Sexual Wholeness as Justice Work
By Rev. Lacette Cross, aka Rev. L
The Rev. Melissa N. McQueen, Many Voices’ North Carolina Faith Organizer, asked powerful ministers to share their wisdom on urgent issues of justice for a new era of challenge and opposition. Throughout American history, sermons by visionary ministers have long played a powerful role in the fight for justice. Intentionally bold and thought-provoking, these especially commissioned sermons embody the spirit of resistance found in truly revolutionary rhetoric. Each sermon represents the sole view of the minister who composed it. For the eleventh entry in our Revolutionary Rhetoric series, we feature stirring works on sexual justice by the Rev. Lacette Cross, affectionately known as Rev. L.
Pursuing sexual wholeness is a radical act of justice. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the church has a problem with sexuality. Many of us can quote the statistics and cite the scholarship. We can tell heart-rending stories of hurt and anguish as we wrestle with death-dealing, conservative theologies that keep many of us suffering in silence. And yet the prophet Micah begs us to consider what the Lord requires of us.
The Rev. Dr. Katie Cannon, a black womanist theologian and ethicist, suggests that misunderstandings about sexuality send more people to the grave than any other issue. If there were one aspect of our humanity we wrestle with the most, then it is being in our very blessed and yet problematic bodies. From the time we are born until the day we leave this earth the pressing issues of our existence seems to be what do we do with our bodies, how do we treat the bodies of others, and what in this relating is good?
Beloveds, we have a problem with embodiment — plain and simple. When we survey the social-political landscape and we point our eye to prevailing issues of immigration, education, poverty, voting rights, LGBTQ equality, fair housing, and transgender visibility, it becomes crystal clear that we have an issue with our flesh, and with the very embodiment of humanity. And when we are honest, the church in general, and the black church in particular, has not been the most helpful, nor the most truthful, nor the most kind, nor the most just in dealing head-on with the very true reality that we are embodied spirits and inspirited bodies.
This is why my sisters, brothers and siblings, I suggest that sexual wholeness — the coming together of being sexually faithful and faithfully sexual — is a justice issue.
The question, then, is what do we need to do if we are going to be Jesus-loving justice workers in the world? I am so glad you asked…
The prophet Micah helps us by giving us three simple yet profound considerations.
1. Do justice. Do is a word that conveys our intentions for completing an action. And so, as Dr. Cannon would say, “Do the work your soul must have.” This means that we must engage in the living, working, and sharing of life that makes us come alive. And then we must ground that work in the character of God that is just.
2. Love kindness. The art of being kind is often lost on ourselves. And so to love kindness is to stop and take a moment to care for yourself even as you care for others. In fact, Dr. Cannon suggests that in order to be a justice worker in the world, we need a disciplined devotional life.
3. Walk humbly with God. Move in this world with awareness that our connection to God is experienced in our relationship with others. How can we rightly relate to others if our walk with God is not right-sized? Dr. Cannon suggests that, in order for us to ethically relate to others, we must see the imago dei—or the image of God—in ourselves and others.
Therefore, Beloveds, engage in the work of becoming sexually faithful and faithfully sexual. Do this work knowing full well that it is what the Lord is requiring of you. Because pursuing sexual wholeness is a radical act of justice.
About the Rev. Lacette Cross aka Rev. L
Rev. Lacette Cross aka Rev. L is the founder of Will You Be Whole Ministries that helps black women and those who love them connect sexuality and faith for wholeness. She is a board member of the Incarnation Institute for Sex & Faith.
Rev. L is an ordained Baptist minister and has twenty years’ combined experience working in the church, community and academy. She is an experienced presenter, speaker, teacher and facilitator having participated in conferences, workshops, panels and summits throughout the country on various topics related to sex/sexuality, religion, women, wholeness and diversity.
She values the call to help all people pursue wholeness and live out their God given potential in the world. Rev. L has a Master of Divinity from the School of Theology at Virginia Union and a Master of Theology from Union Presbyterian Seminary. She is the pastor of Restoration Fellowship RVA, an affirming church in Richmond, VA.
Questions, comments, or concerns? Feel free to contact Many Voices | A Black Church Movement for Gay & Transgender Justice at firstname.lastname@example.org.