As heated debate continues on same-sex marriage, people who regard themselves as “queer followers of Jesus” say they want to make their voices heard and to question assumptions in both church and society.
They have launched a new collective blog site, Queers for Jesus, which will respond to issues in the news and explore personal, political and ethical questions.
“Radical Christian queers want to challenge both the homophobia of certain churches and the shallow, commercialised approaches to sexuality that are reflected in society's dominant values,” explained Jay Clark, co-editor of the site.
The editors emphasise that being “queer” is not simply a matter of sexual orientation, but is about asking questions, crossing boundaries and challenging legalism with love. They believe this is in line with the lifestyle and teachings of Jesus, who confronted the social structures and injustices of his day.
Posts on the site so far look at topics including Christian attitudes to intersex people, queer solidarity with disability campaigners and the overlooked aspects of campaigns against same-sex marriage.
The site has two co-editors: Jay Clark is a genderqueer Christian-Quaker activist who writes on issues of gender, art and spirituality and edits Movement, the magazine of the Student Christian Movement. Symon Hill is a Christian writer and associate director of the Ekklesia thinktank. He last year walked from Birmingham to London as a pilgrimage of repentance for his former homophobia.
“Queer is not about who you sleep with,” insisted Clark. “Gay, straight and bisexual people can be queer, as well as people with other sexualities. Queerness offers an alternative to being measured against society's narrow categories of gender, sexuality and relationship status.”
Taking up this theme, Hill argued that “Queerness has much in common with the life and teachings of Jesus Christ”.
He explained, “Jesus challenged the sexual conventions of his day. He allowed women to make physical contact with him in a culture that found it shocking. He made clear that sexuality is about hearts as well as bodies. He criticised divorce in a society in which only a man could initiate a divorce, throwing his wife into disgrace and poverty. He redefined family, saying that whoever does the will of God is his brother or sister.”
Queers for Jesus say that the site will contain posts from people who consider themselves to be queer followers of Jesus, as well as carrying guest posts from others. It is based in the UK, though may also carry posts from elsewhere.
Queers for Jesus can be found at http://www.queersforjesus.wordpress.com