• Woodland Park Presbyterian Church

Pride Month Music Meditations (July 2022)

Hello, dear WPPC community!

Thank you for joining me on our deep dive into queer music during weekday music meditations this past Pride month! As far as I was concerned, it was a forgone conclusion that I would do June this way; however, I had no idea how much it was going to end up meaning to me.

As I’ve said individually many times before, and recounted from the piano-pulpit on Music Appreciation Sunday, these daily moments to listen and center and consider have become a real boon to my whole soul. I’ve known that for a long time. If/when I stop writing these meditations for the community, I will certainly keep beginning my day with music, and I will probably often continue the ritual of writing, just to work out my considerations.

What I didn’t expect upon embarking on this Pride month was the way it would feed me by way of communion with my queer peers, elders, and the stunningly brilliant youths who are living in a society the likes of which we have never experienced before. To us (of my generation and above), Pride also comes with a hesitance, if not outright fear — that’s the string that motivates action. For the younger, it’s clearly still a fight, but it’s a fight that they can win with the newly available resources of subtlety and nuance rather than the need to claim their space by throwing a brick.

I needed this month — and I don’t think I’m alone in admitting that June was an unusually depressing month this year. Dreary weather, much-worse-than-dreary news…among the people I’ve talked with regarding this June, it seems to have been a pretty universally difficult month. The opportunity — if I’m being honest, on some days the job — of picking a song and providing some thoughts about it has kept my caboose from tipping more than once. Adding the extra layer of making sure that song is specifically queer has guided my thought process toward something that uniquely refreshes my disposition and engages a singular passion that nourishes me. And not a small number of you have gone out of your way to tell me that you noticed.

So, I wanted to acknowledge that fact, both for myself and for the community. If my writing has been more meaningful in some way this month for more than just me, that’s something I want to take hold of. To that end, I intend to continue skewing queer in this practice for a while. Not just artists who identify as queer, and not just songs that deal specifically with queer issues or content — I find that the health, for me, is in thinking about queerness in all contexts, finding the part that boosts queer confidence or supports queer ideology.

In our Music Appreciation Sunday liturgy and sermon, I used the word “queernesses” several times. This is a word I want to normalize in our community. The thing is, we all have them. As we’ve explored with several songs this month, the claiming of the identity “queer” is fraught politically, but the fact is that all of us are. We’re all different, and we all have our little idiosyncrasies and funny habits — not to say in any way that a person’s gender or sexual identity is an idiosyncrasy or a funny habit! But it’s a way in. It’s a friendly and true entryway into relating to people we don’t know, and it’s an opportunity to search ourselves for the things that make us like people we don’t know, not unlike them.

June was a difficult month. June was also an incredibly special month! As we go forward, we will be welcoming a ‘queer’ perspective toward all artists and songs. That said, there was something particularly precious about this time for me, so I’ve decided to collect this Pride month’s worth of meditations all together in a blog, just so they’re all in one place. If you know anyone who might like to read them (but don’t necessarily want to subscribe to a list), I hope that you’ll share it with them.

Thanks again for simply living your lives and somehow, once again, being a huge part of facilitating yet another healthy shift in my daily life.

With love and Pride,

Jeff


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