ttaf supporter, you told me you wanted indulgence because you were “just a harmless old lady”…it is you and millions like you who wallow in shit and call it Christianity.
ttaf supporter, you told me you wanted indulgence because you were “just a harmless old lady”…it is you and millions like you who wallow in shit and call it Christianity.
Please go to the link to read this whole thing if you fancy yourself a Christian and yet think that the absolute fucker is God’s Anointed.
He isn’t…and you’re worshipping a false god if you think he is.
Yes. I am Charissa Grace White, and I approve this Message.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk Humbly.
We are living through perilous and polarizing times as a nation, with a dangerous crisis of moral and political leadership at the highest levels of our government and in our churches. We believe the soul of the nation and the integrity of faith are now at stake.
It is time to be followers of Jesus before anything else—nationality, political party, race, ethnicity, gender, geography—our identity in Christ precedes every other identity. We pray that our nation will see Jesus’ words in us. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
When politics undermines our theology, we must examine that politics. The church’s role is to change the world through the life and love of Jesus Christ. The government’s role is to serve the common good by protecting justice and peace, rewarding good behavior while restraining bad behavior (Romans 13). When that role is undermined by political leadership, faith leaders must stand up and speak out. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state.”
It is often the duty of Christian leaders, especially elders, to speak the truth in love to our churches and to name and warn against temptations, racial and cultural captivities, false doctrines, and political idolatries—and even our complicity in them. We do so here with humility, prayer, and a deep dependency on the grace and Holy Spirit of God.
This letter comes from a retreat on Ash Wednesday, 2018. In this season of Lent, we feel deep lamentations for the state of our nation, and our own hearts are filled with confession for the sins we feel called to address. The true meaning of the word repentance is to turn around. It is time to lament, confess, repent, and turn. In times of crisis, the church has historically learned to return to Jesus Christ.
Jesus is Lord. That is our foundational confession. It was central for the early church and needs to again become central to us. If Jesus is Lord, then Caesar was not—nor any other political ruler since. If Jesus is Lord, no other authority is absolute. Jesus Christ, and the kingdom of God he announced, is the Christian’s first loyalty, above all others. We pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Our faith is personal but never private, meant not only for heaven but for this earth.
The question we face is this: Who is Jesus Christ for us today? What does our loyalty to Christ, as disciples, require at this moment in our history? We believe it is time to renew our theology of public discipleship and witness. Applying what “Jesus is Lord” means today is the message we commend as elders to our churches.
What we believe leads us to what we must reject. Our “Yes” is the foundation for our “No.” What we confess as our faith leads to what we confront. Therefore, we offer the following six affirmations of what we believe, and the resulting rejections of practices and policies by political leaders which dangerously corrode the soul of the nation and deeply threaten the public integrity of our faith. We pray that we, as followers of Jesus, will find the depth of faith to match the danger of our political crisis.
I. WE BELIEVE each human being is made in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26). That image and likeness confers a divinely decreed dignity, worth, and God-given equality to all of us as children of the one God who is the Creator of all things. Racial bigotry is a brutal denial of the image of God (the imago dei) in some of the children of God. Our participation in the global community of Christ absolutely prevents any toleration of racial bigotry. Racial justice and healing are biblical and theological issues for us, and are central to the mission of the body of Christ in the world. We give thanks for the prophetic role of the historic black churches in America when they have called for a more faithful gospel.
THEREFORE, WE REJECT the resurgence of white nationalism and racism in our nation on many fronts, including the highest levels of political leadership. We, as followers of Jesus, must clearly reject the use of racial bigotry for political gain that we have seen. In the face of such bigotry, silence is complicity. In particular, we reject white supremacy and commit ourselves to help dismantle the systems and structures that perpetuate white preference and advantage. Further, any doctrines or political strategies that use racist resentments, fears, or language must be named as public sin—one that goes back to the foundation of our nation and lingers on. Racial bigotry must be antithetical for those belonging to the body of Christ, because it denies the truth of the gospel we profess.
II. WE BELIEVE we are one body. In Christ, there is to be no oppression based on race, gender, identity, or class (Galatians 3:28). The body of Christ, where those great human divisions are to be overcome, is meant to be an example for the rest of society. When we fail to overcome these oppressive obstacles, and even perpetuate them, we have failed in our vocation to the world—to proclaim and live the reconciling gospel of Christ.
THEREFORE, WE REJECT misogyny, the mistreatment, violent abuse, sexual harassment, and assault of women that has been further revealed in our culture and politics, including our churches, and the oppression of any other child of God. We lament when such practices seem publicly ignored, and thus privately condoned, by those in high positions of leadership. We stand for the respect, protection, and affirmation of women in our families, communities, workplaces, politics, and churches. We support the courageous truth-telling voices of women, who have helped the nation recognize these abuses. We confess sexism as a sin, requiring our repentance and resistance.
III. WE BELIEVE how we treat the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger, the sick, and the prisoner is how we treat Christ himself. (Matthew 25: 31-46) “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” God calls us to protect and seek justice for those who are poor and vulnerable, and our treatment of people who are “oppressed,” “strangers,” “outsiders,” or otherwise considered “marginal” is a test of our relationship to God, who made us all equal in divine dignity and love. Our proclamation of the lordship of Jesus Christ is at stake in our solidarity with the most vulnerable. If our gospel is not “good news to the poor,” it is not the gospel of Jesus Christ (Luke 4:18).
THEREFORE, WE REJECT the language and policies of political leaders who would debase and abandon the most vulnerable children of God. We strongly deplore the growing attacks on immigrants and refugees, who are being made into cultural and political targets, and we need to remind our churches that God makes the treatment of the “strangers” among us a test of faith (Leviticus 19:33-34). We won’t accept the neglect of the well-being of low-income families and children, and we will resist repeated attempts to deny health care to those who most need it. We confess our growing national sin of putting the rich over the poor. We reject the immoral logic of cutting services and programs for the poor while cutting taxes for the rich. Budgets are moral documents. We commit ourselves to opposing and reversing those policies and finding solutions that reflect the wisdom of people from different political parties and philosophies to seek the common good. Protecting the poor is a central commitment of Christian discipleship, to which 2,000 verses in the Bible attest.
IV. WE BELIEVE that truth is morally central to our personal and public lives. Truth-telling is central to the prophetic biblical tradition, whose vocation includes speaking the Word of God into their societies and speaking the truth to power. A commitment to speaking truth, the ninth commandment of the Decalogue, “You shall not bear false witness” (Exodus 20:16), is foundational to shared trust in society. Falsehood can enslave us, but Jesus promises, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32). The search and respect for truth is crucial to anyone who follows Christ.
THEREFORE, WE REJECT the practice and pattern of lying that is invading our political and civil life. Politicians, like the rest of us, are human, fallible, sinful, and mortal. But when public lying becomes so persistent that it deliberately tries to change facts for ideological, political, or personal gain, the public accountability to truth is undermined. The regular purveying of falsehoods and consistent lying by the nation’s highest leaders can change the moral expectations within a culture, the accountability for a civil society, and even the behavior of families and children. The normalization of lying presents a profound moral danger to the fabric of society. In the face of lies that bring darkness, Jesus is our truth and our light.
V. WE BELIEVE that Christ’s way of leadership is servanthood, not domination. Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles (the world) lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:25-26). We believe our elected officials are called to public service, not public tyranny, so we must protect the limits, checks, and balances of democracy and encourage humility and civility on the part of elected officials. We support democracy, not because we believe in human perfection, but because we do not. The authority of government is instituted by God to order an unredeemed society for the sake of justice and peace, but ultimate authority belongs only to God.
THEREFORE, WE REJECT any moves toward autocratic political leadership and authoritarian rule. We believe authoritarian political leadership is a theological danger that threatens democracy and the common good—and we will resist it. Disrespect for the rule of law, not recognizing the equal importance of our three branches of government, and replacing civility with dehumanizing hostility toward opponents are of great concern to us. Neglecting the ethic of public service and accountability, in favor of personal recognition and gain often characterized by offensive arrogance, are not just political issues for us. They raise deeper concerns about political idolatry, accompanied by false and unconstitutional notions of authority.
VI. WE BELIEVE Jesus when he tells us to go into all nations making disciples (Matthew 28:18). Our churches and our nations are part of an international community whose interests always surpass national boundaries. The most well-known verse in the New Testament starts with “For God so loved the world” (John 3:16). We, in turn, should love and serve the world and all its inhabitants, rather than seek first narrow, nationalistic prerogatives.
THEREFORE, WE REJECT “America first” as a theological heresy for followers of Christ. While we share a patriotic love for our country, we reject xenophobic or ethnic nationalism that places one nation over others as a political goal. We reject domination rather than stewardship of the earth’s resources, toward genuine global development that brings human flourishing for all of God’s children. Serving our own communities is essential, but the global connections between us are undeniable. Global poverty, environmental damage, violent conflict, weapons of mass destruction, and deadly diseases in some places ultimately affect all places, and we need wise political leadership to deal with each of these.
