When you pray, to whom do you speak? It’s certainly a personal choice.
If you’re Christian, options might seem sparse. But they don’t have to be, as recently illustrated by Duke Divinity School.
Duke University, as you may know, is a United Methodist college. And in a video from a March 22nd service, the Protestant school invokes life’s Creator with a twist.
“Good morning, the Holy and Queer One be with you,” a girl in a sparkly gold jacket begins.
For anyone wishing to later reference her, they list their pronouns:
“Good morning, and welcome to worship. My name is Caroline Camp. I use she/they pronouns. I am the communications coordinator for Duke Divinity Pride, and I’m ecstatic to see this worship space so full and so vibrant with color. Thank you all for being here at the first-ever Divinity Pride worship collaboration.”
“We at Divinity Pride want to create a worship space that honors and celebrates all of our unique and good identities.” she says. Caroline touts the day’s speakers and soloists, “who’ll give words to their experiences with the God who calls them.”
From there, she makes clear the mission of the group: affirmation. And she designates a deity — the “Great Queer One.”
“We want to affirm everyone to be who they truly are, to step into the Holy One’s fire that burns away all that says we are not good enough. And refines us by the pentecostal fire to be exactly who the Great Queer One calls us to be.”
The group then recites a prayer:
Strange one, Fabulous One, Fluid and Ever-Becoming One
Do not allow us to make our ideas of you into an idol.
You are as close to us as our own breath. And yet, your essence transcends all that we can imagine.
The appeal to a higher power employs familial terms, making room for nonbinary relatives:
You are Mother, Father, and Parent.
You are Sister, Brother, and Sibling.
More descriptions of God follow, then the prayer appears to direct its worship toward those who are praying it:
You are Drag Queen and Trans Man and Gender-Fluid, incapable of limiting your vast expressions of beauty.
Embodied in us — your creation — we recognize our flesh in all its forms is made holy in you.
With thanksgiving, we celebrate your manifestation in all its glorious forms.
Blessed are our bodies, blessed is our love.
Blessed are we when we celebrate that which the world turns away.
“Fill our hearts with a Pride rooted in resistance to all that seeks to destroy,” the congregation concludes.
It’s a notable change from the Christianity of old. Since the fourth century, pride has been considered one of the Seven Deadly Sins. In the past few years, the concept has clearly acquired an expert publicist. The best I can tell, it’s now risen to the ranks of Greatest Human Virtues. And as self-worship — bolstered by shrines made to the self via social media pages — becomes its own religion, it’s no wonder church worship is following.
As for the Great Queer One, whereas humankind was once believed to be made in God’s image, as people define themselves to degrees never before seen in recorded history, it stands to reason we will define God accordingly.
Gone are the days of close-minded Christianity; a refinement of faith and a new look is upon us:
Duke Divinity School — an institution training America’s future ministers — is just one of many homes to our modern transformation.
And it isn’t necessarily the most interesting one. After all, they didn’t even mention breastfeeding:
Christian Church Leads Prayer to the 'God of Pronouns,' the 'Great They/Them' Who Breastfeeds
— RedState (@RedState) April 8, 2022
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