corrected spelling from bionically to biblically!!! Oh those flying fingers!
Confession time: in the dark years, between the severity of the events of early childhood and the death of my father in 2005, I dwelt in Christendom. Pretty much the down the middle, fairly conservative and fundamentalist, adhering to the Apostles’ Creed variety. We believed that the Bible was God’s inspired word and contained guidance for our lives. We believed it was “literally true”, but well understood the use of literary devices so that often times passages had to be understood metaphorically when context demanded it (literary, cultural, and theological contexts). Example: when Canaan was referred to as a land flowing with milk and honey, it was clearly taught to me that this was a poetic way to speak of it being a place of promise and fruitfulness.
I was taught that the Bible is also an unflinching record of human beings’ tragic brokenness, and how existence for beings created in the Image of God plays out when the vital union with their spirit and God’s is severed.
We believed that Jesus was God Incarnate, come in the flesh to manifest that great transaction of eternity past by which He redeems all things and sets the clock ticking on the final coming Someday when the City of God descends to Earth and the cleansing scours all rot away and we step into that Ever-Morning.
We believed in the Holy Spirit, but denied the power of the Spirit in any way that was considered charismatic.
And we believed that sexuality was sacred and reserved for a monogamous marriage relationship. In that context sex was beautiful and condoned for any purpose the couple mutually agreed on, with the caveat that God be glorified.
I still believe all of those things…with a lot of caveats now, and many adjustments made due to maturity, growth, and encountering God more personally as I grew (and that thanks to THEIR insistence, not some great spirituality of my own!). My understanding of the Bible has increased in depth and scope, and I am far less dogmatically attached to many peripheral teachings that used to get added in as axioms.
I have experienced the Holy Spirit and (Her) ministry in a very personal and profound way. If you read here frequently, you know I am not shy about identifying Her as Mama…She…and come on: God has no gender, God is the source of gender! He has chosen to reveal Himself as Father, and as Son, for reasons that I frankly do not fully understand anymore than I understand that Mama is revealed as feminine. (I know this about Her the same way I know the other about the Father and the Son: the language!)
But this I do understand: Jesus came to break down all dividing walls, to set every captive free, and to remove anyone who exerts power over another from that Throne. Thus, in Him there is no slave or free, no greek nor jew, and no male nor female. This is not a denial that these things exist! Rather it is the repudiation of the inherent positions of privilege and power, putting all on level ground before Him in liberty.
But the biggest area of adjustment: Sexuality and morality.
I confess that I knew nothing about “alternative lifestyles”, as I was taught to classify them, except that they were bad, and that if you loved God, you simply didn’t go there or associate with those who did…unless you were ever so magnanimously showing up to oh so sweetly let them know they were sinning and going to Hell but you would be tickled pink to lead them away from their sinful ways.
Gaaakkk!! I look back on it now, and mourn. I was totally blind to how I came across to others, how judgemental I was a priori, and how deeply I practised “othering” as a lifestyle and even worse evangelism technique!
I think it is this unique history of mine that has positioned me as potentially one who might help others in that ghetto of christendom begin to find the bones and blood of their Faith, and become again the “Little Christs” that we have lost sight of. See…like Paul, I could match my pedigree with any one of you. Educated, saved for 51 years of my 55 here on the planet. Married to a woman who likewise is a believer devoted all her life as well. Educated to a high degree. Decades in Sunday Schools, first as a student, and then as a teacher. Leader, elder, pastor, conference speaker, travelling ministry…I have pretty much done it all, in terms of the categories of “bona fides”.
I had no outside sexual interests…my Beloved is my all, and I was smitten literally in the first instant I saw her. I have lived (by all ways these things were outwardly judged) an acceptable and moral lifestyle. While I have seen pornography (in this age, sadly, who hasn’t?), it has never had a grip or hold on me like it has gained foothold in so many. I never had any sexually deviant habits, practices or thoughts really.