WE ARE DEEPLY CONCERNED for the soul of our nation, but also for our churches and the integrity of our faith. The present crisis calls us to go deeper—deeper into our relationship to God; deeper into our relationships with each other, especially across racial, ethnic, and national lines; deeper into our relationships with the most vulnerable, who are at greatest risk.
The church is always subject to temptations to power, to cultural conformity, and to racial, class, and gender divides, as Galatians 3:28 teaches us. But our answer is to be “in Christ,” and to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable, and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)
The best response to our political, material, cultural, racial, or national idolatries is the First Commandment: “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). Jesus summarizes the Greatest Commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, and your mind. This is the first commandment. And the second is like unto it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:38). As to loving our neighbors, we would add “no exceptions.”
We commend this letter to pastors, local churches, and young people who are watching and waiting to see what the churches will say and do at such a time as this.
Our urgent need, in a time of moral and political crisis, is to recover the power of confessing our faith. Lament, repent, and then repair. If Jesus is Lord, there is always space for grace. We believe it is time to speak and to act in faith and conscience, not because of politics, but because we are disciples of Jesus Christ—to whom be all authority, honor, and glory. It is time for a fresh confession of faith. Jesus is Lord. He is the light in our darkness. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Source: Reclaiming Jesus
I am reposting this prose essay that I wrote in 2015. Based on current readership, I think it might hit some hearts that are perhaps now harrowed by grief and plowed by sorrow, and tender, softened by trial to receive seeds of humility that may grow and blossom into the fruits of compassion.
At least…I hope so.
It is clumsy and has arthritic hands when it speaks and cannot hold small fine brushes or move with nuance, and so it paints with a broad brush in generalizations and caricatures…it is cartoonish, buffoonish…it is guffawing and backslapping……and the absolute worst is that it advocates the very hatred and othering and policing against others that has wounded and killed so many in LGTBQ circles.
Somehow, hatred and othering is okay because “they have it coming”.
I would say that I am embarrassed for the individuals to whom I refer, except that I am so deeply dismayed embarrassment is too embarrassed to show her face. I think it is clear that hatred is a human heart problem…and will never ever be conquered by more hatred…ever. Hatred can only be driven out by love, and when love is met with more hatred, the only secret weapon it has in its employ is grace, as displayed by forgiveness and then more love.
Constance: if you fail to grasp this essential truth, then you will be doomed to circle the constellations in this galaxy of ideas and ideologies that provide us with cosmic meaning and orientation, and you will dwell in one thinking it is finally the one with no idiots or haters present inside it…until you hear the voice of hate and bigotry emanating from within the very halls you hallow and inhabit!
This graphic simplifies a complex issue down pretty well…that of how nearly all evangelical christians are so blind to their own internal contradictions that do not follow in the slightest their own dogma that masquerades as “God’s Will”.
Look, it is no secret that in the days of Caterpillar Dude, I was right there in the bunch (at least, I was dogma-wise and mentality wise: I taught the typical reflex on these issues and I made jokes and comments that were horribly evil and wrong, homophobic and transphobic and terrible…thank God I can say in all truth that when I spoke with actual humans who struggled with these issues I was compassionate and merciful in interaction…I was not able to go all the way and actually STAND with them, but at least they could regularly talk with me and I shared their burden)…
but after CD (Caterpillar Dude) entered the Chrysalis I was born…and in order to be born I had to confront my internalized transphobia and assumption that being transgender was the same thing as being a cross-dresser (which was assumed to be evil), or being a transvestite (which has LAYERS of assumption that had to be confronted)…
and as I studied the Bible, I utilized my grid of wisdom that I have come up with over the years with the multitude of issues that confront us in a modern world complex beyond the wildest dream of any single person whose words or writings contributed to the documents that are now held as sacred writing and containing God’s Word.
I start off with asking the question: “Is this forbidden or spoken against by Jesus in explicit terms?” Next I broaden the question to “Is this forbidden by the Epistles?” Lastly, I go to the Old Testament and ask the same thing, but with a much different standard with OT writings…they are but the shadow of the NT…they are not authoritative ever again as far as being a prescriptive behavior standard! They simply are not. If one comes under the Law for ANY point then one has denied the efficacy of The Sacrifice of the Incarnate One…in EVERY point.
After doing due diligence here with the Bible (and using all tools I have available) and making every effort to be true, I can move to the next question: Is this wise, practical, etc…does it fit with seeking first the Kingdom of God, with serving others, those sorts of things?
Next, I look at what the collected wisdom of humanity has to say about it, things like how other cultures and peoples have viewed this thing, how views have evolved in our own culture (and why), what the latest science shows us, what technology is revealing, etc. An example of this would be how epilepsy evolved from being thought to be demon possession just a few hundred years ago and is now understood to be a simple issue of brain chemistry…and there are countless other such examples which each one demonstrate how superstitious and fearful the so-called elect of God are on a continual basis!
Next, I move to the circle of trusted people in my life: what do they think? And this one was very difficult in terms of trans-issues because of the depth of internalized transphobia and assumption that it was rare that anyone made it past the “of COURSE this is evil” to “what does the Word actually say?” This is a perilous stage, because on the one hand you can deny the wisdom of counsel…and on the other hand you can deny the truth due to the fear of humans…it is my current view that it comes out in the wash, and only Jesus is capable of judging and knowing.
It is interesting how vindictive so-called friends and “brothers and sisters” are in this stage…when a friend of over 30 years tells me our friendship is over and never speaks to me again (all because he “loves me” of course…cus that is how you show love to a person…GAH!)…when another friend of 25 years never talks to me or contacts me even though I walked with him thru the darkness of panic attacks, the pain of doing deep inner wound work, stood by his wife as a friend to her and was told by her that I was “different than other men” and that my “leadership style” was different, and received…
how others from the past check in at Grace Notes like it is a soap opera (or are they like Nicodemus, wanting to approach but only under cover of night)…
and it completely and utterly confounds me how they all can “just know” that I am cursed to hell without even exchanging a word with me or seeing what work God has done!! Like…it shows the depth of hypocrisy!
Finally I look at the feasibility of some decision personally, at the very end of the process mentioned above…and at that point I take stock, make my move, and live it out.
As I did this with the issue of gender, I inevitably had to examine my assumptions and convictions regarding sexual orientation and expression…which I followed the same pattern…the big difference being that I looked at more sources and commentaries and points of view when it comes to the NT aspect of the subject.
Jesus said nothing about it. Period.
Paul lists off a particular expression of a relationship that was a power-abuse relationship that took form in a homosexual relationship between a powerful older man and a vulnerable younger man…and that expression is buried in amongst a number of other power-abuse acts that humans engage in.
I have written about this at length previously and you would be best served to look there for my deeper thoughts and discoveries…
And I came to understand that in the same way that something happened to me as I grew and I was just become at birth as I am, so too this happened/happens to people in regards to sexual orientation and that my understanding of The Gospel and of Love and most importantly Humility had to change, to grow and shrink!
So here is the problem, evangelical christian: your contradiction is showing SO HUGE!! Because on the one hand, you defend ttaf, offering him what you understand to be forgiveness and he understands to be a free pass to be a monster…yet on the other hand you deny that same pass to LGTBQIA people…
…and again, remember that I find your stance problematic on theological grounds as well as consistency grounds…both…
I have not witnessed in my lifetime a deeper depth of debasement and hypocrisy by christan people than that which has been surfaced by the appearance of ttaf…the same people who pledge fidelity to him as “God’s anointed” would weep and wail and gnash their teeth if every single thing charged about ttaf were exactly the same, but Hillary Clinton’s name was there instead.
Step out of your bubble of fear which imprisons you to Fox News and ONLY Fox News (even though you ignore the massive defections going on there by people of true integrity and courage who recognize ttaf is a monster)…and pull up any summary of the allegations/charges/actual true things that ttaf has done and is accused of…and have your own “refutation sources” ready…and then just simply exchange the names: Clinton for ttaf…
what do you think now?
See what you have swallowed, what you have become? And that you are aged and sick and tired and want to hold close the lies and deceptions to preserve a sense of honor for yourself makes it all the worse, having run strong this far only to at the end bend over and kiss the boot of the tyrant and honor satan with your acceptance of lies!
See…any application you seek to make that condemns the LGTBQIA people to hell a priori is also an indictment against ttaf…and any sop you offer to condone and expiate ttaf must also be offered to LGTBQIA people in toto!!
It hurts me in my deepest hurt as I imagine you taking stock of your capitulation when you are leaving this world, knowing that you sided with evil at the end…
“…and in those days even the elect will be deceived…”
This is far more you than me right now.
God grant my eyes stay open and my heart tender…and that I err on the side of the weak and broken and that I resist Empire.
I am truly honored and not a little surprised that anyone reads here…let alone FOLLOWS here!
Lately, I have been working on a book of my original poems, handwritten and hand painted…thus, a lot of my creative impulse is expressed there these days.
Fear not! LOL! I have many drafts for poems, and when I get this book done I will return to my typical writing.
I also write a lot on Facebook these days…so you can find me there and read more of my thinking (unless you are a troll or a person from my past who supports trump the absolute fucker, or a person from my past who says I am going to hell…we will have a contest, you and me, on Judgement Day. You, like the prophets of Baal will have all your writs, your decrees, your dogmas and fears and traditions and hatred, and you shall testify mightily while They listen to you.
