except the bible

“This is what the LORD says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies: “I am the First and the Last; there is no other God. Who is like me? Let him step forward and prove to you his power. Let him do as I have done since ancient times when I established a people and explained its future. Do not tremble; do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago? You are my witnesses—is there any other God? No! There is no other Rock—not one!””
Isaiah 44:6-8 NLT

To place longings and hopes into a thing verses God who made all things is a promise for disappointment, shame, and loss. It could be depending on a job for security, or a college degree for a future, or a relationship to not let us down, or a marriage partner for love, or letting our feelings determine right and wrong. Really anything except God. The Bible calls this an idol, and it will always lead us astray from God’s will and his great plans for our life.

There’s this idea that queer people that aren’t only same-sex attracted can avoid harassment in religious communities by just dating the opposite sex or other imaginary loopholes but… A huge part of why conservative Christians (I can’t speak for other religions) are so heteronormative and against sexual liberation is this really weird collection of rules:

  • sex within marriage is Holy™
  • sex outside of marriage is Fornication™
  • sexual attraction corresponds directly with marriage
  • one man one woman marriages (EXCEPT in the bible when it’s a guy with multiple wives that’s different it was another time)
  • masturbation? haha what’s that (whispering) we don’t talk about that never mention that

Sexuality isn’t separated from sexual activity. So, my asexual identity is immediately waved off since I’m not married and that’s “how God wants you to be” (many secular people will think the opposite). Of course, if I were married, I’d be expected to stop being ace. Additionally, being bi or pan is discounted to “straight” or “gay”, depending on the genders of those in a relationship. I recently tried to explain to my 26 year old sister, mother of a toddler, that attraction occurs outside of who you’re sleeping with, and it didn’t totally come through. Either you’ll be viciously erased, or you’ll be chastised.

So. Other queer people of faith are not privileged over strictly gay/lesbian ones. It’s not a passing contest. Fundamental heteronormativity will not lean in your favor just because you aren’t exclusively attracted to the same gender. You’re still pigeonholed. You’re still shamed. You’re still disrespected.

ARI IN IRAQ

From Yazidi temples to a taste of Damascus, here are all of the stories from my two weeks in Northern Iraq.


  • This sounds like a story from Hollywood, or the Bible - except it actually happened:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2015/02/13/385802886/outmanned-and-outgunned-fighters-defend-yazidi-shrine-against-isis

  • These men returned to their ruined village to find mass graves:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2015/02/12/385712996/in-a-somber-homecoming-yazidis-grieve-and-watch-over-their-dead

  • Here’s what life is like in a village recently freed from ISIS:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2015/02/15/386084964/isis-may-be-gone-but-life-has-yet-to-return-to-normal-in-northern-iraq

  • To Americans in Erbil, the war feels far removed from daily life:

http://www.npr.org/2015/02/16/386758841/just-55-miles-from-isis-control-american-expats-carry-on-life-as-usual

  • On top of a mountain, watching ISIS flags flutter in the valley below:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2015/02/19/387554587/from-a-mountain-kurds-keep-watch-on-isis-in-mosul

  • A taste of Damascus for people who’ve fled Syria’s civil war:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2015/02/22/388118910/lamb-dumplings-lentils-and-a-bittersweet-taste-of-home

  • ISIS is bringing new levels of psychological trauma to people who’ve already lived with war for more than a decade:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2015/02/23/387470827/brutal-isis-tactics-create-new-levels-of-trauma-among-iraqis

  • Amid all the stories of destruction, here’s a tale of rebuilding:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2015/02/27/388451912/after-6-000-years-time-for-a-renovation-at-iraqs-citadel

  • The US has a timeline to liberate Mosul. But is the Iraqi army capable of the job?

http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2015/02/22/387744947/iraqi-kurds-were-ready-to-fight-for-mosul

The first thing the Devil will try to do is distort your view of God. It all starts with the words “did God really say?” We must be so careful then, to weigh everything that we take in, because there is such a thing as true and false, and Jesus was meek about everything except what the Bible said.