Advent Poem: This Waiting Time

Sometimes frost grips limbs
once lean and limber in the wind
now long grown stiff and creaky
and I hear them crack and groan
in those sticky clutching fingers
cold and frosty, fingers
cold and frosty.
Processed with VSCO with t1 preset
Sometimes ennui (cold)
grips my soul (grown old)
and in its grip I groan
(groan old) and my soul
(my waiting soul) runs
around my heart and
around my heart

as the clock’s tail
ticks and twitches, chases
its tail like a cat relentless,
(useless) and that (waiting)
that frosty cold difficulty of waiting
remains there clinging tightly
in the fading day.
But Advent…

Advent
Advent comes again
and gives her gift.
In the cold and dead of winter,
trauma seems to sting much deeper,
and healing for the broken parts
of my life…and the people that I love?
Seems so much harder to obtain…
tumblr_n2cjraPaKh1r1aouso1_1280
When it comes to these things
things so staggering and important,
healing, peace and goodness
on the earth, freedom from suffering,
well…waiting is hard, so hard and painful.

But in these moments I’m remembering
I’m troubled in soul and looking
for something transcendent, greater
than the hurt and pain and suffering,
something, someOne warm enough
tumblr_nvsyj8Csu51tweelio1_1280
persistent, faithful, warm enough

to breathe on us
to break the ice
and give us life
tumblr_nynz57yGXw1rlitzfo1_500
Long familiar sweet hymns play
wherever I go, I remember
I am poor, imperfect, waiting for
the God Who comes down,
Comes Down, God With Us
Emmanuel! Hosanna!
In the Highest Holy Fire!
tumblr_mbreiw9fEy1qaxmg0o1_500
and I feel again
the gentle nudge
of a knock deep
at the door
of my small
and icy lonely
heart.
tumblr_nyr2ng2ska1qat5pio1_1280
Advent is the time of waiting
waiting for the One (the One)
Who embraced body, embraced sorrow
Came to show us all the fullness
of just being home, present, and real.

And we are long reminded in
our cold dolorous longing
what we’re longing for actually
a WhoWho, Who we long for,
God…always coming nearer to us.
tumblr_nxyvx0qB8d1sbg1lmo1_500I have found a place
inside (in Advent, inside you)
that place where once
you die, you…
you come Alive…
A place where pain
and pleasure weigh out
just the same
and all that’s left
is only Love,
tumblr_nveprpyg6U1tdo940o1_1280And every sorrow touched
by the wild gold Promise
that in this very place
(of waiting)
Jesus has been born
(is born)
and will be born
again and again,
and again
breaking thru
tumblr_nvtonjz7IJ1qam6uto1_1280that icy grip
thawing out
our longing hearts,
melting all
our sin and deaths
so we can
laugh again.

Advent Poem: To Go To Bethlehem

Uncanny, peculiar,
uncomfortably strange,
I tend my fires and tell my story…
tumblr_n40izwKWgH1s5neh1o1_1280the story of
this quirky girl
overly-intelligent
and stuck in time
that is not time, so
unreconciled to time
so bound up in its realm.
tumblr_n5np124LJd1s5neh1o1_500I am strapped there
on Your wrist (watch)
a condor in a cage
passing from quick present
to some furious future
and thus so fast becoming
dim, and dark, and past
and wondering if I amtumblr_n3ng7oK9xj1s5neh1o1_1280ever?  present?
ever a moment?
ever a significant occasion
or an immeasurable quality?

I want real time!tumblr_nyhnrwYzEl1qllucco2_1280time which breaks through
with a shock of joy
like a leap into Crater Lake
on a snowy New Year’s morning,
time where we are completely
un-self conscious and far more
real in some eternal now
I thirst for a moment jeweled!
tumblr_nycmluCX5a1qat5pio1_500a moment
so sweet or magnified
it seems to stop time
but doesn’t because time
becomes a point so limply moot
and thus no longer dirty moat
between me and my true self
tumblr_mz5pbxrvwe1slvh08o2_1280And here I sit, beside time’s bonfire
tumblr_nvpeukM0QC1u7b31go1_1280and sparks fly up
and away so quick
to join the stars
and glimmer and
I poke at this fire
hot and tender
and tend it…
with my tinder636e5f6d27dbf806212c969a3560ca33and wonder how to be
here in this already
and not yet, between
That Eternal Now
and this one,
and the One
Who There Inhabits?tumblr_nxgij6jzXP1rnl2wvo1_1280wonder how to be aware
of life while I am living it?

wonder how to limp courageous
and relinquish all control
of self and self awareness?

wonder how to laugh courageous
and look for glory
in the storied
wonder of the ordinary?

wonder how to live courageous
and be surprised by One
who dares draw near?

wonder how to love courageous
and take off rings and watches?
tumblr_n1uzzfw14n1s5neh1o2_1280
I burn calendars and open
my heart uncanny,
strange peculiar…
tumblr_nfi2j2A3Sf1t043jao1_500to see eternity in
the midst of time
to go to Bethlehem
today and everyday
in this time and place

where glimpses of the eternal
come quiet, unexpectedly
they come and they upset
our every notion static about time
and all we discover there within.
and in the east her long shroud trailing
I open
my Uncanny Peculiar
Uncomfortably Strange Heart
to the story of All and Ever
ending Never

I choose
to live somewhere between
the already and not yet,
caught and held
by the One who
dwells within Outside.
tumblr_ny2xn8zBkj1trdezwo1_540And so the fire burns away the moments
And we must choose our portion:
whether here we tarry or if
we choose to journey
Pregnant by some God

To Go To Bethlehem
tumblr_nygiapTyw51qat5pio1_1280

Do You See The World at the End of Your Pointing Fingers?

Do You See The World at the End of Your Pointing Fingers?.

There is a point of view that afflicts so many christians:  They think that they are the righteous responsible parties in the midst of depraved evil, and they imagine that the salvation of the world depends on them…and that if they fail, then God will blame them and condemn them.

Thus, they will not unbend and draw near to anyone in charity and kind gentleness…they stick to themselves and other christians (and secretly distrust other christians cus ya never know)…

What this point of view REALLY is?  A judgement passed on God…that God is severe, serious, glowering and intolerant of anything, reluctant to ever give out compliments and quick to give out criticism, and secretly a little pissed off at Jesus because He came and made a way for whosoever will believe to get into heaven.

They have recast God in the image of their own evil hearts…

And that is the seething rotten core of why so many christians walk around holier than thou…pure fear and self-centered focus on AVOIDING HELL.

The christian life is NOT one of avoiding…it is one of embracing.

Hint:  if you embrace the true God of Love and Kindness, you will never ever get within sniffing distance of hell, even when you are standing in the midst of it as you love other people wherever they are.

And Reader?  Get off your high horse…become a Constance!

Do Justice
Love Mercy
Walk Humbly
Charissa

Christians, Be Careful What You Say On Facebook

Christians, Be Careful What You Say On Facebook.

Constance…you will be blessed by this.

Reader:  this is how it’s done.tumblr_m7t5u6ljxW1ro46rko1_500

Eternal Continuum (Part Two)

a central point
lurking somewhere
between nothing
and all—
and infinitely far
from understanding
either…tumblr_nlxdr5BkKB1s2z59jo1_1280blind to nothingness
from which
we flashed
at the call
of Fiery Lips
and numb
to the infinite
glories that engulf
and hold us.

this point unchangeable
this chameleon point
containing all contradiction
and inconsistencytumblr_np01taszo51s5neh1o2_1280

(desire to be a friend
the bent to manipulate friends
the being of a neighbor good
the compulsion to walk away
cold hearted without helping)

this point,
this tipping point
has honour enough
to erect the head
of the poorest bum,
and shame enough
to bow the shoulders
of the greatest king.

that Point,
that Mediator
of Merciful Hope

(drying the tears of a broken world
reviving the Image of the Divine within
overcoming the enemies
of our Death and Sin)___6021929_orig

Sure, grounded
obviating and containing
all contradictions
in this point

that point provides
the only grounding
and offers hope
for the contradictions
within, and more
than mere hope
for escape.

That point redeems the tension this point is.tumblr_njx55hxpLn1sypuuko1_400

We have born
the image of
the man of dust.

We also will
bear the Image
of the One
in Heaven

overflowing
with
thankfulness.tumblr_noy7d6hyuJ1s5neh1o1_1280

Across the Rolling Plains of Time

I laugh like summer breezes light and airy
at those cloudy fulminators who, like Old Faithful
blow off sulfurous steam every 75 minutes, or every 75 years,
even every 75 decades (yeah, this tired rant is that old)
and froth and belch all bothered about how Faith
is merely an emotional crutch…(can I LOL in a poem?)Image 002They are clouds who promise rain and then
just blow right on by bone dry, unable to accept
life’s difficulties, they, not I, are needing an escape
to another world, an other-world…i
t almost breaks my heart
in its sad naivety, foolishly blind and blinking hope in nothing.
Almost.tumblr_nig7g4fiat1r44q44o1_1280They call me blind, my faith blind?  When I am someone marked
by an inability to accept (no, an unwillingness to accept)
the cruelties of this world as status quo…

I have taken my raw courage in hand to declare this life marred
is not the way it is supposed to be!  We must live alert, aware we were
created for something so much more, so glad and so beyond!
tumblr_n67g0sLvug1ruhuppo1_500It is the ones who call nothing something, who insist that life
without God is “freeing” and imbibe the fantasy that life
is of no significance and death is even less, who are blind and will
not see…and so they seek to dwell…where…
reassured? With no one
there to hear, to answer, to see injustice done and judge accordingly?

(“Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”)

we attempt to dress such naked poor philosophy
in beautiful robes, but in the end we always find
it was all an act upon a barren storefront-stage.tumblr_nnxq6pweYE1sdqemdo1_1280Well, this Christian(neé) does not make her pilgrimage to new abundant life
by way of 
ambulance, sounding sirens on its merry way to some lost fantasy! 
Quite the contrary!  Golden glimpses of new life can be seen even now…
glorious gifts worth searching for 
as if for treasure prized and buried
or silver wink of coins lost in a house long needing a great sweeping…

We can live as people gloriously transformed by the Humility of Christ
Who, Grizzled Bison on the banks of those stinky threatening geysers,
rolls in those flats sulphurous, then gallops off unstoppable
Across the rolling plains of time, across the Rolling plains of time,
across the rolling Plains of time, across the rolling plains of Time.tumblr_mveo5s3wRw1qft4nwo4_1280

Why I’m Tired of Talking About The LGBT Community… And Why I Won’t Stop. | john pavlovitz

I want to make beautiful ripples.

via Why I’m Tired of Talking About The LGBT Community… And Why I Won’t Stop. | john pavlovitz.

Me too, John, faithful friend and brother in our Precious Lord…me too.  Constance, be sure to stop over at John’s house and read…and would you also just tell him Hi, and give him a pat on the back, a hug…and tell him this:

Charissa says hi and loves him very much.

Scars

Here on this side? See our scars.
Our wounds (both bloody and bloodless),
slashes (from sword-edge and word),
stand here stark, and they testify
in agonized aching hushed voices
of terrified troubling stories…

we hear them tell extreme tales
of widespread violence, of rape
of torture, and we the lost subjects
imprisoned in darkness and sadness
bear these wounds in our bodies, how long?
Permanent markings of violence?

These black tattoos left by oppression,
calligrified by sorrow’s stylus
that’s gripped in grief’s bony cold hand
to engrave deep its ravenous history
on our lonely hearts, carved here for…how long?
we’re identified by these curt scars.tumblr_n9ivwxEsoW1rvi7nzo1_400

Standing so quiet and still,
solitary smack dab
in the middle
of all that was, is,
and will be

the broken body of Jesus
the gushing stink of His spilled blood
but present with us now (like scars)
in the bread and the wine understood
to be broken and shed for our Good.

Jesus bore wounds of violent oppression
in His very own body forever!
Even after that morning so wrenching
that tilted this world on its axis
Heaven’s ringing eternal endorsement!

In that glorious bright resurrection
He stood there…just bearing those scars
in His hands, in His feet, in His side
and He showed them to all who would look…
He identified with us…in Scars.crown_of_love_by_phatpuppyart_studios-d8mgo73

There, on that side?  New Creation
began with Resurrected Jesus
and included those scars that He suffered
by nail and by spear and by word
and the wounds of the Glad Risen Lord,
the reminders of the crucifixion
take on new light and meaning and joy.

They shout of the Power and Glory
Of God dirty with History’s story
and triumphing now and forever
over evil and death, over sorrow
and a work of redemption that’s reigning
now begun in us, marked by our scars
here with us now in our wounded world.

So the present time is streaked with mercy
acts of justice, creation of beauty,
celebration of truth kissing grace on the lips
deeds of love and forgiveness and kindness
and such generous Grace over all!
Resurrection gives us such relevance
and a future where meaning is possible!tumblr_nahvy3d0Lf1t091kco1_1280

meaning made possible in resurrection
of a torn body still marked by the scars
like diadems, medals
adorning the Sacred Heart
Faithful forever and ever…

That’s the reality of resurrection
as displayed by the scars that He bears
as our Hope, as our Joy and our Glory
that shines in our darkest lost places
giving us reason to live.

We work and we toil, perhaps
even pour out our blood, sweat, and tears
to tend woundings of others,
and our labor is far from in vain
for Christ has gone on ahead

and He beckons with smile that is glinting
with towering majesty cloaked
in such Kindness, such glad jubilation
He scarce can contain His good will
He is on His Throne, Alive and Well.tumblr_nlqo0aoI0k1thfeewo1_1280

Why “What Would Jesus Do?” Isn’t Exactly the Right Question

To put it another way, I don’t think we’re called to imitate Jesus, but I do think we’re called to follow Jesus. There’s a subtle difference. Following Jesus implies an ongoing relationship, not merely imitating a really good guy who lived and died 2,000 years ago. Following Jesus implies that we might end up somewhere new doing things that are new—things that aren’t reflected in scripture because we inhabit a very different world than Jesus did. Even if we believe that Jesus was fully God, that doesn’t mean that Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection tell us all there is to know about God. God is still working, God exists beyond the limits of history (even Jesus’s history as a man), and God promises to do a new thing within us.

Following Jesus implies forward movement, striving for a destination, which we might call “the kingdom,” as Jesus did. And as you know if you’ve ever taken a leisurely Sunday road trip or cross-country adventure or European rail journey, there is far more than one way to travel to get to the same destination.

via Why “What Would Jesus Do?” Isn’t Exactly the Right Question.

Why Divorced, Straight Christians Should Kiss The LGBT Community

Originally posted on john pavlovitz:
If I had a dime for every preacher who stood on a pulpit or behind a radio station microphone or on a street corner and blasted gay people for “threatening the sanctity of Marriage”, I’d have a…

“It Would Falsify Everything You Taught Me…”

Constance…most of you who are public followers of Grace Notes are cis-gender humans.  Some of you are trans (thanks for the support, family!!  🙂  ), and as transgender humans you are intimately acquainted with the entity that dysphoria is, and you know that thoughts of suicide or talk of it is often our most noble and courageous act of the day, because we are speaking about it rather than…tumblr_n9h3hmA63y1sypuuko1_400

But I want to talk to you Constance (and you lurkers, too…yes, you are there), you cis-gender humans, so blessed to be non-itchy in your skin and of limber-lung to draw in draughts of refreshing air…you live in a homogenous world…a world that sniks together and is of a piece.  And where it doesn’t, it doesn’t in the same places as other humans and so you find an identity and community in that.

You don’t understand how alienation from yourself puts you at a distance from everyone else and everything else…always.

Because dysphoria is like missing pieces in a mosaic of being.DSCN7014

You say to yourself that you are shattered too, and you are…but your pieces are present, and as you glue them back together they form a sort of whole once again…whereas the dysphoric person diligently and urgently works daily to reassemble the shattered image into a whole, only to discover that the crucial core is absent…and the middle is void.