And I? When it is my turn, I shall simply say “I plead the Blood of Jesus and Confess His Mighty Name”.
We’ll see who wins).
Anyway, thank you for reading here, this accounting of a life in transition, trying to be close to the Ones I love most…and trying to deal with the loss of the ones I love most.
I wrote this 4 years ago…a lifetime ago…when I first began to see I really really REALLY had a shell over me…and that it was possible to live free.
I want to challenge you today, especially if you are cis-gender and not transgender: what shell are you living in? What transition must you make as a soul, one that is not a transition of gender, but your own answer to the call to “cross-over”?
Are you called to cross over into creativity and leave behind the world of grubbing for money?
Are you called to cross over into true relationship with God, leaving behind the shell of conservative evangelicalism that is nothing more than a gateway to the gas chambers, with a sign over it saying “Welcome to Hell?”
We all are called to trans…from death to Life…from works to Grace…I pray you find your courage and begin!! Cus the water is fine.
“It caged me in its cold confining bars.
Long have I been its lost and longing thrall,
its tenant-serf of weary plodding on.
It’s clung, tentacled round my throat, my eyes,
and darkness was its cruel confederate
who caged my strong uprising Ne’er-Say-Die…”
Source: Wave | Charissa’s Grace Notes
This, another poem from last year, comments on life like a vapor, yet must be captured within you, there in your body…
the fog gathers, nesting
over the deep quiet glen
dialing down sunlight
damping every sound
in this gloam my supple soul
nestles in, gives up control
and ceases struggle to be good,
or important, or subtle…
From last year…I really love this lil beauty!
Do you know the place where the light passes in?
That’s where you’ll find me when darkness is seeping
from crevice and cranny while Spring trudges weeping
I sit in the place where the light passes in.
You’ll find me there singing of beautiful life
and of faith like pure gold burnished shiny with hope
as my tears fall like diamonds so soft in the wind
In that place where the light, where the light passes in…
(continued at Source: Where The Light Passes In | Charissa’s Grace Notes )
look for the off kilter doorway
find where the street has no name
enter between the curb and the gutter
to stand in the light just the same
as the saints and the mystics before you
had to stoop and to crawl and to cry
for the straight way that looks oh so crooked
to the jaundiced and natural eye
I admit I am surprised that there has not been more interest in my recent poem “Situla“. Perhaps it was layout?
Situla means “a bucket for Holy Water” by the way…Here is the poem, laid out without any images…
Just after dawn…
but before sunrise
I hear the sound
of music stilled
and waters hushed
frost crystals clasping
I rise and
wait, hushed and
of sorrow and nard
of fragrance and tears
and deep joy too.
I guess the guests
are still around
the table, I think
the gusty crowd
is still sitting in
the dark and staring
at the inside
of the veil…
as I travail
as I writhe
to give way
and this coming
as light and heat
sing gently ’round
as the roses
the alabaster jar
Just after dawn…
but before sunrise
I hear the sound
of music stilled
and waters hushed
frost crystals clasping
I rise and wait,
hushed and clutching
of sorrow and nard
of fragrance and tears
and deep joy too.
I guess the guests
are still around
the table, I think
the gusty crowd
is still sitting in
the dark and staring
at the inside
of the veil…
as I travail
as I writhe
to give way
and this coming
as light and heat
sing gently ’round
as the roses
the alabaster jar
“talking with you
sometimes is either
a slap in the face
or a slammed door,
and yet the Void…gaping gulf,
it is but exhalation
in the Light of your shadow!
into that seeming nothing,
yawning and gulping, well
it is but a dropped stitch
in the Banners over me
The Fall of Ancient Time (A contemporary Re-write of Psalm 5)
“…Barcelona, City of Bones
Baking before the gates of the Sun,
I sacrificed my purity for thee, such as it might be
(my purity, not my sacrifice)
of heart and soul,
song and deed
and strong intention.
Barcelona, my sacrifice
so droll, so dirty is actually
as purity and thus is merely
the absence of jazz,
the absence of spice,
the absence of that
jagged noise of exultation
and thus there is no
purity and nothing
City of Bones
“like the way
you touch my ankle
when we sit upon
the floor there,
by the fire
in the speckled-star-lit night
outside the house
just like a mama bird who nestles
down so gentle on Her chicks…”
Something happened today which prompted me to want to repost something that I wrote in January of 2014…so long ago, and yet only 4 years…
In order to understand where I am at emotionally and spiritually in light of the event which transpired today, you need a bit of a refresher…an understanding that the repost at the bottom of the page was written BEFORE so much took place:
I wrote the words I am reposting before I wrote about the beginning of the shunning from the spiritual culture as defined by the vast majority of Christian Evangelicalism…these words, which talk about the nearly total experience I have had with Christians from my past (there is one…ONE person who has verbally, physically, emotionally and spiritually received me who is from my past. She did so with tears of joy and literal kisses all over my cheeks and forehead, and was stricken as she thought back to the prison I was in and she was amazed that God had loosed this captive so wonderfully).
I wrote them before I wrote about a baby step of coming out that was looming…and ended up being a devastating attack and shunning by the time it played out.
I wrote them before I wrote about the shunning that happened on a monolithic totality in regards to every single friendship from the past which happened when I came out…I received a letter from a person that I had known for 30 years…a person that I had worshiped beside, shared many meals with…a person who had lived in our home…a person who I had walked alongside as they sojourned thru the valley of the shadow of an addiction which nearly destroyed family and self…a letter that shunned me in the Name of Jesus, The One Being who welcomes me constantly and says that His Blood is enough and more than enough for me…
I wrote them before I wrote of the public shunning that happened, when it was the searing abandonment in public circles.
I wrote it before the 21 Gun Salute took place, that professional execution I endured…that death, and the subsequent resurrection from those Phoenix Ashes…
I wrote about it before the horrid attacks coming from supposed Christians which were filled with literal perversions, profanities, and exhortations to kill myself…all given in the name of Jesus of course.
Yes. That literally happened.
So what happened today that precipitated this reminiscence?
This: there is a man from my past, a person that I met in the late 80s and who I was in close proximity with until the year 2005…this man operated (and perhaps still does? I really do not know. Lord knows that I have grown up, been pruned back, become more and become less, been adjusted, and healed of terrible blindnesses…so I do leave room for the possibility that this has happened with him as well. But I do not hold out a shred of hope, or a scintilla of expectation that this has happened, for the need of those who are deeply in thrall to a certain assumption and paradigm to punish me and punish me utterly is far greater than the ability to actually live out the sacrificial Love of Christ that went straight for every single person who was “yet dead in sin”…and not just to the so-called righteous)…
This man operated under a deep orientation that assumed all the doctrines related to “submission”, and truly felt it was the loving thing to enforce that notion…I have many many hurtful memories of those years, from the comments regarding my supposed “cheesy grin” that I supposedly wore (likely, it was whatever mask was on me during the deep dissociation of living trans in a male role and carrying the burden of remembering every detail so I could forget that I was a woman, and thus related to the fracturing events of early childhood) to the interactions which accused me of seeking to utilize my role as a worship leader on Sunday morning in service of self, to the utterly devastating final blow given in such “sad sorrowful tones” which said that my father was suffering and dying in the way he was because I was not properly submitted to “the leader” of this group…
There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that every single one of these actions was done from true conviction that it was the right and loving thing to do, based on the paradigm in which he (we) swam…indeed, I myself interacted with people who approached me for help and counsel as they struggled with their sexual orientations in light of the teaching assumptions we were under…and I gave the “answers” I had learned…and I grieve over that…so deeply…
I myself bought into attitudes and distortions of good teachings that I sincerely and 100% believed, and I thought those with other understandings to simply be sinners who were seeking to justify remaining in sin yet still retaining connection to God, and I simply…well, I simply did not have an ounce of compassion…
I shared the privileged view of the privileged…and had NO CONCEPT of the Other…
And it wasn’t until I was no longer “one of them”, not because I resigned membership in privilege, but because when I transitioned I was executed swiftly…
In the personal-relational realm
In the spiritual-religious realm
In the professional-economic realm…
So I know that the intention of those times was, within his own heart and self, “good”…
We also shared many other times too…good times where somehow who was submitted to who wasn’t that important and was never even thought of…such as working on each other’s houses…putting out a fire that started on a hill and nearly burned the entire area down…eating meals together…
Those years…I believe it was about 17 years…during those years I did a lot of dying, and had a lot to die to…and that place was the crucible of purification, in which I gained much wisdom thru death to self. I was so fractured…so young…and so deeply in the grip of dysphoria and dissociation which was the hidden reef under everything in my life.
He did not know anything about this…neither did I. And looking back, sooo many things just SHOUT it out so loudly, and while it is occasion of grief and mourning looking back, it also is comforting to know that at least there was a reason for it!
Well…Charissa’s Grace Notes is a public blog. And this man is a reader…regularly…how frequently, I really could not say, but based on my own internal tools I have as the creator, I suspect it is fairly regularly.
