…”and a little child shall lead them…”

Constance, I ran across this account from a blog aggregate site.  I am going to post it here without much comment, other than to say yes, I am aware of the scatalogical vocabulary, and urge you to overlook it in order to access the deeper truth.

It is towering to me that there is more of the gospel expressed in the lives of hearts that are simply oriented to love, regardless of dogma, orthodoxy or persuasion.

I wonder what would happen if we all practiced this sort of love, and left the judging and convicting and convincing to the One Person in the Entire Universe Whose job it is to do those things (Mama)?

Hmmmm…

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spaceyacey:

Fuck i’m crying now

So my mother was up to her usual shit; calling me useless and entitled. Saying that I’m no longer allowed in the bathroom with a shower and I need to clean the other one by noon tomorrow morning or else keep in mind it hasn’t worked in 3 years.

I was hiding in my bedroom while my parents argued over who’s fault I was when my sister came in. She walked up to me and opened up her fist revealing a rainbow popsicle ‘best friends’ necklace. She thrust it into my hand and whispered that she wanted me to have it.

“because it’s a popsicle?” I asked

“no silly because it’s a rainbow. I know- I mean- I thought you’d like it.”

She then winked and told me that I no longer needed to worry about cleaning the bathroom because she had spent the past hour doing it for me.

This seems so petty and small until you realize that for the past two years my parents have been doing their darnest to get rid of me. My sister will admit that I’ve always been the scapegoat but since I came out it seems their attacks are more pointed.

My sister is 11. She has grown up in a homophobic home and listened to my parents bitch about “those damn gays” her entire life. A couple months ago I came out to her and told her the reason our parents have been threatening to kick me out or send me away. I explained that sometimes gay girls and gay boys are even beaten up by people, just because of who they love.

I cannot express how much her support means to me; perhaps I am not the one who’s wrong. If an 11 year old who has been taught nothing but hate, perhaps there is hope for the future.

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Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?  When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’tumblr_mvv942qCB71ry5naio1_400

LGBT Blog Post Bundle!!!

LGBT Blog Post Bundle!!!.

Constance, this is a FB page by my friend and brother John Pavlovitz.

I encourage you to read his posts, because he is writes powerfully, compassionately, empathetically and most of all thoughtfully.  I think in his writing heart his “knees lack the jerk reflex”!

Let yourself be stretched, challenged a bit.  Ya never know…you might find some scaley thing falling from your eyes, maybe even a few big logs dropping away…or even perhaps the disappearance of the compulsion to look into the eyes of others not for their hearts but for the specks you simply “know” are there!!tumblr_naiucbZiLb1trbut3o1_1280

Transgender kids show consistent gender identity across measures

Transgender kids show consistent gender identity across measures.

Good Morning Constance!

I am posting this link for a couple of reasons:

First, because it is educational and will help you in your continuing learning curve regarding gender orientation…it may even inform you some about your own gender orientation, and why you hold it so strongly!

I have long theorized that the intense resistance to gender variant people is at root the projection of the power-holder’s  own deeply held gender orientation!  Because gender is so hardwired and awareness of it so deeply entrenched, it is impossible to imagine anyone who appears one way on the exterior who is so vastly different on the inside.tumblr_niuf18dk4c1r2zs3eo1_1280

In an odd sort of way, the very intensity of the resistance is the affirmation of the phenomenon!  All humans are intensely and deeply oriented gender-wise!  But what is becoming more and more known is that not all humans have a body whose biological assignment matches that interior orientation.

It’s actually pretty simple.

There is one other thing, though, that this article infers: just because I never said anything to you about my gender dysphoria doesn’t mean that it didn’t exist.  Just because I hid it…out of fear of rejection, ostracization, accusation, and ultimately alienation as “the other”…doesn’t mean that it wasn’t there.

By the way…those fears were well founded!  All of those things happened to me…sometimes it was by people who didn’t know any better.  Sometimes it was by people who do.  Regardless…it still happened.

Reader…no one “owes” you a justification for their orientation.  You are not on the Judgement Seat, you are not the one who passes muster on this topic about anyone…or, really, on any other topic.  It is not your place to make those calls.tumblr_nivnd26wg71qeku48o1_1280

It is your place to love God, and love your neighbor with pure religion which is caring for widows and orphans and outcasts.  Oh, and if you really want to know someone?  Get close enough to sample their life…taste the fruit that is there.  This is the one action that Jesus sanctioned as okay per His own words.

Oh wait:  I heard the objection to that one, when I was told that it was possible for me to manifest good fruit in my life (such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness faithfulness, and self control, all things against which there is no law) and still be possessed by a demon!

Seriously, that was communicated to me.  The fruits of the Holy Spirit were present in my life by the power of the “transgender demon” that had possessed me!  That is sort of like saying that an oak tree was bearing the fruits of an apple tree or a pear tree!

Yes…it was indeed astonishing in its twisting of logic and reason, and yes it was indeed painful that the person who said this went on to say that unless I “got delivered” from this spirit and stopped the dangerous foolishness that is in actuality my transition, the person who said this would no longer associate with me or have anything to do with me or be my friend.1743621_10152939462053631_4900759173207350112_n

After over 3 decades.

A person who was born and raised in the church and steeped in scripture, who knows full-well Jesus’ words, is showing me the ugly face of modern christendom as expressed to LGTBQ people.

Well…I recall the old old chorus “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” which contains the verses that say “though none go with me, still I will follow” and “the cross before me, the world behind me”.  I am more deeply committed to these words than any other time in my life…and I am finding joy inexpressible and peace like a river in God.tumblr_mx3biu6O4M1t1ohj9o1_400

Constance, those of you who read here and are not christian are most likely shaking your heads and muttering that this is why you are not a christian!  Sadly, I cannot disagree with you.  This is not what it is to be a christian, abandoning people, shunning people…that is what it means to be a religious nut who loves themself more than God.

But please:  do not judge God by the insanity of some of Their followers…they know not what they are doing.  God is not like they are.  Not one bit.Image 003

And now we are at full circle, and the true rootedness of gender orientation is on display.

Christian Constance…non-christian Constance…all valued and received and loved by me Charissa…I exhort you to do what you know in your heart is the inarguable truth in relating to human beings in your life:  treat them the way you in your heart want to be treated by others, and do so as the proactive person in that transaction!

Don’t sit back and wait until someone does this for you!

Do it now…first!  Do it extravagantly, passionately!  Do it with undeniable vigor and gusto!  Do it, dripping with passion and love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and gentleness and faithfulness and goodness and self control!

And if you fall short?  M’eh!  Who doesn’t fall short?  Since when did the failing to achieve something obviate the goal?  Willie Mayes struck out a lot.  Michael Jordan missed a lot of game winning shots.  John Elway led his team to a couple of bitter Super Bowl defeats.  And all three athletes went on to lead their teams to glory and go down in the annals of sports history as among the greats of all-time.

Missing the mark is the best qualifier for your return to the range for more practice!

So practice the golden rule…love one another…and look for ways to affirm everyone you meet in every way you can!

Including gender orientation.

Do Justice.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.

Charissa Gracetumblr_n2dq0uj9xr1t4oyc2o1_500

Racism vs Prejudice

Charissa learned something today…definitions are so crucial.  For so long I had understood racism and prejudice to be the same thing, and equated them in my mind.  I can see now that this was not accurate, and now I understand so much better a lot of the things I read and see.
And also because of the prejudice that I experience now, and how I have inherently understood that it is not at all the same as the things that those who are in the chains of racism face.
Even though I am now hated for being transgender by so many, I am still caucasian, and thus not systemically oppressed.

Satan Is a Theologian Who Doesn’t Love God

Constance…go. read. especially if you think you have all the answers and are thus qualified to judge other people. ESPECIALLY those people you you have never met.

Satan is a theologian who doesn’t love God

Stephen Mattson

Satan is a master theologian. He’s talked to God, interacted with God, believes in God’s existence, and knows more about God’s attributes and abilities than most…and yet Satan doesn’t love God.

Knowledge about God doesn’t equal faith in God.

Just because you have a vast understanding of God, expert knowledge of Biblical Law, intimate comprehension of Biblical History, and an encyclopedic grasp of all scripture still doesn’t mean you love Jesus—Satan certainly didn’t.

Satan isn’t frightening just because he’s so evil, but because he’s so similar to us!

We crave power, control, recognition, fame, success, and the authority to judge others—obtaining them via religion, often under the false pretense of holiness.

We attend church, participate in spiritual activities, pretend to love others, and even talk to God, but sometimes we’re just fulfilling our sinful desires—appearing to be very “Christian” in the process.

Meanwhile, we accuse others of being sinners. We…

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Watch These Guys Unknowingly Catcall Their Own Moms And Get An Embarrassing Lesson On Harassment

Watch These Guys Unknowingly Catcall Their Own Moms And Get An Embarrassing Lesson On Harassment.

Constance…it is about a 5 minute investment to watch this extremely well-made video…

Please do, and then send it on to anyone who engages in similar depravity and oppression.

 

M’aimeras-tu toujours ?

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M’aimeras-tu toujours quand je serai trop vieille
Avec plein de rides, que mes seins tomberont
Sous mon corps sage et que mes mains trembleront
Dis me chanteras-tu encore des merveilles.

