A-maze-in- Me

Those years,
early and freshly spinning
out of the Mystery,
or fresh to me,
blessedly unknowing
how ancient, how creaky
the turning sun as he blazed
across the hot and endless skies
of my childhood…

and how mournful and shadow-soft
the moon’s glimmering
elegy to my innocence
as she
with unblinking open silver eye
saw me there,
hidden and trapped
in the maze of myself.

Slowly I woke up…
and found cruel mirrors
making carnival claims,
barkers of snake-oil siren songs
seeking to snow my heart
white and cold with icy lines
written for what I looked like,
not who I was, heart warm
and red and pulsing,
throbbing to know and be known
in connection and union with
that unstoppable yearning,
welling, bubbling, running out
on thirsty ground.

I figured out I didn’t match
the carnival caricatures’
deceptive drifting distortions…
I realized my designated place,
in the shadow of the freak show,
or somewhere far away…

I was forbidden the Deep Well,
but Grandma showed me paths
unknown and long forgotten,
and I peered into the Well,
under soulful moon’s argent gaze,
under different sheltering shadow
of silver comfort and lustrous grey
grace streaming, I saw me there,
shimmering and free, and rising,
and I leaned forward to let my lips
be blessed with the kiss of life,
the kiss of liberty,
and happiness…

That awakening kiss,
it never came then,
for the sun growled,
groaned and poked
and peeked long before
I could rise
from the Deep Well’s depths,
under the moon’s blessing lament,
to find me standing,
yearning in the dry dirt,
and breathe, tremble,
touch, kiss, mingle.

Under his harsh and razor light
I ran ragged and breathing rough
thru tears of salty-sorrow,
racing to beat that searing
pumpkin-threat of outing me.

And just in time
I caught the bus
to school, still dreamy
and mindful always
of that Deep Well
and her starry night
Living Water pool.

Sadly I ran
under sun
those days,
stick in hand
and hoop so simple,
while wistful I watched
myself under moon
those nights,
complex and intricate,
intuitive and knowing
nooks and crannies
of souls and hearts
and minds.

I watched me,
I was blind to myself.
I ran that Labyrinth
lurching longingly
between
Pasiphaë and Theseus,
but really just
the monster in the maze,
and bellowing blind
and wandering.

And no one knew,
and no one saw,
and no one heard,
so on I ran under sun
and waiting for
the moon’s soft voice,
running my fingers
thru her light
and desperately feeling
with my heart
the braille she beamed on me,
so I could find at least
the realms and rims and limits
of the maze of me.

Those years have trudged by,
feet dragging under sun,
but days dance and spin
and whirl beneath
the moon’s soft care
of this lune-enchanted girl.
I have found my hovering place
twixt night and day,
glad in my graceful
gloaming time, my gleaming
gloaming years.

Grandma’s paths were always there,
within me hidden, in that maze
whose secrets are at last revealed
by moon’s insistent pulse and gaze
in me, and I go so unerringly
to that well

Deep and Purple and Silver,

and I see myself
and touch myself
and kiss myself,
at long last
become

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The Loss of Another Trans Sister of Color – Tiff Edwards of Ohio

The Loss of Another Trans Sister of Color – Tiff Edwards of Ohio.

Constance…I share this in sorrow.

 

What’s it gonna take?

Our indifference is staggering…and yeah, yeah, it is an over-used trope.  But I think of the words of that German man, Martin Niemöller…and I wonder, have you thought of this scourge of violent death, thrust upon the weakest and least amongst us, as a symptom of the towering malaise that infects our culture?  Do you realise that it affects you as well?

If we just turn away, is this a manifestation of the narcissism of our age that will eventually just sweep us into the ocean of our own reflection and drown us there?

 

MARTIN NIEMÖLLER: “FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE SOCIALISTS…”

Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor who opposed the Nazi regime. He spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps. Germany, 1937.

— Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz

Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.

Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out– 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– 
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

 

Fabulous Quote:

“Sexism occurs when we assume that some people are less valid or natural than others because of their sex, gender, or sexuality; it occurs when we project our own expectations and assumptions about sex, gender, and sexuality onto other people, and police their behaviors accordingly; it occurs when we reduce another person to their sex, gender, or sexuality rather than seeing them as a whole, legitimate person. That is sexism.

“And a person is a legitimate feminist when they have made a commitment to challenging sexist double standards wherever and whenever they arise. An individual’s personal style, mannerisms, identity, consensual sexual partners, and life choices simply shouldn’t factor into it.”
― Julia Serano, Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive

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Kitty Quote of the Day:

Apple carts just move stuff around, Friend.  🙂  ❤

“And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart:

Your seeds shall live in my body,
And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,
And your fragrance shall be my breath,
And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.”

Khalil Gibran

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Set her on fire…AFTER Killing her FIRST!

Trans Woman of Color Murdered, Set on Fire, Then Dumped in Trash

Constance…

I have been sitting on any comment on this murder and mutilation of a human being.  One of God’s Creatures, made in Their Image, and loved with unending love.

She was born into this world that we are all in…black, poor, and transgender.

I think the thing that just wracks my guts the most, that pours sorrow over my soul in Niagara-like forces, is that it seems so common in the murder of transgender women that there is post-death mutilation as well.  There is a rage, a wallowing in destruction as if the perp wants to baptize himself (and yes, I will say him…the incidence of transgender women being murdered by cis-gendered women is so small as to be nearly non-existent, and statistically doesn’t exist at all) in the suffering and dehumanization of his chosen victim…dare I say even to feed on her?

I waited, hoping that there would be some outrage, some stirring of effort, some valuing of her as unique and precious…but no…the response has been tepid at best, and at worst, well the usual tropes and defenses of the ruling paradigm beat her life and history into its stereotype.

This essay, posted in its entirety, does a good job of articulating outrage over this horrific act.  While my vernacular might have taken a wee bit different form, my emotions over this run no less high.

What would you think if a child’s body was discovered behind a dumpster, having first been murdered and then set on fire after she was dead?  Or a teen-age youth group president and cheer queen?

Yeah…I thought so.

Until we feel the same sense of justice on behalf of the least, we will never have the eyes and ears we so desperately need to become true Children of God.

In sorrow and tears, with no joy…Charissa Grace

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******************

Trans Woman of Color Murdered, Set on Fire, Then Dumped in Trash

Trans Woman of Color Murdered, Set on Fire, Then Dumped in Trash

In horrific news out of Fort Myers, Florida, a trans woman of color has been murdered, and her body set on fire, then dumped in a garbage bin. I just can’t right now, I just can’t even.

According to a local media outlet, the victim was identified as Yazmin or Yaz’min Shancez, which was the woman’s preferred name according to her family, although the police reported that her documents had not yet been changed to reflect this. The same report quoted Fort Myers Police Lt. Jay Rodriguez as saying the police have not determined a cause of death, and are not investigating the homicide as a hate crime.

We have no indication at this time to say this was specifically done because it was a male living as a female or anything like that. If you really think about it, a hate crime is killing someone for a specific reason, being black, Hispanic, gay. We’re investigating as we would any other homicide.

…I’m sorry, Officer Rodriguez, but are you trying to suggest here that killing someone because they’re transgender isn’t a specific enough reason? Or maybe that the reason doesn’t count because it’s not on your official “hate crime” cheat sheet? If I really think about it? Jesus fucking Christ, sir, I think about it constantly. Do you typically see non-hate crime related homicides that end with burning the already dead body and then dumping it like worthless refuse in a garbage bin? Is this a pattern in Fort Myers which makes it like “every other homicide?”

Her father, identified as Harvey Loggins, said that he and his family left balloons and stuffed animals in the small private drive in an industrial area of the city where the garbage bin was located.

With the exception of her father (who continued to use male pronouns, despite his daughter’s identity), the majority of her family appears to have accepted her decision to live as a woman, which she apparently began to do in 2004. Her aunt, Beatrice Loggins, spoke lovingly of Shancez, citing her uniqueness as a person.

Nobody deserves that. Straight, gay, purple, pink, white, black. Nobody…There will never be another T, you couldn’t clone her, couldn’t mold her.

Cousin Jasmine Weaver seemed at a loss to understand the crime (you and me, both, Jasmine, you and me both).