How did he even know I had a blog? I have not exchanged a word with this man for years…a good 7 years before I even transitioned, and certainly not a word since transition….God forbid! I am pretty sure he would not, and I KNOW I would not because I decided in 2014 that I would never again submit myself to spiritual abuse and attack from anyone to whom I was a priori a demon-possessed hell-bound apostate.
It is obvi that he found out about my blog via word of mouth…because it is funny: the biggest evils that scripture has volumes of teaching about (the tongue, the heart) are so easily ignored in Christendom in order to condemn the phantom evils which scripture never even speaks about (gender variance and orientation)…and wowsa did the word spread like fire!!
In fact, the person mentioned here even swore to me that he considered it his spiritual service and duty to God to out me to every single person he met, lest he be tainted by my “sin” of intentional self-deception and thus have my blood on his head. Yes…these sorts believe this: “If you see your brother approaching destruction and you do not restrain them, their blood is on your head”. They interpret this old Proverb as the license to attack anyone doing anything that is to them “a sin.” He told me that he needed to warn every single person he could that I was anathema and not to be received among “the brethren”…
try and imagine how this felt, and feels…
So anyway, I know that the man I am writing about this morning found my blog fairly easily, but after hearing the words of the tale-bearers, those morsels of gossip that go down so sweet and titillating…
But he has stuck around…and has been reading…for a long time, if I am guessing right…and because I am made who I am, and because of my heart towards God and understanding that I have been made thusly to break down walls and uproot lies and then to plant and build true kingdom attitudes, I have held out hope…a very very teeny tiny shred of hope…
…that maybe he has done the work, read the research…maybe he has examined the scriptures and his own assumptions…maybe he has the courage to know that in spite of anything he might believe about gender variance, the person he knew was truly a child of God and is still one now…that maybe he has met other transhumans…
I am not optimistic about this, or myopic…the odds are VERY slim.
But this man has done something, not once, but twice.
He has contributed money to my transition fund, each time choosing an amount which is significant to me as the number of my name.
But I am leery. It is not inconsistent with the old assumptions of that paradigm to do acts of charity or service for those considered lost and perishing. It is thought of as heaping coals of fire upon the head…it is thought of as setting an example…and sometimes it is flat out a genuine expression of God’s heart of love.
How do I know this? Because I have been there, done that…myself. Previously.
I am also skeptical and very wary because one of those donations referenced my children…and there is a huge assumption in play in those circles that a righteous relationship with God is able to be detected in the condition of relationship with one’s children and other family.
(Remember the remark about my dad suffering because I was “not submitted” and “rebellious”?)
It is not by any means whatsoever a stretch to see that particular donation coupled with that particular remark about my children as the “coin of unsanctified pity” and ultimately as a dig, a cut, an arrow shot in hopes of providing a wound that cleanses and restores…and if it was that, it was an arrow that shot and wounded and brought death because there literally is not a cleansing and restoring relatable to gender variance and orientation.
God knows there are plenty of areas in my heart that need adjusting and cleansing…it just so happens that being a woman who was assigned male at birth is not one of those areas, anymore than anyone need repent of their gender orientation, or their hair color, or leg length.
So I am very wary. (Oh yes: the donation this morning simply said “thinking of you”…and that was both a very simple comment and a very pregnant comment.)
The first time it happened, I accepted the donation, spent it on my legal costs in fact…yeah, dude…you helped me change my birth certificate, a great day in my life!! LOL!!!! But I did not reply or interact with the person, because I do not expect that interaction to be life giving and healing, but rather to be a battle and ordeal.
And then it happened again, this morning, and this one is significant to me…
…you see, just before the end of the year, on New Year’s Eve morning in the early morning, I dreamed about this person! In the dream, Jane and I had a place we were building up in the hills. We went up there one day to do some work in our structure, which was framed and roofed and wired and plumbed, but lacked sheetrock or siding and finish work trimming…and when we got there, we were shocked to discover that the entire area around us had been developed and had structures on it of various states of completion…all told, the area had around 30 houses, where there had just been ours and a lot of wild land.
We looked around a bit, confused and concerned, when who should approach us but this man who donated to me this morning! He walked up to us and called out to us…and looked me full in the eyes and greeted me with “Hello, Charissa, may I walk close to you?” I was very taken aback that he used my true name rather than my dead name and that he knew he needed to ask permission before moving close to me!!!
I said yes, and watched as he approached, and saw tears in his eyes. He extended his hand to shake hands, and I impulsively brushed his hand aside, greeted him by name, and gave him a hug. He did not shy away from the hug OR from the double reminders of who I truly am…and then he broke the embrace and held my by my shoulders at arms length and said that it was really good to seem me, Charissa…and his tears were streaming down his face.
I motioned around me and said “So what is happening here, and why are you up here?” Meaning the development and his presence where there had been nothing but our house and no one but us.
He looked down in what appeared to be sorrow or shame or conviction or regret, I really couldn’t get a good read on it…and then he looked up and said to us “I am so sorry, and I have been wrong. God has been working in my heart…in our hearts…and we wanted to learn.” I said “Who is the we you refer to and what are you sorry for?”
He said he was sorry for all the same things that I sorrowed over about what I used to think regarding LGTBQIA issues and Christian teaching, he was sorry about the same things I sorrowed about in terms of the expression of God’s heart in such a cancerous and poisonous way that evangelicalism has become…and that most of all he was sorry that he had automatically condemned transgender people to the label of (fill in your favorite slur, I am not using it today)…
and he said that the “we” he referred to were all people from this little group that grew up, insular and inbred, from a “school” that he helped to start and keep going…that around 30 people all had this deep repentance and wanted to walk away from that old set of beliefs, and that he had bought all the property around us, in order to live close to us and learn from us…
…and would we please teach him, teach them?
Well, Jane and I looked at each other, shocked, suspicious, wary, and on the verge of running.
But one this is so clear to me…more clear to me than nearly anything I have ever heard from God: It is completely and utterly inviolate to me that God Themself planned and intended to create me as I am from the start: A Transsexual Woman, who would grow up wounded and fractured and driven to God as my only hope of salvation from despair and ruination…and that it was a very sobering thing to Them to do this, for They knew full well the horror and pain this would be to me…and each of Them stepped forward and said “I am enough for her”…and the reason for this is that They had assigned my life destiny to be a prophetess to the people of God who forgot the Heart of God…to speak to them of God’s Heart for the ones who are slaughtered in every realm and sacrificed on the altar of gender…
and that it should be easy for those people to receive me and God’s message, for in those old days I doubt any of them would have thought I was hell-bound, and in those days virtually all of them thought that I heard from God regularly…even though “there is so much wrong” with me LOL!
And so because of that mission, that quest…and yes, the desire to set them free of their blindness and prejudice and hatred, we did not run…but stayed…and said that we would consider it, but had many things to be worked out, many boundaries to be defined…
The man was joyous in our response and agreed to this…
and then I woke up.
Of course, since this was a dream, I interpret the details and events symbolically. I got up from bed and sat and thought and prayed for awhile, wondering what in the world I was dreaming about that dude for!!!??? I had not even thought about him for a couple of years. Jane held similar puzzlement about it…and we both thought that it was talking about “a neighborhood of understanding/teaching/thinking/transformation” rather than an actual sub-division, and we saw both the man and the people he referenced as symbolic of that whole group of “white, cis-gendered, straight, evangelical Christian conservative” human beings who literally have NO IDEA how much they are bequeathed things on the basis of their race, their sexual orientation, their gender purity, and their religious understandings.
So we said a quick prayer…and I promptly forgot about it.
Until this morning.
Here is this comment “Thinking of you” and this monetary amount…and the dream rushed back…along with all the wariness, suspicion and other emotions which come from the experienced trauma and trial of those years.
The crucial thing to know is this: a bell, once rung, cannot be unrung. A woman who gives birth is always a mother, even if the child dies. There is no “going back” because there is no back to go to.
It is this way with me: I will never go back. He is dead, Caterpillar Dude…he is no more. He is the “back” and is gone. So there is no “going back”.
Any “kind indulgence” will not “induce to repentance” because there is nothing to be repented of in terms of my transition! As to repentance of any kind? Oh yes…the continual joy of beholding Jesus and being transformed by degrees from the glory of the letter which kills to the glory of the Spirit which is life…yunno…the same repentance we share in common.
I am not sure what I will spend this amount on…probably on my HRT, and this is a valued and well received gift.
I am always open to the generosity of heart and spirit that flows in God’s economy from they that have abundance to they that have need…and would always in that spirit welcome such donations/gifts…other gifts I have actually passed on to others in far greater need than I.
But if the spirit and intention of the gift is anything related to “getting me to go back”? To “repent” of “gender heresy” and “assume my old name and role?”
There is not a chance.
Those things are further from me than East is from West.
And if that spirit and intention is thus impure, then I consider the donation to be “the spoils of Egypt” and still put it to good use.
Wow…what a ramble, eh? If any are still with me, thanks for reading patiently.
Blessings to you today from our wonderful counselor and our comforter and the lover of our souls,
“Yet as ugly as followers of Jesus creating distance from him is, it’s a far more vile act, when in depravity they claim proximity; when they stand proudly in the world and commit the greatest of atrocities upon humanity—and contend that Jesus consents to it all.
