Because I spend a lot of time hanging out with Methodists nowadays, I'm made particularly aware of what's going on in that denomination. The newest issue is Drew Phoenix, formerly Ann Gordon, pastor of a Baltimore church. Tiffany pointed out that across the board, Methodist churches in urban centers are failing, while this pastor has significantly increased both attendance and giving in this Baltimore church. However, the fact that the pastor transitioned (complete with surgery) ftm is what's getting attention.
Recently Tiffany linked to a sermon on "Marriage, Divorce and Homosexuality." This pastor has since posted about Drew Phoenix as well (as has Tiffany).
Tiffany's also been crossposting at 7Villages (which I am given to understand is specifically United Methodist), where a lot of more theologically conservative folk have been leaving blog comments.
There's a lot of hostility on both sides, and it makes me uncomfortable.
When I first became aware of transgender issues in college, my immediate reaction was to feel a disconnect between the God of love I believed and the idea that the body one was born with was truly wrong for one. Though this of course begged the question as to where one draws the line on body modification; plus bodies are in fact often born "wrong" -- e.g., babies with holes in their hearts, cleft palates (which are sometimes "merely" cosmetic but can also be so severe as to interfere with eating).
Stuff like Toby's GenderQueer Monologues helped me grok trans issues a lot better [I also find myself returning to Amy Bloom's Kafka analogy in her book Normal], and I'm a libertarian at heart so on a secular level I definitely endorse people being able to do whatever they want to their own bodies.
However, it's still a very different issue than sexual orientation (though some of the activism legitimately overlaps) so it's troubling to see it all lumped under one umbrella (i.e. "GLBT"). I find this even more troubling in a Christian context where I think one has to do a lot more work (at the very least, different work) to reconcile it.
And while I'm sure a lot of the people who are opposed to Christian churches affirming GLBT folk have a lot of problematic baggage, I do believe that for the most part their opposition is rooted in a sincere belief that theirs is the correct understanding of God's intention for the world -- which is where the liberals are coming from, too, so it makes me sad (and frustrated) that a lot of the reaction from "my side" is along the lines of "You are mean and exclusionary." Okay, I know I'm being unfair to the current discussion, and my take on this is so tainted by my history with left-right disagreements. But I'm really sympathetic to the conservatives on this issue, am even sympathetic to the sometimes hostile presentation of those views (though I don't think it's a presentation conducive to dialogue or even of encouraging the other side to even listen to you). And I'm definitely starting to sound insulting myself (I started to write a sentence about the "self-righteousness" of the left and realized there was no way that was going to end well.), so I'm shutting up and going to bed.
[Sidenote: xanphibian posted a reminder that if you post a link to something, that can be tracked back to you. I do understand not wanting trolls on one's journal, and I admit to being weirded out when someone I wasn't expecting to read an entry leaves a comment, but it makes me sad that the world is such that we are so concerned about this, that the default isn't that people engage you in discussion.]
Other interesting thoughts (from my sexual ethics readings):
A new anthropophagism does not desire God outside of our bodies. The desire of God is not a spiritual longing, if what we call spiritual has no body. This desire has to do with concrete bodies with emptied stomachs, with illnesses that are not controlled or cannot be healed, with bodies discarded by government programmes, with bodies abused and battered, enslaved bodies, disfigured bodies, bodies not fully observed, bodies that burn in desire. Moreover, the desire of God has to do with lack, with the emptiness of our skin, with our search for other bodies, transgressing the norms of what is allowed or permitted as we construe fragmentary notions of love. Our desire for God has to do with the rubbing of our skin, with the kisses we give, the caresses we receive, with the orgasms we have.In his book Body Theology, James B. Nelson posits the statement: "We do not just have bodies, we are bodies" (p. 43).
-from "Oh, Que Sera, Que Sera . . . A Limping A/Theological Thought in Brazil" by Claudio Carvalhaes in Liberation Theology and Sexuality, ed. Marcella Althaus-Reid (p. 60)
Oy, a quick skim of the flist tells me that the recent murmured worries which were written off as a hoax have resurfaced with a different twist and apparent legitimacy. I will examine further after some sleep.
Edit: Thank you, cofax7. "You are not entitled to absolute freedom of speech on the internet."