M’aimeras-tu toujours quand fanera ma fleur
Que ma vue baissera à l’ardeur des étoiles
Et que l’hiver sur moi aura mis son grand voile
Dis feras-tu encore une fois battre mon cœur.

M’aimeras-tu toujours quand ma peau fripera
Que mes cheveux seront aussi blancs que la neige
Que sur mes yeux l’automne aura mis son cortège
Dis pourrais-je à jamais me poser sur tes pas.

M’aimeras-tu toujours quand l’ombre sera fébrile
Que le temps signera de noir mes insomnies
Que l’ocre de ma plume obscurcira ma vie
Dis voudras-tu de moi même si je suis fragile.

M’aimeras-tu toujours quand faiblira ma voix
Et que mes oreilles seront dans le silence
Que le jour et la nuit n’auront plus de nuance
Dis mon amour voudras-tu encore de moi ?

Mystic4Ever
Le 18 Mai 2010

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My Inner Teen-ager just LOVES this!!

So my baby just told me “Baby, there are times when you are so a teen-age girl!”  Wait, whaaa???  Giggles…she is right, of course.

I saw this thing I am posting below, and sooo relate to it, from a gender perspective.  The act of solidarity and love is profound and lasting…the phase will likely pass as an aspect of growing.

Constance…be sure your actions strengthen what remains rather than what is transitory.

“THIS IS THE BEST COMMERCIAL EVER
I’ve reblogged this so many times because I truly think every parent should involve themselves with what their child enjoys.
Not to mention this is an act of solidarity. He’s saying “even if the entire world is against you, I’m on your side.” Which I think is important for a kid to know. He’s refusing to be a bully to his child, even if he doesn’t understand.
I work at Hot Topic and we had a white suburban dad in who was buying matching heavy metal/screamo band shirts for him and his teenage daughter and said “To be honest, I think this stuff sounds like garbage, but she likes it so we listen to it together and we’re going to the concert for Christmas.” And it was just really heartwarming to see him so involved in his child’s life and validating her interests.”

When you call a transgender person by their birth-name:

Trans people shouldn’t have to “get over” being called by their birth name.

Mistakes are human, but keep in mind that they hurt, especially when it comes to identities.

Since I was writing about Rape Culture…

Here is something I ran across at http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/10/people-resist-affirmative-consent/

“enjoy…”  *Charissa speaks tongue firmly in cheek*

The Real Reason Why People Resist Affirmative Consent Laws

[Trigger Warning: rape, sexual assault]

Originally published on Lefty Cartoons and cross-posted here with their permission.

Only have sex with people who’ve given enthusiastic, willful, and uninfluenced consent. Seems straightforward, right?

But there are still plenty of people who object to this definition of consensual sex.

Why? Because they value being able to have sex more than their partner’s consent.

Check out this comic for a perfect example of what these conversations look like.

rape-and-consent

To learn more about rape culture and consent, check out the following:

Barry Deutsch is the Portland-based author and cartoonist of Ampersand, a political comic with a generally progressive sensibility. A new Ampersand comic appears in every issue of Dollars and Sense Magazine. Barry attended Oberlin College in Ohio in the late 1980s, the School of Visual Arts in New York City in the 1990s (where he took classes from comics legend Will Eisner), and graduated from Portland State University several years ago. While at PSU, his political cartoons won the Charles M. Schulz Award. His current comics project is my comic book Hereville, a fantasy adventure comic about an 11-year-old Jewish girl. Check out his blogand follow him on Twitter @barrydeutsch.

“This is Archie…say Hi”

Wow…Constance, this is the way that we all ought to treat one another.  I have been treated this way by some people…and I go home, and shed tears of joy and happiness.  It feels so good to be accepted for me…just lil me.

You can all imagine the opposite…because you have all experienced it.

Ever wonder why that is?  Why is it that we have all been othered, policed, and ostracized over something?  Even the so-called “cool kids” who are usually the worst open graves of horror inside their own hearts…

Let’s follow this wonderful child, this avatar of our God’s Goodness and Love.

 

Polarity vs Duality: Understanding the Way Forward

Constance…there is a plethora of provoking proclamations this morning!  I am pasting here the transcript to a talk given by Ash Beckham, in which she eloquently discusses “polarity vs duality” in regards to our being as humans sharing a common existential experience as expressed in a wonderful variety of ways…many faceted wonder.

The part that I put in blue text is the part that resonated particularly deep with me.

Oh…and her rhetorical question “Have you ever been called something that you’re not” and then her own recounting of how she felt?  Daily experience for me.  Just sayin.tumblr_mmpw60cPyT1r2q0ouo1_r1_1280

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Ash Beckham

September 2014 Boulder, Colorado

Ash Beckham: This summer I was back in Ohio for a family wedding, and when I was there, there was a meet-and-greet with Anna and Elsa from “Frozen.” Now, not the Anna and Elsa from “Frozen,” as this was not a Disney-sanctioned event. These two entrepreneurs had a business of running princess parties. Your kid turning 5? They’ll come sing some songs, sprinkle some fairy dust. It’s great. And they were not about to miss out on the opportunity that was the phenomenon that was “Frozen.”

So they get hired by a local toy store. Kids come in on a Saturday morning, buy some Disney sway, get their picture taken with the princesses, call it a day. It’s like Santa Claus without the seasonal restrictions. And my 3 1/2 year old niece, Samantha, was in the thick of it. She could care less that these two women were signing posters and coloring books as “Snow Queen” and Princess Ana with one n to avoid copyright lawsuits. According to my niece and the 200 kids in the parking lot that day, this was the Anna and Elsa from “Frozen.”

So let me paint the picture. It is a blazing hot Saturday morning in August in Ohio. We get there at 10:00, the scheduled start time, and we are handed number 59. By 11:00, they have called numbers 21 through 25. This was going to be a while, and there is no amount to free face painting and temporary tattoos that could prevent the meltdowns that were occurring outside of this store. So, by 12:30 we get called. “56-63, please.” And as we walk in, it is a scene I can only describe to you as saying it looked like Norway threw up. There were cardboard cutout snowflakes covering the floor, glitter on every flat surface, and icicles all over the walls.

And as we stood in line, in an attempt to give my niece a better vantage point than the backside of the mother of number 58, I put her on my shoulders and she was instantly riveted by the sight of the princesses. And as we moved forward, her excitement only grew. And as we finally got to the front of the line and number 58 unfurled her poster to be signed by the princesses, I could literally feel the excitement running through her body. And let’s be honest, at that point I was pretty excited, too. I mean, the Scandinavian decadence was mesmerizing.

So we get to the front of the line, and the haggard clerk turns to my niece and says, “Hi, honey. You’re next. Do you want to get down or are you going to stay on your dad’s shoulders for the picture?” And I was, for lack of a better word, frozen.

Hello my name is ?

It’s amazing that in an unexpected instant we are faced with the question, “Who am I?” Am I an aunt or am I an advocate? Millions of people have seen my video about how to have a hard conversation, and there one was right in front of me. At the same time, there’s nothing more important to me than the kids in my life, so I found myself in a situation that we so often find ourselves in — torn between two things, two impossible choices.

Would I be an advocate? Would I take my niece off my shoulders and turn to the clerk, and explain to her that I was, in fact, her aunt not her father and that she should be more careful and not jump to gender conclusions based on haircuts and shoulder rides, and while doing that, miss out on what is at this point the greatest moment of my niece’s life?

Or would I be an aunt? Would I brush off that comment, take a million pictures, and not be distracted for an instant from the pure joy of that moment? And by doing that, walk out with the shame that comes up from not standing up for myself, especially in front of my niece. Who was I? Which one was more important? Which role was more worth it? Was I an aunt or was I an advocate? And I had a split second to decide.

Us/Them

We are taught right now that we are living in a world of constant and increasing polarity. It’s so black and white, so us and them, so right and wrong. There is no middle, there is no gray, just polarity.

Polarity po-ler-e-te Noun 1. A state in which two ideas or opinions are completely opposite from each other 1. Diametrical opposition

Polarity is a state in which two ideas or opinions are completely opposite from each other, diametrical opposition.

Which side are you on? Anti War – Pro Choice – Anti Death Penalty – Pro Gun Regulation – Open borders – Pro Union or Pro War – Pro Life – Pro Death Penalty – Pro 2nd Amendment – Anti Immigrant – Pro Big Business

Which side are you on? Are you unequivocally and without question anti-war, pro-choice, anti-death penalty, pro-gun regulation, proponent of open borders, and pro-union? Or are you absolutely and uncompromisingly pro-war, pro-life, pro-death penalty, believe that the second amendment is absolute, anti-immigrant, and pro-business? It’s all or none. You’re with us or against us. That is polarity.

Now, the problem with polarity in absolute is that it eliminates the individuality of our human experience, and that makes it contradictory to our human nature. But if we’re pulled in these two directions but it’s not really where exist — polarity is not our actual reality — where do we go from there? What’s at the other end of that spectrum?

Duality du-a-le-te Noun 1. A state of having two parts 2. Simultaneous existence

And I don’t think that it’s unattainable harmonious utopia. I think the opposite of polarity is duality. Now, duality is a state of having two parts but not in diametrical opposition — in simultaneous existence. Don’t think it’s possible? Here are the people I know. I know Catholics that are pro-choice and feminists who wear hijabs and veterans who are anti-war and NRA members who think I should be able to get married.

