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Afterword: Making Love as a Queer Spirituality I urge you all today, especially today during these times of chaos and war, to love yourself without reservations and to love each other without restraint. Unless you’re into leather. —Margaret Cho, actress, comedian, icon On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, a twenty-nine-year-old security guard, killed forty-nine people and wounded fiftyeight others in a terrorist attack and hate crime inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Later that day, I spent time in quiet with the queer icon of Saint Margaret, surrounded by candles, and meditated on these words by Margaret Cho. After thinking about leather and laughing through a few tears, I pondered what it means that making peace, hope, joy, and love are forms of resistance. I have found a way to survive each day, each minute, by immersing myself in the writing and artistry of people of color, especially queer people of color: James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, José Estaban Muñoz, Andrew Ahn, Sara Ahmed, 207 Gloria Anzaldua. The literature and poetry, art and music, blogs and tweets of those who are right in the midst of struggle , loss, grief, and despair, flailing and barely keeping a head above water, are where I find the most resonance with my own life. No doubt, anyone would look at my life and see only too many reasons to be thankful, and most days, weeks, and months, I am. But we’re social beings living in a globalized world, and we’re moving through time and history unable to avoid so many intersecting realities, the clash between ideals and reality, and the subsequent fragmentation . Furthermore, individual persons hold within themselves whole universes—full of worlds of sorrow and desire. In other words, life is much more complicated beneath the surface. So we have to do what we must to get through it all. As Gloria Anzaldua says, “Nobody’s going to save you. No one’s going to cut you down, cut the thorns thick around you. No one’s going to storm the castle walls nor kiss awake your birth, climb down your hair, nor mount you onto the white steed. There is no one who will feed the yearning. Face it. You will have to do, do it yourself.”1 That is why we make ways to survive these days. We find strategies and mechanisms , and sometimes they involve bourbon or a good book or sex or a pint of ice cream. So much of queer spirituality is about resistance, and at the heart, this resistance is lovemaking . Or in Margaret Cho’s words, it’s loving oneself and loving each other. It’s love, and it’s passion. A queer spirituality blurs the lines between both and recognizes the ways they are intertwined Outside the Lines 208 in our lives, even in scandalous ways, as in the opening poem called “Kissing God,” to a chapter in Indecent Theology , which asks: What do you suppose it would be like to kiss God? Would it be a rush like sticking your tongue into a wall socket? Would you survive the experience? Would it be worth it?2 Christian history is full of stories of love and passion for God. The martyrs faced death to remain faithful. Activists and theologians who advocated for the poor gave their lives over to prisons and torture chambers. They could only do these things if their whole selves were completely overtaken with mad passion for their God of justice. These lovers of God would stick their tongues into a wall socket, and whether or not they survived, the experience would be worth it. This kind of passion, sometimes expressed by illicit lovers who risk that embrace, is what fuels love and action, where “desire carries that life.”3 Desire coaxes and draws out, leads and pushes, pulls and compels us to live and love out loud. The cliché slogan Make Love, Not War makes sense. There is something profoundly revolutionary about lovemaking as a way to reject making death. It’s resisting the darkness and destruction of life, of light and love. And while it’s protesting, resisting, and surviving, it’s also creating and making life in response to forces that would take away life. It’s more than surviving; it’s creating, thriving, and flourishing. What I realize I need and want to be a part of is a kind of work that cultivates the expansiveness of love. I...


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