In this episode of the RavenCast, I talk with the Rev. Amber Churchill, ordained pastor in the Disciples of Christ. I met Amber during a chaplaincy training program called Clinical Pastoral Education. Amber identifies as gender queer and has done more than anyone to teach me about the importance of understanding gender.
If you are already familiar with mimetic theory, you will find deep resonances in the conversation with the theory – especially when it comes to the human tendency to seek validation and approval from others and how to avoid rivalry with those with whom we disagree. I hope you enjoy this thought provoking conversation!
What is gender queer?
Gender queer recognizes the masculine and feminine within each of us.
God created them male and female – humans have male and female qualities. We all have male and female qualities at different levels.
Culture gives very clear definitions of what it means to be a man and a woman, but we know people exist beyond the binaries of male or female gender.
Identity often defined by who we are against. We need to move beyond defining ourselves by what we are against and define ourselves by what and who we are for.
Gender expressive – Some women identify as masculine expressive. Some men identify as feminine expressive.
How to have safe conversations
We need safe places for these kinds of discussions. Safe places even for those who disagree.
Many in the LGBTQ community constantly ask – “How do I do what I need to do and get out safely?”
How to have conversations with those whom we disagree? Acknowledge fears and concerns on both sides. See common humanity. Don’t diminish concerns of the other, because it silences their concerns.
Don’t need another’s validation to be who I am. Move beyond needing validation from other to discover what people are really concerned with and asking. Which means that we don’t have to convince others that we are right.
Jesus and Theology
God embodies all gender. God is non gender conforming because humans made male and female, which is God’s image.
Jesus was gender non-conforming during his time. He challenged many of the patriarchal assumptions of the ancient world. He accepted women, he was rebuked by a Syrophoenician woman.
Allies can help by not speaker for the LGBTQ community, but speaking with them.
If you see someone being threatened, stand with them and make a gentle comment of support. Try not to escalate the situation by attacking the person making the threat, but do attempt to support in a way that goes beyond just being a bystander.