40 days of lent

Questions from Readers!

Today we decided to use our Lenten Intuition in order to unearth some of our readers’ feelings & wonderings about our blog! Here are a few of the many questions that we intuited.  Stay tuned for our answers!

Rebecca answers questions from readers:

Hi Friends,

I’ve paraphrased some of those great questions and answered them below. Thanks for reading!

growing up, lent involved a lot of singing.  will there be singing on your blog?  will you sing together or just separately?
What a great question! I especially love the singing parts of church— especially when the hymns are really weird. But I must admit that I still occasionally pull the genius reluctant 10-year-old choir member move of mouthing the words while everyone else sings. I have a lot of great qualities, including the ability to find every bad note ever.

I do know a really good/obnoxious Easter song that the adults in my first church really came to loathe. I could teach that to Reina and maybe she could perform it. If there is singing, it will likely follow the traditional format of our blog: Reina on video and me via text!

so your last two posts were wonderful but pretty depressing; what’s up with everything in lent being so sad?  will your blog only be sad? are you sad?

Gosh. Yeah I guess they were. Go us! Maybe our blog will be pretty sad. I really loved reading Reina’s post about grief and about what it means to make space to feel it, to preserve it. Parts of the world are so sad, and I know I feel both more and less lonely when I am allowed to revisit those sad parts. Queers are in all kinds of complicated relationships with the world, inundated with uneasy feelings we cannot control. I am really into letting this period be a time when we sit with our sadness.

Of course, sometimes when I sit with my sadness, it changes into something else. It doesn’t always, and I don’t want to privilege those transformed instances. But sometimes sadness is lament— and we go in weeping and emerge in overwhelming song.

i don’t get it, are you christians or are hipsters pretending to be christians?  

Reader! Are you insulting the gold scarf I made for Reina!? jk! Is this a humor blog? Well… I think we can alllll agree that at times it is pretty funny. But it’s not a spoof blog or anything like that. I guess this is the moment that I proclaim to the Internet that I am a Christian. I would argue that I’m not a hipster, but I think that’s like the hipster’s motto.

I’ve historically had complicated feelings about identifying as christian— in part because I was also raised Jewish, and identifying as christian feels like a really particular obviation of that. But I think I’ve come around to it. So I would say that I am a christian, and, in particular, an episcopalian— and, in particular, an episcopalian with no dearth of pencil skirts and skinny jeans, who doesn’t know how to ride a fixie. And that I am writing all of this with a heart full of spiritual humility and earnestness.

did either of you give anything up or take anything on for lent?

Yep. I gave up meat and television. The reason I chose meat and television are about my health. Maybe some of you know that I live with chronic pain. I’m not going to talk about it here, yet, but suffice to say, I am in a period of intense re-orientation around that pain.

I also took on a few regimens, including this blog. I guess a lot of people like to feel deprivation for lent. I am using it as a time to think really concretely about the space that I take up in the world, and then I’m trying to modify my behavior. I kind of hope that 40 days is enough to break some patterns and start new ones. It’s good to have a time limit so that I can try things out for a period and then re-evaluate at the end.

In order to do this, one of the most important things I’ve taken on is patience. Mostly I am trying to be patient with myself about learning new things and asking hard questions. I want to be unembarrassed to ask questions, to find out that I’ve been doing things wrong. I think that’s maybe the first step I can take towards taking responsibility for things I’ve unknowingly done to hurt others.

christianity is so hegemonic and oppressive in our culture and has been so violent.  why not start a blog about something without such oppressive beginnings?

You are so right! It’s true that even if christianity didn’t have really oppressive begninnings, it has had a terrible history of oppressive iterations. It also continues to be oppressive. There’s no way to be involved with it, I think, ethically, without really engaging with that reality.

So, why blog about it? For one, I think it’s really important to engage with the nuances of hegemony. I said in another post that sometimes the first response we have to christianity is to just say “no.” I think that even if you do say “no” to it, it can also be really helpful to understand it better. I mean, I think that even former-christian atheists and agnostics can probably benefit from thinking about how christianity actually works. It infiltrates our lives whether we want it to or not, so I, for one, really like untangling that. 

For me, learning to be a christian means actually understanding the hegemonic, oppressive, and violent aspects of the christianity as a religion, concept, and institution. I mean, if that’s an identity I am going to take on, I have to know what that really means— and not just what I mean by it. So, with patience, I hope this blog can be a place to ask hard questions and leave space for the sadness that might persist.