This week we have a guest post from Proclaim member, Emmy Kegler. Read about some of the creative and exciting ministry Emmy is engaged in as she awaits first call.
By Emmy Kegler
When I came out as gay at 16, I knew my life was going to be complicated. When I accepted the long-fought call to ministry at 19, I knew my life was going to be more complicated. And when I followed that call all the way through Clinical Pastoral Education, internship, three years of classes, divorce, graduation, and this period of time awaiting first call in the Twin Cities… I had a sneaking suspicion that my life was always going to have a strong degree of messiness.
Many of you know this mess, too. We become translators of our experience, bridgers of the gap. We explain to friends, family, loved ones, colleagues, seminarians, call committees, congregations, total strangers how it can be that we are gay-, bi-, trans-, queer-and-also-Christian. I love those conversations (most of the time). I love how the messiness of being LGBTQ and called to serve the church can transform people’s minds and hearts around sexual orientation, gender identity, Scripture, tradition, and the long arc of the hope of God. But these conversations can be exhausting. It is not always fun to have my personal life and ministerial calling as a theological exercise. The layers on layers of theology, history, and interpretation are difficult to unwrap over a beer at a neighbor’s barbeque.
I wanted to create a space where people could learn, on their own time, at their own comfort level, about the myriad of concepts and beliefs around what it means to be LGBTQ and Christian. There are so many incredible resources scattered across the Internet, but tracking them down through a basic Google search can be like walking through a queerphobic minefield. In addition, the interconnected questions are complex. What does feminist theology have to do with the way we read the Bible as LGBTQ people? How did the Lutheran church get to where it is? What is bisexuality and what does it have to do with faith? How do we know when we’re in a spiritually abusive church and how do we leave?
For years I’ve wanted to create a space that could connect all those questions and the incredible resources already in existence. So on the eve of my thirtieth birthday, with my girlfriend holding my shaking hand, I launched a fundraiser for a website tentatively called Queer Grace, “an encyclopedia for LGBTQ and Christian life.”
Four months later, fifteen thousand people have visited the site. Donations just topped $2,500, meaning I can pay my growing group of writers for the incredible content they are generating. Eighteen articles are up, with eight more awaiting submission or final edits. In the next phase, I’ll be updating the site with direct links to important sites like gaychurch.org (is your church on there? Double check!).
At first, Queer Grace was a way to fill my waiting time. But each day I work, I feel a sneaking suspicion that this is as much my call as ordained ministry will be. I live in a space where the word of God is preached, the law named, the gospel proclaimed. I live in a space where the promise of welcome at the Lord’s table is offered.
Queer Grace is found at www.queergrace.com. When you have the time, read it. Share it. Let me know where there are resources lacking. Donate to the cause. The Spirit is up to something here, and we’re all welcomed along for the ride.
Emmy R. Kegler has a Master’s in Divinity from Luther Seminary in Saint Paul, Minn. She was raised in the Episcopal Church and spent some time in evangelical and non-denominational traditions before finding her home in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. She is currently awaiting call in the ELCA. While she waits, she works as a self-employed web designer and church curricula writer. She lives in Minneapolis and enjoys biking, board games, books, beer, and babysitting her girlfriend’s dogs.