by Todd Keough
My heart is tugged and pulled as I sit in that pew at 8, 9 10, 11, and 12 year olds. The words ring out like fire into my soul and burn and sear me. My soul cries and body shrinks back and I am ashamed and in fear of who I am. I am told that I am an abomination, and that I will burn in hell these messages lead to me believing I do not deserve to be loved and the self-hate begins. I not only have been traumatized by this hate speech but I am pushed away from all that is good and loving and that everyone’s soul longs for. That is how it has been for many of us raised to believe that God is not for us or that God hates us.
Even if raised without religion or a church that is opening and affirming the pervasive message in this Christian nation is that homosexuality is sinful. God has been co-opted by people who do not understand the truth of Jesus’ message or Muhammad’s or the tenets of most religion which is to love. Many religions have tried to strip us of the natural inclination and the deep sense of belonging to something that deeply loves us and hold us in high esteem. Many of us have turned away from or never allowed ourselves to open up to Spirit or God because of these lies.
The truth is for millennia we have been shaman, medicine people, healers, priests, and the connection to spirit. We do not have to choose celibacy and a life of piety over a life of sexual expression and freedom to be with Spirit. It is not an either or. Jonathan and David in the Bible were deeply in love and had a ceremony of commitment. David is the greatest King in the Bible and a direct ancestor of Jesus. God chose him to be a direct descendant of Jesus. In the history of many of the tribes and nations, of that which we call Native Americans, two spirits (gays and lesbians) were revered for their spiritual gifts.
We are an integral part of the connection of this world to that which is beyond and we must raise our voices and our heads in prayer and song. We should be celebrated for who we are. We are created in the image of that which is part of the entire universe and we deserve to live that truth..
I know many are very skeptical of this connection. I know some mock it or even believing it is corny. Many in our community think they are beyond this connection and it doesn’t exist. That place where deep love resides was ripped away by false religious teachings. You have a right to feel and touch that longing for something deep within you. We are united in love towards the truth of what is deeply nourishing and life affirming a connection to something beyond our understanding and control.
Todd Keough is a Seattleite who’s mission is to Ignite passionate living to individuals he works with through his spirituality counseling and recovery coaching practice, specializing in LGBT concerns/support, spirituality, recovery, addiction, trauma, abuse, relationships, and healing. Fore more info visit ToddKeough.com