Meeting Christ, choosing fellowship

A post from Massachusetts alternate deputy Edwin Johnson:

I have been having an amazing time so far up here at convention. Amazing conversations, exciting debates, deep and thoughtful discernment, cultural exchange, prayer… the list goes on. I could write for hours about what has happened so far and who knows, at some point I may.

Even with all of that, one set of experiences has risen to the top of my “the Spirit is totally in this” list: my interactions with TransEpiscopal. I reached out to Henry (of TransEpiscopal and The Crossing) about getting together and chatting about resolutions D002 and D019 and the work of TransEpiscopal at some point early on in our time in Indianapolis. We spoke on Tuesday afternoon and through his words I heard God speaking to me. I have had transgendered friends since I was 13 years old and came to convention squarely in favor of the resolutions being put forth that addressed discrimination along the basis of gender identity/expression. I saw God present as a source of strength during the difficult transitions, I saw God as providing a warm embrace as transitioning persons met the cold reality of our sin. What Henry and the others involved with TransEpiscopal have shown me is that Christ’s face and glory is revealed in and through them pre, during and post-transition. That in fellowship with all who are transgendered we all come to know Christ more fully and are strengthened for our journeys as well. Perhaps this is obvious to you already but it wasn’t to me and I’m grateful to my siblings in Christ for showing me that.

I also learned a lesson about what it means to choose fellowship across difference. During yesterday’s (Thursday) opening session I received a voicemail from Cameron Partridge, asking me to speak affirmatively to the resolution at a hearing. I was honored to be asked and I spoke along with Cameron, Bishop Tom Shaw, Sam Gould, Byron Rushing and many other members of our Diomass family. What impressed me the most was how my transgendered colleagues were able to listen with grace, love and attentiveness to those who would call their membership and basic goodness into question. Having encountered discrimination as a man of color I have fumed in these situations, demonizing those who have spoken against me and yet I sensed nothing but love and gratitude from them as a few took the risk to speak against the motion and express some hard-to-hear views. It was truly an experience of Christ incarnate and I pray for the strength to choose fellowship and to listen as they do throughout this convention. I pray that we all may do so across the many lines that divide us. If you are praying for us at General Convention, please pray that all may have the grace and strength to choose fellowship and to listen with grace across difference. While you’re at it, lift up a prayer of thanksgiving for our transgendered siblings, for they are showing us the way.

One response to “Meeting Christ, choosing fellowship

  1. Thank you for your intentional feelings on trans-Episcopalians. It’s a long time coming!

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