Originally published in December 2015, this post has particular resonance this week following President Donald Trump's Executive Order to restrict immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries. This bans stigmatizes and harms immigrants, refugees, and Muslims, and it is an assault on the values we hold dear, including religious freedom and Christian love.
“What will explain to you what the steep path is? It is to free a slave, to feed in a time of hunger an orphaned relative or a person in distress, and to be one of those who believe and urge one another to steadfastness and compassion.” ~ Surah al-Balad (The City), 90:12-17
The image of a steep path, a path that requires significant energy and commitment to climb, is one that may resonate with many LGBTQ people of faith. The journey of an LGBTQ person of faith often involves deciding to take risk—to risk a painful or dangerous fall if you lose your balance (usually after someone comes along and tries to knock you down). I know my own path as an LGBTQ Muslim was a steep and winding one involving many tumbles and falls on some rather sharp rocks that cast serious doubt on my childhood faith.
But the value of patient perseverance in my climb was made abundantly clear to me when I was in seminary.
During seminary, I had all but given up on finding space for my identity in the Muslim faith I had known since I was a child. I was surrounded by liberationist and LGBTQ Christians who showed me that it was possible to take traditions that excluded or vilified you and reshape them into ones that not only included you, but actually celebrated you. Read more.