like a river running…
dipped in for a drink
a pipeful, a turbine twist
and then running on
alone and so much more
ever questing to the sea
and no one knowing
what passed by
in the night unknowing
like a river running…
dipped in for a drink
a pipeful, a turbine twist
and then running on
alone and so much more
ever questing to the sea
and no one knowing
what passed by
in the night unknowing
I had it all together
rows and blocks
neat and trimmed
even if they sat
ragged round the edges
like clouds, like shadows
and then artesian wells
of soul, of spirit
of color riotous
those edges ragged
like clouds, like shadows
welled up out of
and I am
That’s close enough.
Do not cross my boundaries.
You are not welcome any closer.
“…or if they masquerade as friends to draw close,
sidling up so near to shove those pills dry
down our throats in rough and rooting
thrusting fingers ripping without a
drink to help them go down and
we, our own spoonful of sugar…
until we lie in thrall to
those fell jailers…”
smoke drifts on the wind
vanishes to who knows where
my soul, wind and smoke
I doubt you will ever read this, and that is really okay.
However, on the off chance you would see it, I can express my compassion and the depth it takes for me to get to the place that when Cancers get there, it’s all over.
There is a way back…it is the way of resurrection, and that involves a complete acknowledgement and acceptance that this died because of you and neglect. Your silence killed it, and once it is dead and I have set beside the body longer than Lazarus was in the tomb, I cut if off without looking back.
Miriam…I do take responsibility for this: I so wanted a mama of spirit, a crone to learn from and learn with. I so desired a mentor and partner too…and I thought you were it.
I was wrong. Because someone who mentors me knows me well enough after 2 years to know that neglect and silence and slipping off the direct things I have said is NOT the way. Confronting? Ok…taking responsibility? Yes. Remaining in the fire and dialoguing back and forth, give and take, helping me to see my own blindspots OH YES.
But not mocking about my baby steps, doing that in writing and then in front of others…not telling me that my gender status is not important to you…even though you thought you were saying something freeing you actually denied me…drinking DEEPLY from that Mama Care I just DO for those I love, and my unexpected emails and texts that know things I cannot know and speak to things I cannot speak to…such as in Greece 2018 and the work of the fucker with clay feet…
…the hand written lil book I gave you of my bone poems, cus you were so into bones then and not a WORD of thank you for it…even my willingness to SLICE FROM MY BOOK the pages you craved like Rapunzel’s mother craved greens…GAWD I almost did that. I had PLANS to excise them and frame them with glass on both sides and you would have had “Bones“, and “Of Women and Wolves” and “We Lords Of Tuscany, We Ladies Of The Meadow“…they would hang in mid air, slowly turning and displaying their faces…just as I do.
Hang. In mid air.
Displaying my faces.
THAT is where I was with you…and you?
DRINKING ALL THAT and then turning around and making fun of me for my silly girlish joy in dressing in costumes for a celebration…eating the food and then shitting on a ceremony because it wasn’t “proper” (according to what YOU want, and yet it was not about what YOU want, was it? It was about a celebration and making a new way…)
I was in circle recently…and it was revealed that every single person there had deep issues with previous experiences, things said, boasts made of how money could be made elsewhere, and rebukes issued in the name of leadership which left wounds…control issues.
Something you pay lip service to being confronted about but when the nitty gets gritty your talons come out and grip even harder and the only way to get free is to get free with a ripping and tearing that leaves flesh on your claws.
I want to thank you though. Because without those things it would not have been abundantly clear the WHAT and the WHO and the WAY of the circle…and not the way of your circle or the way of other circles…the way of US. Cus we knew then, what we wanted and what we did not want…and without the first one, the last one could not be.
And thank you also for other things too…I learned so much…and mostly I learned that I wanted something more that you just weren’t feeling or giving.
And now I am done.
Unless of course the work of the dead is done and the thing unearthed…but why, really, is what I think you are thinking, cus that Charissa is such a bitch and such a pain with her wordy over the top flow and bugging all the time…
well…I discovered something…I discovered there are people who CRAVE that, who WANT that…and who give it back too, received as something precious and given back.
The first person who used “Sweet Pea” for me eventually just disappeared from my life. Literally. Just up and was gone, and I cannot find her anymore.
You are the other person who did…and when you mocked me for “buying a stick” and then accused me of expectations I didn’t have and shit on a ceremony you did not partake in creating even though you were explicitly invited to do so, and you said behind my back to someone else comments indicating that you considered parts of the ceremony stupid…and when you received my long and difficult email of confrontation and your reply was part apology and part shift the issue from hurt to anger and part turning it back on me with dreams that I did not and do not receive as “about me” and then when I replied to THAT email you never ever even had another word…and I waited and waited…and there was MUCH that needed to be addressed but you COULD have addressed how I called you out about trying to shift the issue from hurt to anger…
…you could have even probed DEEPER there…
but you just…gave…silence. And not GOOD silence, but the silence with the shark fin threat…that left me hanging…and finally abandoned…
and at last our “we” was dead.
Things are revealed in Circle time…and this year I realized that I don’t want you in the circle, and I also don’t think it bothers you a whit.
If it DOES bother you, then there are some things…things to be addressed…and reparations that must be discussed.
And why would you do that? It is hard and feels yucky and it is the REAL death work that gets into the shit and the rot and pulls out the diamonds…why would you do that when you can just jet off other places where you flow so much better?
So, there it is…I am writing to ghosts as I already do with my poetry, writing to the ghosts waiting to be born when the audience that sees me will wonder why nobody knew her…and I am writing to the ghost of us who perhaps needs dismissal to pass on and perhaps wishes re-embodiment and resurrection (which depends on the living).
Don’t tell me I should have sent this directly to you: I already hit the ball over the net to you back in February and you have not replied…again and again not replied. So fuck that.
I congratulate you, for you got it, finally…what you accused was there that was not, but now it is and burning bright and clear as a consuming fire and not a dirty heat
Yes. I am angry. I am angry with myself for not being more careful and for not listening to the niggles that THIS is not a person in your world, for she lives in the jets and the places and stratas that you will never go because you have not the money nor the time available…this is not a person in your world for she buys and acquires things that SHE considers approved and yanks the rug out whenever you do…this is not a person in your world because she wants to be paid for teaching and you walk by a different creed…
And I am angry with you for not replying…for remaining silent…for not even resuming a typical conversation on ANY of the other things we “shared” (I should say I shared and assumed you shared too)…for hurting people in the circle and giving a different story than the hurting ones experienced…for NOT seeing me…the true surefooted winged horse I am…but instead seeing the old nag.
I now take a name for myself, and by this shall ever I be known to you if you attempt a return (there IS a path, it is the paths of the dead which you can walk):
It’s here, upon the threshold…
—hallowed (hollowed) spaces—
Thresholds are lurking in between
where veils are thin indeed
It’s here that we discover
the Shine of unseen presences
wait for us on the way.
We’ve chosen to attend the call
of our elysian journey
whether it long desired
or if it struck unbidden
like lightning from the hidden
We court holy disruption
just asking to be broken
and laboring to break
ourselves forever open wide
arriving in transition
We do confess this molten truth:
old structures have imploded
the old ways, habits, patterns
no longer serve to fill us
no matter how we gorge…
for the old has listless fallen off
And the new? Not yet emerged.
We put the Powers on notice
we’ve come to risk and open
ourselves, we’ve stopped our grasping
our frantic desperate scrabbling
for how things used to be,
We invoke every mystery chance
to change course, change perspective
And drain the unexpected cup
communion bread and wine
of earth, and of Sublime
We say yes! Take these moments
the journey takes us on
we become pilgrims, we resist
the siren call seductive
of mundane muddy matters
We feel it! things are changing
we hear the invitation
to open up ourselves and reach
Beyond, to mystery waiting
We walk into unknowing,
allow ourselves to shatter,
to be broken wide open
to receive gifts far bigger
than our tiny flat perspective
could even start to ponder…
Back home again we shall arrive
(perhaps before we’ve started
perhaps when we’ve departed)
we, salmon selves, return to us
in dawning spawned awareness
of the rooting inner journey
And what is left, remaining?
…Oh, there are reasons to go into here…
creating life from every death, for soil is alive, you see
that living soil feeds on death, it feasts on death
and brings forth life…
It is the Resurrection writ, inscribed
into the smallest detail of
existence…life giving soil…
“Feed the soil, not the plant!”
The ancient wisdom speaks to us, feed the soil for it’s alive,
cares not a whit for ethics held except the ethic of its pangs,
it hungers for the blood and bones it wants to eat, especially us…
Bone meal, blood, and ash remain, the finer points, the amuse-gueule
betwixt the teeth, all of them sharp
We learn the ancestral grammar and feed the trees with blood and bones
of every creature near and far, take solace in this sacrament
that spices every meal to come…
And comfort rises in this practise.
Four apple trees dance on edges of the grave and burial lands
Amidst the grasses and the hedges, above ground they flower, blossom,
Bare their ruddy fruit so sweet…
While down beneath, and out of sight
Below our hearing or our knowing
Those roots draw near the static graves…
So supple in the dirty night that closes, kisses, holds and grips
just like the roots that tender lick the bones and sigh in sweet relief
And breathe from bones in ever life
Transforming dust to living flesh
To feed our flesh and live again
And then to feed itself on us…
And if you listen you can hear the long slow sign of skeletal roots saying
“you are here and I am hungry
for you, for your shape,
you are the apple of my eye”
And dirt clogged chuckle trickles up and filters thru the flowering grass…
Teach simple truths, learn to accept that death draws near to everyone.
