Editor’s note: Have you heard it’s the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation this year (1517-2017)? During the months of October and November, ELM’s blog will feature reflections on how the church continues to re-form and the role of LGBTQ+ leaders.
by Rev. Brenda Bos
Proclaim member and pastor, Christ Lutheran Church, San Clemente, California
A few weeks ago Proclaimer and current pastoral intern Katy Wallace posted in the Proclaim Facebook group: “If we had a Queer Christian’s Creed*, what might it say?” I thought it was an interesting question, but I worried I was not queer enough to have anything useful to say.
About a week later, I was all worked up emotionally. A close friend had died, the world was going crazy, I’m sure something frustrating had happened with my son. My heart was broken open. Cruising Facebook to avoid reality, I came across Katy’s call for a Queer Christian Creed again. I thought I’d give it a shot. This creed literally poured out in about three minutes:
I believe in God the Creator,
who designed all good things,
including people of all gender expressions and sexual orientations.
I believe in Jesus Christ,
God’s perfect Child,
who came to earth to live among us.
Jesus was born into a non-conventional family who adored Him even when they did not understand Him.
He confounded authorities and comforted the oppressed.
Because He represented the marginalized, He was crucified, His body mocked by others, died and was buried.
He knew personal Hell.
On the third day God celebrated the wonder of the human body and raised Jesus from the dead.
Jesus ascended into the realm of beauty, continually moving among us, blessing and sustaining us.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
all music, wonder and strength.
I am a member of the Body of Christ.
I cherish the communion of the saints,
live because of the forgiveness of sin,
emulate the resurrection of the Body
and already experience life everlasting. Amen
My favorite two lines were “Jesus was born into a non-conventional family who adored Him even when they did not understand Him” and “He knew personal hell”. Both those sentiments broke my heart. Both felt really queer and really powerful.
I have been slow to acknowledge the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in my congregation because I don’t want to idolize the past. Don’t get me wrong: I am deeply grateful to Martin Luther and his buddy Philip Melanchthon for their teachings, especially about a loving God who does everything to reconcile with us. I also cherish Luther’s insistence that theology be broken down to make sense for everyday people. But I don’t want to lead a church looking backward at some white guys’ work in Western Europe five centuries ago. I want to proclaim new reformations, new liberations, new demands for a better church and a better world.
In 2017, the Reformation continues: The LGBTQ+ perspective on the world, the non-binary, queer, beautiful, troubled, self-realized, passionate perspective of our community is a gift to the whole church. We can break down theology into delectable little bites of truth, flavored with fabulous. Many of us have known personal Hell, and through the amazing love of our creator we have been raised to new beautiful life in our surprising (to some!) bodies. We proclaim resurrection in a unique, reimagined way. We live everlasting life with a booming bass line and a tender embrace. We share looks and sighs and a deep commitment to healing, peace and hope.
Will I be reciting the traditional Apostle’s Creed for the rest of my life? Of course: it’s part of my beloved tradition. Will I also be looking for new ways to profess my faith with new language, describing God and community in fresh ways? Yes! This is how the Reformation continues, now and forever. This is most certainly true.
*Note: This creed is being revised with other Proclaimers for use in our community.
Brenda Bos continues to be amazed she is allowed to sign her name with a “Rev.” in front of it. When the going gets tough, she and her wife Janis grab their two dogs and hit a local hiking trail. That, and a little tiny, barely-notice-it’s-there scoop of coffee ice cream always help.