NPR’s Celeste Noche
PORTLAND, Ore.—A little thing like a toilet in a chapel that says “male” and “female” can close the door on transgender people.
“For me as a non-binary, I’ve been to many churches that don’t have bathrooms for me to use. I don’t go to the bathroom there.”
The church is tasked with delivering the message of the Bible from both the pulpit and the pews.
And when the people singing and praying there are literally not physically comfortable, it is difficult to lead to mental concerns.
St David of Wales Episcopal Church in Portland, where Buckley has been vice-chancellor for the past eight years, We made changes like putting pronouns on nametags, preaching “brothers in Christ” instead of brothers and sisters, and putting up signs that anyone can use any bathroom.
“Sometimes we say, ‘God loves you,’ but we don’t always do that in church,” says Buckley. “So what you say is actually being asked here is [means] I am thrilled that you are here. ”
NPR’s Celeste Noche
Pro-transgender voices are emerging within Christianity
Evangelical Christianity has played a major role in the political debate on transgender issues and the set of laws that have resulted in it. God created humans divided into male and female.
But religion speaks in multiple voices. Other Christians also use sacred texts to embrace a broader understanding of gender.
Shannon TL Kearns is the first openly transgender man ordained in the Old Catholic Church, a denomination that separated from Rome after the first Vatican Council in the 19th century. He is the co-founder of his QueerTheology.com and author of the book his In The Margins: A Transgender Man’s Journey with Scripture.
“The world of biblical gender is much more complicated than I was taught growing up as an evangelical,” says Kearns, pointing to many stories of biblical characters who break gender norms.
“We have women who are judges. We have men who spend time in the kitchen. We also have eunuchs, but they were considered the other third gender of this kind,” he says.
Many Christians Are Revisiting Bible Stories They Think They Already Know
Theology is story. And Kearns says that understanding the Bible’s message about transgender people is also about rediscovering these specific stories. Asking more difficult questions about the story.
For example, in Genesis, an angel comes to Sodom and Gomorrah, threatening the townspeople to rape them. The destruction of these cities is often seen as God’s condemnation of homosexuality. But it can be read as a lesson in welcoming strangers.
“When we look at passages like Sodom and Gomorrah, we see where there are places that are not kind to people even today?” Kearns asks. “Are we profiting from a system that hurts others?”
Sometimes, showing hospitality is as easy as a sign on the bathroom door…and sometimes it’s harder. Not all congregations, not all Christians welcome these changes. Robin Henderson Espinoza, a theologian and ordained Baptist minister, says that conflict is not new to Christianity, but is central to understanding the story of Jesus.
“I follow the story of a brown Palestinian Jew who was executed by the Roman Empire,” says Henderson Espinoza. “And the story hurts.”
But Henderson Espinoza, author of the book Body Becoming: A Path to Our Liberation, says it’s Christianity’s job to re-center the story from the point of view of the powerless, rather than the point of view of the powerless. I’m here. And that re-centralization affects trans people today.
“I think that’s how we bring Heaven to Earth. We have these difficult conversations to build more relationships and increase opportunities to have differences and relationships.”
Trans People Read Themselves Into The Bible In The Same Way All People See Themselves In Biblical Characters
The Bible tells a different story Theologian Kearns. The arc of Scripture that brings the most marginalized to the center has always been there. However, he is surprised that this is not always the case.
“White, cisgender, heterosexual men read it from their idiosyncrasies and peculiarities and call it universal, and that’s the real harm,” Kearns says. .
Kearns says that reading from a particular perspective or from a particular experience is not bad. That is how the Bible has always been read and interpreted. People need to be aware of what they are doing. And extend the conversation to include all voices.
“I think we all read the scriptures,” says Kearns. “I think the kicker is that people in marginalized communities are being honest about what they’re doing.”
Trans Christians Practice a Faith That Fits Their Body
Good stories survive because they welcome a wide variety of readers into their world. Rather than defining meaning, they make it clear for those who participate in the story.
Austin Hartke, Lutheran theologian and founder of the Transmission Ministry Collective, said, “If you believe, as I do, that God deliberately transposed me, it means that I What do you mean I am allowed to do to take care of my body?, to live a healthy and fulfilling life?”
Hartke, author of Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians, says, “Just as God made someone short-sighted, so they are allowed to acquire glasses.” increase.
He says it’s part of Jesus’ call to an abundant life. It is co-creation. sacred work.
“Yes, our bodies are temples,” Hartke says. “But the temple changes.”
And Hartke says the blueprint for that change is in the text.
NPR’s Celeste Noche
“Genesis One talks about the world’s binaries, but we know those binaries aren’t cut as cleanly as they are in this one article.”
Not just men and women, earth and water.
“For example, God creates day and night. It says nothing about dawn and dusk.”
But there are places in between these. Hartke says there is richness in them and the theology that comes out of them. Because they tell the complete story of their existence in this sacred world.
“When we say God is alpha and omega, we don’t mean that God is just A and Z,” says Hartke. “We mean God is everything.”
NPR’s Celeste Noche