It’s hard to imagine a greater illustration of Christians losing the plot than when they defend predators. There are few bastardizations of the life and the message of Jesus, as complete and grievous as taking the side of rapists and pedophiles and genitalia grabbers—but this is where we are now.
“With the Evangelicals embracing Donald Trump and with those now rallying to the defense of Roy Moore, this is what we’re watching in America: the least of these being thrown to the wolves by the supposed shepherds…”
People…CONSTANCE!!! (“Constance” is a moniker for “Constant Reader”, btw…)
So what is UP?? Why is this gem getting so little attention? Is it because I use Pig as a metaphor for Someone? Is this a bridge too far?? HAHAHAHAHA!!! If that is true, it misses the heart of both the pig and the Someone.
Give it a go…I rather love this poem, with its little oinky rhythm and pace…
It is clouds…just clouds, hanging nowhere,
in nothing, like smoke curling quick
in Blue extending here and there
(and Here to There too…yeah)…
Another great challenge to Christians who are still convinced that ttaf is a servant of God.
To argue that, you have to argue that whoever and whatever is a servant of God, because God uses all things…which is ridiculous.
ttaf is no more God’s servant than Hitler was…and yet we know that God will triumph, even over the deception that those who take Their Name in vain are currently mired.
“And yes, pray about this President.
“Ask God specifically how his life and body of work align with the Jesus you’ve known all your life; the one you find hope and joy in, the one you read about in the Gospels, the one whose voice you recognize as peacemaker, forgiver, lover, healer, helper.
“Ask God if his vile words about women, his cruelty toward those suffering, his vicious social media tirades, his neglect of hurricane victims, his siphoning of funding from public school students and healthcare from cancer patients—if any of it feels at all like the Jesus who talked of loving the least, of caring for the poor, of loving their neighbors as they love God, of the last being first, of the righteous turning their cheeks, of the meek inheriting the earth, of the good Samaritan showing mercy.
“Ask Jesus if this President is someone worth a follower of Christ emulating, celebrating, empowering, amen-ing—if he is someone living in that image.
“Ask Jesus about saying that the way we treat the lowest and the vulnerable is the way we treat him—and how this President is treating him.
“Ask Jesus what the world is learning about his heart for the world, his character, his compassion, his gentleness by the man you elevated to our highest human platform.
“Ask Jesus about the kind of world he was trying to usher in when his feet were on the planet—and how this President is doing anything to make it a reality in these days.
“And if you can walk out of that worship gathering into another Sunday afternoon, completely unchanged and without sensing the slightest conflict between Jesus Christ of Nazareth and Donald Trump of DC, and without a trace of discomfort at the disconnect between your inner convictions and his tangible actions—pray for yourself, because you have clearly lost the plot of the one who brought the world a Good News that is now completely inaudible in these days because of this man and because of a Church that refuses to stand against him.”
It is clouds…just clouds, hanging nowhere,
in nothing, like smoke curling quick
in Blue extending here and there
(and Here to There too…yeah)
and then pulling, parting, LO!
Beyond the blue It Comes, it comes,
The Pig steps forth majestic, shaggy,
Wild with Wonder, Pig of Power
Looming larger than the sky
from which it bursts in sounding sniffing
grunting thunder hooves a rumble
tumble tango striking sparks
in their first touch so terrible
and taut with cracking sound of sizzle
snap and clacking tap-dance Prince Pig
prances slapping touching earth,
made into holy place, and touching
down in France and also somehow,
every other place as well…
‘Tis red and ruddy, bristles stiff
like forests, thick like brambles tangled
heaving bunching with each lurching
hidden graceful step…
What is this Thing, this Scion stepped down
from Beyond and then stepped in,
this Archetype, this Power pulsing
reddish brown totemic wonder
of an Uncreated Creature
Come to sniffle, root the earth
and dig the children of the clay
out of their seedbeds into day
where they will grow in deep delight
of our Delight and Love and Grace…
deliberate it shrinks, so slow
and funny, so intentional,
soon become short, ordinary,
just a snuffle huffle snorting
porcine pot of piggy, trotting
almost dainty, dancing deep
connected to the wonder hidden
in this ancient dirt so new
and old and full of life just waiting
to be sniffed out, found, discovered
there deep in the wombs and be
drawn out from earthy tombs…
look quick and see it…hiding there…
beneath that “used pig” thin veneer
and human truffles laugh and jeer
yet if you listen you can hear
the Pig inside the pig just laughing
as it shuffles, snorts and sniffles
each and every human soul
(human truffles if you really wanna dig deep into Truth)
the Pig roots rough and ragged thru
the forest, sniffing, grunting, rooting
sloughing with its trowel snout
deep thru the red red red rich dirt
running deep down to the core
and in the middle of the deepest
scents of mother earth the scents
of birth, the scents of womb,
oh, NOT a trifle, scent of truffle waiting
to be sent from tomb and tussle…
the sheep are walking gracelessly,
unaware and grazing in
among the vines and looking down
their noses at the rumbly Pig
deep in the fields and forests pregnant…
sheep so sleepy, unaware
that buried there are toads both dead
and yet alive and full of death
and parasite that’s also camouflaged, disguised
to look like truffles…sheep cannot discern, distinguish
which is which and what is dead,
relationship of death and just a rancid bond…
and what is still just waiting, still,
to be uncovered in its shell
and be delivered here…no trifle!
But the Pig, it knows the secret of
what really happened in the forest…
that smells like roadkill lacking graces
to just let go and return, that tastes
like tin foil soaked in vinegar,
metal, and electric acid anti-truth
the Pig, it knows those puffy toads so poisonous…
but leaves them buried deep entombed
where they belong…to root out truth
found deep in dirt so red, so rich
and truffly and toothsome to the soul…
Toads or truffles, that is what
The Pig came down to give to us,
a choice…our choice…but we must
be rooted out and snuffled deep
and ripped into our very bones
and breathe so deep the earthy scents
of just becoming
as blood like liquid dirt that pulses,
courses thru our veins like rivers,
rivers in our noses
just like truffles…
by that disguised
and worn out
old Used Pig
Yesterday…it felt like a dream. I was thinking of that beautiful Psalm
“When the Lord brought back the captive ones of Zion, we were like those who dream! Then our mouths were filled with laughter and our tongue with singing! Then they said among the nations that the Lord has done GREAT things for them.
“The Lord has done great things for me…
“She who sows in tears shall reap in joy. She who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing bringing her sheaves with her.”
It was like a dream to me…or rather, it was like waking up.
I think that is what death will be like…we shall fall asleep, and when we wake, we are shocked and stunned at the THICKNESS OF REALITY that we are swimming in!! What we shall see…what we shall hear…what we shall taste…
But yesterday…the children are seeing me, and it is spreading like a case of holy measles or chicken pox lol!! My lil shadow cadre is growing…and I have spotted some little torn ones and sent them the message without words that they can talk to me with words or with eyes…and that is a good and sacred Mama thing of which I think I will not speak…but it is VERY good.
Let’s see…what did I do? Well, I am working for a brilliant young teacher who frankly has a chance to really make a mark in teaching should she discover this as a life long and intense passion. The fact of her name is also a promise to me…of this I maybe can write about later.
This teacher is giving me permission to help, truly help and I lack the words to say how this feels, after being in a place where it seemed that other agendas dominated the subtext.
At recess, I played soccer, I told stories…oh by the way, I am WAAAAYYY OLDER than a thousand years old!! I am so old that I know the stories of every single tree around our playground, and I know how to hear the language of all the little grasses and bushes that the trees protect…but I am NOT a MILLION years old because then I would be a dinosaur!!! (Yes, I did say all that, and I DID turn into a dinosaur, but very briefly…I quickly was me again laughing and joying!)…
I taught them how to walk on this little divider/container that looked like a balance beam, and soon I had 20 plus kids walking this little balance beam that probably was a good 200 feet or even MORE, all around the play structures…and OH MY GOD!!! It was soooo fun…
They were using gross motor skills, FINE motor skills, and in their minds???
Sometimes we were on a high wire at the circus…sometimes we were suspended over a pit of ALLIGATORS…sometimes we were suspended over a pit of PUPPIES wanting to lick our faces…sometimes there were people watching ready to give us medals if we stayed on…it was truly fun. Truly. FUN!
Did you have any fun yesterday? Like…FUN? Did you play yesterday?
Human beings need to play…every single day.
Staff is genuinely warm, welcoming…all things are going well.
It is only two days in…and these two days feel like waking from a dream…waking from the captivity of purification.
It’s always worth it, friends…the purification…so much so that you can even seek it out, if you are a Fool like me LOL! You can intention for purity…do something that is a ritual for you…it really doesn’t matter what it is, because it is the intentionality of your being which attracts Mama’s Eye and Heart…
I used to burn incense…but as my asthma got worse, I once asked Mama if I had to do that and She suggested that it was the incense of my Song She loved the most…and BOOM!!
Now I just burn me…
It is important for you to know that as I write these things, I sit in stunned wonder and actually laugh out loud at the ABSURDITY of it all!!
