Divine Doubt; Hope Abundant

by Dr . Robyn Henderson-Espinoza

“They tried to bury us; they didn’t know we were seeds” —Mexican Proverb

Advent is that particular liturgical season in the Church when there is a focus on the coming of God, incarnate. For many LGBTQIA folks, the Church is not the place where they come for hope or participate in the anticipation of God becoming human.

The Church has tried to bury the stories of queer folks.

The Church has tried to write us out of the memory of Christ’s gathered body. But! We are seeds that are becoming. We are grand icons to speak toward a growing liberation of our people.

In a time of great civil unrest, when marginalized communities are targets for hatred and xenophobia is rising, the best thing that queers have on our side is anticipation and hope for liberation.

This world has tried to bury us, but we keep imagining new contours of a liberative future and hoping against all matters of hope. When the world around us is indifferent to our collective concerns and many invest in a politics of hopelessness, I am encouraging us all to lean into the politics of radical difference that is grounded in an expectant hope, bodies that are pregnant with the desire for new contours of abundant hope.

In a world that only offers scarcity, we seek hope abundant.

One of the ways that I am participating in the work of expectant hope is looking to queer bodies that are seeds of becoming.

The icons have always captivated my imagination, and so I am looking to Gabriel Garcia Roman’s Queer Icon Project to help in imagining a queer future where sacred art points to our own capacity at becoming divinely inspired. Gabriel Garcia Roman’s depiction of artist Kia Labeija is detailed below.

One of the projects I am working on is a project with Dr. Angela Yarber that is re-imagining a queer Mary, but not a singular Mary. We are imagining a multiplicity of Marys who can be light for our darkened paths and help us say “yes” to the coming queer future, even when our imagination wanes and we doubt.

I know doubt well.

I live with an ongoing doubt that change can happen by reforming current systems. I live with ongoing doubt that the current reality of Church embodies deep postures of welcome.

I live with a doubt that I believe is a divine doubt, a gift in my own queer becoming, that with this divine doubt, I hope from a place that calls attention to my race, class, gender, and sexed standpoints.

These aren’t fixed standpoints; they are becoming standpoints, and these standpoints help me lean into an imaginative hope for God to become present in the most unusual places, in queer places.

Who are you imagining this Advent season? Who are your icons of hope? Of expectation? Of Anticipation?

We need new icons to help us continue to participate in the coming queer future, and these icons that we can create should help us see the radical difference of our queer communities.

We are the bearers of God’s radical liberating message.

We enflesh a hope that cannot be buried. We are seeds of becoming that is cultivating communities of radical difference.

by Gabriel Garcia Roman
Photogravure w/ Chine-Colle and silkscreen, 15in x 18in.

Text by Kia:

As I begin, again I am starting from scratch.  I am filled with all the knowledge to begin.  I have found again, what I have for many years searched.  I am awake, alive in the daytime not only at night, where ! begin.  I believe in the power of the universe. That she will continue to be my guide.

Kia Labeija is a multidisciplinary artist born and raised in the heart of New York City’s theatre district, Hellz Kitchen.

She speaks frequently in public on the subject of HIV/AIDS and is an advocate for under represented communities living HIV positive including long term survivors, women, minorities and children born with the virus.

Header photo via flickr user Julien Sanine