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Throughout my ministry I have lived with a commitment to uphold this rule: first, do no harm.
People can be fragile. Trauma inflicted on a body or a spirit can alter the internal chemistry of the brain and affect bodily health long after any physical injuries have healed.
Every day, vulnerable souls look for ways to return to health and happiness. Some of what they try works. Some of what they try fails. Those with the courage to face another day don’t let the failures keep them from making the next effort. And even when we find the place that, in the words of the old Shaker Hymn, comes round right there is always another threat looming to turn us back to fragility.
It is a daily struggle for all of us.
Which is why I made a commitment early in ministry to live by that simple rule: first, do no harm.
Ministry is, in its truest sense, a healing art. It seeks to encounter pain, grief, suffering, injustice, oppression, bigotry, racism, misogyny, trans and homophobia, insecurity, fear, and so much more with love, acceptance, healing, hope, love, peace, joy, light, and a firm belief that the love of God will always be present.
When I learn that a precious soul’s pathway to happiness and fulfillment, that their journey to overcome trauma or dis-ease or inner anguish is to claim a gender identity at odds with what they were assigned at birth, it never, ever occurs to me to prohibit them from pursuing their happiness in that way. This effort to prohibit that with the passing of laws in state houses that criminalize their health care, or that obliterate their freedoms, or that problematize their search for safe bathrooms, or that demonize their use of preferred pronouns – well, I find it all distasteful, disgusting, demoralizing, and destructive. These actions are perpetrated not by Christians but by bullies, and bullies of the worst kind.
Too many of our beautiful children are contemplating or choosing to die by suicide than to live another day with the vitriol, judgment, condemnation, and scapegoating that they are targeted with every day. That any of that is defended using Christ as the source of their hatred is, in its truest form, heresy of the highest order.
If you are listening to this and you are trans, or gender fluid, or in the process of transitioning. or claiming a new gender identity more aligned with your true self, please know that the very God who created you, and whose image you bear, celebrates your journey, your chosen identity, and your commitment to pursue your pathway to happiness and fulfillment. God themselves blur all distinctions with gender, for how otherwise could be all be created in their image?
No more bombing churches who support that trans community.
No more threatening pastors whose houses of worship host drag shows.
No more banning teachers who ask students for their preferred pronouns.
We will march and we will organize, we will fight and we will win, we will vote and we will agitate until this slowly turning arc of history bends itself again toward the justice, the shalom, the beloved community envisioned by our Creator.
No matter who you are, or where you are on your life’s pathway, you are welcome on this, our journey Into the Mystic.
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