Those are the people I know. Those are my friends and family. That is the majority of our society. That is you. That is me. Duality is the ability to hold both things, but the question is can we own our duality? Can we have the courage to hold both things?

So I work at a restaurant in town and became really good friends with the busser. I was a server, and we had a great relationship. We had a really great time together. Her Spanish was great because she was from Mexico. That line actually went the other way. Her English was limited but significantly better than my Spanish. But we were united by our similarities not separated by our differences.

And we were close even though we came from two very different worlds. She was from Mexico. She left her family behind so she could come here and afford them a better life back home. She was devout, conservative Catholic, a believer in traditional family values, stereotypical roles of men and women. And I was, well, me. But the things that bonded us were when she asked me about my girlfriend or she shared pictures that she had from her family back home. Those were the things that brought us together.

So one day we were in the back scarfing down food as quickly as we could, gathered around a small table during a very rare lull. And a new guy from the kitchen came over, who happened to be her cousin, and sat down with all the bravado and machismo that his 20-year-old body could hold. And he said to her “Does Ash have a boyfriend?” And she said “No, she has a girlfriend.” And he said, “A Girlfriend?!” And she set down her fork and locked eyes with him and said “Yes, a girlfriend. That is all.”

And his smug smile quickly dropped to one of maternal respect, grabbed his plate, walked off, went back to work. She never made eye contact with me. She left, did the same thing. It was a 10 second conversation, just a short interaction. And on paper she had so much more in common with him — language, culture, history, family. Her community was her lifeline here. But her moral compass trumped all of that. And a little bit later they were joking around in the kitchen in Spanish that had nothing to do with me, and that is duality. She didn’t have to choose some PC stance on gayness over her heritage.

She didn’t have to choose her family over our friendship. It was not Jesus or Ash. Her individual morality was so strongly rooted that she had the courage to hold both things. Our moral integrity is our responsibility, and we must be prepared to defend it even when it’s not convenient. That’s what it means to be an ally, and if you’re going to be an ally you have to be an active ally. Ask questions, act when you hear something inappropriate, actually engage.

I had a family friend who, for years, used to call my girlfriend my lover. Really? Lover? So overly sexual. So ’70s gay porn. But she was trying, and she asked. And she could have called her my friend or my “friend” or my special friend or even worse just not asked at all. Believe me, we would rather have you ask. I would rather have you say “lover” than say nothing at all.

People often say to me, “Well, Ash, I don’t care. I don’t see race or religion or sexuality. It just, it doesn’t matter to me. I don’t see it.” But I think the opposite of homophobia and racism and xenophobia is not love, it’s apathy. If you don’t see my gayness, then you don’t see me. If it doesn’t matter to you who I sleep with, then you cannot imagine what it feels like when I walk down the street late at night holding her hand and approach a group of people and have to make the decision if I should hang on or I should drop it when all I want to do is squeeze it tighter. And the small victory I feel when I make it by and don’t have to let go. And the incredible cowardice and disappointment I feel when I drop it.

If you do not see that struggle that is unique to my human experience because I am gay, then you don’t see me. If you are going to be an ally, I need you to see me. As individuals, as allies, as humans we need to be able to hold both things. Both the good and the bad, the easy and the hard. You don’t learn how to hold two things just from the fluff, you learn it from the grit. And what if duality is just the first step? What if through compassion and empathy and human interaction we are able to learn to hold two things? And if we can hold two things we can hold four. And if we can hold four we can hold eight. And if we can hold eight we can hold hundreds. We are complex individuals swirls of contradictions. You are all holding so many things right now. What can you do to hold just a few more?

So, back to Toledo, Ohio. I’m at the front of the line, niece on my shoulders, the frazzled clerk calls me “dad.” Have you ever been mistaken for the wrong gender? Then, not even that. Have you ever been called something you are not? Here’s what it feels like for me. I am instantly an internal storm of contrasting emotions. I break out into a sweat that is a combination of rage and humiliation. I feel like the entire store is staring at me, and I simultaneously feel invisible. I want to explode in a tirade of fury and I want to crawl under a rock.

And top all of that off with the frustration that I am wearing an out-of-characteristic, tight-fitting purple t-shirt, so this whole store can see my boobs, to make sure this exact same thing doesn’t happen. But, despite my best efforts to be seen as the gender I am, it still happened. I hope with every ounce of my body that no one here heard. Not my sister, not my girlfriend, and certainly not my niece. I am accustomed to this familiar hurt, but I will do whatever I need to do to protect the people I love from it.

But then I take my niece off my shoulders, and she runs to Elsa and Anna, the thing she’s been waiting so long for. And all that stuff goes away. All that mattered is the smile on her face. And, as the 30 seconds that we waited 2 hours for, comes to a close, we gather up our things, and I lock eyes with the clerk again. And she gives me an apologetic smile and mouths, “I’m so sorry.” And her humanity, her willingness to admit her mistake, disarms me immediately, and I give her a, “It’s OK. It happens,” type of thing.

And I realize in that moment that I don’t have to be either an aunt or an advocate. I can be both. I can live in duality, and I can hold two things. And if I can hold two things in that environment, I can hold so many more things. And as my girlfriend and my niece hold hands and skip out the front of the door, I turn to my sister and say, “Was it worth it?” And she said, “Are you kidding me? Did you see the look on her face? This was the greatest day of her life. It was worth 2 1/2 hours in the heat. It was worth the overpriced coloring book that we already had a copy of. It was even worth you getting called ‘Dad.'” And for the first time ever in my life, it actually was. Thank you, Boulder. Have a good night.

TEDxBoulder is Supported by Applied Trust

END TRANSCRIPT

There may be small errors in this transcript.

How You Can Be A Trans-Ally

Police search for clues in murder of transgender woman in Texas – LGBTQ Nation

Police search for clues in murder of transgender woman in Texas – LGBTQ Nation.

Constance, I am sure you already know about this crime, and so my posting it here is redunda…oh wait…of course you haven’t heard about it yet!

It is just a “so-called transgender woman”…poor thing just got what she deserved.

Nope…nothing wrong here.  Move along, move along.

Obviously, I was writing sarcastically to expose the reality of the underlying assumptions that empower the continued lack of it being any sort of an agenda item to protect the rights and well-being of transgender people.

And the count rolls on…good thing we have a transgender remembrance day so her death will not be in vain, right?  She can now serve as a lil tidbit for the cis-gender world to consume as an assuagement of conscience!  A lil “transgender tums” to relieve the indigestion caused by the wanton devouring of transgender people.

Do JUSTICE

Love MERCY

Walk HUMBLY

Francisco_de_Goya,_Saturno_devorando_a_su_hijo_(1819-1823)

Charissa Meditations on Rape, Gender and the Patriarchy

Idaho Chief of Police Mic Drops On Transgender ‘Bathroom’ Bill Section.

Good Morning Constance…

I am pressing this article here on Grace Notes for a couple of reasons:  the low hanging fruit here, of course, is the putting on blatant naked display the kind of ignorance and misogyny that transgender people face…but specifically transgender women face to a far larger degree than transgender men do.  As I read the kinds of assumptions that are made and asserted, I am astounded at the towering lack of knowledge and the even deeper unwillingness to be educated about the issue.
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But let’s dig a bit deeper here…note that the primary canard that is hysterically hurled over and over again is that “men” want to rape women, and so they will go to any length to engage in this violation, including “dressing up as a woman”, entering a bathroom, and then feasting like a wolf on defenseless denizens within.  Thus we cannot risk allowing transgender women to use the women’s restrooms, but will force them into men’s restrooms…

…Constance, did you catch that assumption that slides right by and gets a nod of tacit agreement?  And did you see the inherent contradiction that is actually supported by documented epidemic-like numbers?

The assumption is that men are creatures with one primal driving force in their lives…having sex.  Even if it means taking sex from unwilling females who are just in the general vicinity.  The assumption is that we need to build our society around this reality and do our best to just “limit the damage” caused by this basic fact about men.

Rape is institutionalized as an accepted feature of our society!tumblr_nit5kckaeX1s1vn29o1_1280

Rather than deal with that underlying horror and the cultural constructs that have given rise to the unspoken reality that men not only take what they want sexually but are entitled to this taking, we instead get ourselves all twisted up over the bathroom.  Rather than teach our little boys how to be real human beings and what being male means, and what it does not mean, we just sort of wring our hands and hide our eyes when the moon is full and hope the werewolf stays away from our door.

We are fully capable of this teaching…if:  if anyone really knew anymore what it means to be a man!  What does that mean, men?  To you…what does it mean to be a man?  And, as part of your journey of discovery, have you ever inquired of women what being a man means?  Have you ever even thought to seek some of your self-definition in the understanding and grappling with what it means to be a woman?tumblr_nipdsiK2LD1rv5690o1_1280

See how this would preclude rape as an even slightly acceptable option for men?

