The project

January 17, 2009

I started this blog several weeks ago, and several things have kept me from writing, and I won’t go into them here. However, I am back; I think.

In the ideal world I would have a perfect website up and running to promote my work, but the rollout of the new site won’t come for several months. Meanwhile, I will use this space to talk about my work, and invite people to collaborate with me on this project.

I’m a therapist, educator, mediator, and sometimes advocate. My initial post was a rant about the stalled movement toward GLBT equality. Over the past few months, I’ve been talking with my straight and GLBT friends, and anyone who would listen, about my sense for the work that needs to be done to put a human face on the theological, political, social, and familial statements about the experiences of GLBT in these systems.  I have known for a long time this is the work the universe has sent me to do, and recently I’ve begun to follow my intuition and dive into the task at hand.

The project I’m embarking on is twofold: first, listen to the stories of GLBT who were raised in systems that discriminated against them because of their sexual preference. Second, spend time in faith communities that are engaging this conversation. The end result will be a book that features theses stories and offers a roadmap for communities/systems to follow to become more open and affirming. I have started learning co-ops where GLBTs gather and share their experiences with me. The response so far has been amazing and affirming. It is my hope that we will add heterosexuals to these groups in the near future. So far, I am in conversation with Baptist, Lutheran, Evangelical, Episcopal, Methodist, and Christian communities around the country who are having this conversation within their communities.

I believe telling stories helps us heal. I believe not enough people really listen to each other; therefore, we have fragmented systems of people who don’t know the experiences of other people, who become the “other than” among us. I’m interested in the consequences of our system requirements for conformity to prescribed roles and rules at the expense of the emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical well-being of those who find themselves in the “other than” group.

The “other than” group I’m interested in is the GLBT community. I’m not interested in their sexual preferences. I’m interested in their stories because I believe they deserve to be heard to bring healing, reconciliation, and progress. I want our systems to change, and I want to provide an example for how to change these systems. I also want to hear the stories of people who grew up in systems that were affirming of their sexual preference.

I’m a therapist. It’s how my mind works. It’s time to creatively engage the conversation, mediate, reconcile, and empower individuals and communities to live fully integrated lives. I believe we do this by telling stories.

I hope by giving GLBT brothers and sisters, who have never been asked about their experiences, a voice we can begin to cross the bridge and work together in the Kingdom of God (instead of talking about being GLBT and Christian).

I would love it if this conversation was unnecessary, and in some churches it’s not an issue. The truth is, even in communities/systems that are affirming there are many individuals who have come to those systems from systems that were discriminatory. This project is about bringing everyone to the table, back to the table, and asking them to listen to stories that will rock their world.

This is a project about our universal human experiences, and if we connect over these stories we can leave the universe a better place than the way we found it. 

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3 Responses to “The project”

  1. Rachel said

    Yea for doing this! If I could offer one thought/clarification of sorts. “Sexual preference”… hmmmm. Really? For so many GLBT/Queer folk I know, its not really about preferring one gender over another, or that I’d prefer to be with a man, but oh well ok, I’ll choose a woman (or vise versa). The language teeters a bit too close to the word “choice” and choosing some sort of preference.

    Sexual orientation?
    Bless you dear one.
    p.s. – Check this new site out. http://queermergent.wordpress.com/

  2. Amy said

    This is fantastic, Naomi. We’ve been talking about this at one of my churches, but it’s very hard to move forward on this without some kind of roadmap. I have been referred to a couple of books by my former life coach (a lesbian who really woke me up [without trying to] and made me re-examine by believes about sexual orientation), but it is still so hard to envision how to bring this conversation to my particular communities.

    I think talking to the variety of communities that you’re talking to, and documenting how churches from a wide variety of theological and liturgical backgrounds are treating this topic, will provide an invaluable resource to folks.

  3. Heather said

    I’m really excited for you as you make your way on this journey. It’s going to be exciting, to say the least! Love ya’.

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