A touching collection of reflections on experiences at the intersection of faith and LGBTQ+ sexualities. From the publisher:
"Beyond Worship" started as a digital zine published Fort Washington Collegiate Church’s website with only a few contributors. Under the direction of Minister James Admans (they/them) and funded by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, the zine Beyond Worship sought to collect any written material by LGBTQIA+ authors that could be shared in a worship space. The goal was to not only demonstrate that LGBTQIA+ members of the church are accepted, but part of the community and have something to contribute.
Beyond Worship is a collection of a wide variety of pieces of writing from a diverse group of authors representing different gender, racial, sexual, and faith identities. A majority of the authors are Christians—with a heavy representation of graduates of Union Theological Seminary—but many other faiths are represented here as well.
The pieces in this collection vary from prayers and poems to rituals and reflections t0 academic papers. Each piece affirms the dignity and worth of LGBTQ+ people in the context of a particular faith tradition. Some of the pieces reflect on surviving negative experiences, some celebrate the particular spiritual gifts that LGBTQ+ people bring. Regardless of its focus, each peace is empowering and caring.
Being a collection with a broad focus and authorship, Beyond Worship's individual contents do not bear much intentional relationship to one another. This may be good, bad, or cause for indifference depending on the reader's preference, but is worth noting.
Beyond Worship is a touching, short read for anyone interested in first-person, affirming reflections on the experience of LGBTQ+ people in a breadth of spiritual traditions.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.