Some questions & some answers

Q: Why do you use the word queer?

A: Because after almost 10 years working for a company with an unfortunate acronym, where we often had entire converstions in acronyms, I prefer to use actual words. Occasionally GLBT slips out, and sometimes LGBT, but it’s just so much easier to write or say “queer.” Plus, the mischief maker in me thrills at the possibility that I’m simultaneously making people a little uncomfortable, and also weakening the word as a pejorative. Update 8/11/2010: Plus, my mom told me today that if you knew my parents, you’d know how perfect the word “queer” is for me, in every possible way!

Q: But isn’t the word queer an insult to, you know, queers?

A: Just about any word can be insulting if it’s intended that way. I’m usually insulted if someone sneers at me, no matter what they’re saying. But since I’m not intending it as an insult, and since I happily refer to myself as queer, I hope people won’t feel insulted by my using it.

Q: But do you have to keep using the word queer?

A: Yes! It really does fit perfectly, given that many of us queer folk are oddities whose very existence is counter to what passes for social norms. I’ve thought of switching to the word “miracle” instead of “queer,” because I consider it a miracle that any of us queer folk can hang in there, live into adulthood or even geriatritude, be true to ourselves, and maintain our self-esteem, given the odds stacked against us. Wouldn’t it be great to go to a March for the Freedom of Miracles? Or have a Miracle Pride Day? Wouldn’t it be great for our families to talk about us this way? “My son is a miracle.  He and his husband are coming to visit us next week, and I’d love for you to meet them.” I know that I’m one half of a Miracle Marriage, for sure. I draw the line at Miracle Whip, though, in any form.

Q: You write this blog, and you’re a mom, so do you consider yourself a “mommy blogger”?

A: Ew, no. The word “mommy” has never been a good fit for me, and the word “blog” is odious to me, and generally triggers my gag reflex. I consider myself a writer.

Q: Why did you start this blog, er, website?

A: When I got laid off from the acronym factory in March, 2010, I felt like my whole body was bursting with ideas, and along with the unusual ways I have of connecting ideas together. I remembered something I read a long time ago that said simply: “Writers write.” I created this website to force myself to write regularly for readers, as opposed to writing just for myself. I love the recursiveness of the process — getting a draft done, and then honing it, chipping away at it, wrestling with it until it feels done. It’s both exhilarating and exhausting, and it makes me feel alive and buzzy. In a good way, not in that way of “Holy crap, both my arms are asleep!”

Q: Do you have any tattoos?

A: Yes, on my left arm I have a small tattoo of the legendary Anasazi bringer of joy, mischief, fertility, music, and stories: Kokopelli. It’s a good fit.

Q: You have only ONE tattoo?

A: Yes. When they became all the rage, I stopped being interested in getting another one.

Q: What do you mean when you say you’re “pantheistic”?

A: I mean a lot of things. In part I mean that I think G-d is not a singular, anthropomorphic, gendered, uber Creator/Judge/Supreme Being. I think the ancient Israelites nailed it with the whole idea of G-d as so immense, pervasive, and unknowable that the word for it cannot even be pronounced without doing respiratory damage, and that the word itself is so holy, that to speak it is to profane it. One area where we differ is that they were, mostly, monotheistic. My own personal concept of G-d is that it is so vast and unknowable, it cannot be contained by any number — not one, not the Christian idea of three in one, not 812, not even a zillion.

Q: How can you be pantheistic and a Christian?

A: I’m living into that question as we speak. Or type. Much of what I write on this website is about that particular journey.

Q: Are you a “born-again” Christian?

A: Probably not in the same way that people who claim that term intend it. I’ve been through many experiences in my life of feeling like I was born again, in the sense that something that no longer served me died away and left me feeling naked, new, vulnerable, squinty, and twitchy.

Q: Like what kinds of experiences?

A: Like coming to terms with being queer. Like giving birth to GForce. Like making a life and a home with PW, and creating a new family with Sheerah, Lulu, and GForce. Like getting married. Like having Bishop Barbara Harris lay her hands on my head. Like listening to music and being transported to a new understanding or insight. The very first post on this blog was about one such experience of rebirth through music. Really, any post in the category of “Music” documents some sort of experience I have had of being born again.

Q: What bill do you hate paying the most?

A: The karmic one.

Q: A new question from Marlene! Why do you call yourself pantheistic instead of panentheistic?

A: This is exactly what I was hoping for when I created this page: more questions! This is a provocative question, which is my favorite kind. My understanding of the difference between pantheism and panentheism is that the former can be translated to “all IS G-d” and the latter to “all is IN G-d.” Neither really fits for me, but pantheism is closer. Like everything else alive in the universe, I am a work in progress, and it can be difficult at times to find a word that matches my evolutionary state at any given time. Where I differ from both these terms is that I don’t believe in wholeness, whether it’s a single unifying whole or a personal state of wholeness. That threshold — of realizing “I don’t believe in wholeness anymore” — was one of those rebirth experiences that I will expand upon one of these days.