Inevitable is that step upon the grasses growing in
the fields, flowering, fading, falling…
to the faithful hands of roots so hungry, sharp of tooth and eye
to eat your bones and drink your blood, inhale your ashes and your dust
and then at last to resurrect us…
The Apple of Their Eye.
The water singing, sending
fingers in the air, as mist
to the regions
across the bridge
and thru the gate
and home to the Singer
In the water on the mist
“Less is more” she scolded
hither and yon
like her Dutch ancestor
needing to plug up the dike.
I sat there feeling banks caving in
choking out cloudy and clotty
as I backed up bulged up gasping
for my way round the mulberry bush
slid brackish into my brooky streams.
Then I looked out
and saw that sky
so impossibly starry
barely even begun the Story
I heard those waves
and even one handful
of that beach so soft
and exponential and more
than anyone could count
and I knew it was not true…
less is more.
Less is less and more is more
less and less, more and more.
This is from 2016, and I think it is very relevant to right now, because there is so much here you have missed.
I really do not know how to interpret your “gifts”, quotations used because you have often used money to obligate, to create hierarchies, to…gawd, who can ever really know?
The heck of it is that I have zero trust to ever really find out, because I don’t think deep down that you are really prepared to understand that this is an existential path instead of a moral one.
Regardless…this day from 2016 is a really good day to take a look at, in that it records several really fine poems and a couple essays that are palpable…this one being the most salient.
…you say that I think I can do what I want and pronounce it all forgiven by my belief in my “make-believe god”? You say that I think I can justify whatever I want and call it a “Road to Damascus” experience?
You think wrong.
You will never know the depth of the pain and sorrow for each and every time that I have fallen short…
…and you also will never know the hurt and pain you caused me with your false accusations of abuse and physical harm, your violent anger and threats of murder…your false memories and placing words in my mouth that I never said or even thought…
You will not have a way of knowing that even in your falseness I see that as my own fault because I did not do a good enough job to birth you into wholeness and understanding of truth…and instead, you go on forever about things that are so insane as to be befuddling to me.
No. I am blood guilty of sins of commission, and sins of omission as well.
But I place my faith and my trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, and in His Cross…and I ask Him to see me thru.
I trust Mama to Defend me, Advocate for me, Sustain me, Console me, and Comfort me.
I will do so all of my days, no matter how good or bad I was each day, no matter how deeply I fail or how high I fly.
This will never change, though I hope and pray that I will, continually becoming more like Jesus’ Lovely Heart by the Grace of God poured out liberally.
And there are others too…who read here like Nicodemus…you from the past, who used to come out into my working environment so you could criticise me, call me unsubmitted, tell me how I had no rule over my soul, and basically oppose every thing I attempted…I know you read here and think me tragically deceived, fallen away, or (one dude, you think this) in the clutches of “sexual sin”…
you think that being transgender is an act of sexual fulfillment, which absolutely cracks me up…like, I guffaw when I consider your ignorance and assumption.
You all have missed me in the midst of your judgement.
Here is me: this song forever, along with the other ones I have posted this morning.
If you want to understand me and be in my heart, you must understand and accept these songs. Whether or not you adhere to the songs is not my concern…that is up to you and your own convictions and choices. I seek to love and accept you regardless, from you who say you dreamed of murdering me for years to you who shake your head and waggle your beard because you have judged me outcast and shunned.
Sometimes I need to make these declarations.
Today is one of those days…and I am still here…like Papillon…I am still here…clinging to the precious Bleeding Side of Jesus.
I’ve been fingering the tears
again, the rents and runs and ruins,
where earth convulsed and absence ruled,
raw abandonment carved away
all solid ground for good and gone.
I have no earthly idea why
the silence swung its hammer blow
and shattered what I thought solid
showing me that it was shells
surrounding nothing but a hollow
lurk that waited mocking there
Three months (a trimester) time,
and edges that were razor sharp,
that sliced my gentle fingertips
(the same ones that speak spirit braille
and dole healing for blackest ail…)
to bloody shreds and ribbons red
has birthed…just rain, the steady drizzle
constant, velvet soft it falls
eroding bleak bewildered grief
answering frantic questions asked
(but never spoken) just rainfall
that whispers just because…
Smoothing cliffside, washing clean
rinsing scouring the mean
and low and petty dissipated,
rivulets until my fingers
felt, felt, just moss, fresh grass
and fog mingled in sassafras
and orchids peeking from the ruin
The fearsome Wreck of the New Charissa
(on a reef she never saw
and doesn’t understand) has even
still again become redeemed
in absence. In abandonment.
the Majesty of Absence
(photo by Kabrena Rodda January 26th 2019)
I am all crazy foothills
tumbling and topsy
milling round the mountain
that juts up so sudden
in bittersweet russet
and chromium slate
and silver so still
and so dancingly daring
to reach above treeline
and shout to lost rivers
I am little to love and yet
do have a draw
that compels a return
to be squeezed in the chaos
and lost in the hidden
the hidden, the hidden, get
lost in the hidden.
She rides, Her horse
grey and shadow
She bleeds silver
i melt into Her
wet rivers, dripping
slick with desire
swollen with devotion
aching with longing
until i am breathing
Night has gnawed grey brittle bones
clean, bare and thin as grave clothes, shriv’n
of warmth, sheer worm-worn sheets like stones
as cold as mercy never given
and weary…in the fires and flame
of time’s compressing screeching keen
as red heart slows, constricts in shame,
wings tangled in the chancel screen
In The Temple Of The Queen Of Death
Feel Her presence there in echoes
of bones nigh breaking, at least kneeling
to the moment’s cadence, throes,
within the Delphic Sanctum reeling
For a breath without drinking smoke
and thirsting throat, a coal black caul,
a scarf of soot round necks to choke
a masquerade, a pallor, pall
In The Temple Of The Queen Of Death
The loss of life and stone stilled tongues
and this is real, is bitter tart
It’s in a face, laces the lungs
It’s breaking in and on the heart
that continues rustling rough beneath
those sheets, and fearful to the touch
that long slow wet grief’s glistening sheath
and trembly tears the only crutch
In The Temple Of The Queen Of Death
Whoever dares to come, show up
with tears impudent, bold, absurd
and brave enough to take her cup,
enough to quench flames shaken, stirred
and break her crumbly mouldy bread
and eat and drink the Overwhelm
in numb mute witness, slow soft dread,
in courage, waiting in this realm
In The Temple Of The Queen Of Death
Yet…beneath the brown and chuckly dark
a river runs, it’s clear and deep
like liquid stars, a crystal spark
flowing, a fount in this stark keep
Yet…all who partake of her sup
can find their certain path to drink
of living waters springing up
and resonating in the ink
In The Temple Of The Queen Of Death
A tide lived backwards in the crush
A tide rolled forward far and wide
A resonance of life-blood gush
Love’s unstoppable great glad tide
The crisis of this time is met
in intimate authentic breath
that fears no evil, dreads no debt
and singing rises from short death
In The Temple Of The Queen Of Death
Well hello there Supporter of ttaf!
Here is the good doctor who you assiduously made sure I read. In fact, you taught me to read from his books!
This is a great skill to have, and it takes a much more active brain than watching Fux News all day ERRR FOX NEWS…
It stuns me that in this time of information access unparalleled in history, you have stuck your head even deeper into the sands of superstition and suspicion.
I finally understand what you mean when you say “Make America Great Again!”
You liked it better when racism was explicit and unconcealed! You liked it when you could call people of color whatever name you decided…like “negro” or even worse…when you could “Jew prices down”, when you could mock Asian people’s beautifully shaped eyes…all the while telling me Jesus loved the little children of the world…
You want to go back to the days when people of color were “allowed” to live so long as they kept their head low and slunk around out of sight knowing their place, and you liked being able to shake your head sadly when some “boy” forgot his place and got hisself lynched.
Well, I am glad you gave me the tools to free me from your heinous ignorance and xenophobic fears…and I weep for you, whining and crying all about how you are getting cheated of your golden years when you can just be an old crank and vote for whoever you want.
You do have that power…the problem is you are voting for an out and out racist who is committed to harming people who are Other (whether racially, religiously, or identity)…
you are voting for a misogynist who wants to erase and kill your very own child…because the funny thing about evangelicals is they keep producing children who are variant: sexually, gender, ability variant…
because you want an indulgence…
I am revolted by your callousness.
I have been listening to this podcast which is pretty good about getting some of the latest research out here where it can be digested and grappled with.
It is highly affirming of gender as being a continuum, both in existential experiential terms and in physical biological terms.
I highly recommend it, especially to that one from the past who reads here and makes an annual contribution of double grace. This will be very good for you as you are growing and jelling in your realizations.
ttaf supporter, you have been wondering “What will it take for relationship to be restored?”
Simply, it will take something like what Steve Schmidt has done…a lifelong deeply committed member of the Republican party who puts integrity and truth over ideology and money.
You promised me that if ttaf and his hoodlums tried to hurt me and my community you would renounce them. You really never DID get it that your vote for them was a huge slap in the face to me…you trusted the lies of people with something to gain over the life experience of me whom you have known my entire life.