We don’t know of any person who would do something like that to T. It’s mind-boggling. You’d never think that would happen to your family.

Mind-boggling? Horrific. Abhorrent. And an altogether too common reality for transgender people, especially trans women of color. I’d love to shout from the rooftops that this is so horrible because it is incredibly rare. Well, it’s not. It happens all the goddamned time.

And if this story could get any worse, if that’s at all possible when dealing with such a terrible crime, this is a second heartbreak for the family. They have already lost one child, as Shancez’s 15-year-old little sister was also murdered, gunned down in a drive-by shooting almost exactly two years before.

I hate everything right now.

Image via NBC-2 Broadcast.

Deaf Earth’s Denial

…I remember, sweet fields of red clover,
green stalks soft and new, tops dipped in crimson,
just before being baked by the shimmery sun
but after they’d stripped off their equinox frocks
to lay naked and sunbathe and snooze

… ‘neath verdurous bows I’d lay gentle
to be rustled and stirred by love-winds
strumming intimate, soft rustling flamenco strains
on red bursts and green wands stirring passionate pleas
and my longing heart yearned contrapuntal

…my head cradled by my dearest doggie,
become Jacob’s stone pillow made living,
and her smile was my ladder to heavenly places,
she my only friend, she my constant companion,
Faithful avatar of Lady Grace

…her sides rising and falling she slumbered
and her dog-dreams broadcasting to touch me
with love-notes that ran thru the magic and mystic
and knit her, my heart, and the clouds and the clover
together in one ever-moment

…and I stared at that limitless blue sky
that held up the clouds, and I was certain
I could stand on them, jump from them only to land softly,
safe in the next passing snowy-cloud heart
to be kissed and be kept from all harming

…I would watch them yield to the wind’s wooing
and change shapes and become different things,
one by one as blue held up their heads and they transformed
to tell of my stories, such longing and aching,
the tale of my breaking young spirit

…and then I would strain hard to become one,
so the cloud of myself would grow solid,
and take tangible shape on the outside of who I was
wailing within, keening desperate to be
what my body and deaf earth denied me

…I would concentrate, willing my rough flesh
to go soft, to go secretly supple,
so my dog’s dreaming tides would wash o’er me and mold me
the who I was destined to be, and not what I was,
dark and substantial and wandering

…but it never worked, so tears would find me
and use me as their surf board to ride on
over billows of longing that swept me away,
but not away away, alas never AWAY
just to Jonah’s lost island of longing

…and Millie would wake at my sobbing
and lift her head to mine so tender
and snap out her pink tongue full of wet doggie balm
dripping healing she’d lick out her quick canine psalm
don’t cry, whine-lick, don’t cry dear, Amen.

…I remember sweet fields of red clover
I remember their scent washing over
and I see them still gleaming, but here now, not dreaming
they are blooming within me and beauty is streaming
to carry me there, to the clouds.

alg-dreaming-sleeping-jpg

 

 

 

Trembling

When my doggie was bad, she would shiver,
and with eyes she would look sad and wet and long…
her trembling melted me always.

I remember how she would lay her ears back and soft,
how she would gentle her body against me and
beg for mercy.

I am trembling like her now, but not for being bad,
but rather for being, in a way not acknowledged
and frightening to others.

I am trembling like Victor’s abomination did
when the villagers rounded up torches and pitchforks
and came after it(him).

And I lay back my heart, my soul(ears), and
make them soft and earnestly yearn
for Her hand.

May I always quake, be transient, in my own
aspect and circumstance and
sojourn.

But please, may I be strong and forthright
a mountain unmoved on behalf of those lacking
even the resources to tremble.

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Last night I was publicly shamed…

I am sitting here, trembling and hardly able to see the screen, scrambling inside to find what my heart tells me is true, and Mama is telling me…but the titanic clash with self-loathing habits and rejection-reflexes is tossing me and turning me inside.

What I think the truth is:  that Lady Grace, Holy Spirit, my Mama is proud of me and is honored by my actions tonight…what I fear the truth is:  I am a freak and outcast and should just rid the planet of my blighting pimple on its butt.  That is the realm of feelings and while I acknowledge they are real, I have chosen, do choose and will continue to choose to not believe their accusations.

So…in our town there are charity fundraisers, where it is a contest to raise money for several charities.  We like to do charity fundraiser events.  They are strong opportunities to serve, give, and also have fun with items that we would normally not buy…we actually spent some money on a wine country equestrian event, picnic, dinner, and overnight at the Inn at Red Hills…a fab fun thing we will be doing later in the summer.

So we were getting ready…and since it was not in the big city, but our small town, I was really conflicted about what to wear…all my tops are a lil too girl-side, and all my boy clothes are just…uuuggghhh!  Grrr…I couldn’t find anything and had to settle for  my jeans, and a boy pull over top.  I wore my pink hat and pink vest (as they are wine oriented for outsiders, but me oriented for me).

We got there, and I did what I usually do in groups of strangers…be gentle and polite, smile a lot with soft eyes and stay off to the side.  I used to do that even before transition, and even more so now.  We were sitting off to the side, against the wall actually, just my baby and I, and the auctions began.

There were two local wags up there…young, facile vocally, glib, sorta dorky and full of themselves as any small town big fish is…and totally nice guys, just really asleep, ya know?

The epitome of white male privilege.

So even tho I sit off to the side, we bid pretty heavy, as it is Their money, and we feel very good about contributing it to things like that .  So we were bidding, and an item got over our limit, which was substantial…and when one of the MCs looked over I gave a subtle head shake, and drew a finger across my throat, saying I am out.  So he starts cajoling me…fair enough, that is the game.

But then he says…omfg…right in front of several hundred people!!!!…”Hey nice hat, I will give you $25 for your hat!

I froze…I freaking literally froze.  I mean, my mind wouldn’t work, my heart wouldn’t beat, I couldn’t breathe, and my face felt like it was frying off the bones…I felt like my skin had been shredded, and my heart was just clobbered, like blindsided by a car (which has happened to me on my bike several times, but this was worse, cus it was inside me and I couldn’t get away).

I was sitting there, and my darling figured it out but not right away, so she touches my leg and then the spell broke, and I was quietly ranting to her that I was gonna let that asshole have it, just rip him for what he did…total reactive thinking…and I started to tremble and tear up, and felt like when I was little and we would lose a game I would cry cus I was sooo upset.

Time passed, and as I sat there, I heard Mama talking to me, reminding me that She had made this man, and that he was a good person (She said this, not what I thought), and that he was just asleep, ignorant, tone deaf, a guy made from dirt, (not living flesh like us girls)…and that if I just took out my hurt as anger and vocal violence, I was demonstrating that I was a concubine to the patriarchy!!!  Mama is a pretty radical political Holy Spirit!! Lol

Concubine to the Patriarchy???  REALLY???  Wow.

So I asked Her to please help me and She was soothing me and I was just bleeding, and then I thought “fine…I will just swallow hard, like women always have, wash his mess off my face and have done with it and be tough and move on…”  and She was like “that is not what would bless Me either.”  So I began to still myself and center down, and really open to Her will…and She reminded me of the 3rd way…She reminded me of the situation in the jet way in Philly…She reminded me of the destiny of being someone broken enough to speak for the broken, and whole enough to speak to the broken ones who know not how broken they are.

And I started understanding what Her preference was…I had choice to embrace it, or not, but I knew that is what She would want from Her daughter.

So during a break I walked up to him, and I said “Excuse me, sir?”  He turns, acknowledges me in a friendly but distant way, and raised his eyebrows like Yes?  I said “Do we know each other?”  He said no, and got ready for some pleasant schmooze…and then I said “we really have never even met before tonight…so I am wondering, what is an appropriate way of interacting with someone you have never met, never been introduced to, and you are interacting with in a very public situation when you have a microphone and I am merely sitting?”

He just stood there, deer in the headlights…and then I said “Did you notice where I was sitting?  Off to the side?  Out of the way?  Not drawing attention to myself?  Every signal I was giving was that I was here to support, but was not in any way desiring the limelight.  And yet you called me out publically, in front of hundreds of people and you did so because my appearance was distinct.  But you didn’t do it to any of the other dozens of people here with hats.”