16 responses to “Some questions & some answers

  1. Why do you call yourself pantheistic instead of panentheistic?

    • Hi Marlene, I started an answer to this question above. I’m still pondering it, though, in my circular way. Thanks for asking it. Do you have any enlightenment for me regarding the differences?

  2. Very queerly written!

  3. actually i have a question i 4got 2 ask. it’s a tad retorical. what’s up with every1 freaking out cuz u use the word queer 2 decribe urself. cuz personally i think its perfectly fine.

    • Hello 6th grader,
      I’m always surprised both by the people who are put off by the word “queer” and the ones that I think will be bothered, but aren’t. Someone asked me the other day, “Is that the same as gay?” I smiled and said, “Yes, but even stranger!” Speaking of which, I updated one of the queer questions above with something my mom said to me the other day that I thought was very funny.

      • thanks for repling( prob didn’t spell that right). i just started my blog so no ones read it or commented on it. ur blog is hilarious!!!! visit my blog and comment please. plus can u give me some advice on how to get my blog more popular( pretty sure that’s how to type it).

        6th grader

  4. Joy,

    First I’ll refer you to “A New Handbook of Christian Theology” edited by Donald W. Musser and Joseph L. Price. In it is a fairly short definition of panentheism written by Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki. You are probably familiar with her. Her first sentence states “Panthentheism views God and the world in interrelatinship.” That’s the difference between it and pantheism which sees God and the world as identical. I like that word “interrelationship”. Please look up this book and read her definition for yourself. I don’t have enough space here to go into great detail my self. God and the world are interdependent and the way that that plays out in panentheism is beautiful, I think.

    • Marlene,
      I’ve been on vacation so I haven’t had a chance to respond to your suggestion, or check that book out of the library. I look forward to investigating it. Based on what you’ve included above, I’m not sure that either pantheism or panentheism is an adequate description of my spiritual orientation. I’m not even sure there is a word to describe it!

      I’ve been very taken by a book called “A Tear at the Edge of Creation: A Radical New Vision for Life in an Imperfect Cosmos,” by the Brazilian physicist and astronomer Marcelo Gleiser. His basic point is that it is asymmetry and imperfection that are the roots of creation, which fits with my deeply held experience and belief that there’s no such thing as wholeness, as I mentioned in the Q&A space above.

      I’ll get back to you when I have a chance to look at the book you recommend. I am intrigued by it, and I’ve always admired Marjorie Suchocki’s work.

  5. Marlene Krueger


    Thanks for your comments. I would like to take a look at your book, “A Tear at the Edge of Creation: A Radical New Vision for a Life in An Imperfect Cosmos”. That sounds pretty interesting to me.

  6. Joy,

    I’ve just ordered “A Tear at the Edge of Creation”, but I ordered the paperback edition which isn’t out yet. I’ll be waiting for that for awhile, but I look forward to reading it when I get it and getting a different perspective on your “theology”. I hate to use that word as it seems to be so limiting. Hope you get a chance to read Marjorie’s thoughts.

    • Marlene,
      You might want to see if your local library has a copy of it before you buy it. That’s where I got it.

      I still haven’t been able to locate a copy of that book you recommend, but I’m hoping PW can get it from the Episcopal Divinity School library.

  7. I’ve struggled with the choice between identifying as pantheist and panentheist before too. I’ve finally settled on “heretic,” because that’s what I get called by others most often.

    I found your site about an hour ago by googling for reviews on Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes, and I’m already a big fan. I’m glad I found you.

    • Hi Norm, Funny you should use the word “heretic.” That’s the descriptor I use most of the time, too. Glad to know there’s at least one other traveler out there under the same banner(s). Thanks for stopping by and introducing yourself!
      Heretically yours,

  8. I like your notion that “I think the ancient Israelites nailed it with the whole idea of G-d as so immense, pervasive, and unknowable that the word for it cannot even be pronounced without doing respiratory damage, and that the word itself is so holy, that to speak it is to profane it.”
    Being raised Roman Catholic myself, I was watching the series “Catholicism” ( on PBS the other week and the priest who hosts talked a lot about the use of words like “infinite”, “ultimate”, and “unknowable” to refer to the transcendental nature of God and divinity. I tend to agree that we can only better describe God through the inadequacy of human language by what God is not; finite, measured, and bounded. I tend to think that God is truly unknowable, but not unknown… otherwise there would be no point to religion at all.

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