This was such a huge betrayal.
But there IS a way to begin to repair it…if you have the courage.
Read the link below…and know that I am waiting…
I am posting my own poem again…because I have new readers and I want to introduce you to my true core rather than the prophetic broadsides I am compelled to post in the times of ttaf and monsters.
This poem speaks about what it is like to be “Othered”.
as i sit in tall grass
silky-lashing back and forth
quiet like tiger-tails talking
in air with movement
i think about the earth
spinning in space
circling the sun
amidst the stars
(but none of them close…
“…Efforts to attack trans students should be seen for what they are: politically opportunistic bullying. All these students want is to live their lives in peace, not to be political pawns, especially of the right.
“Trans people need support. I have faith that people will see through the lies of those who attack us, of those who try to use our children for political gain. If you’re ready to take action, there are real things you can do to help trans students and trans people.We need your help to fight back against the bullies…”
Remember how you said you would fiercely oppose anyone who attacked me or my friends, colleagues, or those who share my status, oh supporter of ttaf?
I am expecting your communication telling me that you now believe me when I warned you of their intentions of evil against us in the LGTBQIA community.
In what may turn out to be yet another front of the Trump administration’s war on transgender rights, some transgender U.S. passport holders are claiming that the State Department has denied renewal requests even after the applicants already listed their gender as female on previously approved passports.
(This is not my original writing…it is from FB and it says very well what I feel, and why I grieve over the vast gulf that is between me and people I used to respect and now am absolutely befuddled and heartbroken by. Watching the lives of the least of these being sacrificed on the altars of orthodoxy and comfort is tragic).
Note to ttaf supporter:
“I am unconcerned that we have different politics. I do not think less of you because you voted one way and I voted another.
We need people to vote and the candidate we select is not always going to win. It is hoped that we will have someone who is competent enough to run our country.
That didn’t happen in the last election. We got a thin-skinned egomaniac who has never been held accountable for any atrocities he has committed.
Let me be clear.
I think less of you because you watched an adult mock a disabled man in front of a crowd and you still supported him.
I think less of you because you saw a man spouting clear racism and you cheered for him.
I think less of you because of your willingness to support someone who openly admires dictators and demonizes the press and anyone who criticizes him.
I think less of you because you heard him advocate for war crimes and you still thought he should run this country.
I think less of you because you watched him equate a woman’s worth to her appearance and you thought that was okay.
I think less of you because you’ve seen his appointees systematically destroy legal protections and loot the tax payers money and you are ok with that.
I think less of you because
You watched, along with the rest of the nation, as he separated families and locked innocent children in dog cages and you were not horrified as the rest of us were.
(actual billboard inside the internment camps)
I think less of you because
You refuse to accept the fact that this man wants to work with dictators but has alienated our long standing allies.
I think less of you because you refuse to review the facts and accept that this man is lying to you on a daily basis.
It isn’t your politics I find repulsive. It is your willingness to support racism, sexism, misogyny, and cruelty that I find repulsive.
I think less of you because you supported a tyrant and bully when it mattered and that is something I will never forgive or forget. Your lack of morals and basic humanity are devastating to me.
There are some things I can never be civil about: concentration camps, genocide, white supremacy, misogyny, harm to children, mass trauma, state violence, rising fascism, to name a few.
There is NO civil discussion with someone who agrees with putting children in dog cages.
So, no…you and I will never be “coming together” to move forward or whatever.
Trump literally disgusts me and I hate the sound of his voice spewing hate and dividing the country but, the fact that he doesn’t disgust you is something that is going to stick with me long after this presidency.
You have shown me who you really are and the fact that you still support this monster and rush to justify everything he does makes me feel that we have nothing to discuss.”
Please go to the link to read this whole thing if you fancy yourself a Christian and yet think that the absolute fucker is God’s Anointed.
He isn’t…and you’re worshipping a false god if you think he is.
Yes. I am Charissa Grace White, and I approve this Message.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk Humbly.
We are living through perilous and polarizing times as a nation, with a dangerous crisis of moral and political leadership at the highest levels of our government and in our churches. We believe the soul of the nation and the integrity of faith are now at stake.
It is time to be followers of Jesus before anything else—nationality, political party, race, ethnicity, gender, geography—our identity in Christ precedes every other identity. We pray that our nation will see Jesus’ words in us. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
When politics undermines our theology, we must examine that politics. The church’s role is to change the world through the life and love of Jesus Christ. The government’s role is to serve the common good by protecting justice and peace, rewarding good behavior while restraining bad behavior (Romans 13). When that role is undermined by political leadership, faith leaders must stand up and speak out. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state.”
It is often the duty of Christian leaders, especially elders, to speak the truth in love to our churches and to name and warn against temptations, racial and cultural captivities, false doctrines, and political idolatries—and even our complicity in them. We do so here with humility, prayer, and a deep dependency on the grace and Holy Spirit of God.
This letter comes from a retreat on Ash Wednesday, 2018. In this season of Lent, we feel deep lamentations for the state of our nation, and our own hearts are filled with confession for the sins we feel called to address. The true meaning of the word repentance is to turn around. It is time to lament, confess, repent, and turn. In times of crisis, the church has historically learned to return to Jesus Christ.
Jesus is Lord. That is our foundational confession. It was central for the early church and needs to again become central to us. If Jesus is Lord, then Caesar was not—nor any other political ruler since. If Jesus is Lord, no other authority is absolute. Jesus Christ, and the kingdom of God he announced, is the Christian’s first loyalty, above all others. We pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Our faith is personal but never private, meant not only for heaven but for this earth.
The question we face is this: Who is Jesus Christ for us today? What does our loyalty to Christ, as disciples, require at this moment in our history? We believe it is time to renew our theology of public discipleship and witness. Applying what “Jesus is Lord” means today is the message we commend as elders to our churches.
What we believe leads us to what we must reject. Our “Yes” is the foundation for our “No.” What we confess as our faith leads to what we confront. Therefore, we offer the following six affirmations of what we believe, and the resulting rejections of practices and policies by political leaders which dangerously corrode the soul of the nation and deeply threaten the public integrity of our faith. We pray that we, as followers of Jesus, will find the depth of faith to match the danger of our political crisis.
I. WE BELIEVE each human being is made in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26). That image and likeness confers a divinely decreed dignity, worth, and God-given equality to all of us as children of the one God who is the Creator of all things. Racial bigotry is a brutal denial of the image of God (the imago dei) in some of the children of God. Our participation in the global community of Christ absolutely prevents any toleration of racial bigotry. Racial justice and healing are biblical and theological issues for us, and are central to the mission of the body of Christ in the world. We give thanks for the prophetic role of the historic black churches in America when they have called for a more faithful gospel.
THEREFORE, WE REJECT the resurgence of white nationalism and racism in our nation on many fronts, including the highest levels of political leadership. We, as followers of Jesus, must clearly reject the use of racial bigotry for political gain that we have seen. In the face of such bigotry, silence is complicity. In particular, we reject white supremacy and commit ourselves to help dismantle the systems and structures that perpetuate white preference and advantage. Further, any doctrines or political strategies that use racist resentments, fears, or language must be named as public sin—one that goes back to the foundation of our nation and lingers on. Racial bigotry must be antithetical for those belonging to the body of Christ, because it denies the truth of the gospel we profess.
II. WE BELIEVE we are one body. In Christ, there is to be no oppression based on race, gender, identity, or class (Galatians 3:28). The body of Christ, where those great human divisions are to be overcome, is meant to be an example for the rest of society. When we fail to overcome these oppressive obstacles, and even perpetuate them, we have failed in our vocation to the world—to proclaim and live the reconciling gospel of Christ.
THEREFORE, WE REJECT misogyny, the mistreatment, violent abuse, sexual harassment, and assault of women that has been further revealed in our culture and politics, including our churches, and the oppression of any other child of God. We lament when such practices seem publicly ignored, and thus privately condoned, by those in high positions of leadership. We stand for the respect, protection, and affirmation of women in our families, communities, workplaces, politics, and churches. We support the courageous truth-telling voices of women, who have helped the nation recognize these abuses. We confess sexism as a sin, requiring our repentance and resistance.
III. WE BELIEVE how we treat the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger, the sick, and the prisoner is how we treat Christ himself. (Matthew 25: 31-46) “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” God calls us to protect and seek justice for those who are poor and vulnerable, and our treatment of people who are “oppressed,” “strangers,” “outsiders,” or otherwise considered “marginal” is a test of our relationship to God, who made us all equal in divine dignity and love. Our proclamation of the lordship of Jesus Christ is at stake in our solidarity with the most vulnerable. If our gospel is not “good news to the poor,” it is not the gospel of Jesus Christ (Luke 4:18).
THEREFORE, WE REJECT the language and policies of political leaders who would debase and abandon the most vulnerable children of God. We strongly deplore the growing attacks on immigrants and refugees, who are being made into cultural and political targets, and we need to remind our churches that God makes the treatment of the “strangers” among us a test of faith (Leviticus 19:33-34). We won’t accept the neglect of the well-being of low-income families and children, and we will resist repeated attempts to deny health care to those who most need it. We confess our growing national sin of putting the rich over the poor. We reject the immoral logic of cutting services and programs for the poor while cutting taxes for the rich. Budgets are moral documents. We commit ourselves to opposing and reversing those policies and finding solutions that reflect the wisdom of people from different political parties and philosophies to seek the common good. Protecting the poor is a central commitment of Christian discipleship, to which 2,000 verses in the Bible attest.
