Creative Contemplative Practices
This space is an offering to LGBTQ+ people of faith and our allies who want to explore creative paths to access the truth of how deeply cherished we are by the One who created us, redeems us and sustains us. By taking the time to explore our own understanding and experience of God, we are better equipped to live into the great invitation to love God with our whole heart, mind and soul and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. For if we are able to love our self as God loves us, then we are able to more authentically love our neighbor and in so doing, that is how we love God.
Spiritual and contemplative practices come in every color of the rainbow across the spectrum of the world’s religions – prayer, meditation, reading, writing, walking, singing, making and even marching. What makes any activity spiritual or contemplative is what we bring to it. If we dribble a basketball with a meditative mind and open heart, that can be a contemplative practice. If we approach holy communion numbly, just going through the motions, then even though the act is a sacrament, it is not spiritual if we don’t bring to it the impulse to focus our attention on the thin places where the mystery of the divine can be apprehended on this side of the veil. Contemplative practices connect us with God, others and ourself. The most mundane activity can be spiritual if our hearts and minds are in a posture of loving and longing for God.
Once we begin looking closely, listening deeply, noticing patters and tracing things to their origins – reverently using all of our senses – well, how can we not notice that everything is interesting and laced with a shimmering connective tissue beyond our comprehension. And when we really look and listen to the intersecting lines of being queer and Christian, remembering that God is present in every single moment, we are invited into the faithful mystery of indeterminacy and interdependence.
What I offer you here is a blend of old and new ways for practicing the promise of a still speaking, always loving God.
In the coming months, we will move through four seasons of promise inspired by Joanna Macy’s Work that Reconnects as well as the wonderfully wise work she shares with Chris Johnstone in Active Hope. a season of gratitude, a season of grief, a season for vision and a season for going forth in love and service.
In each season, you will encounter bit of prose to reflect upon, a prayer to encourage you, a creative, contemplative practice to connect you more deeply with the divine and a prompt to spark in you a co-creative impulse.
I’m here as a guide, honored to travel with you across an inner landscape, hoping to help you grasp the overlapping, shimmering strands of queer faith. It is my ardent desire, that by transforming your understanding of God’s love for you, you can radiate that love outward and participate in transforming the world right there in your tiny parcel of creation.
What you’ll need to make the most of this journey:
- A sense of adventure coupled with a predilection for holy hijinks
- Trust in yourself to find the right way for you to engage each invitation
- Quiet time set aside just for you
- A box or bag of tea lights
- A new journal at least 5 x 7, but 8 x 10 will serve you well
- Pens and pencils for all sorts of jottings
- Watercolors and paintbrushes
- Magazines and old books you can use for collaging
- Scissors, glue, tape
- Camera or smartphone
- The known whereabouts of a good thrift store or two
A word about that word – queer. Some folks love it and some people hate it. I personally love how it offers me an umbrella for a broad spectrum of expressions of personhood. I use it in my daily life interchangeably with lesbian when talking about myself and my connection to the wider LGBTQ+ community. When you see the word queer in prompts and questions throughout this journal, please know that whether you identify as T, B, L, G, Q, or A, that I mean YOU and however you understand the fullness of your humanity. If you identify as gay, when I invite you to ponder an idea such as “Some things I love about being queer are” – please, please, please rewrite that open sentence using your own identity words and pronouns. This is your journey.