It’s been a while, friends. Queering the Kindom has published a post every other week since October 2017, but lately, life has happened for us at a heady, steady clip. We’ll be back shortly with new content about queer Christian life and love. That’s where our hearts are. But in the meantime, here’s some of the everyday beauty and monotony of our own lives and some of the learnings we’ve taken from them.
From another recent post, you may know that we had spent half of each week since last October at the home of Zora’s grandparents during the last months of her grandmother’s life. Among many other things, Ellie Mae was good at loving us. And so, while it meant putting much of our life on hold, we dearly enjoyed the time we spent with her.
Since we last wrote, we attended Ellie Mae’s funeral and burial. We spent time in communion with family to mourn and celebrate. In the meantime, my professional life reached a fever pitch with the upcoming United Methodist Church General Conference.
UMC General Conference
Soon after our chance to commemorate Ellie Mae’s life, I spent a week in St. Louis attending and working at The United Methodist Church’s Special General Conference.
This was the denomination’s global convention called to determine whether the Church would choose a path of greater inclusion and justice for LGBTQ Christians. In the balance lay not only the well-being and welcome of LGBTQ United Methodists but also cisgender/heterosexual allied clergy and the future viability of the denomination at large. This was a showdown between deep-pocketed conservatives clinging to what influence and power they have left over the Church and coalitions of LGBTQ people, their allies, and those who simply wanted to see the Church remain intact.
I work for perhaps the most recognizable advocacy organization for LGBTQ inclusion and justice in The United Methodist Church. Our tasks at General Conference included communication with delegates, strategies to advance affirming legislation, external communication and representation, spiritual care, and more.
I won’t discuss here what happened at General Conference or how this came to be. At the end of this post, I’ll include a few links if you’re unfamiliar with this moment in history and would like to learn more. I’m also excited to be on the Progressive Asian American Christians’ podcast soon to discuss this same event.
The outcome of General Conference was heartbreaking, and while there were moments of exquisite beauty along the way, there was also devastating pain and institutional harm. It took longer than I expected to emotionally process and heal from what had happened. In this time, I had the indescribable support and love of my local church, my wife, and friends. I’m also taking advantage of professional spiritual care. Each message, each hug, each listening ear, has been a treasure.
Below is a photo of some dear friends from my church who showed up to welcome me home at the airport.
More than anything, I want LGBTQ United Methodists to know that they aren’t alone and they aren’t being abandoned. While I’m still working, I’m also taking time to do some critical things in my personal life pertaining to the next item on this list, but we are still working – more than ever – to see God’s kin-dom justice cover LGBTQ lives today and in the years to come.
We Bought a House!
While I was at General Conference, Zora closed on the house we’d been courting since December with the help of a gifted real estate agent and the company of our dear friend. This is our first house!
It doesn’t sit far from the city where we used to live and where our church is located. It’s up against twenty acres of woods, and it satisfies us both: Zora wants to be out in the wild, and I want neighbors. And it’s a duplex, which satisfies Zora’s desire to be a landlady.
We spent our first night in the house the Sunday after I returned from General Conference. We put the mattress on the ground that night and awoke the next morning to fresh snow on the treetops.
March in Maine is full of snow.
The following days were a dash to ready the apartment for upcoming tenants and a slower process of emptying our former apartment and preparing our own home. The front walkway floods when it rains. The house has no gutters yet. We still don’t know which switches operate which lights. But we love this house.
If you’d told me ten years ago that I’d have a mortgage in Maine, I wouldn’t have believed you. But I’m with the kind of person who makes you want to have a mortgage in Maine.
This has been a busy season, certainly, but more than that, it’s been a season of leaning-on. We’ve learned to lean on each other in ways we hadn’t before. We’ve learned to lean on the Spirit in the depths of pain. We’ve learned to lean on friends.
That’s life lately, and we’re so glad to share it with you. We’ll be back soon.