For Quest’s conference 2016, “Feathers on the Breath of God”, we will be investigating gender, sexuality and spirituality. The keynote speakers will be looking particularly at issues of gender, but there will also be a workshop on sexuality and spirituality – topics which are too easily assumed to be in conflict for LGBT people. In fact, there are many reasons to believe that this assumption is entirely false. There are eminent Catholic and other Christian writers on spirituality who argue that embracing and accepting one’s sexuality as gay or lesbian can be a path to both psychological and spiritual growth. Others have written from personal experience, on how they have “found God in gay love-making“.
A particularly powerful description of how this is so, is presented by the theologian Chris Glaser, in the introduction to his prayer collection, “Coming Out to God”. A summary of his argument, with some extracts from that introduction, may be read at “Queering the Church”, in a post titled “The Intimate Dance of Sexuality and Spirituality“:
“When my sexuality began to emerge, my spirituality froze in fear, then nearly ran out of the room. But then it noticed other souls dancing gracefully, and realised it was missing their grace. My spirituality wondered if the lack of grace had something to do with rejection of the stranger on the other side of the room, my sexuality.
Timidly, one invited the other to dance. At first, they scarcely looked at each other… they were lousy dancers. Then they cast furtive glances at each other, sometimes angry or resentful, sometimes flirtatious and seductive….Finally they found times when the dance led them, and for brief moments they became perfect dancers, full of grace, true to each other. They danced together as my soul.”
“Sexuality and spirituality are not opposing forces, as is frequently supposed today. Instead, both draw people into relationship. Sexuality draws us into physical relationships: touching, hugging…… kissing and intercourse. Spirituality draws us into relationships that both incl ude and transcend bodies because it includes and transcends that which is visible……Both our sexual and spiritual powers are holy, and therefore both my be profaned. At their holiest, these powers lead to love in all its many expressions. At their most profane, they may lead to apathy or hate. The integrity of both sexual and spiritual powers is called the soul.”
“In prayer, coming out to God as sexual-spiritual beings opens us up, I believe, to God coming out to us in the dance of Substance and Sensuality, spirituality and sexuality. Prayer becomes a place wherein the choreography of the dance of spirituality and sexuality gets worked out. When we allow the Lord of the Dance to lead, sexuality becomes responsible and spirituality becomes responsive.”
(Quest conference 2016, “Feathers on the Breath of God”, will take as its theme, Gender, Sexuality and Identity. The keynote addresses by Tina Beardsley and Chris Dowd will be respectively:
- “My Body was Made for the Love of God” (Ernesto Cardenal): transgender Christians and the Body of Christ.
- The new Normal- how sexual minorities are going mainstream.
Conference will also feature a Sibyls workshop on “‘Gender, Sexuality and Spirituality: exploring the interplay.’
Book your place here.)