Tag Archive for advent

A Jesist in Advent: Love

Today is Sunday, 10 December 2017. It’s the second Sunday in Advent and the theme is Love. This was a bit odd to me, as I’m used to Peace being the second week. But, I digress…

I’m beginning to wonder if using Facebook is detrimental to my ability to Love. This is the second Sunday in a row that I’ve encountered heterosexist/homophobic and cissexist/transphobic comments on a friend’s post. I know there are a great many people out there who hate persons like me, even without ever having met me. It’s always so shocking, though, to encounter their sentiments. If somebody tries to post things like that on my page, their comments get deleted and they get blocked. If their comments violate the Facebook terms and conditions, they get reported, too. While I would greatly appreciate it if my friends would do the same to people who comment on their posts, I understand that it’s their FB pages. They can handle them as they see fit. I’d like to say more on this, but that might not be construed as very Loving on my part.

I know there are people I will never be able to reason with. I have blood relatives who were rabidly anti queer and anti trans before I came out. And, I have at least two cousins who are older than me who are gay. So, it’s not like I’m the first LGBTQIA+ person in the extended family. But it wasn’t until I went from second son to first daughter did some of the bigotry end. What bigotry ended? The jokes. That’s about it. These relatives still vote for candidates and politicians who work to make my life illegal, restricting or rescinding my rights. I’ve tried bringing the Advent Gift of Love to them to no avail, and they won’t bring Love to me either, not while they vote the way they do. And since I can’t transition race, I know I’ll never get through to them on issues of racism no matter how hard I try and have tried in the past. If they won’t change to defend me, their kin, what makes me or anybody else think I can change their minds about racism?

Every day of my life, I am confronted by those who seek to destroy trans persons. The only “Love” they offer is telling me how damned I am. I know from experience that I can count of men and women of all races, orientations, and classes to hurl hate in the direction of my community. I could offer them Love, but to what purpose? It will be rejected out of hand. I know they won’t extend to me the Love I desire and require. And when so much of this hatred comes from people who identify as Christians, saying they are justified by GOD, it should come as no surprise I call myself a Jesist.

So, I bring the Advent Gift of Love to others like me. If I can offer them some measure of comfort, I will do so. To my allies, I will offer gratitude. I would not be alive without them. And since I use Facebook to connect with my allies and the members of my community, I won’t be giving it up any time soon. For those who seek the destruction of the trans and gender-expansive communities, may the Light-bringer hold them and keep them, now and for ever.

Amen, and Blessed Be.

A Jesist in Advent: Hope

CONTENT WARNING: transphobia, cissexism, homophobia, heterosexism, ableism, T-slur

Today is Sunday, 3 December 2017. It’s the first Sunday in Advent and the theme is Hope.

A friend and ordained minister (I’ll call him RR) posted on Facebook his displeasure about a letter describing the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church in Northern California’s official discriminatory stance on LGBT persons, including disciplining pastors who allow persons like me to join their congregations. The father of a gay man himself, he has very strong feelings about a church claiming to be aligned with the teachings of Christ making such statements and taking such positions. I posted my appreciation of RR’s assertion that folx like me have a place in the Body of Christ. And, I should’ve known better.

Several commenters made attempts to take me to task for being a tranny, saying I was just as mentally ill as a “schitzo,” saying people like me dressed like freaks, and were just like people who wanted to have sex with animals.

Did I mention it’s the first Sunday of Advent, when Christians would be reflecting on Hope?

I posted of the ordination I attended at Grace Cathedral the day before. Of the three women ordained priests in the Episcopal church, one is lesbian (SW) and one is transgender (IS). I do not know the gender identity and orientation of the third woman, and it’s irrelevant anyway unless she chooses to share that information with me. It is important to the ministries of SW and IS that they be known as there are so many in the world who would find them unfit to minister. And, that’s among those who do believe it’s acceptable to ordain women. Many denominations still won’t ordain women at all, even if they’re cisgender and heterosexual.

