Bloody Gifts

Some have called this “performative spirituality,”
which I think is a good designation,
as long as we understand clearly: there is no other kind.

Jenny Brien offered up gifts when responding to yesterdays post, including an announcement of her presence, of her being touched by my work, a moving poem she created that was inspired both by a post of mine and a blog post referenced above.

The sweetness of Jennifer’s words, all the way from Fermanagh, touch her deep knowing, and the touchstones she has found touch me.

Calling, you see, well, it is a bit of a bitch.   Especially if that calling is seen as queer.

The gifts of your heavenly Father aren’t solely for your own personal use. They were given to you for others and for him as well. If you have received more, more will be expected of you. If you have anything to fear, it’s not the acknowledgement of your gifts, but your failure to use them.
• Michel Quoist, Keeping Hope

As Martin Mull reminded us, “Jesus is Easy.  When we wrap our calling in Christic imagery it assumes the guise of normativity.  If I explained the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints most wouldn’t identify it as canonically Christian, but the Mormons are clear: Jesus is at the centre of their beliefs, so that makes them Christian.

Resisting calling (2003) has always been a theme in my life.   After all, feeling the call to move beyond the gender expectations placed on me was just one facet of how I understood the need to transcend, to move beyond, to go deeper and serve those I love in ways that they didn’t understand so they could not value.

How many people do you have to make uncomfortable before you are voted off the island?   In my experience, most people find it easier to stand with the crowd than to stand alone, stand up for challenging voices and visionary diversity.  I was taught to judge my worth not on how many people that I inspired but rather on how few people I pissed off, not on how I brought cutting edge ideas but on how I served expectations.

I always brought more than meets the eye to my interactions with other people.  I learned to sneak in the theology like other moms learned to sneak in the vegetables.  How can I help it?  I have, well, a calling, something that just doesn’t want to stay hidden, no matter how much I try to keep it down.

Some have called this “performative spirituality,”
which I think is a good designation,
as long as we understand clearly: there is no other kind.

My relationship with my mother in the sky has always saved me.   I know that she loves me even when it feels like everyone else is just looking askance, ignoring me, or consumed by their own issues.  She doesn’t care how big I am, in body, in mind, in voice or in spirit; in fact she loves it the way she loves me, seeing the powerful feminine voice that cuts across gender expectations, revealing the beauty of continuous common humanity.

My relationship with humans, on the other hand, has always been strained.   Part of the cost of being liminal.   Would I have traded away the joys of liminality to be less challenging?   Could I?  Like I told the therapist who offered me a lobotomy to knock my edges off, or the one who pushed me at 12 to say who I wanted to be when I grew up trying to read my dysphoria, the gift of a lifetime is being who you are.


You can’t fight for someone unless you are also willing to fight with them.   Not battle; battling is just ego trying to force change.  Fight fair, fight fun, fight with love to support them as they grow and change, no matter how long it takes them, no matter where following their own heart takes them.


Some have called this “performative spirituality,”
which I think is a good designation,
as long as we understand clearly: there is no other kind.

Thank you, Jenny, for reminding me that what we give matters, even if we can’t immediately see its impact.  Calling counts, but only if you follow it, letting it lead you beyond comfort and expectations.

The gifts we were given need to be discovered, polished and passed on, even to those who never imagined needing the gifts of spirit.   Machine made red shoes don’t ever take us on the journey of the heart.  Blood is required.

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.   Amen.  Life isn’t about what we say, it is about what we do, the work that leaves ripples.

I may never be simple, conventional or expected, but if transpeople don’t hold open the space for change in the world, who will?   How can the possibility of change beyond the bounds of normativity ever be affirmed if we don’t offer a hand?

If it is to be, it must start with me.  Someone else out there must understand.

After all, Jenny does.

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