It is almost cliche to say at this point, but compared to the rest of the country, the south is highly religious. And, yes when we say religious, we usually mean some version of Christian, especially evangelical or fundamental. Surveys continue to show that there are more churches in the south, we tend to go to church services more, and for many small towns, it is the center of communal activity and society. That can make it hard for young LGBTQ kids to accept our sexual orientation or gender identity. There's endless stories about young southern kids that escape to the north or west to experience a sexual freedom that they can't get in the religiously oppressive south. This week, in the first of a two part series on faith, we talk to Atlanta based Kevin Garcia, a southern native of Virginia and Tennessee. They ask us to rethink what we know about the Bible, faith, and the meaning of spirituality. And they're super funny! Kevin walks us through their views of spiritual polyamory. You can be religious and queer. One does not have to exist without the other.
Kevin recently graduated from the Colombia Theological Seminary and is an intuitive soul coach that focuses on public theology and using digital media to reshape the narrative around LGBTQ individuals and spirituality. Their writing has appeared in several anthologies about queer faith. You can find them online at thekevingarcia.com, as well as YouTube, twitter, and Instagram. Their book, “Bad Theology Kills: Undoing Toxic Beliefs and Reclaiming Your Spiritual Authority" is available on Amazon and on the Southern Queeries Bookshop page available here.
I don't know if I'd call his youtube videos sermons, but they are impactful, genuine, and a sweet sincerity shines through in everything he says. My biggest take away from this episode is that the core of faith is not religion and denominational rules. Spirituality needs to be centered on an individualized understanding of love and divinity.
Give the episode a listen here and stay tuned for the second part of the series.