We are separated from you always…as if you are on the shore of the sea and we across on the opposite shore and lacking the voices of whales to sing to you across the leagues and the deep.

So there is that.

This morning I am mindful of dysphoria and the gulf that it is around me, alas, and the challenge that it presents me in my quest to be a yielded vessel yielding blessing…I am mindful that there is also, somewhere packed in all of this, an opportunity to know and understand Their perspective and methods as Gulf-Breechers and Core-Restorers…perhaps this is my destiny, to be a restorer of the breach and a crosser of the gulf.tumblr_mxydoeknpZ1saxfomo1_500

But in this mindful place, I have been remembering the words that a man spoke to me last summer, upon being let into my secret world of confusion and horror, that world of the transgender person caught between body and brain.  He is a man who has in the past been very open in expressing admiration for me, as a child of God, as a communicator of Grace, and as a caretaker of my children.  He has said toweringly complimentary things to me, things that I felt were far too idealized and simply did not adequately assess how flawed I am, what a failure I am…

…but he had said them, spoken of my impact on himself and those around me.enhanced-buzz-wide-819-1425685150-9

On that soft and lazy August Saturday, by the waters of a small man-made lake (which seems appropriate), we spoke, and I shared with him the struggle of dysphoria and how suicide is as constant companion as the sensation of choking is to the asthmatic.

He burst out in a fit of passion “Don’t you dare off yourself!  It would falsify everything you taught me, and all you stand for!”  And he went on to talk about how negatively it would affect him, and how he would lose heart and likely not have belief anymore that what I taught meant anything worth trusting.

That is what I am thinking about this morning…how easily and how often my situation is somehow twisted around and becomes all about the other person.  It was like another situation where I had been accosted by a long standing acquaintance (whom I would have called a friend, but now realize that was me putting my view of what a friend is on someone who sees it vastly different) who demanded an explanation for “why you have been seen around town dressed as a woman!!” (quelle horreur!!)…and since he had that place in my heart of “friend”, I gave the full account, but only half-way.  He cut me off because “he was overwhelmed and couldn’t take anymore of this”.  And then he looked at me in sheer misery and said “What am I going to tell my children??!!”tumblr_nbmpahNSPo1r78unxo1_1280

See?  All about him.  His place, and his burden…as if that question needed any other answer than tell them the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and begin to study these things together to help out a people in chains.

Well…that is a very similar response this other man by the lake had, regarding discovering my daily battle with dark thoughts.  His burden placed on me was that if I were to ever choose to not be here any longer then I would be the cause of his faith being weakened and diminished and his life harmed.

Since that time, I have spoken to this man two times, once a day or two after a big crisis that was brewing, and then again at the end of October 2014.

Twice.tumblr_nkp8l7TjAs1spq83no1_1280

And since then, nothing…and I get that there are complicating reasons for that, not the least of which is my transition and he is a man.  Very few men have been “man enough” to handle my transition with anything other than rejection at best, and murderous, venomous looks at worst (and those looks threaten far worse is coming).

Constance…is this not something close to suicide?  Friendshipicide?  Is not this towering silence some sort of death?  Does it not underline and highlight the gulf between us, because really all that changed was his understanding that he was interacting with a woman?

And those words ring in my heart, part of the voices that circle me like wolves and nip and slash and bleed me out…

“…it would falsify everything you taught me…”

Well, I don’t know if it would or wouldn’t.  Things are true and worthy of living regardless of the source one receives them from.  But I know that this staggering abandonment does indeed make me mindful of how those words are true from my perspective.  Apparently, I am no longer those “three C’s” to him…Child, Communicator, Caretaker.  Now, I am simply “It which must be avoided, lest whatever ails it somehow infect me”.tumblr_mrl193edwJ1qm86t3o1_500

As to the other man…that was the last time we spoke, in September, with a terse letter being the final salvo and manifesto of that declaration of war religion has filed on me…and sadly, I have reason to know the sense of duty fulfilled and integrity maintained, and sweet sadness at doing the “hard but right thing” which follows the writing and delivering of such a letter…

…it is such an awful feedback loop of legalism and lies and lack of life (death).

It is difficult being the friend or relative of a transgender person.  You get caught up in the punishments they are meted for their gender-crimes.  You get branded with the Scarlet TL to match their Scarlet T (“tranny-lover” and “tranny”)…tumblr_mcq1juZYxN1r2zs3eo1_1280

…and you get confronted again and again and again with that gulf uncrossable, that breech unbridgeable, and the dysphoric human’s many-sided and alienated existence when you yourself live in a world where such concepts as sides and incongruency are understood in the brain alone and denied in the bones, those non-dysphoric congruent bones.

I am watching “Romeo and Juliet” right now, the 1954 version directed by Renato Castellani (huge giggles here, ddh)…this play has long been my very favorite Shakespearean play (followed closely by Henry the 5th).  It is tragically striking, how I am in one being a Montague and Capulet, and both Romeo and Juliet…it is in a sense a tableau of dysphoria and the solution is inferred in the tragic ending…only loving acceptance and dogged commitment can validate a life and overcome abandonment.

And there is a timeless line (distinct from the rest of that genius’s timeless lines):

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”tumblr_n6u1weh7on1trxee1o1_1280

I am still whatever Rose I was…and still stink of whatever stench emanated from me under the old costume I sported.  I still live in the dysphoric House of Mirrors, and sides all around me with everyone else there and me here…I am still “Fortune’s Fool”.

…and as to men?  “Friends”…well, there is this, from the mouth of Juliet’s Nurse:

There’s no trust,
No faith, no honesty in men. All perjured,
All forsworn, all naught, all dissemblers.
Ah, where’s my man?—Give me some aqua vitae.—
These griefs, these woes, these sorrows make me old.tumblr_lvlbcphL9V1qeovheo1_500

A Poem Preceding Easter: 2015

Messy houses filled with secret staircases
leading neither up nor down and built of starved excuses
stellar and extending to the past and to the future
as a hedge to make secure our souls against their cold inflation.tumblr_mh1jjoVnRI1rix1r7o1_1280Idols stand resplendent in their regal good deed rags
atop secure safe mantels stolid, still
in false security within these homes of disarray
and all the forlorn deeds of our own self-besotted hands.

No corner is untouched or deemed untouchable,
no conclusion inescapable, for we did soon discover,
no–we were shown–these messes low and broken,
jangly jagged in the pieces of our ruined hostile hovels.tumblr_nkee9iBwQ81qzs7m3o3_1280This is that tableau displayed of our lost searéd conscience,
disembodied, floating room to room and deeply mourning
what’s been lost, and worse, abandoned
in the losing of idealism’s living throbbing shine.

And our hearts, once lifted up and strong
are finally unadorned and brought down low,
so broken, so contrite and finally open to this Living Invitation
to be drawn at last into a bigger Story…tumblr_nkee9iBwQ81qzs7m3o1_1280to be remade and molded, gripped and filled, to be enfolded
in the new creation by a Mercy Stark and so unyielding,
by a Love Severe and so unwieldy in our messy rooms
and serial sin-stained walls and monstrous ways of utter horror.

It takes a broken body and it takes a different stain,
one indelible and permanent, scarlet red and bloody glowing
in the darkness of our tragedy’s pretentious phony triumph…
see the Hand that rips our masks away to make us whole again!tumblr_mqnl59GkbI1qe31lco1_r1_500Eat and drink, remember!  Then forget the past and rest within those ruins
at last cleansed and emptied of their wreck, delivered of the dreck
and durm und strang of fallen souls, set free of weights unbearable,
interminable, mighty, proud and fell and flawed and haughty.

And then, look…out there, thru yon window broken, there!
Behind that dingy jagged pane of brittle separation,
see the Cross so Stark, transcendent, final ever resting place
of all our sin and wrong, and also Final ever new beginning

of this race, we human butterflies set free from chrysalises left behind,
discarded casually forever…
and yet never left for death to feed or to devour,
for they will someday be raised again
to catch up with us and to be made one again…tumblr_nkf5patY1J1trfg04o1_1280to be made whole…
again…at last…again…
amen, again…
amen.

Dear Susan: Am I Not Loving Gays When I Tell Them the “Truth” About Their Sin?

Dear Susan: Am I Not Loving Gays When I Tell Them the “Truth” About Their Sin?.

Constance, I hope this morning finds you well.  I also hope you will read Susan’s article in response to a letter she received on her blog.

I am posting it here because of the relevance of the attitudes of the correctors…not necessarily as a comment on the issue itself.

You see, I too have been victimized by people who say things like those referred to in this article:  I have had it hurled into my face by those who tell me with a straight face that it is their obligation to out me to others and comment on my transition to them (before I even have the chance myself to say a word to people who are unaware of my choice and the journey to that choice)…and then comes the coup de gras:  “If I don’t take this stand then your blood is on my head!”

Did you catch that?  I am deprived of my own chance to speak for myself in the name of being “loved”, and then told that the one “loving” me with such betrayal is doing so to avoid having my “guilt” attributed to them!!

So love is involved…but it is not love of me…it is also not love of the person they are gossipping about me to (yes, it is gossip)…the “love” that is in operation here is the love of self, which is idolatry.

Christians who violate other people in the name of love are simply practicing the sin of idolatry.

Susan comments very well on this subject…take a look.

And then consider a novel thought:  allowing God to be God and the One and Only True Knower of the Hearts of Human kind, and taking your place on level ground the moral equal of ones that you have judged and judge wrongly.

Do justice.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.tumblr_mnw8oxlzn11qapjp8o1_500

Pastor Looks Up In Tears. “I Had No Idea.”

Pastor Looks Up In Tears. “I Had No Idea.”.

Constance…let these words sink deeply into your heart…an imagined conversation between a pastor and Jesus on the day they meet.  Powerful, poignant, and painful.

Reader…go to this link.  Read.  And then I beg you to stop throwing around your theology like a boomerang, one that always returns to you with blood on it.  When you catch that boomerang well the blood is on your hands.  Simplify your complex need to judge and categorize and rend your heart and not your garment.  Repent of your passive aggressive ways, and stop speaking death in the name of speaking the truth in love.

Just love.  In truth.  And leave the speaking to Mama.

Do justice.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.
Charissa Graceimage6

LGBT Blog Post Bundle!!!

LGBT Blog Post Bundle!!!.

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

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

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

Transgender kids show consistent gender identity across measures

Transgender kids show consistent gender identity across measures.

Good Morning Constance!

I am posting this link for a couple of reasons:

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

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

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

It’s actually pretty simple.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After over 3 decades.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Including gender orientation.

Do Justice.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.

Charissa Gracetumblr_n2dq0uj9xr1t4oyc2o1_500

“When Side B is the New Ex-Gay”

“When Side B is the New Ex-Gay”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, I do now.

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

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

Every.  Single.  One.

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

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

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

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

And when done listening…well, listen some more.

Do Justice.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.

Charissa GraceImage 001

7 Reasons the Church Should Be Afraid NOT to Affirm LGBTQ

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

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

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

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

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

Right!

“What Do I Have To Do To Get You Into A Relationship With Jesus?” (Selling Christ In The Evangelical Megachurch) | john pavlovitz

Constance, the whole thing…here is an excerpt…and this is why I delineate between the building where American religious christians go for meetings, and the living organism.  They both have the name “church”, but only one is a church.  The other is sticks and stones, in divers ways.

Before the Church was ever an institution, before it was a massive entertainment compound, before it was a weekend mountaintop destination, it was a community; one whose lifeblood was true relationships. The idea in those early days, was to live together, to bear one another’s burdens, and to work out together, how the words and ministry of Jesus translated into the lives of those who sought to follow after him.

They came together daily to share stories, to break bread, and to encourage one another. “Church” was the bi-product of Christians living together and knowing each other.

via “What Do I Have To Do To Get You Into A Relationship With Jesus?” (Selling Christ In The Evangelical Megachurch) | john pavlovitz.

Advent Musings: Waiting

Waiting…it seems that we spend an awful lot of time doing it, don’t we?

If you experience what I do then you too feel the weight of waiting that is imposed on us from the outside by external forces of various kinds.

I have to wait for the sun to rise
I have to wait for the coffee to brew.
I have to wait to read those magic words, hear that lilting quick voice.
I have to wait for pending actions that deeply affect my future.
I have to wait for the bus.
I have to wait for the doctor.
I have to wait for word from the four corners of my heart.

And then there are other kinds of waiting:

I have to wait for transition to show the outsides what’s inside.
I have to wait as others process my life transitions in their own terms.
I have to wait for the words to come, from my muse and her well.
I have to wait for answers to various correspondences.
I have to wait for almost everyone else, for I move at a pace different.

Waiting is an activity that is seemingly aimless…
and when viewed in light of time,
waiting is a doing.

Generally we feel a sense of something we call “restlessness”…
expressed by pacing back and forth, drumming our fingers, bobbing our knee up and down,
sighing heavily or groaning to release frustration as time drags its feet
…and seemingly mocks us by slowing down even further.

Or…we might simply languish and wallow in something we call “listlessness”, that slouching, slack-jawed, mind-numbed escape from doing which is, in and of itself a doing…as inertia takes us over, drags at all our metabolisms and slows things down even further…and then time becomes a marathoner…

…and we are in lockstep with time, we the unwilling competitor, our leg tied to time’s in a three-legged race being dragged to…where?  Another spate of waiting?the_swamp_by_alterlier-d77yfk0

Sadly, this doing (as all doings do) ends up as a becoming (as all people end up too)…

…a becoming anxious, or cynical, or harried and indifferent, or discouraged and despairing.

All too often we are blinded to the simple blazing truth:

Becoming is always the result of time passing,
and there is no choice about this, becoming…
but rather only the choice of what it is we will become.

And it is in this choice, what it is that we will become, that we discover:

there is another way, another point of view from which to understand “waiting”…

…and it is from that place that we fully grasp the way in which waiting becomes a state of being, an intentioned choice of the heart and spirit, rather than the doing I mentioned earlier.

It is in this intentional, chosen state that we find things like patience, discipline, self-control and emotional maturity answer the call like warriors answer the summon of their sovereign.

For patience is a state of being as well, yes? (Impatience is just “doing’s” word that describes chafing against time’s leg as we are dragged along, gimpy in that awkward infernal race to nowhere).  Discipline is also a state of being, along with self-control, emotional maturity…all of these qualities are fruits that grow from the root of the choice of intentionality to wait.tumblr_nfnh9sG9rP1s5bltvo1_500

There is an assumption that underlays the choice to be “waiting”.  It is the assumption that our choices have consequences of becoming…and those consequences manifest in process as a function of time passing.  And this assumption has its own treasures to give us in the moment, treasures that inform our choice, empower our choice, and then become an actual living part of our choice.

Faith.
Hope.
Love.

Those qualities are enduring and never fail, and ultimately they triumph over all the activity of doing for the sake of the expediency of the moment.  They are the antithesis of busy-work and the resulting chaos surrounding frantic activity in the name of “doing something”.  They are the good hard work of intentional being.

Advent is a season that comes each year, and it opens its heart to us, to the exhortation there, it whispers to us…each year…

…wait…
wait
WAIT

and as that insistent cry emanates forth it carries upon its wings great gifts of stillness, reflection…honest longing in the dark with true vital hope of longing fulfilled, joy in the anticipation of immanent manifestation of what is, but hidden…emerging from what conceals and is seen…just like a wrapped gift (and ponder for a moment that metaphor of a wrapped gift…yes?)…which finds its true purpose in the unwrapping as much as in the preparation and gifting of it.

Advent imbues anticipation!  Advent focuses time and puts it to work stoking the fires of faith, hope, joy, love as we sense the arrival of that miracle our hearts all know lurks just outside this skein of time, practicing its own waiting for the miracle moment of emergence, of catalytic manifestation and the redemption of yet another investment of waiting.tumblr_n4vu3uBqkq1tv616mo1_1280

So how about it Constance?  This Advent season, this time of preparation…will you receive the precious gift of waiting, with Her mighty warriors of being?  Or will you hide yourself in busy-ness, rushing around, and re-wrapping a gift given in your own papers of cynicism and ribbons of refusal…and end up fed up and waiting anyway, just waiting for Christmas to be over, instead of for Christmas to come?

