Celebrating Gratitude Month

June is Pride Month, and Pride is something I’ve learned a lot about over the last decade of my work with LGBTQ+ folx. And the learning continues. I’ve learned about the origins of Pride as a parade. I’ve learned to be more curious about Pride and to look for what lies beneath some of the expressions that I personally find challenging. I’ve learned to ask my queer friends what Pride means to them and to make a genuine effort to understand what they tell me.

I am incredibly proud of my queer siblings in Christ. So many of them—so many of you who are reading this right now—are my patient teachers, my wise guides, my open-hearted friends.

So while the pageantry parades and the rainbows soar and the culture wars rage and the capitalist machine rakes in the profits of Pride, I am celebrating LGBTQIA+ Gratitude.

Why? Because through proximity with my queer neighbors, and by the grace of God, I have come to see how much beauty and richness, compassion and spiritual depth these precious members of Christ’s body have brought into my life.

Here are a just few broad-stroke things I’ve learned by getting to know and love queer people:

  • Queer people have a capacity for patience and forgiveness that only minorities have had to develop—they’re used to being unconsidered, dismissed, judged, so they have compassion for outsiders, for anyone marginalized, especially by the church. They help me keep my eyes on the margins.
  • They know something about grace that I’ve never been required to learn, because they’ve had to cling to Jesus in spite of his church, with little or no support from the body—and sometimes even with direct opposition from the body. Their love for him inspires me.
  • My friends who are celibate, asexual and/or aromantic have taught me (beyond that those are all very distinct things) what true family looks like, and how every single person on the planet needs and deserves a family, something the church should have taught me long ago.
  • My transgender friends understand Christ as only outsiders can. They have an affinity for a Savior who, like them, was misunderstood and targeted for violence. They sensitize me to the tremendous sacrifice Jesus made by transitioning into a human body.
  • My intersex friends have an embodied insight into our gender-full, nonbinary God. They help me ask better questions and challenge so many of my facile assumptions.

 

I never want to live without queer people in my community again, as I somehow managed to do for the first 48 years of my life! I need them. LGBTQIA+ friends, I need you.

As a way of expressing my gratitude and celebrating my queer friends, I’d like to share some of the articles they’ve written that are published on this website. You’re welcome.

 

Check out all our Oriented to Love resources.

Kristyn Komarnicki is Director of Dialogue & Convening at Christians for Social Action, and Director of CSA’s Oriented to Love program for dialogue across deep difference.

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