Guest post! Guest post!
Danica is a journalist, a mobile yoga studio owner and a metal rocker (and she and Elizabeth have known each other since they were ten years old!). She is also a transgender woman who distanced herself from the Catholic Church—the faith of her upbringing—in order to live out her identity in a healthy and positive way. At WIT’s request, she graciously agreed to write the following reflection as a window into her life story, especially her relationship with sexuality and with celibacy at different points in her transition.
This reflection also serves as a companion piece to a recent Washington Post article which describes the choices of many LGBT Christians to live a celibate lifestyle as a way of reconciling their sexualities with their Christian identity.
WIT is thrilled to have Danica tell her story.
When I was previously immersed in research for years about Augustine and his legacy for theological anthropology, I came across an article by John Cavadini entitled, “Feeling Right: Augustine on the Passions and Sexual Desire,” [Augustinian Studies 36.1 (2005): 195-217]. I want to revisit some of the issues raised by this article in order to explore questions about Christian feminist options for decrying violent sexualities and encouraging healthy sexualities. Continue reading
I, like many at WIT, have had a fantastically terrible year. Lots of stress and sadness and shame to go around for various reasons. I think most of this has to do with the pain of human living. Not to say that it’s “redemptive,” just that it’s inevitable for most, if not all, of us.
There’s no point in getting into the details, but, for myself, it’s the kind of year I will look back on and probably just curse a lot about and then be thankful that other years are not this way (fingers crossed). It’s the kind of year where you are going about your business and then all of a sudden you find yourself declaring, “Hey, this year sucks. Like, a lot. Things feel weird and out of control, and also maybe I need to change some of my ways of being in the world, because said ways of being in the world seem to be making me very, very unhappy.”
Might you be having that kind of year? Continue reading
“So the people who were sitting in the audience, we were transported to a different time…the time before, when we lived in a normal civil life, civilized well, and hoping and being convinced that the war will soon finish and we will go back home and it will go on. But of course, what we knew later, the Germans knew full well, that we are sentenced to death, and thought…let them play…let them laugh. The laughter will soon vanish from their face…and we were dancing under the gallows.” – Zdenka Fantlova
Though I tend to be a pretty emotional human (I’m a high F on the Myers Briggs!), my intellectual disposition and many years of education tend to make it rare for a piece of art or literature to truly capture me, to break through my defenses –I’ve been trained to be too critical, perhaps even too elitist… I can appreciate a great deal of art and literature and music, but the things that split me open, that stir my soul, are far and few between: Picasso’s paintings, Andrea Gibson’s poetry, J.A. Nicholls’ collage art, Sigur Ros’ and Florence + the Machine’s music…
In 1996, famed Civil Rights leader John Lewis was one of very few Congressional representatives to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). It passed the House by a vote of 432 to 67. The U.S. Senate affirmed it by a count of 85 to 14. Bill “I feel your pain” Clinton signed it into law.
But John Lewis, a middle-aged straight man from the Deep South, voted against it. And drawing upon his experience growing up a black man during the reign of terror known as Jim Crow, he stood up and made a speech against it.
Mary Daly famously said that men would have to find their own way through and then out of patriarchy; she herself could not be bothered to tell them what to do. Her focus was on helping women connect with the root of their own fundamental Being in order to conjure up the existential courage to become who they were supposed to be, above and beyonds the delimiting confines of patriarchal conceptions of womanhood. In all likelihood, she had to say this because she was probably asked on a regular basis what her feminist critique would mean for men.
I’ve been doing a frenzied amount of work on Augustine lately (surprise!). Specifically, I’ve been examining what he has to contribute to the issue of cultivating proper self-love. Despite his caricature, one in which he joyfully condemns people to hell for the sin of pride (with “pride” being defined quite expansively to include any positive self-evaluation), he actually brings a certain sophistication to this topic. He parses self-love not only as a pernicious kind of selfishness, but also as a basic tendency to work for one’s own self-preservation, and, most importantly for my purposes, a positive activity that rises in tandem with the cultivation of true love for God and neighbor. (I have written on this before.) At the same time, as he works these distinctions out he sometimes lets fly certain ideas that are deeply problematic. (For example, though he discourages suicide, he tends to frame it as an act of prideful disobedience against God, rather than as an act of desperate self-hatred and/or despair.) So overall, I find him to be more frustrating in places than I feared and more fruitful in other places than I hoped. Continue reading