IV. WE BELIEVE that truth is morally central to our personal and public lives. Truth-telling is central to the prophetic biblical tradition, whose vocation includes speaking the Word of God into their societies and speaking the truth to power. A commitment to speaking truth, the ninth commandment of the Decalogue, “You shall not bear false witness” (Exodus 20:16), is foundational to shared trust in society. Falsehood can enslave us, but Jesus promises, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32). The search and respect for truth is crucial to anyone who follows Christ.
THEREFORE, WE REJECT the practice and pattern of lying that is invading our political and civil life. Politicians, like the rest of us, are human, fallible, sinful, and mortal. But when public lying becomes so persistent that it deliberately tries to change facts for ideological, political, or personal gain, the public accountability to truth is undermined. The regular purveying of falsehoods and consistent lying by the nation’s highest leaders can change the moral expectations within a culture, the accountability for a civil society, and even the behavior of families and children. The normalization of lying presents a profound moral danger to the fabric of society. In the face of lies that bring darkness, Jesus is our truth and our light.
V. WE BELIEVE that Christ’s way of leadership is servanthood, not domination. Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles (the world) lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:25-26). We believe our elected officials are called to public service, not public tyranny, so we must protect the limits, checks, and balances of democracy and encourage humility and civility on the part of elected officials. We support democracy, not because we believe in human perfection, but because we do not. The authority of government is instituted by God to order an unredeemed society for the sake of justice and peace, but ultimate authority belongs only to God.
THEREFORE, WE REJECT any moves toward autocratic political leadership and authoritarian rule. We believe authoritarian political leadership is a theological danger that threatens democracy and the common good—and we will resist it. Disrespect for the rule of law, not recognizing the equal importance of our three branches of government, and replacing civility with dehumanizing hostility toward opponents are of great concern to us. Neglecting the ethic of public service and accountability, in favor of personal recognition and gain often characterized by offensive arrogance, are not just political issues for us. They raise deeper concerns about political idolatry, accompanied by false and unconstitutional notions of authority.
VI. WE BELIEVE Jesus when he tells us to go into all nations making disciples (Matthew 28:18). Our churches and our nations are part of an international community whose interests always surpass national boundaries. The most well-known verse in the New Testament starts with “For God so loved the world” (John 3:16). We, in turn, should love and serve the world and all its inhabitants, rather than seek first narrow, nationalistic prerogatives.
THEREFORE, WE REJECT “America first” as a theological heresy for followers of Christ. While we share a patriotic love for our country, we reject xenophobic or ethnic nationalism that places one nation over others as a political goal. We reject domination rather than stewardship of the earth’s resources, toward genuine global development that brings human flourishing for all of God’s children. Serving our own communities is essential, but the global connections between us are undeniable. Global poverty, environmental damage, violent conflict, weapons of mass destruction, and deadly diseases in some places ultimately affect all places, and we need wise political leadership to deal with each of these.
WE ARE DEEPLY CONCERNED for the soul of our nation, but also for our churches and the integrity of our faith. The present crisis calls us to go deeper—deeper into our relationship to God; deeper into our relationships with each other, especially across racial, ethnic, and national lines; deeper into our relationships with the most vulnerable, who are at greatest risk.
The church is always subject to temptations to power, to cultural conformity, and to racial, class, and gender divides, as Galatians 3:28 teaches us. But our answer is to be “in Christ,” and to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable, and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)
The best response to our political, material, cultural, racial, or national idolatries is the First Commandment: “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). Jesus summarizes the Greatest Commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, and your mind. This is the first commandment. And the second is like unto it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:38). As to loving our neighbors, we would add “no exceptions.”
We commend this letter to pastors, local churches, and young people who are watching and waiting to see what the churches will say and do at such a time as this.
Our urgent need, in a time of moral and political crisis, is to recover the power of confessing our faith. Lament, repent, and then repair. If Jesus is Lord, there is always space for grace. We believe it is time to speak and to act in faith and conscience, not because of politics, but because we are disciples of Jesus Christ—to whom be all authority, honor, and glory. It is time for a fresh confession of faith. Jesus is Lord. He is the light in our darkness. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Source: Reclaiming Jesus
From 2016…my thoughts on the popular evangelical christian “shotgun passages” they use to blanket condemn anyone who is not cisgender and heterosexual. I am reposting this because I sense that there are many readers from the past, several of whom have issued blanket condemnation of me and others like me…and who I have not seen or exchanged a single word with for many years…and yet they somehow know the state of my eternal destiny and current connection with God…
It makes me so sad…but not for me, actually! For THEM! So cocksure, so sage and sad, caressing their chins ever so mournfully and yet so piously, rubbing their beards…and wallowing in their own human pride and selfish piousness. People who claim titles like apostle and prophet, pastor and teacher…
people who Lord it over one another and practice a spirituality that is actually “homo-sect-uality”, and in fact the epitome of that abuse of power that Paul describes in the 1 Cor 6 passage, wherein an older powerful man exploits a younger and vulnerable boy…
I have seen (and experienced) that very exploitation myself.
It is my true hope that scales would fall off their eyes, as they did my own…where I discovered that the REAL transition of my life was transition from a self-righteous pit of death and striving towards a humble and broken compassionate vessel of the Love and Generosity of God.
There is also a link to a blog post by John Pavlovitz, and his listening experience to true christians who have been condemned by others…
“…Now, let’s see: I spot behaviors in this passage, behaviors that all focus on choices of the will…choices to commit various sexual sins (still not talking about orientations), choices to break commitments made to God and to other human beings (adultery and idolatry, which is a VERY tricky and subtle fault), choices to be envious that result in theft and coveting other people’s possessions, choices to become drunk and pursue a lifestyle of choice to indulge escaping from mature and fruitful living, choices to speak with anger and intense hatred in bitter speech to other human beings (yunno, like the comment section of articles), choices to THREATEN PEOPLE INTO DOING WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO…like the shunning that YOU REGULARLY DO to those whose ORIENTATIONS are imagined by you to be behavioral choices…
and yet somehow, ALL of the above choices you extend Grace and Mercy to, and almost all of those choices you have almost certainly been blood-guilty of yourself!! But you sit cheek and jowl in the pew with your fellow “unrighteous” and allow for yourselves and your cohorts in unrighteousness to participate in the Righteousness of Jesus and thus not only be forgiven, but in your mind EXCUSED from scrutiny…and you are content with the understanding that each person must scrutinize themselves with God (oh wait: Paul said that he did not judge even himself, for God is Judge)…”
I am reposting this prose essay that I wrote in 2015. Based on current readership, I think it might hit some hearts that are perhaps now harrowed by grief and plowed by sorrow, and tender, softened by trial to receive seeds of humility that may grow and blossom into the fruits of compassion.
At least…I hope so.
It is clumsy and has arthritic hands when it speaks and cannot hold small fine brushes or move with nuance, and so it paints with a broad brush in generalizations and caricatures…it is cartoonish, buffoonish…it is guffawing and backslapping……and the absolute worst is that it advocates the very hatred and othering and policing against others that has wounded and killed so many in LGTBQ circles.
Somehow, hatred and othering is okay because “they have it coming”.
I would say that I am embarrassed for the individuals to whom I refer, except that I am so deeply dismayed embarrassment is too embarrassed to show her face. I think it is clear that hatred is a human heart problem…and will never ever be conquered by more hatred…ever. Hatred can only be driven out by love, and when love is met with more hatred, the only secret weapon it has in its employ is grace, as displayed by forgiveness and then more love.
Constance: if you fail to grasp this essential truth, then you will be doomed to circle the constellations in this galaxy of ideas and ideologies that provide us with cosmic meaning and orientation, and you will dwell in one thinking it is finally the one with no idiots or haters present inside it…until you hear the voice of hate and bigotry emanating from within the very halls you hallow and inhabit!
I laid down on a rock
to have myself a sleep
the lichen whispered in my ear
of mystery-wonder deep
and even though the clock
spun round, toward death did creep
the rock just waited, patient, near
for me to make the leap.
Come down to the old brown barn with me.
It waits under the milky moon dripping, travelling,
the pearly moon freshly dunked
in far and sighing opalescent seas
and then come flying, fat and flitting swallow here,
to these far mountains and awaiting our arrival,
peaceful you and shivering me.
Come dressed in silks and sighs
and nothing else remaining.
Come adorned with slings and arrows
to lay down long at last in love
unfeigning, unfainting here,
in the end of battle.
The barn sings low and swinging
all our wonder up and ever outward
while the silver moon is clinging
wringing high and deeply dipping down
into the gulf dividing us asunder
from the gods and from ourselves…
and the mountains…
ahh…the mountains there
so tall, so stark
and unrelenting in the dark
the mountains dare to root down and reach up
and hold everything together
as it twirls, spinning.
beneath the stars so bright
the mountains hold us tight
and all together in
This graphic simplifies a complex issue down pretty well…that of how nearly all evangelical christians are so blind to their own internal contradictions that do not follow in the slightest their own dogma that masquerades as “God’s Will”.
