Political, Personal, and Spiritual: A Post-Election Reflection

The conclusion and aftermath of this year’s election cycle have revealed a lot of things to a lot of people. The depth of the racism and xenophobia in our country. How little respect and authority people in this country, including other women, think women deserve. How fed up people are with our political system. The great leaps forward that still need to be made in order to protect the rights and amplify the voices of marginalized communities. And so much more.

For me, the aftermath of this election has revealed most clearly how American Christians are as awful as I often feel they are. It has validated my frequent decision in LGBTQ and nonsectarian justice spaces to not immediately or sometimes ever identify myself as a Christian. Not because I’m ashamed of the Gospel of Christ but because I’m ashamed of my fellow Christians. There are actions Christians have committed that I can’t defend and have no desire to defend. There are people I have no desire to defend. There are Christian ways of existing that I can’t claim as anything but the easy way out – the way that creates one good Christian response to bitter conflict instead of embracing the natural diversity of responses in seasons like this.

My post-election response as a queer Black Christian woman has alternated between rage and grief because not only have I had to deal with an increase in fear for the lives of myself and people I love but I have also been forced to acknowledge the painful truth about this country’s brand(s) of Christianity I never wanted to say aloud. Namely, that American Christianity has an idolatry problem. I firmly believe our nation and our churches are in the predicaments they are right now partly because American Christians have idolized whiteness, wealth, power, being right, complacency, maintaining the appearance of guiltlessness and “peace,” and being gatekeepers and mini-messiahs over God. We claim Jesus reigns supremely in our lives and that we want to draw people unto him but our lives, our churches, and our politics do not reflect that.

That’s not to say that every Christian needs to belong to the same political party or that every church needs to engage with the world the same way, but there are some things that should be indisputable. Scripturally grounded things. Regardless of political leanings, as Christians, we have been commanded above all else to love God with all of our being and to love others as ourselves. Our personal decisions and political decisions (which include more than simply who we vote for or whether or not we vote at all) should start there, but there is little evidence that is what’s happening.

We, American Christians, boast of Christ in one sentence then defy his most basic teachings in the next. Our witness and our world suffer because of this. The way we let hate speech and discrimination go unchecked. The way we ignore and denigrate the voices of marginalized people who are unlike us. The way we pat ourselves on the back for “serving” communities without asking them what they need or listening when they tell us. The way we distance ourselves from injustice in our communities as if it’s not our problem because “God is in control.” How could anyone look at these actions and think of us as the light of the world? How can we look at ourselves and continually deny not only how far from Christ’s mark we are but also how interconnected our political, spiritual, and personal actions and beliefs are?

When we make political choices that show that bigotry and hatred are permissible as long as you’re white and your financial plan sounds good (even if it really isn’t), that is a negative reflection of our spiritual and personal beliefs. When we make spiritual choices that prioritize forced unity rather than the voices of hurting people including hurting Christians who feel their lives were disregarded by white Christians, cis Christians, straight Christians, able-bodied Christians, non-immigrant Christians, etc., that is a negative reflection of our personal and political beliefs. When we make the personal choice to respond to the state of our country and our world by sitting back and doing nothing, that is a negative reflection of our spiritual and political beliefs.

I pray that someday soon we learn to repent of these and other sins we continue to commit while brandishing the name of Jesus Christ. I pray that we realize what it truly means to love God and others above ourselves so one day we can collectively reflect the glory of God rather than the glory of ourselves.

Angélique

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Discovering Bisexuality as a Spiritual Calling

Last year, I ordered the book Blessed Bi Spirit: Bisexual People of Faith because I realized I still had some things to come to terms with in regards to my sexuality and my faith. I wanted to continue writing and speaking about the intersection of queerness and Christianity in my life, but I couldn’t keep doing that until I more than occasionally believed that my bisexuality had a purpose besides making my life more complicated. A little bi-centric reading seemed like the best starting place if I wanted to eventually be able to make space within myself to let my spirituality positively color my views of my sexuality just as I’d let my sexuality positively color my understanding of my faith.

When I bought that book, I wasn’t really thinking about my calling; I only wanted to find a better way of looking at the relationship between my bisexuality and my Christianity. But the more I read, the more I felt like that anthology had answers to questions about my calling I’d been asking since I stood at the altar of my church at seventeen and tried to understand what one of our pastors meant when she’d told me, “God has called you to push past the fear and speak up.” Questions I’d faced anew my last semester of college when I wrote YA short stories about Black queer Christian teenagers for my senior thesis and first got the sense that writing was a part of my God-given purpose. Questions I kept trying to bury every time someone used the word calling in reference to my life.

As I read about other bisexual people of faith finding spiritual beauty in their bisexuality and embracing the places where their sexuality and faith intermingled and even became inseparable, I began to consider that my bisexuality might be a crucial part of my spiritual journey. I looked back at all the moments that had made me feel most connected to the calling I’d received as a teenager and noticed my bisexuality was somehow always there. Teaching me how to speak the truth again and again even when I was terrified. Expanding my definitions of love and justice until I understood who and what to speak up for. Giving me the perspectives and connections necessary to write and discuss intersectionality in ways that were healing not only for me but also for others.

In that light, it suddenly didn’t feel blasphemous to admit that maybe God had wanted me to be bisexual all along.

Maybe when God called me at that altar, They were envisioning the life I was slowly living into as a bisexual writer and public speaker. Maybe, my bisexuality had been a part of God’s plan from the very beginning even before I knew it was part of me. Maybe, God hadn’t simply allowed me to be bisexual but had ordained it.

 

Coming to view my bisexuality in this way has not answered all of my questions about my sexuality or my calling. But it has made space for me to consider the idea of calling in a broader way and to provide a much more personally resonant answer to the unfortunately enduring question, “Do you believe you were born that way or do you believe your sexuality is a choice?”

Whereas before I struggled to give a concise but accurate response to that question, now I can answer resolutely, “I believe I was called into my bisexuality” and then relish in the sight of people wrestling as I have and as I still am with all the things that can and does mean.

Angélique