We walk into church and that’s a big deal when the church has been used to harm us the most. This needs to be acknowledged.

It matters that we include current events in our Sunday morning worship. That we acknowledge the suffering of those around us even if it doesn’t directly impact us. Which means…we must pay attention to what’s going on in the world as best we can for that informs our worship. Yes, even on Palm Sunday. When 43 Coptic Christians in Egypt are murdered during worship. Do we weep for those lives lost and pray for them? Do we acknowledge suffering and trauma?

We have to make room for those who are suffering. For those who maybe don’t fit or make us uncomfortable. I know, I know. We’re all about praising God and being happy when we come to church. but some of us can’t be. Some of us are so used to being ignored and oppressed, we need a God who identifies with that. We HAVE a God who identifies with that, who came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey, bringing peace and speaking truth to power. And then was murdered by those in power. We celebrate Christ’s life, his death, his resurrection during this time. We also acknowledge his suffering for it is in his suffering we can relate.

Child of God?

Romans 8 – We have been taught to fear and hate our bodies. Our bodies that can’t be trusted because they might cause us to sin.

We have been taught not to trust ourselves but those in authority over us. But their bodies cause them to sin, too.

They tell us there is grace, but they are not gracious. But Jesus let his body be broken so we could learn to love ours again. His body…that was killed for us to have life. He had a body like ours. And the Spirit breathed life into our lungs. I know they made us want to die but the Spirit gives us life.

And this makes us children of God.

Children of God who God’s own children have forsaken. Our family sometimes isn’t family. And still, we are God’s children even when we hate each other. Still our Father loves us even when we don’t love one another.

Because we’re supposed to be family…we’re all in this together even when we don’t act like it. And because we are family, we share in the suffering of Jesus. We have the scars to prove it–often from our own Body of Christ. Pain isn’t the problem so much as what causes the pain. Pain can lead to suffering and no one should have to suffer because of the pain someone else has caused.

One day we’ll have bodies that no one hates. Some days it doesn’t seem worth it. We fight evils that destroy life outside ourselves and hate to fight the evil that our siblings in the faith contribute to–longing for the day when we’re free.

Until then no one takes this love from us. We are God’s children even when God’s children disown us.

No one takes this love from us. No one. separates us. from Jesus. We are loved and our bodies are good. And we are family. Even those of us who have been left out, forgotten, cast out.

There is no condemnation here. God is for us. Who can be against us. Amen.