But no…this is not what we do with that subject of rape:  we continue to keep it disconnected from the poison and demonic roots from which it sprang, and those are the roots of patriarchy and male privilege.  Women already know this, men, but for your own education…ask any woman you know what kinds of situations does she feel safe from the possibility of being raped.  Ask yourselves how you have socialized your own daughters regarding dress, safety in public places, when to be outdoors and when to be home “safe”.  Ask any woman if they think they are made safe from the possibility of being raped just because transgender women are kept from the right restrooms…

And that leads us to a deeper reality:  the reality, backed up by the blood and tears and horror and even murder of transgender women…who have been forced into men’s restrooms and there been harassed, assaulted, raped, and left for dead (if they are lucky) or murdered outright!  This is an actual fact that happens hundreds of times a year.  The dynamic I wrote of in the preceding section of my essay here is given free reign!  As a society we are demanding that some women be placed into serious jeopardy to their very beings and existence…because we refuse to deal with the horror of rape as a feature of the patriarchal paradigm we are all enslaved by.tumblr_nhp3bxAGEi1r3lb7ro1_1280

It is another example of how rape is sanctioned as part of the price that must be paid by women in order for all men to retain their granted privilege…and the really awful thing about this particular expression of this blood-spattered reality is the sad result on display of how some women become collaborators with the paradigm:  they would rather consign their transgender sisters to this fate than stand against the oppression and iron-fist of the patriarchy!  This is a phenomenon not unlike how certain Jews collaborated with the Nazis in the hopes that they would then be left alone and unharmed.

It is a Mephistophelian bargain…the soul is lost in the gaining of a few untroubled hours.  Sadly, it puts the pervasive infestation of the patriarchy’s insidious distortions of masculinity and femininity on furious display!  And the fruits…rotten, poison, despairing.tumblr_ni8qguc8Kd1qkezoco1_540

But now I want to get to the deepest reality for transgender people and specifically transgender women:  the deepest reality for me.

When people rant and rave in public hearings such as happened at the one the article speaks of, they communicate to me that I am utterly worthless of knowing, inquiring of, or understanding.

They blatantly display their own ignorance, assumption, and unwillingness to have those things enlightened and transformed!

I can tell you that when I read about what they think I want to do in the restroom, I am staggered with the mainifestations of their own evil imaginations of things that have literally never entered my heart at any time…and then I am defeated by the weights of ignorance and unwillingness that press down, inexorable and unrelenting.

All of the ignorance about transgender is displayed as if it is a float at the Rose Parade, and then it is lauded and institutionalized…and the marginalization of an oppressed segment of people is further cemented.kushiel

There is a logical question that comes to mind, as we work our way thru the house of mirrors that is the current paradigm, and that is this:  Why not make a place for transgender people to testify at these hearings…to say why they want to use the bathroom of their choice?  After all, that is what happens at other hearings of any kind:  testimony is sought from all parties interested and affected, so why not here?

Ahh…you follow me, don’t you?  Because our perspective is considered invalid at best and insidious at worst.  We do not have any valid standing in this present paradigm.  We are human chattel, and need to be either “fixed”, “healed”, “delivered”, or forced to “repent of the sin of being created transgender”.

And what is worse?  Even if there was a forum offered us to testify, very few of us would come forward…because that would be to make ourselves visible, and incur the wrath of family, so-called friends, and virtual strangers.  From that moment on we would hear the snickers when we walked by, the shouted insults and slurs, the out and out hatred blazing from the eyes of people who have never even talked to us but somehow know we are “bad” because they know we are transgender.tumblr_nibcqj8GLi1s5neh1o1_1280

So, sadly…we hang back.  We stay silent…and suffer.

Listen:  if you know of a transgender person, take some time to get to know them.  Talk to them, and not with an agenda.  Treat them the way you yourself would like to be treated.  Use their name.  I can tell you this:  when people use my name it is the most gentle and tender healing in my soul.

Hey…we just want to breathe, like anyone else…and use the bathroom when we need to potty.

Do Justice.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.
Charissa Grace10168117_776099229127125_8050935839656435878_n

Mystery

The horse we ride through this dark night
of velvet shadows, points of light shine
swimming high above us there,
those flying hooves running on air
to lift us up into that Where
and When and Why, and flowy-free
we ride the back of Mystery…

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10 Years Ago…

katgotyourtongue

My sister-blogger, heart sister and friend Kat issues fun challenges, and I have accepted a few:  I am gonna try to accept this one too.  It should be revealing to you, Constance.

Kat asks us to tell our readers where we were 10 years ago, what was going on…

Oh Constance, 10 years ago I was benighted and unaware, wandering like an insensate lost prisoner in the deserts of gender dysphoria…and no one knew, even my own conscious self…and the evidences were all around me inside my own experience and self, but hidden too.

Hidden because my father was still alive…a father that I loved dearly, respected as Ultimate, and sought to please with my whole heart…but a father who freely admitted he didn’t understand me at all and yet loved me anyway.  This is the person by whom I began living a life dissociated from myself…

…and in 2005, this person was dying, and then died.

July 20th, 2oo5, on a beautiful summer afternoon/evening.  1 week after my own birthday.

That entire year was such a horror, as Dad was dying already, wasting away the victim of Lewy-Body Dementia and I watched this man that I had respected and honored and given my absolute deepest love by tearing my own self in two in order to show him I was what he wanted…who he wanted…I even hid this from my knower so there would be no way out or available to be a disappointment to him.

I also was beginning the challenge of leading a crew of truck drivers, a task that I faithfully carried out for the next decade until my abrupt hitting of the wall this last fall, and of that I will not speak.

Lastly, in 2005…My mother in law was diagnosed with colorectal cancer, in advanced stages, and she suffered and died by late November…gone just like that.

In January of 2006, my first exterior, self-known manifestations of gender variance began to surface…Dad was gone, right?  And the overwhelming need to stop cross dressing male began to overwhelm me, except that since I had so propagandized my own consciousness with the binary gender paradigm and had so much of my sense of self wrapped up in proper presentation that this need was confusing and threatening…and so strong that it was either obey it or die.

With the love and acceptance of my beloved…and the amazing wondrous grace of Them Who Sit on the Throne, I somehow survived the last decade…and here I am at last, Charissa Grace.

But 2005…well, it was the start of the fires that produced the ashes of loss, from which the phoenix of beauty is arising.

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Why Reverse Oppression Simply Cannot Exist (No Matter What Merriam-Webster Says) — Everyday Feminism

Why Reverse Oppression Simply Cannot Exist (No Matter What Merriam-Webster Says) — Everyday Feminism.

What a great article, one that plays directly into the post I just made about Side-B and the ex-gay movement.

The point here?  When you are in power it is by definition impossible to be oppressed…and what most people who have privilege do not realize??

Being treated mean does NOT equal being oppressed.

Period…period.  Oppression is a systematic squelching of all hope, light and life…and yeah, it is indeed mean…but meanness is not oppression in and of itself.

Thoughtfully consider the points here…and then go out, and give up some power!

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“When Side B is the New Ex-Gay”

“When Side B is the New Ex-Gay”.

Oh Constance…what a poignant and well written post awaits you behind the above link!  Please head over and read it, and while you do, keep in mind something:

As John Pavlovitz says, it is no longer possible for you to bury your head in the sand of platitudes and assumptions about what it means to be gay or lesbian or transgender and be in love with God all at once.

Let me be clear with you all:  my gender journey is not like the one that gay and lesbian christians are on, in that my journey is not about who I feel sexual attraction to, but rather it is an adventure that involves living out my female being in this body that is biologically male…okay?  It is important you know that.

I also want to again reiterate and confess something:  much to my great sorrow, before I was personally confronted by Mama about my gender identity, in inescapable ways, before that incredible and sacred day?  Well, I really didn’t do a whole lot more than mouth platitudes myself.  I didn’t really think about it much.  Oh, I have talked with many gay men who have sought me out to confide in me…but while I was kind and loving to them?  I really had nothing to offer other than the same old junk that I had been taught myself.

I was not capable of walking in their shoes!  I had no true empathy with their plight and path.  And thus I had no true motivation to really discover what their life is!

We made friends with a lesbian couple who have become very dear friends…in fact, they were the first people I came out to…but even in that friendship, I still didn’t know.

Well, I do now.

I do…cus I get it now, I get the same discrimination.  I get the same hatred.  I get the same rejection.  I get judged the same way with virtually the same judgments.  I pay some of the same prices, and I pay additional different ones.

But besides that?  What I got was a huge dose of Humble Pie from Them…because it was so absolutely clear to me that I had not been truly like Jesus when I thought I was being like Him.  I was so blinded by my own arrogant preening righteousness.  I was so certain that the people that I talked to were just trying “to justify their sin”…as if every single other f***king christian in history hasn’t done the same g*dd*m thing!!

Every.  Single.  One.

Friend…you who “prays for me, that I will be delivered from this deception”, you should rend your own hearts and pray for yourself, that God would send you to Damascus and perhaps knock you off your ass and the scales from your eyes.

You just don’t know.  You think you do…but you don’t.

People deal with all matters of interaction with God in all manner of ways…and you aren’t qualified to pass muster on them.  But you are qualified to lay down your weapons, lay down your platitudes and easy caricature-arguments, and simply love…lift…and laugh.

Point to Jesus, not at sin.  Point to the Cross and not to anything else.  And then actually spend some time with people.  Go to the Gay Christian Network Conference…Go to a Reconciling in Christ Meeting…Go to a welcoming of LGTBQ church…talk to the clergy…talk to the congregants…listen…listen.

And when done listening…well, listen some more.

Do Justice.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.

Charissa GraceImage 001

Stand Up, Straight Christians, It’s Time For You To Come Out Of The Closet.

My dear friend and true brother in Jesus John Pavlovitz has written a fabulous article, again.