I GET TO PLAY…and I GET TO LOVE…and I GET TO TEACH…and I GET TO BE…
and in the moments, yunno the ones…when a little is flummoxed or triggered, or their lil brains have flipped and they cannot process the rationality of things…and you just sit there and say “omg Mama wtf am I gunna do???”
And She drops something down like a feather…or it PLOPS up from the soul-geyser and splats into your mind…or you sniff the inner breezes and smell Her near…or you notice some lil cue…
IT IS HER!! ANYONE CAN DO THIS!!!
Mama says this morning “Whosoever will, let her come to Me and come quickly, for it is your DESIRE that determines your DESTINY! Desire will determine which path your foot finds, and once you find that path it will pull you along, push you along, draw you in and up and IN AND UP…until…”
…until you laugh like Charissa.
I am like one who dreams.
Oh, one last word…yunno those verses I quoted above? Those are saying something very important.
She who goes forth weeping, sowing in tears, sowing her seed? This speaks of a very important principle in farming and also spiritually…
See, Mama and Jesus and Father (insert your own name(s) for Divine God here) give us food yes…They give us bread. BUT THEY WANT MATURE WHOLE FRIENDS TO WALK WITH!! Because Their Love and Joy is Great, and They LOVE to share that. Each person who comes merely multiplies EXPONENTIALLY the available Love and Joy to be shared…so yes, They feed us…but more importantly They TEACH us and DEVELOP us…just like I am teaching Their jewels.
And so here is the key: Besides the bread, They give us SEED too!! We generally finish the bread…quickly. And when our tummies rumble like Pooh Bear, we nibble a kernel of grain…and WTF that is YUK!! Tasteless, toothy-breaky…what do we do with THAT!!
And we toss it away and sit, feeling forlorn and lost and abandoned and have ourselves a pity party and invite our friends over and have P when we should be having T (make the joke in your mind)…
But after awhile we notice that those seeds we tossed away are growing!!! And Mama instructs us in the lessons of seeds…
Jump FORWARD…and NOW look at she who walks, weeping…and yet sowing seed!! She has learned that she cannot discard the seed corn!! She has to keep it, and she has to walk, weeping to water what she is sowing.
Did you know you have to water your dreams with the tears of your broken heart? Water what seeds you have with tears, copious and wept unafraid and unashamed…you can FLY at Mama with tears, of rage, of fear, of sorrow, of grief, of pity-party-ing, of whatever…
and behold…you shall DOUBTLESS come again, REJOICING, and bringing in your sheaves behind you.
Your sheaves are NOT stalks or wheat or ears of corn…your sheaves are your OWN littles (mine are these jewels of Mama)…yours are…well…
What ARE your sheaves? Only one way to find out: go forth with your tears into those barren fields!! Your tears shall wash away the salting of the enemy and purify the dirt…EARTH…and behold, your seed will fall from your broken hands which feel as if they shall never again hold joy in them…
but I promise that you will, as you weeping walk and sow…and sow…and sow…and just when your bag is empty you shall be back where you began…but at a DIFFERENT PLACE ON THE SPIRAL!! (you DO realize that history does NOT repeat, but rather it spirals?? And in your personal history, you revisit places over and over and over…except that you are “higher” or perhaps “lower” or perhaps “deeper” or perhaps “on dry land” or perhaps at last “swimming or flying” or…you get the drift)…
If your hands are full…start tossing seed…it is your promise of future harvest but MUST be sown in order to yield to you the fullness of your dreams…and weep…weep…weep…
And if your hands are empty…then dry your eyes, square your shoulders and look again…and again…and again…peer into the darkness intently…
and when you get discouraged, think of Silly Charissa…and be encouraged, for I tell you truly: If They will do it for ME???? I freaking GUARANTEE to you that They will INDEED do it for YOU, because I am truly the least…the very least of the baubles in Their Treasure House.
Love to you all this morning…LOVE to you in thick creamy schmears!!!!
This poem is written in recognition of all that culminated in the legal name change I obtained three years ago today. I am very happy with this poem, rich in allusions and metaphorical double-backs…
It will reward the diligent who read it and then meditate on it. Resonances emerge like poetic harmonics and sing of many strange and holy waters.
but my ladder is my heart.
i know that, finally,
and the skies will open
only as my heart pries open
to spit the pearls formed
within this shell-shocked soul
the stone under my head becomes flesh
and i think about how jacob named
that stone, that ebenezer memory
of open skies and accessible heavens…
bethel…and it echoes in the dark,
rings midst the stars and
chimes in cloudy choruses.
that living stone had legs
to wander, God’s house sojourning
from place to place and time to time
the stone of Scone
stone of destiny
stone of coronation
old, red, sandstone
the stone under my head becomes red
and throbs and thrums and thrills
my soul open and searching the skies,
and i sense it will speak
as it spoke so long ago
and whisper my name,
my new name from heaven.
but it pushes me to listen elsewhere,
my answers not from
rock and sand and ruin
but from the Cornerstone Rock
and its bloody open hand
red and throbbing and thrumming…”
This was written the same day as “For JD” which I just told of my horrified discovery regarding how it was defiled and twisted.
Catch the irony that on the same day that I wrote that poem, I also wrote this one, which describes the very deepest desire of my heart.
and i must find the courage
to smear me on the world
like oranges on the morning
smeared on the fingertips
that pry with nails sharp
i must be resolved
to be spread thick and creamy
on hearts so dry and crumbly
and tasteless in their leaven
like butter sweet and salty
I wrote this for a friend who occupies a very distinct and unique place in my life and history. She is a woman that I have never met, exchange conversation with “occasionally”, or at least compared to other friends…she is of similar spiritual ilk and call, and is cut from the same cloth as me. My beloved one and only knows about her, knows her…and we have never been anything other than what we are: “Litter-mates”.
If you have ever had a dog who had puppies, then you know what litter-mates are…pups born at the same time from the same conception…and they are together until around 8 weeks when they all blast off to their families where they live…litter-mates are more than close…they are simply litter-mates…siblings.
This poem was written in that blissful innocence and joy that two people have when they meet and just know they are fast friends and sisters forever…it is my heart, flowing and pouring forth such beauty that it is capable of retaining from the Beauty That Comes With Poetry…it was in the moment and will always be my pure commitment to her, my sister.
And then I discovered to my horror and defilement that it has been used to accuse…that JD and I are accused of being “lesbian lovers”!! Remember, we have never met…and that I myself am accused of being a “predator” who was “grooming” my incredible friend (whom I have never met, and whom my one and only till death we do part beloved knows about and rejoices in)…that I was grooming her for…this part I still do not really comprehend.
It is two years later…and my poem is now covered in shit and filth…from a literal whore-monger and thief and also from a religious dementor who is so deranged she makes the Pharisees look like the blessed meek. One of them is sex addicted…and both of them are self-addicted…and I find out that they violate this poem, they violate JD, and they violate me…and I feel so sick and nauseous at this…this absolute shit.
Maybe it is the picture that did it in their minds…which is stupid because each woman has on her swimming suit, and even if they did not it would STILL not necessarily say anything!! The picture represents the utter joy and abandon that comes when one is cleansed of all extraneous distraction and burden. The water is the Divine Flow…the exhilaration is freedom.
Asshole Pervert: I will never ever talk to you or have any contact with you ever.
Religious Dementor: YOU I will give a chance if you ever find the One that you doll up in your shitty clothes and filthy rags imported in from the Law so you can feel like you are adding your work to the work of the One who said “It is FULL” which is usually translated “It is finished” and it means “It is totally summed up and completed”.
Sadly, for me? This poem will ever be shit-stained by a monster and poisoned by a daughter of the slithering viper of poison tooth…but I know Mama will cleanse it, and those stains will at last be the colors which make JD and my friendship even more close, and even more surrendered to the Holy…to the good.
JD…Jennifer…I love you with my whole and true and innocent heart, dear Litter-Mate and fellow prophetess.
i clothe myself in wonder
for you, i wrap myself in night
i am your pirate plunder
you can have without a fight
the milky way my shining sash
the moon my pendant true
and cricket song my lingerie
i give myself to you
you there, so strong, so brilliant
straightforward as blazing suns
your ready laugh, your brewing storms
the way your rivers run
from mountains high, jagged austere
you flow into the sea
for you i wait, indigo here
for you to give you me
we…night and day bonded and true
and joy our wonder-fates
you wrapping me, me inside you
Mama’s happy litter-mates
Source: For JD | Charissa’s Grace Notes
Sometimes I am asked if I illustrate my poems…but please PLEASE note this:
All images are found online unless I specifically state otherwise that they are either pics taken by me or drawings done by me.
This particular illustration is from a major book I am working on for my friend. It is unique and one of a kind. It will be the only one, and were I to illustrate it all over again, the exact same poetry, it would look completely different.
I am really really happy with Scars though…I think I might never attempt it again, as it feels like it captured it. Oh…and for you who need a lil help mining for the diamonds, here is a lil “key” to the poem.
