Rainy Saturday morning in Houston. The thunder was a little alarming, but I was determined to visit this exhibit that day. My thoughts about Houston and whether moving would be a good idea provoked me to explore the eclectic parts of the city. In between the hustle of the mainly conservative downtown streets and the busty clutter of the colorful community of Montrose lies this industrial style building: the Station Museum.
“Because We Are” is the latest exhibit presenting the work of 10 artists experiences and expressions of fundamental concerns of the GLBT community. The pamphlet that I opened says its “not only about GLBT civil rights but it is also one that presents artists whose civil rights are at risk simply because they are.” I thought it was quite intriguing.
And I walk into this building of starch white walls; others painted black with tall ceilings. Overall, the exhibit was everything I didn’t expect. I’m not sure what I was expecting but each room told a story. I kept the general concept from above in my mind and felt like I was entering someone’s home with each twisting maze room. My favorite 3 works:
photo from Daniel Goldstein “Medicine Man 2” courtesy of dramaforlife.ca.za
photo from David Wojanrowicz “One day this kid…” courtesy of theendofbeing.com
- Zanele Muholi “Being” < two black women. naked. exposed. loving.
- David Wojanrowicz “One day this kid…” < imagery story of a child’s growth in a hostile world
- Daniel Goldstein “Medicine Man 2” < 300+ bottles hanging from the ceiling from AIDS patients
Then I’m heading home, in the rain mind you, and I begin to wonder, “Wait, am I gay?” I found it interesting the themes of the artists (even those that I did not mention above). The stride for civil acceptance and the exposure in a world where anything goes…except you. I would eerily identify to the feelings of discomfort and the desire for acceptance and complacency.
Hmm…wasn’t expecting a life lesson from this trip but here’s what I identified:
1. Internal struggle
2. Outward acceptance
3. Fight for the cause
When I decided to become a practicing Christian, the hurdles of temptation of all kinds were thrown in my direction from the person I was dating at the time to the company I kept and more importantly…me fighting me. I kept feeling like I was living a double life!
I recall Romans 7:15 where Peter says, “What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.” (Message)
And the infancy of transforming to identity to who you should be and what you’ve succumb to lies the reality of brokenness. Torn between what and who you could loss when deciding to finally cross that bridge to yourself. But a glimpse of the freedom on the other side…the freedom from the heaviness that is plaguing you to keep a front of the old life…isn’t even enough to leave COMFORT until you’re forced to face it.
“…She took some [apple] and ate it. She also gave some to her husband [Adam], who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?" He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." And he said, "Who told you that you were naked?” [Genesis 3:6-11]
I love this segment of the story. They didn’t become naked until their eyes were opened, and God basically says how can you be shamed now when you’ve been naked to Me the whole time? I know you!
The reality of coming to grips with whom I’ve begun to become…comfortable in my own skin. The acceptance of burned bridges and savored ones are a part of the healing process when everyone is openly (or not) judging the decision you’ve made, you know? And the question that crosses either person’s mind is: Why me? Why did God choose me to go through this? Straddling a life fence to fit in without compromising yourself and then maturity leads to growth…
It all comes down to where you stand and what you’ll stand up for. The fighter in you is bold, gracious and daring. The other piece of you is still in the closet.
And so I try to draw the conclusion of whether there’s a difference between the Christian fight in me…& the fight in them? While their sin is visible to the world, my faith sometimes makes me a walking contradiction because the sin within me.
The world has a love & hate relationship with both sides. I’m glad I visited the Station to spend the afternoon in conversation with God about the world’s contradictions & my own.
The journey continues…
If you are interested in visiting the Station Museum and “Because We Are” please visit the website.
The exhibit is running until mid September.