I encourage you to take a look, at the article and then at your heart.

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Key in Lock


“I’ve been a Christian my entire life, and I’ve never been able to ask these questions, because I feared how I’d be treated in my church. Reading your writing today gave me permission to push back, to start conversations, and to ask for better answers than I’d been given.”
– A reader

I can’t tell you how many times over the past few months that I’ve read a variation of these same exhausted, religion-weary words from people all over the world, from every denomination, every theological tradition, and every church setting.

And though the language and the story and the circumstances may change slightly from person to person, one idea has surfaced over and over and over again; a familiar melody reprised nearly every single day: permission.

Straight Christians, many of whom have spent the entirety of their faith lives unable to address the nagging, persistent, terrifying questions about the way the Church and her theology has laid waste to the LGBT…

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host to Host

Here in the morning mist and cold,
wet sand between my toes and gritty
beneath my knobby weak knees
I remember the beginnings of this moment
years ago and culminating in this now.

I woke then, to find my heart had been torn open
then ripped from my heaving chest in one harsh yank
and there were towels and pads all round me
there beneath those storm cloud words still ringing
“Clean yourself up and go outside and play!”Image 002Those long years ago I learned to cry silent and hide my tears
on the insides of my cheeks where they would run back down
to pool inside that empty place my heart used to be.
I wandered and found places that I could pour me out.
I don’t know what hurt more:  the emptiness pouring out
or the tears running down and drowning me.
So I lay me amidst the flowers in the green grass meadows
and there I learned to abide, endure, persist…and yearn.tumblr_nhr7ihIf1n1rnsb2oo1_1280But that was then, and here, now…these long years later
and miles down time’s trail, I stirred myself up from underneath
my soft warm blankets and hot-tea hand warmers
and threw on my big boots and coat.
But I left my cane behind…limps are irrelevant when we are on our knees,
Yes?tumblr_niozsiDmhG1rg59vvo1_500I walked down the old beach access road
but my achy empty core walked contrary,
backwards in time to take on shape and form,
becoming in the memories the who I should have been
instead of this hollow shipwrecked me here,
kneeling in this moment…
I dreamed of what never was,
I sang of what should have been.
tumblr_mtnr4td5YI1s24shdo1_500Then I arrived at the ocean’s edge and just in time
for on the edge of memory the urge to jump had become great.
And so I stood, and let my tears run down outside my cheeks
while waiting for the sun to walk its path
to stand on the edge of the horizon, and then to jump
into the sky and make its run once more across the void.tumblr_me6fkg32As1r37et1o1_500The sun, the sand, the sea…
and me…stood there where they met.
My eyes roved over the curved graceful backs
of the waves swimming in droves while songs abound
until they found that old wreck run aground
on rocks, foolhardy in its balderdashy heedless thrust
against the foghorn blast and lighthouse beacon.tumblr_ni6vxzfGYI1tw1yvro1_1280Still there, rusty, sodden, and yet not much the worse for wear.
Its familiar hollow hull echoing my own empty hollow chest.
My locked-up knees began to tire, and then at last give way
and that is how I got here, in the sand,
on my knees at last…and waiting.tumblr_n57bhbuFqm1qf9n3ao1_1280and in that place my heart should burn inside
at last I felt the rising of a voice, or was it the rising of a tide?
A fountain? A spring, welling up in supplication
as all my yearns found wing and from my lips they flew
into the heavens, past the marching sun insistent
to land at last safe there in Mama’s lap.

And now…now.
Kneeled here…I listen.
I listen for the Word
come down to take up residence
within my empty chest,
to become a presence Present,
to have become substantial substance
and I think maybe I can become
a host to the Host.

Regardless…kneeled here, I cast it all away to Her
and let myself diminish, grow less and become more.
And I am grateful for Her answer
in the graceful break of waves
and the ever rushing sound
of Her forever Kisstumblr_nioedv74sT1rn12zko1_1280

Small Joys

Clouds rolling in fast and full
like cows urgent for the barn
and the hands of release
tugging, pulling, granting
warm utter relief.

The tinny music of the stream
against the bottom of the tin pail
filling up and changing pitch
as the cats sing along in desire
and preen in anticipation.

My heart reaches skyward clutching,
wringing at those needful straining clouds.
It yanks and tugs, pulls at them, wishing for the rain
to tumble down tramble down
thunder down and shout drop by droptumblr_ni6f8wdYUD1u81ueio1_500

against the tin roof of the barn
gleaming in the deluge of release
and I snuggle in the straw warm,
nestled against my doggie musky wet
and groaning content in her doggie-dreams.

I close my eyes and listen for simple things:
I look inside my heart and hear the sound of an empty bookstore,
tinny music floating tentative round the stacks
and my feet quiet kitty feet scurrying twixt
tall towers of treasure, those leafy time machines.tumblr_mlj3xkyExX1rg5bsho1_1280I succumb to the incense of barn and cow and rain
mingled together under the hovering close grey clouds
so flocculant and soft around the edges (my heart, my heart)
and drift away on that raindrop-rapping raft of sound
while the purring cats stand guard with slitted happy eyes.

I dream of sitting on the back stoop at Grandma’s house,
listening to her twangy voice flat as West Texas
singing of sheaves and rejoicing and heaven’s starry shores.
I keep time with the potato peeler and peek inside to see her smile
and I think that I would like to never wake up

but just stay…right here…in the midst
of all these towering small joys.

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River-Washed Stones

People are as different as river-washed stones,
the ones that roll in the rapids
down the scoured bed, banging together
with gurgly shouts while dodging the trout
and getting their edges knocked off.

Some just keep moving, they gather no moss
and stay perky slick and quite single
and slide through the water like weighty round silver fish
or lurking submarines silent.

But others twirl tightly in riverdance spins
and catch eddies to the brown bank
to sink there in shallows where the water’s warm
and plantlife caresses their surfaces hard
there to cling tight in dear loving life.tumblr_nbh3vfbTVV1rxon4jo1_1280

I think I’m the latter, sinking in shallows warm
with tender plants, because I want you near,
to be clingy with me, to call me and talk funny
just to hear my giggle laugh.
I want you holding my hand when we go out to coffee,
to kiss my cheek when we meet & when we depart.

I like the shallows of
relational fussing and fun.

But then again,
I feel that tendril, a thrill and tickle
of deep water trickle passing by me
smelling of slatey grey and cool purple promises,
I hear a faint “clak-clik” echoing from the deeps
where the smooth stones clash and grow ever smoother.

That’s when I think I’m a rolling stone,
gath’ring no moss, and plumbing depths like
some lost kingfisher who learned how to breathe underwater…

and I like that you trust me enough
to leave me alone, to know I am utterly
and always only yours,
end of story
full stop.

I like the depths of relational mystery
I like the depths of you, you so different,
ever the same and always so well loved.

I love those River-Washed Stones.tumblr_n6mya1IWZy1rnchxso1_1280

The Crossing

Shuffling back and forth between…

night and day
week and week
(weak and weak,
strain and struggle)
sighs and sorrows

…the pain of this passage
of time and tears
is present always,
palpable still,
pulsing in my yearning heart
gone nova with the memory.n-DEPRESSION-large570I lay awake midst pain and memory,
I neither sleep nor slumber
but instead ache and remember…
I re-member, piece by peace,
arrivals and departures.
We wear memories and longings
like stained t-shirts and chinos
and shod in our torn sneakers
we shuffle down the path,
so pebble-strewn and painful,
so rough hewn, uneven
and inevitable.

As soon as we arrive,
our hearts know we have to leave.
As soon as we leave we burn,
knowing that we must return!
Each journey punctuated
by our songs sung in the night…

songs of lament and longing
songs of suffering and sorrow
songs of remembrance and redemption
songs of deliverance and the coming day

…alas…memory is like a river terrible
that must be crossed.
The crossing…the crossing!tumblr_ni5q4aSy9j1tqunino1_500That’s the common factor present,
primary and consistent,
pervasive and persistent

and it moves,
from background
to foreground and
back again

while it waits its turn to step up and partake
of the Communion Feast, its Sacred Supper,
the Holy Sacrament of our Sojourning Hearts.tumblr_n085xbZFtY1swai75o1_1280I’m decided, I am settled.
I’m on the right side of pain!
I’ll not let anyone or anything keep me captive,
stranded on the wrong side of memory

and out of phase with time!
I intend to feel the pain of others,
bind their broken hearts,
be marked by suffering…
…no, wait:  be marked
with suffering by my Mama!

In this looming collision between
uncomfortable mystery and unyielding mercy
and that suffering, ahh…
I can neither sleep nor slumber
because She who inhabits Eternity
neither sleeps nor slumbers but Is
Awake with those who suffer
and There with those who faint, who fall
and falter in the crossing…

tumblr_nhtxuwxJiv1s3m0ero1_1280She is there (I’ll be there too)
in Her house held up by beams
from that battered rough-hewn Cross,
shining fair with great doors open
thrown wide open to receive
all Her suffering children broken
in the crossing…in the crossing
and Her invitation spoken

Come and rest here at Her table,
there’s a place for every person
in the ending of between
and arrival of the Present
Oh, the greatest Gift of all, the Present!
When the crossing’s done …

I neither sleep
nor slumber, waiting…
pregnant in this moment
and present in
the crossing.tumblr_n5bpl7KAie1rywysso1_500

My Mama, and Spiritual Awakening

Good Morning Constance!  🙂

Lately I have been waking and finding myself more rested…spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  There are a lot of ways that dysphoria burdened me…a lot of ways.  For years I didn’t know what dysphoria was and thus attributed so much of the trauma I lived as just being a function of being me.

