queer spirituality

A Rite of Queering

In his classic text “Liberating Rites,” theologian Tom Driver suggests that a ritual is a “transformance”—a performance designed to change a situation. Rites of passage are about a fundamental change in status or identity.

For many, “coming out” is a sort of rite of passage. But it is one that has, unfortunately, been cast out of the Church. Embracing one’s queerness is seen as a profane or vulgar act, rather than a deeply sacred one.

While I didn’t need a formal Christian ritual to legitimize my queerness, I created one anyways. Why? Because I believe my queerness is a gift. The Spirit is subversive. And queerness is a subversion of Patriarchy and it’s wicked offspring.

The Spirit indwells my queerness and invites all people, I believe, into the great process of queering the world…even heterosexual and cisgender people are invited to participate in this great work! I am queer, but the great work of Queering belongs to all who long for liberation from systems of oppression.

Below, I offer a Rite of Queering. One that I wrote and participated in. In September 2021, I gathered with a handful of dear friends in an observance officiated by my friend Caspian.

The ritual is explicitly Christian. Nevertheless, I don’t believe one must be a Christian to find meaning in this ritual. You are free to use it or adapt it as you see fit.

You can download a .doc version here, or the pdf version below.

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Maki Ashe Van Steenwyk (they/them) is the Executive Director at the Center for Prophetic Imagination. Ashe is a writer, teacher, organizer, and spiritual director. For nearly 15 years, they have sown seeds of subversive spirituality throughout North America. Ashe is the author of such books as That Holy Anarchist, unKingdom, and A Wolf at the Gate.

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