An aside: I am using the term “sexually deviant” referencing the point of view I was brought up in, and the possible point of view for lots of christians who wrongly assume that being transgender is an inherently immoral choice.
In short, what I am trying to say is that in a way similar to the Apostle Paul in Philippians chapter 3, when he sought to give his credentials and qualifications for boasting in the flesh if her were to boast, I too could say that I was a “Hebrew of Hebrews”, in the sense that I am nearly positive that if any of you believers met me then you would have assumed I was a “with-it, has it all together, successful and committed christian!”
Now…that is not a boast!! Because inside that person was this hurting, lonely, fractured and parasuicidal person! Every ounce of spiritual discipline I had was dedicated and devoted to hanging on for dear life to the One who had saved me and brought me thru many waters and fires.
The desolation, the confusion and outright despair were palpable and dark. I went thru counseling, inner healing, let the deliverance bunch have a go at me (though they all agreed I had no demons!! LOLOL!! I find that so funny in light of how immediately I was judged demon possessed by the fearful who had known me 30 years)…it was the faith that Jesus gave me, and the manifold abundant Grace of Mama that kept me alive.
When Dad died, the person I am on the inside somehow “knew” it was now safe to go out, and for the first time in my life since early childhood, I got some women’s clothing and dressed properly! From my perspective, I had cross-dressed as a man for nearly 50 years! So to dress in women’s clothes, from the standpoint of outside judges, would be called cross dressing, but for me it was stopping cross dressing!!
I was open with my darling about it. We walk step by step together, and hand in hand. Her first concern was that it was some weird sexual thing!
It is always that way in those circles, sadly…if we don’t understand it, it must be perverted or sexually immoral!
But she quickly realized that this wasn’t the case whatsoever. It was physically evident to her that I did not get a thrill from this (use your imagination), and she very soon sensed the greater peace, happiness, joy, and bubbly person that I am. She used to lament…”Why are you this amazing person for these short periods and then you get so sad, and you put yourself down so much?”
It’s true…I used to say that I thought nobody loved me, and that I was bad (could never give a reason, I just felt I was bad for existing at all!), that I should be dead, and other horrible things like that. She would ask why, and I simply said, with tears streaming, “I don’t know, Baby, I don’t know, I just should be dead”.
But as time passed, she truly saw the vital and essential nature of who I really am coming forward.
Time passed, and we did more and more reading, and began to be educated as to the difference between gender identity and sexual preference and practice.
Thus, for us the major hurdle was over…I am not sexually immoral as a transgender person. I am not a transvestite, or any of the other pejoratives that get painted on us.
So what I am trying to say is this: if you are a conservative denizen of christendom, and you automatically assume that transgender people are inherently immoral or bent or deviant, what do you do with me?
(and by the way, I have met and know of several transgender christians who are lovely lovey people and probably better people than I!!)
I can easily keep up biblically with you. I had fabulous bible teachers who taught me hermeneutics and the proper rules of exegesis. I studied the major theologies of christendom. I studied the liberal higher critical models. I read the bible daily and talk openly with God constantly (in fact I am prolly a pest to Mama! “Hey, Mama, whatchya doin?? Huh? Whatchaya doin?? Can I do it too??? etc. etc! 🙂 ).
I counsel others, I pray with the lonely and hurting if they are open. I serve others and delight in kindness…I feel the pleasure of God in my soul!
And I have never ever, by the testimony of my family, friends, and acquaintances, been nicer, or happier, or more content.
No, friend…the morality involved here is on the part of the fearful, who lack the courage to let themselves become informed, and then practice the essence of their faith to love, and love freely and without judgement.
Do us all a favor: read the articles I post. Consider reading other things. Volunteer at the local LGTB center, and hang out with some transgender people. You just might be shocked to discover they are actually regular people just like you and me…and that God loves them.
thanks for reading, and thanks for considering my point of view.