Tag Team

You know how most people get through challenges? 

They count on the strength of other people around them.

Sometimes that’s very clear, but often this taking strength is hidden.  There may be some healing hidden in the bedroom, there may be a memory of a time when someone believed in them, there may even be the knowledge that when they get through this someone will be waiting.  

Today, the call to transgender is a call to the individual.  It’s not a call to be like the rest of the crowd, but rather a call to follow your own nature, your own heart, your own essence, your own acorn against the expectations of the crowd.

It wasn’t always thus.  In many cultures, the call to transgender was a call to service, a call to live in the liminal space and serve the community by being a window, a bridge, a conduit, a messenger.  Living between worlds was the calling of a shaman, and that shaman helped everyone by keeping the energy flowing, the light beaming, and the drumming in harmony across the rivers, walls and canyons we often feel separate us from nature, from others, from God.

Stigma is the technique society uses for inhibiting behavior that challenges the status quo.  Stigma works by cutting us off from others so that every step is a slog, and we can never build up speed, we only get more tired.

Stigma cuts us off from the strength of other people, cuts us off from community and leaves us alone. Often our response to stigma is to try to stigmatize others so that we can be inside the normativity by pushing others outside.

What I ache for is the ability to count on the strength of other people.  What other people ache for most often seems to be some level of comfort within the status quo.  That’s a different goal indeed.

“For tomorrow, I have to sing, to sing, to sing.” 
Andrea Bocelli, GMA, 8 Feb 2006

No human is an island.  To sing we need the support of others.

And I don’t have any idea where to find that.

Preaching

The funeral of Coretta Scott King had lots of banality, but it also gave me a chance to hear the preaching of some of my favorite speakers including Jimmy Carter and  Bill & Hillary Clinton.

It’s my sense that if a church service doesn’t embolden and empower you to make better decisions in the week ahead — and that almost always means harder decisions — then it has missed its mark.   You should leave both knowing how to and wanting to live a more righteous life, a life where what you know to be theologically right and what you choose to do are more unified.   In other words, it should help you make choices that come more from knowledge of the lessons of God rather than from the expectations of the community.

And when Bill spoke, when Hill spoke, that was the essence of their message: Coretta Scott King and her husband Martin were people who, when God chose them to do her work, said yes.

Leadership is the esssence of doing the work.  To be a true follower of a leader who made an impact like Jesus, to follow in those footsteps, you have to lead.  And leadership means standing up, standing alone, and using your personal power to get people to do the right thing, with compromise, persuasion and even maybe a a bit of intimidation. 

I have hung out with some Christians lately.   It seems to me that they have a hard time encouraging callings that are too big, ones that really challenge the community, and more than that, challenge the leaders.  Of course, this is the challenge Dr. King and the rest of the young turks faced, a generation of blacks leaders who had found comfort in the status quo and didn’t understand why they had to risk their standing to help people like garbage collectors.

I love good sermons that lift the heart, and I was moved.

But they followed it up with a video clip job that ended with Oprah giving Mrs. King a makeover and calling her royalty.  Not a bad thing to do in a life, but a way to always remember her?  A way to speak of how she did important work?

This is my secret: I love good, powerful, empowering preaching, the invocation of the possibility of magic & potency that lies within each and every one of us. 

But what I seem to find is earnest mush that shrinks from a real call to transcendance of fear to acting in unconditional love.

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. 
Small people always do that,
but the really great make you feel that you, too,
can become great.
 Mark Twain 

I know the call, and it is to be great. 

But anyone know where I can find some great people who might actually not be afraid of greatness and who can affirm it in me?

I’ve looked.  I’ve looked.