He took off his glasses, and was suddenly deadly serious, realizing he had stepped into a huge crap pile, and that he was on very thin ice.

So I said, “Sir, I am speaking to you as hopefully a person who loves you enough as a fellow human being to gently confront you now, with little harm done, to save you from potentially harming someone in the future very badly in complete ignorance.

“It is never ok to joke with a stranger that you have never met, especially in front of other strangers, and have the basis of that joke be their appearance, or their orientation, or their gender presentation, or their race…” (and I named off all the categories of the oppressed in our society).

I continued “tonight your words hurt me, but I am not here because of that…I think I am whole enough and supported enough that I will work thru it…but I am here for the one you might speak to who isn’t, who is on the verge, on the edge, and they leave and kill themselves or take drugs to forget…or just get even more broken…”

He says to me “My name is Nathan, and I am soo deeply sorry.”  I said “I forgive you freely…I also wanted you to know that I am in no way seeking to hurt you or wound you, but you need to know this to save you and someone else from a great regret…and I do believe that my therapist would be proud of me for showing the courage to speak with you but not in a bad way”…I know I felt Her inside telling me I was ringing the bell.

So I shook his hand (yes, he did crush mine, sheesh!), and said “well Nathan, just put it behind you, after you really think about it, and learn.”

He asked me my name…omfg he had no idea what a veiled threat that was!  I freaked out inside it felt so sinister and risky to me…Mama gave me words and I said “Oh, my name isn’t important, but rather the hearts of the little ones with no voice and no strength…THEIR name is what is important, and really, their name is like unto the name of everyone that these charities here tonight are all about.”

And I excused myself and walked off…my baby was there and I told her about it, and was shaking very badly (it was in a break).

Got it under control, and the event continued…and we won a great auction, and then it ended.

She went to get the van, as we had to load some things into it, so I sat in my place and just listened to the night, enjoying being there, but out of the way…and I see him coming over.  I was thinking “Oh crap, here it comes”  but he takes off his glasses about halfway over to me (his nonverbal indication that he was speaking openly and with no mask)…

…he sits down and wants to shake hands again, but this time, he was very gentle…and he said to me “I want to say thank you, thank you so much for loving a stranger enough to tell me what you did, and save me from potential horror in knowing that I had messed up.”

I told him, oh you are soo welcome, and I am so sorry that it hurt you, I really was seeking to avoid that.  He said no, it was perfect, seriously…I was totally wrong, and just talking with no thought whatsoever, and you really blessed me.

At that I was crying hard inside, but I bit my lip bloody to stay together and not fall apart…so I said to him can I tell you a statistic?  He indicates yes, so I said out of the population of people who are even willing to acknowledge they are transgender, 41% of them have attempted suicide, and even a higher percentage think about it constantly.  This compares to 2-4% in the general population.

He was so still…and so I pressed in and said again that something like that could literally put someone over the edge…and then he said how wrong he was, on every level regardless of my status or identity.

It was a true apology!  I think he really meant it?  So I told him how just a couple of years ago his words would have shattered me, but now I was able to at least talk to him…and he said something about how in his church there was a m2f who was coming out in the community, and how ignorant he was, but that I had connected so many dots for him, and he was deeply grateful.

So Constance…it seems like it was all a success, right?  Good fruit, wholeness exceeding brokenness, educated ruling class member…So why do I feel so bad right now?  Why am I still crying, bleeding, and having all those tiresome hounding jackal voices yipping at me?

One Q, and he knows my name and who I work for…one comment and everyone knows…but part of me wants that, they have to deal with me as I am…and part of me wants to just disappear down a rabbit hole.

Constance,I beg you, on behalf of those whom you will talk to, interact with and relate to who are transgender or gay, or some other hidden brokenness and you have no idea, to take stock of your words…I am pretty whole, very loved by Them and I know it…but your words could literally kill someone, and I am not joking with wild hyperbole.  If I wanted to do something after tonite, imagine…and the power of some kind word…again you have no idea how powerful your words are…my friends here, when they comment have at times given me courage to face my day, my life.

Silence can kill too…but it is better than saying the wrong thing, which can never be unsaid, unheard.

Oh…and one more thing:  if you are of the opinion that being transgender or gay or transgender friendly or gay friendly is an inherent sin and that it is your duty as a member of christendom to “represent” and make sure that everyone you meet knows that you are so devoted to God that you will kill them in the process, Please…don’t bother speaking…you wear your own pride and your own opinions masquerading as the so-called heart of God like a butcher’s apron. Our eyes can see the blood stains of your victims, we can see the steel silver flash of your butcher knives in your eyes, we can smell the stench of death on you (and no it isn’t the savory aroma of the gospel which is the aroma of death to the perishing!)  It is the decaying smell of horror become ho-hum and your own comfortable wallowing in your worship of yourself in God’s Precious Name.

We tremble at your approach…and at your fate, when the word “mercy” finally has meaning to you as you are judged by the children of your slaves that diligently work your gospel plantation!

That is my experience…and I still cannot sleep.  But perhaps you would join me in a vigil…until all are cherished from the least on up.

Love, Charissa

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Friday Fuzz- A Day in the Life

My friend Kat does it again…please stop in and check out her post…oh, and give her a hug from Sista ‘Rissa! 🙂

Dandelion Fuzz

I know I missed a week or two. It’s hard to find relevant items to share when you are hurtling 80+ mile per hour down a highway with the sound of the Cars movie in the background because the headphones’ batteries are dead and a 4 year old asking, “Did you see that part? Did you see it?” But I’m back.

The link I am sharing is one that my son, Kris, shared with me. It gives readers the chance to see what some of the things are that transgender people face in the course of a day. The interesting thing is that this gives the reader just a nibble of the actual reality. It is interactive so the reader has the choice of clicking which direction the day goes. It’s very simple but I think it makes the point.

A Passing Glance

Transgender people face so many obstacles in…

View original post 84 more words

Must Read Article If You Are A Regular Sunday-Meeting Attender

Hi Constance…if you go to a building known as a house of worship on Sundays regularly, and meet with God and like-minded individuals…commonly and carelessly called “going to church”…then you need to read the article posted below.

I sort of have a bias against that phrase “going to church”, because the church is a living organism that exists in a spiritual state of being.  It is the whole comprised of the sum total of the relationship of believers with each other, with God individually, and with God collectively.  It is like unto our own bodies, and as such it can get sick…it can be maimed…it can flourish…it can cut off limbs from itself…and above all it should grow and mature.

Right now there are many illness and afflictions which characterize the church far more than her strengths and beauties (which are there, btw).  One of them is the stronghold of cold love that has crept into the heart of the church.  Another is the haughty spirit of self-righteousness that has led her to believe that she is made beautiful by her right actions in adhering to a set of standards that she has diligently carved out of the sum total of God’s love letter to us, The Bible.

This haughtiness is there against sooo many people and classes…it is never more visible than it is in the way that the LGTBQ is treated by her and by sooo many of her individual members.

Sadly, she thinks she does a service for God by this!

It has to stop…for her to truly become beautiful, and for her to grow up into that mature and complete person that Paul speaks of in Ephesians.  Her destiny is to be the Bride of the One who gave all to bring us back to wholeness!!!!  Will He want to marry someone soo stuck up that He could never EVER bring His friends home for dinner??

This article is strong, concrete and gives 5 things that we can do and stop doing to help the church humble herself and open her arms and join the rest of the human race on level ground before the Cross where the work of all righteousness was done and completed once for all and for all time!

Spoken with heartfelt passion and utter seriousness, in love and the hope that the wounds of this friend will be found faithful, and more to be desired than a thousand kisses from an enemy…

Charissa Grace

 

 

Five Reasons Churches Need to “Come Out” on LGBTQ Rights

Posted: 06/17/2014 9:19 pm EDT Updated: 06/18/2014 8:59 am EDT
LGBTQ YOUTH SUICIDE
 Our entire family, including my wife, Rev. Amy Piatt, and my two kids, took part in the Portland Gay Pride parade this weekend. We stood on a float in the rain and waved to thousands of people lining the streets, from the park blocks to the riverfront. It truly was a joyful day, but of course, not everyone is comfortable with the idea of the church officially being represented in the parade.

