Crumbs and Community
At what cost is community worth?
A church may be affirming of queer folks and more aware of injustice that is happening in the world, but still cater to married people. This, I believe, is written in the Church’s DNA.
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some;
But at what cost? Must I bite my tongue as bigotry is spewed in between Bible verses? I shudder at the thought of being “one in Christ” with those who see me as inferior whether it is due to my race, gender, or sexuality. Although it’s taken me 9 years to realize this, it is oddly freeing. I have no obligation to be in communication with an individual or group of people who refuse to unlearn the hatred they’ve been conditioned to believe.
This unfortunately applies to how I am treated as a single queer Black woman in the Church. For all of the sermons I have heard about community I have yet to truly experience it outside of a building on Sunday. What I have come to realize is that if I were married to a cisgender man, this would not be the case. My spouse and I would more than likely be invited to dinners and events by other married couples. I would be able to relate to the wives, instead of smiling awkwardly as they speak in a foreign tongue. The crumbs that I speak of in the title refers to the bits of comfort I get from interacting with others who share my faith. Either affirmation is giving to me or just a brief encounter where I do not feel less than. Now, this may be my projecting insecurities onto those who are married, but I cannot ignore the impossible hurdle that I seem to continue to run into.
I am not looking for a church that caters specifically toward single people, and even if I did, I know that it would not be a healthy place for anyone who was not cisgender, white, and male. I do not want to be anyone’s pet project or pity party for not meeting some invisible standard over the Church. Instead, I am looking for authentic community where I do not have to check my identities at the door. So far that has looked like a virtual community on social media where my bio states exactly who I am upfront. I do not want to fall back on identity politics to bring light to the plight of various marginalized groups. What I do want to do is speak my own truth concerning the years of isolation I have experienced within an institution that claims to welcome all.
I am critiquing an institution that I am leaving in less than one month. Yet, I am more concerned about those who will be “tricked” into believing that the Church is a place where they will be fully embraced. There is no way to prevent more people like myself from going through the honeymoon phase only to realize how much having a partner allows for a different type of fellowship. I would love nothing more than to experience this kind of community. Maybe it is somewhere I am not looking, or nowhere at all.