In her book The United Methodist Deacon, Rev. Dr. Margaret Ann Crain explains, “Because deacons are also ordained but usually do not do what elders do, we are challenged to think about ordination as identity rather than function.”
The annual conference I attended last week with Reconciling Ministries Network was like other trips to annual conferences in many ways—except for one small feature. It was at the beach, Jekyll Island specifically. By recommendation of a friend, on my last night there, I went over to driftwood beach.
Trigger warning: discussion of suicide
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s comments about her understanding of what “transness” is set off a firestorm last month. In an interview, she said trans women live in the world with “privileges that the world accords to men” prior to transition.
I am not oppressed, I am not a victim—I thrive, I rise, I am.
A few months ago, I participated at an organization's Board of Directors meeting. It was an intense gathering where we were all challenged to stretch beyond our comfort zones and look at how each of us participates in anti-oppression work and in oppression (intentionally and unintentionally)—sometimes at the same time.
As my boyfriend Chris and I were walking down the stairs to the subway train platform to head to Sunday morning service at Riverside Church, I spotted it. That unmistakable fire engine red, poorly designed, ill-fitting cap that has become an emblem for all things sexist, racist, xenophobic, and anti-Muslim.
During the holidays, I noticed a Franciscan Health commercial with the hashtag #FranciscanPeacePrayer. This beautiful prayer, attributed to St. Francis in the 13th century, was repeated during the commercial.
The visuals in the ad showed smiling people helping each other and showing love.
When Trump rescinded the guidelines to schools on how to protect the dignity of Trans* students, he opened the door for SCOTUS to deny Gavin Grimm his day in court. When SCOTUS declined to hear Gavin’s case, the nation's highest court delayed the protections that Trans* students are due under the mandate of Title IX.
Brothers, Sisters and Siblings,
I see the posts. I see the words of hate people scrawl through the comments section, through the tweets and Facebooks status updates. I see the pictures of trans celebrities that get attacked and misgendered. I see the people standing outside of buildings with picket signs. I see the petitions and the calls for boycotts.
Editor's Note: Today, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice made it clear that they will not uphold guidelines designed to help schools support transgender students. Our faith tells us trans students deserve to be treated with dignity and respect—this includes the ability to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with who they are.
I was not always out as trans, but I was always uncomfortable in school bathrooms.
For those whose families never healed
Broken by water, whips, laws and cultural norms
For those whose breasts unfed upon
Mixed tears with milk at the memories of their babies sold.
For those whose stripes were inflicted and celebrated
By good Christians in white sheets
For every boll gathered, every shoe cobbled or shined