Ahhhh…last year I wrote this to try and express how closely the ecstatic and the erotic dance in me as I connect to poetry and the words enter, flow and exit…
I’m asked sometimes if I write erotic poetry, and I allus laff and ask “Why?”
The question is like asking someone if they are eating McDonald’s french fries during the best feast of their life…
So anyway…this poem is about Poetry, about connection with the Divine, and yes, it can be about connection with the person you love to…connect with.
PS: this selection is towards the end of the poem…there is a staircase that gets you there, but you have to decide whether you ascend these steps, or descend them…either one is wow!!
…I am buried living-forward
I’m resurrected dying-backward
I am stained forever always after
with that pungent glory,
with Her Glory running down
my chin and from my lips so wet
and thus I shiver deep within
all the way from my down-low throb
to the very roots of my
ecstatic shining hair…
I wrote this for the first human other than my dearest darling to really see me, Charissa…she has never not seen me. She has never seen him, even though she knows all about him, and I have told her everything about him that matters and also that she has asked…
I would tell her everything without reservation…but sometimes, she simply is bored by him, because he is an absent caterpillar and she loves the butterfly.
By the way…where do caterpillars go when the enter the chrysalis?
I love you Dani…you are my first friend and my dearest heart of friendship…special and distinct from the many friends and sisters I now have. ❤
lament at long last left limp
in clammy depths
‘neath the surface of seas
of blessed forgetfulness
midst the shells and sand swirling,
rejoicing surf returning resurrected,
remembered, sanctified by sorrows
faced and sorted…yielding
wholeness certain, sure…
on this shore I break,
on this shore gently
and joyfully too
on that shore
that someday shore
we will unbroken break
on that shore and in that circle
by and by…in that circle
by and by…
This poem is the antidote to “The 25 Hour Yesterday”…and it is attempting to write about redemption, and how it is only relational and never NEVER legal. You want to see changes in this world? Then change your relational dynamics…with yourself…with others…with the Divine…
“…It is the Valley of Dry Bones,
the charnal parched and bony strand
with bone-dust laying down for sand
that walking comes The One Who Knows
and singing re-creation songs
and the truths we tell make harmonies
to reach the very stars…”
My dearest heart of hearts. She alone stood steadfast, faithful, amidst her own dealings and sortings and studyings…and she transitioned WITH me!
She NEVER left, shunned, or re-wrote our history to suit her current mood, as a couple have done.
She never othered or divorced as so-called friends of three decades did…
This poem is my attempt to express how I felt/feel about her, and her soul and her love.
She is the truest person I know…even when she is searching for that truth…and I love her with my bones.
PS: It is written in my favorite meter…because I want that rhythm to speak to the central most shining thing about my darling: her steadiness.
It all seems like a dream…like I woke up
into Real life and there you were, grinning,
that crooked lil smile and that small dimple
at your mouth’s corner, honey cupid bow.
It was as if we happy-laughed forever!
And cried for ever too, both all at once.
It was as if my torrid fever broke!
Things clear now to me, I’m in on the joke
regarding the us that we were…we are.
How I must have puzzled you, my dear!
Befuddled you and discouraged you too,
for you saw my real red and pulsing heart,
and underneath, the shade of deep dry rot…
This was a couple years ago…”viking” is metaphor for “patriarchy”…and the rest should follow naturally…
I’m no Viking, not me!
Pshaw…I do not sail
on waves like crops,
oars for ploughs
and battle lust for seed.
I shudder at the thought!
Of harvest moments
in peaceful lands
and no limits but my lusts
and the certainty of loss
at the end of Ragnarok…
From Radio Free Babylon
This story is very parallel to my own.
I encourage reading it, especially for the understanding
of a Gospel of Incarnation rather than a Gospel of Law.
“Transgender teens with unsupportive parents have a suicide rate 13 times higher than their peers. They are the most at risk group in the nation. Most of those unsupportive parents are Evangelicals.
“I have been in personal contact with thousands of LGBTQ individuals and their families from seven countries on four continents. Almost without exception these souls are Christians who have been ostracized from their churches and/or families. They always ask the same painful question, ‘What do I do now?’ I feel the weight of the responsibility.
“In my previous work, I hoped to save people from spiritual suffering. In my current work, I hope to save people from dying.”
Paula went on to state: “I do not care about their (evangelicals’) brand of orthodoxy.””I have no interest in debating it. It is of little interest to me.
However, I do care about their orthopraxy, how they practice the Christian faith. I find it lacking. I find any religion lacking that leads with judgment instead of leading with acceptance and love.”
POWERFUL essay by my friend John Pavlovitz…
trump supporter who also claims allegiance to Jesus Christ: this is you.
“In the turbulent days in which we find ourselves, our most formidable adversary is not the one who is most intelligent, cunning, or even immoral—it is the person who no longer has need of the truth; who ceases to be burdened by the existence or veracity of data in order to believe what they believe.
When someone has reached this place of delusion, their only pressing commitment is preserving the myth they’ve told themselves—and so their minds for all practical purposes are rendered nearly unchangeable. To reach a different conclusion would involve them rewriting the false story they’ve already convinced themselves of and vigorously defended, sometimes for years. To consider another alternative becomes a threat to their very identity—and so rather than arguing with one’s own mind, the much less complicated or time-consuming task is to simply tell it what it wants to hear regardless of whether or not it is real.”
This is an older poem, and I really like its rhythm. Try reading it aloud, for you will find that the sound of the words shapes how you say the coming ones.
I take treasure from my heart
pleasures, pains, my every dart
burn them for a brand new start
the incense of my spirit …
A share of my friend’s blog post, to supporters of trump, says it far better than I can say it
We don’t push-back against this man and his Administration because we believe that by defeating him we will somehow defeat you. It may feel that way when our outrage at what they’re doing begins to spill over into the things you believe to be true.
But anything we win for equality and diversity and opportunity right now is for you to share in fully—which is the point of all this. And that’s why the fact that you see this as a fight with us, that you believe we see you as the enemy is so unfortunate, because this is misplaced anger and misdirected fear and it conceals the truth.
Lost on so many of you right now, is the reality that those of us resisting this President care far more about your children than he does.
We care about you more than he does.
The man who we resist will never want for healthcare, never find himself homeless, never know the struggle of the working poor, never be invested in this nation the way we are—all of us.
He is not for you or for America, friend.
And so to defend us—and to defend you—we will resist him.
One of the few true voices left, calling us to repentance as christians.
“When religious liberty is used as justification for discrimination or when it impedes the daily life of those who don’t share our convictions, we move from merely having freedom, to demanding that others adopt our beliefs and adapt to our prejudices. We become a theocracy—and Christians, we cannot become a theocracy because Jesus would have had nothing to do with such things.
“He rejected privilege and dominance with every second of his humble existence, and he would be horrified by the bullying being done in his name under the guise of spirituality. It is the very kind of domineering religious shakedown that he repeatedly condemned in the Scriptures from the both the Jewish religious leaders and the Romans.
“And when such religious manipulation targets those already among the most marginalized and at-risk (as it does the LGBTQ and Muslim-American communities), it runs in direct opposition to the core of our faith, which seeks to protect and shelter those that the powerful would swallow up.
“Legislation like this transforms us into the very thing Jesus was pushing hard against.”
I draw attention to this because every single one of these people at this dinner thinks that transgender people are anywhere on the continuum from “insane and mentally ill” all the way to “demon possessed”.
Each of these people supports discrimination against LGTBQIA people. Every Single One.
These shills are there with trump the absolute fucker telling him that he is God’s Servant when he is carrying forward towards becoming law actual statutes that are the equivalent of death warrants for people as they lose their access to medical services and will simply die.
In the guise of “religious liberty”.
The list in 1 Corinthians 6 that is used as the cudgel against LGTBQIA individuals contains many things, ALL of which refer to behavioral expressions of basic violations of human beings by the exercise of power over one another. The list is not a prohibition of actual things (such as speaking, such as sexual activity of any orientation, such as possession of property), but rather condemns forms of each of the things I mentioned (adultery, theft, lying, malice (which is hatred), and a specific form of homosexual activity that is widely held by all serious scholars to be condemning a specific homosexual relationship that involved the subjugation and oppression of one of the participants in a power dynamic that was akin to sexual slavery)…
Why do I mention this? Because it is this list that is cited to oppress LGTBQIA human beings…while the same people who do this willingly serve people who lie, steal, cheat, run around on their wives…essentially ANYTHING that cannot be seen or is not admitted to!
But let someone be open about their sexual orientation or gender orientation and they are ostracized, shunned, and often literally physically assaulted.
This is who you have become, evangelical christendom (I will not shit on the word “Church” by letting it apply to you).
In this passage from Isaiah 10, we discover why these actions are a stench to God:
“Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees, who write misfortune, which they have prescribed to rob the needy of justice, and to take what is right from the poor of My people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless.
What will you do in the day of punishment, and in the desolation which will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help? And where will you leave your glory?
Without Me they shall bow down among the prisoners, and they shall fall among the slain.
For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.”
