I chose Mischievous Spirit and Theology as the name of this website. It represents two primary passions in life: Spiritualities and Theologies, Queer and Green. But they do not exhaust my other interests from Gender Issues to Comparative Religion(s), Systematic and Contextual Theologies, Interfaith Dialogue and Interfaith Spiritualities, Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and Engaged Buddhisms, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Outsider Social Movements, , Ecological Spiritualities and Theologies, and Lady Gaga.
“Friends, There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled. There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled…Friends, don’t be discouraged. Compassion comes after trouble. Don’t put on any dress but Love. Don’t cover yourself with any garment but Love… Be drunk with Love, for Love is all that exists.” ~ Rumi
We live in an age where the Holy Spirit is tearing down walls between peoples and communities of faith and struggling to preserve life on the Earth and generating greater compassion and love among us.Do we dare to listen to the Holy Spirit, the mischief-maker. She will leads in an unconventional journey of compassion, building bridges and tearing down walls, teaching us to listen to her invitation to inclusive and open vision of life.
My spirituality and theology is Queer. Queer, for myself, is a transgressive approach to spiritualities and theologies that have become hardened in their dogmatisms and moralisms. Queer is a verb. As an active verb, it means “to interfere with or spoil.” If a particular religion, community of faith, ritual, or doctrine excludes—such as the exclusion of LGBTQI folks—then “to queer” that exclusion is to spoil or interfere with its exclusions. In other words, it is spoiled to become more inclusive. Queer is turn “inside out, upside down” that which is culturally heteronormative. For example, we find those bringing Jesus before Pilate, charging: “We have found this man perverting our nation…” (Luke 23:2) Jesus’ practice of the reign of God had a topsy-turvy quality that challenged the oppressive exclusions of patriarchal culture and religion. Queering simply overturns those exclusions to make it more inclusive for people.
My fellow queer sojourners use some very apt descriptions from other personal contexts. Marcella Althaus-Reid speaks of making theology “indecent” since decent theology excludes the marginalized and indecent people. Justin Tanis, a trans-gay man, poetically understands queer as to live in twilight space at dusk between day and night or the dawn between night and day. Gender fluidity has been consigned to those liminal spaces in our society. They create queer ambiguity. Finally, Patrick S. Cheng perceives queer as the erasing of defined or essentialist binary categories of gender, sexuality, and race. His rainbow theology celebrates divergences and differences in a positive fashion. I find Patrick’s notion of queer, of erasing binaries very similar to the Buddhist experience of non-duality.
“Queer Theology does theology with impunity. Borders of thinking are crossed. Borders of prayer are crossed. Body borders. God may cross God’s own borders too.” ~ Marcella Althaus-Reid (One of my patron Saints)
Thus, queer is a strategic practice of spirituality and theology that aims for radical inclusive love—God’s gracious tearing down of walls and making love accessible and available to all. I am drawn by queer triune God, the divine community’s inclusive and promiscuous love. I am on a journey to greater inclusiveness.
I make available my first book—Jesus ACTED UP: A Gay and Lesbian Manifesto—to you for a donation to an AIDS Hospice in Tijuana or Environmental Interfaith Movement, Interfaith Power and Life, or to the Environmental Justice Ministry of the United Church of Christ.
For those struggling with the Bible and Homosexuality: See my youtubes on Homosexuality and the Bible or read “The Practice of Safe Texts“.
Talk 1: Leviticus – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yagCSgWsmp4
Talk 2: Sodom and Gomorrah and Judges 19 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzTh1gjzCCU
Talk 3: Paul –Part 1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItEo5wPRDDU
Talk 3: Paul –Part 2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEp6gLxYwhY
Talk 4: Jesus and Homoeroticism – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezxcPqmUoFo
Grace is Green:
The earth with all its life has been subjected to reckless human exploitation and domination, impacting the climate processes and creating global warming. Matthew Fox wrote more than two decades, “ …the killing of Mother Earth in our time is the number one ethical, spiritual, and human issue of our planet.” So many governments and religious communities fail to take serious climate change and its impact upon the Earth and all life. Our human original sin is human exceptionalism above the Earth and other life. Such hubris has led to the situation that all of us are facing now and more intensely this century as the polar ice caps and Greenland glaciers melt. Watch: Earth 2100 on YouTube (Part 1 of nine) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjmWivCTcv).
My passion for the Earth came with the recognition of queer Christian inclusion and the radical inclusive mission of Jesus, and with the congregation I served, we made the Earth a member of our church. Hildegard of Bingen – a 12thcentury Abbess, mystic and prophetic visionary — writes about the green power of God, Christ, and the Spirit. She uses the the word viriditas, a Latin compound of green and truth, to speak about the greening power or grace of God. It is the divine greening power or fecundity that animates creation from the beginning, planting, nourishing, and flourishing. Hildegard comprehends Jesus as greenness incarnate and the Holy Spirit as the sustaining and enlivening green presence within creation. God’s grace is green and sustains the Earth and all life.
“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” ~ Chief Seattle
The human impact on the Earth and climate changes provides a challenge to humanity to reconnect with the Earth and envision ourselves as part of the biotic community of life as modeled by Hildegard of Bingen, Francis of Assisi, Albert Schweitzer, Rachel Carson, Leonardo Boff, and many green activists, theologians, conservationists, and peoples of faith.
Watch my youtube talks on Environmental Justice and Falling in Love with God’s Earth. Read my articles and sermons on ecology and Christianity.
All Christian theologies need to green itself and foster a compassionate praxis of care and love for all life. We need to fight for life—ALL LIFE and the EARTH HERSELF!