Look, it is no secret that in the days of Caterpillar Dude, I was right there in the bunch (at least, I was dogma-wise and mentality wise: I taught the typical reflex on these issues and I made jokes and comments that were horribly evil and wrong, homophobic and transphobic and terrible…thank God I can say in all truth that when I spoke with actual humans who struggled with these issues I was compassionate and merciful in interaction…I was not able to go all the way and actually STAND with them, but at least they could regularly talk with me and I shared their burden)…
but after CD (Caterpillar Dude) entered the Chrysalis I was born…and in order to be born I had to confront my internalized transphobia and assumption that being transgender was the same thing as being a cross-dresser (which was assumed to be evil), or being a transvestite (which has LAYERS of assumption that had to be confronted)…
and as I studied the Bible, I utilized my grid of wisdom that I have come up with over the years with the multitude of issues that confront us in a modern world complex beyond the wildest dream of any single person whose words or writings contributed to the documents that are now held as sacred writing and containing God’s Word.
I start off with asking the question: “Is this forbidden or spoken against by Jesus in explicit terms?” Next I broaden the question to “Is this forbidden by the Epistles?” Lastly, I go to the Old Testament and ask the same thing, but with a much different standard with OT writings…they are but the shadow of the NT…they are not authoritative ever again as far as being a prescriptive behavior standard! They simply are not. If one comes under the Law for ANY point then one has denied the efficacy of The Sacrifice of the Incarnate One…in EVERY point.
After doing due diligence here with the Bible (and using all tools I have available) and making every effort to be true, I can move to the next question: Is this wise, practical, etc…does it fit with seeking first the Kingdom of God, with serving others, those sorts of things?
Next, I look at what the collected wisdom of humanity has to say about it, things like how other cultures and peoples have viewed this thing, how views have evolved in our own culture (and why), what the latest science shows us, what technology is revealing, etc. An example of this would be how epilepsy evolved from being thought to be demon possession just a few hundred years ago and is now understood to be a simple issue of brain chemistry…and there are countless other such examples which each one demonstrate how superstitious and fearful the so-called elect of God are on a continual basis!
Next, I move to the circle of trusted people in my life: what do they think? And this one was very difficult in terms of trans-issues because of the depth of internalized transphobia and assumption that it was rare that anyone made it past the “of COURSE this is evil” to “what does the Word actually say?” This is a perilous stage, because on the one hand you can deny the wisdom of counsel…and on the other hand you can deny the truth due to the fear of humans…it is my current view that it comes out in the wash, and only Jesus is capable of judging and knowing.
It is interesting how vindictive so-called friends and “brothers and sisters” are in this stage…when a friend of over 30 years tells me our friendship is over and never speaks to me again (all because he “loves me” of course…cus that is how you show love to a person…GAH!)…when another friend of 25 years never talks to me or contacts me even though I walked with him thru the darkness of panic attacks, the pain of doing deep inner wound work, stood by his wife as a friend to her and was told by her that I was “different than other men” and that my “leadership style” was different, and received…
how others from the past check in at Grace Notes like it is a soap opera (or are they like Nicodemus, wanting to approach but only under cover of night)…
and it completely and utterly confounds me how they all can “just know” that I am cursed to hell without even exchanging a word with me or seeing what work God has done!! Like…it shows the depth of hypocrisy!
Finally I look at the feasibility of some decision personally, at the very end of the process mentioned above…and at that point I take stock, make my move, and live it out.
As I did this with the issue of gender, I inevitably had to examine my assumptions and convictions regarding sexual orientation and expression…which I followed the same pattern…the big difference being that I looked at more sources and commentaries and points of view when it comes to the NT aspect of the subject.
Jesus said nothing about it. Period.
Paul lists off a particular expression of a relationship that was a power-abuse relationship that took form in a homosexual relationship between a powerful older man and a vulnerable younger man…and that expression is buried in amongst a number of other power-abuse acts that humans engage in.
I have written about this at length previously and you would be best served to look there for my deeper thoughts and discoveries…
And I came to understand that in the same way that something happened to me as I grew and I was just become at birth as I am, so too this happened/happens to people in regards to sexual orientation and that my understanding of The Gospel and of Love and most importantly Humility had to change, to grow and shrink!
So here is the problem, evangelical christian: your contradiction is showing SO HUGE!! Because on the one hand, you defend ttaf, offering him what you understand to be forgiveness and he understands to be a free pass to be a monster…yet on the other hand you deny that same pass to LGTBQIA people…
…and again, remember that I find your stance problematic on theological grounds as well as consistency grounds…both…
I have not witnessed in my lifetime a deeper depth of debasement and hypocrisy by christan people than that which has been surfaced by the appearance of ttaf…the same people who pledge fidelity to him as “God’s anointed” would weep and wail and gnash their teeth if every single thing charged about ttaf were exactly the same, but Hillary Clinton’s name was there instead.
Step out of your bubble of fear which imprisons you to Fox News and ONLY Fox News (even though you ignore the massive defections going on there by people of true integrity and courage who recognize ttaf is a monster)…and pull up any summary of the allegations/charges/actual true things that ttaf has done and is accused of…and have your own “refutation sources” ready…and then just simply exchange the names: Clinton for ttaf…
what do you think now?
See what you have swallowed, what you have become? And that you are aged and sick and tired and want to hold close the lies and deceptions to preserve a sense of honor for yourself makes it all the worse, having run strong this far only to at the end bend over and kiss the boot of the tyrant and honor satan with your acceptance of lies!
See…any application you seek to make that condemns the LGTBQIA people to hell a priori is also an indictment against ttaf…and any sop you offer to condone and expiate ttaf must also be offered to LGTBQIA people in toto!!
It hurts me in my deepest hurt as I imagine you taking stock of your capitulation when you are leaving this world, knowing that you sided with evil at the end…
“…and in those days even the elect will be deceived…”
This is far more you than me right now.
God grant my eyes stay open and my heart tender…and that I err on the side of the weak and broken and that I resist Empire.
I am truly honored and not a little surprised that anyone reads here…let alone FOLLOWS here!
Lately, I have been working on a book of my original poems, handwritten and hand painted…thus, a lot of my creative impulse is expressed there these days.
Fear not! LOL! I have many drafts for poems, and when I get this book done I will return to my typical writing.
I also write a lot on Facebook these days…so you can find me there and read more of my thinking (unless you are a troll or a person from my past who supports trump the absolute fucker, or a person from my past who says I am going to hell…we will have a contest, you and me, on Judgement Day. You, like the prophets of Baal will have all your writs, your decrees, your dogmas and fears and traditions and hatred, and you shall testify mightily while They listen to you.
And I? When it is my turn, I shall simply say “I plead the Blood of Jesus and Confess His Mighty Name”.
We’ll see who wins).
Anyway, thank you for reading here, this accounting of a life in transition, trying to be close to the Ones I love most…and trying to deal with the loss of the ones I love most.
I wrote this 4 years ago…a lifetime ago…when I first began to see I really really REALLY had a shell over me…and that it was possible to live free.
I want to challenge you today, especially if you are cis-gender and not transgender: what shell are you living in? What transition must you make as a soul, one that is not a transition of gender, but your own answer to the call to “cross-over”?
Are you called to cross over into creativity and leave behind the world of grubbing for money?
Are you called to cross over into true relationship with God, leaving behind the shell of conservative evangelicalism that is nothing more than a gateway to the gas chambers, with a sign over it saying “Welcome to Hell?”
We all are called to trans…from death to Life…from works to Grace…I pray you find your courage and begin!! Cus the water is fine.
“It caged me in its cold confining bars.
Long have I been its lost and longing thrall,
its tenant-serf of weary plodding on.
It’s clung, tentacled round my throat, my eyes,
and darkness was its cruel confederate
who caged my strong uprising Ne’er-Say-Die…”
Source: Wave | Charissa’s Grace Notes
This, another poem from last year, comments on life like a vapor, yet must be captured within you, there in your body…
the fog gathers, nesting
over the deep quiet glen
dialing down sunlight
damping every sound
in this gloam my supple soul
nestles in, gives up control
and ceases struggle to be good,
or important, or subtle…
From last year…I really love this lil beauty!
Do you know the place where the light passes in?
That’s where you’ll find me when darkness is seeping
from crevice and cranny while Spring trudges weeping
I sit in the place where the light passes in.
You’ll find me there singing of beautiful life
and of faith like pure gold burnished shiny with hope
as my tears fall like diamonds so soft in the wind
In that place where the light, where the light passes in…
(continued at Source: Where The Light Passes In | Charissa’s Grace Notes )
Two years in, it still applies.
This is talking about my own life, my own family…and yours, too…because all of us have this brokenness. The evidence is irrefutable.
This poem is all about forgiveness…trying to give it and trying to receive it…and the incredible revelation that it is impossible.
There is no trying…there is only becoming.
“…And so now we get down to it:
there is no exit,
no escape from agony,
pitstop from pain…
all we can do is
exchange suffering’s form
and it’s face, from our own
for the pain of another…”
I admit I am surprised that there has not been more interest in my recent poem “Situla“. Perhaps it was layout?
Situla means “a bucket for Holy Water” by the way…Here is the poem, laid out without any images…
Just after dawn…
but before sunrise
I hear the sound
of music stilled
and waters hushed
frost crystals clasping
I rise and
wait, hushed and
of sorrow and nard
of fragrance and tears
and deep joy too.
