As most of you who are likely to read this know I am a queer, Chrisitian, disabled woman (dyslexic and dyspraxic) who supports Ipswich Town FC who is married to a trans masculine, disabled, bi Methodist Minister who supports Man U. I found myself choosing to get arrested on Waterloo Bridge when I took breakfast down to the Extinction Rebellion peeps a couple of years ago and I am generally a bit of a leftie. If we went back a while I'd have been called a single mum too, and I was divorced. For some this mixture is a bit of a mind f**k because they see these things as contradictory. For others they worry because the church has not always been good news for those with this type of identity mix.The thing I have found over the years though, is that God's good news is that he loves us whatever labels we put on ourselves or have put on by others.
God wants us to flourish and I've found he helps us do that by leading us to a place where we can put our energy into being ourselves not trying to live by others expectations. Now I'm not saying he says absolutely anything goes, rather that God's healthy intentions for each one of us are slightly less rigid than some faith traditions would have us believe.
The good news which God offers is being able to live in openess and honesty. It's about integrity not putting on masks. Too often though that is what people have been led to believe about God, that it involves pretending to be who you're not. Well the thing about this is if, as I believe, God knows all about us then he can see through us all anyway. There is no point trying to pretend to God our identity is anything other than it is because he knows anyway. And he wants us to flourish in that identity, as long as it is not doing harm to others.
You might be saying, oh yes...how do you know. Well I'll be honest I tried way too long to pretend I was someone I wasn't and it didn't work. The energy I was putting into that was wasted. When I stopped trying and accepted who I was and I found a new partner that I was in love with my life began to change dramatically. It was through not repressing myself, not being ashamed of labels, (and getting medical support for depression), that I was set free to serve God in ways I couldn't have imagined. There is a similar story for my husband and it was through saying yes to who God intended us to be as well as to his call on our lives that He was able to take us on a new adventure, a few years ago when my husband was called to be a Methodist minister.
Is it always easy? No, we follow somebody who ultimately ended up going to the cross because he was too radical for the authorities, (as well as choosing to go there because of his love for us). Do I always get it right? No, that's why it is good I can say sorry to God and let him know I want his help and support moving forward in the right direction.
Why am I writing this today. Honest answer is partly for a Methodist course I'm doing on Evangelism for Leaders. Other bit of the answer though is because I still know alot of people who have similar labels are taught God is only good news for them if they will deny who they are. This isn't right it's abusive and why I believe we need to stop conversion therapy in all it's forms, (including when it comes in the guise of discussions about living a more Godly life). I want you to know that God's good news is he loves you and wants you to flourish.