White supremacists invaded UT Knoxville. Believe it or not, it was a good weekend.
Before we get to the subject of attached photo, let’s lead with some good news.
Someone got a call from her mother this weekend. That’s important! Because that someone is a transgender woman named Jennifer and she has been going through the growing pains of beginning to live her truth while her old life and relationships have been coming to a close.
Her old church disowned her and she is in the middle of formally ending her previous relationship of many years after coming out. She seems to be adapting well as Jennifer and has made new supportive friends, but the therapy she is undergoing to help fully transition is doing the same sort of heavy-duty, soul-searching, emotion-inducing crap most of us go through upon coming out without having to deal with the residual effects of hormone treatments and therapist fees.
She is a hero of mine, along with another transgender woman named Monica (and the Reverend Alaina Cobb in the pic below.) Why? Because they all have experienced the...um, “challenging” side of Christian theology. Not only have they dealt with its consequences, but also found their faiths strengthened by the journeys involved.
It’s way too easy to talk about the dark side of Christian theology upon our community. The recently issued Nashville Statement is only the most recent organized effort by a Christian organization to find a way to distance themselves from people like us and stand in the way of our progress. Often times we do forget that many of our kin came from this group of Christian faithful. They still believe in what that Nazarene fellow taught and stands for...even while going through the daily hell that often awaits LGBTQ+ Christians who have the courage to openly live their truth.
I don’t understand them, but I do love them. They are heroes of mine. A transgender woman from this culture got a call from her mother this weekend and it was a victory for all of us. Love won. It encourages me to believe that there will be more victories on the horizon. I hope it will encourage all of you too. We are winning no matter whom is sitting in the White House watching waaaay too much television.
Now about this pic...
“Der Hauptverlierer” and his small band of fellow losers managed to secure a lecture hall on the UT Knoxville campus Saturday with predictable results outside. Here’s a link to the local newspaper article if you are interested in what happened inside the hall. Frankly, I could care less about what he thinks. He’s a moron.
What he represents however is far more dangerous. This is not a history column, so I will let you do the leg work on the following...it it not a stretch to say that a good chunk of what these losers talk about comes from that same faith tradition that led the transgender pastor pictured below to protest against evil, get cuffed for blocking a road, drop to her knees in prayer for her fellow protesters and authority figures surrounding her...then get rudely hauled up by the officer over her for doing so.
Sisters and brothers of the tribe: meet the light side of the force. Pastor Alaina’s friends Beth, Rivkah, Laura and a few more from an LGBTQ+ affirming ministry in Chattanooga were treated mostly the same by the riot gear uniformed types...professionally and firmly. They were there to show anyone who cared to notice that people of faith, especially ordained representatives of that Nazarene fellow, won’t allow the followers of everything progressive people fought against spew their hate without a show of resistance...
Even if it’s just them (and it wasn’t)
Even if they’re thought of as crazy for doing so (and they weren’t)
Even if their action gets them arrested and jailed.
Why? Alaina would say that someone has to. Rivkah would argue that to tolerate white supremacists is to tolerate death. UT Knoxville “let death in...protected him and gave him shelter” according to her recent Facebook post. I wasn’t there, but I did watch the proceedings on livestream including their arrest. The police granting protection to the death cult on the hill did not look too happy to be there. I will argue very few of them wanted to be guarding those losers inside. They were as cold, wet and miserable as the hundreds of protesters who came to oppose evil in league with my friends. And for the most part they were professional...
(But did you really have to yank Alaina up like that fella? I mean, come on!)
What does love look like? Saturday at UTK. Hundreds of people, mostly young but with more than a few of us oldsters mixed in, showed up in the cold and rain to give evil the middle finger. Even if evil was safely ensconced inside a warm dry rented hall and likely to not even know what those people outside were shouting at him. People of faith...Christians, Jews and more. I often don’t understand them, but I want to support them.
It leads to more calls from long lost moms.
That’s a good thing.