❌ New episode: Happy Pride!
An LGBTQ+ Affirmation.
This was posted to the feed yesterday, 6/23/22. I meant to post this last night, and this morning folks are anxious about the SCOTUS rulings to be published soon.
The transcript is below; read it at your leisure.
Hello, and welcome to Exvangelical. I’m your host, Blake Chastain. I know there’s a lot going on. I know that the recent Supreme Court rulings are beyond discouraging - they are harmful for so many people, and a decision that could lead to the downfall of Roe is expected as soon as tomorrow. But multiple things happen all at once, and because of our interconnectedness, we feel them all. But I want to isolate one event happening right now and say: Happy Pride - especially to those born and raised in conservative evangelicalisms. Thank you for being here and being you.
No matter how you identify today: lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, questioning, trans, intersex, ace, or any other label you adopt for yourself today: thank you for being here. For still being here. For thriving here.
You should not have had to survive the hostility and prejudice so common to religious communities, but you did. The harmful and confusing theology that claims that God is love but conflates your love with harm because it does not adhere to a hetero framework? That theology has no claim or authority to judge you.
And whether your own experience led your beliefs about God and religion to adapt to a new spiritual expression that models the love we were told about but were not shown or given, or whether you have no need or desire to explore those paths - you are loved and deserve love.
There are so many faith communities torn apart by the very act of extending love to you. Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, and even smaller denominations like the Christian Reformed Church, all have schismed or threatened schism over the affirmation of your full humanity. Still others deny your humanity entirely. So many families have schismed, too. For that I am sorry.
But you do not have to look back. As I shared recently on my newsletter:
If you're ex/post-evangelical, you don't need to feel obligated to spend your time looking back to the community you left. You can just look forward. And you don't need my permission or anyone else's to do so.
I look back for any number of reasons: - as a way to signal to others still there that they aren't alone, - as a way to unlearn many things (my whiteness and my other forms of privilege) - as a way to criticize the powerful evangelicals who oppress others in America.
That's not healthy for everyone (it's been unhealthy for me, sometimes). So do what you need. Especially now. Especially always. Wholeness > holiness*. *holiness as we were taught in white evangelicalism as the unachievable purity of body and mind
Always always always choose your own health and safety. The things we were taught conditioned us to second guess our own coping mechanisms. As David Bazan sings in the Lo Tom song “Outta here”:
"I didn't trust myself to not be taken captive, I couldn't hear my heart saying: Oh please, get me outta here."
None of this is to say you can't or shouldn't look back, but more to remove any sense of obligation. Whatever keeps you from becoming stagnant.
We were told we were given streams of living water but we were really given a shallow puddle of muddy water, separated from the stream. Streams of living water change. They retain their essence, too. They replenish.
So find your stream.
There’s an endearing scene in Brooklyn 99, where Captain Holt, an openly gay black man, tells another character, Rosa Diaz who recently came out as bi, “Every time someone steps up and says who they are, the world becomes a better, more interesting place.” So for those who are able to be open about who they are, or those whose visibility is was not dictated by them and are out - thank you. Your existence is an encouragement to those who have not yet arrived where you are. Your joy and happiness and peace is yours alone to enjoy as well as a signal to others.
To those who may today find themselves questioning, or those who may find themselves questioning in the future, or those who know who they are but are not ready to share it: you are valid, too. You are loved.
Happy Pride. Be proud.
Peace. Be well, and talk soon.