Why not just take part as individuals? Why bring such a polarizing issue into the spotlight, especially one that might make many people uncomfortable?

Here are five reasons we, as Christian institutions, need to take public stands on behalf of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer sisters and brothers:

1) Much of the pain, and therefore, suspicion and resentment, lies at the institutional level. It’s one thing for a person who identifies as a Christian to take the risk of putting themselves out there to say they support or affirm someone’s God-given orientation or identity. It’s entirely another when a church body does so. As long as the efforts to reconcile the brokenness between the Christian community and the LGBTQ community remain at the individual level, the history of marginalization and judgment lingers like an ever-present shadow.

2) The Churches’ window of opportunity to be on the right side of history is closing. At the risk of sounding opportunistic, too many Christians found themselves on the rather embarrassing end of the debate about slavery, desegregation, and even women’s rights and in some cases still today. Nearly anyone with a compassionate heart and some sense of history would look back on those movements as something for which Christian churches should have been champions on the forefront. Yes, some were, but certainly not enough. And honestly, if we continue to advocate for some people being treated as “less than” others in any way, how can we claim the Gospel as our mandate with any credibility? We’re seeing history change before our eyes with regard to same-sex rights; shall we be remembered, once again, as one of the few holdouts clinging to the social equivalent of a flat-earth mentality?

3) People need to know where their sanctuaries are. Despite much progress toward equality for LGBTQ persons, there still is an inherent fear, or at least anxiety, about where one will be tolerated, if not openly welcomed. By taking such a public position, churches assure those seeking refuge from a lifetime of judgment or condemnation that there is a place for them.

4) We’re commanded to go to those in need of God’s grace. Sure, it’s all well and good to take an official stand as a congregation or denomination from a boardroom or in a set of bylaws no one will ever read. But saying we’re affirming of LGBTQ rights takes very little risk on our part. If someone has taken the bold step to be open and forthright about their identity or orientation in the public sphere, the least we can do is act in kind. Yes, it’s vulnerable and a little bit scary to go as a group of Christians to a pride parade. Someone might reject us. Someone might unload their pent-up pain or anger toward Christianity on us. Much like they’ve had people do to them, no doubt, being part of the LGBTQ tribe. Jesus didn’t sit back at the temple and wait for people to cue up and ask for his grace; He went out into the world, noticed where the needs were around him and addressed them, head-on. Why, as followers of the path Christ illuminated for us, should we expect our work to be any different.

5) Love is without condition. Period. Perhaps you’re still wrestling with the “gay issue” because of your understanding of scripture. As long as you’re at least wrestling, I applaud that. It means you care. But if you use such reservations about an issue to withhold radical, boundary-smashing love and grace from any of God’s children, you’re denying the humanity at the heart of the Greatest Commandment while navel-gazing and calling it Bible study. Your LGBTQ brothers and sisters are worthy of your love and grace, and God’s love and grace, as much as those you find it so easy to love. But Jesus is clear that we should not be content with loving the one’s we’re already comfortable loving. The very people who you struggle to open your heart to are the ones to whom you are commanded to give yourself fully. With all your soul, strength and mind. And if we can’t stand shoulder-to-shoulder on such principles as this, what in the hell are we worth as Church universal?

Follow Christian Piatt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/christianpiatt

Worthy Podcast Interview w/Alana Nicole Sholar & Bobbie Thompson

Transition Transmission Transgender Podcast : Transition Transmission Transgender Podcast Ep 043 – Interview with Alana Nicole Sholar & Bobbie Thompson.

Constance…I want to reblog this podcast episode that I listened to yesterday.  While there are things here that I do not necessarily find consonance with, nevertheless there is plenty here to inform, educate, and encourage.

It’s rare to find a supportive spouse when a transgender partner comes out and this couple seems to be a very good example.

I also like how they do not choose to be offended and haughty when they are asked well meaning but ignorant questions.  This is the kind of attitude I believe in general is most fruitful and specifically when our toes get stepped on?  Well…that is love, pure and simple.

So when you have an hour or so where you will be doing something that you can do while you listen?  Give it a go…while ironing, while cooking something, while exercising, whenever…I don’t think you will be disappointed with the time investment.

It is my hope that someday I can be this bold and straightforward and gracefully “unaware” of the hurtful and destructive things around me.

Transition Transmission Transgender Podcast : Transition Transmission Transgender Podcast Ep 043 – Interview with Alana Nicole Sholar & Bobbie Thompson.

Direct download: ttep043.mp3

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A Fine Bottle of Wine

Have you experienced the so-called devotional piece, or the spiritual exhortation that ends up just sliming you with guilt and shame and failure?

I.     HATE.     Those.

You’re reading along, and suddenly you feel the writer’s fingers around the throat of your joy!  Generally speaking those writers have a very “works-based” relationship with God and are rooted in the ethic that right being descends from right doing…and a greater perversion of the true gospel message I do not know of!  Get this if you get nothing else:  if right doing could cement your redemption then Jesus literally died in vain and His resurrection is meaningless.  But that is a tale for another day.

Long have I been entranced by Paul’s words to the people in Corinth when he told them

You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.”

Wow!!  I was blown away by that statement when I first encountered it around 10 years old…to write upon someone’s heart!  I pestered a lot of people in our congregation about what this verse meant! lol!!  They got real tired of my asking, but nothing was giving me that “click of truth” that happens in my gut when I have the “aha!” moment of insight.

I have thought of this passage in metaphors of wine.

Wait, wha…???  I can hear it…WINE?  LOL!

Yes, wine, which may be the absolute greatest single metaphor in all creation.  Let me explain:  When you look at a bottle of wine, you are seeing the distilled essence of countless hundreds of thousands of relational decisions that have been made to get the bottle where it is.

Let that sink in…

First of all, there has to be a person who decides they want to plant a vineyard.  If they are wise, they will do research regarding weather patterns, soils, industrial presence or not, sunlight, and temperature extremes.  You could go outside and plant grapes in your front yard, take the fruit and ferment it, strain it, drink it, and get sick!  giggles!  But to make a memorable wine, a classic that is revered and sought after, this will not do.

You would go out to the actual parcels after doing your research, and you would touch the soil, breathe the winds, feel the heat and light, taste the water, talk to other farmers in the region…in short, you would enter into relationship with the land, the climate, and the people there…and you would need to cultivate those relationships assiduously.  Your decisions in each of these aspects will ultimately define the quality of the fruit that comes forth.

Next…you must till the land.  How do you want to do that?  With machines and brute force?  By hand?  Using horses or oxen?  Relational capital is once again required for that decision, as well as planting, what kind of varietal to plant given your soil, climate and geographic orientation.  What planting method will you use?

Then comes cultivating…which is a daily involvement!  Here, your initial relationship with the climate and soil will be vital and tie into your relationship with your vines and their needs.  You must watch daily, and then make decisions on what the vines need to flourish…sometimes more water, usually less water though…when the vines are properly stressed, their flavour is at its most vibrant (see my poem “The Vines”).

OH!  And of course, you will need workers, to help you with your vineyard…how do you treat them??  How do they treat each other?

Next comes thousands of decisions to make about rodent control, parasite control, etc etc.  You need to make decisions about dropping fruit to intensify flavour.  This is done in very heavy fruit years.  See, if your vines produce say 30 tons an acre, all the vigor of the vine goes into making 30 tons of fruit…it leads to grapes that taste limp, blah and forgettable.  Oh, you can make a liquid that will get someone drunk…but that is hardly the focus and goal of truly fine wine.  But if you drop fruit and reduce the yield to say about 1.5 ton per acre, all that vigor goes to those precious few grapes and they are soo much better! And so is the wine.

Then comes harvest…and oh wow what a time this is!!  First of all, are the sugar contents right in your grapes?  Have they had enough sun to ripen?  And what day should you harvest?  Do it when it is too hot, and the fruit is stressed and tastes flat…do it when it is rainy and wet then the flavors are so dilute from the excess water.  What harvest method should you use?  Machine pickers?  Hand pickers?  How careful are your picking techniques to leave the vines relieved of their fruit but intact and flourishing?

Next, how do we get the fruit to the crush pad?  How much fruit do we put in each tote?  Too much and it starts to press the grapes then and you lose the juice…too little and you are not going to get everything in on time.

