Please join Between the Worlds Church for a special service, Our Spirit Babies, on December 20, 2014, 11 AM.
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Tags: Religion, Spirituality
Categories : Between the Worlds Church, Religion, Spirituality
I am endlessly fascinated by the writings of P. Sufenas Virius Lupus, particularly their writings on gender, Paganism, Antinous, and those places where all of these things meet.
Their recent post, Antinous and the Trans* Peoples, is an excellent discussion of allies to trans persons. I’ve been of the mind that “ally” is an identity as I’ve certainly encountered my share of people who, while expecting and demanding respect, essentially tell me to go pound rock salt up my nose with a broken bottle. So when I encounter persons who not only identify as allies but they actually do the work, I am grateful.
It’s interesting because I’ve been told by my MGRSI peers and allies alike that an “ally” is just a person who’s being a decent human being and, therefore, doesn’t really need to be thanked. When allies says this of themselves, it only reinforces my desire to thank them.
Ultimately, they’re right: being an ally is nothing more than just being a decent person. And while it could be argued that being an ally is simply applying the Golden Rule and the second half of the Great Commandment in a practical way in one’s life, it seems to me that being an ally should be more reflexive than that.
For those who are allies because they feel it’s their duty to do so in order to fulfill the command of Christ, I offer you my thanks. But for those who are allies because they feel it’s just part of being human, I offer you even greater thanks and appreciation.
The faithful have not cornered the market on kindness.
Amen, and Blessed Be.
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Tags: allies, gender, identity, Religion, Spirituality
Categories : Allies, Gender, MGRSI, Religion, Spirituality
As my partner and I were leaving the grocery store yesterday, we heard a woman calling out to us. She brought her two daughters toward us and asked if we wouldn’t mind helping her with something. We agreed.
“Look at them,” she said to her daughters. “They’re a couple. They love each other and respect one another, and they contribute to society.” She went on to explain that not all couples look the same.
Turning to us, the woman mentioned that her younger daughter had said I looked like a man in women’s clothing. The mother had said to her daughter that there are many ways that people experience being boys or girls and that if she was confused it was better to ask than to make assumptions. She encouraged her daughter to ask me, and I encouraged her to do so as well.
In a quiet and shy voice she asked, “Do you want to be a boy or do you want to be a girl?”
I responded, “I was born a boy, but I grew up to be a woman.” My partner added which pronouns were the proper ones to use when referring to me.
I was treated to a shy smile in reply, and the mother thanked me. This mother was a woman of color who mentioned her daughters were adopted from Africa (she didn’t indicate which country) and that the society from which they came didn’t give them a context to understand that people were transgender. She thanked me for giving her the opportunity to teach her girls about my experience.
I felt honored by this. The whole thing was conducted in a way that felt very respectful to me. My experience of gender and relationship with my partner led to a teaching moment in a parking garage outside a grocery store.
Truly, I was grateful for that woman and her daughters.
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Tags: allies, coming out, education, gender, relationships
Categories : Activism, Allies, Children, Education, Family, Gender, Parenting, Relationships
Lori Duron writes an excellent rebuttal to more of the nonsense she shouldn’t have had to encounter in the first place.
Originally posted on Raising My Rainbow:
Last week I published a blog post about things said during a PTA meeting I attended at my youngest son’s school. I wanted to shine a light on the homophobic, transphobic, insensitive, hateful and hurtful things that some moms said during the meeting and show that as far as we have come in LGBTQ acceptance and equality, there is still much work to be done. And sometimes that work needs to be done in heavy doses at places much closer to home than we’d like.
Almost immediately, PTA moms from our school started commenting, messaging and reacting viscerally on social media.
As they did, I stared at the PTA tagline: Every child, One voice. I’m not convinced that our PTA as a whole cares about every child and some of the voices I heard that night are not voices I want speaking on behalf of my child. That being said…
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You know you’re in seminary when comments on Facebook lead you to conduct research amid your already assigned work for classes.
