Since it's been a couple of weeks, I really should post something new. The one real struggle I have with this thing is that blogs have a way of lulling you into speaking publicly of that which really ought be kept private - especially when it is in reference to the actions or words of other people. It's a delicate balance, when you set out to give the world a "behind the scenes" look at what your situation is like, to accomplish that purpose without violating the trust or privacy of others.
Anywho, the thought which has been rattling around in my addled brain this weekend has to do with the sometimes surprising contrasts to be made among the various reactions you get. I had a couple - no three - in the last week or so that seem worth remarking upon.
I should explain before I begin that I have chosen to keep a respectful distance from churches and church folk in general in order to not force people into uncomfortable situations. If I were to show up at, well, any church in this county there would be those in the congregation that would "love me anyway" and there would be those who would want to run me out along with anyone fool enough to tolerate my nonsense. So while I don't go for a variety of reasons, paramount among them is that I don't go because I don't have the right to do that to a congregation.
Likewise, I have no way to gauge how well my believing brothers and sisters can accept and be comfortable around me now, so I refrain for the most part from initiating situations where the person is obliged to deal with that situation. If they approach me, wonderful! If we crose pass inadvertently, so be it. But I do not wish to impose.
It's too big a point to say much about here, lest this post go on for 10,000 words, but I stand in a bit of a "no man's land" between a Christian community that as a whole has demonstrated quite a bit of judgment and condemnation at transgenderism, and a trans community that has developed a healthy resentment towards Christianity because of it. I hesitate greatly to join in that resentment but I've heard so many horror stories of Christians mistreating and, frankly, abusing (emotionally and spiritually) trans people that I understand it.
All that said, I am capable of recognizing how the opinion of the Christian Culture regarding transgenderism produces some unfortunate results. for one very obvious example, I've come to understand that the fulcrum upon which my marriage turns has come down to a battle between the love my wife feels for me and the belief system she is welded too which insists that things like this are "wrong" (transgender is wrong, two women in a couple is wrong, so forth and so on).
I do find my myself more and more mourning that "the system" has so often trained people "into a corner" as it were so that their pain is increased when the real world doesn't match up with their belief system. And it doesn't even take transgenderism to make that point. Consider the wife who's being emotionally abused by her husband but also has been thoroughly conditioned to avoid divorce at all cost. (some might say I'm speaking of MY wife here but it's not my intent)
So I hope you will understand the mixed feelings I have when the course of life brings my path to cross that of one of my old acquaintances who is a strong Christian.
The first two anecdotes I wish to share were very pleasant and heartening experiences. There's a minister I know who's a person that I tend to think of as my "pastor for life." No matter where I've been a church member, this man always seemed to be "comfortable" to me in a way that isn't always true of the man who happens to be your "official" pastor at any given moment. Not to sound as if I mean to slight any of those men, I have no ill-will to them and consider them friends (to the extent they would still wish to be my friend). but there has always been something different about this one guy.
This pastor came into a business where I was shopping and I recognized his voice as he spoke with the manager. I debated whether to "hide in the corner" and go unnoticed but when he spoke to my wife that didn't seem to be something I could do without giving the impression I actively wanted to avoid the encounter (I didn't!). So I remained where I was and the man greeted me and we spoke, as I had hoped, as old friends. He reassured me I would never be "disowned" on account of my situation and I assured him that I had hoped there was at least one minister I could count on to be there should the hour of need arise.
Again, I don't mean to disrespect any other preachers I know - but if I or my family need one I'd prefer it not be a man who's having to metaphorically "hold his nose" in order to be there. I'd prefer the love be unreserved and not conditional. I believe in this case I can be confident of that.
The second encounter actually occurred on a different day but in the same place. I saw a friend of mine whom I used to go to church with and over the course of a warm conversation she asked if we were going to church anywhere, and I replied "I can't go to church now." (there was no need to get into a deep theological discussion of my other reservations about organized religion at that time, it wasn't that deep a conversation)
She said "Why?"
And I said "Seriously? Look at me - where am I going to church like this? If I stroll up into any church around here in a skirt and heels (for instance) it would split wide open."
She said "I don't see anything wrong with you." (I could have kissed her for that! and I kick myself for not being more obvious in showing her how much that meant to me)
I thanked her for that but I had to reply "You have the right attitude, but I have to think that in any congregation those who didn't want me there would be pitted against those who were nice to me." and she nodded understanding. Still, it so made my day that she was so outspoken in saying that I should be accepted. People like her and my pastor friend reaffirm my faith that transgendered people need not assume that to be Christian is to be hostile to us.
The third encounter however, serves as a counterpoint. Without going into the sort of detail that would be indiscreet, I will simply say that this was a professional person who had reason to know better (but who is also a life-long Christian) and this person offered the view that by transitioning now I would "warp" my children. At the time I passed it off as the opinion one was entitled to but looking back and reliving the conversation in memory, I'm feeling more and more insulted.
"Warped" how, exactly?
Might they somehow be influenced to become something like me? Then I must be "warped" too, eh? Further, I'm sure my folks would appreciate some insight into how my "man's man" father managed to "warp" me into wanting to be a girl.
I'm sure maybe there's some other "warping" that might happen. Could it be the potential effects of a divorce, should one ever happen, would warp them? I suppose that some would argue that my kids would see me having chose my transition as more important to me than my wife and family. That's not an invalid point on the surface, but let's test that out.
A very great many of the people in my age group that I have known over the years are now divorced (good Christian folks most of them) and most of those had children in the home, so if one applies the same logic, would one not have to say that in each of those couples, at least one and possibly both adults chose some other interest over their spouse and children, right?
Whether there was a "cheating" situation or whether they simply didn't get along and thought they'd be happier apart or whatever, the simple truth is that EVERY divorce is a result of at least one party to that marriage placing a higher priority on their happiness (or what they perceived to be their happiness) than on preserving the marriage. Frankly, pretty much the only divorce that isn't a result of both parties prioritizing their own happiness is the case of abandonment.
So, shall we conclude that all those multitude of couples are "warping" their kids by choosing divorce? No? Then let's rule out that option for me as well. So how will they be "warped"?
The only conclusion I can come to is that they might be influenced to - horror of horrors! - be more likely to accept that people like me were not freaks and perverts after all.
My bet is that if you are reading this right now and you agree that they will be warped, it is because you think that to learn to accept and even care for people like me then is to be "warped." A great many prominent Christian thought leaders that I otherwise respect all too often put forth teaching that can only lead to that conclusion.
But I don't think that people who so casually hold and promote that view have ever given serious thought to what happens when a faithful believer is faced with a no-win scenario where the things they have been conditioned to believe require them to betray their hearts when it concerns someone they care about. Thankfully, more and more believers are wise enough to see past that sort of illogic.
But, alas, I digress onto a topic which could lead to those 10,00 words so I will get back on track. I will close by saying here what I didn't say to the lady I spoke with or my pastor friend to their face (much to my shame) - such people are a credit to the Lord, and are far more a tool in his hand for good than those who seek only to judge and condemn. Your graciousness meant more to me than any words, there or here, could convey. As for the third person, well, I can hardly be upset with people when the behave as they've been conditioned to. Others my chose anger or resentment, but I can't take time for that - at least not right now.