Remember:  Divine Silence is not Divine Inactivity and Indifference!

A miracle is upon us…it is every year (in fact, it is everyday).

And thus we are gifted with great opportunity to wait for the Christ who comes each year in the same way and in brand new ways unexpected and greatly needed, and the Christ comes to be the Answer to our heart, not to do the things we think we need done.

But to see Him, to catch a glimpse of Him as He comes…ahh, that vision comes to those who wait…

wait on the Lord oh my soul, be strong and let your heart take courage, for they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength!  They shall rise up on wings, like eagles, and shall run and not grow weary and then walk and not faint!  And they shall see the goodness of God in the land of the living.

Image 007

 

Too Many Gods: Jill Carattini does it again

Constance, you all know I am a bit partial to the devotional writings of Jill Carattini.  She is bright, thoughtful, technically very good, and she has a heart that is living and courageous.  She inspires me, because she is not afraid to let questions about God be unanswerable…and she also approaches a side of God that I am familiar with, the side of drawing near cus God is love…first, last, and always, and that all things here in this earth have a different meaning and application which we will one day be let into from That perspective…

…and we shall Laugh on That Day.

So this morning, Jill confronts the multiplicity of gods, of questions, of troubling insanities and absurdities abounding…and rather than seeking to tie them up neatly into a lil box with a cute bow, she just lets them hang there.

If you can…read thru her post, and let it soak your heart.  Really try not to let your knee get hit by any hammers and kick out with its own mind before you even realize it has…really try to just be still and surrounded by clouds…

…because sometimes we can only get our bearings when we get still when everything else is moving.

In Much Love, and thankfulness for Jill Carattini,
Charissa Grace

tumblr_mwoiwxL1iQ1r2zs3eo1_1280

 

Too Many Gods

“I am a former Christian minister who is now an agnostic—not an atheist, not a theist, not a sceptic, and certainly not indifferent.(1) So begins the story of Charles Templeton, one time rousing evangelist, friend and counterpart of Billy Graham, turned renounced believer, professed agnostic. He is quick to clarify the meaning of such a title. “The agnostic does not say, as is commonly believed, ‘I do not know whether or not there is a God.’ He says, ‘I cannot know… He asserts that a combination of historic circumstances has made Christianity the dominant religion of the Western world but that it is not unique, there being a host of other religions and a variety of other deities worshipped or revered by millions of men and women in various parts of the world.”(2)

In his final book, Farewell to God, Templeton describes the unraveling of more than twenty years of ministry and a faith that was steadily besieged by doubt. His objections range from scathing frustrations with biblical stories to pained confusions with the ways of the world and the God who supposedly cares for it. One question in particular remained with me throughout the book: “If God is a loving Father, why does he so seldom answer his needy children’s prayers?” he asks.

The question isn’t new to me, and like Templeton, I can rattle off an explanation based on a scriptures I know by heart. But the picture that comes to life within this question is far more personal than any routine answer would satisfy. Many wrestle through this question similar to the way we had to wrestle with the presence and absence of our own parents.

Elsewhere, Templeton critiques the world and what he sees as its “abundance of gods,” though he treats each one with the curious requirement of unquestioning obedience as if it was the only god that mattered. He describes it a point of contention—even a point of absurdity—that in the vast sea of divine beings on this planet, Christianity proposes the idea that there is only one God. Across history, there are more gods than any of us can keep track of, and they seem to come with as many descriptions as the people who created them. On top of this, he argues, a great number of these gods come with qualities that leave much to be desired in the first place; they are jealous, hierarchical, vengeful, and demanding—and very much a product of our predecessors.

Many of these observations are troublingly undeniable. I was listening recently to a collection of interviews on the subject of spirituality. They asked hundreds of people the same question: simply, “Who is God?” But the answers were as diverse as the patches on a quilt, and the finished product was not at all a comforting blanket of great divinity, but little more than a mat of troubled chaos, gapping holes, and contradiction. Coming to the end of that message, I sighed deeply—how can anyone muddle through such a mess? We seem to make gods in our own images as fast as we can get them off the assembly line.

Templeton and the many who echo him are absolutely right to point out as troubling the sheer number and seeming characters of these divinities, who “hate every people but their own…[who] are jealous, vengeful…utter egotists and insist on frequent praise and flattery.”(3) In fact, the prophet Jeremiah made a similar point. He called it a “discipline of delusion” to chase after these gods and their demands, but particularly as if it were all a matter of preference and not a matter pertaining to what is real. “They are altogether stupid and foolish,” he wrote of these individuals. “In their discipline of delusion—their idol is wood” (Jeremiah 10:8).

The world of gods is indeed a chaotic place. And yet, isn’t it somewhat hasty to reject every divinity in the room simply because there is more than one? In doing so, it would seem we use our own complaint against Christianity (it is arrogant to say there is only one God) as the reason to reject it (it is ridiculous that there is more than one god).

But the description of angry gods in abundance brings me back to the question raised at the beginning. “If God is a loving Father, why does he so seldom answer his needy children’s prayers?” The reason this question demands more than a pat answer is because it deals with disappointment, neglect, silence, and heartache. The question pulls on the very shirtsleeve of a vital relationship.

Perhaps it is subtle, but the question itself seems to point to something inherently different about this God—something that sets this Father significantly apart from the sea of divine and impersonal chaos. The gods Templeton and many others describe do not at all seem like gods we would miss if they were far away. They are not the kind of gods we would be saddened by if they were silent, or dare to be angry with if they disappointed us.

Like all children with parents that we do not always understand, sometimes we ask questions that aren’t entirely fair (or even sensible). And sometimes we ask questions that give away the relational presence of the one we wrestle with under the surface.

I believe it is more than helpful to recognize the human capacity to create gods and chase after delusion. But so I think it is vital to recognize that not all gods are created equal, and there is reason to believe there might be one who isn’t created at all.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) Charles Templeton, Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1996), 18.
(2) Ibid.
(3) Ibid., 22-23.

How Jesus ‘the Glutton and the Drunk’ Embraced Life Beyond the Religiously Accepted Limit | Mick Mooney

How Jesus ‘the Glutton and the Drunk’ Embraced Life Beyond the Religiously Accepted Limit | Mick Mooney.

I really really like this article.  I resonate with it.  Key takeaway, and then go read:

As much as we love Jesus, I think until we allow our own reputation to become as trampled and dirty in the eyes of the religious as he allowed his to become, we’ll never quite understand him, nor his message. Until we break free from the prison of maintaining a religiously acceptable reputation, we will continue to read about the wild Jesus in Scripture, but we’ll struggle to truly understand him, and the way of life he exemplified.

Jesus was a reckless lover of people, and he refused to bow down to the religious expectation of loving from a distance. He was up close, real, and embracing of all people, from all walks of life. He was hated by the religious not for this theology, but for his love, for his love was not made up by words he spoke, but by the life he lived.

It’s a daring thought, a wild, revolutionary act, to consider your religious image in society ‘rubbish’ (to quote the Apostle Paul) in order to come to truly know Christ. But I believe it’s worth it. You might end up with a reputation like Jesus: “Here is a glutton and a drunk, and worse, a friend of prostitutes and sinners.” . . . but isn’t it Jesus we hope to be like in any case?

tumblr_negzte6SY41rub0hvo1_500

Transgender Children – Transgender Stories – Woman’s Day

Transgender Children – Transgender Stories – Woman’s Day.

Okay, I just bawled my way thru this story…Oh Mama, please bless this woman for her faithful love of her son and of you.  Please honor her for praying that prayer “Change my heart”, instead of wreaking havoc by climbing up on the throne and trying to change everything and everyone else!

Love, Charissa

Charissa and the Dementors (Part 3)

All of this was previously written over the last couple of weeks and posted at http://www.ransomedheart.com/blogs/stasi/beauty-secrets-free-be-me

It is possible to click on hyperlinks and see things about the commenters.

I ask you to look for the following:

Identify the ways that love is shown
Identify the truth that is supposedly spoken in love
Analyse the claims made

Search for the specific, authoritative biblical teachings on gender orientation, gender location in a human being, God’s involvement in an intricately and wonderfully made person who suffers in this world where evil is permitted to occur, from evil deeds to variants defined as illegal or not legitimate.
Note the verses used, what they say, and pay particular attention to ones that have whole lists which include many other things that are given a different weight and place in the sanctification process than ones related to sexuality
And also note ways that they apply to me and those like me who dealing with gender issues in ways completely apart from issues of sexuality and immorality.

Pay attention to mentions of obedience, walking in obedience, and ask from the context of the writer what exactly is it that constitutes disobedience…and then find the biblical teaching on obedience, what it is, how one is obedient, and who it is who knows when one is obedient and disobedient…and then the silly but obvious glaring question of how based on the short post I wrote anyone could know anything about my level of obedience or even if I am obedient.  If I am not, what ways specifically am I not obedient? (Yes, of course it is evident that in the writer’s mind I am disobedient because I did not do exactly as she has done, and that she believes her own life and experience the template for all issues of gender orientation and sexuality in relation to being a follower of Jesus).

Find the ways that the story one commentor presents of her life apply to my own situation and thus assume authority in my life as prescriptive commands or even wise exhortations/loving reproofs.
Look for ways that the commentors seek to police me, and ways that they other me.  Know that this sort of thing goes on in christendom on such a tragically frequent basis as to explain why the apostle Paul said that christians were biting and devourning one another.

Identify anything that I said that was similarly cruel, illogical or unreasonable, or lashing out…if it is there, please let me know, as I endeavored to keep my comments free of such pollution and agenda.

Find ways that I attacked and vilified “the church” (as opposed to christendom, the collective aggregate of christian culture and cultural expression in history that is often wildly divergent from the actual biblical teaching regarding the spiritual organism known as “the church”).

Identify my agenda for posting here at this place…and then identify any way there would be to accurately discern that agenda to be anything other than what I said it was…and then consider the proclamation by these dementors of what they have decided my true agenda is.

Watch for things that would be illustrative that I dwell in a victim mentality…particularly in this thread, but then, if concerned, in my entire blog here at Grace Notes.

Thanks Constance, and by the way, the things written are hurtful…hurtful words and indicate a hurtful state of being in each one.  Of course I wonder if one of the commenters protests too much and is still in dysphoria hell:  the statistics concerning the efficacy of reparative therapy in conjunction to transgender issues are not good.

Read on………

Continue reading

The Lost Christian Art of Giving a Damn | john pavlovitz

The Lost Christian Art of Giving a Damn | john pavlovitz.

take away quote:

Christians, as much as we want to claim otherwise, the hard truth is that quite often, we really don’t give a damn about people anymore.

sorry…wish i had something more to say, but this man says it best of all.

if you have any sense of the relevance of christianity, you must read this.  if not, move along, nothing to see

 

Seven Lies About Christianity

So just love this…too exhausted, too emotionally drained, too bereft and sorrowful to do other than say amen, and go to sleep

Stephen Mattson

My recent piece was featured on Sojourners, and as of a few days ago it was their most popular web piece of all time! It garnered lots of interesting discussion. What do you think?

Dennis Kuvaev/Shutterstock

View original post 1,275 more words

7 Ways I Would Do Christianity Differently

Constance, I have been s blessed to run across this amazing blogger…he could definitely sit around the same side of the campfire as me! So far he has rung the bell solid and true each and every time. Best of all? I sense that he would embrace the vision I sign off with: Do Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly
Love, Charissa

tumblr_ncno7cgbSq1rr74i9o1_400

 

Stephen Mattson

Faith is a journey, a Pilgrim’s Progress filled with mistakes, learning, humble interactions, and life-changing events. Here are a few things I would do differently if I could go back and start over:

1. I wouldn’t worry about having the right answers.

There’s a misconception that the Bible is the Ultimate Answer Book and Christianity is a divine encyclopedia presenting the solutions to life’s biggest questions. In reality, the Christian faith is about a relationship with Christ instead of an academic collection of right or wrong doctrines.

Rather than wasting time, energy, and resources on superficial theological issues — I would focus more of getting to know Jesus. Never let a desire for “being right” obstruct your love for Christ.

View original post 763 more words

The Heroines of My Life: Interview with Bobbie Lang

The Heroines of My Life: Interview with Bobbie Lang.

Constance, this interview has left me wrung out…this woman is such an inspiration to me, her faith and dedication and love of God.  And her story honestly terrifies me too…the rejection she endured, the judgement and transphobia…only Mama knows the grace she received to keep on going in the face of all.

Constance, even if you aren’t christian, her faith and determination will inspire you.

Intentional Unknowing

Constance, one more quick post, and then we are off on the bikes!  Yippeeee!!!

So…I am learning to not call my body/soul/mind/emotion clash a prison, or sentence, or monster, or any of those other things…Mama has been quite active and specific in calling me into account and showing me that far from being the result of the conditions of the fall, and something that went haywire as I was formed, my being was very intentionally and soberly purposed by Them!  Ever single last aspect!

oh, I was well acquainted with the Psalms which tell us of Their involvement and intricate knowledge of us…but I had pushed these things to a comfortable place theologically…as in there are many things that the Fall mars and wrecks…things that They have not intentioned, but have indeed accounted for with Their Grace.  And I had classified my transgender being as one of those things:  a result of the Fall and something to be redeemed and eventually cured when all things are made right. In the meantime, I despised myself.  My body and its awful clumsy and large power covered in blechy hair and muscle…and that.  And my heart…”weak and overly emotional and on my sleeve at all times side by side with streaks of snot”…and my soul…unwilling to hammer down on someone who needs correction but instead draw close and win them over, much to the ire of all the males in my life…I despised my swings from knowing I could do all things thru Jesus to thinking that They literally despised me for longing to have the body I felt I was denied…

…and worst of all?  I thought, in my most secret thoughts, that They had done this to me, to punish me for being so bad…They had made this as scourging.

I am so thankful that They are overcoming all my evil with Their good!  Truly…

…but this latest round of talks…She has been very specific, and letting me see some of the backstory of what things I have said, or done, or written which have been helpful and life-giving and of service to others…and She has shown irrefutably to my heart of shame and self-loathing that not one of those things would have been possible were it not for the unique balancing of all the various aspects of my being which are seemingly in conflict but are in truth the warp and weft of the very tapestry of life and grace They are making me into!

My experiences in male roles, and the accompanying policing and disciplines (used in a putative sense), the intense efforts made by men when I was young in efforts to “make me tough” or “teach me to be a man”…and later being in male spaces in our culture hearing the naked expression of men to one another, witnessing the truly unconscious taking of privilege and the aggrieved hearts when denied…and hearing men talk, when one on one with me and thinking me male…just different or weird and yet strangely comforting to talk to…

…and my experiences on the outside, excluded by minds and bodies and actions…female roles and spaces and bodies…which heightened my observational skills, and sharpened my inductive and deductive abilities…and gave me an ear to hear…

…and the null…the razor place of horror and emptiness where everyone else had a place and a person, and I had nothing, like literally nothing…and my lil mind heard about the God shaped vacuum?  and assumed that was this (it isn’t, by the way, that space is where our spirits are still born and in need of resurrection)…and so pursued God and was pursued by Them,…hey, it was either that or kill myself.  Those were my options…

and now…to see…to feel the wisdom and the divine risk They took in intentionally availing themselves of the developmental processes in human biology to make me…and then make me…Charissa Grace…so see that They gambled on Their love and grace and mercy being enough, and They gambled on me to be so slayed by one glance that I would be hopelessly in thrall forever??

No…never again will I call it a prison…and thanks to my bff who asked me once if I could choose one or the other, would I choose that?  Giggle…most of the time the Q is which would I choose…but wise wise DDH asked more would I choose, if I could.

