Trust Yourself – Deuteronomy 30:9-14

 

Remember how we were taught in church that in order for us to be good followers of God we simply need to follow what our priest or pastor tells us? That we need to do things exactly as what tradition dictates in order for us to be good in the eyes of our creator? In today’s episode, we learn that by simply trusting ourselves, we are able to follow the commandment of God. That the commandment is reachable and is already in our hearts and mouth. Tune in to today’s episode to learn more about it.

iconEpisode Transcript

Brian: Welcome to the Queer Theology podcast!


Fr. Shay: Where each episode, we take a queer look at the week’s lectionary readings. We’re the co-founders of QueerTheology.com and the hosts for this podcast. I’m Father Shay Kearns


B: And I’m Brian G. Murphy.


Good morning! Today is Sunday, July 14th and we are going to be looking at Deuteronomy 30:9-14. I will read to you now. It’s also in the show notes for this episode which you can find at QueerTheology.com/285. Here we go. This is from the Common English Bible.


The Lord your God will help you succeed in everything you do—in your own fertility, your livestock’s offspring, and your land’s produce—everything will be great! Because the Lord will once again enjoy doing good things for you just as he enjoyed doing them for your ancestors, and because you will be obeying the Lord your God’s voice, keeping his commandments and his regulations that are written in this Instruction scroll, and because you will have returned to the Lord your God with all your heart and all your being.


This commandment that I’m giving you right now is definitely not too difficult for you. It isn’t unreachable. It isn’t up in heaven somewhere so that you have to ask, “Who will go up for us to heaven and get it for us that we can hear it and do it?” Nor is it across the ocean somewhere so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the ocean for us and get it for us that we can hear it and do it?” Not at all! The word is very close to you. It’s in your mouth and in your heart, waiting for you to do it.


Shay, I love this so much!


FS: [Laughs] Me too!


B: Give me your queer take on Deuteronomy.


FS: Yeah! I think the thing that resonates with me about this passage is that so often, you and I get emails from folks from all over who are saying to us, “Tell me how I can know it’s okay to be LGBTQ and Christian.” or “Tell me how I know I can do XYZ sexually.” or “Tell me how I know…” all of these things.


B: Which BTW, we have answers to all those questions at QueerTheology.com/resources, so check them out.


FS: Yes! And I think that like as someone who grew up fundamentalist, or evangelical, or conservative, I understand that impulse because we were taught that we had to find the right way to do things. And usually, it was: we just have to listen to what the pastor tells us to do and then do it, and then God will like us, and we will be good to go. What I love about this passage is that here we have a commandment that’s given to the people. Then they are also told that you don’t have to go searching for it. It’s in your mouth and your heart waiting for you to do it. I think that this passage is telling us: you know what’s right. You can trust your heart. You can trust your gut. You can trust your sense of your relationship with God. You don’t have to go looking for the right answers. You can trust yourself. The challenge then becomes — for those of us who grew up in traditions that we were taught not to trust ourselves and we were taught that our desires were bad and evil and that what we want is wrong — the real test isn’t to go out and find answers; the real test is to learn how to trust ourselves again, to trust our bodies, to trust our guts, and to trust our souls. That to me is the larger message from this passage. Frankly, it’s harder. It’s a lot easier to say, “Okay tell me what to do and I’ll do it.” Than it is to say, “What is it that I want? Who am I? What are my values? What do I think my relationship with the divine should look like?” It’s harder work but I think it’s more fulfilling work.


B: Oh amen! In my hometown church at the Sunday school classes and even for adult Sunday school classes, they would give you a handout to take notes on. And it wasn’t like a space for free-form notes. It would be almost like fill-in-the-blank notes that the pastor or the teacher would give you the correct answer. I have a complicated and nuanced understanding of God and what God is and isn’t, and what I love about this passage is so often, Christians or Christians who have been raised in certain churches are taught that the answers are outside of ourselves. The answers are, like this passage says, up in heaven or I have to read this book, or this hermeneutics or that analysis. What I love about this is that it’s like the word is very close to you, it’s in your mouth and in your heart waiting for you. The commandment is already inside of you. That’s such a beautiful, profound message that queer people, in particular, need to hear.


At some point in the past 6 years, we did an episode where you talked about you don’t always have to make it so hard and sometimes it can just be easy. I’ll dig up that episode and put it in the show notes. That passage pairs nicely with this passage. It’s not always this long, complicated thing. You don’t always have to read a textbook or have just the perfect argument. You can know it in your heart and in your body. It’s so profound and important.


FS: Yeah and I do want to reiterate again, you mentioned this earlier, but we do have tons of articles and worksheets and resources at QueerTheology.com/resources that look about how to do this work and how to develop your own sense of trust in yourself and I really recommend that you check those things out.


B: Yeah. I know for me, oftentimes I’m looking for the top 7 tips for this or if I just watch this YouTube video everything will click into place. You know sometimes, you’ll read something that’s super educational or inspiring, and that’ll be really helpful. But what I found in the decade-plus of doing this work is that it also does take some work and introspection, and looking inside of yourself, finding that commandment in your mouth and in your heart, and wrestling with that and how that commandment gets lived out in the world. It’s not as sexy and flashy, but I think that work is so important, so we encourage you to dive into that.


On our website, you’ll find a bunch of stuff and if you have any specific questions you can always send us a tweet on Twitter or DM on Facebook or Instagram. We would love to chat more with you.


[outro music plays]

B: The Queer Theology podcast is just one of many things that we do at QueerTheology.com which provides resources, community, and inspiration for LGBTQ Christians and straight cisgender supporters.


FS: To dive into more of the action, visit us at QueerTheology.com. You can also connect with us online: on Facebook, Tumbler, Twitter, and Instagram.


B: We’ll see you next week.

Download the transcript PDF

In today’s episode, we talked about:

  • Our queer take on the passage
  • The commandment that was given to us and that we shouldn’t go looking elsewhere
  • Challenging the old teaching of not trusting our gut feel
  • How we should start trusting ourselves and our personal relationship with God
  • How finding the commandment takes a lot of work and deep introspection

If you need help with finding your way into trusting yourself, as an LGBTQ+ Christian, we have tons of articles and worksheets available at QueerTheology.com/resources.

Deuteronomy 30:9-14

The Lord your God will help you succeed in everything you do—in your own fertility, your livestock’s offspring, and your land’s produce—everything will be great! Because the Lord will once again enjoy doing good things for you just as he enjoyed doing them for your ancestors, and because you will be obeying the Lord your God’s voice, keeping his commandments and his regulations that are written in this Instruction scroll, and because you will have returned to the Lord your God with all your heart and all your being.

This commandment that I’m giving you right now is definitely not too difficult for you. It isn’t unreachable. It isn’t up in heaven somewhere so that you have to ask, “Who will go up for us to heaven and get it for us that we can hear it and do it?” Nor is it across the ocean somewhere so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the ocean for us and get it for us that we can hear it and do it?” Not at all! The word is very close to you. It’s in your mouth and in your heart, waiting for you to do it.

Photo by Joshua Earle

This article was published by Brian & Shay, Queer Theology