It’s statements like those of the SDA and its defenders that make me hesitate to call myself Christian. They are part of the reason I describe myself as a Jesist: I attend to the message of Jesus as it’s recorded in the Gospels, and not so much to the message of Christianity which can be more heavily derivative from the message of St. Paul than of Jesus. I had been warned that the Bible wasn’t meant to be popular. Yet what Paul did was to take the Gospel of Christ and make it more palatable to the Gentiles.

What does all of this have to do with Hope?

As I mentioned above, I was at an ordination of three absolutely wonderful women yesterday. They give me Hope. The Episcopal Church gives me Hope. The AIDS Interfaith Memorial Chapel in Grace Cathedral, in spite the horror it is a testament to, gives me Hope. That my own faith community and order continue to see me as one worthy of the title of high priest and teacher in spite of my flaws gives me Hope.

Oh! And to the comment that trannys (sic) and crossdressers look like freaks in church, this is what I was wearing at the ordination yesterday:

These things continue to give me Hope in the face of “such reckless hate.”

Amen, and Blessed Be.

Advent 2016: Apocalyptic Love

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Today is the fourth Sunday in Advent.
The theme is Love and I was at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church
for worship again

The English word “Love” is so
simple yet complicated. When I tell my friends I Love them, it means
something different than when I tell my kids I Love them or when I’ve
told partners I Love them. Love is a word I’ve used to describe
books and movies and music and food, as well as my relationships with
people.

And earlier this week, I read a book
called Weird People by Jarrard Martin. It was a book about
Love and being bisexual. And with any book about Love and
relationships, reading it was thought-provoking. How have I been
experiencing Love in my life? How have I Loved? How have I been
Loved? How can I Love more?

I’ve encountered people who say they
Love me, and yet vote for legislation and for politicians that end up
threatening or limiting my civil rights. And, they are aware of what
they’re doing when they cast these votes. Can they truly say the
Love me when they take these actions? What is the Loving response I
should offer when legality of my life is challenged and threatened by
these votes?

Love is not the absence of challenge,
strife and adversity. In fact, it could be argued that those things
are necessary for one to truly Love those around them.

And that seems to be Apocalyptic Love:
Loving someone enough to be able to tell them they are causing you
harm.

Be blessed.

#FuckThisShit Advent Devotional Day 10: Restless [Isaiah 41:17]

Tuesday, 6 December 2016, #FuckThisShit Advent Devotional Day 10: Restless [Isaiah 41:17]

When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.

Whenever I encounter the word “thirst” in scripture, I always associate it with “thirst for justice.” That, coupled with today’s suggested theme of Restless, are things that have been weighing heavily on my mind lately.

It’s been not quite a month since Election Day here in the US, and the reports of harassment and hate crimes aimed at my community—the transgender community—have dramatically increased. I, who haven’t encountered anything like this in months, am suddenly encountering these things on a nearly daily basis. A little over three weeks ago was the Transgender Day of Remembrance, and while I held it together (I was the preacher and litany leader, after all), it was an emotionally taxing thing nonetheless.

Yesterday I was shaken by a near-violent encounter on my way to work. I found myself agitated and restless afterward for much of the day. And really, I have no idea if the person who raised her fist at me did so because I was trans. But I’m on edge. I’m terrified and livid at the same time. I feel that I need to do something to quench my own thirst for justice and help quench that same thirst for others. And at the same time, I feel so overwhelmed I don’t know where to start.

I’m both restless and exhausted. I thirst and pray and there are times when I wonder who, if anyone, is listening.

But, I don’t pray expecting some kind of divine intervention. That must seem odd coming from someone who is ordained in one religious tradition and considering ordination in another. When passing the elements of the Feast during a Pagan ritual, it’s not unheard of to reply, “Thou art god,” after one tells another, “May you never hunger/thirst.” With this in mind, it is WE who are the LORD that must answer the cries of the needy.