Holy Troublemakers

Holy Troublemakers and Unconventional Saints

by Daneen Akers

    Akers in this book emphasizes the stories of women. LGBTQ people, people of color, Indigenous people, and other who have often been written out of religious narratives. These stores are a challenge and move us towards more love and a faith that works for the common good of all.

    The main criticism is that she goes to a comfortable edge in her stories, people who basically are mainstream now. Many are controversial in other parts of the country, and in our conservative churches, but for San Francisco, they are rather tame.

    Several of these figures have challenged traditional sexual norms, yet little was discussed about those challenges.

    I laugh because I never have talked to church people about sexuality. My early experience raised in a homophobic church was all negative, anyone who was not married and did not do the missionary position was sinners, liking guys meant you would be hanged figuratively and sometimes literally. I remember in one town where I served a young man was caught having sex and his minister listed him in the bulletin for prayer, and the girl was shunned; now churches that are open and affirming never talked about sex and certainly not to youth–because of the fear deep within our society of pedophiles. Yet our advertisements on bulletin boards, T.V. etc. have girls that are really on the edge of being too young.

    My true sex education came as a whore on the street, and then later academically through university courses. I learned everything about sex on the streets, but the one lesson that I have worked through for years is that sex in any form is a gift from God provided you do not hurt anyone, but use it in care and concern for the other and for one’s self,   “Thou shalt love the Lord your God. . and your neighbor as yourself.”

    Sexuality is about our total being.  We are sexual, whether or not, we have the physical act of sex. It is in that blend of feminine and masculine that we find our greatest selves. We are sexual animals from the day we are born until the day that we die. 

    People of all ages, social backgrounds, and ages talk to me about sex, because their minister are afraid to, churches never talk to their youth, and I listen, without making a judgment.

    Forty-percent of LGBTQ youth is homeless, and alone because of their sexuality. One woman who is now 35, recently sent an email of thanks because she could talk to me about sex when she was 16, no other minister would talk to her without judgment.

    Sexuality has been used throughout history to control and manipulate people. Women have been subdued, controlled, and manipulated, and still are.

     Today sexuality is used in politics, ie abortion, and politicians continue to use it as a tool, that is turned into much pain for many, looking at the black and white, rather than the grey areas.

    Holy Troublemakers, Unconventional Saints does not open up those edges of sexuality, that bring the goodness to life. It is a good book about heroes, but the majority of the heroes mentioned have walked the tight edge of sexuality that is whole, good, and fruitful, and we need to hear of those edges.

    Until we open the doors, move out in the open about sexuality, and see it in all manifestations as but a kaleidoscope of life, we will continue an oppression of people which affects all of life.

    “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, thy mind, and thy strength, and thy neighbor as thyself.”

Jesus of  Nazareth


Fr. River Damien Sims, D.Min.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www. tememos.org


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