AnonymousDeleted UserDecember 10, 2020 at 6:48 pm
One of the most impactful times in my former church – a conservative Calvary Chapel here in Southern California – was when we would watch the testimonies of the various people who would come forward at the altar calls during our annual evangelistic crusade events. We heard stories of drug addicts, abusive spouses, and gang members who had committed to turn away from their “lifestyle” in order to pursue a “life of holiness,” which, as I now understand, meant entering into the fold of fitting into the White Evangelical lifestyle.
It was interesting to read Mihee Kim-Kort’s essay now as one who doesn’t fit into the norm of what is expected of a Christian in many Evangelical settings. In fact, it’s interesting to see the layers of what is acceptable in various levels of the church – and how Mihee breaks through all of it to challenge us to an awareness of the stories all around us. The image of God exists all around us – and the challenge for us is to look for and be open to see that in those people that we normally hurry past on the streets. And that is a challenge for me – especially in the light of this election. It’s hard for me to recognize that when I see the things they spout against my right to exist as a trans woman, let alone a queer person.
When I first came out, I found refuge in the Reformation Project, an organization dedicated to helping train LGBTQ+ Christians and their allies to work towards inclusion within Evangelical settings. Over the last year, however, as I’ve begun to do more of the work about power imbalances and recognizing stories of ALL people, I’ve also found that I didn’t fit into the framework of what’s acceptable within the confines of LGBTQ+ Evangelicalism, according to Matthew Vines, founder of the organization. As one in a non-monogamous relationship, and with other friends who are polyamorous, I find myself once again on the margins, wrestling with self-doubt as to whether or not I am acceptable to God where I am. Meanwhile, I see my old church community as further from my reach, in a place where they dare not venture in fear of being “called out” by the other members of the church or even ostracized with me.
It’s an interesting place to be, and so I entered into this program with the hopes that I could find a way to use my voice to amplify my story and the stories of those around me in this space, all the while holding space for awareness that there are others whose experience don’t mirror mine but are just as valid.