Thursday, April 19, 2012

Queering Communities of Faith (Hosea 11:8-9)

How can I abandon you, Ephraim?
                   How can I hand you over, Israel?
                How can I make you like Admah?
                   How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
                My heart is aching within me;
                   I am burning with compassion!
                No, I can’t do it! I cannot act on my righteous anger!
                   I will not turn around and destroy Ephraim!
                For I am God – no mere mortal –
                   the Holy One who walks among you!”
Hosea 11:8-9

Grace is Queer, Felicia Follum, @

Through those who are born queer, and make the choice to be religious, runs a tension that at times is so taut that we feel we might be pulled apart. To be queer means that certain expressions of faith have shut their doors to us. To be practicing religious means that certain areas of the gay community have also shut their doors to us. We are caught between strong voices on either side claiming the two are exclusive of one another.

The Sacred knows that communities of faith often speak harsh words and support harsh actions towards us. The Sacred is aware of the evil perpetuated in the name of the Divine. Many people have suffered relentless hatred as a result of the intolerance of religious communities. According to the prophets, Hosea included, God is not ignorant of the malevolence achieved in the name of all things good and proper. In this knowledge God acts with justice to bring about a change of culture and attitude.

The passage before us is about the hope of a patient God for the people of God who have gotten it all wrong and act like the people of no-god. The towns of Admah and Zeboiim were associated with Sodom and Gomorrah. The purpose of naming them is to demonstrate just how far afield those in relationship to God can stray. The meaning being that a relationship to the Holy does not make sacred all the attitudes and prejudices communities of faith act on.

I am certain of God’s fondness for all creation, even those things created queer. But from time to time I am less sure of God’s tolerance of faith communities. This passage gives me hope that even we religious types are not beyond the pal of God’s care.

May we, who are avid lovers of the Sacred, never lose the ability to be wooed by God.


  1. The Book of Hosea is one of my favorite places to go for inspiration. I love the imagery of God’s mystical marriage to humanity, such as Hosea 2:19 “I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.”

    As you know, I am especially interested in queer Christian art. I am delighted to discover Felicia Follum’s “Grace is a Bit Queer” image here. I will contact her about featuring her art on the Jesus in Love Blog too. Thank you!

  2. In dealing with the bigotry of organized Religion, we must remember the counsel of HH The Dalai Lama that Institutional Religion has to do with setting human rules and regulations which divide and separate the ONE TRUE FAMILY OF GOD...all HIS CHILDREN...without racial, political, ethnic, philosophical, sexual orientation barriers which religious leaders use...invalidly in His exclude, ostracize, judge and condemn. The word of God...the Salivific Mission of Christ was to unify all people...through Him, with Him, in Him...believer or not, theist or not...if we love and selflessly serve one another...then knowingly or unknowingly...we are Christ's brothers and sisters with one Creator father. Recently "Newsweek" magazine had an excellent article, touted on the cover..."Forget the Church...Follow Jesus" will open your heart and will know in your heart that you are unconditionally loved and accepted by the only Being who matters in the end...God our Father. Namaste...David