If you have no inclination to hear punk music or to consider the realities of a screwed up nation, then I cannot recommend against NOFX’s The Decline EP strongly enough– it would be far too jolting. But should you hazard a listen, you will be rocked hard for 18 minutes and 20 seconds. And what may rock you hardest is hearing this: We are the Queer. We are the Whore.
I don’t know that I could be more religiously misaligned with this band that I so enjoy, and yet these words of theirs pierce me. No matter how many times I listen, I cannot help but break this line out of its political context with a Christ-imprinted grip: We are the Queer. We are the Whore.
I have friends who identify themselves as “queer,” and what they mean is, first, to strip the word and its wielders of lashing power, and, also, to say, I am different, perhaps peculiar; I am not ashamed.
But that’s not all it means to be queer. It often means not to be accepted, not to be “gotten.” Not to be welcomed by the mainstream; worse, not to be loved by the Church. To be berated, defamed, accused. Rejected by the ones most dearly loved.
Jesus knew what it was to be the Queer. If I am in Him, then I know it, too. We are the Queer.
And having followed after Him all these years, so desperate, so broken, so full of hurt and shame, I know what it is to be the Whore.
I once heard a man share that he had happened to ride in an elevator with a prostitute. He said he knew the types of looks she was used to getting from men, and out of his love for Jesus, he was determined not to look at her that way. So he looked up to the floor numbers. He did not look at her at all.
And my heart broke hearing this story, because even though the man said the woman in the elevator thanked him, my own whore heart guesses at what she really craved. She didn’t want averted eyes. She wanted eyes that looked at her and shone compassion. The opposite of lust isn’t abstinence; it’s love. We are the Whore.
I think the man who told the story loved the best way he knew how, and truly, it may have been enough for that woman. But I am grateful, soul deep, that Jesus doesn’t avert His eyes from me. We are the Queer. We are the Whore– He looks me straight on and His eyes shine compassion.
And, so blessed with that love, I am different, perhaps peculiar; I am not ashamed.