I decided to do this 40 days in the wilderness challenge during a time of financial desperation. I wanted to trust that the idea was inspired and, because of this, if I managed to sort through my theological questions and doubts for forty days, that I’d be more spiritually grounded and perhaps also better of financially. A part of me still wants to believe that the more “faithful” I am, the more “rewarded” I’ll be by God, though I know it’s more complicated than that. (And I don’t ever want to fall into the very dangerous Joel Osteen-like prosperity gospel camp.)
I also chose to attempt a project that requires solitude and contemplation while visiting the city I moved away from. I’ve had five weeks (with one left) with old friends and romantic partners that I rarely get to see. What was I thinking? I was thinking that I need to do something because the wilderness is hard, and I need to make peace with being here.
If the wilderness represents a piece of one’s life—spiritual, physical, social, financial, etc — about which one feels lost, weak, and insecure, I imagine that we are always in one wilderness or another. At the moment, I feel the most lost financially (or career-wise).
But my financial wilderness is not the point of this blog. The purpose of this blog is to explore the places where the sexual and spiritual realms overlap. And it’s at those intersections that I feel the most secure and whole.
A while back the man I wrote about who was visiting from out of town asked me if I was still conflicted about sex/sexuality and my faith. And I was surprised by his question because I feel so NOT conflicted. Working through that conflict has made me who I am, but I’m no longer afraid or ashamed of being a scarlet Christian. I’m extremely grateful for it.
Sex, sexuality, and queerness are all lush wild places that used to scare me. I was worried that I would wander off into places outside of God’s approval. Nevermind sex outside of marriage, would God approve of an orgy or me loving multiple people? Cock and ball torture? The truth is, I believe that I’ve found God’s grace more richly here in these wild places than anywhere else.
I say I’m no longer afraid of this wilderness—the places where sexuality and spirituality intersect. This feels true. But I need to admit that it’s a lonely place.
I have no consistent partner that travels by my side, and no matter how many friends and lovers accompany and support me, I still feel that my journey is a solitary one.
Loneliness is the darkest fear that saturates this wilderness. And I’m finally starting to learn not to fear it (which should totally be my next blog post).
All this to say: I can’t commit to an intensive forty days of big soul searching, studying, and writing. But I can commit to continuing to publically show you what I’m learning as I explore my faith, my relationships and sexuality and how I believe they all fit into the wider social justice conversation.
These are my wonderful wild places, and I don’t plan on leaving any time soon.