One of my favourite memes is a picture of Patsy, of Ab Fab glory, holding a bottle of vodka in one hand, ciggie in the other and the caption reading: “none of this New Year, new me bollocks. Last year I was fabulous and next year I will be fabulous!”
January is that grey and damp month of the year (at least in the UK) in which everyone feels incredibly guilty about their month of excess prior (again, at least in the UK) and vows to live differently from now on; not just from the gluttony of December but from the entire previous year in which we often look back on with mixed emotions, usually beating ourselves up for the all things we hadn’t managed to achieve.
As a species, we’re inclined to generally act in extremes – when we diet we forsake all carbs, when we binge we consume everything that could contain sugar. We can’t watch an episode on Netflix without watching 12 more, or have one glass of wine without finishing the bottle. Perhaps your self control is better than mine, but I often find that excess comes all too easily; whatever form it takes. The same goes for departing one year and entering another, we too easily try to shake off what’s past for the false hope of a shiny and problem-free future.
What then is better advice at the start of the new year? Perhaps something more along the lines of that meme I mentioned: last year you were pretty great, why not just try and build on that instead?
For Soho Gathering, 2015 was a rollercoaster of a year – with a lot of highs and some frustrating lows. We began to push the boundaries of what is considered acceptable behaviour for those who identify as queer Christians, but we acknowledge that there’s lots more to do.
It’s our hope that 2016 is one of growth, one which sees us meet new people, build new relationships and challenge the injustices we see for marginalised communities whose voices are lost in the chaos. Our focus remains on a queer approach to faith, but our understanding of what that means has broadened. To be queer is to be different, to be alien, to be removed from the norm and it’s not just LGBT people who suffer from the isolation that comes from such an identity.
This is also a great time to share how excited we are that going forward our weekly blogs, which are currently penned by Luke and Dawn, will have contributions from those who have fellowshipped with us in some way over the last 12 months. It’s our aim to allow other opinions to be heard and to ensure that Soho Gathering remains accessible for all, not just those who are able to join us on Thursday evenings. We’ll share more of that in the coming weeks!
We’re looking forward to a year of challenge, and we’re hopeful that if you’re reading this that you’re willing to join with us as we tackle it head on.