Still standing.

My name is Rob Waker. I’m still standing. I still live in Toronto, though now I’m 36. Continuing PhD work in the fall at the Toronto School of Theology, hoping to move conversation forward about LGBTQ+ people in the Church. I’m 36 now, but I still love men and I still love Jesus–perhaps even more so, on both counts! Being a gay Christian is fun.

After quite a bit of drama, the Anglican Church of Canada has passed the first reading of a change to the Marriage Canon (church law) that would explicitly allow the marriage of same-gendersex couples. I was not expecting to be as moved by this decision as I am. Earlier this afternoon, I was overcome with emotion, and the best way to release it was to shout, “YAAAAAS!” at the top of my lungs. I hope I didn’t scare the cat on the stairs!

I really do believe that this decision is fully in line with the Gospel. I am also committed to loving and being in fellowship with those who disagree with me. I feel Anglicans (and the Body of Christ at large) has a remarkable opportunity in these days to really delve again into what makes the Gospel so good, into what drives our biblical interpretation and story-telling, and into what it takes to let all Creation know that it is accepted–becoming whole and free in Jesus. I expect strong disagreements, sure. But I expect something else, too.

I expect parties to break out at a moment’s notice. Because that’s what happens when the rule of God comes in. And that’s what happens when people realize that in spite of all the chaotic evil in the world, hope is free to roam and love is still gonna win in the end. Have faith, O people.

Here I stand, still. Lord, may I bring you joy! Amen.

Dear family of God: A letter from your queer daughter

Please hear this. This happens in far too many churches.

Jo Rutter

This guest post from a friend is published anonymously to protect the author. I encouraged them to write these words after hearing the story below. They have given me this post as a gift, and I give them to you.

Dear Family of God,

I am not someone else’s daughter. I am your queer daughter. I am not someone else’s sister. I am your queer sister.

I am next to you in your pew. I am teaching your children about Jesus. I am worshiping with you. I am leading you in worship.

You claim to love me, yet I am only welcome in your lives as long as I write this post anonymously. I am only welcome as long as I keep my hurting heart from beating too loudly.

As much as you believe that you have perfected the act of disagreeing with homosexuality while still remaining a safe space…

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God’s Silence of Solidarity. A prayer.

My friend, colleague, and pastor Sam of MCC Toronto asked me to submit something for a prayer service about the Orlando Pulse mass shooting. After turning her request over for many hours, and admitting that I didn’t feel adequate, this is what bubbled up over about a fifteen-minute period, this early morning, well after midnight.

Where are the words?

Where are the right words to tell you, Source of All,
what it’s like to have our worst fears confirmed,
to see queer people of colour snuffed out,
to know that LGBTQ+ people are still,
in some eyes and hearts
less than the image and likeness of God,
less than fully human?

Where are the words?
Where are the best words to express, Word of God,
all the love and pain we feel,
all the lost sleep,
all the numbness and anger and tears,
all the memories of when
words from Scripture and the mouths of friends
and family felt like bullets ripping through us?

Where are the words?
Where are the strong words to shout, Giver of Life,
that we still hope in you,
that we will choose to forgive,

that we are defiant and fabulous,
that we will not hate and we will remember,
that we will not stop working for your justice
until every human being knows the flame of your love
over their heads,
until the principalities of homophobia and transphobia and racism and religious xenophobia
know their defeat,
until the idolatry of “the right to bear arms” is smashed
in favour of the Divine image in every life, the flourishing of our communities and peoples?

These feeble words are not enough,
and yet you hear us.
So, in your many names and in the name of Jesus,
we choose, for a moment, your silence of solidarity with us,
and the Love you are always speaking.
Amen.

Shrapnel

I had the honour of doing a spoken-word poem with my dear friend Chris Ong.

Living Ink

This last weekend I got to perform my first ever collaborative poem with a friend, Rob Walker. It was such an honour to work with Rob on this. Although we didn’t have much time to practice, I really enjoyed performing it and I hope to perform it again some time. Enjoy.

Chris: I was in shock.

Rob: Caught in the headlights

Chris: My mind was racing a thousand miles per minute,
but my lungs were in stop-and-go traffic.

Rob: It felt like  quick jab to my gut,
Knocking the wind out of me and leaving me befuddled.
Desperately trying to remember how to breathe.

Chris: Like my body forgot how to survive and in a moment I tried to re-learn 22 years of my life

Both: Maybe you’ve been there too. 

Both: Question:

Rob: How do you keep your composure when your pastor betrays you in front of 30…

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Image flickr.com

Rose Gold. A poem.

I have faith in the power of words.

They are tiny, and insignificant,
and when you use them so powerfully

to evoke the disaster of your life,
complete with sights and smells worthy

of a trigger warning,
and when you tell me

you do not have faith in the power of words,
I see a glass vase dropping to a concrete floor, shattering,
in a shadowed room.

I glimpse, for a moment, your lack of faith.

 

But then I see a man with shadowed face,

one who heard the shatter,
and without a broom or even even a dustpan

gets down on his hands and knees
wearing only a towel

picking up the pieces,
one

by
one.

The sun goes down,
and the glass lies dead.

Still, he keeps working,
working all night,

and I see blood flowing from his fingers,
dark and dripping

and still he picks up the pieces,
one

by
one.

I can barely keep my eyes open–
maybe I don’t

but suddenly a shout rouses me.
My eyes burst open

to the room filling with
rose gold light,

imparting rose-gold to the glass
stained with blood,

and his shout is a word,
so golden with love

that a blood-red rose blooms
in my heart, thorns and all:

“LIVE!”

I do not understand it,
but he has a new vase in his hand,

the same one,
but crackling with lightning.

And the man smiles,
his eyes filling with the joy

of making the universe
and calling it good.

I have faith in that Word,
that calls me rose-gold.

Therefore, though they made him bleed,
yours, and mine,
matter.

You are what you eat

My friend Chris Ong wrote this; it’s such tasty and solid theology that I don’t even know what to do with myself. When I heard it for the first time at Toronto Generous Space, my response was a loud, “YAAAAAS!”

Living Ink

What little boys do during communion in evangelical churches
is take handfuls of bread and juice when they think nobody is looking
mashing their fists into their mouths so fast
I could have sworn they forgot to eat breakfast that morning.

Their parents scold them quietly under the soft melody of a piano,
and usher them back to their seat, hoping no one else noticed.

I notice

I notice, because back in the days when my school week started on Sunday morning,
I too had large appetite and didn’t know how to quench it.
We have all heard the adage, you are what you eat,
and so I took up cannibalistic tendencies and devoured the flesh and blood of the one I called saviour.
hoping that somehow his grace would get stuck in the deepest parts of me.

Today, I am grown up
I attend large dinner parties on the…

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