Then comes the sort line…the clusters must be examined carefully, and ones with signs of rot, under-ripeness, mold, or insect damage must be sorted out and dealt with (sometimes by silage methods, and sometimes by making a cheap fermented product for other uses, but usually just composted).  So who sorts?  How will they sort?

And then comes destemming methods, pressing methods, fermenting methods, and hundreds of other crucial esoteric decisions made just to kick off fermentation!  Not to mention the decisions regarding when to barrel the new wine, what type of barrel to use, what toast it should have. whether the wine is filtered as it is barreled or not…whether to add sugar, or to add acid, and other things many intrusive oriented wine makers use.

How should it be cellared?  Where?  How long?  And then comes the blending of what will go into bottle…tasting the various barrels which are as different as your children from one another…the bottling techniques, the enclosure (cork?  Artificial cork?  Screw cap?  Glass?  Vacuum sealed bladders?).  And how long should we rest the wine in bottle?  Many wines are structured so that they will not even be mature and tasting good until a decade has gone by…other wines are sweet, light, and delicate, and intended to be consumed the same year they were made.

Believe it or not, that is a scant overview and very shallow…and these decisions matter…when made from a dysfunctional relational space, they will result in a dysfunctional tasting wine.  But when made in living and vibrant relational connection to creation, the vines, and your people, the resulting wine will be staggering in its beauty.  The bottle represents the distillation of countless thousands of relational decisions made well!

I have made it my aim to have my life be the result of countless relational decisions made so that when I am tasted, people will say “Wow!  What an amazing wine!  That winemaker really knows Her stuff!”

Remember, wine is alive, and tastes different from month to month, and year to year…as do you, and I.  What counts is at the end…when we are opened and poured out.

I exhort us to be unforgettable!  And I offer a metaphor to shed light on the path to achieving that “unforgettable fire” that burns and influences.

 

Blessings and love this morning to you Constance…and Grace upon Grace!

 

Love, Charissa

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Kitty Quote of the Day

Fight off the feeling of helplessness. You are a woman! You have the power to create, nurture, and mold. Your voice may be soft, but it carries a sense of determination. Your shoulders may be delicate, but they can carry the burden of a family with ease. Don’t underestimate your strengths and abilities. When the time is right, you can prove your mettle to the world.
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It’s Time For People to Stop Using the Social Construct of “Biological Sex” to Defend Their Transmisogyny | Autostraddle

It’s Time For People to Stop Using the Social Construct of “Biological Sex” to Defend Their Transmisogyny | Autostraddle.

Reposting this interesting and informative article.  It debunks the major tropes that reinforce the binary gender roles that our culture is wed to.

I will just say this:  regardless of what the defenders of orthodoxy say, in my own life experience I never found integration with the strange awkward body I “woke up” in.  I never had identification to the part of “my organism” that hung between my legs, and I never understood why the presence of this defined my entire being and thus consigned me to a prison of expectations that were untenable, societal roles that were monolithic and dictatorial, and a life of sorrow and confusion when young, and numbed monochromatic denial and the mere passing of days in the prison sentence called a life.

And my experience is mirrored by uncountable people born just the way I was, and feel like I feel.  That was the phenomenous thing to me:  when I started reading the stories of other transgender people, and it was eerie how exact our experiences were!  Regardless of if it was MtF or FtM or intersexed…the emotions, the dissociation, the dysphoria, the presence of abuse if action and life attempted to be taken based in our actual being rather than the assigned roles…

I have made it a central assumption here in this blog, in my spiritual writings blatantly and in my poetry implicitly, that all humans are in a transition that is essentially the same as the one transgender people make.  From my p.o.v. sanctification is the spiritual equivalence to what transition is…all of us wake up in a world that seems off, that seems twisted sideways to what our hearts anticipate and expect…all of us act in accordance with our true essence, and then get slapped down hard by the broken twist in this realm, and all of us know it ought to be different, and hope that someday…someday we shall know as we are known, and be revealed as who we are really and be received in love to live happily ever after in shalom.

When you contend for the lives and rights and beings of trans-humans, you contend for your own liberty.

Those of you who are regular here:  thank you for your kindnesses.  They have many times been the difference in my life during the storms which may otherwise have swamped me for good.

It’s Time For People to Stop Using the Social Construct of “Biological Sex” to Defend Their Transmisogyny | Autostraddle.

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The Footprints of Ghosts (commemorating my first Father’s Day as myself)

The fire crackles and pops
its diphthongs and phonemes
in that hot and feisty
rapid-snap delivery.

Dad!  Dad!  Daddy!  Father!”
It says this in living
letters of merry blazing
iterations of what,
repetitions of who,
and smoky, hazy eye-burning
questions of…
how?

I shiver and draw close,
grateful for warmth
this late spring day.
It is still early, and summer
slumbers in the dawn,
as I sit shiva with spring …

and the fire sings, keens,
quests, warms and shows us
the way of all things,
fading natural-like, and
giving up its ghost.

Ashes drift lazily,
footprints of wandering ghosts
free at last from their entombment,
in limbs of wood and sap,
and finally I see ashes
are ghostly release,
are seeds, promises of Phoenix,
gathering, bunching,
heaving and inevitable.

Smoke gets in my eyes,
clears my eyes, blurry and stinging
and stirs my memory pools
as I think back on 31 spectral years,
as a ghost encased in a word,
in a role, entombed
in limbs of alien thick
coarse wooly flesh.

Those long years of walking on water and anxious,
with no idea
what was a daddy
and inherent universal
knowing of love so deep it makes
the shores of the galaxy seem shallow.

Love was my fire,
my ghost, my ash-seeds,
and I my own Phoenix
sleeping, waiting,
looming, wanting.

I gave myself, my blood and sweat,
my upturned nose to fear and downturned face to them…
I threw me on the fire
and I screamed silent,
solitary inside no-one-else-here land.

I popped and hissed
and seethed and whistled
and snapped as I
gave up the ghost each day,
turned to ash each day,
diminished, but growing…
disappearing and becoming

until I walked
free and disembodied
and covered with ashy afterbirth
and filled with knowing
I could do nothing more
than give the love of one called father
even if I could not bear the
name of man.

Summer stirs, and my reverie is snapped
by the sharp chirp of robins
wanting to scritch thru the fire remnants for sowbugs.
Spring has closed her eyes,
her breath has slowed
even as mine has quickened
and I stand to face
my first father’s day of
fully knowing me.

Love calls 4 times.
And I know that somewhere,
somehow, someway
that feisty fire-voice
was naming and liberating
and I have been reborn
from all ash,
a ghost no more
but bodied, present,

and turning in my joy.

 

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Reposting a heartbreaking and Sobering Classroom Moment…

Very telling…anyone willing to take the challenge to raise our children with expectations of worth and value instead of domination and control?

My class today
  • Me:So when you see the 4 year old boy pull the little girl’s hair…
  • Students:He likes her!
  • Me:Now they are around 11 or 12 and he grabs her arm and wrestles her to the ground even though she calls him a jerk and yells at him to leave her alone.
  • Students:That is just how boys are.
  • Me:Now they are 18 and he grabs her arm and–
  • Students:Oh, that’s not okay.
  • Me:Really? How would he know? How would she know? How would you know? You just told me that for the first 17 years of these children’s lives that you thought it was cute, sweet, and natural for a boy to grab a girl and be rough with her.
  • Students:Oh.
  • Me:Oh, is right.

 

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Suffragette of Sight

They leave marks, tears.  Look.
You can see them if you stand
eyes akimbo and uncrossed from normal.
They don’t show if you look usual-like.

But they shimmer
like living starry
liquid songs of sorrow
They sparkle in sideways-sight,
like limpid diamonds heaped

across the face of the earth.

Sometimes, if you walk around
with your eyes uncrossed
you will bump into people
that are invisible in this land,
the ones who choke their tear-spring
with furious fingers

so they don’t show up seeable.
They don’t glimmer and gleam.
Some sorrows are too deep,
so when this happens, you must

reach into your bag
and sprinkle them
with tear dust.

I’ve been practicing this
diagonal walk, shambling
hither and yon
whispering “Marco”
and straining to hear
the reply.