It was the primary thing that drove me…straight past religion and into the arms of the God behind the curtain of religion that humans have erected.  If it were not for Them, Their love, acceptance, and encouragement, I would have long ago despaired and taken my own life.tumblr_nidtxe8jN01rpowflo1_1280

Then I began to face my gender issues, get educated on what they were (and weren’t), and the relationship between me and Them blossomed and flourished even more…depths and heights I had no idea of…and the sense of destiny and mission and purpose began to take shape and form!  No longer was I here merely to serve out a life sentence in the penitentiary of this flesh, just slogging thru until release.  No.  I had been formed and fashioned in just such a precise and intricate way so as to be in this place at this time to help set other captives free, to break down walls of oppression and to be part of that rolling river of justice, that mighty stream of righteousness to all peoples.{"key":"b1"}

So that was cool.

But these mornings…finding this new place of peace, liberty…I think it is a deeper connection to God that is derived from congruence and alignment of brain and body due to the HRT that I have been doing…there are fewer filters and a wider open field to run in.  And for the last few years, the Person of God I have been encountering most is the Blessed Holy Spirit, the One I affectionately call Mama.

*Oh, and to you, prisoner of patriarchy, who rebuked me for “feminizing God and reducing His Divinity”?  To you I say don’t go away mad, just go away…you who “masculinize God, and reduce Their Divinity”  The Bible teaches that God created man in Their Image, male and female, and it is very broad in how this is worded, indicating that not only are there some humans assigned to biologically female bodies, and some humans assigned to biologically male bodies, but also that each human being made is both male and female in their creation…because each one is in the Image of God.  This would by inference prove that God Themselves transcend gender, as the origin and agency of the creation of human beings!  So again…just go away.  I don’t receive your judgment and your fear.  Perhaps if you just stop, exhale yourself out of yourself so you are at last empty, you may find a humble path to repentance for doing the very things you judge me guilty of.  Then inhale the God…who made you…and me…and owns us both.*tumblr_nhp3bxAGEi1r3lb7ro1_1280

Mama…I have written poems about Her, and I urge you to search the blog for the word Mama, and check them out.  I rather like them.  Mama is so incredible and, well, I am not gonna try to describe Her.

The reason for this post is because a lot of you have been in contact with me and have indicated you would actually show interest in and desire to be in relationship with a God like Mama…but that She is different than the god they were taught of as children when they attended church.  That god they want nothing to do with!  And who could blame them?

Well, I want to invite you to try out something:  I would like to invite you to talk to Her.  She was telling me in my heart that She will talk to anyone who approaches Her with an open heart and humble spirit (that means a spirit that knows that it doesn’t know but would love to be taught).  And She said to suggest this to you:

If you would like to know Mama…then talk to Her and simply say “Mama, the One that Charissa talks about…I would like to start a dialogue with You.  I will show up everyday at the time and place that is established, and I will literally talk with You just as I would my bestie when we go out to coffee.”tumblr_nfengyAzCt1turrjgo1_500

If you do this…She will not disappoint, though She will indeed surprise and confound, often times will bring things to you that may make you uncomfortable or downright angry!  I know this for a fact from experience.  But hang in there, stay present, and above all, be honest.  If you get mad, tell Her.  Speak from your innermost core…hey, She is God and already knows what is there anyway, so you might as well.  I have said literally the worst things I have ever said to anyone to my Mama in those moments…but I didn’t stop there, for She talks back, yeah?  She will bring thoughts, new understandings, revelations…

…and awakenings.  Spiritual awakenings.tumblr_ni7qkuEWrm1trxee1o1_500

Spiritual awakenings are such a crucial component of being in this life, and they are common to nearly every religious experience and cultural expression.  They share a lot of common factors in spite of the various trails that people walk to arrive in them.  Here are some components of them:

☾Increased tendency to let things happen rather than making them happen
☾Feelings of being connected to others and nature
☾Overwhelming episodes of appreciation
☾A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fears of past experience
☾A loss of the ability to worry
☾A loss of interest in conflict
☾A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others
☾A loss of interest in judging others
☾A loss of interest in judging self
☾Gaining the ability to love without expecting anything in return
☾To be so strong that nothing disturbs your peace of mind.

I saw that list this morning, and I wanted to share it with you, but with the Charissa-twist that comes with my connection to Mama:

☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have an increased tendency to let things happen rather than making them happen. 
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have feelings of being connected to others and creation
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I experience overwhelming episodes of appreciation
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have a tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fears of past experience
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have a loss of the ability to worry
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have a loss of interest in conflict
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have a loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have a loss of interest in judging others
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have a loss of interest in judging self
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I am gaining the ability to love without expecting anything in return
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I am so strong that nothing disturbs your peace of mind

(I was trying to make a rainbow, by the way lol!!)

My point is this:  Spiritual Awakening is not an experience…it is a state of being that can be entered into through relationship with a Person…through Mama.tumblr_nhx33h9nOw1r7w1nxo1_r1_1280

Oh no…you don’t have to enter into connection with Her…there are many beings out there to connect to and not all of them good…but I am in relationship with Her, and I can testify of Her goodness, Her faithfulness, Her steadfast unending love and acceptance, Her humor and fierce sense of Justice, Her unending Tender Mercies…

Mama.

I Love You, Mama
Your girl, Charissa Grace

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How to Respect a Transgender Person: 9 Steps (with Pictures)

How to Respect a Transgender Person: 9 Steps (with Pictures).

Good Morning Constance!  🙂  I hope all is well in your life today.  If you are facing obstacles, may our wonderful God provide you with the Grace needed to transform obstacle into opportunity, resulting in the joy of having overcome.

I am linking to this article today, because I think there are many people who read here who are allies, but still learning how to demonstrate that alliance in fruitful and effective ways.  It is simple and direct without being buffoonish and reductionist.

Please take these things seriously…they matter to us.  I will never forget how small I felt when I was told by someone who claimed to love me that they refused to compromise their faith and they were compelled by their conviction towards God to tell everyone they interacted with about me and that they considered me disobedient to God and in sin and deception because I had decided to transition.

To this day, I can feel that sharp sting, followed by that numbing zing like powerless electricity thru my bones…not good for anything but hurting…

I think the thing that really strikes me is how many things are done in God’s Name that are really a mere reflection of an individual’s own attempts to prove to themselves or to others that they are really and truly a Christian.  In my case, it was as if this person was worried that someone would think ill of them if they did not make sure and let everyone know first of all that I was transitioning and second of all that they “knew” that I was “sinning”, but most importantly that they themself had sought to warn me and were thus the heroic rescuer who had valiantly attempted to save me…and their efforts were “unsuccessful” but only because of my deceived, rebellious and unsubmitted state.

That interaction left its marks.  It showed me, sadly, that love is too often only word deep, and is forced into the template of self and put under the pressure of self-serving agendas, and what is extruded from that certainly is not love.  And it is interesting that I have not heard from that person since…I think primarily because they were “shaking the dust off of their shoes” after warning me of what was going to happen to me:  I was going to be outed at their own discretion, and then each person that I was outed to was going to be fed a version of me that came from another person…not from me.

But God is faithful…God is good.  They have added people into my lives of such amazing quality and genuine heart!  I have acquaintances now who I see a lot, present in my life and feeding in encouragement, truth, goodness, and love.

So it is not really so much about me, whatever “ruination” is come my way reputation-wise…but rather, it is about the words said about someone to someone else and then repeated again and repeated again take on a “telephone game” quality.  Eventually they will come to someone who has gender issues themself or knows someone who does…and the full implication will communicate to them that they are not okay and loved, valued in and of themselves for who they are…and bam.

Another Leelah Alcorn.
Another statistic.
Another life tragically lost…

…and in the name of “love”.

So:  head on over, read…get educated…and resolve in your heart that God is God and you are not, and that loving someone with kindness in word and deed is never going to sully Them or yourself.  This would be the “walk humbly part.”

Do justice.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly.

Charissa

10 Things Christian Parents Can Do When Their Kids Come Out

Constance, I am reblogging my blog-brother John’s article on what you can do if you are the parent of a child who comes out as gay…and you are a christian. As always it is a great piece of thought and writing. John is speaking to parents…but I would like to ask you to do something more: why not consider things from John’s point of view regardless of whether you have kids coming out as gay? There is a lot of wisdom and practical common sense in his words, and I think you would benefit. And it is a certainty that any LGTBQ people in your life will be the better off if you were to take John’s advice.

Thanks, John, as always, and much love from Jane and I…
Charissa Grace

john pavlovitz

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You have a gay child.

I know that it may be nearly impossible to say or understand or even believe, but you do.

Christian Mom and Dad, remember everything you did before your child was born; all the advice you solicited, the books you read, the preparations you made, the prayers you prayed, the beautiful dreams you composed in your head for how their lives would unfold?

I’m pretty sure this wasn’t on your radar. I know this wasn’t what you signed-up for.

