57.4 Queering the Liturgy

57.4 Queering the Liturgy

Introduction

Introduction

Used as a verb, to “queer” is to practice nuance, claim particularity, and cultivate contextual awareness in our liturgical theology and practice, rejecting binaries that keep us from embracing the fullness of the God we find in the life of Jesus and in Scripture. When we practice queering worship, we recognize the ways we are actively being reformed according to the incarnate God we have always believed and the sacramental practice we have always known.

Queering the Liturgy: Living the Essence of Our Faith

Queering the Liturgy: Living the Essence of Our Faith

Good liturgy may be innovative or ancient, contemplative or active, repetitive or transitory. But most importantly, whatever the form or format, good liturgy must be alive. Liturgy is supposed to wake us up, not lull us to sleep—physically or spiritually. In my experience, the best liturgy heightens my awareness and helps me see / feel things like I’ve never seen / felt / thought them before.

Queering the Liturgy: Living the Essence of Our Faith

And Also with You: The Identity of the Worship Leader, and Why It Matters

The Presbyterian congregation in which I was baptized and grew up was a loving congregation of faithful folks, where I learned a lot of what was important about being a Christian. I’ll always be grateful to Sunday school teachers and youth pastors who schooled me in Bible verses and Christian love. They also planted and fostered what would become a lifelong passion for crafting and leading worship; those weeks letting teenagers run the sound system or preach on Youth Sunday have more impact than we sometimes know.

Queering the Liturgy: Living the Essence of Our Faith

“Do No Harm”: One Congregation’s Process of Revising Liturgical Language

Life within the baptismal covenant for Christians in the Wesleyan tradition, including United Methodists, is to be governed by John Wesley’s three general rules: do no harm, do good, and attend upon the ordinances of God. The order is not incidental. One cannot engage in acts of grace—doing good—until one has turned away (repented) from sin—doing harm. Liturgical scholars have brought to our attention the harm words can do to members of marginalized communities, particularly the LGBTQIA2S+ community.

Queering the Liturgy: Living the Essence of Our Faith

Queering Worship in Times of Collective Upheaval

In the early stages of lockdown in 2020, I began to say what has now become a repeated refrain in my life, “If you want to know how to worship outside of a church building, talk to the people who’ve been told they cannot worship in a church building. Because it is among those folks that you’ll begin to realize why it is we worship in the first place; you’ll engage a level of authenticity that has been lost from much of our traditional worship these days.”

Queering the Liturgy: Living the Essence of Our Faith

Distinction Not Lost in Unity

I am the solo pastor and only full-time staff person at a rural church in East Texas. As an assembly, our life together revolves around planning and enacting worship. What we say and do in worship is formed in our beliefs about God, to whom we turn our devotion, and forms us as God’s people. What it means to queer worship also has everything to do with what we believe about God and about our life as a community.

Queering the Liturgy: Living the Essence of Our Faith

An Invitation to Make and Share

I took communion for the first time on Pride Sunday at a church beside Stonewall in New York City. There were already celebratory crowds gathering outside, and we would join them at the end of the service. There was a small mural of a dove, descending, above the altar. The congregation was small enough that we all gathered in a circle to receive bread and wine.

A Prayer for after Someone Comes Out

A Service of Re-Naming and Reaffirmation of Baptism

This liturgy is for people who wish to change their name to align with their gender identity and wish to make a public proclamation and receive support from a community. Functioning also as a reaffirmation of baptism, it should take place by the baptismal font with water. The presider may wish to use oil to anoint the head of the candidate.

A Prayer for after Someone Comes Out

Recognition and Blessing for Chosen / Intentional Family

The terms chosen family or intentional family (etc.) refer to those people in our lives who we acknowledge as “family” regardless of any biological or legal link. They fulfill for us the role of family as a relational support system, and may or may not include some or all members of our families of origin or our marital / blended families.

A Prayer for after Someone Comes Out

The Jesus Prayer: An Interpretation

Love, sacred mystery at the heart of all things, holy are you. May your domain spread out across the world. May all have what they need, today and all days. May we forgive ourselves for our failings and strive to do better. May we forgive others for their failings and invite them to do better, even as they forgive themselves and us.

On Liturgy: Queering Worship

On Liturgy: Queering Worship

This writing comes at a particular time when, at least in the American landscape, exploring the idea of queerness in familiar, some would say normative, sacred spaces can be seen as a political act. This conflation of politics and theological aspiration is not the focus of my thoughts around queering worship.

On Liturgy: Queering Worship

On Music: The Queerness of Church Music

Queer musicians have always existed within the church. Throughout history, music has served as an avenue for queer people to engage with their faith and express themselves authentically. In general, musical arts can provide liberating opportunities to depart from rigid gender expectations. Today, church music programs can model inclusivity to all children of God.

On Liturgy: Queering Worship

On the Arts: Rupture, Art, and Queering the Liturgy

The work of artist Rachel Barnard titled Wisdom Pavilion is situated in a dreary office of the City of New York Department of Probation. In this unlikely location, she suspended hundreds of sparkly cobalt blue pinwheels from the ceiling of a meeting room for parole officers and young parolees. Barnard is also the founder of Young New Yorkers (YNY), an arts-based initiative for teens in the adult criminal court system.