I choose Them.  I choose Their glory and Their Plan.  I choose Their Indescribable Comfort and Joy.

And now to my topic:  I believe that God intentionally has chosen Unknowing in regards to relationship with us!

Yes!  I KNOW, right????  That sounds heretical, and sounds insane!  I mean, God knows all, sees, all, etc etc…They are freaking GOD!  And when the One God in 3 Persons and the 3 in One God decide to manifest in Their Oneness, Their THEM-NESS…why then we see that fantastical and indescribable Entity referred to by those who have been in Its Presence as “Lord God Almighty”…and it is too too TOO to the extent that the people who see this fall down as if dead, and their eyes perceive “monsters” with multiple wings and legs and eyes and mouths that fly around the Entity Lord God Almighty and scream at It louder than all loud “HOLY! HOLY!” (and other things…shiver).

So where do I get off saying that God chooses to not know vast portions of relationship with us?

Well, Ima tell ya a story…years ago, I was out and about on a rainy dark clammy morning, soaked to my bones and chilled, and miserable beyond words.  It was Oregon rain, and my baby who grew up in Wyoming swears to this day that 38 degrees and rainy in Oregon is a million times worse than 20 below in Wyoming…and I was out in a loud, smelly, noisy truck!  Driving it, using it to work with my body so I could provide for my darlings 5.  I hate trucks.  I hate machines, and they hate me too.  They bite me almost everyday and leave me bloody and wounded…and they hurt my heart too with their bellowing and caterwauling.

And my mouth and mind were with God…hey, I had nowhere else to go, it certainly wasn’t because I was any paragon of virtue or spiritual giant!  Lol!  No…I was more like the bum at the off ramp of God’s freeway with my sign and tale of woe to elicit a few coins…

but I was trying to talk to the Father that morning…and getting no where, because I was so despairing and so frustrated…and Ima be blunt honest with you, kay?  This is how I talk to Them, cus I figure They know my heart already, so if I fake it and talk all pretty then not only will I have the regular failures and sins to deal with but the additional sin of lying to Them!!  (Cantcha just hear it?  “Don Pardo, tell Charissa what she just won!!” <Pardo’s unctuous voice>”Charissa…you just won LYING TO GOD!!!!!!!!  No new car for you, girl!  Nope…you get the nannygoat prize!”  lol)

So, being bluntly honest with Father that day (and you here)… I finally had the following conversation:

Papa, why the fuck do I even bother praying!!  It is just a litany of the same fucking complaints, the same awful feelings, the usual puking Pity Party! And the most frustrating things about it is You already fucking KNOW EVERYTHING!”

(yes, I f bombed to Papa…not proud of it…but you all know yo have done this, whether you have said it outloud or not…cus our hearts ARE F bombs, in their deceit and wickedness apart from Their Redeeming love)

Now, this is the distillation?  Perhaps this rant went on just a bit longer?  Long enough that I was hoarse and in a wrack of sobbing tears pulled over in a wide area beside the road because I couldn’t see?

And then as my sobs subsided (as they always did), as the tides receded and there was still the beach walk with Them to continue, I heard Papa sort of clear His throat and make a very gentle sound…so I listened.

“What makes you think I already know everything?”

“PAPA!  Please!! Don’t fuck around with me today…I am not up to Your jokes and tricks and double-back hidey-behind pranks which result in your Wisdom being spoken to this fool!  Everyone knows You know everything!  It’s in Your bible, even people who don’t like You or believe in You know that You know everything (and by the way, I get super pissed at those idjuts who say they don’t believe in You, and yet ignore that You must be in order to not believe in…but that is a different rant!)!

“Does it?  Does My Word say that?”

Constance, I have learned that when They ask you a Q like that it is best to shut up…and re-listen!!  For the Bible is living, and so are we…and as we live and grow, so too the Word unfolds to us heights and depths and breadths that are there always, but visible only when we are in just this place…at just that time!

Papa said “What if I made a deal with Myself, with Jesus and Mama (Whom back then I referred to very impersonally as “the” holy spirit, and objectified Her)…and in that deal I decided that I would agree to “not know” vast territories of you and your life and existence…so we can have the Pleasure of joint discovery?  After all…We have “unknown” all of your sins and iniquities in Our gifts of Mercy and Grace and Redeeming Metamorphosis…

“Think about your own self, with your own children…which is better…when you drag something out of them, or when you spy from a distance and figure things out…or when they come to you, unexpectedly and all on their own…in just that moment when you are feeling lonely and unnecessary to them or their life…and they begin to tell you their insides!

“The way that feels…the joy and gladness…the sense of miracle and wonder…and the way those things are your treasures and in your forever treasure box?”

and as soon as He said this I was PIERCED!!  Whole volumes of reality clicked in for me…experiences lined up, and a whole new way of looking at Them was before me…so I laid down my f bomb boxing gloves, and instead asked in my open-faced and heart showing way…

“..Papa, is this true?  How can You not know…but it FEELS true to me!!”  And essentially He spoke to me about something I have called since then “Intentional Unknowing”.  They chose to limit Themselves in many ways in regards to us….They have given us Free Will, and given us many other things that They have the ability to take back, but because of who They are, They never will, and thus “cannot” take back!

When it comes to our lives…our fears, our hurts, our joys and hopes?  They can only know the depth of our specificity if we tell Them!!

Well, the rest is very funny, cus as soon as I grasped all this, I told Papa that I was gonna chirp and chirp forever and He was gonna regret ever telling me He wanted to know me! LOLOL (Hey DDH, can you relate??? giggles…or my baby out there??  or my own Daddy long dead…he is nodding in heaven and knuckle-bumping with the Father in solidarity, having endured the never ending Charissa chatter-flow!  lol)

And I leave you with this:  God has filled His word with countless exhortations to pray…and we in our foolishness and religious dumbassery have turned these pleas to talk to Them into duties to be performed in order to merit Their activity on our behalf giving us what we think we want!

Well, see it a bit differently…see Them, as you would your own children, pleading with us to talk to Them!!  Let Them into our lives, into our thoughts and heart!  They are hungry to know us!!  They long to be given something that They cannot have in any other way, than that we give it to Them!!  And then when you go to pray, do not think of Them as big know-it-alls who are checking things off Their list and tallying our score and computing our “answer to prayer effectiveness quotient!”

No…They are moms, hearts bleeding joy that Their babies are speaking to Them! They are dads, who so deeply yearn for the sharing of Their children and that dialogue which makes every sacrifice an honor and every blow a privilege!

And you wanna know something more?  You yourself will come to know yourself better…and Them better too, cus They actually like to conversate!! They will talk back, you know…you did know that right?  Right??

“Pray without ceasing” can be read as “Whaddya do t’day ‘Rissa???  Huh?  Huh? TellMeTellmeTellMe!!)

Okay…I’m outta here for now…so how bout this?  Shut off the computer…go for a walk…and chatter like Charissa!!

All my love and heart to you, and I can’t wait to hear your stories!!

Charissa

140934460676634

I am Charissa Grace for a reason…

Good morning Constance…rather than excerpt, I am reposting this article in its entirety…some of the ads that were on the site where it was had potential to be offensive to some?  So, Ima just make it easy to read here.  If you want the original link, I will provide it to you.

I will add one thing:  I have a more robust view of grace than most.  One of the greek word for Grace’s meanings is Power (the word is Charis…the root of my chosen name!  🙂  ).  Allow me to relate a small vision?

In the vision, Jesus held out a silver coin to me and bade me receive it, which I did.  His image was graven into the top or heads of it…like a founding father of spiritual money!  giggle!!  But on the bottom, was graven the cross and the dove…signifying His powerful act of sacrificial deliverance, and the release of Lady Grace into creation as a result.

Jesus then told me that I could buy whatever I wanted with this coin…I could spend it in banks, one of two!  If I decided, I could spend it in the bank of overcoming…temptation, despair, fear, anxiety, gluttony, (fill in the blank)…simply picture the lil bank (mine are in the shape of a loaf of bread with a slot in the center) and slide the coin in!  Talk to Him while you do it, and then walk away.  Period.  And if 5 minutes later, fear is back knocking, or that ice cream calls your name, spend another coin!

You can have as many as you will receive!!  Literally!

However…let’s say you decide to not spend that coin, you hold onto it, and end up failing in your desire to overcome.  What does one do then?  ‘Cus now, I am not only failed, but also ashamed of that failure!  Jesus told me just take the coin to that other bank…the bank of forgiveness, and drop it in…and then walk away, ready to receive another coin to spend as I chose, as my faith measured…

Each side of the coin represents power:  power over sin, and power to forgive.  Each one needs to be spent, regularly!

But the best part is that it is all right there, within your simple and direct choice to either over come or be forgiven.

Grace:  The gift of power to do that which God requires, a gift given free and on the merit that you have asked.  Period.

And that is why I call myself Charissa Grace:  double grace…grace to be forgiven, and grace to over come.

May I be a kajillionaire in each one, and not a miser!

Love, Charissa Grace

tumblr_nah86uZbV91qbpwzeo1_500

TG and The Church

MegganRenee | Aug 18, 2014 |

I have a news flash for you. The Christian church is made up of flawed humans. Big surprise right? I know. I am stating the obvious. But when it comes to understanding the issues that separate the Christian church and the transgender community, this is something that is forgotten on each side of the divide.

The church is often quick to close ranks and the doors to many in the trans community. Many within the church refuse to even sit down and listen to a new point of view and they fall back on human interpretations of age old scriptures.

The hurt that the church, as a whole, has caused the trans community is not something I need to rehash. I’m sure that many of us have wounds that run deep and many may not have yet healed. But how are we to react to the prejudice and close minded attitudes that we perceive within the church? That is the greater question.

We flawed humans like to point fingers, assess blame and often place unkind labels on others. When we do, we live counter to the lives God has called us to live. God does not access blame or hold a grudge. God gave us grace by dying on the cross and loving each and everyone of us — not for who we are, but in spite of who we are. He has given us something not one person on this earth ever deserved.

Grace is all to often a forgotten aspect of living life true to what God has intended for us. Grace is a conscious act. It is an unmerited act of kindness, giving someone a gift that is undeserved.

Grace certainly doesn’t come naturally. We humans like to hold on to the hurt, the wrongs against us and dwell on the negative. By doing so, the constant rehashing of the pain only gets in the way of showing grace to those that we may not agree with or those that have hurt us. Grace goes beyond just forgiving.

Grace is not just what God has given us, but through the Holy Spirit we can show a form of grace to all those around us. Grace is an act of kindness or clemency we show not only to our friends that occasionally wronged us, but also to all those that speak out against us.

I understand completely what it feels like and what it does to your soul when a group of people turns against you when they are supposed to embody the love of Christ. I understand the emotions that run through you when people turn their backs on you.

Forgiving prejudice and all the acts that go along with it is difficult. Forgiveness alone can be difficult enough, but when someone speaks or acts against your very being, sometimes forgiveness is just too unthinkable, too difficult for us humans to comprehend.

But by living a life of grace; forgiveness and showing love to those that hurt you becomes easier. By living a life true to God’s plan, not society’s or the church’s, we can live as an example of Christ to those around us.

For far too long now the church has become known for only what it is against. It’s time to stop the hurt. It is time to bridge the gap. It is time to stand up and be the light in a darkness. Instead of creating outcasts, the church should be a place of open doors.

We can complain and point fingers all we want and accuse the church of prejudice, discrimination and outright transmisogyny. But complaining about a problem is not a solution. It only adds to the divide. We are the answer.

If the Church will not show grace to us, then we are called to be the examples of grace to the church. We are to live our lives visibly and openly, true to the voice of the Holy Spirit in us.

The Hellish End Result of Upholding Principle over Mercy

I am crying right now…this instant.

See, I couldn’t sleep last night.  Hard bike ride, and I never really slept very well anyway…

…anyway, I got up because I otherwise toss and turn and feel guilty that my baby doesn’t get the quality sleep she deserves.

I opened the computer and began to bump around, catching up on news, checking FB, etc…

…and I saw a story about a church building official who calls himself a pastor who decided that the family of a young 15 year old boy who tragically died would not be able to use the church building to hold the funeral service…because the 15 year old child was gay.

That was bad enough, but for this man who tarnishes, nay, totally pollutes and besmirches the title of pastor, it was not enough!  Less than 24 hours from the funeral, he called up the grieving mother, who was standing at the coffin of her dead son, crying and mourning, and gave her the news that she would have to make other arrangements…he was not going to allow the service in “God’s House” (quotes are mine).

Ohhh…but that was not enough, he had to double down on his magnificent display of “godly principle” (read prideful self-righteousness!) by saying:

“I’m not trying to condemn anyone’s lifestyle, but at the same time, I am a man of God, and I have to stand up for my principles.”

Oh.
My.
God.

Way to go…I am sure that all heaven rejoices that your principles are intact while your words have rent the hearts of people who are already of a broken and grieving spirit!  I am soooo impressed by your holiness, your cleanliness!

I only wish you had been there, beside Jesus, when He erred so greatly by opening His lips and saying “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”…because if you had been there, you could have placed your hands over His mouth, to prevent Him from uttering such a “non-standing-up-for-principles” statement!  You could have whispered in His ear, instructing Him from your well of principle, on the “principle” of not condemning the whore’s lifestyle, but as a man of God…well scripture is scripture, so have at her, boys!  Let the rocks fly!

You could have shown him how to pull a sorrowful, tragedy-wracked face, and how to wring your hands just so, and you could have taught Him all your comforting tropes of how sad, how tragic, that the woman’s sinful choices resulted in such horrifying consequences, but oh how infinitely sad you are that your hands are now tied…because you have principles to uphold, after all!

You could have shown Him how to artfully step back out of the way when the blood began to flow and splatter, lest any drops get even on the hem of your garment and render you unclean, and you could have called your artful dodging “Dancing unto the Lord”.  This would really make you a spiritual giant, and paragon of virtue…and even better, you could have kept the Lord from His maddening tendencies to sully Himself constantly by wallowing in this world of sin and principles broken and violated and misunderstood and lost and the human wreckage resulting from all that by letting whores wash His feet with their tears (tears shed from the gratitude of His involvement with them by the way…IN THEIR HORROR AND DESPAIR!), by eating lunch with evil money loving tax collectors, by partying and laughing joyously with so called “sinners and drunks”.

“I have to stand up for my principles.”

I eagerly await news of further displays of such courageous risky principle standing…such as denying funeral services to all the people-groups listed in a common passage used to justify hatred and ostracization of LGTB believers (1 Cor. 6…and yes, I do believe I can make a biblical case that these verses are mis-applied to blanket condemn humans who for whatever reasons are sexually oriented as they are, not to mention the blatant ignore and excusing that goes on for the rest of the list)…adulterers, sexually immoral people, drunkards, idolaters thieves, covetous, revilers, extortionists…

…I am certain that funeral arrangements will not be allowed for all people on that list.

Oh, and don’t forget the ones in 2 Timothy 2: 9-14…surely, he will apply the exact same method of reading which resulted in his towering principle with the former passage, and end up very firmly but oh so sorrowfully and piously denying funeral services to the families of any woman who fails to adorn herself with modest propriety and modest apparel (defined by him, I am sure, and oh such confidence I have that he will be ever so wise, ever so fair and generous of spirit and hand and heart…after all, a towering paragon of virtue such as himself, who placed his principles over the lives and hearts of broken human beings created in God’s very Image, Human Beings worth the very BLOOD of Christ!!),

I am sure that he will find his courage to not allow the families of women who braided their hair, or wore gold ornaments, or who wore pearls, or who wore costly clothing (?? Let me “literally” read that…and end up in a quagmire!  Some definition of costly must be derived, and then every receipt checked!  Or…let me spiritually rightly divide the word of truth:  let women have as their first priority to be clothed with the beauty of the Lord’s love and grace and character, instead of merely adorning the outside of the cup and ignoring the inner state of the vessel…oh, and the fact that this is specified at women does not let men off that same hook, as remember, in Christ there is no longer male or female and men are not permitted to claim special privilege over women!)…

I am sure that he will mark those women in his services who utter even one word, because scripture teaches that they must remain silent, and we simply must just read the face value, ignore the meanings and contexts of culture during the times it was written, violate every common sense scholarly principle we so commonly use to read other old documents, and bury our heads in the a-hole of principle and use God’s precious words of life to oppress and heap up burdens for men and not lift a fucking finger to help them…less we become sullied and violate our principles!

