Your Silence Is Deafening: An Open Letter To the Target Boycotters

This is one worth the space here. She captures my frustration with these arguments – especially since I am in the group of people they are throwing under then bus.

Drifting Through

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I hear you.

You’re angry.

I get it, I’m angry too.

I’m not talking to the people who are angry at Target because their Pro Transgender bathroom policy flies in the face of their cherry picked moral compass. I’m not under any obligation  to respect their beliefs. 

I’m talking to you… the people who have no issue with sharing a bathroom with LGBT people. I’m talking to those of you who are speaking out about this bathroom policy, expressing concern over the women and children who you fear will be in danger because of this policy.

You’re reasonable people. You aren’t expressing hate or bigotry. You just worry. You worry about your kids, your wives, your sisters. I worry too.

I probably worry too much. I have always accompanied my younger kids to the bathroom in public places. When my son was too old to go into the women’s room, I…

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Upgrades

butterfly_emerging copy

Sophia Sojourn is going to be experiencing some much needed upgrades in the comings days. There may be some outages. In which case you can’t read this post and it’s a moot point. But if you’re reading this now and you come back later – you may have issues. OR – in an alternate universe the upgrade will go smoothly and without a bug or a hitch and you will never know the difference. Here’s hoping.

 

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Filed under Biographical, Divorcing and Pressing On, Faith Evolving, Frequently (or at least once) Asked Questions, Living Aboard, Loving me so I can love you., Trans Journey

Drops

I sat awake last night memorized by the gentle rainfall.

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Rain is always a mixed blessing on the boat. On the one hand the drops hitting the tin roof that covers the slips create their own sort of meditative melody. It’s a somewhat natural song that combines with the wind and the tiny splashes of rain drops hitting to lake itself creating a musical effect that shouts both strength and peace in one single verse.

On the other hand, the consistent rain throws my thoughts back to this time last year when the lake level started rising…and rising…and rising. Dwelling on those thoughts last night woke up my “inner geek” and I did a few google searches and calculations. Here is Continue reading

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Answering Michael Brown’s Open Letter to Bruce Springsteen

Here is a reblog from a friend and fellow mama Bear. And my thanks to this Michael Brown fellow for giving her the framework to articulate the issues so clearly. Your ignorance became our gift.

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There’s an open letter to Bruce Springsteen making the rounds. In case you missed what prompted it, The Boss canceled a concert in North Carolina following the passage of HB2 which, among other things, demands that trans men and women use the bathrooms that align with their sex at birth, rather than their true gender.

I’ll be honest, I don’t have any strong feelings about boycotting a state. It feels a little too big, a little too hard to nail down. I’m going to guess that gay and transgender people have jobs there that are hurt by large boycotts, and I’m not sure how we help the LGBTQ population by damaging the economy of their state. I understand the desire to bring attention to the problem, I’m just iffy on the logistics of most boycotts.

But back to Michael Brown’s open letter to Springsteen. I feel okay answering this on Springsteen’s…

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With Open Arms

It was the first time my arms were bare.

As I stood up to give a workshop on being Transgender to The Reformation Project’s 2016 Leadership Development Cohort, I was keenly aware that this was the first time I had ever spoken publicly with my arms showing from the shoulders down. It was an intentional move on my part. After staying up until all hours of the morning rewriting pieces of my presentation, I looked at my planned wardrobe and decided to leave off the cumbersome cardigan I had brought to go with the ensemble. This may seem petty thing to be writing about giving the intense depths we reached as a cohort during our studies over the last few months, but I’ll explain Continue reading

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Honor and Shame – (Last week of the 2016 Leadership Cohort)

TRP logoWe are on the final stretch of the Reformation Project’s 2016 Leadership Development Cohort. One week from today we will be gathering in Atlanta for a few days on intense teaching and discussion. I’m also very privileged to be presenting on my transgender experience during our time in Atlanta.

Thanks to those who have already contributed to our Cohort’s financial goals. For those who have intended to but haven’t yet – now is your chance! We are within $3,500 of reaching our overall goal! Please consider making a contribution to this great organization and project. You can do that at this link. Any amount will be appreciated!

In the meantime, here is another one of my contributions to the cohort reflecting on a reading from book by Jim Brownson, “Bible, Gender and Sexuality”. I have been dealing with feelings of guilt this past year as I’ve navigated going back to school, earning a living and support my kids. It has made me aware that the “honor-shame” culture the reading refers to is still alive and well.

