In the Name of the Father

Saturday, 19 January 2019

I’ve often heard criticisms from those who prefer a masculine God that needing a gender-neutral or genderless or gender-inclusive God is unnecessary because of the human traits being projected. Yet, God the Father is fine. Usually, this seems to be due to tradition.

For a great many years, I recoiled at the idea of God the Father. As I thought about the negative responses to a more gender-expansive God, or possibly a God with what would amount to a sexual orientation, I came to understand why a masculine God had bothered me.

For years–decades–I’ve heard my own father explain to me why people like me should be “taken out and shot.” Or hanged, or drowned, or otherwise tortured and killed. True, he worded things ambiguously and might not even have realized he was describing me. But being raised as a son in his house, it was clear that sissies and feminists were bad. His words told me, even if unintentionally, that I was worth less as a person than he and others like him were. Furthermore, I would be educated in schools run by a church where the Fathers would preach about how TBQALG persons were sinful. Why, then, would I think a Divine Father was a good idea?

Then, at age 41, I started my gender transition. My own kids were 20 and 18 at the time. They still call me dad to this day eight years later, and I’m 100% okay with this. I am a woman who is their father.

And so, it’s my experience with being a woman who is a father that I’ve been able to become more comfortable with the idea of God the Father. I cannot separate my experiences as a gendered and sexual being from my religion. If I cannot relate to God on a personal level, how can I have a relationship with God?

Amen, and Blessed be.

In the Name of the Father

Saturday, 19 January 2019

I’ve often heard criticisms from those who prefer a masculine God that needing a gender-neutral or genderless or gender-inclusive God is unnecessary because of the human traits being projected. Yet, God the Father is fine. Usually, this seems to be due to tradition.

For a great many years, I recoiled at the idea of God the Father. As I thought about the negative responses to a more gender-expansive God, or possibly a God with what would amount to a sexual orientation, I came to understand why a masculine God had bothered me.

For years–decades–I’ve heard my own father explain to me why people like me should be “taken out and shot.” Or hanged, or drowned, or otherwise tortured and killed. True, he worded things ambiguously and might not even have realized he was describing me. But being raised as a son in his house, it was clear that sissies and feminists were bad. His words told me, even if unintentionally, that I was worth less as a person than he and others like him were. Furthermore, I would be educated in schools run by a church where the Fathers would preach about how TBQALG persons were sinful. Why, then, would I think a Divine Father was a good idea?

Then, at age 41, I started my gender transition. My own kids were 20 and 18 at the time. They still call me dad to this day eight years later, and I’m 100% okay with this. I am a woman who is their father.

And so, it’s my experience with being a woman who is a father that I’ve been able to become more comfortable with the idea of God the Father. I cannot separate my experiences as a gendered and sexual being from my religion. If I cannot relate to God on a personal level, how can I have a relationship with God?

Amen, and Blessed be.

Broken at Christmas

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Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Christmas. For the religious celebration, it’s the capstone of Advent, when we celebrate the rebirth of Hope, Joy, Love, and Peace. For the cultural celebration, it’s about being with loved ones, sharing meals, and giving gifts.

And it can be hell on earth for a great many people.

For those of us marginalized for our genders and bodies, it can be anything from hoping the bigoted relatives behave themselves to enduring them saying how great our oppressors are to not having relatives to visit because they’re turned their backs on us completely. These things can aggravate mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.

It finally happened to me.

What do I, the polytheist Christo-Pagan, do? One relative is an oppressor and is married to another who isn’t. Well, she isn’t an oppressor in that she’s never said anything oppressive to me since I came out. She doesn’t silence or challenge her spouse, though. As I went to bed on the 24th, my depression, anxiety, and psychosis were riding high. The Gifts of Advent–

Hope, Joy, Love, and Peace–seemed far way and untouchable.

I can’t recall the last time I wept on Christmas. I don’t think I ever have in my memory, though my memory is slowing failing.

I’ve long known that Christmas is a time of trauma for many, and I try to be sensitive to that. If I don’t, then I’m failing to bring the Gifts of Advent to those traumatized persons. But now, I have a better appreciation for just how isolating and soul-crushing it can me.

Glory be to Joseph, and to Mary, and to their beloved son Jesus: as they were then, are now, and ever shall be the Holy Family without end. Amen.

Adversarial Advent: Rejoice!

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Today is Christmas: the culmination of our Advent preparations.

My Advent posts have been, again, rather political. This makes perfect sense, as Christianity is a very political religion. It started that way, and it needs to be. But just because Christianity was intended to be a political religion, it was never intended to be the religion of the Empire. That was Constantine’s doing, not Christ’s, when he made Christianity the official religion of the Empire. This political approach to religion is part of what adversarial theology means for me. I don’t look for easy or mystical answers. There is much strife in the world today, just as there was at the time of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the one whom we call the Christ.