(yes…Constance I did…oh yes I did…I used the “f” word…and I am not taking it back either!)

How I rejoice that he is on the watch, sifting, purifying his flock, and denying funeral services to any woman who teaches over a man…and of course there are other passages, littered all the way thru, from which he simply must begin culling identifiers of possible principle-sullying behaviours!  In fact, he actually should set up a tribunal…yes!

A tribunal of other men, guided by principles and holy zeal!  He can look to an organization which is long practiced at this, and has it down to an artform…the Taliban!  Oh yes, they are so good at it, that they just leveled the ground for all women!  Dress them in burkas, cover their faces, and kill any of them who show so much as an ankle!  Yep, that’s the ticket!  Oh, and because they care so much about them, address their potential for sexual desire and sin…make sure they do not fall into that issue by simply cutting off their labias and clitorises!

Hey…it’s principle.  And with oh such sorrowful reluctance, I can see him gathering himself a cadre…of American Taliban.

I am crying right now…this very instant.

Tears of sorrow…tears of rage…tears of heartbreak.

I guess I will conclude with some words Jesus said when in His earthly sojourn bodily, and He aimed these words at the very best maintainers of principle the world has EVER SEEN:  the Pharisee sect of Judaism…Matthew 23:23 (the whole chapter is one you should read every day, to make sure you steer clear of the error of self-righteousness, but I will stick with just one verse…and conclude)

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin,
and have neglected the weightier matters of the law:

justice and mercy and faith.

These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”

I am crying right now…

Do justice.
Love Mercy.
walk Humbly.

Your ever imperfect friend, and ever-boastful strumpet in the Wonderful Grace of Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit

Charissa Grace

tears

Haunted by a Lovely God

(NOTE:  If you wish, you can click here and be taken to a page where I emboldened certain words to try to convey the rhythm and meter of this poem, which is literally essential to it.  But:  if you wish to just wade in, first time thru and let the rhythms and meters rise and fall, fade and disappear and then come back, well that is ideal because that is literally written into the work as its own “poem of rhythm”.  In either case, I hope you are able to read thru it…the things in this poem literally happened to me, with me).

Okay.

I get it.  I do…in spite of what you might think, maybe
several of you, maybe dozens of you, maybe
hundreds, or thousands or millions of you
have endured deserts and mirage oasises
vanished in life when it comes to the subject of God.

I hear your stories, the bitter rants of some, the tired futility
of many others, I have taken venom, been covered in acid,
as I lead face first and I listen to tales of one
thing held in desolate common.

“God’s not here”.
“God wasn’t there”.
“God isn’t real”.
“God doesn’t care”.

I bleed when you cry in anguish, and weep as I
hear your recitals, and then in dark rage, and then
finally in grief, that pools on the dark other
side of the desert, in that empty kingdom of
Ozymandias the great ruler of vanity.

You might think I weep sanctimonious, sorrowful
supplicant of righteous standing, who’s crying for
those destitute and benighted, the distant, the stranger and
other, from my tower of ignorant pie in the sky…

You’d be wrong.

I weep in guilt.

Yeah…guilt.

For my tale of dark woe is so anti-tragic,
a Mysterium Tremendum, of a wretch so
shattered and shipwrecked in this desert island

…my body…

My story is different, and I feel so guilty,
confused as to why even in existential
despair I am still on the outside of
the common narrative swirling around me?

Contrary to you, in your longing and noble long
struggle to live, and to surmount desertion and
lost lonely silence by God in Their Heaven above…
I have always been

Haunted by a Lovely God.

When I was little and in my first dawning awareness,
and ageless, I recall that I always heard This Voice,
and at first I thought it outside me, I thought the wind had a
voice, or perhaps it was Trees, but it
never was dirt under my feet, no,
dirt is a tongue-tied dull mute.

As I grew I realized that the voice was inside me…in my heart, and I came to
treasure its company and the glad beauty of thoughts, and of musings. Then
I told my parents what it had told me, and,
flabbergasted, they asked where did I hear that?
And I told them “God.  God told me”
(for that is Who the voice told me They were
and …Jesus like a Shepherd led me).

They laughed!  LAUGHED! And while they were
not mocking, they merely thought
I was mistaken, had fantasized wonders.
So I cried then, and thought that
maybe my parents were right.

And then came the break, the thirsty sword stroke
that cut me to ribbons, my soft girly heart left in shreds…
then the slavery started with harsh words resounding, those
prison door words…and God was still there, holding
me in my tears, wrapped
around my hurt heart…and I longed for death, wanted to
jump in the river from that tall steel bridge I crossed
over each day but God asked me “please”, and…

well…

who can say no to God when They ask “Please?”

Then They would give me a joy for that day…and They
gave me a dog! Oh!  How she and I bonded!
But you have already heard some of the tales of Millie…”Good Old Dog!”  No…
this is the story of me being Haunted…

Haunted By a Lovely God.

One time, I was alone outside our house

(the one in the Pear Orchards down
near the cold creek where my Millie and me chased those
skimmer bugs and slippery pollywogs all live-long day…)

and it was warm in the soft early evening and dusky and glowing ethereal gloaming,
the good dusk…and wind softly rustling thru fruit trees so
heavy with life and the sounds of the living earth echoed around me…

…and then all was silent…

Suddenly, and it caught all my attention immediately! Slowly I
walked to the pear trees and stood, just to listen…and I heard it…something!
The call of a Mourning Dove

(or is it Morning Dove? I can’t distinguish the
One from the other, it seems to shift
back and forth always and ever).

It cooed and it called, and it seemed to me as if it spoke to me,
saying…”Come out to Me, Baby… Come out to Me.  Come home to Me.”

(Lady Grace, She calls me Baby now, here today)

I was so skert! I thought it was a ghost!  And this ghost it was longing for
my tender spirit and if I went out there, it would get inside me and
I would belong to it, always and be its flesh, its living body for
it to inhabit, its dwelling place then and forever.

I wasn’t far from the truth… I look back, I think it was Her, Lady Grace,
Dove come down, Her Voice was calling me, claiming me even then as Her own…
I wonder what would have happened, my life had I heeded Her,
gone to Her, run to Her heedlessly on that first day?

It’s not coincidence that our trees now, all around our house are filled with
Morning Doves (Mourning Doves too), calling, cooing…and pestering people in
our neighborhood, but so comforting to me as totems and emblems,
reminders of Mama’s first call to my hurt lonely soul and my soft tender heart.

Then: it was Veteran’s Day, fall, 1969.
We went to town several miles from home for the parade…I insisted that
Millie come with us, and after the music and marching had ended, we
went to the movies:  “The Love Bug”.  But Millie was left in our Volkswagen van.

(the one that was faded red
with canvas roll back top
and that relentless bamboo pole that
Dad used to poke us and hit us with
when we were clear in the
back and too rowdy and rude.)

and when we came back to the van…
she was gone.

I cannot tell you what that was like. I nearly fainted.  I ran in the
street screaming her name, as cars screeched stop and Dad chased
me hollering “Get Back Here!”

We drove the streets hours and hours, me, head out the window, her name become
my tongue protruding and flapping and desperate in the cold wind.
I screamed that name loud, again and again until I was hoarse, and I kept
screaming, my grief-expiation for killing my dog with my stubborn insistence that she come along.

I tried to bargain with Them…in the sibilant cold and the darkness, I lifted my face:

“I will scream her name until I pass out and can never talk ever again, and then
You
 will receive my burnt offerings of me and give me what I earned with
desperate grief, what I bought with my service…my heart, Millie come back safe home.”

They remained silent, aloof (and I wonder if this is where They were in your tale of sorrow…).
Finally Dad said “she’s gone”…so we had to go home, in that cold rainy dark night of loss
on that day that we remember and honor the valor of
those who faced their fears and endured for me.

I threw up. I do that when I get distraught…I always have done…I cried, and
cried and I cried, and when I had no tears I groaned and keened, inconsolably moaning…
crying til dust poured from my eyes in place of the tears long drained empty by
grief so stark it was a terror strong, threatening to crush me forever.

My folks were hurting for me, so they used what they always had carved me with,
thought was the best for me, raw in my towering emotions and gaugeless deep passions…
words, stern and cruel, words so full of dark violence, and those words’ incarnated beast,
gawd…the spanking…well…yeah, the Red Raving and Hungry Beast.

I was forced to eat my dinner, and I threw it up…on the table, on all the food
laid there for others to eat. Then I got spanked and sent straight up to bed…
where God was silent and no where to be found… but hey, Ima talker, right?
So I cried out to Them into the darkness thick…

(now get this, and understand that I’d been thru the
wringer of Sunday School, Hellfire Sermons,
Damnation Devotions, and I knew enough to be good or the
devil would get me. I once was told: “I will not spank you…
I’m just gonna let satan get you”…and I roamed behind my mom
hours, and wailed agonizing in fear and stark terror, and
begged her to spank me, deliver me from evil on the cross
of my butt, and her hard paddle the hungry
propitiation for my sins and my wrongs…and
I knew that so many times I had done things,
hell-things like say “shit” or steal cookies, or
sneak out the window to sleep with my Millie and
her wriggly puppies though I was forbidden to,
or watch cartoons on a Saturday morning so
early and low before  anyone woke up and caught me at it…and I’d
never been sent to hell…God had not bothered to notice or
even to thunder at me, or make trouble over me, and I
knew lots of people thought God was a fairy tale, which, frankly,
mystified me cus They talked to me so much when I was so little.)

That nite…I cried in a jagged blood whisper, my voice bleeding raw, and the
words, still they linger there, seared deep in me to this very day, now, here with you.

(and now, in this moment… I feel so damn guilty!
Why me??? Why did They talk to me of all people?)

I cried out “God…if You’re really there, real…bring my doggie home…PLEASE!”  Then…
somewhere, somehow, I moved past bargains, and buy-offs and bribes…I had cried my way
thru the stark castle of filthy rags and entered into the place of no exit, the
inner sanctorums of grace, where there’s nothing to buy there with money, and
there is no bargaining, no supplicating, no pleas, there is just the
beginnings of Mercy Free…

and crying out the word please in that dark night, eyes
gummed shut with sorrow and tacky tears I at last faded off into sleep
dreamless as I grieved and wished I was dead, like I did every night, and at
last I knew nothing, released and insensate and absent within the lost
shoals of sleep’s gift of respite from my agony, sorrow and grief.

Until I woke, instant and on point, into an electrical dark of night
black  glowing bright-black that cast light and filled the still air with a
presence, thick, substantive knowing, and threatening to
rend plain reality like the quick ripping of shrouds in the
hands of the dread faced and tall grim deliverers….

…and I heard scritching, and

(oh oh oh)

her whine (that lil ki-yiy-yiy she always used to call me heart to heart)
and I jumped from the top bunk with a thunderous thud loud enough to wake
even the dead and I got up and ran thru our house in that miracle moment:
“GOD BROUGHT BACK MY DOG!”
“GOD BROUGHT BACK MY DOG!!”

Babbling over and over again like a babe, Bartimaeus had nothing on me!
Shattering slumbering sundering darkness and giving voice
to that One Thing that I am:

Haunted by a Lovely God

Fumbling feverishly I rolled the gravestone away in my heart and threw
open the back door where she called me eagerly whining in joyous returning at sunrise…
she’d jumped a 6 foot fence out of obedience so she could come in thru the
Eye of the Needle: the back yard garage door.  She limped and jumped on me
and I went down to the ground, I was crying and kissing her and she was
kissing me too and I ran my hands over her, scarcely believing that she was real,
she was returned, she was home and alive, and my heart was restored unto me.

Then she rolled over, so I could scritch her tummy like she loved
and when I ran my hands over her precious side, my fingers slipped inside
her skin and I drew them back from her side which was pierced and torn open…

(I swear!
I  know, the metaphor seems so damn cheesy, right? It really
happened this way!  That’s the kind of thing I feel so
guilty for… it’s like They shouted it from the Bright Heavens that
I was not ever escaping Their Undying Love never ceasing and
new every morning.  I’m telling you that I have always been
Haunted by a Lovely God).

She had torn open her side, and I’d thrust my hand in just like Thomas and drawn it back,
bloody and warm and changed and I collapsed,

(cus I can’t handle blood, even though it has
handled me, covered me, branded me,
marked and commanded me
forever Under the Mercy)

I murmured brokenly “God hear my prayers, God heard my prayers, God hear my prayers,
God heard my prayers”.

Later, my parents made sure I knew that this was highly unusual, God has more
pressing concerns than my dear dog, or listening to me scream and demand…
yeah, there are all kinds of other prayers over the years, that went up and bounced off…

you know the kind…yeah, those

…and life went on…went on…until

Puberty hit and then hell came home hard to stay…in hair and voice and a
horror-beard (and oh god oh god, oh god down there, oh god please no).
And life required again its cruel ransom, and I wanted, longed to lay me on the gears and cogs
that turned in schools and the church groups that seemed to me incomprehensible
strangers, in their innate knowing of how to move and how to laugh and to be… again
I longed, desired to do away with me…this gender-joke…absurd and ugly mistake, just an
ironic blight on “There” and “Here” because I was neither…here or there, just a null thing

…and then…

…I had another time, deep in the darkness of night and numb tears and dumb talking to Them…

…Them…

1973…14 and awkward and lonely and numb from the bashing I gave me to
un-know who I was and was not supposed to be, allowed to be, allowed…
On that nite, cold and alone in the darkness I told Them that I was not going to follow Them.
I was resigning from being a christian and that I was leaving Them once and for all.

“No offense”, I said. “It’s not you, it’s me”

(I’d yet to discover how this trope is used when we
want to abandon an unwanted suitor or
how its thrown out…to hurt and to wound a familiar dull
lover become coarse and rank and too shrill)

“You have done nothing wrong, You have not failed me, no it’s I who’ve failed You, and
what’s worse, I cannot BUT fail You…always, because I’m a

“horrible boy, I’m an
absent mute girl, I am
nothing, and I count for
nothing and I live on
nothing and I mean more
nothing, just more black
horrible, lost empty nothing.

“I am not going to church anymore,”

(for in those days I, like others around me, assumed that if
you went outside and climbed into the
chicken coop then such a fat happy bird you’d become.)

“…when school starts up again, I’m going to say yes instead of
no thanks when they offer me pot, and offer me drinking, and
offer me bodies and no clothes and company there in the darkness and then I’ll be
numb and feel wanted at least…

“I cannot do it, walk blameless and upright, for
I am a constant habitual wallower in my sin
all the time in my heart, in my mind as I fail ceaseless,
besides, I don’t even desire to be in on this world full of Leavenworth walls…

“I will not fake it!  I refuse to be like them, sitting in their pews…

“with hallelujah on their lips and wanna screw ya in their hearts!

“I’ll stay alive, take my medicine straight and deserved and so bitter…and
maybe if I try I will even manage to conjure up a hearty yummy while
I drain the draughts of despair bone-dry…

“I know You’ll send me to hell…I deserve that, and even more so…I don’t
hold that against You, for You are and You always have been so Beautiful…
no, it is me, blight and curse, it’s just me, a disease in this world and pure poison.”

Fountains of sorrow again welled up, even as I wondered why they could
never be fountains of joy? And I cried and cried…softly so no one could hear me…
my brother sleeping…as always in these cut-off times…and

Millie was newly dead, gone to run free in the fields of her dreams, yet another cruel
tribute collected by Usurper death…that left me so empty,
so cold, so cut-off and bereft.