I guess the guests
are still around
the table, I think
the gusty crowd
is still sitting in
the dark and staring
at the inside
of the veil…
as I travail
as I writhe
to give way
and this coming
as light and heat
sing gently ’round
as the roses
the alabaster jar
Just after dawn…
but before sunrise
I hear the sound
of music stilled
and waters hushed
frost crystals clasping
I rise and wait,
hushed and clutching
of sorrow and nard
of fragrance and tears
and deep joy too.
I guess the guests
are still around
the table, I think
the gusty crowd
is still sitting in
the dark and staring
at the inside
of the veil…
as I travail
as I writhe
to give way
and this coming
as light and heat
sing gently ’round
as the roses
the alabaster jar
“talking with you
sometimes is either
a slap in the face
or a slammed door,
and yet the Void…gaping gulf,
it is but exhalation
in the Light of your shadow!
into that seeming nothing,
yawning and gulping, well
it is but a dropped stitch
in the Banners over me
The Fall of Ancient Time (A contemporary Re-write of Psalm 5)
“…Barcelona, City of Bones
Baking before the gates of the Sun,
I sacrificed my purity for thee, such as it might be
(my purity, not my sacrifice)
of heart and soul,
song and deed
and strong intention.
Barcelona, my sacrifice
so droll, so dirty is actually
as purity and thus is merely
the absence of jazz,
the absence of spice,
the absence of that
jagged noise of exultation
and thus there is no
purity and nothing
City of Bones
“like the way
you touch my ankle
when we sit upon
the floor there,
by the fire
in the speckled-star-lit night
outside the house
just like a mama bird who nestles
down so gentle on Her chicks…”
Something happened today which prompted me to want to repost something that I wrote in January of 2014…so long ago, and yet only 4 years…
In order to understand where I am at emotionally and spiritually in light of the event which transpired today, you need a bit of a refresher…an understanding that the repost at the bottom of the page was written BEFORE so much took place:
I wrote the words I am reposting before I wrote about the beginning of the shunning from the spiritual culture as defined by the vast majority of Christian Evangelicalism…these words, which talk about the nearly total experience I have had with Christians from my past (there is one…ONE person who has verbally, physically, emotionally and spiritually received me who is from my past. She did so with tears of joy and literal kisses all over my cheeks and forehead, and was stricken as she thought back to the prison I was in and she was amazed that God had loosed this captive so wonderfully).
I wrote them before I wrote about a baby step of coming out that was looming…and ended up being a devastating attack and shunning by the time it played out.
I wrote them before I wrote about the shunning that happened on a monolithic totality in regards to every single friendship from the past which happened when I came out…I received a letter from a person that I had known for 30 years…a person that I had worshiped beside, shared many meals with…a person who had lived in our home…a person who I had walked alongside as they sojourned thru the valley of the shadow of an addiction which nearly destroyed family and self…a letter that shunned me in the Name of Jesus, The One Being who welcomes me constantly and says that His Blood is enough and more than enough for me…
I wrote them before I wrote of the public shunning that happened, when it was the searing abandonment in public circles.
I wrote it before the 21 Gun Salute took place, that professional execution I endured…that death, and the subsequent resurrection from those Phoenix Ashes…
I wrote about it before the horrid attacks coming from supposed Christians which were filled with literal perversions, profanities, and exhortations to kill myself…all given in the name of Jesus of course.
Yes. That literally happened.
So what happened today that precipitated this reminiscence?
This: there is a man from my past, a person that I met in the late 80s and who I was in close proximity with until the year 2005…this man operated (and perhaps still does? I really do not know. Lord knows that I have grown up, been pruned back, become more and become less, been adjusted, and healed of terrible blindnesses…so I do leave room for the possibility that this has happened with him as well. But I do not hold out a shred of hope, or a scintilla of expectation that this has happened, for the need of those who are deeply in thrall to a certain assumption and paradigm to punish me and punish me utterly is far greater than the ability to actually live out the sacrificial Love of Christ that went straight for every single person who was “yet dead in sin”…and not just to the so-called righteous)…
This man operated under a deep orientation that assumed all the doctrines related to “submission”, and truly felt it was the loving thing to enforce that notion…I have many many hurtful memories of those years, from the comments regarding my supposed “cheesy grin” that I supposedly wore (likely, it was whatever mask was on me during the deep dissociation of living trans in a male role and carrying the burden of remembering every detail so I could forget that I was a woman, and thus related to the fracturing events of early childhood) to the interactions which accused me of seeking to utilize my role as a worship leader on Sunday morning in service of self, to the utterly devastating final blow given in such “sad sorrowful tones” which said that my father was suffering and dying in the way he was because I was not properly submitted to “the leader” of this group…
There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that every single one of these actions was done from true conviction that it was the right and loving thing to do, based on the paradigm in which he (we) swam…indeed, I myself interacted with people who approached me for help and counsel as they struggled with their sexual orientations in light of the teaching assumptions we were under…and I gave the “answers” I had learned…and I grieve over that…so deeply…
I myself bought into attitudes and distortions of good teachings that I sincerely and 100% believed, and I thought those with other understandings to simply be sinners who were seeking to justify remaining in sin yet still retaining connection to God, and I simply…well, I simply did not have an ounce of compassion…
I shared the privileged view of the privileged…and had NO CONCEPT of the Other…
And it wasn’t until I was no longer “one of them”, not because I resigned membership in privilege, but because when I transitioned I was executed swiftly…
In the personal-relational realm
In the spiritual-religious realm
In the professional-economic realm…
So I know that the intention of those times was, within his own heart and self, “good”…
We also shared many other times too…good times where somehow who was submitted to who wasn’t that important and was never even thought of…such as working on each other’s houses…putting out a fire that started on a hill and nearly burned the entire area down…eating meals together…
Those years…I believe it was about 17 years…during those years I did a lot of dying, and had a lot to die to…and that place was the crucible of purification, in which I gained much wisdom thru death to self. I was so fractured…so young…and so deeply in the grip of dysphoria and dissociation which was the hidden reef under everything in my life.
He did not know anything about this…neither did I. And looking back, sooo many things just SHOUT it out so loudly, and while it is occasion of grief and mourning looking back, it also is comforting to know that at least there was a reason for it!
Well…Charissa’s Grace Notes is a public blog. And this man is a reader…regularly…how frequently, I really could not say, but based on my own internal tools I have as the creator, I suspect it is fairly regularly.
How did he even know I had a blog? I have not exchanged a word with this man for years…a good 7 years before I even transitioned, and certainly not a word since transition….God forbid! I am pretty sure he would not, and I KNOW I would not because I decided in 2014 that I would never again submit myself to spiritual abuse and attack from anyone to whom I was a priori a demon-possessed hell-bound apostate.
It is obvi that he found out about my blog via word of mouth…because it is funny: the biggest evils that scripture has volumes of teaching about (the tongue, the heart) are so easily ignored in Christendom in order to condemn the phantom evils which scripture never even speaks about (gender variance and orientation)…and wowsa did the word spread like fire!!
In fact, the person mentioned here even swore to me that he considered it his spiritual service and duty to God to out me to every single person he met, lest he be tainted by my “sin” of intentional self-deception and thus have my blood on his head. Yes…these sorts believe this: “If you see your brother approaching destruction and you do not restrain them, their blood is on your head”. They interpret this old Proverb as the license to attack anyone doing anything that is to them “a sin.” He told me that he needed to warn every single person he could that I was anathema and not to be received among “the brethren”…
try and imagine how this felt, and feels…
So anyway, I know that the man I am writing about this morning found my blog fairly easily, but after hearing the words of the tale-bearers, those morsels of gossip that go down so sweet and titillating…
But he has stuck around…and has been reading…for a long time, if I am guessing right…and because I am made who I am, and because of my heart towards God and understanding that I have been made thusly to break down walls and uproot lies and then to plant and build true kingdom attitudes, I have held out hope…a very very teeny tiny shred of hope…
…that maybe he has done the work, read the research…maybe he has examined the scriptures and his own assumptions…maybe he has the courage to know that in spite of anything he might believe about gender variance, the person he knew was truly a child of God and is still one now…that maybe he has met other transhumans…
I am not optimistic about this, or myopic…the odds are VERY slim.
But this man has done something, not once, but twice.
He has contributed money to my transition fund, each time choosing an amount which is significant to me as the number of my name.
But I am leery. It is not inconsistent with the old assumptions of that paradigm to do acts of charity or service for those considered lost and perishing. It is thought of as heaping coals of fire upon the head…it is thought of as setting an example…and sometimes it is flat out a genuine expression of God’s heart of love.
How do I know this? Because I have been there, done that…myself. Previously.
I am also skeptical and very wary because one of those donations referenced my children…and there is a huge assumption in play in those circles that a righteous relationship with God is able to be detected in the condition of relationship with one’s children and other family.
(Remember the remark about my dad suffering because I was “not submitted” and “rebellious”?)
It is not by any means whatsoever a stretch to see that particular donation coupled with that particular remark about my children as the “coin of unsanctified pity” and ultimately as a dig, a cut, an arrow shot in hopes of providing a wound that cleanses and restores…and if it was that, it was an arrow that shot and wounded and brought death because there literally is not a cleansing and restoring relatable to gender variance and orientation.
