AAARC has been an
non-profit org since 1997.
PO Box 339
Lower Lake, CA 95457
Rev. Nelson is a life coach and ordained minister. She can be reached by e-mail at RevJillNelson --at-- aol.com or through her website at StepBeyondCoach.com. Don Ross is the Queen Bee of Heresy, webmaster of his interfaith NichirensCoffeehouse.net and GayWineCountry.com, a GLBT business directory . You can email Don at Don --at-- classes.bz.
Both serve on the Board of Directors at the A. Austin Amerine Retreat Center in Lake County.
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Copyright by the Rev. Jill Nelson and Don Ross of the Amerine Retreat Center, July 2007.
This article was written for GaySonoma.com's Spirituality column.
Eavesdrop on a conversation between Don (neo-pagan Buddhist) and Jill (progressive Christian) as they chat about Queer Spirituality. Both are Board Members of the A. Austin Amerine Retreat Center in Lake County.
[Don] This month I attended my first Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) General Conference in Scottsdale, AZ over the 4th of July week. Boys and girls, it was hot! Spiritual Queers from around the world in 115 degree heat.
Even as a non-Christian Buddhist in attendance, I was impressed with their diversity of theology. The Mother Goddess was equally honored with the Father God arch-type, and I watched the Holy Ghost descend with my own "eyes" during their opening worship. I am not sure what I expected. Even though those MCC’ers around me have rich diverse spiritualities, I guess I was expecting a dried up carcass of spirituality. Not so.
Despite the expected all too human bull-shit of religions and organizations, this group of people have clearly done their spiritual homework. It was like a friggin light show at one point during their first communion. I felt like I was at the Berkeley Psychic Institute of my youth as I meditated and watched their rainbow chords reach upwards into the heavens and the Holy Spirit rushed down like a mighty wind and filled the room.
"Holy Sh*t," I thought to myself, "This is not what I expected."
Perhaps it was just the air conditioner kicking on… either way, it was Divine.
[Jill] Well Don, I have to agree that the Divine does have a way of showing up in the most unusual and strange places. It is rather queer really. As one who has attended a few of these denominational gatherings it was fun this time around to have you there, watching all the goings on and hearing how you experienced it. New and fresh perspectives are always entertaining, and sometimes even enlightening! It seems to me that spiritual maturity, just like spiritual exploration takes work and it takes openness, and it requires that we stay with the struggle. MCC, like all religious institutions has had it struggles, but it has stayed with those struggles and I think you saw some of the results this time as we gathered.
This process over time is necessary for all worshiping communities, and for all who seek to know/experience God/Spirit/Truth there comes the realization that there will be lightshow moments and fireworks moments and God is in the midst of both. Anywhere humans gather and call to Spirit, the potential is there for the queer and the amazing to occur. I am always blessed when it happens in the place I am at.
Blessed are those who come away thinking "Holy Sh*t. This is not what I expected," for they may have actually found something wonderful.