It’s like my
sonar of sorrow,
I guess,
to navigating
these strange seas
of lambent woe.

And I never wash my face anymore…
I have a theory:
let my tears dry
on my cheeks,
my lips, and they
will end up

tattooing my heart,
marking me Maori-like
as blessed, a
Suffragette of sight.

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Solemn…then outrage. A re-post

just to be clear – a woman who created a hashtag meant to convey the message “no, not all may be sexual aggressors but yes, all women have experienced sexism to some degree” shut down her account after repeated harassment. she wasn’t generalizing men. she wasn’t making broad, sweeping statements that people claim are the problem with women’s movements. she was only opening a conversation centered around personal stories. what is anyone supposed to take from this except that many people are simply not interested in hearing these stories at all, as sugarcoated as they may be, as tactfully they may be put? not without redirecting the conversation to focus away from women, at any rate.

A woman starts a discussion about how all women are harassed, and people respond by harassing her. There’s no room for irony in the world anymore.

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WATCH: Laverne Cox Explains It All to Wendy Williams | Advocate.com

tumblr_n5d29sAjxy1rk4ewwo1_500WATCH: Laverne Cox Explains It All to Wendy Williams | Advocate.com.

Constance, The Advocate says it very well below:

On The Wendy Williams ShowMonday, Laverne Cox, star of the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, acquitted herself admirably as she answered Williams’s questions and provided what amounted to a short on-air Trans 101.

When asked “What is transgender?” Cox replied, “Transgender … very basically means that the gender you identify as is different than the one you are assigned at birth. Very simple. And transgender people’s experiences are really very different, so there’s really no one sort of like blanket transgender experience, so it’s really about listening to individuals in terms of who they are and accepting people on their own terms.” The audience responded with cheers.

Williams immediately followed up with “You’ve got breast implants?” but Cox wasn’t going to go there and gently pushed back, even as Williams described the appearance of Cox’s breasts as “tasteful.” Cox responded, “I’ve chosen not to talk about any of this stuff I’ve gotten done because I think so often when trans people’s experiences are talked about, we far too often talk about surgery and transition, so I don’t talk about that, but I’m very happy with the situation,” clearly referring to her own body.

Williams’s questions didn’t get any more insightful after that, but Cox handled her queries with grace and intelligence throughout.

Williams came under fire earlier this year for similarly uneducated, body-focused comments made on her radio show regarding transgender athlete Chloie Jonsson, who Williams said was unfairly wanting to compete in the women’s division of fitness competition CrossFit. After backlash from trans advocates and allies, Williams tweeted an apology for those remarks, positioning herself as a “long LGBT ally and GLAAD supporter,” and pledging to use the experience to become better educated on issues facing transgender people.

High Spring Pastiche

We had just finished our ride,
and we were parched and pressed
to sling a leg off the back of our bikes.
Salt crusted jerseys glared flat and dull
in the sultry sun of High Spring, falling
all shimmery clear and gold, splashing
on the hot black radiant parking lot
like wedding rice.

Across the street
the stilted and dumb
rain-birds spit water
on the swollen
green baseball field,
which was so happy
in the drizzle
it reeked noisily
of lazy drinks at twilight
and kids at play.

We looked on silently,
and then drained our own draughts
and added our tired joyful scent to the melange.

Soon, bikes bunked again in the van
and our 455 air-conditioner at a lazy 45,
we rolled towards dinner and wine,
and the lovely sleep of the dead a bike ride bequeaths.

My soul sang and hummed along
with the soft sibilant tires,
and I knew my favorite pasture
was soon to jump up into me
from across the ditch.

I hung my head out the window,
let my tongue taste the air
and the wind bury wild
sensual fingers in my hair.

And then she was there,
smelling ancient and new
and fresh and fertile and pulsing,
eager like love making on an endless afternoon
sweet and free under plush rustley blue skies.
I heard her song,
I felt her tug in my guts,
I tasted her tang in the wind
and shivered with delight.

She was shorn, fresh-mowed
and relieved, light and lively
and sprawling in mystery,
cloaked in new nakedness
and hidden behind beauty marks revealed.

She breathed…
deep rhythm
and spin and pulse…
deep.

Silly Samsons thought
she was Delilah returned,
so they came for
assey jawbone revenge,
and left with her full
alfalfa tresses tamed and taken.

I think she just laughed.
Because, blinded by the usual,
they had no clue that my Deborah,
my delight, my paradise
had wonders not touched
or dreamed of save by dreamers
and by trackers and wonder-holics
with the DTs of delectation
who would sell their mama’s souls
for just a whiff, just a taste, just a touch
of beyond the Beyond…
she is there for us always.

Time stood still as we passed her,
and birdsong wove wonder-ways
into her chambers, and there,
in the deep back,
where her leggy tree thatches
came together and merged,
where her center throbbed,
supple gloaming dark,
soft and silky rose
from beneath the wood,
seeped black and creamy
from the edge of field
and trees.

And I knew that I beheld the center,
the wellspring of beauty and
the font of her rivers,
her fertile forever flow,
her temple, her womb.
And I felt her curve
round her children yet born,
even as she reached
and caressed my cheek
as I flew by with kisses
of a queen to me her
handmaiden.

Soon we were passed,
hurtling headfirst towards tomorrow
while she moved and danced
and stayed rooted in her everthere.

Light just so, wind just so,
I knew that door
would never show again.
I sighed, licked my salty lips
and ached fiercely with heart

full of her sweet always song.

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LOLOLOLOLOL!!!

Gotta love this story…whether or not it is actually true, it does indeed give us an archetypal truth about the nature of woman in relation to man and her power to make or break him.

One night President Obama and his wife Michelle decided to do something out of routine and go for a casual dinner at a restaurant that wasn’t too luxurious. When they were seated, the owner of the restaurant asked the President’s Secret Service if he could please speak to the First Lady in private. They obliged and Michelle had a conversation with the owner. Following this conversation President Obama asked Michelle, “Why was he so interested in talking to you?” She mentioned that in her teenage years, he had been madly in love with her. President Obama then said, “So if you had married him, you would now be the owner of this lovely restaurant,” to which Michelle responded, “No. If I had married him, he would now be the President.”

 

Thank you, poetry lovers!

All who read here for poetry, and could give a fig about my spiritual writings and ramblings…

…thank you sooo much for having patience with me, and indulging my relating those spiritually oriented thoughts and teachings…

…truth be told, it is who I am and how I am made to contemplate these things…time after time They have arrested me with lil movies in my mind (the fancy dancy term is visions, but that sounds so pretentious and super-spiritual and self aggrandizing!), or lil conversations in my inner heart…

…time after time They have pursued me and manifested such kindness, such mercy and grace and forbearance that I simply cannot but tell of Who They are to me, and what They have done for me and in me.

Here is the literal true takeaway:  if They would do this for me?  Literally, They would do it for anyone!

Anyway, thanks for your patience…poetry is my second deepest love, and I will be delighted when the next poem is birthed…it is about a field, newly mowed, and the dark and warm shadowy gloaming laying back in the hedgerows and woodsy womb from which the field leapt in joy.

I am never insulted if you skip the spiritual stuff…but just in case you read it?  You might be glad you did!

 

All my love and thankful gratitude,

Charissa

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The Crucible of Disappointment

Constance…have you ever been disappointed?

“Yeah, riiiiggghhhht, ‘Rissa!” you are prolly thinking!  “Who hasn’t!!?

And that leads me to my topic.  See…lately I have been experiencing a lot of disappointment…plans made with loved ones and deeply anticipated, only to find that they have changed so the loved one can serve someone else…understandable…but disappointing.

Or trying hard to nail down an appointment, only to get no reply regarding which of a number of dates would be best…and then worse, feeling like I am making a pest of myself in seeking to simply get this thing scheduled…wondering if I am being avoided, if I have been intrusive or over-bearing…and yeah, disappointment.

We all experience it, but here is a secret:  disappointment can be a crucial and pivotal agent of transformation in your life…or rather, the way that you handle it will lead to radical transformation.

I think the most crucial thing to grasp is this:  Disappointment is divinely planned to result in death.  Think about it…frequently when we are disappointed, something inside us dies–a dream, a desire, a hope, a plan…but as has so often been the case for me, the death of those things opens the gateways for the resurrection of those things in some far more pure and properly motivated form.

