It’s been a difficult year for me, medically, spiritually and technically – but with your support, I’ve been dramatically reinvigorated, and found renewed clarity and focus.
It was just about a year ago that I learned that the supposed bowel problem that had been troubling me for months, was in fact a rare form of cancer, a massive GIST wrapped around my stomach. Getting to grips with that, and with the major surgery I will need sometime in the next 6-8 weeks, has been a journey and a half.
Even before the onset of the medical trouble, I had been deeply troubled by what I had been doing here at QTC and elsewhere – and what I should be doing. I was asking myself deep questions about my purpose, effectiveness, and priorities. I was also convinced that the troubling abdominal pains I was experiencing (due to the GIST) were in fact stress related.
Then came the technical trouble, when my primary site appears to have been hacked, and became no longer accessible. With difficulty, I was able to retrieve some of my historic material and repost at a new URL (this one), but not all of it. I came to wonder very seriously, whether perhaps it was time to stop, to set aside the keyboard, and attempt to experience for once, some real life, outside of faith and sexuality.
All that changed, a month or two ago, when I agreed to take on two new challenges: editor of the Quest Bulletin, along with my existing role as Quest webmaster, and responsibility for the new websites (in three languages) for the new Global Network of Rainbow Catholics, which has its foundation conference in Rome next month, to coincide with the start of the bishops’ Family Synod, 2015.
After I accepted these roles, I realised that I had a practical problem, needing financial help to get to Rome, and to buy a new computer, which I would need with this work. I set up a Go Fund Me fundraising appeal – and was overwhelmed by the support received.
Not only did I overshoot my initial target (since increased) within a week, I was also deeply moved by the words of support and gratitude that came with it, and also a few weeks later, with birthday greetings on facebook and by email. I was moved to find serious support, financial and verbal, from many people around the world expressing deep appreciation and thanks for my work – and even more moved, to find that some of this came from complete strangers, or from people that I do not know personally, but whose own work towards LGBT Catholic inclusion and equality I admire myself.
The result was predictable. I was once again inspired and reinvigorated. More important, after deep reflection, I have found an answer to a problem which has been troubling me for years: how to balance my desire to create a comprehensive resource for LGBT Catholics and others struggling to reconcile their sexuality, with what they know about themselves and from science, with what they are told by their faith, with the need to respond with commentary on the news cycle, and even simply to bring to attention worthwhile news stories.
The solution I am now attempting, is to accept that all three of these objectives have value – but do not easily fit within the same structure. To deal with this, I now have three primary websites, all under the umbrella (eventually) of “queerchurch”, either “.com” or “.info”.
“The Queer Church Repository” is a new site I am developing, which will do what I originally set out to develop, before I got distracted by the news cycle, and defeated by my inadequate technical knowledge – a comprehensive and permanent resource for LGBT Catholics, other Christians and their allies. This is very much still under construction, but the beginnings are at “queerchurch,info“. Subdomains at this address, include me existing sites for “Queer Saints, Sinners and Martyrs” on LGBT Christian history, and “A Queer Ear for the Rainbow Scriptures“, to offer some biblical commentary, for both the “defensive” and “affirmative” scriptures. (Both these have been somewhat neglected recently, but I will shortly be updating them).
“Queering the Church” will remain, particularly with a focus on news commentary and fleshing out my ideas, much as it has always done, but in time will transfer to a new domain, “queerchurch.com”. The blog title however will remain “Queering the Church”, that is, in the continuous tense, appropriately for work constantly in progress, and ideas constantly under review.
To provide for my impulse simply to share with my readers links to news or opinion items that I find useful or interesting, the third site is “Queer Church News“, at news.queerchurch.com. This has been up for some time, but I have only recently developed clarity on just how I want to use it. I think I’m now getting there – and have posted a continuous, automated feed to this site, in the side bars of both “Queering the Church”, and “The Queer Church Repository”.
Nor is that all: in addition my concurrent work setting up websites in three languages for the Global Network, I’ve also been working on translations from other languages of important material elsewhere for the QC Repository, and have plans for significant new ventures: interactive and Audio – visual resource materials, for the QC Repository, for Quest – and for the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Sexuality.
My pending surgery will leave me unable to work outside the home for some extended period (and so without income), but I will therefore have no shortage of time to devote to what I firmly believe is my real work, in LGBT ministry – and no shortage of projects to fill that time.
Can you help?