Until I heard it…the Voice!

Calling me gently (as always), so I held my breath, listened to be sure it was Them, then
I heard a soft quiet question asked so plaintively…

“What would it take?”  (Ummm…whaaa? I didn’t get it)

“What would it take, Precious One? Child, what would it take for you to not check out,
not go away, but to come here and spend time with Us everyday?
Talk to Us, listen and just be for Us… just be Ours always,
just as your dog, Good Old Millie was your friend, and she belonged
only to you?”

This was a careful and startling question and it was quick,
coming at me curving sideways!  So I had to really think!
Something absurd, something so damned unusual, that there was no way it
ever could happen, I mean, don’t get me wrong…I still wanted to be with Them,
wanted to share in Their sweet soft communion, cus I LOVED my Jesus, my Shepherd who
I always dreamed someday would leave the 99 and come to rescue me, I dreamed that
He was my Jester to make me laugh joyously, dreamed that He was my best Friend

…I just wasn’t…His best friend…and I couldn’t fake it. Nope.
So it was crucial I create conditions that even the Almighty God couldn’t meet

…you know…

God cannot make a rock so big that They cannot lift it, but They can do anything
so They can make this rock so big that even They cannot lift it…wait…

I was searching for that Rock that God couldn’t lift… right?  So

I said to Them “If, when I wake this morning, and my dad says ‘Kids we are moving’…
if there’s a strange town so distant where nobody knows me, and no one has
seen me, and I can start over, start fresh and anew, then I’ll choose you forever and
give my heart freely…lock, stock, and barrel, completely to You… I’ll be Your Millie,
all of my days till I die and my sentence is over.”

Silence gave answer…then after a bit…I drifted away breathing
deeply again as my tears crooned soft lullabies
to my hot cheeks, they ran down in such ancient deep
canyons of sorrow…down my face, down my heart,
down my soul to end up glistening in sorrowful streamers.

When I got up the next morning, things didn’t sparkle or gleam, and I didn’t
remember the Voice, the Epiphany…I was just staring at breakfast my mom used to
“cook” me in those days…Shredded Wheat with skim milk…and feeling
…that gulf, that dark feeling. That feeling. Yeah… The relentless sharp
razor slash cutting inside my soul, forever aching and Constant.

I wasn’t list’ning, as Dad droned on talking of somethingorruther… until I heard
him say the word…“moving”…something about that word…
why did it stick out?

Then in a quicksilver windstorm of memory-shredded, each piece was
hitting me, sticking, unripping its way to become one
coherent experience, and I recalled my reply to Their inquiry…
so I turned quickly and asked my dear father what did he just say…and he
said it again! He confirmed it! Just as I’d laid forth, to a T!

Haunted by a Lovely God.

(I feel so guilty… why am I treated thus?
Why me? Why not the prayers of parents
whose children suffer and die in horrible pain for
nothing that they ever did?
Why not the prayers of wives for soldiers
Cain has already marked for death’s dark
gaping foul maw, prayers supplicating
deliverance, protection, but
they go unheeded and
Death eats again?)

And of course, we moved, and I did…commit myself to Them…
once all for always…yep, I was in…And I’ve hated it sometimes, and loved it at others.
I’ve grown and I’ve changed, seen Them change before my eyes as they were
opened and I could see other than my own idolatrous self and that
small god I fashioned, so stunted, blind, deaf and so mute in the
vanity of my self worship when my box, my image of Them I had
made was so gloriously broken!

I’ve sorrowed and railed… I’ve been outcast by mean so called
spiritual family, been stunned by the towering cruelty of those who should
know better, done blindly in the Most Wonderful Name of Them…

Lovely God to me, and so ugly and coarse, buffoonish in their mocking mouths.

I met my darling, and we had our babies…
she/they are amazing miracles…I watch the
lives of my college acquaintances shipwreck, their
marriages foundering on the black jagged rocks of their alluring
careers and blood money…and I watch the children of
hard working salts, such dear people around me, more worthy than I, better
people than I, quaff drugs like their hearts are on fire, and join themselves
numbly to anyone there in those earthquakes of loneliness,
wreckages strewn in their wake and their orphans tossed
careless like litter abandoned.

And I have prayed with these people, so passionate, supplications far more
suitable than my own bumbling tongue-tied petitions and tall ebenezers…
and seen them bounce off, with dust poofing, dry-cloudy in
dull drifting mockery…

…and I feel so guilty.

Such.          Guilt.

Because They have haunted me… They’ve apprehended me… taken me…
They have not let me go, not let me drift… and I,
transgender woman held in such derision by
most of the offspring of the Blood of the Lamb…
The Holy Spirit has even shown me Her Name and Herself, Lady Grace,
and She’s drawn so near to me, to be ma Mère…my Mama, and teach me
my secret heart and my self, so young and emerging.

And yet still I ask myself why am haunted?

I could go on, forever recounting the
stories of Their faithful presence and meddling hands…of

Yosemite Sacred, cathedrals where mountains became the
Triune God, and I fell asunder to claw at the dirt in despairing blood-guiltness and
crying for mercy… and wonder of wonders!
El Capitan: Papa…Half Dome, cut asunder became My Friend Jesus…
Yosemite Falls: my Lady Grace, flowing and washing forever until I am pure…
Bridal Veil Falls was me, shifting emotions and prevarications blown
lacey and wandring across rocky faces but always to Them…
rising up from the ground, clean and unsullied as
Waterdeep sang for me They have been nothing but
Good in my life!

Each time I hear someone’s tale of woe filled with despair or with cynical bitterness flowing,
or just fatigue and futility…I am worse than any teller, and merit less than the askers, more
toxic than anyone else whose had issue with God, or
issue with Their present absence, or make issue with Them because

“there is this construct God which has come
out of nowhere, seemingly and thus doesn’t exist
(unlike anything else which its knowing of testifies to its being)…”

I have not told you this tale to shame you… I who am shame incarnate for so long.
Nor to claim privilege or power, position… I do not have an iota of that.

…I have not told you to lobby, convince you… or
proselytize, or evangelize you. God No!
I have made my expiation to you, my confessors…
The sin I am guilty of? Of this I Charissa Grace stand blood guilty:

Being

Haunted by a Lovely God.

tumblr_n7y9bv2gMD1tym45no1_1280

The Doctrine of Trans, Part 2

The Doctrine of Trans, Part 2.

Good Morning Constance…Part 2 from Trans-girl at the Cross.

Prolly of interest only to my readers who are Christian, but even if you aren’t it is worth a look, for it gives some insight into the subtlety of biblical interpretation, and the importance of letting the text speak for God instead of the reader reading her own opinions into the text and then taking the name of the Lord vainly by claiming that God has said something He has not said.

Praying that Lady Grace prevails in the hearts of the Church, and that a place for all LGTBQ people is warmly secured at the table of Their Communion and Fellowship,

Charissa

Suzanne Grossman Writes: “Why I Chose Grace as a Gay Christian”


Suzanne Grossman

 

via Why I Chose Grace as a Gay Christian.

I love this young woman’s faith, courage, and orientation to grace!

Hang in there Suzanne…there are fellow believers who realize that Faith thru Grace in Love is the winning recipe for connection with Them!

Please…read the article, and then think if you had those obstacles in your faith journey, in addition to the common difficulties we face.

Grace and Peace…

Charissa

Christianity and being Transgender – Why I won’t justify my transition

Christianity and being Transgender – Why I won’t justify my transition.

Hi Constance.  I was delighted to run across this article.  It is a decent essay regarding relationship with God and being transgender.  It speaks also of the pain and sorrow of the religious reflex which kicks in and then kicks us in the butt when the fearful and narrow-minded and deeds-based church culture people decide to be judge, jury, and executioner over other’s faith status.

I am posting it because I am hopeful that if you find yourself in this place, as a person of faith who is weirded out by a transgender person, or if you have always assumed that a transperson is mentally ill, trapped in sin and sexually perverted.  Hopefully you will see Meggan’s heart, hear her voice, and realize that she has a life lived in the Redemptive Arms of Love.

Me?  If you really want to know?  As far as being judged by other christians, I don’t give it a second thought.  The presence of the Lord is simply too “there” everyday for me to even entertain the notion that They do not like me.  They draw near, each morning and the conversations of our hearts is edifying and encouraging.  Sometimes They are silent…and Their world sings to my heart of Their beauty and truth and love.

Besides…I have already been judged soo often in the past by people over basically everything you can think of!  Sometimes on the same Sunday morning I would be judged for the very same thing by people who saw it from the opposite stand point!  Sometimes my sermons were too full of scripture!  Sometimes my sermons were not full enough!!

I got to know Abe Lincoln’s famous saying about pleasing people very well…

The last straw for me, the one that set me free, was when we were in the midst of a vicious power struggle as leaders with a spiritually abusive pastor who was far far FAR past his “pull date”, and knew it…but just…couldn’t…let…go…and I was one of the very few who refused to back down in the face of his rage and anger and horrible ways of making people pay.  Many times the wrath would flow…the congregation was about 85% solid on moving on with our new leadership team (leading by plurality), but about 15% were the old guard…didn’t like the new fangled ways like playing guitar and singing choruses and raising hands and waving flags…yunno, really evil things like that.

So…during this time, my father suffered and died from frontal lobe dementia, a rather nasty variant on a nasty phenomenon.

It was so trying, so painful for me.  I loved him so, and still do.

And…after he died, someone sidled up to me in order to “comfort me”, but managed to tell me that he was certain that the Lord would not have killed my father if I had not been in rebellion against the old pastor!!!!!

Yeah…that is why I really could give a rip whatever people think…except for God, and my family, and my friends, and those I serve everyday.  Haters gonna hate…and show their black hearts like simpering socialites at the Cannes film festival.

Just remember…unkind words are never ok, for any reason…especially from those called to speak in the Name of Love Himself.

Love, Charissa Grace

He Cares (Song from Isaiah 43, 1988)

In 1985 I got very sick with a kidney disease called Nephritis.  There was no cause that could be found, but there was a prognosis of immediate dialysis, followed by transplant at the first available organ.

For 9 months before this manifested on October the 4th, 1985, I had been getting a specific biblical reference virtually every morning during my prayer time.  It was Lamentations chapter 3.  This is a famous passage where the prophet Jeremiah is vicariously repenting to the Lord on behalf of the nation of Israel, and also lamenting his own personal hardship.  The verses that stood out, as if in flames to me, were 12-13…

He has bent His bow and set me up as a target for the arrow.  He has caused the arrows of His quiver to pierce my kidneys…”

Of course they were a huge puzzle for me, and I delved into the chapter, and had fruitful study for months, but could not for the life of me figure out what was so significant about those fiery words…

So there I was, in the doctor’s office while they laid out my future for me,  and by then, I knew the meaning of those words, in all their dread.  I knew that this was some sort of trial/discipline/classroom/reproach/something that was from God, and only God would be able to help me.  I had a deep certainty that I was going to survive this (and I was not very happy about that, to be frank.  It was during this time that I tasted gun oil on a barrel, if you get my drift), and I decided before things got too far, that I was going to seek Them and beseech Them for mercy and see what happened…why it happened…what was happening.

I refused the options they laid out.  The doctors told me I was crazy…but I didn’t care.  When they asked me what I was planning, I simply told them the verses, what God had been putting in me for 9 months, and that this was something divine that had to be dealt with on that level.  Of course they ridiculed me, sought to belittle and demean me for my stupidity.

It was rough to take.  I knew how it looked…Jesus Freak outta his mind etc etc.

But I was firm in my understanding, and knew that anything else they did would be futile, so instead I sought help through natural means and prayer and repentance.  I did intense research and found several herbs that had verifiable healing qualities for kidneys.  I prayed a ton.

And I had to work during this time.  I had no time off available, and my new wife and baby needed to eat, right?  So I went out to my very physical job picking up trash in our town, and I slogged zombie-like through the days.  I had a constant 101 degree fever.  My muscles constantly ached like the worst flu you have had.  I felt so sick, so full of toxins, and so absolutely alone.

Imagine the silence, after virtually everyday for 9 months there had been active voice in my spirit from Them.

Imagine the horror and lonely realization that I was literally dying, and I had chosen to either live or die by Their intervention, and They were not talking.

It was bleak…for real.

But in a few weeks, I began to hear stirrings, and eventually They established dialogue again with me, and then came weeks of gentle revelation to me of my own carnal dependence on religion, theology, and the word itself.  They showed me that I basically worshiped the Bible instead of Them.  I could quote the word 9 ways to Sunday, but I didn’t properly care for Their down-trodden and weak and lost sheep.  I was self-righteous, boasting in my credentials, my position as a life-long christian, and my status as a “good person”.  They showed me my dependence on my own abilities and gifts (which THEY gave me, btw), and finally, how I had put my trust in an ethic of law and right behaviour, instead of trusting Them in relationship, with an ethic coming from righteousness equaling right relationship with Them.

These revelations were in some ways more painful than the physical issues I was dealing with.  OOooohhh my pride was sooo stinky and offended!  But They were right…They always are.

There was no immediate relief, no instant healing after I got the message and began to pursue repentance…repentance:  simply a changing of the mind resulting in traveling the opposite way you were traveling.  Metanoia.  But there was a coming along side, an empowering while I was so weak, to complete each day, everyday, and slowly but surely embrace the fellowship of His sufferings (sanctification and death to self)…until finally…the day this song was born.

I was working in a neighborhood in our town, and as I was picking up trash, I saw a young woman in her mid twenties come out of her house, and walk to her car.  She had been weeping, and was bruised (literally).  She was smoking a cigarette, and was somewhat unkempt.  And above all, underneath the veneer of hurt, pain, sorrow, and slow hardening of her heart, I saw that she was incredibly beautiful.  Now…I think what happened is that They gave me eyes to see her as They see her!  And in that moment, the lyrics to the song came into my heart, and the melody out of my mouth, and basically I got the song in about 5 minutes.  I quickly pulled around the block and jotted them down, finished the day, and went straight home to the guitar and firmed it up.

I went back to that house a few days later.  I intended to sing that song to that woman…but the house was empty.  Whatever violence that had occurred had flowered into its bitter and deadly fruit and no one was there any longer.  I went back to my car and sat…and cried.  I cried for her, for whoever hit her, for the sin and brokenness we were hemmed in by, and I prayed loud and without thought for how I appeared to others or what words I used or how spiritual I sounded or looked…and I begged Them to watch over her, draw her to Themselves, and other things as well.

The tears finally stopped, and I was ready to leave…and I heard Lady Grace speak to me, and She said that what I had just experienced was why They had pierced my kidneys with Their arrows…Their discipline had at last resulted in the good fruit They desired.  She basically told me it was the first time I had ever prayed for someone else with a whole heart aware only of the person, and not of my own role as the spiritual champion, warrior, super-christian, etc. etc.  And that I was incapable of hearing that song from Them previous to Their scouring and wounding stripes.

I will never, ever forget that…and the lesson of Their Faithfulness.  “For I am confident of this very thing:  that He who began a good work in you shall be faithful to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ!”

In light of my posts taking a very sharp prophetic stance against misogyny, I think it is timely that I found this song today in the annals of my past…“He Cares”  (it is in waltz time in a country gospel style)…tumblr_n64n4yXMxA1qbc8lko1_1280

Don’t let the world steal your beauty.
Don’t let the world take your joy.
When you’re too hurt to cry, and your spirit is so dry,
oh don’t let the world steal your beauty.

When you pass thru ferocious deep rivers,
when the water is chilly and cold,
Though the floods be so grey, you will not be swept away,
when you pass thru ferocious deep rivers.

Chorus:
Cause He cares, He cares.
Jesus cares for you.
He will gently lift you up.  He will fill your empty cup,
Jesus cares for you.

Don’t let the world steal your victory.
Don’t be defeated by the pain.
When you’re wounded in the fight, when you can’t see any light,
oh don’t let the world steal your victory.