It is a tool that is similar to a surgeon’s blade.  It is wielded with great skill by the Ones who love us best.  But there is a team aspect to passing thru the death of disappointment and int the realms of resurrection!  Like so many things, what is most crucial is not what happened, but rather how we choose to respond.  The power to choose is what separates the Mandala’s from the Mansons!

Generally, we tend to deal with disappointment in one of two ways:
#1:  Fear.  I know that I am guilty a lot of being so confused when I get disappointed, and then to think, and react in fear…fear that I am being rejected, fear that I am unloved, fear that I have driven someone away with a careless word or mis-timed joke, fear of pain or sorrow.

#2.  Faith.  Faith that love bears all things, and never fails, and Joy will always find a way.  When we are able to faithfully continue to the person we wish to be, to keep our eyes on the vision and keep them off ourselves, it is miraculous how disappointment becomes the catalyst for the transformation we so deeply desire.

I am struck by a series of contrasts in the lives of several Bible characters, and please, remember that the things in the Bible contain truths that we are privileged to suss out in our day and age.  It is possible to learn from the truth of the stories without necessarily subscribing to a specifically Christian position or theology.

I see a vast difference in the lives of 2 men, who at one time were very close, who both were destined to rule as king, who both endured disappointment and sorrow…and yet one of these men we have heard nothing from or about other than the things recorded about in in the Bible, and the other of the men wrote poetry and prayers that are still to this day echoing in the highways and byways of the human heart and soul!  I am talking about Saul, and David…one walked with fear, and one walked with faith.

Saul is said to have encountered a big disappointment when the prophet Samuel did not show up when Saul had planned for him to.  Samuel told him to wait…wait until Samuel arrived!  But Samuel delayed several days…and then the people began to grumble, began to demand that their king take action…and Saul’s disappointment became infected by fear, and he began to move and think and decide from a basis of fear.

In the midst of the crucible of disappointment, Saul fearfully decided that he could not rely on or trust anyone else, so he chose to embrace self-reliance, in a twisted way.  And within a few chapters he is in the grip of self-deception, which bore the bitter fruits of despair and ultimately destruction…and we see this cycle of disappointment/deception/despair/destruction repeated in Saul’s life over and over again.

By the end of his days, Saul is alone and finds himself in the house of a witch, seeking dark and sinister remedies for disappointment.  A few days later, Saul commits suicide, and the life of a talented and promising human being came to a tragic and futile end.

David, on the other hand, found himself in the crucible of disappointment over and over again just like Saul…but instead of responding with fear, he responded with faith.  He made a choice, to delight himself in whatsoever was true, good, noble and worthy.  He spoke of his choices to do this, to trust, to have faith.  He wrote about them, and about the Ones with the power to deliver him according to Their riches and mercies.  David declared over and over again that even in the midst of disappointment, God is good.

And ultimately, David experienced deliverance from that crucible and resurrection into a more yielded and humble vessel.

Disappointment met in fear=> deception=>despair=>destruction=>death.  The root force behind this whole path is self-reliance, in its unbalanced and unhealthy form.  The soundtrack to this path is the song “What about me? Me, me, meeee!!”  Tragically, death here is the ultimate and final end.

Disappointment met in faith=>delight in what’s right=>declaring what’s true=>deliverance=>resurrection and life!  The root force behind this whole path is a yielded spirit.  The soundtrack to this path is the song “I Surrender All”.  Miraculously, death here is the gateway to life, and is just a new beginning!

There are many other contrasts available for your examination…consider the man of fear (Samson) vs the man of faith (Samuel), and how each one dealt with disappointment, how each one walked a road that was determined by their choice of fear/faith, and the fruit that came from their lives by the end…

…or consider Judas and Peter (who aren’t that much different!  After all, both men betrayed the Lord in His hour of travail!).  Judas encountered such disappointment that the Messiah was not setting up a physical kingdom in which he would be an important governor, but was instead setting up a kingdom that was not made from wealth and fame, but from love and sacrifice and kindness…and so he stole things (out of fear), and justified it to himself to betray Jesus (deception), and then when he saw that every attempt he made to force Jesus to show His power physically and save Himself had failed, he wept bitterly (despair), and then hung himself.

Peter, on the other hand, entered into the same crucible, and was guilty of the same things, having taken up a sword and cut off the ear of another person (it took the touch of Jesus to heal that person!)

And as an aside, have you ever noticed that before?  When Peter got militant and angry and attempted to bring the Kingdom in by human strength, he effectively rendered another person incapable of hearing!  Ask yourself:  how many times have YOU with the best of intentions but firmly ensconced in your own strength and agenda taken your sword and hurt someone, deafened them to the very message you so deeply wish to communicate?             I think we need to take a hard look at ourselves, and consider hard the lesson Peter learned here!

So when Peter did this, he was rebuked by the Lord, and got disappointed, and even more so when Jesus allowed Himself to be taken away…and then he walked in fear, which led to deception that he would be safe from harm if he just kept quiet…which led to his denial of Jesus vehemently…which led to his despair as he saw His friend and Lord taken and tortured…

…but Peter then found the space and the grace to hold on, and a few days later, the Risen Lord appeared on the shores of the sea and called to Peter who in faith took action!  He dove into the sea and swam to the Lord, and there in faith he let disappointment be turned into resurrection as he found his way through delighting in the Lord, declaring Who He is, and thus being delivered into new life.

Constance…I encourage you to take a ramble thru these stories.  Whether you have a Bible or just use aan online tool like Bible Gateway…whether you consider the Bible authoritative in your life, or a collection of wise spiritual stories…do not lose the opportunity to glean some wisdom and a skill set to assist you in dealing with a very common assailant in our lives here in this time and place.

The contrasts between the two ways of dealing with disappointment are stark and meaningfully salient:

Fear seeks to escape…Faith seeks to embrace.

If you have chosen a lifestyle that is fear based, this is sort of attempting to save yourself by yourself, and essentially that is tantamount to spiritual suicide eventually.  Ultimately, none of us is big enough to bear all our burdens all by ourselves!  We need each other, and in my own world view, we need They who love us utterly and completely!

But if you choose to take the risk of responding in faith to disappointment, and to embrace your life rather than attempt to flee, then you will find the peace and relief in laying down your life into Their loving hands…trusting Them that you can be who you really are with Them, and that They will be who They really are with you!.  You take your eyes off of the fires, off of the hurts, and you fix your eyes on the promised prize waiting on the other side…waiting thru the crucible of disappointment.  

Disappointment:  it brings us to the crossroads…and we can travel to that cross, and then thru that cross and into new life and deeper peace and joy.

Thank you so much for reading, and may you be blessed this day with oodles of grace, and boodles of joy, and blankets of peace.

Love,

Charissa Grace

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This Is How A Father Should Love | Raising My Rainbow

This Is How A Father Should Love | Raising My Rainbow.

Constance, you know my admiration for Lorie Duron, who she is, and what she is doing for her children.

She embodies what being a mother is…and no, she is not perfect, not supermom…she is simply oozing love and following the North Star of her spirit unflinchingly (which is this: “What is the best love for my family?”)

But her words today really got to me, as she blogged about her husband, his commitment to her, to their children, and to a greater cause of compassion and acceptance overall.

When more men have the courage to be gentle with those who need gentleness instead of trying to remake everyone into their own twisted image, then we will be getting somewhere!!!!!

Lorie, I can tell you from my years of wandering in the deserts of men-only spaces, your husband is indeed one in a million, maybe one in a trillion!  Well, maybe not quite that since there haven’t been a trillion people in history, but ya’ll get my drift!

The Duron family…what a good mirror to look into for us!  We see the Father’s love, unconditional and fierce, The Spirit’s love, comforting and surrounding, and the Son’s love will be manifest as these two kids of theirs grow and mature into a destiny that involves being lightning rods of paradigm shift in a world desperately needing one!

Go.

Read!  😀

 

Love, Charissa Grace

The Dive

Bobbing in the silver lake like a cork, or maybe a pink bobber trailing a hook for catching fish,
I looked around and saw no sight of land, no brown, no yellow,
no dry tang of sand.