God knows there are plenty of areas in my heart that need adjusting and cleansing…it just so happens that being a woman who was assigned male at birth is not one of those areas, anymore than anyone need repent of their gender orientation, or their hair color, or leg length.
So I am very wary. (Oh yes: the donation this morning simply said “thinking of you”…and that was both a very simple comment and a very pregnant comment.)
The first time it happened, I accepted the donation, spent it on my legal costs in fact…yeah, dude…you helped me change my birth certificate, a great day in my life!! LOL!!!! But I did not reply or interact with the person, because I do not expect that interaction to be life giving and healing, but rather to be a battle and ordeal.
And then it happened again, this morning, and this one is significant to me…
…you see, just before the end of the year, on New Year’s Eve morning in the early morning, I dreamed about this person! In the dream, Jane and I had a place we were building up in the hills. We went up there one day to do some work in our structure, which was framed and roofed and wired and plumbed, but lacked sheetrock or siding and finish work trimming…and when we got there, we were shocked to discover that the entire area around us had been developed and had structures on it of various states of completion…all told, the area had around 30 houses, where there had just been ours and a lot of wild land.
We looked around a bit, confused and concerned, when who should approach us but this man who donated to me this morning! He walked up to us and called out to us…and looked me full in the eyes and greeted me with “Hello, Charissa, may I walk close to you?” I was very taken aback that he used my true name rather than my dead name and that he knew he needed to ask permission before moving close to me!!!
I said yes, and watched as he approached, and saw tears in his eyes. He extended his hand to shake hands, and I impulsively brushed his hand aside, greeted him by name, and gave him a hug. He did not shy away from the hug OR from the double reminders of who I truly am…and then he broke the embrace and held my by my shoulders at arms length and said that it was really good to seem me, Charissa…and his tears were streaming down his face.
I motioned around me and said “So what is happening here, and why are you up here?” Meaning the development and his presence where there had been nothing but our house and no one but us.
He looked down in what appeared to be sorrow or shame or conviction or regret, I really couldn’t get a good read on it…and then he looked up and said to us “I am so sorry, and I have been wrong. God has been working in my heart…in our hearts…and we wanted to learn.” I said “Who is the we you refer to and what are you sorry for?”
He said he was sorry for all the same things that I sorrowed over about what I used to think regarding LGTBQIA issues and Christian teaching, he was sorry about the same things I sorrowed about in terms of the expression of God’s heart in such a cancerous and poisonous way that evangelicalism has become…and that most of all he was sorry that he had automatically condemned transgender people to the label of (fill in your favorite slur, I am not using it today)…
and he said that the “we” he referred to were all people from this little group that grew up, insular and inbred, from a “school” that he helped to start and keep going…that around 30 people all had this deep repentance and wanted to walk away from that old set of beliefs, and that he had bought all the property around us, in order to live close to us and learn from us…
…and would we please teach him, teach them?
Well, Jane and I looked at each other, shocked, suspicious, wary, and on the verge of running.
But one this is so clear to me…more clear to me than nearly anything I have ever heard from God: It is completely and utterly inviolate to me that God Themself planned and intended to create me as I am from the start: A Transsexual Woman, who would grow up wounded and fractured and driven to God as my only hope of salvation from despair and ruination…and that it was a very sobering thing to Them to do this, for They knew full well the horror and pain this would be to me…and each of Them stepped forward and said “I am enough for her”…and the reason for this is that They had assigned my life destiny to be a prophetess to the people of God who forgot the Heart of God…to speak to them of God’s Heart for the ones who are slaughtered in every realm and sacrificed on the altar of gender…
and that it should be easy for those people to receive me and God’s message, for in those old days I doubt any of them would have thought I was hell-bound, and in those days virtually all of them thought that I heard from God regularly…even though “there is so much wrong” with me LOL!
And so because of that mission, that quest…and yes, the desire to set them free of their blindness and prejudice and hatred, we did not run…but stayed…and said that we would consider it, but had many things to be worked out, many boundaries to be defined…
The man was joyous in our response and agreed to this…
and then I woke up.
Of course, since this was a dream, I interpret the details and events symbolically. I got up from bed and sat and thought and prayed for awhile, wondering what in the world I was dreaming about that dude for!!!??? I had not even thought about him for a couple of years. Jane held similar puzzlement about it…and we both thought that it was talking about “a neighborhood of understanding/teaching/thinking/transformation” rather than an actual sub-division, and we saw both the man and the people he referenced as symbolic of that whole group of “white, cis-gendered, straight, evangelical Christian conservative” human beings who literally have NO IDEA how much they are bequeathed things on the basis of their race, their sexual orientation, their gender purity, and their religious understandings.
So we said a quick prayer…and I promptly forgot about it.
Until this morning.
Here is this comment “Thinking of you” and this monetary amount…and the dream rushed back…along with all the wariness, suspicion and other emotions which come from the experienced trauma and trial of those years.
The crucial thing to know is this: a bell, once rung, cannot be unrung. A woman who gives birth is always a mother, even if the child dies. There is no “going back” because there is no back to go to.
It is this way with me: I will never go back. He is dead, Caterpillar Dude…he is no more. He is the “back” and is gone. So there is no “going back”.
Any “kind indulgence” will not “induce to repentance” because there is nothing to be repented of in terms of my transition! As to repentance of any kind? Oh yes…the continual joy of beholding Jesus and being transformed by degrees from the glory of the letter which kills to the glory of the Spirit which is life…yunno…the same repentance we share in common.
I am not sure what I will spend this amount on…probably on my HRT, and this is a valued and well received gift.
I am always open to the generosity of heart and spirit that flows in God’s economy from they that have abundance to they that have need…and would always in that spirit welcome such donations/gifts…other gifts I have actually passed on to others in far greater need than I.
But if the spirit and intention of the gift is anything related to “getting me to go back”? To “repent” of “gender heresy” and “assume my old name and role?”
There is not a chance.
Those things are further from me than East is from West.
And if that spirit and intention is thus impure, then I consider the donation to be “the spoils of Egypt” and still put it to good use.
Wow…what a ramble, eh? If any are still with me, thanks for reading patiently.
Blessings to you today from our wonderful counselor and our comforter and the lover of our souls,
I noticed a thing that
two people kiss
move like the tide
could not tell
was coming in or
going out or
This is from 1976…and how I never knew about it until today is beyond me. I have mocked and mugged over the song “Feelings” since it first hit the air waves…it is a piece of crap song.
But listen to what this incredible human does with it…what she says with it…what she doesn’t say…
Please…this is what I want to do with my Poetry
Spinning like leaves
loose falling and slow
and scurrying brownly
to nowhere…no when…
fast flakes flying, fleeing
the huffy long Storm
of The Great Tree of Life
for the dim tree of EGO
dried out, lacking relevance
and fading, and fading
disconnected and done
just a leaf…just a me
and lost in the pile
And the stormings of Autumn
turn cold here, outside,
clammy and indifferent
to everything else
but the deep dark long job
of laying down still
in the cold cooling earth
and The Long Sighing slower
I have lost my True North
and grown cold and weary
in my mission to Grace:
to be Grace remaining
in roots, to drink Grace
clean raining so free
to walk on Grace quick
in the wind, to swim deep
in Grace beneath the vision
to fall like Grace landing
like swans white and dolorous
to crash…to settle, to touch
The fallen brown flakes
they smolder and smoke
as skies above tense
and bunch and blow white
and acrid smells clench
all around me and promises
into ashes…and yet…
I can’t find a flame
and can’t feel the fire
on my skin, in my bones
and real tears on my cheeks
and I find
I have come
oh, I see the flotsam and jetsam
that jumped from the garage sales
on life’s oceans, my knick·knacks
strewn round about jousting
with your bibelots and baubles
our lace tablecloth
crawling in intricate pattern
on our lil table like a web
sprung from Oh Smart Charlotte
and laid down for our delight,
and our kettle like a bird
flown into its window-nemesis
our hearth lays there, still…silent
and sorry ash too listless to even
puff and rise for flights of fancy
with dust motes and sunbeams.
our mittens and scarves
lay over there, forlorn,
bereft of body and they listen
to the music of clothes
piled beside railways to hell.
they are thankful for tiny tragedy,
small in scope and easily buried.
but i am still in me,
like the ashes in the hearth,
and I know that tragedy is a hologram,
from the smallest piece to the greatest
and I miss your quick warm movements
that sing without saying a word.
cottages, tables and mittens…
all hearths of sorts,
and full of empty ashes.”
Shudder. SHUDDER. SHUDDER!!!!! This was written moments before that event, that seminal event that was the deepest violation, betrayal, and opportunity all rolled into one. I forgive the ones who did this seminal penetration…but I will never ever be around them, ever again.
i dangle now
stuck in and out
eyes throbbing red
red red red darktoday will be a birth
or an abortion
a hand or
a sharp knife
to Kafka penitentiary”
I think this is among the handful of poems that I really feel good about, from the point of view of technical craft…I think I really hit the sweet spot and was risen above a mere hack or journeyman kind of poetess…
I wrote this, pretty much the first true poem I wrote after a seminal crushing happened to me and I was worried that my creative fonts had been polluted forever…thank God this worry was unfounded, as this beautiful little creature shows.
