Sarah, Drew, and Tomila (UMC transgender history)

It turns out that the Rev. Sarah Flynn, who was the first known transgender clergy on my UMC timeline was friends with the Rev. Tomila Louise (of blessed memory, d. 2005) who transitioned “a year or two” earlier than Sarah. I hope to share more of Tomila’s story in the near future, but for now here is Sarah’s letter to the UMC Judicial Council in support of Drew Phoenix, citing Tomila’s story (and her own).

From: Sarah Flynn
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2007, 9:00 AM
Subject: RE: Rev. Drew Phoenx

To the members of the United Methodist Judicial Council

RE: In support of the appointment of Rev. Drew Phoenix

September 13, 2007

I write to you in support of the appointment of the Rev. Drew Phoenix, clergy member of the Baltimore Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

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Podcast: Blessed Are the Binary-Breakers

In these strange times and as I come down off of the intensity of 3 book launches this year (In Remembrance of Me, Bearing Witness to Transgender Tragedy, OtherWise Christian 2: Stories of Resistance, and From Christendom to Freedom), I am finally getting my technology organized for listening to podcasts more regularly.

In addition to my long-time favorite Bible Bash, I have started listening to the Blessed are the Binary-Breakers podcast. The first episode features the podcaster, Avery Smith, themself (interviewed by their partner), but then most of the following episodes are lovely interviews with a variety of transgender folk of various spiritual backgrounds.

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Not Christian? Not Clergy? More on #OtherWiseSacred #ShelterInGrace

There is plenty of OtherWise-gendered-antagonism to go around. As we built the #ShelterInGrace campaign yesterday, we grappled with how specific to make it. We decided to gently emphasize the context of OtherWise-antagonistic Christian narratives, because we wanted to emphasize counter-moves that are specific. This raised two very important questions!

  • What if you are not Christian and/or not Christian clergy?
  • What about speaking into the hearts of folk who are isolated among Jewish antagonism or Muslim antagonism or even general cultural antagonism?

What if you are not Christian and/or not Christian clergy?

If you feel that you can speak helpful liberation and grace into the hearts of folk who are struggling with anti-trans, anti-intersex, binary-enforcing Christian narratives, then we welcome your participation!

One of the ways we break out from oppressive Christian narratives is to experience other ways of being. I know many Christian clergy (OtherWise-gendered or not) who have experienced liberation by visiting, joining, or sojourning amongst those who profess a different spiritual, philosophical, or energetic path. OtherWise Christian 2: Stories of Resistance includes three Jews as well as encounters with Wiccan and Buddhist traditions. The next book from OtherWise Engaged Publishing will actually focus on similar themes–and there is another in the works!

If you are not Christian clergy, you are still encouraged to participate! Each one of us has an important testimony. Full stop. #ClaimingOurStories is also part of what we are encouraging with OtherWise Christian 2 and #SacredOtherWise efforts. Anyone who has grappled with an antagonistic Christian narrative can #ClaimYourStory and speak from your truth.

What about speaking into the hearts of folk who are isolated among Jewish antagonism or Muslim antagonism or even more general cultural antagonism?

We decided that it would be useful to start with messaging that specifically speaks into the ways that Christian antagonism dominates so many (Christian and non-Christian, both). We also recognize that the #ShelterInGrace frame draws on language that is generally considered Christian (though “grace” is also used in a more generic way sometimes).

That said, we are closely connected to the multi-faith, multi-racial, multi-gender efforts of Transfaith, and OtherWise Engaged Publishing is not exclusively Christian. We are currently exploring ways to build on the #ShelterInGrace idea in other ways–perhaps with parallel #SacredOtherWise campaigns. If you are interested in being a part of launching such alternatives, please be in touch!

Watch the #ShelterInGrace playlist.

Make your own contribution (instructions are on this post).

Let us know what you are thinking!

Please share whatever good news you have to share about liberation in whatever ways you can!

Compiled by Mx Chris Paige on April 9, 2020.

OC2: Minister KimiFloyd

To be two-spirit is to bring two halves back together, to heal division in myself, and then help end the oppression of my people. … I am rejecting centuries of language and violence that tried to deny my existence…

Minister KimiFloyd in
OtherWise Christian 2: Stories of Resistance

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OC2: Mr Z Shane Zaldivar

I am a person of Mayan descent. … The constraints that most Christians want me to submit to seem like just another example of the ways that they have colonized me and my people.

Z Shane Zaldivar in
“Light Shining in the Darkness”
OtherWise Christian 2: Stories of Resistance

Continue reading “OC2: Mr Z Shane Zaldivar”