by Jay Varnedoe
Scripture: Psalm 71: 1-14
Over MLK weekend, I was driving my 92 year old grandmother to church. On the way she started talking about the Lord, and she said, “Jesus is my rock, and with him I shall never fall.” I thought, “For 92, she is so full of wisdom.” For most of my life, my grandmother was a quiet woman who didn’t talk about religion with me. However, in the past few years, she has opened up more to me and it has been nice to connect with her on a different level. When I sat down to write this devotional and I read these verses, there was an immediate connection to her.
In Psalm 71, the psalmist is declaring the message that the Lord is my rock and in him I have no shame. This message not only spoke to me on a personal level because of the recent conversation with my grandmother, but it also spoke to me as a member of the LGBTQ community. So many of us have been taught to be ashamed of who we are due to the religious views of others. However, in this verse I read that in him I have no shame. I choose to favor this verse over the negative views of others. I also feel that this is a primary reason that most of us are drawn to St. Mark – we realize and celebrate that we don’t have any shame for who we are. This is part of what makes St. Mark unique, a quality that we should share with the rest of our community.
Prayer: Lord, let us realize that we are created in your image and we should have no shame. In times of trial or tribulation, let us come to you as our rock and our refuge. Amen.
I very specifically titled this blog “Straight Genderqueer Woman” because when I try to find people who might be like me, Google only comes up with this stuff. But I KNOW I can’t be alone. I am a unique, precious, ass-kicking flower. But it can’t be because I’m the only straight, genderqueer, woman in the world. (Born female sexed. Does this make me cis-gendered genderqueer? So confusing!) So I’m floating this out there to let other straight women out there who are challenging gender roles know they’re not alone.
I’m actually uncomfortable sometimes describing myself as “genderqueer.” I don’t want to co-opt a descriptor that’s not accurate and offend somebody. I really feel like it’s society’s expectations of how I should look and behave as a woman to be what is queer. That’s really the challenge I wrestle with the most in my head.
I struggle with the dichotomy between how I want to look and act, and how I think I have to look and act to attract men. So often this makes me think I’m doing something wrong, or am a broken woman or not a good enough woman.
But on the genderqueer side, I do remember feeling for a long time earlier in my life that I wasn’t a man or a woman. I didn’t even know that was a THING people could feel. It didn’t disturb me. It was just who I was.
I don’t feel that as greatly now, but I will tell you that when I look at women who are dressed very femininely, in short skirts and high heels, I don’t feel like I have anything in common with them gender-wise. (I also find myself thinking they’re stupid for dressing that way and I get angry at them. But it’s OK. I’m sure that’s something my therapist and I will get into….)
So whatever labels you paste on me, (’cause lawd knows I struggle to use the politically correct, culturally sensitive ones) just know that I’m me. I’m Deanna. And I’m trying to feel like that’s OK.
And know, that no matter what the internet says, if you are a woman who wants to look androgynous or like “a guy” and you’re into men, you’re OK too. And you’re not alone.
And guys, if you’re into this kind of thing, you’re single, you have a job, you’re kind, and you shower regularly, hit me up!
Also, my “Gender Roles Are Dead” sweatshirt is available from FLAVNT!
by Bob Brown
Scripture: Mark 10: 17-31
And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
I have heard this passage many times but know for a fact, that I could not sell all of my stuff. I recently read a sermon on this topic and the author concluded with: If you want to follow Jesus, it’s going to be costly.
But I would offer that there are various forms of possessions. Aside from material possessions, there is the possession of talent – that God-given ability to paint, sing, lead and even preach. And there is the possession of time, that period set aside after work.
You can use these possessions to benefit and glorify God. You could volunteer once a month and serve the homeless/under-employed through the Breakfast or Supper Clubs; you could take one week of your vacation time and volunteer for a mission trip to Honduras or the Appalachian Mountains; you could give one Friday evening a month to Lost and Found Youth to assist getting LGBT youth off of the streets; you could become a volunteer to package meals with Project Open Hand. The possibilities are endless and the rewards are priceless.
As you are sitting reading this, either at your computer or in a comfortable chair, look around and think about what possessions you have that you can “liquidate.”
Prayer: My father, you have given me so much and I admit that I have taken it all for granted. Forgive me and open my heart and eyes to what I can do in your name for those I come in contact with each day. Amen.