“The church will stay on much stronger and clearer footing – and remain more closely linked with its Scripture – if it approaches honor and shame more clearly in the light of deeper and more sustainable scriptural principals.” (Brownson, p. 221)

In chapter 10 of “Bible, Gender and Sexuality” Brownson addresses what anthropologists call the “honor-shame” culture in which the ancient writers of scripture operated. This is basically a code that says some things bring a person recognition and respect (honor) while others will cause a person to fall from favor (shame). This is often seen as a closed system, meaning if one person is honored (a winner) then someone else is shamed (a looser). One of the many things we see in this system over the course of history is that it is fluid: it varies depending on the time and culture.

Once upon a time marrying the widow of your brother would bring you honor – even if you already had a wife. The very same act would be considered scandalous in contemporary Christian cultures. There was also a time when treating your slaves with respect and dignity would bring honor to your family and estate (and doing so was taught from the pulpits); today even having them would be not only illegal but also disgraceful. Paul experienced the fluidity of the honor culture in his own life experience when, having met Christ, he is transformed from a zealot, hunting and killing followers of Christ, to an Apostle – proclaiming the name and power of Christ.

So what does this mean as we look at the issues of sexuality and gender in scripture? For that matter, what does it mean about anything that is prohibited in scripture? In short it means we need to ask “why”. Why do what have Mosaic laws that imposed the death penalty when the same offenses today might barely receive a scolding? Why is Sampson’s strength zapped when his hair is cut short in the Old Testament only to have Paul declare that long hair is inappropriate for men in the New Testament (and then have most artistic interpretations of Jesus show him with long hair)?

Looking at the Biblical cultures in light of an honor and shame culture casts a bright light on the modern environment that has evolved in and around the Church. Our concepts of sin, salvation, purity and righteousness are all driven by an idea that revolves around what we see as shameful and what we believe will bring honor to ourselves or those in our community.

While we may have rewritten the rules a little to place Christ as the intermediary for our shame and the recipient of our honor (glory), we still nonetheless measure and judge one another with the same scales, balancing out our modern standards. “Tithing”, “devotionals”, “education”, and “service” are all examples of the pools in which we collect the sum on ones honor. To some degree, even the depth from which a person has been saved (the drug dealer weighs more than the drug user) adds more depth to that pool of honor.

Shame also has it’s own shadows. And the honor system that the church creates becomes the artificial light that casts those shadows around us.

The system has changed through the centuries. The one thing that has remained the same, from the Spanish inquisition to the modern fundamentalists, is the passion with which they hold to the system. Their own light is blinding, preventing them from seeing system itself; and more importantly – the way it impacted the writers of the Old and New Testaments.

God calls us to step into His light, which he summed up like this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and Love your neighbor as yourself.

Brownson addresses the notion that shame can be healthy: specifically that the idea of bringing harm to someone should be shameful and cause us to reevaluate our way of thinking. This type of shame over the harmful patterns in our lives can lead to a healthy “guilt” over our specific actions. When this process happens in a community where they can be replaced with more healthy (honorable, if you will) patterns and actions, such as recovering from addiction in a 12-step community, shame and guilt can work together to motivate change for the better. (It should be noted however that even in these communities, the shame does not come from the community, but rather from the person themselves and manifests itself in a desire to change.)

The honor-shame culture was also the concept behind the now discredited “reparative” or “conversion” therapy programs. These programs targeted LGBT individuals (mostly youth) in an attempt to shame them out of their same-sex attractions or cross-gendered beliefs and into a more culturally conforming hetrosexual, cis-gendered pattern of thought. It is also the result of such approaches from the church to the LGBT community as “love the sin and hate the sinner” or “accepted but not approved”. Our presence is encouraged, but the same is reinforced.

The question we have to ask when addressing issues surrounding gender and sexuality is whether or not the shame is healthy or toxic? Or to put it another way, “is the shame preventing harm or causing it”? Are gay and lesbian followers of Christ failing to fulfill Christ’s summary of the law, or are they simply on the loosing end of a modern iteration of an honor-shame culture?

Is there honor in shaming someone who has done no harm?

Brownson says it like this:

“What is honorable is what contributes to a form of life and dignity that is permeated by the gospel of Christ. What is shameful is any impulse or behavior that diminishes life and dignity, as that life and dignity is portrayed in the gospel of Christ.” (p. 221)

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It’s a New Day #13

new day 13

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March 23, 2016 · 7:25 am