Right now your mind is probably a swirling, dizzying storm of questions, fears, worry, doubt, anger, grief, and disbelief, and it probably feels like you’re drowning right now; so over your head as a parent that you’re desperately gasping for some precious breaths of air.

Let me try to throw you a lifeline.

I’m not going to preach to you, or tell you what to do, and I certainly can’t…

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7 Reasons the Church Should Be Afraid NOT to Affirm LGBTQ

7 Reasons the Church Should Be Afraid NOT to Affirm LGBTQ.

Okay, so this post is startling in its implications.  The author relates a Q she was asked by a friend, who was fearful for her.  Her friend asked the author “What if you’re wrong affirming LGTBQ people as loved of God and worthy of being received as part of Christ’s Body”…

She turns that Q on its head in her post, and asks “What if you are wrong in fearing and rejecting LGTBQ human beings?”  And then she goes on to list 7 potential consequences of that wrongness.

Her plea?  Just love.  Since you really aren’t the Holy Spirit, you are off the hook in correcting anyone and you are free to just love and trust that God is big enough to get the message across.

I mean…hey, They got it across to you, didn’t They?  If They are powerful enough to get it across to you, well then They can get it across to anyone!  Right?

Right!

To a Church That Dehumanizes Gays

To a Church That Dehumanizes Gays.

This letter.

Read.

Constance…pure and simple, the church simply must search its heart and come up with a better response than it currently has towards LGTBQ people.

I fear that it may never but for the same reason that so many cis-gender people may never grapple with the discrimination and hatred that is exuded towards transgender people:  if it doesn’t affect you, you generally fail to really let it impinge upon your comfort.

When you are impacted by either of these issues, or really any issue, then it changes your heart and opens your eyes.

Blessed are those who would humble themselves and ask for a heart like Jesus and eyes like Mama.

Kat Got Your Tongue Challenge: My Dream

katgotyourtongue

My Sissa, Kat, has issued her Monday challenge, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

She asks:  what is your dream?

Well…for me, my dream is to be able to live out the love and kindness and depths of grace that I have been given by God…but to do it in real ways that are tangible and tasteable, real and reeking with presence and heart.

My dream is to see what my theology teaches become actual and practically true in my life…we are taught that the Holy Spirit of God inhabits our bodies and works to sanctify us and transform us from one realm to another.  We are taught that this transformation is a work in process over time, and that humility is the gateway to enter in to this process.  And ultimately, we are taught that we become “mini-Incarnations” of God’s presence in this world.

Jesus made an irrevocable difference in this world.

I long to do that too!!

I want this reality to be present so much that people would then realize just how irrelevant gender orientation is by comparison to the greatness of this display…and gender is pretty gosh dang crucial!

I dream that those who know me would say “There goes Charissa…a lover of God and a lover of humans and a servant of good and lovingkindness.”

I have a long way to go, but then again, Kat didn’t ask about how close we were, did she?  Giggles!

Do justice.  Love mercy.  Walk Humbly…

Charissa Gracetumblr_n7wng1rmc91re9wz2o1_1280

This My Plaintive Plea

It falls, from Your clay-smeared hands.
Casual, elegant and of a piece, unassuming yet so present.
The door swings open and music
swirls out of the depths of symphonies
not yet written but already played.

Beauty tears at my heart, wanting to drink
its tax of tears and collect its
payment of my pounding pulse
and my nose red with glory
and unruly, running to beat the band.

Oh Mama, that delicate wonder
that traboccant thunder, clapping
for Your willowy way so lithe
and lean, spare but not stingy
and always sticky with goodness!

You make me ache so, inside!
How is it that You can tear me open
and I don’t even know, until I am
bleeding moonlight and bathing
in velvet night?

Alas, for my wounded heart!
Pincushion for Your Arrows of Light
so precise and knowing, and each one
tipped with Deep Desire
so strong, so sweet, so savory!

I wanna be like You when I grow up, Mama!
I wanna inhabit my self as You do Yours,
I wanna see around corners and behind curtains
without going there or raising them
and giving up the game!

Sink into my bones, infiltrate them!
Permeate me with You, every pore
a thirsty throat to drink You in and then
becoming places which pour You out
on thirsty ground and suffering hearts so poor.

Let me know Your rhythms,
Let me hear Your yearns!
Let me be disciplined, but unrestrained!
And above all, let me know Your heart
and this knowing shape my own forever.

Amen.

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The Sun of Love

I look
at shimmery stars
swimming high.

They dive
low into the lake,
but they float…

without leaving
a mark, a trace
except within my heart.

That sky,
that lake for stars,
that ocean

where stars
are pearls and planets
are whales swimming in circles…

ah…
that sky
is everything.

Am I
a sky?  For anyone?
Stretching out above

and inspiring
heart-leaps and runnings
in circles around

the Sun of Love?tumblr_nh711pkWDq1qa7gx5o2_r1_1280

Too Late?

Make sure you tell the people you love that you love them.
Loudly and often. You never know when it might be too late.

Too late…what is that?

I think that the sentiment behind this statement is one that is commonly grasped, and yet it is not commonly embraced…because if it was, then there wouldn’t be so much casual, callous disregard for one another as human beings.

Our eyes caress these words…while our hearts just glance right off like stones skipping along the surface of a lake…

again……………again…………again………again……again…and sink.

for good.

I think about the situations of my own life…I poured my heart into a group of individuals for over 10 years, and since I openly transitioned, I have had interactions with two of them during which I was told that I was under the influence of a demonic spirit, that I was not “submitted” to other christian people, and that I was rebellious towards God.  None of these things are true, but hey, at least there was some conversation there, some acknowledgement of me as a person.  And the rest…nothing.

It is as if I never was, as if we never lived, never had those one on one conversations.  It is as if I am not the repository of their secrets that I am, as if I had not prayed for them, loved them.  No…our connection was based strictly on what it was I could do for them…and that seems surreal to me in light of the sentiment above.

Here is the deal:  we read the quotes like the one I quoted and we think “yeah, I gotta be sure I am remembering that it could be too late someday”…and then it is…too late.

Just like that.

I don’t know if there are any people that would think “too late” when I die.  I cannot control that.  But I do know what I can control:  saying I love you to the people I do love and care for…and telling every person I meet that they are important, valuable, and lovely.

Do justice.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly.

Charissa

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Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I have the audacity to believe that… what self-centered men have torn down men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive goodwill will proclaim the rule of the land. ‘And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid.’ I still believe that we shall overcome.”

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Loving LGBT People Well, 12 Suggestions for Traditional Churches | A Queer Calling

Loving LGBT People Well, 12 Suggestions for Traditional Churches | A Queer Calling.

Good Morning Constance!  🙂  Once again I want to thank you for being here, on Charissa’s Grace Notes with me, and journeying in your own ways from works and death to Grace and Life…your presence here, your comments, your shared humanity brings me hope and adds ammunition for those lonely times in the night when all are sleeping, all is still, and I watch…awake on the walls.   ❤ Thank you ❤

So the link above is from an interesting blog that is worth perusing.  It lists several suggestions for Christian people to love and serve in ways consistent with the gospel, and likely far more congruent with the heart of Jesus Himself, the Great Friend of Sinners.

We have all heard the old saw “love the sinner and hate the sin”…heck, prolly a whole lot of people who read here have even said that.  I have before…much to my great regret…I have indeed.  When I did, I didn’t really realize what that said and implied about the person I was speaking to…and even worse what it said and implied about my own heart and self evaluation.

Alas…what I and others were usually saying is we think the loving thing to do is make sure the person knows they are a sinner.  And quite simply, this is just not the way that Jesus did things…oh wait!  There were times that He outright called people out on their sins!  I forgot about those!

Yeah…it was to the Pharisees!  Ya know those folks of that day who were the ones who loved to point out how everyone else was a sinner!  He ripped them a new one over and over and over again because who they were in their own eyes was more important than who their neighbor is in God’s eyes…and that is fatal.

Of course I am not advocating “loving sin” by opposing the use of that phrase!  Don’t be ridiculous!  What I am saying is you ought to major in people, and minor in sin management.  After all, your skills at sin management must suck, or Jesus would not have felt the need to descend from His state in Heaven, take on human flesh, and then suffer and die for you (ya know, a sinner).  Right?  If you were capable of managing sin, well then He would have just encouraged and taught you until you got it right!

Jesus never said “love the sinner but hate the sin”, and no one believes that meant that Jesus was compromising, prevaricating, or condoning anything evil.  No…Jesus understands one crucial thing:

Saying Yes to Love is far more effective and powerful than saying No to sin.

The true YES renders the no moot.

And that brings me to why I link to this article, because if we are going to discard futile harmful platitudes, then how to we pick up effective and edifying alternatives?

They list a dozen, and they are “process oriented” and not items that you can check off on your daily righteousness list.

They demand that you see the people in your life as your moral equals.
They demand that you give the people in your life the same standing as worthy of God’s love as you have.
They demand that you understand that your perspective is extremely limited and insufficient by definition, as you are a very finite, very imperfect, and very limited being.

As you go, take with you my lil motto that I have pulled from Micah 6.  It is a superb guide for keeping it simple and loving.  And it has an order of listing for a reason.