How does an adversarial theologian welcome the rebirth of the embodiment Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love? This might be one of the few times when at least part of the answer, to me, seems easy.

We, the Church, are the Body of Christ. Christ is the embodiment Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. So, we are the reborn embodiments of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. That’s the end of the easy part of the answer.

The hard part is actually bringing the Gifts of Advent into the world every of the rest of the year. There will be times when we forget. There will be times when we’re too exhausted—physically, mentally, spiritually. There will be times when we encounter people whom we don’t want to offer these Gifts to. These are all valid responses, as we are human and humans are imperfect. Sometimes, “I will try again tomorrow,” is the best prayer we have to offer.

And ya know what? G!D is okay with that.

Amen, Blessed Be, and Merry Christmas!

image © James C. Lewis (http://www.noire3000studios.com/)

Adversarial Advent: Love

Sunday, 23 December 2018

This is the fourth Sunday in Advent. We’re back to a purple candle and the theme is Love.

I’ve heard a lot of challenge this year from those who are opposed to trans people, BQALG people, women, and people of color about how we aren’t showing the proper Love to our oppressors. That if we really were the so-called “tolerant left” we’d understand that those who hate us and are literally calling for our destruction are human, too. They say to us that they Love us sinners but hate our sins.

Yeah, right.

But, we on the so-called “tolerant left” are full of Love. We are learning to Love ourselves and reject the vitriol that is levied against us. And so, we can love the sinners who are our oppressors while hating their sins of our oppression.

Yeah. I went there.

Amen, and Blessed Be.

Adversarial Advent: Joy

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Sunday, 16 December 2018

This is the third Sunday in Advent. The candle is pink—for Mary—and the theme is Joy.

I was asked to read the story in Luke 1:26-38, wherein Gabriel visit Mary to tell her she will be the mother of Christ. While I certainly felt Joy at being asked to read, I couldn’t help but wonder what Mary’s initial reaction would have been. I’m guessing it wasn’t Joy. In fact, I’m guessing that whole first year for her after the Annunciation was one where Joy might have seemed far away.

Growing up Roman Catholic, I remember learning one of Mary’s titles was the Mother of Sorrows. In keeping the Catholic tradition of Divine Mysteries, this title was explained as a good thing because adversity brings us closer to G!D. I might be an adversarial theologian, but I don’t believe in the concept that suffering is the path to Joy. Among other things, adversarial theology means find the unpopular opinions in theology and showing to society. Often, I find it difficult and even inappropriate to take these ancient scriptures written by and for a very different culture and try to make them apply to ours. But, there’s something in the lesson from Luke that applies today quite easily.

Mary was facing being shunned by her culture for being pregnant before she was married. This shaming—often called “slut shaming” today—is alive and well in our current society, especially is the mother is a teen as Mary would have been. Teen mothers find themselves in impossible situations. If they abort, they’re called killers. If they give their babies up for adoption, they’re accused of abdicating their parental responsibility. But if they keep their children and try to raise them, they’re still treated horribly by society because they never should have allowed themselves to be in the position to have to choose life in the first place.

This stealing of Joy from these young women is part of the War on Christmas. You can’t worship the child of an unwed mother while condemning those same types of families in the world around you.

I was a teen parent, and the years I spend raising my kids were among the most Joyful of my life. A society that speaks about wanting to protect children needs to actually do that work. Young and unwed mothers must be supported.

That’s how you defeat the War on Christmas: by bringing Joy to people in need.

Amen, and Blessed Be.

Adversarial Advent: Peace

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

I’m a little behind this week, but 9 Sunday 2018 was the second Sunday of Advent, and the theme is Peace.

Peace. What does that word even mean in a word where it seems borders are growing stronger, are closing more tightly? Where is the Peace when the military of one nation fires tear gas canisters over the border into another nation to stop the flow of refugees? Oh, and the nation being fired into isn’t officially an enemy nation?

Refugees. The Gospel of Matthew includes a story or Mary and Joseph fleeing their homeland and seeking refuge in Egypt. Why did they do this? Because of violence carried out by the minions of King Herod, the puppet dictator put in place by the Empire. Why are refugees seeking asylum in the US? Because of violence caused by puppet dictators put in place by the US government. The parallels can’t be denied, to me.

If anyone was looking for the so-called “War on Christmas,” this is it. A so-called Christian nation firing upon refugees seeking asylum and respite from violence. The US is Rome, and this Empire must fall if there is to be Peace.

Amen, and blessed be.