Who in the Hades… ?

Everyone has something to say.  FacebookTwitterBlogs.  In this information age personal  opinions are everywhere.    And you know what they say… opinions are like a certain part of the anatomy – everyone has one.  Well, add my name to that list.

But who in the hades is this guy?  Why should I care what he has to say?

I am a former conservative Christian minister and participant for over a decade in the “Ex-gay” Movement.  Currently, I wear several labels: queer, Gnostic, witch, devotee, drag nun, bear.  I believe that my varied history and experience gives me a unique perspective on life as a spiritual gay man.  Ultimately, others will be the judge of whether I have anything worthwhile to say or not.  For now, I simply offer my own perspective, nothing more or less.

My Story in Three Paragraphs or Less (Or Maybe Five)

I’ve spent years as a spiritual seeker.  I came out of the closet as a gay man when I was 18.  At the same time I started attending a conservative Lutheran church.  There was immediate conflict between my desire to be a part of the LGBT community and to follow a conservative Christian path that told me that God created the world in six literal days, Adam and Eve were real people in hisotry, men had spiritual authority over women, and homosexuality was a sin.  The conservative Christians won that early ideological battle.  For over a decade I was a conservative Christian and part of the Ex-gay Movement.  When I was 25 I went back to school and trained for ministry in the same conservative Lutheran denomination I had been a member of.  Upon graduation I was assigned as a Youth and Family Minister at a congregation in San Antonio, TX, and then as world missionary in Dourados, Brazil.  It was during this time that I was married… to a woman.

10 years ago I had a crisis over who I was as a sexual being disguised as a crisis of faith.  I left my wife, my church, and every social contact I had and moved to Oregon to start my life over.  The thing about being a part of a type of Christianity that says every single word of the Bible is infallible and without error, and that there is only one correct way to interpret it, means you have to either take all of their interpretation of the Bible or none of it.  I chose none of it and tossed my Bible out the window.

While I may have tossed my religion out the window, my desire to be a spiritual person remained.  Into the void created by my form of conservative Christianity stepped the Craft.  Hey, I never do things halfway.  It’s always all or nothing.  Since I no longer had the limitations my Christianity had placed on me, I was free to explore outside the box.  And witchcraft might have been something of a rebellion for me at the start, but I ultimately found something in the Craft that resonated with me.  Following the natural cycle of the year, seeing the Divine as both Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine, taking full responsibility for your own spiritual path as a priest and a witch, and oh, the fabulous robes and accessories – high drag!

The Christ still has a place in my heart, though.  As I started graduate work on a Masters of Applied Theology in a true interfaith program I became more comfortable with my broader spirituality.  I still followed a NeoPagan path, but I also opened up to seeing Christianity from a different perspective.  I was able to see Jesus as the radical, left wing nut job that he is, and to see his story as a story of the dying and resurrecting god/man.  It’s not about his literal death and resurrection that might or might not have happened at a specific place and time in history.  Rather, his death and resurrection is the story of my death and resurrection.  It’s not a story that happened.  It’s a story that happens.  I moved back into a form of liberal, progressive Christianity, even serving for 2 years as an openly gay Youth and Family Minister at a United Church of Christ congregation here in Portland.  After leaving that position I continued to explore the more esoteric side of Christianity, finally finding a home in Gnosticism.  I was baptized and confirmed at the local parish of the Ecclesia Gnostica, of which I am still very fond, but ultimately moved on to participation in the Apostolic Johannite Church.

In addition to this strange mix of Gnosticism and the Craft, I’ve added a few more vegetables to the salad that is my spiritual path.  One of the primary ways I interact on a personal level with the Divine is through my devotion to the god Antinous, and participation in the queer, Graeco-Roman-Egyptian syncretist reconstructionist polytheist group Ekklesia Antinoou.  Ain’t that a mouthful?  (No pun intended! Okay, maybe just a little.)  I’m also a fully professed Sister of Perpetual Indulgence as Sister Krissy Fiction.  While the Sisters are not affiliated with any religion, and for some Sisters their calling is based around community service and not any type of spirituality at all, for me personally, I find the vow to “promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt” to be a spiritual precept and being a Sister has become important in my overall spirituality.

So Who Cares?

What does any of this matter?  It might not, really.  I don’t claim to be the final word on Gnosticism, Wicca, queer spirituality, or any other topic.  As I stated at the beginning of this post:  opinions are like… well, everyone has one.  What you will find on this blog will be my own personal musings and observations.  I’m just throwing it out to the aether and seeing what comes back to me.

I’ve been focusing on discipline this year.  Not the “you’re bad!” *whack* kind of discipline, but the doing something as a regular practice kind of discipline.  My spirituality has always been thoughtful, reflective, informed, and scholarly.  This year, I’ve been trying to move from the thinking to doing.  This blog is going to be an attempt to find some disciple in writing about spirituality.  My intent is to post updates 2-3 times a week.  I’ll initially be posting about the different elements of my own spiritual path, but will hopefully be tackling other topics including but not limited to queer spirituality, my devotion to the god Antinous, Occultism,  thoughts on politics and humor, observations on modern Neopaganism and the Craft, Gnosticism and Esoteric Christianity, and whatever else tickles my fancy (I  am quite ticklish).

If any of this also tickles your fancy, then I invite you sit down, buckle up, hold on, and find out whereto we speed! (You know I had to get that in somewhere.)

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4 Comments

Filed under About, Antinous, Christianity, Ex-Gay, Gnosticism, Paganism, Queer Spirituality, Sisters, Wicca

4 responses to “Who in the Hades… ?

  1. Michael Strojan

    Wow! Very interesting story. Thank you for (re) sharing! I look forward to reading more as your blog and discipline allows. Peace and blessings.

  2. Erynn

    Welcome to the blogosphere, my dear!

  3. Jay

    Hey Laz (can I call you Laz?), I must say that I really enjoyed hearing your story, and particularly liked this bit here: “It’s a story that happens.” Thank you for sharing. I look forward to hearing more of your so-called “opinions.” =P

  4. Welcome to the ever-expanding Antinoan blogosphere, dear friend! 😉

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