Monday, May 26, 2008

Talking About My Faith

Most Sunday mornings I get out of bed, get into diva mode and point my car in the direction of my open and affirming church to hear my pastor Rev. Sally McClain.

That's right, you didn't misread that. I have a female pastor. Quite frankly. she can say in a 25-30 minute sermon what it took some pastors in some Black churches I attended back home one to two hours to say. I'm one of four transwomen and three Black members who attend Edenside Christian Church.

See, I'm a little more complex than some of y'all thought, huh?

One of the things I've noted in my decade plus interactions with the transgender community is the bitterness and in some cases outright hostility toward people who profess to be Christians.

When I've attended various gender conferences in the past I've seen a variety of faith traditions expressed and embraced up to and including atheism and agnosticism. But say you're a Christian and you're looked at like you just dropped in from Mars.

Those strange looks also come from the Forces of Intolerance little 'c' Christians as well. The ChristoBorg had it implanted in their hive mind consciousness that we GLBT people aren't and couldn't possibly be Christians.

Au contraire, my brothers and sisters in Christ. I just don't believe in your warped, Scripture-twisting, vengeful God, hate filled version of it.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the JCPS employment policy battle a few months ago was when I got to see the YouTube video of me speaking in front of the board. At the point of my remarks in which I announced I was a Christian, a voice in the background says, "No way!"

Yes, way! I was baptized on August 2, 1972 at my home church in Houston. Deal with it.

I have had to call on that faith many times before, during and after my transition. It gave me clarity of thought when my mind was troubled or I was upset about things going on in my life. It gave me the strength and courage to become the Phenomenal Transwoman I am today when I was unsure, fearful and afraid that I could do it.

When I suffered through a six month employment drought and didn't know how I was going to pay next month's rent on my apartment or put food on my table when i exhausted the money I had saved up for surgery, people stepped up without me asking them to feed me or pay back money I'd loaned to them and forgotten about dating back several years.

Sen. Obama had this to say about faith in a June 26, 2006 Chicago Tribune interview:

I see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death. It is an active palpable agent in the world. Ir is a source of hope.

I agree with him. It is a source of hope. It is why I have the unwavering conviction and confidence that we transpeople will accomplish our legislative crown jewels. My faith is why I believe that the current negativity that we suffer from friends and foes alike will end. My faith is why I know that one day we will be fully functioning and valued members of society all over the world.

The day I stop believing that will be the day when I accept every myth and falsehood that our detractors say about us, and that ain't happening. Tammy Faye told me this when I met her in 2003, and I hold fast to this comment every time I hear the Religious Reich spewing forth anti-transgender Hateraid disguised in Christian drag.

"Never let anyone say that God doesn't love you, because He does."

Thanks Tammy Faye, Rev. Sally, Soulforce, Dignity, More Light, and every Christian theologian, pastor and real Christian who never lets me or any GLBT Christian forget that, feels that way, and backs up their words with positive actions.


Camille Acey said...

Thanks for this, I am a member of the fantastic Greenpoint Church in Brooklyn, New York (though I now live in Europe), and I love it when progressive people whom I admire "come out" as Christians. The more of us join/stay in the faith the more we can transform others view of it and take it back from those who use it to terrorize and strike fear in the hearts of all those who dare not bow down to their reductive smallminded vision of some Imaginary Menacing All-Seeing Vengeful GhostGod.
Thank you!

Monica Roberts said...

Amen. Those of us who are Christians need to loudly proclaim it and take back our faith from the folks who hijacked it to mask their bigotry and hatred.

Jackie said...

I agree with Barack too, and also with you. We have to take Christianity back from the users and abusers with their so called faith based bigotry.

Kelli Busey said...

Dear christian sisters and brothers,
When I started living full time I looked at transition like a football field(please excuse the metaphor), linear with set objectives. One day a friend commented to me she had never met someone who loved her people as I did. I didnt even realize I loved at all! That started the real process of transition and when I realized it was what Jesus wanted for me I began to open my heart to our lord.
Now I look forward to Sunday. I belong to Agape MCC FT Worth. Our previous Pastor is a gay man. His connection with god brought me to Soulforce. By the wishes of our congregation of mostly Gay and Lesbians, we now have a Transgender Pastor. Life is Awesome, I love Jesus and I can't wait to see what happens next!

philomela said...

Myself and a friend have just set up a blog carnival for progressive Christians
The home page is here Someone pointed me in your direction and I thought you might want to participate.I'd really like it if you submitted this post said...

Hey there Monica!

Thank you for sharing this post!

There are so many reasons why some Christians do not think GLBTI are embracing Christian doctrines...the most obvious reason would be their own bigotry...the next obvious reason would be their hetero-supremacist conditioning...

Many more reasons...

Continue to write about your faith.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
Minister L. Vazquez