Don't let your schooling interfere with your education.
~ Pete Seeger

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Conundrum

I love this quote from Jan Morris's autobiography, Conundrum:

"I never did think that my own conundrum was a matter either of science or social convention. I thought it was a matter of the spirit, a kind of divine allegory, and that explanations of it were not very important anyway. What was important was the liberty of us all to live as we wished to live, to love however we wanted to love, and to know ourselves, however peculiar, disconcerting, or unclassifiable, at one with the gods and angels."

I think she really gets to the heart of our whole situation with this statement. Does it really matter whether being gay or transgendered is genetic or hormonal, or if it's just "sin?" What matters is that we live free, that we can define our own lives according to what seems most ethical and natural to us, whoever we may be. We don't live in science, we live in the mystery of our own minds, and though we live in community with connections to the people we love or live with, ultimately the only person you have to live with is yourself.

We are all alone with god.


David Carrel said...

Living in the realm of our own freedom is alright so long as God does not have a plan and purpose for our life that includes guidelines on how to live and we choose our own guidelines.
In Judges the Bible says that the people did that which was right in his own eyes... and then God would send a judge to deliver them.
So I know that everyone will blast me for all that, and feel free to, but I think Seda, that you want me to say what I believe, right?
Thanks for that topic, it is a great one.

anne said...


Above the sharks and the snakes and the things that go bump in the night;

Clothed in leaves, up in the sun and wind and rain, held in the arms of Tree;

A ship going forth on the prow of the Earth with only the stars above;

I am finally safe, high above the ground, I'll never fall.

Maybe your role in this life is to build the treehouses.


Seda said...

Well, that's the point, isn't it? I won't blast you - I think we agree. We're all alone with god, or God, or Allah, or whatever; I can't interpret sacred texts for you, you can't do it for me. So, the laws should all impact everyone equally, so that society is protected and everyone can live according to the dictates of her own conscience, so long as no one else is harmed.

I've built one! (with the boys' help). Have you seen it yet?

David Carrel said...

True that

anne said...

Hey girl,

That's why the poem. I want a treehouse!!!!

I'm afraid I couldn't stand there under the treehouse with Sam whacking everything with a big hammer, though. I kept seeing that hammer falling...

David, what do you do with disasters, I mean, you, yourself? My aunt, who is a devout Christian, has spent her life blasting me to hell. Now she is homeless, blasted by the hurricane. She would not leave her church, even though for 30 years she made everyone around her miserable and ruined the lives of her husband and children. Now they are all homeless.

I cannot see that it is belief, but the way you act, what compassion you have for your fellow man (and family.) There are so many, many acts of God that you will have to explain being a missionary or a pastor. What is your personal take.

Kristin and I and other blue collar women who have grown up beaten to the ground over and over by "acts of God" just laugh and get up and go on. We can laugh about the hurricanes of life. Seda is learning that as well as she has to put up with people demanding to "see under her skirt."

Has God smitten your life yet? And what would you say? Those of us who go out on the limb of life and do what maybe the Bible does not approve of, expect to take a few rolls for it. What do you expect?

My aunt did not expect God to make her a homeless widow.

Are you so sure just because you are young and still full of the fire of the Work?

I don't mean to offend, just curious.


David Carrel said...

Yeah, it is interesting how Christians take the verse that says it rains on the just and the unjust. I used to believe probably close to what your aunt believes and I know that is wrong. The Bible says to love everyone, even your enemies and so we obviously need to love everyone. (I am not calling anyone an enemy). And so it would be wrong of me to say, ha, they deserve that disaster. So I have been wrong so many times in my life in that area.
Trials should be something that brings us closer to God. I would not say that I have been through major trials although just this morning I really felt that I was going through something and need to constantly trust God. My wife and I received our Visas for Brazil and are about to leave, but there have been complications. Anyway, we don't know what is going to happen.
As missionaries, I expect constant trials and tribulations and I hope that I can laugh and move on, as I grow closer in my trust of my Sovereign, holy God.
Thanks for the question Anne, I hope that I answered it right and if I didn't, let me know. I am sorry that your aunt treated you badly while still claiming the name of Christ. While Christians are called to be perfect and holy, we never are. I wish that we could be as God created such a loving caring idea in a church that we have slaughtered.
Thanks Anne.

anne said...

Hi David, (and Seda)

Yes, you answered well. If all missionaries were like you and your wife, it would be a different world. Seda, thanks for finding him!

It never bothered me that my aunt blasted me. I have another one on my father's side who is a devout Southern Baptist and has always accepted me and my family. She is more genuine, full of life and love. Her son ran a school, and they spend much of their time doing work for the community. The kind of Christian is just so dependent on the kind of person, I've found.

I've run into a couple of groups of "witch hunters" but I notice that it only happens in groups led by some evangelist trying to make a point. I never took it personally because they never even asked if I were Christian, just assumed that I was evil without my saying anything. It's a strange world.

I do hope your visas come through without a hitch. It sounds like you love the land where you are going and there are certainly problems there. I hope you continue to let us know that you are on the vector of making our world a more tolerant and loving place.

Seda and I will pray for you and keep you in our thoughts.

thanks back,

David Carrel said...

Thanks Anne! We did receive our Visas and leave Thursday night for Brazil! Thanks for your prayers.

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
~Helen Keller

Reading List for Information about Transpeople

  • Becoming a Visible Man, by Jamison Green
  • Conundrum, by Jan Morris
  • Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein
  • My Husband Betty, by Helen Boyd
  • Right Side Out, by Annah Moore
  • She's Not There, by Jennifer Boylan
  • The Riddle of Gender, by Deborah Rudacille
  • Trans Liberation, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transgender Emergence, by Arlene Istar Lev
  • Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transition and Beyond, by Reid Vanderburgh
  • True Selves, by Mildred Brown
  • What Becomes You, by Aaron Link Raz and Hilda Raz
  • Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano
I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our