Do Justice.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.
Love, Charissa

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That Infernal Scale

“On a scale of 1 to 10,
how would you rate
your pain today?”

attempts to understand
and manage dirty pain
only cause more
pain (slivers and shards growing like crystals)

that daily dun-brown inquiry
into ourselves seizes us,
the hot buzz sting
of the growing awareness
of mortality….
aggravates deeply (pain)

more than I could say

and redly amplifies
the original stark question.

what if you answer 10
at 3 AM
but by the afternoon…
what then?
what of the futile measurement?
what of the meaningless guess
and what of the meaning-haunted guesser?
adding mortal insult
to immortal injury (pain).

Morality whispers of a wrongness
to pain
but I have wondered why
we think pain recognizes morality.

That’s the real question, innit?
Why we think there are
floors and ceilings
in the house of pain.

So in the hard and hopeless
of the darkness before dawn
we sit between these moments
when all things are defined
and that infernal scale
is shattered by the triumph
of pain held to the standard
at last made manifest
revealed first on a cross
and then revealed
set free
of scales, of measurements,
of guesses in the night, while
golgotha gasps and grasps
futilely at our cloaks
that we have shed as winter
surrenders to Sweet Spring.

That Spring
That 1 and 10
Ever Spring.

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In The Dusky Rose Glow of a Summer Evening

In the dusky rose glow of a summer evening
She held my heart in her hand
and held my hand in her heart
and held my eyes in her forever.

I had placed my heart so tender there
and given it free in moonlight shining on her hair
while all around us silence sang of lovers in the night
And we alone were there and swimming in Love’s magic light

She looked at me as solemn as the owl standing guard
Her breath upon my cheek a sonnet of gravest import
And it did shine there shielding me within its towering fort
My heart safe in her hand, my heart so broken, torn and scarred.

She smiled, she took my heart into her mouth like bread
She swallowed without chewing it to keep it safe from harm
It moved and then it snikked in place so perfect and she said
She’d keep it safe within her as Love’s everlasting charm

Oh Love, to keep my broken heart safe you have shadowed me
Within your care and kindness always underneath your tree
As summer became autumn, autumn winter, then comes spring
It’s in the endless summer of your love I always sing.

In the dusky rose glow of a summer evening
She held my heart in her hand
and held my hand in her heart
and held my eyes in her forever.

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Why did David Reimer commit suicide?

Why did David Reimer commit suicide?.

Dear Constance:

Okay, so you wanna know what it is like to be transgender?  Well…read the article at the link above.  It is the story of a natal male who was horribly maimed during circumcision and was then subjected to a further mutilation of his body to “change him into a girl”.  The theory was that gender identity was purely a matter of external plumbing, and that if this little person “woke up” and saw their external plumbing was female, and that their clothes were female and their name was female and they were treated as female by everyone else, well they would just “be female”, case closed and everyone lives happily ever after.

Except it was an illusion.  A tragic and horrible illusion.  And it ended in suicide after 38 years of horror and suffering.  The article explains that all very well.

So how does it relate to a transgender person?  It goes to the location and seat of gender identity!  Under the current paradigm of the binary gender orientation, I am defined by my external plumbing.  From birth, I have been named, dressed, treated and socialized in the role consistent with my external genetalia, regardless of how I feel, think, or see the world which is totally the opposite…and this contradiction results in the same sorts of feelings and reactions as this poor soul in the article.  Oh, I processed things a bit different, but as I read of his despair, well it was too close to home.

Imagine for a moment:  if you woke up tomorrow, and all your clothes were the other gender…everyone you knew called you by a name that felt like sand in your own mouth and heart…you were expected to excel in the roles assigned by the opposite gender…you were expected to “know” the things the opposite gender has as inherent to them…

Maybe even at first you would think “cool”, what a chance to see the other side!  (Disregard the fact that you have prior experience already “seeing” your correct and natural side and would carry that experience with you as a help and buffer…we transgender people don’t even have that much).

But eventually, you would tire of this…enough, you would think.  I am going back to my real self, laying all this crap aside.

Oh but wait!  Everyone everywhere and every arm of society is now poised against you like the bramble bushes that were against Prince Charming as he sought to set Sleeping Beauty free!  It is all one giant Mirkwood filled with Shelobs and worse!  You show up to work wearing your right clothes and get mocked, threatened and terminated.

I think you get my point.

Gender is not located in external plumbing, and when your internal sense of gender and your external manifestation of this don’t line up the conflict is cataclysmic!

But the reverse is also true!  When a person’s body is surgically attended to with skill and care, and brought into alignment with the internal sense of gender, why voila!  The conflict dramatically diminishes and even disappears…and normal life happiness results.

We have always been taught not to judge a book by its cover.  We are taught that it is not outward appearance that impresses God, for They regard the heart and assess that.  So why in the world do we insist on imposing gender standards from the outside in, rather than discovering who our family and friends are from the inside out?

Listen:  being transgender is not a mental illness.  It is not a demonic spirit, any more than epilepsy is either of those…or a cleft palate is either of those…or a leaky heart valve is either of those.

Being transgender is a state of being, one that has been a part of the human experience of gender as far back as historical records extend, and it is across all cultures and races…it is something that is a function of the core of some people’s lives…

BUT:  if this condition is left untreated, then that neglect can result in horrible consequences: addictions, depressions, emotional and spiritual despairs, and ultimately the overwhelming desire to not hurt anymore, suicide.

But no…for some reason that completely mystifies me, we think that transgender humans are “adopting a lifestyle” or “adopting a new sexual proclivity” or are “seeking to overthrow marriage” or “rebelling against God”, or “are freaks” or…or…or…

It never ends, those “or”s.

If you are an ally, thank you, and please continue to support with your time, talent and treasure until these lies are shattered and a whole beautiful segment of humanity is liberated.

But if you aren’t…if you are “neutral” or simply new or think it is blechy…well just imagine if you were forced…yeah.  Not good.

I am a letter, and the envelope I am in has changed…a lot.  But I am still the same letter I always was…and if you have courage, maybe I will let you read me!  🙂

Do Justice.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.

Charissa

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Pas De Deux

the kind of love
that breaks your heart
in a way that somehow
makes it feel more whole,

that’s my Mama,
loving, breaking,
healing, asking.
She is always longing

for what I value dearest
and wants to be gifted
with my heart throb center
and bloody core.

Because then no more shells
no more shields
no more protective masks
just gentle yields.tumblr_n5wgcaKPS21qfhbsvo1_1280

Can I give up the thing
I most want to hold onto?
Can I turn from these things
(house, clothes, ease)?

It’s not a bargain, really…
this heart She drives for!
From either of our points of view
it seems we each stand to…what?

Really, what?  Do we gain?
Do we lose? Or do we
dance here, and choose
one another forever?tumblr_n2u7y8wWui1qfndl6o1_500

And if I do…give
houseclothesease
(and everything else)
but hold myself still

what is that gift
but the gift of lies
and the withholding
of the only truth I am?

Yes, Mama, Yes
security, love, reputation
no…me…I give You me (again)
and all I am most fiercely

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Common Ways We Complicate God’s Love

Constance, this is another great article. I have spoken of similar things but totally lacking the eloquence that Stephen has here in this article. This is far closer to the God who talks to my heart than how They are depicted by shortsighted and mean spirited people.

Thanks Stephen!! Love, Charissa

Stephen Mattson

The gospel message of Jesus is about love. God is love, and God wants us to reflect this reality to the world around us. But while Christians have been taught this simple reality for years, it’s easy to complicate the love of God. Here are five common ways we continually mess it up.

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Singing Songs With Unicorns: My Weekend With LGBT Christians

Constance, it is time for the obligatory reblog of my brother John P…please enjoy this post which says so well the things on my heart. This is the man we were honored to meet along with a passel of other very fine people.
Blessings, Charissa

john pavlovitz

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There are moments when you’re absolutely sure that you’re standing on holy ground, times when you feel the awe of something so big and so real, that you’re driven to your knees and moved to tears.

The Portland Convention Center became such sacred space for me this weekend.

As a pastor, walking into Christian conferences and into large rooms with people singing songs of praise to God is nothing new. In fact if I’m honest, over the years I’ve become somewhat jaded and apathetic and tired by gatherings that have so often felt like showy bits of religious entertainment, with Jesus being used simply to push product and manipulate people and build buildings.

This time was different. This was no show. This was The Church, as true and raw and desperate for God as I’ve ever experienced it.

The massive conference room was filled with 1,500 people, most of them LGBT Christians, along with their children…

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Ladies of London: My Guilty Pleasure

katgotyourtongue

 

Kat wants to know our feelings about Reality TV.

I confess…I abso hate it almost all the time…except for Ladies of London, omg.  It totes caught me up in its horror!  Its wonder!  Its towering banality!  Oh how I wish I could hang out with those ladies just for one day…omg.

Giggles…

Okay, I will admit that I also like watching the Bachelor, though I would NEVER date any of those dudes, ever.  Or any of the women, for that matter!

And that brings me to the reality of reality tv…it isn’t real, or even close to it.  It is heavily scripted, plays to the lowest common denominator, seeks out the worst behavior and emphasized drama at the cost of dignity…I suspect that most of the people that are so awful in that spotlight and the resulting fantasy of “celebrity culture” might actually have a shot at being decent, even normal people if they had the anonymity they should have maintained.

Fame is difficult enough to handle in the best of circumstances.  But add in the element of sensationalistic drama, and it is a recipe for disaster.

*Charissa covers one eye, and clicks over to the Bachelor*

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