In response: Transgender and a Christian Theologian.

by - 7:16 PM


Original Post By Me:
<a>AS A CHRISTIAN THEOLOGIAN AND A TRANS WOMAN.</a>Sometimes I feel like I should be apologizing to myself. I know other girls have been hurt by people hijacking Jesus to make themselves moral judges. I am so sorry, I have been there. That’s not what this is about.
The Reply:How do you exist?


That is actually a rather good question, and sadly necessary.
As a Christian (interacting with the American Church) I exist on the margins, at best.
As a Christian (follower of Jesus) I exist very well, my faith played a major roll in me coming to terms with and accepting myself as Trans*. 
It was initially an issue as I was raised in a staunchly conservative-fundamentalist home and I had to get past the toxic nature of fundamentalism to find a faith system that matched my personal experiences. I explored all the major religions in college, and a whole lot of the minor ones; Including a short love affair with Theosophy. (Cause why not?) I was a philosophy of religion major and so I had a great deal of resources to do so. Imagine my surprise when after years of staunch agnosticism and repulsion from Christianity that I found what I was looking for within the larger Christian tradition. You see there are two dynamically opposed and yet carefully intertwined Christian traditions. They have been called various things throughout history and been represented by two schools of thought in almost every church since shortly after “the Church” became a thing. For simplicity I will refer to them as Eastern Tradition and Western Tradition.
The Church in the U.S  (and to some extent Northern Europe) is almost completely composed of a vocal Western Tradition and Fundamentalist sect. Within the broader spectrum of Christianity what America thinks of as Christianity is sometimes almost unrecognizable.  While the rest of Christianity believes that the Bible is there to teach us about the nature of ourselves and God, the fundamentalists believe it is a list of literal rules. Which comes to absurdity. Even the “rules” that are used against homosexuals quoted from the old testament have a reason to be there. Rules that existed to prevent pagan temple sex slavery are now quoted as God’s will for everyone. Rules that existed to bring things to absurdity are quoted with literal force. 
Let me give you an Example. One of the worst ways the Hebrews had to put someone to death was by stoning and it was a grisly way to die which required every elder to cast stones. Every One of Them. And it was this that was used for everything from homosexual acts to disobeying your parents to not being a virgin. Why? Because the Law was not required to be fulfilled. Even murderers were given the choice of exile. And If the Elders did not all agree then no one died. This was not a way for God to kill everybody who didn't clean their room after your parents said it Sooooo many times. This was a way for God to put the judgement in the hands of respected leaders instead of mob justice and then to say if you kill this person the blood is on each of your hands. This justice system when enacted properly was the most lenient system in the ancient world. When it isn't its horrifying and meant to be. You either burned the woman who made cheap clothes (two different types of cloth) or you didn't, but the choice was theirs so as to make a point.  How many people would pull that trigger?
So hopefully now you see how taking “rules” out of their cultural context makes them absurd and horrifying. This is why the western/fundamentalist tradition has turned into a faction of hatred proclaiming an angry horrible God. 
The Eastern Tradition sees things very differently. They generally see the bible as a poetic and loving story of a Man and his wayward bride. This is a theme woven throughout the entire bible and rarely heard. The Song of Solomon is an erotic poem posing God as the Lover and the People of God as his Beloved. It gets pretty hot if you read between the lines. But one of the most beautiful portions of scripture happens there. The Lover comes to see his Beloved who is dirty from working in a field as she is a poor. But he does not care and spends the rest of the poem trading descriptions of beauty with her. He knows she is dirty and stained but doesn't care. This is also the theme of the Entire book of Hosea as well as large portions of the old and new testament. This is a picture of God who sees us as imperfect and not only doesn't hold it against us but chases us down to love us anyway. And in his loving us purifies us. As a very imperfect woman It gives me great joy to be loved like that. 
I know this is way to long and I haven’t said half of what I could. I warned you I was a theologian girl, what were you thinking? But One more thing. The New Testament makes a point in no less than six places to say that gender identity does not matter to God and shouldn't matter to anyone anymore. The early church was the first ancient institution to fully accept the gender variant (Referred to as Eunuchs, born, made by others, or by themselves; i.e. Intersex, Androgynous and Transexuals) and women at every level of it’s structure. A Genderqueer founded the entire Ethiopian church and was specifically sought out by God to do so.
So I do not find my Christian faith to be at opposition with my Trans identity. But it does come into opposition with current religious leaders. That is nothing new. Accepting the genderfluid and even women was a radical idea that the patriarchal structure of society pushed out as quickly as it could, but God isn't done with the church and it will come around again. He loves it even in it’s sin and hatred. So I have to be patient and do so as well. It will be purified and hopefully I will have something to do with that.

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