Did you know that if the current proposed health care roll backs become law that it will result in a transfer of wealth of 300 billion dollars to the people in the country who make more than $250,000? Yes that is correct: the top 1% are going to get even richer…
These things matter in concrete terms of life and death…but they also matter in that the hypocrisy of these people at this dinner and every single person who supports these people is now on prominent display…the party of the goats who wail “Lord Lord when did we see You hungry or sick or naked or in jail” is forming up fast.
This is your chance to turn from your lazy, mindless, sinful supporting of an evil evil party and an amoral greedy titular head of that party…and return to your first love.
The book of James says this about “true religion”:
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Not the flocking to the side of a man who is willing to do your bidding to make it possible for you to literally hurt, destroy and murder the oppressed and the defenseless.
I will not associate or participate with anyone who actively supports these individuals and their leader, trump the absolute fucker.
I am posting this for those readers who still may not understand the complex physiological and psychological factors that work together to form our gender orientations.
In light of the fact that the Bible is utterly silent regarding the so-called “morality” of gender, this article could be especially helpful for those of you who claim you love Jesus and yet treat transgender humans like Hell.
May God spare you the kind of treatment that you have handed out to others in the name of Jesus…but that is not how it works, is it? The fact of the matter is that the exact standard that you employ to show your rejection and hate of transgender humans is the one that Jesus will hold up for you on your day of dawning…
sometimes scared I hear
the stink and the hot blood
rushing thru the crowds
like demons on the loose
the hounds of Torquemada
sometimes I see them
all the people in the streets
lost and in a mumble
of pain and crazy jumble
and death in every tumble
and I just wanna lay there
in the streets so dirty
teeming with the garbage
of privileged excrement
and tear my chest wide open
and with my desperate fingers
claw my hurt ribs agape
and reach in for my heart
and rip it from my soul
and hold it over head
and let my blood gush forth
in step with all my tears
and wash it all away
why can’t it wash away
oh Jesus wash, oh Jesus
why is it them not me
i think I’m gunna cry
and cry and cry and cry
while my heart bleeds and bleeds
until it’s bled all dry
Standing beside gull-force winds
strong enough to blow a waterfall
back into its own face, something
no man has experienced but needs to
I watch Beauty roll down and meet unbelief.
And I remember all over again how I am haunted
by the ghost that grows when Beauty glows and screams
to the body transcendent and compelling and
then goes silent once again
a waterfall thundering down
and pushed away with every might
and longing stirs all over again
as I just wonder how it is
that God can be resisted, how
that God has chosen suffering, now
in person and in heaven, wonder
that God is…that God is…that
then the song is sung by Beauty’s
absence in the scattering
the scurrying, no one cannot not be aware
and longing for the shelter
of The Safe Wing Stretched Divine
though it feels ominous, and gone and here
the absence of what cannot leave
a guillotine to answer to the knife in my clenched fist
and I realize I must go thru this once again, this absence
that leaves all things scattered, scurrying, suffocating
in the Stripping of the Altar, in the scattering of all
and the sound of tombs slammed shut
and the sound of screaming triumph
and the sound of darkness looming
and the sound of Beauty Silent
all compel a halt to movement
so we listen in the stillness
to the absence, to the absence
to the looming screaming absence
and the Sound of Beauty Silent
everyone denied it.
that He was killed
that He was alive
that there was a Door
that the Door was closed
everyone denied it.
that there was it.
that it was.
that she was dressed
that she was it.
She knew better
because dawn had done
and blue was shining
in her golden hope
She knew open and empty
in rushes, in tulies
and walking lonesome valleys…
and we walked around the sun
50 times, spinning, circling
while I, spinning and circling
spiraled out of myself
torn in two
or maybe parted
by Solomon’s Silver Blade
my inner me stifled and screaming
“Give Her Away! Give Her Away!”
as he just shrugged and said
“I don’t wanna be here anyway”
but then to come to myself slow
trickling back home
and draining up and in
before coming out
the sun so bright
the wind so fresh
and the stink of hate and horror
and the sting of brutal spittle
and eyes that bruise and stab
and the cries of the powerless
and the silence of the othered
and the dust of death settling
I dance, I sing, I SHOUT!
I whirl and lift that dust to the wind
as my offering of violent worship
of our Liberty God, Our Graceful GOD
our LOVING GOD
and I hear Their loving strong whisper:
“For such a time as this you were created”
and I take my place with Ester
and take Mary of Bethany’s hand
and settle into this truest truth for me:
“My maids and I will fast likewise.
And so I will go to the king, which is against the law;
and if I perish, I perish!”
We set out on tender feet
and tender hearts to match
and faces become flint as we
determined that we would not faint.
When our sojourn was hip deep in heat
and we were well and away, out to sea
she told me of the heartbreak and the horror
and there how we did rain our tears…
We took turns (while we wiled the desert paths away)
swimming away from the ship of us…naked, vulnerable
and healing in the slick water…further and further
and then return and up and back into our desert ship.
It was in the sunset wrought with haze from distant destinations
that make you think about fire, and about what might have been.
We, perched on that rock solid emanating heat and spitting healing
while the sky, bruised by our advances, turned purple in our song.
It was just Day Umpteen Kazillion in our great traverse of deserts,
we walking, swimming straight by myth and extraterrestrial,
feeding on lizards, trilobites, and our sacred Stories our Communion shared
and we, oh so close to our arriving, our becoming, our sacred Desert Story.
“You see friend, if what happens in that building doesn’t renovate what happens outside that building, you’ve failed. If your church were to close down today and the neighborhood around you wouldn’t profoundly feel the loss, you need to change how you do what you do in that building. If the only people who would grieve your absence are the people already in that building, you’re not doing what you’re called to do. You are hoarding blessings from people who need and deserve to be blessed.
“Worship is not really what happens in that building. That is just songs and words and stories and prayers. It is religious activity, well-meaning and helpful as it may be. Worship, is a life lived changed by faith in God and burdened to reflect the character of that God to others. If the songs and the words and the stories and the prayers today don’t move you out of the building and into the paths of hurting people in a way that alters those paths—it’s all been wasted time.”Source: Today, Outside the Church Building MARCH 19, 2017 / JOHN PAVLOVITZ
My friend John Palovitz says these things so very well!
“To be honest, I’m not convinced that many of these Republican Christians want their Government or the Church to lift people in need. I think they’d prefer to live with the fictional narrative that poor people are poor because they’re lazy, that those in need, are so because of some moral failing or bad decision. This story allows them to keep the stuff they have, to ignore the call to love their neighbor as themselves, and to feel morally superior in the process.
“Jesus says that whatever we do to the poor and the hurting and the hungry—we do to him. That should be a terrifying proposition to supporters of the President who claim the Christian faith or call the American Conservative Church home. This Administration and the many Christians who co-sign its actions toward those who are the most in need of compassion and mercy in these days, are saying with great clarity: “Move along Jesus, we don’t give a damn about you.”
“This is what happens when the least are treated as less-than. This is what it looks like when the Church abandons its namesake and tells him to fend for himself.
“Forgive them, they know not what they do.”
Source: The Church That Abandons Jesus
This is talking about my own life, my own family…and yours, too…because all of us have this brokenness. The evidence is irrefutable.
This poem is all about forgiveness…trying to give it and trying to receive it…and the incredible revelation that it is impossible.
There is no trying…there is only becoming.
“…And so now we get down to it:
there is no exit,
no escape from agony,
pitstop from pain…
all we can do is
exchange suffering’s form
and it’s face, from our own
for the pain of another…”
Reposting a poem from last year…any good poem applies at a number of different levels, some known and some unknown and waiting to be discovered…
I moved away while you weren’t watching
(it was easier than I thought it would be,
escaping past your X-Ray eyes
that look for flesh and blood
and thus missed my exodus)
I live by the sea, now…
Source: My Exodus
A poem from 3 years ago…seems appropriate in light of the marches!
Source: Miriam’s Song
Here is part three.
All three parts of this series are written by a brilliant, insightful and passionate human being of the female gender…and she uses the FULL RANGE of her palate to express these truths.
Hey dudes…listen the fuck up! Pull your heads out of the sands of fear and your fingers out of your ears and shut yer pie-holes from babbling all about the estrogen the estrogen and LISTEN. You do not get to pass judgement on sumfin cus you are either comfortable or uncomfortable…you are under the same standard of restoration as the rest of humanity…is it the Way, and is it the Truth, and is it the Life? Whether you LIKE it or not…whether it makes you FEEL GOOD or not…
Thank you Jennifer. Your words are truth and life.
Woman: with the flu, a cramping, hemorrhaging uterus and a baby attached to her boob pushes through her daily myriad of responsibilities to take care of the family
male: devastated by Man Cold.
Oh Holy Lightning Strike like Griffin Swift
upon this yearning heart in desperate need
of Your Mercy Severe, Your Holy Gift
Give us Grace to Find the Phoenix-Way!
To rise in faith from Ashes and from death
to self and self reliance, come what may!
On resurrection wings and Spirit’s breath
alive again and all is well this night
that breaks and shatters with the rising dawn…
and not a single fire road in sight,
and what will be well it shall simply be
and what will not be well it will be gone!
Come Holy Fire, we answer Your Call!
and All Reborn, and Love is All in All,
“Someday…someday the snow will fall!”