When you walk thru the lonely hot fires,
and dark flames of despair lick your soul.
Do not be concerned, for you will not be burned,
when you walk thru the lonely hot fires.

Chorus: 

Bridge:  
Do not call to mind what has happened before,
don’t ponder the things of the past.
I will make a broad roadway in the wilderness,
and rivers of life in your deserts.

What My hands hold, none can snatch away.
What I do, none can undo.
By My Blood and My Name, you are fee from all shame,
Oh!  I LOVE you, come to Me!

Chorus:
Cause I care, I care!
My people, I care for you!
I will gently lift you up, I will fill your empty cup.
Oh My people I care for you!

Don’t let the world steal your beauty.
Don’t let the world take your joy.
He will gently lift you up…He will fill your empty cup,
So don’t let the world steal your beauty.

Stuck in the middle again…(rant alert)

Hi Constance…

…a quick note this morning to comment on some thing on my heart.

I know a lot of people over the years who are very drawn to me because I am open about the relationship Father, Jesus and Mama have forged with me.  They get all the credit, for this is true:  there is none righteous, not one who has even sought after God!  That means that if you are in relationship with Them, it is Their doing, and none of your own, save the assent of your will.

And in the openness of our relationship, these individuals find a self-affirmation of their own faith, relationship, etc.

But here is the kicker:  I am also open about my struggles, my failures and flaws.  I put on no religious airs, and when They expose any that have crept in quietly when pride was crooning its deadly lullaby, I renounce those pretensions as quick as I can.  I try to boast in my weakness, and not in my strength, as Father promises that the Strength of Jesus is made perfect in my weakness.

So…it is just a matter of time before the people who are drawn to me are repelled by my lack of performance, my lack of keeping up the appearance and doing the things that signal that I am “orthodox”, saying the things that signal I am “safe”, and practicing the things that signal I am “one of us”.  Soon, there are judgements, accusations, demands that I toe the line and not use my freedom to “make them stumble”.

Huh?  I thought Paul was talking about someone who was weak in conscience and in their relationship, who might fall away completely from the life of someone strong in the faith, so the strong one should bear with the weak one patiently.  These people twist that word, are strong in their conscience and faith, and boast that nothing could pull them away.

No…they are simply using faith words to try to keep me in the christian gulag that they run.  And, as I know in my deepest knower that my Hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness, and that all other ground is sinking sand, I regretfully, but purposefully ignore them, and thus end up branded a heretic.

You know the old maxim:  if you don’t tick like I tick, you’re a heretic!

So…that wouldn’t be so bad in itself…in many ways we are known by our enemies as much as our friends.

But here is the discouraging thing:  There are many others, who are deeply spiritual but have for one reason or another excluded Father, Jesus and Mama as spiritual possibilities in their world view.  These people are amazing, compassionate, loving, etc.  And they flock to me because in me they see someone who does not practice “religion”, and doesn’t try to pretend by actions to have a superior standing over anyone else, who doesn’t believe that being in a church building every Sunday makes you a christian any more than being in a hen-house every day makes you a chicken!

And so there is an initial attraction and excitement of possibilities…until we come to that One thing that sticks in the craw always, in all times and all places with all people:

“Who do you say that I am?”

Those words were spoken long ago by the Incarnate God…by Jesus, to His beloved disciples…and they are asked of every single person who is ever born.

This is not a fairy tale, or fantasy.  This is reality.  And I am incapable of not knowing it is so…

…not a boast.  Not dogma, or a dogmatic refusal to be ecumenical or inclusive…it is simply true.

Jesus came in the flesh, God, to restore all things to the Father, and build a temple for Mama to live in (that is us, by the way, and all of us together).

That simple truth is my absolute essence and core.

And thus, a stumbling block does often rise, the Cornerstone upon whom we should all be so blest to fall and be broken.

Inevitably, there creeps in a distance, and the assumption that I am just another right-wing fanatic christian looking to control and kill everything that ain’t me.

And that is sad to me…it is hard for me to not feel as if there is something so wrong with me, and that I should just say fuck it and throw my lot in with one or the other…right?

But I can’t.  Because I can never ever not know the Ones I know, and I can never ever not know the futility…the

UTTER. FUTILITY. of my own works and deeds and ability to stay close to Them.

So…Constance…

Chances are you may find yourself in one of these groups…initially you might have been drawn to my writing because of the raw emotion and undisguised struggle that my life is…our life is…you may have loved a poem that touched on some longing or need or similar experience.

I am a desperate woman!  Absolutely desperate in every sense of the word, and far more so because the body that I have poses a lot of…hmmm, let’s call them opportunities…for Mama, Jesus, and Father to sanctify me, teach me grace and humility, and create in me a soul that loves and oozes mercy as one who has herself been fed mercy as mother’s milk.

Or…you may have been drawn here by my bald-faced and open and unashamed conversation about Them, Their history in my life, involvement with me and refusal to ever let me go.  You might have read a poem that earnestly cries out to Them, or one that is ecstatic in utter praise for Their Love!  You may have seen words like Grace, Faith, Hope, Redemption, Sanctification, and been drawn to those words like moths to a flame.

But sooner or later there may be something that sticks in your craw, in your throat like a sideways chicken bone, and won’t go down.  Can I just ask you one thing?  Please don’t judge?  Please don’t assume hypocrisy where there is only very fallen and flawed humanness?  I can never ever deny Them…and that is not a boast of my greatness!  It is simply a truism, and it would be like denying that I drink water everyday, or that I breathe every 5 seconds or so.

But neither can I ever deny the absolute reality that literally nothing I do save saying YES and yielding to them results in anything other than utter vanity.  And I will never pretend otherwise.

Dearest Christendom dweller…you who sits back and reflexively filters every word thru your fruit detector lenses and doctrinal code breakers, and then marks red lines in your mind all over everything that doesn’t match up with your current understanding of the magisterial magnificent word of God…you will not like me when I tell you that you are in greater deception than the ones you judge!  You are in greater judgement than the ones you have consigned to your “love” (the affectations of behaviour that you manifest towards those you dislike or disapprove of or judge but know that they “need to know Jesus” so you will essentially brown-nose them into the kingdom)!!

Oh, oh how my heart longs for the day when we would take our eyes off each other, quit inspecting each other’s fruit as if we are Jesus, and simply open our hearts in joy and allow Perfect Love to fill us…to overflowing…and eventually to flooding the lives of those around us.

Constance…it is so simple and pure, really…just be kind…just do justice…just love mercy…just show compassion always…just let the abundant exceedingly great and abounding Grace make a “Grace-mess” everywhere.

You who just cannot swallow all my blabber about Jesus, but you like my poems?  IT.  IS.  OKAY!  🙂  I am ok with that!  Here is the truth:  if They had not laid hands on me and taken me, I would not belong to them at all!  Why would I?  Because of the wonderful comeliness of Their kids???  Because of my own towering faithfulness???   NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT!!!!!

And you who find something stirring, some deep calling to deep in my writings of Jesus and Mama (ok, ok…since it seems a matter of dire import, HOLY SPIRIT), and Father, but you just shake your head as I openly share my life as a transgender person, as I openly share my life as a person in process of moving from trusting myself to trusting Them?  IT.  IS.  OKAY!  🙂 (And it is even OK that I call Holy Spirit Mama?  I can make a stronger case for Her femininity than you can for Her masculinity, if you wanted to go there…but why?  Then we are fighting and satan laughs!)

Sorry Constance…that has been brewing in me for a good while.  Some email comments, and some other things I had to write out of my heart so they wouldn’t fester.

Your regularly scheduled mewlings will commence after She feeds me this morning!  🙂

 

Love always, with the Magnificent Love of Father shown in Jesus and revealed by Mama…

Charissa Grace, the glad, golden and grateful (and sometimes defiant) daughter of Them

2

I’m puzzled…

Good morning Constance!

I am sitting, snuggled in my favorite blankets with my lappie, catching up on the turning of the world for another time as we walk that ancient and worn trail so well known around the sun…

…but I am somewhat puzzled, and curious about something.

I write for myself, what is on my heart and what is in my spirit at the time…this blog is the place where I put what I am thinking or feeling, and as it is written primarily for myself, I don’t concern myself too awful much with responses…but:  when I get them, it feels good, because I know that I sparked something in someone else.

Usually, there is a lot of feedback on poems, and quite a bit of feedback on the lil essays I write.

But on the post Love, in a sexual world, I got nothing!  Seriously…oh no, I forgot, one new follower, which was cool.  I am not a follower counter, but it stood out to me because of the dearth of feedback on this post.

So…here is what I want to know:

Am I that out of step with the world, that my post was the sounding of a loud clangy cymbal?  Or am I just wrong on the issue, and sex conflates with love these days interchangeably?  Or did I offend with the openness of my convictions that sexuality is most edifying in a monogamous, committed relationship?  Or was it just a poorly written, badly thought out post?

I think that this issue is one of the critical dynamics of our time!  Clearly, how it is addressed or ignored has vast implications for each relationship, and especially the fruit of those relationships…children.  How they grown up, what they are taught or not taught, what is caught by them thru osmosis, and then in turn how they handle relationships in their turn at the helm.

I think the issue has implications for the emerging issues of sexuality, personality…human identity!

It is not sufficient to believe that if we just teach “correct moral law” that it will fix everything…it won’t!  That is sorta the point of the entire chronicle of human history until Precious Jesus came…there is absolutely no way to be “good”, or “good enough” to become whole and actualized as beings all on our own!  Given the towering and stellar beauty of God’s law (the core of which is pretty much at the heart of any great moral/religious structure), you would think there would be large segments of successful demonstration of the fruits of these things…and yet what do we see…over and over and over?

No…the only hope, in my view anyway, is the instruction spirit to spirit in the ways of relationship!  Efforts to address the inherent brokenness found in each and every person, examination of the manifold ways we desperately seek to fill the void within and the way those efforts play out in our lives and the lives of those we are connected to…these are the kinds of things we ought to be digging our fingers and teeth into!

Building lifeboats and throwing out lifelines is good, in a crisis…but in addition to the construction of safety nets why not move further down the stream and build some preventive dams to protect the small villages that slumber peacefully,unaware of the onslaught which is piled and furious at the pass?

Auuggghhh!

I digress…I am sorry about that.  A glimpse into the more far reaching things my spirit finds burdensome.

My desire here this morning is feedback, driven by curiosity…topic distasteful?  Solution proffered laughable? Inadequate?  A fantasy?  Writing style pedantic and ponderous…stick with the catchy poems and pretty word pics Charissa?

Okay…indulgence of curiosity (and perhaps ego?) is now over.  Your regularly scheduled programming will commence, Constance!

Love, Grace and Peace always, and may the fullness of Wholeness come to each and every one of you, and bring you to the place where all tears are wiped away, and all joy is there in fullness for all peoples.

Charissa

tumblr_mmpy7vpWke1r2zs3eo1_1280

A l’il word about gender and morality

**************UPDATED****************

corrected spelling from bionically to biblically!!!  Oh those flying fingers!

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

Hi Constance!

Confession time:  in the dark years, between the severity of the events of early childhood and the death of my father in 2005, I dwelt in Christendom.  Pretty much the down the middle, fairly conservative and fundamentalist, adhering to the Apostles’ Creed variety.  We believed that the Bible was God’s inspired word and contained guidance for our lives.  We believed it was “literally true”, but well understood the use of literary devices so that often times passages had to be understood metaphorically when context demanded it (literary, cultural, and theological contexts).  Example:  when Canaan was referred to as a land flowing with milk and honey, it was clearly taught to me that this was a poetic way to speak of it being a place of promise and fruitfulness.

I was taught that the Bible is also an unflinching record of human beings’ tragic brokenness, and how existence for beings created in the Image of God plays out when the vital union with their spirit and God’s is severed.

We believed that Jesus was God Incarnate, come in the flesh to manifest that great transaction of eternity past by which He redeems all things and sets the clock ticking on the final coming Someday when the City of God descends to Earth and the cleansing scours all rot away and we step into that Ever-Morning.

We believed in the Holy Spirit, but denied the power of the Spirit in any way that was considered charismatic.

And we believed that sexuality was sacred and reserved for a monogamous marriage relationship.  In that context sex was beautiful and condoned for any purpose the couple mutually agreed on, with the caveat that God be glorified.

I still believe all of those things…with a lot of caveats now, and many adjustments made due to maturity, growth, and encountering God more personally as I grew (and that thanks to THEIR insistence, not some great spirituality of my own!).  My understanding of the Bible has increased in depth and scope, and I am far less dogmatically attached to many peripheral teachings that used to get added in as axioms.

I have experienced the Holy Spirit and (Her) ministry in a very personal and profound way.  If you read here frequently, you know I am not shy about identifying Her as Mama…She…and come on:  God has no gender, God is the source of gender!  He has chosen to reveal Himself as Father, and as Son, for reasons that I frankly do not fully understand anymore than I understand that Mama is revealed as feminine. (I know this about Her the same way I know the other about the Father and the Son:  the language!)

But this I do understand:  Jesus came to break down all dividing walls, to set every captive free, and to remove anyone who exerts power over another from that Throne.  Thus, in Him there is no slave or free, no greek nor jew, and no male nor female.  This is not a denial that these things exist!  Rather it is the repudiation of the inherent positions of privilege and power, putting all on level ground before Him in liberty.

But the biggest area of adjustment:  Sexuality and morality.

I confess that I knew nothing about “alternative lifestyles”, as I was taught to classify them, except that they were bad, and that if you loved God, you simply didn’t go there or associate with those who did…unless you were ever so magnanimously showing up to oh so sweetly let them know they were sinning and going to Hell but you would be tickled pink to lead them away from their sinful ways.

Gaaakkk!!  I look back on it now, and mourn.  I was totally blind to how I came across to others, how judgemental I was a priori, and how deeply I practised “othering” as a lifestyle and even worse evangelism technique!

I think it is this unique history of mine that has positioned me as potentially one who might help others in that ghetto of christendom begin to find the bones and blood of their Faith, and become again the “Little Christs” that we have lost sight of.  See…like Paul, I could match my pedigree with any one of you.  Educated, saved for 51 years of my 55 here on the planet.  Married to a woman who likewise is a believer devoted all her life as well.  Educated to a high degree.  Decades in Sunday Schools, first as a student, and then as a teacher.  Leader, elder, pastor, conference speaker, travelling ministry…I have pretty much done it all, in terms of the categories of “bona fides”.

I had no outside sexual interests…my Beloved is my all, and I was smitten literally in the first instant I saw her.  I have lived (by all ways these things were outwardly judged) an acceptable and moral lifestyle.  While I have seen pornography (in this age, sadly, who hasn’t?), it has never had a grip or hold on me like it has gained foothold in so many.  I never had any sexually deviant habits, practices or thoughts really.

An aside:  I am using the term “sexually deviant” referencing the point of view I was brought up in, and the possible point of view for lots of christians who wrongly assume that being transgender is an inherently immoral choice.

In short, what I am trying to say is that in a way similar to the Apostle Paul in Philippians chapter 3, when he sought to give his credentials and qualifications for boasting in the flesh if her were to boast, I too could say that I was a “Hebrew of Hebrews”, in the sense that I am nearly positive that if any of you believers met me then you would have assumed I was a “with-it, has it all together, successful and committed christian!”

Now…that is not a boast!!  Because inside that person was this hurting, lonely, fractured and parasuicidal person!  Every ounce of spiritual discipline I had was dedicated and devoted to hanging on for dear life to the One who had saved me and brought me thru many waters and fires.

The desolation, the confusion and outright despair were palpable and dark.  I went thru counseling, inner healing, let the deliverance bunch have a go at me (though they all agreed I had no demons!! LOLOL!!  I find that so funny in light of how immediately I was judged demon possessed by the fearful who had known me 30 years)…it was the faith that Jesus gave me, and the manifold abundant Grace of Mama that kept me alive.

