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  • Writer's pictureJoe Shaw

Reconciling religion and the LGBTQ+ community



For this week's podcast I revisited one of my favorite discussion topics for the podcast, a reconciliation of religion in our current climate, when I welcome theologian and author Rolf R Nolasco Jr. on the show to discuss his book: "Hearts Ablaze: Parables for the Queer Soul"!

 

"How might the very weapons used to clobber our queer spirit be used as a source of subversion and resistance to ignite our hearts and keep them ablaze, torches that will illuminate the path for personal and collective queer liberation? Looking at the parables of Jesus with a queer eye is an attempt to answer that very question: it's a fresh take on these familiar parables intertwined with lived stories that I hope will be light for the journey." - Rolf R. Nolasco Jr.


The above passage is the first paragraph from Rolf Nolasco's book 'Hearts Ablaze: Parables for the queer soul'. After consuming those words I paused, what might happen if the very tools used to harm were used for good instead?


I grew up very religious and knew the Christian religion intimately (at one point, I even thought I would become a pastor). As I grew older and my views on religion evolved I inevitably started grappling with the 'how' of it all. How could a religion which preaches peace be used to cause such harm? How could folks of all different communities be made to feel 'othered' when they come to a place of worship? And how could anyone not see these were all problems? Though preaching inclusion, I observed a lot of exclusion in certain church circles.


As I reflect back on the start of this podcast (now over SIX YEARS AGO!) I'm reminded of the overall goal, to raise inclusive kids and make the world a better place. In order to raise inclusive kids, I have to educate myself on topics I'm not familiar with. The theme of the podcast this year is Reconnection. It can mean so many different things, but lately, I've been interpreting it as a sort of circling back to familiar settings with new perspectives. I've been fortunate enough to have several nuanced conversations with religious figures on this very podcast about the 'how' of it all and Rolf was no exception. Carefully holding space for my own conflicted feelings and allowing me to press and explore his perspectives allowed for a fantastic conversation, I highly encourage you to listen.


As you listen and share this week's episode I encourage you to hold space for yourself. Take time to truly 'detox' while listening to the episode. It might just be the start of a much needed conversation.

 

If you've not heard of Rolf R. Nolasco Jr. before, here's some details about him: Dr. Rolf R. Nolasco, Jr. is Rueben P. Job Professor of Spiritual Formation and Pastoral Theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Il USA. As a queer person of color whose country of origin is the Philippines, Rolf works at the intersection of critical and liberative psychology, theology, spirituality, and affective neuroscience to address the complexity of the human condition and the potential for human flourishing. He is the author of The Contemplative Counselor: A Way of Being, Compassionate Presence: A Radical Response to Human Sufferings, and God’s Beloved Queer. He lives in Evanston, Illinois.

Here's more about 'Hearts Ablaze': Meditations addressing the spiritual needs of queer Christians. A new look at ten selected parables of Jesus, that expands the scope of interpretation of each story to highlight God's extravagant welcome of all people. The perspective in the reflections is deeply personal and written to be used by both individuals and groups. Queer affirming churches, seminaries, and retreat centers will benefit from this resource as they continue to champion the flourishing of their queer siblings in Christ.





 

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Thanks for detoxing with DTALKS, now go and make a more inclusive world!



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