Tag Archives: queereying

Where is the love, the love, the love?

The title for this post comes from a song by Black eyed peas, but it refers to my idea that where we locate and source our symbols of what “love” is and how it “moves”, who owns it and who can rightfully give or receive it matters very much in terms of how we end up treating each other.

“Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks.” Literally every single option for prefaces (and there are 26 pages of them and more than one to a page in my missal) starts with these words. This ideology then is not accidental to the mass, it is central to the way we have been told to celebrate it. Since 26 pages of many prefaces is a lot for one short blog post, I will be self-indulgent enough to zoom in on one and look more deeply. I was planning on looking at an “ordinary time” one since it is so often ordinary time, but the address of God as “father” makes me think of the human families we build in the image of the values we project onto God (ironically out of human society to begin with) with hetero-patriarchal roles and so I will look at the preface of marriage II more closely.

About half of the prefaces (including this one) complete the opening sentence with the words “through Jesus Christ our Lord.” If God’s embodiment as Jesus has meaning for us, this clearly states that his identity to us is “Lord” and we could also question who are the “our” who possess (or come under) his Lordship.

“Through him you entered into a new covenant with your people.

You restored man to grace in the saving mystery of redemption.”

Here we have a fallen humanity and a “new covenant” replacing the not mentioned “old”. The word “covenant” will be used as a symbolically significant term within the idea of “marriage” and I have read some very interesting feminist analyses what the concept that marriage is a “covenant” means for women’s rights to leave an abusive marriage (the abuse breaks the covenant so leaving is not only allowed but logical and right, the marriage no longer exists once it has become abusive).

“you gave him a share in the divine life

through his union with Christ.

You made him an heir of Christ’s eternal glory.”

although as feminists/women/little girls we have all been told 1,000 times we are meant to smile and allow the term “man” as inclusive of “all people” the male pronoun is clearly and repeatedly used here begging the question “how stupid do they actually think they are?” and also “can we really keep lying back and thinking of England no matter what?” But interestingly the “man” through union with Christ (this in the context of a marriage service) is made an heir. So there is a queer reading possible here (though not one that does much for women apart from the potential to snigger at why they REALLY want to leave us out).

“The outpouring of love at the new covenant of grace”

“the covenant of grace” lavished upon “man” in the preceding paragraph so I guess women as usual get their crumbs under the table of “man”- a great start to a marriage wouldn’t you (dis)agree?

“is symbolised in the marriage covenant that seals husband and wife and reflects your divine plan of love”

Oh I see. So as God is to man (father all-powerful…lord…active…giving…union), husband is to wife. No use trying to tell me I am paranoid, because we constantly see just this sexual politics played out all over the church and societies that claim to be founded on “Christian values”. God’s “divine plan of love” is a powerful top-down movement, from a “lord” to someone who simply does well “everywhere to give you thanks”

“And so with all the angels and all the saints in heaven we proclaim your glory and join in their unending hymn of praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest” This last little prayer/poem often called the Sanctus and at the church I grew up in generally sung in Latin by the choir, signalled that it was time to kneel “for a really, really long time” as I felt it, for the Eucharistic prayer.

I have no good memories of the preface and Sanctus (although the singing is often beautiful), nothing but discomfort about this part of the mass and so instead of trying to reclaim it, I will rewrite it queer (ignoring some questions I have in my head about whether “marriage” is a good idea to begin with…) and see whether I can at least get a different sexual politics by taking it out of the heterosexual matrix.

All dancing, all loving, ever living God, you call us to come and dance with you in your joyful hope for all creation, through Jesus-Sophia your living Word.

Through Jesus you became embodied in the messiness, heartbreak and celebration that is human existence- the desire to touch and nurture and be one with the “other” that we celebrate today. You shared life- human and divine with us and with every living atom of a universe created in your image and suffused with love. You draw near to us in love, you are glad when we draw near to you.

This outpouring of generous love and delighting is symbolised in the desire of these two who are “other” to each other to be united in a commitment to nurture, challenge and learn from each other and to nurture the world from the secure space of their loving. We, their community celebrate and support their love and commitment.

And so with every leaf, stone and molecule of star-dust in the whole of creation, with angels, dreams and human desires we join with you in your dance of love and renewal

Calling us, calling, us calling us always, beloved and loving God of all creation. Seeing your radiance in this beautiful world we are moved to sing, Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is our life when we encounter your reality in each other “Hosanna” also in the depths.

but of course like all attempts to pray, it is partial and someone else would do it differently…




Interviewing Mark 4:26-34 and some of his friends

What if someone (not necessarily a man) would scatter seed? Someone desperate for growth, for ears of golden corn, for an end to the spiritual famine. Someone who lives on the fringes. Someone who has carefully saved up the seeds from meagre gleaning, who has survived for many years on the crumbs that fall (if only you give up your dignity to crawl), fall from the table of grace.

Is the “kingdom” of God like that? The starving household of the same God? The fringe-dwelling widows and orphans of the “kingdom”. Excommunicated for disobedience, for living with open eyes. I was hungry God and the church refused to feed my spirit.

Do we sleep? Do we rise? Do we walk away? Something calls us back to scatter our seed again and again, to waste our potential on hard and stony ground, to hope against hope as our seed chokes among the thorns of common-sense.

Does it sprout? Does it grow? By their words you shall know them. Or was that works? No, by their fruits.

4:28 The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head.

And on those who say that feminists are narcissists, that say that women who seek to be ordained are acting out of the sin of pride (I won’t add those links as I don’t want to give them traffic) I ask them to look again. Do we claim to have any more control over the seed than any other sower, than any other patch of earth? Do we claim to choose where we are sown any more than the helpless grain of wheat?

Where are we in the story?

Do we sleep? Do we rise? Do we feed and teach our children and maybe someone else’s too?

4:28 The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head.

And where then is our harvest? We sow love but we do not reap respect. We sow wisdom but we do not reap justice. Wives and mothers are just wombs and breasts, helpmates and servants. Wisdom choked by thorns of heedlessness, trivialised by stony silence of privilege.

4:29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.

He goes in does he? When do we go in? Where is our harvest? Even the dogs may gather the crumbs, oh God.

What if the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed? What if we had faith the size of a mustard seed? But my faith is shrivelled and old: past its season. I never had the courage or the strength to move a mountain.

Perhaps it is after all mustard I am sowing, tiny seeds unheeded to make a shrub we could all underestimate. My words that I sow I will be forced to eat – hot burning mustard to kill the decaying taste of patriarchy in my mouth, to season the blandness of a faith too privileged to see that I exist. mustard spreads like a weed, try to pull it out, eradicate it if you can!

the master’s house infested with this tenacious mustard, which are the little birds that will now make their nests?

Hearing parables, I always get the itch to tell my own. What does a woman know of sowing? Resisting, resisting, resisting the straightest reading of the text I weave it through and around other sections testing to see how they intersect, are the strands strong? Do the colours clash or make a rainbow?

Apparently I am not a “disciple” my bible doesn’t have the answers in the back for me to check my work.

But what if someone would scatter seed?

Someone desperate for growth…