Back in late April I posted here about a book I wanted to recommend…
This book is by a woman named Stasi Eldridge and it was so challenging to me, so ministering to me, so full of life and hope. It took me 5 months to read the whole thing, as I had to stop often to digest and even more? I had to figure out how what she was writing translated to a transgender woman like me. Many things she wrote about assumed riches and legacies that are part of the given riches that accompany a biologically female body, and may of the trials and resulting insights arose from dealing with the particular conditions that being biologically female present too.
I want to say right up front how I admire Stasi’s vulnerability and humility. From years and years in leadership in various churches, and from some travelling ministry as well, I am all too familiar with the tendency of humanity to set people up on pedestals and elevate them improperly into lil demi-gods. I continually resisted that effort, using self-deprecation and humble vulnerable openness about my own failings and issues as the ways to avoid being elevated into something I am not. Stasi does this too, and does it well.
I read most of the book as “a colleague”, understanding a lot of subtext in technique and approach…but I received the book as a gigantic deposit of wealth into my bank account of womanhood…and then I got to thinking…about the other women like me, who could benefit so greatly from these kinds of ideas…which got me to thinking one step further:
What kinds of books is the church writing to christian trans-women, trans-men? Stasi’s husband writes books to men (I have read them and taught from them, btw…they are very good too). Are transgender women openly invited and welcome to christian women’s spaces and events? If not why not? Do transgender women have hearts that need touching from Jesus, from their Father, and from Mama…and sisters too…sisters who know how to do make-up, who know how to skillfully handle when men act like, well, men…would transgender women benefit from the fellowship of sisters who would receive them into corporate worship together as half of God’s Divine Image in humanity and thus help them to be more fruitful?
What about…what about…well, if you read here you know Charissa’s lil pea brain when it gets churning.
So I had the bright idea to write to Stasi, and short email telling her thanks for the book, a bit about myself, and my thoughts regarding trans-humans and the church. Oh, I was so excited! I checked in with Mama, and got a nod and a kiss on the forehead and She shooed me away on the task, and I was so bubbly and excited as I sought to locate a means to communicate with Stasi.
A pretty thorough search was fruitless in obtaining an email address to write to. Oh, I found plenty of Contact Us forms that are administered by others, but as the topic is delicate for most Christians because they assume a priori that being transgender is evidence of sexual sin somewhere, I was reluctant to use those forms. I eventually did give it a shot, but was quite general in what I wrote in the desire for discretion and giving no occasion for someone to take offense.
It is important to know that I did do this, as you will see later…a dementor “knows” that I didn’t and “knows” that I ended up writing where I did for nefarious reasons that she lists…it is illustrative of the way of functioning that I alluded to in part one, and the deleterious effect of such way of being. More on that later though.
I eventually found a blog that Stasi writes for and thought “Bingo!” I can leave a comment and then she will contact me if she is interested, or merely not post the comment if she is not. I did what Heather tells me is a great quality and a weakness: I looked for and expected the best in people, and then foolishly expected they would act or speak in similar good faith. See…that happens here at Grace Notes all the time. People get in touch, want to correspond, and so I take it off the blog with them and we do our best to connect and build relationship or discuss concepts. Right?
Obvi that is what would happen.
So…with Stasi alone in mind, not even thinking about anyone else who reads, I went ahead and wrote the message that leads the next post…and then in chronology I will copy the entire comment flow.
I will tell you why…I want to expose to a different audience the way of functioning that goes on in christendom…the insidious and hateful way that othering and policing operates and all in the name of love, or speaking the truth. It is neither loving or truth telling…and often the perspective that the dementor type comes from is not even true in the first place, except to them in that it is their truth.
I wanted you here to see for yourselves the use of ad hominem attack, straw man arguments, and about as many other formal fallicies in argument and rhetoric as their are. Sadly, the biblical truths that all souls are equal at the foot of the cross and that all biblical truth belongs to everyone and not just privileged clergy sets many people up for these errors. They do not invest the time and study into the topic, or if they do, they do so in the effort to prove an already assumed point of view, which does not make one an expert on a topic but an expert on their own view of that topic.
Generally, when resisted or disagreed with the reaction is to other the disagreeing point of view with judgment…either of heart, of motive, or or status as “in the light” or “in deception”…and that othering is not based on any biblical teaching regarding ways of discerning truth and dealing with controversies but in the person’s own emotional investment in the topic.
And lastly, I share it here because it also is exemplary of the kind of comment that comes to my blog a lot and that I simply have kept to myself as part of the price to be paid in being transgender in a cisgender world that is being dragged into a paradigm shift kicking and screaming…Some trans people have a different style: they post every hateful comment and nuke it with their own emotion and experience. I have a different sense of what is effective and what I am called to. But know that I deal with the bullying and trolling and threats mostly by just trying to be above it.
OK…read on for the comment flow…