“…You were a wordless humming song
and tidal in my veins you moved
in rhythm, rhyme, in time to that
strumming music tidal
joyous humming in the dancing of the waves
and sand and wind and sky.
We walked each day steady
across those shores ever reaching
to the sea and the sea ever running
back to sands and sunset ever blessing
everyday each moment with its many colored kiss
in hues of pinks and purples, oranges, yellows, hues of bliss
in reds and blues, and greys… you…
always grey lining blue of mine with you,
in silver shot straight thru
with grey shot thru my blue.
We knew each sunset,
whiled away another day
closer to that sunset last
and that final mystic gateway
at the end thru which we enter
Lone and sundered, hoping that we yet may
walk together on a new shore
where there are no sunsets because
there is only sunrise
and yet again…”
A couple of years ago…and utterly slipped from my mind, but oh how I remember it now…what a beautiful word, Re-member…
What’s it like, on the grey seas
in the silver wind, with sails
so green and full and billowing?
Skimming swift and dangerous, light
on the waters while the crew scrambles
‘neath that Captain loud and bellowing?
Stinging spray by facefuls founting
up from waves slosh-frothing, faithful
and fateful leading cross the edge
to horizons promising much more
of the same and something different,
something different, too.
Yesterday…it felt like a dream. I was thinking of that beautiful Psalm
“When the Lord brought back the captive ones of Zion, we were like those who dream! Then our mouths were filled with laughter and our tongue with singing! Then they said among the nations that the Lord has done GREAT things for them.
“The Lord has done great things for me…
“She who sows in tears shall reap in joy. She who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing bringing her sheaves with her.”
It was like a dream to me…or rather, it was like waking up.
I think that is what death will be like…we shall fall asleep, and when we wake, we are shocked and stunned at the THICKNESS OF REALITY that we are swimming in!! What we shall see…what we shall hear…what we shall taste…
But yesterday…the children are seeing me, and it is spreading like a case of holy measles or chicken pox lol!! My lil shadow cadre is growing…and I have spotted some little torn ones and sent them the message without words that they can talk to me with words or with eyes…and that is a good and sacred Mama thing of which I think I will not speak…but it is VERY good.
Let’s see…what did I do? Well, I am working for a young teacher who frankly has a chance to really make a mark in teaching should she discover this as a life long and intense passion. The fact of her name is also a promise to me…of this I maybe can write about later.
This teacher is giving me permission to help, truly help and I lack the words to say how this feels, after being in a place where it seemed that other agendas dominated the subtext.
At recess, I played soccer, I told stories…oh by the way, I am WAAAAYYY OLDER than a thousand years old!! I am so old that I know the stories of every single tree around our playground, and I know how to hear the language of all the little grasses and bushes that the trees protect…but I am NOT a MILLION years old because then I would be a dinosaur!!! (Yes, I did say all that, and I DID turn into a dinosaur, but very briefly…I quickly was me again laughing and joying!)…
I taught them how to walk on this little divider/container that looked like a balance beam, and soon I had 20 plus kids walking this little balance beam that probably was a good 200 feet or even MORE, all around the play structures…and OH MY GOD!!! It was soooo fun…
They were using gross motor skills, FINE motor skills, and in their minds???
Sometimes we were on a high wire at the circus…sometimes we were suspended over a pit of ALLIGATORS…sometimes we were suspended over a pit of PUPPIES wanting to lick our faces…sometimes there were people watching ready to give us medals if we stayed on…it was truly fun. Truly. FUN!
Did you have any fun yesterday? Like…FUN? Did you play yesterday?
Human beings need to play…every single day.
Staff is genuinely warm, welcoming…all things are going well.
It is only two days in…and these two days feel like waking from a dream…waking from the captivity of purification.
It’s always worth it, friends…the purification…so much so that you can even seek it out, if you are a Fool like me LOL! You can intention for purity…do something that is a ritual for you…it really doesn’t matter what it is, because it is the intentionality of your being which attracts Mama’s Eye and Heart…
I used to burn incense…but as my asthma got worse, I once asked Mama if I had to do that and She suggested that it was the incense of my Song She loved the most…and BOOM!!
Now I just burn me…
It is important for you to know that as I write these things, I sit in stunned wonder and actually laugh out loud at the ABSURDITY of it all!!
I GET TO PLAY…and I GET TO LOVE…and I GET TO TEACH…and I GET TO BE…
and in the moments, yunno the ones…when a little is flummoxed or triggered, or their lil brains have flipped and they cannot process the rationality of things…and you just sit there and say “omg Mama wtf am I gunna do???”
And She drops something down like a feather…or it PLOPS up from the soul-geyser and splats into your mind…or you sniff the inner breezes and smell Her near…or you notice some lil cue…
IT IS HER!! ANYONE CAN DO THIS!!!
Mama says this morning “Whosoever will, let her come to Me and come quickly, for it is your DESIRE that determines your DESTINY! Desire will determine which path your foot finds, and once you find that path it will pull you along, push you along, draw you in and up and IN AND UP…until…”
…until you laugh like Charissa.
I am like one who dreams.
Oh, one last word…yunno those verses I quoted above? Those are saying something very important.
She who goes forth weeping, sowing in tears, sowing her seed? This speaks of a very important principle in farming and also spiritually…
See, Mama and Jesus and Father (insert your own name(s) for Divine God here) give us food yes…They give us bread. BUT THEY WANT MATURE WHOLE FRIENDS TO WALK WITH!! Because Their Love and Joy is Great, and They LOVE to share that. Each person who comes merely multiplies EXPONENTIALLY the available Love and Joy to be shared…so yes, They feed us…but more importantly They TEACH us and DEVELOP us…just like I am teaching Their jewels.
And so here is the key: Besides the bread, They give us SEED too!! We generally finish the bread…quickly. And when our tummies rumble like Pooh Bear, we nibble a kernel of grain…and WTF that is YUK!! Tasteless, toothy-breaky…what do we do with THAT!!
And we toss it away and sit, feeling forlorn and lost and abandoned and have ourselves a pity party and invite our friends over and have P when we should be having T (make the joke in your mind)…
But after awhile we notice that those seeds we tossed away are growing!!! And Mama instructs us in the lessons of seeds…
Jump FORWARD…and NOW look at she who walks, weeping…and yet sowing seed!! She has learned that she cannot discard the seed corn!! She has to keep it, and she has to walk, weeping to water what she is sowing.
Did you know you have to water your dreams with the tears of your broken heart? Water what seeds you have with tears, copious and wept unafraid and unashamed…you can FLY at Mama with tears, of rage, of fear, of sorrow, of grief, of pity-party-ing, of whatever…
and behold…you shall DOUBTLESS come again, REJOICING, and bringing in your sheaves behind you.
Your sheaves are NOT stalks or wheat or ears of corn…your sheaves are your OWN littles (mine are these jewels of Mama)…yours are…well…
What ARE your sheaves? Only one way to find out: go forth with your tears into those barren fields!! Your tears shall wash away the salting of the enemy and purify the dirt…EARTH…and behold, your seed will fall from your broken hands which feel as if they shall never again hold joy in them…
but I promise that you will, as you weeping walk and sow…and sow…and sow…and just when your bag is empty you shall be back where you began…but at a DIFFERENT PLACE ON THE SPIRAL!! (you DO realize that history does NOT repeat, but rather it spirals?? And in your personal history, you revisit places over and over and over…except that you are “higher” or perhaps “lower” or perhaps “deeper” or perhaps “on dry land” or perhaps at last “swimming or flying” or…you get the drift)…
If your hands are full…start tossing seed…it is your promise of future harvest but MUST be sown in order to yield to you the fullness of your dreams…and weep…weep…weep…
And if your hands are empty…then dry your eyes, square your shoulders and look again…and again…and again…peer into the darkness intently…
and when you get discouraged, think of Silly Charissa…and be encouraged, for I tell you truly: If They will do it for ME???? I freaking GUARANTEE to you that They will INDEED do it for YOU, because I am truly the least…the very least of the baubles in Their Treasure House.
Love to you all this morning…LOVE to you in thick creamy schmears!!!!
Supporter of ttaf: I tried to warn you that ttaf and his evil minions wanted to harm me.
You denied that, and told me that you would never support anyone who wants to harm me.
The decisions made by his administration prove this beyond a shadow of doubt.
I’ll expect your apology and your declaration of opposing ttaf due to his hate of your loved one…waiting…waiting…
Hmmm…gotta wait until Fux News tells you so? I see. Well, while you wait, chew on this notion the author puts forth and it may well give a differing perspective to you than the one you so blindly cling to.
Btw…it is simply a fact that yesterday Jeff Sessions argued that transpeople have no protection from discrimination in their job. See, he thinks the right to not be discriminated against is something that doesn’t apply to transpeople. He thinks being free from discrimination is for some people…but not for all people.
It’s a matter of time before you find yourself in danger as a consumer of resources and no longer a producer…or whatever other reason hate finds to exercise itself.
So ya got that going for ya…
It’s a real shame LGBTQ people aren’t handguns.
If LGBTQ people were handguns, this President would treat them with kid gloves. He’d be ever so careful with his words so as not to offend them.
He’d exercise the rarest of restraint, to avoid angering those who love them; couching his words in every moment, being…
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