for thos of you who missed it the first time around (and i guess now a second time, since we just got Katie’s new posts up), Katie posted a link (hidden deep in her introduction) to a great little speech she gave.
i wanted to pull it to the forground here and identify some of the fantastic questions it addresses – maybe get some conversations going over it.
How could I continue to participate in a church that’s soul is so damaged that it does not follow its own stated values? I concluded that if I’m not going to do what I can to make it better, I might as well leave, but I decided to stay with the church for now, to work for change and the healing of the church. While I still have hope, I will be here, a young queer Mennonite challenging my church to be better.
(looks like you expanded on this some in your latest post). i left. but that, obviously, accomplished nothing in the way of church reform. and i do care about the Mennonite church – or i pseudo care. the idea is extremely important to me – my anabaptist heritage means quite a bit – but I find the church smug, self-centered hypocritical (as you point out), and too caught up in its own traditions to think creatively. (if “traditional” and “contemporary” services are the only two options we can think of for worship, and it’s a big issue for us, we’re the most uncreative people I know (up there with politicians) – but that’s a different issue). i am not making the church a better place for anyone, i’m just walking away. when is that the thing to do? or is it ever?
Those of us who are queer have a special perspective on heterosexual privilege. For the most part, we have had it and can have it when and if we choose to.
i’m not sure i buy that. i would say a main component of hetero privledge is that i don’t even need to think about it. i don’t have to choose on a daily basis to be ‘in’ or ‘out’. i don’t have to hide anything to be accepted in the church or culture. (well, sometimes i hide my divorce, but that is again off topic…). the ‘hidden’ nature of queer identity makes the priveledge even more dangerous. it also gives us the ability to have such destructive ideas as ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ – and pretend you don’t even exist. and it’s rare that you meet someone of another race who is repressed and ‘closeted’ about it. all-in-all, not something that looks like a queer advantage to me.
I challenge you to ask yourself what you are and what you are not willing to risk?
again, i walked away, and i wonder if that is the opposite of taking a risk? i think you pose some great possible risks here, and i hope (not being a pastor, and not currently getting married) i can think of some of my own as well. i say that i care about my queer friends, but i can’t say i have a lot to show for it. i think this clearly makes me a recovering homophobic (or at least hetero-supremacist, since it’s not as much a fear as a privledge…).
I would suggest that we not just ask that the rules for membership, ordination and marriage be changed to include us, but to question the very relevance of the rules and the institutions they regulate.
this is one of my favorites (maybe because it doesn’t implicate me?). i’ve heard arguments that the women’s movement was a failure for exactly this reason (and the same could be said about civil rights). now we are content with (or at least complacent within) a system in which women too can be ‘one of the boys’ if they try hard enough. no real societal change was made – we just allowed women to join in the old male-created structures. i would hate to see queer folk simply join equally into a breeder culture without questioning some of our basic cultural assumptions like marriage and ordination and the likes.
here’s a querstion from the theatre angle – is it more radical to address homosexuality head on in plays such as Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America” or to stop talking about it and start assuming it as with all of Chuck Mee Jr.’s work? Chuck has a very interesting note on casting his plays that relates to his feelings on this). Or are both extremely relevant? Or is neither?
i loved the speech, Katie. thanks. i hope i can take it to heart and do something with it.