Just water (blue and turquoise, purple and green waves
moving, flowing deep and wide)
…and me, floating.

I heard a voice on the waters, in the waters, so near yet so far
and perhaps from outside the in, and clear…calling me, calling.
Come.  Deeper.  Calling and beckoning.

I looked down thru the  shimmer and saw a dim glimmer of a figure far
below and hanging, floating, and waving Her arms like seaweed become God…
or was God become seaweed?

Adrift and alone, I had no other place to be or way to go, and so
a breath for luck–I dove…and swam…until I was red, was bursting red and
kicking water-doors in, swimming thru that choking and wet desperate desert din,

trying to get to Her, to be found, deep in the waves and whole,
deep in Her sea, Her song and Her smile…alas!  Faltering I had to choose…
If I kept on I’d fall short and drown, but if I turned back, I could surface again,

but only to the lonely still, and outside Her in…so I pressed on,
down, having decided if I were to die this day it would be swimming to Her
and never running away.

And then suddenly I was there, or She was here, my choked lungs
burned bursting-black like Chicago and Her Lips ageless and fresh on mine, cool and sizzling…
and Her breath became forevermore my life’s air.

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Momentarily Overwhelmed…

Constance:

I just want to let my WordPress friends know how deeply touched I am to have crossed paths with you, and how much the richer I am for that nexus.  But there are a few in particular, and I think you know who you are, who have just given me things that you do not even realize.

How to talk about a life in the midst of crowds, in the throng and people around and wanting, needing…a life that looked full and busy and complete and populated well by human friends…and yet was empty, austere, colorless and arduous and looming large until death day, release day…Hope Day…

And now…the same people on the outside, getting the food I make (literally and spiritually), and yet bursts and blossoms and riots of color and fragrance and happy giddy joy underlain by deep abiding grateful tears and solid singing spiritual celebration…and some friends!

It is strange to me that in many ways if you read here regularly, you know me better than almost everyone else who knows of me!  🙂

And that overwhelms me…I was just sitting here…looking at your profile pics, and knowing your blogs, your writings and thoughts, and imagining your valleys and hills and gardens…and the tears just welled up.

Thank you!  Truly thank you…you know who you are!

May my Mama, the Lady Grace known to most as Holy Spirit, and Jesus the Merciful Risen Lamb, and the Father of Lights from whom every good and perfect gift comes, bless you this day…keep you safe from things you will never know of, and preserve your feet in the paths of delight and truth…and may you know the Goodness of God in the Land of the Living.

I love you one and all, and will see you on that day!

Love,

Charissa Grace, the grateful and glad gleam of my Lady Grace, my mama!

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Summer Snapshots in Haiku

rain-filled ruts reflect
an apple red summer sky
that highlights brown hills

in the wind my skin
revels amidst bitter-sweet
echoes of that day

wind, you will have a
terrible time smothering
my soft clarity

a good poem somehow
makes what’s true a little more
disturbing/profound

Poem within this poem
Grace inhabits this body…
image finds its Source

I love you, but it’s
not the finish, not the end
but the beginning

You say “I love you”
a sound so tender that the
dead could even hear!

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Kevin Williamson shows us how to dehumanize a trans person, in three simple steps.

Kevin Williamson shows us how to dehumanize a trans person, in three simple steps..

Constance…this will give a snapshot into ways that so often we dehumanize one another…specifically in the LGBTQ community.

But think about it:  how often do these same concepts and methods get applied to one another in whatever social context we find?

Love Mercy.

Do Justly.

Walk Humbly.

 

Love and Grace,

Charissa

Kevin Williamson shows us to dehumanize a trans person, in three simple steps..

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‘Neath Marvel Skies

I sit, quiet in morning, in a fuzzy gold dawn of…yet another.
This day, like them all, like none before, stretches out horizontally
(my cramped and sleepy legs), stretches out vertically
(my free unfurling soul), hums with eternity’s pulsing center
and calls my name with its wafting breezy mouth.

My heart pulls, rises with the sleepy sun and warms
to its task of pulling me up to the easy estate of becoming.
Flowers send fragrant potions in answer to beckoning
gestures from cloudy gentle giants floating in graceful skies
bluing up for warmer dances coming when the sun opens its eyes.

There is a space for you here…beside me on this soft and leafy bench.
But you must turn a quarter turn, and step three times to your left and hop,
and fall up out of that dreamy safe sameness and routine slumber.
You must say the words and rub that dull and tinny lamp
that stands beside your desk, your bed, your chair, and then…come here.

The air shimmers, blades and branches sense your approach, your desire.
They lean, beckoning, they sing and lark in this breezy vibrant dawn.
There is quiet at the heart of this singing day, but deeper, within that quiet
burns an ever-flaming core of wonder-song,  facets flashing, gleaming, fiery
like some magic carpet woven from Auroras and last night’s wild starry strays…

I wait in the quiet, I wait in the core, I wait ‘neath these plush and pearly-gold skies
swimming before a broadening emboldened sun.  I wait for you…
I feel you turn, your first, second, third step, your hop…
I see rose air displace and bulge and nearly tear,
I hear that lamp purring ‘neath your eager hand!
And I join the flowers, blades, branches,
birds to herald your arrival, here ‘neath marvel skies!

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Bury My Head in the Sky

My wet red heart beats in time to music
flying in soaring skies and wonder-winds…
it is my womb, my temple and matrix,
at long last no more a stranger to myself.

Contractions, pangs, contraction, pang…
beating out my birthing, my being, my life,
long brownly-buried in dry dirt dusky,
deeper than an ostrich can see on its best blind day!

Strains, arpeggios, wildly dance and swirl
in bluey blasts and exultations and voices lift in high chorus
and wallow in jammy joy, crooning to me, babe in transit
from womb to shiny bearing-burst to tomb.

I, halfling of becoming, in and out of grave ground,
fidget fast and twiddle and twitch, touchy and unleashed
and free soon flying and yet bound, sommat
still in cloddy clutches of dust to dust.

But here…in this middle earth ethereal and having boundaries not yet charted…
I glance with gleaming glad eyes all round and see the ostriches burrowed down
and crammed, obliviate wings futile and folded and settled, serenaded
by secure and intentioned monotone unknowing.

I lift my voice and my words, and they drag dirty distressing fingers
from the tender white curve and arch of my throat
and my song squirms and heaves and lurches forth from fleshy grave
to live again in light and take its place in that Thundrous Sky Music Throng!

Words, familiar and yet never heard or said or sung spring
glad and fresh and ageless from my lips, and my yearning theme flashes brilliant
and dances on voices and notes, sings of birth and never wonders why
but simply shouts resounding “Bury my head in the Sky!”

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Reposting my new hero

Friday Fuzz….on Sunday | Dandelion Fuzz.

I have a new hero…she is representative of a relatively small percentage of parents…and perhaps an even smaller percentage of that small percentage:  She is the parent of a transgender child; and she is refusing to be anything but her child’s greatest cheerleader, and giver of unconditional love and acceptance.

Her name is Kat.

She is walking the walk.

We all “love” our kids, right?  No…we LOVE our kids!  And then they do something…human.  Make a mistake, act without wisdom, or tell us something that is at odds with some of the ossified gender assumptions still embedded in our culture.

When this happens, unfortunately and all too often we “lovers of our children” become harsh, rejecting, distant, abusive, or shaming.  We think we are doing them good…showing “tough love”, or whatever other euphemism we use to cover up the fact that we are not really  loving, without any thought to ourselves and that we are exercising our fear and disapproval and seeking to use these things to control our children’s behaviour.

But there are parents who refuse to turn away, refuse to be their child’s first bully and harshest critic.

Kat is one of them…and it ain’t easy.  It means being a pain-eater and a love giver.  It means being other-oriented and firm on the wall on behalf of their child instead of against.

My parents gave me life, lots of love, and a good headstart in life…but I really do wonder what might have been if along with those things, there had not been the harsh experiences and words over some of those early days?

Kat re-blogged this video, with some great comments…go watch.  In it, you will meet another set of parents…parents who love with open hand and live with open heart towards their darling children.

Kat, you inspire me.  Reading of the price you pay is somehow healing to me, in my own inner child.  Thank you Sis, and God Bless you always!

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