Today, as some Christians in Indiana claim their religion justifies refusing service to LGBTQ customers, Quaker Kody Hersh lifts up the Jesus who stood with those on the margins of society.
Jesus affirms: a summary of the scriptures is “Love the lord your God with all your heart and all your mind and with all your strength and love thy neighbor as thyself.”
If that’s really the summary of everything that’s in there, then I test that against my experience of love working in the world, and I’ve seen that love working in all sorts of relationships and through all sorts of people, and there’s nothing in my experience now that makes me think that queer relationships are manifestations of God’s love any less than straight relationships.
How Jesus Affirms My Queerness
My name is Kody Hersh. I live in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia and I still have membership in the Meeting that I grew up in in Miami, Florida, Southeastern Yearly Meeting.
I call myself queer even though I know that that’s a challenging word for some folks—especially people of a different generation that I am—because it’s important to me that that term feels like it has space, both for the complexity of how I experience my sexuality and the fact that I experience my sexuality as in resistance to a lot of cultural norms and expectations about what that’s supposed to look like.
And something that’s really affirming for me as a Christian is looking at the life of Jesus and the amount of time that Jesus spent with people who were on the fringes of the culture that he was embedded in, that he really sought out the people who weren’t the most privileged or the most respected or the most appropriate people for him to hang out with, and that’s powerful for me.
Also, the fact that God, seeking to have a human experience, would choose to have that human experience embodied as someone who was born to a mother who was not supposed to be bearing children, given her relationship status and cultural status, born to somebody in a situation of not just poverty, but imperial impression in Palestine—that that was the human experience that God chose to have to me is a really powerful message, a really exciting message.
What all of that together means to me, Jesus seeking to hang out with outcasts and God embodying in a kind of marginalized human form, is that it’s not just that the Kingdom of God includes everybody, even folks at the margins. It’s that the kingdom of God includes everybody, especially folks at the margins.
If you don’t quite fit in the structures of this world, if you find yourself in conflict and resistance with them, if you find that the power structures of this world shut you out from a lot of resources or authority or self-determination, you are a central figure in the kingdom of God.