I recently shared the following image on Facebook:
The story behind scene depicted in that image can be found in all four Gospels: Mark 11:15-19, Matthew 21:12-17, Luke 19:45-48, and John 2:13-16. As a result of sharing this picture, I was treated to the following comment, to which I replied in-thread:
It could be argued that the United States of America is a country that was born from civil unrest, hence my comments about the British and the Loyalists. The established social order for the British colonies was that they were subjected to British rule, no matter how unjust those persons in the colonies felt that rule was.
Once upon a time it was perfectly legal to deny women access to polling places and the right to vote. Thanks to the suffragettes who caused much civil unrest in their time, I and all other women, trans and cis alike, have the right to vote in this country.
Civil unrest is often a tool used to overturn unjust laws or resist oppression. While there are many in the gay and lesbian communities that regard the Stonewall Riots as the beginning of gay and lesbian liberation, key figures at Stonewall were not only trans women, but trans women of color (Stryker, pp. 82-86). Stryker’s words were corroborated by Miss Major, whom I had the pleasure of hearing speak earlier this year when she was a guest speaker at the Pacific School of Religion. Miss Major, a trans woman of color, was there at Stonewall, engaging in the very civil unrest that has helped liberate the marginalized gender, romantic, and sexually identified (MGRSI) communities.
So, we see that Jesus of Nazareth wasn’t the only one engaging in civil unrest against those parties exercising their legal rights to oppress others. According to Richard A. Horsely writing on the Gospel of Mark in The New Oxford Annotated Bible (p. 1813), Jesus’ “cleansing of the Temple” was a fulfillment of prophecies from Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11. J. R. C. Cousland’s notes to the Gospel of Matthew in this same book (p. 1777) state that “Roman money had to be changed into Tyrian shekels, the only currency acceptable for use within the Temple.” Marion L. Soards, who wrote in this Bible on the Gospel of Luke (p. 1867) implies that the money changers weren’t merely exchanging these currencies, but were “selling the prescribed offerings.” And finally in his notes on the Gospel of John, Jerome H. Neyrey says that Jesus “attacks the sellers for profaning [the Temple] by making it a market (p. 1885).”
Hans Dieter Betz alleges that there is extra-canonical “evidence, especially from Qumran [in the Dead Sea Scrolls], that at the time criticism of the Temple was more widespread and diversely motivated.” This suggests to me a shift in what C____ B______ called “the social mores of the region” in the above Facebook screen capture. Betz goes on to state, “The problem that apparently irritated Jesus was that the merchants and bankers had moved inside the sacred precinct to conduct their business.” The Temple tax had to be paid and currencies had to be exchanged to do this. Betz’s analysis suggests that Jesus felt this business should’ve been done outside the Temple property.
Economic position didn’t exempt one from paying this tax, though certainly the rich could more easily afford it than the poor. P. M. Casey elaborates by saying “money changers always sell money for more than its face value, to make a profit” and “scribes would increase the money which people had to pay.” It is this “abuse of the poor” that is one of the primary motivators for Jesus act of civil unrest. While the money changers were indeed doing what needed to be done, “they could do their work outside the Temple.” (Casey, 1997)
Another Facebook friend of mine posted, “It is just a myth, but an interesting one.” Yet Casey suggests that as this is one of the few stories that is described in all four Gospels that the story of this event might be historical in nature.
Whether historical or mythological, I still find this story of Jesus’ act of civil unrest to be relevant today. I am a queer, transgender woman, and according to the various laws in differing regions of the country I call home I have varying amounts of freedom. By contrast, my heterosexual, cisgender peers have far greater rights, and those rights are uniform across the land. If I must engage in civil unrest as did the Stonewall rioters to ensure persons like me are treated like people, then I will do so.
Sometimes, civil unrest is required for positive change.
Betz, Hans Dieter. Jesus and the Purity of the Temple (Mark 11:15-18): a Comparative Religion Approach. Journal of Biblical Literature, 116 no 3. 1997.
Casey, P. M. Culture and Historicity: the Cleansing of the Temple. Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Apr97, vol. 59 no. 2. 1997.
Coogan, Michael D. ed., The New Oxford Annotated Bible, 4th ed. NY: Oxford University Press.
Stryker, Susan. Transgender History. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press. 2008.
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Tags: christianity, cleansing the temple
Categories : Activism, Christianity