to a site that breaks binaries
This website is packed to bursting with resources and stories of binaries broken and sacredness claimed – particularly among LGBTQA+ Christians, disabled Christians, and trans and nonbinary persons of various faiths.
So go on, start with the section that most calls to you. Are you intrigued by the figures in scripture and across the centuries who refused to be confined to the gendered boxes assigned to them? Or are you still unsure how to find God's good news for LGBTQA+ Christians or for disabled Christians? Maybe you're eager to hear stories from trans and nonbinary persons alive today who hail from various countries and all sorts of religious backgrounds.
In whichever section you choose, my hope is that it will equip you with the passion and the knowledge you need for the blessed work of binary breaking. Whatever our cultures and backgrounds, religions and dreams, hobbies, cares, careers...let us join together to chip away at the binaries that bind and obstruct.
[Image description: four images, each one connected to one of the four sections of this site. The first is a photo of a statue of the crucified St. Wilgefortis, a white person in a dress with light brown hair and a beard; when you hover over the image it reads "Trans Christianity: A timeline of gender diversity in and before Christianity, in scripture and in church history." Second is a Pride flag turned vertically with a white dove superimposed over it, hovering over an open Bible. The flag is the one designed by Daniel Quasar, with the standard rainbow flag as its base and a triangle jutting into it with the trans flag colors plus a brown stripe and a black stripe. When you hover, text reads "Queerly Christian: Queering the Bible and making churches truly LGBTQA+ affirming." Third image is a painting called "Whirlwheel" by Olivia Wise. It is of a person with deep brown skin and upraised arms wearing a long red dress seated in a wheelchair. The art style makes the dress seem flame-like and lends to the feeling of movement, as if her arms are swaying and wheelchair rolling. When you hover, text reads "Disabled AND Blessed: Explore God's good news for disabled persons as revealed through scripture and story." Final image shows a trans flag flipped vertically with a broadcasting microphone superimposed. When you hover, text reads "Blessed Are the Binary Breakers: An interfaith podcast in which trans persons share their stories."]
What binaries are we breaking here?
Divinity is too vast for any human to view fully – but each of us can catch glimpses as we go. My glimpse of the divine is of a binary breaker: She whirls across the world, upsetting the status quo wherever she blows; Xe bursts, laughing, from any box into which we stuff Hir and elegantly dodges all efforts to pin Hir down; They demolish dualisms and beckon us beyond our assumptions, beyond our jadedness and resignation, into a life so abundant it makes the heart ache.
I could offer an endless stream of examples of binaries that I see the Divine toppling down: rich and poor, dark and light, black and white, woman and man, abled and disabled, gay and straight......These binaries divvy up the world into neat, rigid boxes, for the purpose of elevating one group above the other. To do so, those who create, maintain, or simply accept these binaries must needs deny the existence of anyone or thing that doesn't quite fit. Those who seek to break out from their assigned box must needs be brutally punished.
The binaries that human beings constructed must be taken for granted – both by those who are empowered by them and those who are disempowered by them. They must be assumed to be natural, "just the Way Things Are." For if we all buy into that lie, the powerful get to keep their power.
But a disruptive wind is blowing, upturning the status quo. It whispers subversive thoughts into our hearts, nourishes us with dreams of change. Those who allow themselves to be fed, to question the Way Things Are and challenge the Powers that Be, become binary breakers.
My glimpse of the divine ignites my own passion for several particular topics, which are what this website aims to explore: queerness and trans faith; disability justice and theology; interdependence and interfaith relationships. In all of these areas I find an urgent need to break down binaries, to burst into city halls and religious communities, bars and schools, streets and homes, and cry out, "The world is so much grander and more fearsome and beautiful than you have been led to believe! The things you dismiss as weakness may yet prove to be greatest strength; the darkness is as numinous as the light; the human beings you drive away or drive into the mud are shimmering round the edges with too much splendor to contain!"
A note on the Christian focus and Interfaith openness
The first three tabs – trans Christianity, Disabled AND Blessed, and Queerly Christian – focus mainly upon Christian things and draw primarily from Christian theologies and scholars. This is because I myself am Christian; it makes sense that I spend most of my time and energy in my own faith home! However, I like to keep the windows open, the door unlocked so fresh air from diverse sources can waft in and stir things up. After all, any faith that fears new ideas and respectful conversation will grow stuffy and stale indeed.
It is my hope that even when I do focus on Christianity, my words do not demean or harm those who make their home in other faiths than mine – including those who do not claim any religion or faith. If anything on this site fails in this respect, please let me know so I can make things right.
I honor the rich insight to be found among all religious traditions; I recognize that I don't have all the answers on my own, and that holding interfaith dialogue brings us all to ever wider visions of the divine and what it means to be faithful. That is why in this site's three Christian-focused sections you will still find references to various religions – often in the context of acknowledging how Christians past and present have pitted ourselves against and above non-Christians. Hence also the interfaith conversations held in my podcast Blessed Are the Binary Breakers. I cannot express how humbled I am by the wisdom and holiness I have been graced with by my participants in all their diverse faith backgrounds.
Let us recognize the spark of the sacred burning bright in one another. Let us open our doors, extending and receiving hospitality with grace and eagerness to learn. In this way, some of the longest upheld binaries around who is Us and who is Them, who is Right and who is Wrong, will crumble away; and all of us will be the richer for it.