When Dad died, the person I am on the inside somehow “knew” it was now safe to go out, and for the first time in my life since early childhood, I got some women’s clothing and dressed properly!  From my perspective, I had cross-dressed as a man for nearly 50 years!  So to dress in women’s clothes, from the standpoint of outside judges, would be called cross dressing, but for me it was stopping cross dressing!!

I was open with my darling about it.  We walk step by step together, and hand in hand.  Her first concern was that it was some weird sexual thing!

It is always that way in those circles, sadly…if we don’t understand it, it must be perverted or sexually immoral!

But she quickly realized that this wasn’t the case whatsoever. It was physically evident to her that I did not get a thrill from this (use your imagination), and she very soon sensed the greater peace, happiness, joy, and bubbly person that I am.  She used to lament…”Why are you this amazing person for these short periods and then you get so sad, and you put yourself down so much?”

It’s true…I used to say that I thought nobody loved me, and that I was bad (could never give a reason, I just felt I was bad for existing at all!), that I should be dead, and other horrible things like that.  She would ask why, and I simply said, with tears streaming, “I don’t know, Baby, I don’t know, I just should be dead”.

But as time passed, she truly saw the vital and essential nature of who I really am coming forward.

Time passed, and we did more and more reading, and began to be educated as to the difference between gender identity and sexual preference and practice.

Thus, for us the major hurdle was over…I am not sexually immoral as a transgender person.  I am not a transvestite, or any of the other pejoratives that get painted on us.

So what I am trying to say is this:  if you are a conservative denizen of christendom, and you automatically assume that transgender people are inherently immoral or bent or deviant, what do you do with me?

(and by the way, I have met and know of several transgender christians who are lovely lovey people and probably better people than I!!)

I can easily keep up biblically with you.  I had fabulous bible teachers who taught me hermeneutics and the proper rules of exegesis.  I studied the major theologies of christendom.  I studied the liberal higher critical models.  I read the bible daily and talk openly with God constantly (in fact I am prolly a pest to Mama!  “Hey, Mama, whatchya doin?? Huh?  Whatchaya doin??  Can I do it too??? etc. etc!  🙂   ).

I counsel others, I pray with the lonely and hurting if they are open.  I serve others and delight in kindness…I feel the pleasure of God in my soul!

And I have never ever, by the testimony of my family, friends, and acquaintances, been nicer, or happier, or more content.

No, friend…the morality involved here is on the part of the fearful, who lack the courage to let themselves become informed, and then practice the essence of their faith to love, and love freely and without judgement.

Do us all a favor:  read the articles I post.  Consider reading other things.  Volunteer at the local LGTB center, and hang out with some transgender people.  You just might be shocked to discover they are actually regular people just like you and me…and that God loves them.

 

thanks for reading, and thanks for considering my point of view.

 

Love, Charissa

tumblr_n26sz9LCBJ1risr9ko1_500

 

Musings on 2013


What a year.

I do not know if I have ever cried more tears, and laughed more laughs.  I came back to myself last year, after 50 years locked away behind rebukes, reproaches, and binary chains.
tumblr_mu9f2pz5tn1qzsbzuo1_500
I also experienced significant betrayal and mistreatment in my place of  _______.  My _________ was revealed to be a two faced blame shifting rat and his lack of support and active blaming of me for his own shortcomings resulted in much grief and stress and ultimately many nights full of despair and sorrow.  My gut was a mess for many months and my heart was broken again and again.

But in the midst of all of that, I held tight and gritted my teeth, and kept my eyes on becoming…kept my eyes on walking the second mile, kept my eyes on the one who hung between heaven and earth and bled.  My poetry has never been so good, and I am told that I have never been gentler or more broken or kind than I am now.  One of my ____________ told me I was literally the best person she knew of who truly modeled blessing those who cursed me…I cried tears of joy.  One of my _______ told me that I was literally the most skilled parent he had experienced from among all his peers, and that if he was allowed to choose from all history and all parents, he would choose me… and completely accepts me as trans.  I cried more.  My other son told me he was so proud of me, and my other daughter…well, we are working on it.

My darling beautiful heart of hearts is with me deeper and stronger than ever.

A year of loss…a year of gain.  A year of growth that was diminishing.  I came to the end of myself and beyond where I ever thought I could go.  I wanted to die many days, but wanted to live and bring honor to Him even more.  I got to know Mama better than ever.

But I will not deny that it was all in all a year of blessed defeat, and I have found that I am truly nothing in myself, and I never realized how unable and powerless I really am to do or be anything good apart from the life of Jesus in me.  I used to say that proudly, theologically…now?  It is a fact.tumblr_my2h2biIST1qc9vzko1_500
I will not deny that I am glad to see 2013 disappear into the mists of history, and I am looking forward to 2014.  Let Lady Grace reinterpret 2013, and Let Jesus and the Father cause all things to work together for my good as I set my heart to love them and be called according to their purpose.

Last but not least, there is a blogger here whose words have lanced me, healed me, and encouraged me.  She is one of the most special people I am aware of, and has a true mother’s heart.  Dearest Dani…may you find the children that the Father has waiting for you, both natural and spiritual (I am one of your spiritual girls, for you have mothered my hurting and broken soul in ways you will one day find out).  And may you know that, as the old chorus says, I love you with the Love of the Lord, for I see in you the Glory of my King.  Thank you, Dani!

Thanks to all who come here and read.  I am humbled and I am honored.

Sincerely…Happy New Year!!!!!

tumblr_mxutywRe2d1r89lywo1_500

 

Windows and Pathways

Altars within.
What lies inside leads Outside.
Windows and pathways, like sunrise
Faithful and free.

I sip, slow, as spectrums
Bloom and what was fullness
drains, swirls, and I see beyond
Wavelengths.

There is a forgetting that is born of folly,
There is amnesia kissed by Grace
How to remember and forget in this
stoppered Lonely Place?

Oh Creation, be my window, be my pathway,
Be my temple to stretch out and
Fill with GloryGrace.,
And toast That Which is Beyond
And They Who are Within

Windows and Pathways.

19772e3c89f6dec0f1e965eb58fb8109

Thank God that Things have changed…

When I was a child I was lectured and dealt with very very sternly regarding “what I was” and what I always knew myself to be.  Keep in mind this was decades ago.  Back then hippies were a threat and the John Birch Society was the only group worth listening to, all others being communists.  It all seems so sad now, so much sound and fury over things that signified nothing, and dead silence over all that really mattered.

Isn’t that a bit of what Jesus was talking about when he told one of the 7 churches in Revelation to “Wake up, and strengthen that which remains?” We have oft misunderstood that verse, thinking that He was bemoaning that they had allowed much to perish, and had little to preserve.  In fact, I believe that it was just the opposite…they had lots of stuff, but only a little of it actually would remain, could remain!  I think one of the most serious quests in this life is to discover “what remains” and then to pursue it with all your heart.

Anyway, how times have changed!  Slowly it is becoming easier for young transgender children, and it is so much due to education, and to loving parents who will be there for their children, even as our Heavenly Father and Jesus and Lady Grace the Holy Spirit are there for us.  Please check out the article I am posting below, and let yourself feel good knowing that these kids may survive the threats of suicide, violence, and worse that faces transgender people.

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

December 8, 2013 8:00 am

Two transgender children struggle to be themselves

Watch above: An excerpt from Tracey Wilson’s interview with 16X9. Tracey was born a boy, but identifies as a girl.

From Trey to Tracey: One child’s journey to be herself

For Tracey Wilson, who is 10 now, her struggle is making sure people see her the way she does. She is transgender; born a boy, but has identified as a girl for as long as she can remember.

Tracey was born “Trey” and is the oldest of three children.

 Tracey Wilson was born Trey. 16×9

Tracey Wilson was born Trey. 16×9

“Sometimes I wish that I was just a girl, just a normal girl so I wouldn’t have to go through all of this.”

Tracey’s parents, Michelle and Garfield, struggled at first to come to terms with their little child, initially thinking that Trey was gay. But after seeking professional help and learning that their son was transgender, the couple embraced their new daughter.

Watch below: Garfield and Michelle Wilson talk about their struggles in accepting that their son, Trey, was really their daughter, Tracey.

Trey dressed and lived as a girl at home, at dance class and with her friends. But soon that wasn’t enough.

 Tracey Wilson, who was born Trey. 16×9

Tracey Wilson, who was born Trey. 16×9

Being a “full time girl” included school, a semi-private Catholic school. But when the Wilsons notified the school of Tracey’s wish, the school said “no.”

“I wanted to use the girl’s bathroom, I wanted to have the girl’s uniform,” says Tracey, clasping onto one of her favourite dolls. “I didn’t know it would all come to this.”

“This” is a human rights complaint that Tracey and her parents have launched against Catholic Independent Schools Vancouver and Sacred Heart Elementary for not allowing Tracey to be “Tracey.”

Instead of letting Tracey use the girl’s bathroom the school allowed Tracey to use the handicapped bathroom. But the school wouldn’t approve a name or uniform change, saying they did not have a policy for allowing it.

Watch below: Doug Lauson, superintendent of the Independent Catholic School Board of Vancouver, talks about the church’s position on being transgender and the research they are doing on how best to accommodate transgender students in their schools.

To the Wilsons, it is not a medical issue. It is personal.

“When they said that they couldn’t let me and that God doesn’t make any mistakes and if he made me a boy then I would have to stay a boy,” says Tracey.

“I couldn’t even watch TV I was crying so much, I couldn’t read a book, I couldn’t do anything. Literally I just lay in my bed sobbing.”

Tracey’s human rights complaint is set to be heard this spring.

10-year-old transgender child fights to have gender removed from birth certificate

“I’ve always been a girl, even when I was considered a boy,” says 10-year-old transgender child, Harriette Cunningham.

“In my dreams I was never a boy.”

 Harriette Cunningham was born a boy, but knew early on she was meant to be a girl. 16×9

Harriette Cunningham was born a boy, but knew early on she was meant to be a girl. 16×9

Harriette is transgender, born a boy but identifies as a girl. About a year ago, Harriette fully transitioned, legally changing her name from Declan, wearing only female clothes and being referred to with female pronouns.

Biologically, she is still a boy, but she now wants her birth certificate and passport to reflect her real identity.

Watch below: Harriette was born a boy, but knew early on she was meant to be a girl.

“It was in Grade 2 when she said ‘Mom, I want to buy some actual dresses to go back to school,’” says Harriette’s mother, Megan. The Cunninghams allowed Harriette, then known as Declan, to dress as “he” wanted.

Watch below: Colin Cunningham reveals the moment he realized his son, Declan, was really his transgender daughter, Harriette.

“Harriette has a very strong personality, kids would say ‘what are you?’ And she’d go ‘I’m a person, that’s what I am,’” says grandmother Cathie Dickens.

Dickens decided to take action. She and Harriette started petitioning ministers and MPs to remove gender from birth certificates, and initiated a human rights complaint against the B.C. government, saying that Harriette never should have been labeled as “male” to begin with.

“When I have to show ID and I’m going through customs, people give me dirty looks and they kind of question me, ‘who is this?’ and it makes me feel like I shouldn’t have to go through that,”  says Harriette, who regularly visits her grandmother in Palm Springs.

Watch below: Lawyer Barbara Findlay explains why having gender on identification is outdated.

While her family has supported her, others have not been so kind.

“I got called a ‘he-she,’ I got called quite mean names and I’d try not to let them… show that I was sad but…it really hurts me,” says Harriette, who has watched the number of birthday party invitations dwindle from 10 two years ago to just one last year.

“I don’t want to be just someone wearing a costume. I want to be me.”

© Shaw Media, 2013

Gratefully Disillusioned by Darin Hufford

I have spent countless hours pondering what went wrong with Christianity in our generation. What happened to our religion to make everything so crazy and off track? How could something centered around authentic relationship with God become so dangerous and hurtful to its participants? More than anything, I’ve asked myself; why wasn’t it working for most people?

I’ve found that the pattern of growth for those who seem to truly know Him has been pretty much the same. The common thread I see over and over is that every person in relationship with Him must go through a shedding period where all that they have been told and all that they have believed is gently taken from them until they are left with nothing but what is. Each person discovers a contentment in knowing they were wrong all along and the stresses of what they had been told all their lives, whether good or bad, trickle away, leaving their spirit relaxed and satisfied.

It’s not as if merely the bad things they’d heard about God were proven wrong. Everything was wrong, the good and the bad. The spectacular claims that used to thrill them during worship services and the absolute promises that they stood on when they felt weak. It all gets stripped away as relationship blooms.

I’ve come to the conclusion that somewhere in the last 200 years, we felt that we needed to market our relationship as a religion. At some point in time, someone decided that Christianity needed to be packaged and presented in a way that would appeal to the masses. In other words, we purposefully marketed our faith to unbelievers. I am convinced that this is where the dominoes began to tumble.

If you’re going to market a pair of shoes to a specific group of people, you must find out what excites those people the most and convince them that if they wear your shoes, they’ll find it. If you’re selling shoes to gang bangers, you’ll need to convince them that these shoes will make them tougher and stronger, perhaps even invincible.

You must make them feel like others will be intimidated by them if they are wearing the shoes. They should believe that once they put those shoes on, something will happen to their very soul that will make them fearless and powerful. This is how marketing works. Once the idea is planted into people’s minds, they buy the product without thinking it through.

I believe that Christianity has been marketed to the carnal nature of unbelievers. We successfully got people who would not have otherwise become a Christian to sign on the dotted line and join our religion. We did it by presenting “relationship with God” in a way that would appeal to power-hungry money mongers who want to escape the cold reality of life.

We told people that God would financially prosper them. We told them that they would never get sick and if they did, God would make it go away. We’ve promised them that if anyone hurt them, their God would stick up for them and get revenge on their behalf. We convinced them that God would also give them godlike powers and they could dazzle their friends and family with magic tricks. We promised them that God would make sure they held a position of leadership in life where everyone would respect them and pay them honor.

I’ve even seen different ministries claim that Christians have better sex than non-Christians. The list goes on and on. One by one, people signed up for Christianity. People who would not have otherwise given it a second look, found themselves strangely tempted with a religion that promised to fulfill their every carnal desire. The offer was just too good to be true.

Generations later, people are holding onto the promises the sales agent gave them, in spite of the fact that they’ve never seen the results manifested in their own life. Others finally leave the “faith,” drained and disheartened. They didn’t get what they wanted from Christianity so they continue searching for a religion that will give it to them.

Then we have the people who would have given their heart to God without any marketing at all. It was already in their heart. They came to Him because they wanted Him and nothing else. They would have come without the fancy marketing and boastful claims.

Sadly, these sincere people go through life thinking they are always one step behind the rest of the crowd. They secretly feel like they’re doing something wrong and failing God because they get sick and are short on cash and are stuck in a dead-end job at the bottom of the totem pole. They aren’t full of intense joy and happiness 24 hours a day like they were told they would be, so they blame themselves for not getting it like they should. They beat themselves up because they truly love God and yet none of the explosions they were told about are happening.

These are the people who will eventually become Free Believers.

These are the people who will still stick around once the good and the bad of their religion has been stripped away. They never needed promises of power and prosperity to pique their interest. They didn’t go into it looking for an escape from normalcy. It was never about avoiding life’s hardships or obtaining magical powers. It was relationship that drew them. It was the Spirit of relationship that they first heard and listened to.

The process of stripping the good and the bad of religion is a long and painful one, but I’ve found that Free Believers love every minute of it. Their faith doesn’t shudder for even a second during the process. When the embellished things of God disappear, they find themselves becoming more pleased and pleasured by what they find behind it than most of their institutional friends would ever have been.

In fact, they would willingly give up everything they had ever been promised, if it meant they could be one step closer to the heart of the one they love. This stripping away of religion’s boasts and promises is truly what separates the sheep from the goats in our generation. The goats become angry and faithless and the sheep become “Gratefully Disillusioned.”

Darin Hufford