Tag Archive for hope

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 Hope

Sunday, 27 November 2016

This Sunday I went to St. Gregory of
Nyssa Episcopal Church for the first time. This was also the first
Sunday in Advent. The theme is Hope, and it’s essentially New
Year’s Day for the Church.

There was talk of the seemingly
apocalyptic scripture readings and how these times for those of us
who most adamantly opposed to the incoming presidential
administration seem very apocalyptic indeed. At first, this might
seem like grim humor. “The end is nigh!” But after two terms, the
end of the Obama administration is nigh. This year would’ve
been the end of that administration anyway. Something new is about to
start.

At the same time, that’s where the
apocalyptic dread comes into play, if the campaign promises of the
president-elect are to be take seriously. Even if those promises aren’t, the
supporter of the president-elect have been making it very clear to
those of us in marginalized and oppressed communities that there will
be even greater marginalization and oppression coming soon.

There was also talk of how it might
seem odd to start the liturgical year with talk of the apocalypse,
the end-times, even as we talk of Hope being renewed. It’s like
taking an expression I’ve heard among cynics and inverting it. That
expression is, “Hope for the best; expect the worst.”

Apocalyptic Hope in Advent would be,
“Expect the worst; hope for the best.”

Be blessed.

Advent 2015: Towards the Within

It’s Christmas Eve. For those with the five-candle Advent wreaths, the white Christ candle at the center is about to be lit.

As I was writing my Advent blog posts, I noticed that there was a
theme running through all of them. Though I wrote about each of the
Gifts of Advent — Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love — I was also writing about how I encountered these gifts. My posts were focused inward, hence the subtitle of this entry: “Towards the Within” (with gratitude to Dead Can Dance).

Some might argue that this was a rather selfish series of Advent
posts, and I would not deny that charge. But as Advent was starting this
year, my wife was recovering from a critical illness. We were and still
are without the necessary employment to meet our regular living
expenses. It was through some micro-loans and the generosity of everyone
who contributed to our GoFundMe campaign that we’ve been able to keep
our apartment, keep its utilities turned on, and stay fed. With these
facts weighing on me, I stepped back from my various ministries in order
to ensure my family’s survival.

One of my favorite Bible selections is Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (A Time for Everything), a selection I first became aware of via the song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by The Byrds.
This season, my spirit was turned inward. This was right and proper. At
seminary, they will often tell us that we need to be making regular
time for self-care. Self-care might seem to be a luxury, but it is a
luxury that I would argue is vital for peace of mind.

The Gifts of Advent are not just that which can be brought into the
world, but also are things we can receive. And I have received these
Gifts gratefully and humbly.

Thank you, my friends. I am what I am thanks to your support.

Be well, and be blessed.

Amen, and Blessed Be.

Advent 2015: Hope

Today is the first Sunday in Advent, and the theme is Hope.

About a month ago, on Samhain (the Wiccan analog of the Day of the Dead), my wife was in the hospital. Shortly after arriving in the emergency room by ambulance, she went into cardiac arrest. Her heart stopped. She had a deep-cerebellar stroke. She was revived and spent a week in the intensive care unit. She would spend another week in a regular hospital room. She’d even have another overnight stay a little later to get two units of blood and for observation.

Until the beginning of October, she had been the primary source of income for our little family of two. After getting laid off, she began job hunting. During this time, I continued to attend seminary and work my very part-time, one-night-a-week job, all the while hoping that her job search would yield something that would allow us to survive while at the same time hoping that if she had trouble that I could find a job and just take a leave of absence from my seminary studies.

That all changed on October 31. My hope for her became focusing on her living through this illness. I abandoned my studies, telling my professors about our situation, and returned to the job hunt. Now, my hope for myself is that I’ll find a job that will allow me to pay all of our day-to-day living expenses as well as attend to the mounting debts and bills that we’ve been delaying paying due to lack of funds.

Yes, those are very personal, inwardly focused hopes. These aren’t the hopes that I suppose a minister and seminarian would be traditionally expected to write about, especially in light of recent local, national, and world events.

I’m not turning my back on social justice issues. Being transgender, I can’t. If I did, I could pretty much just say good-bye to the employment equality that I need right now to provide for Anne and myself. But, I am taking a break from the wider world of social justice ministry. It’s the end of November and I still don’t have full-time work. I would need to work between 70 and 90 hours a week with my current very part-time job in order to make enough money for us to survive. And, it’s not a minimum wage job. It’s not much more than minimum wage, though. If I had a minimum wage job, I’d need between 80 and 100 hours of work to make ends meet. And we only have a 1-bedroom apartment that actually costs less than a lot of others in this area. The car is paid for, and was paid off before I met Anne. We aren’t living in the lap of luxury. Not even close. We are two middle-aged persons with various medical issues that require money to treat, her more so than I. We also have outstanding debts to attend to. But even without those factors, a full-time minimum wage job would not be enough.

So my primary hope for this Advent season is economic justice. Let everyone who seeks work be able to find that work, so that they may survive.

Amen, and blessed be.

TWIH Episode 36: Breaking Our Lenses with Xochiqetzal Duti Odinsdottir (#blacklivesmatter #pantheacon)

This week we are joined by Xochiquetzal Duti Odinsdottir. We not only talk more about the events of Pantheacon 2015, but we also talk about how the progressive movement deals with issues of race. How do we open our eyes to how racism works in our society? What is the future of racism and social […]