I actually wrote chapter 25 of OtherWise Christian: A Guidebook for Transgender Liberation as a riff off of Walking Towards Resurrection: A Transgender Passion Narrative (2015). Fr Shay’s e-book is probably the first, unapologetic works of transgender theology that I became aware of. That was ground-breaking and important for all of us to experience.
In other words, while there is plenty to be learned about transgender experience from the way he shares his story, he doesn’t bother with doing anything like the standard ‘Transgender 101.’ That was an inspiration for me as I wrote.
I list it as an (auto)biography, because it’s very personal, but it’s not your standard biographical approach. Kearns has this to say about the project:
When I was in seminary I was struggling to find meaning in my faith. Then an assignment on the Doubting Thomas narrative in my exegesis class changed everything. I suddenly saw myself in the Gospel story for the first time and it made me excited about how my queer and transgender experience might deepen Bible reading for me instead of be a detriment.
Over the course of several months I wrote the Transgender Passion Narrative and it saved my faith. It was the first time in a long time that I felt emotionally engaged with God and with theology. I’m excited to announce the release of the Transgender Narrative in ebook form.
It was delightful talking with Kearns about the project in our (Transfaith’s) Resource Round Up and Queer Theology provided a discount code for participants in that conversation (still available as a recording). Fr Shay basically does a short chapter for each of the scenes of Holy Week, weaving his thoughts on Jesus with his own story.
Once of my favorite quotes, from his reflections on Crucifixion and “take up your cross” sections:
Let me say in no uncertain terms; suffering is not to be glorified, especially when someone is being made to suffer at the hands of someone else.
Walking Toward Resurrection, Page 24
Fr Shay writes in an accessible way that opens up both scripture and his own trans-masculine experience. It’s an especially great devotional resource during Lent and/or Holy Week. Available in ebook and/or audiobook formats (with a free “Claiming Your Spiritual Story” reflection guide) from Queer Theology.
Father Shannon T.L. Kearns is a writer, speaker, and theologian. He is the co-founder of Queer Theology. He is also the founder of Uprising Theatre Company. He graduated from Union Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity and is an ordained priest in the Old Catholic Church.
Compiled by Mx. Chris Paige on August 17, 2019.
Note: This blog is intended to be an on-going work in progress. Please contact us if you have corrections or are able to contribute further context or reflections.