Q & A #5

What has been the most frequently asked question I have received since moving to Indy? “Do you still have your old email address? I sent you a Facebook message because I didn’t know.”

Yes, I do. I hope I never change it. If you have it, please use it over Facebook messages, unless we are having a live chat. If you don’t have my email address and want it then, um, rats, ask me for it via a Facebook message.

+       +       +

Q: How are you REALLY doing with all of this?

A: The Real Life Test is going so well. After the false start last winter, I could not have dreamed how well it is going now. Unless something happens which I cannot see right now, I suspect I will be fully transitioning. No more going backward. Every time I attempted to retry being a guy, I crashed worse than the time before.

Some external things remain tough. I have trans friends whose children rejected them and they no longer have relationships with their family members, and in many cases for those who transition many relationships remain fractured even as some of them are healed. So, the long run scares me. I miss my old relationships, how wonderful they were and how easy they were. Now, many are either strained or broken off. Because I gave up my job, our community, and everything that goes with those, loneliness has been my worst enemy. It is improving, I am getting more connected here in Indy, but it has a ways to go.

Since I have to live in my own brain, I won’t go back to trying to be a male to please others, which is what I tried to do for two-and-a-half years after this crushed me. I will continue to try to please others, but it will be as Gina—who, in personality, values, and faith, really is the same person they always knew and loved.

+       +       +

Q: I am having a hard time switching names and pronouns, but I don’t want to offend you. What is acceptable to you?

A: Folks have a harder time switching pronouns than the name. The only people with whom I will have trouble will be those who are antagonistic toward me, as in, “I don’t care how he dresses, his name is Greg and he’s a man.” Most likely, they will no longer be in my life. For everyone who honestly struggles, I will never get upset.

It is a happy accident that both of my names begin with “G.” This has become a handy nickname. If it is easier for you to call me “G,” please do so.

For those pesky pronouns, all I can do is be patient. If you care enough about me to still be in my life, I will be patient with you. I promise.

+       +       +

Q: Now that you have gone public as a female, what is your standing as a minister?

A: I was going to resign from the clergy of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) last January, having requested the paperwork. I was encouraged not to, that there was no rush. After I resumed my fight to be a male, I thought, who knows, maybe there remains hope for me in the LCMS.

Since the LCMS has a male-only clergy, and I have gone public as female and acknowledge that this likely is permanent, I cannot in good conscience remain a minister in the LCMS, even an inactive one. I had a couple of things I needed to do, and people to talk to and have now finished those. I mailed in my resignation, which took effect immediately.

This certainly is bittersweet. Two years ago, I would not have bet even a nickle on it. Now, it feels right.

+       +       +

Q: So, then, where do you go to church?

A: We have a new church home, First Trinity Lutheran Church, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). We became members, yesterday.

We had visited eight LCMS churches in Indy and settled on one last fall, until I completely fell apart. Because of where the LCMS is with transgender, it was not possible for Gina and Julie to worship there or, we came to believe, any of the LCMS churches in Indy. Even more, with the LCMS position on those who transition, and my failed efforts to get the door opened even a crack, I believe it would be hypocritical to remain a member of a LCMS congregation, even if one in Indy would have us.

When, in June, I began jogging in my new neighborhood, I ran past First Trinity, only a half-mile from Merrymoss. We checked them out online. For being a tiny congregation—average Sunday worship is fewer than thirty—they have a nice website, kept up to date. We went to worship the second Sunday in July. They welcomed us with open arms. After worship, they have fellowship hour, with volunteers hosting a nicer lunch than I ever bother to make on a Sunday. We went, were included in the conversation as if we were regulars, and we fell in love with everyone.

First Trinity has a lovely pastor, a retired man who calls this chapter in life his “reFIREment.” He preaches very good Law and Gospel sermons. The liturgy is traditional, but, get this: the congregation, in a multi-cultural neighborhood, is a nice split of African Americans and Caucasians, plus two Japanese ladies and a Filipino family, and the songs—both of the liturgy and the hymns—largely reflect an African American heritage. Some familiar songs are made new to us by their melodies. This is wonderfully refreshing.

The affection of the people is off-the-charts amazing. No one is not greeted—read that: hugged—during the peace greeting. For the Lord’s Prayer, we move into the center aisle, form a long circle, and hold hands to pray.

For you who know the ELCA and LCMS are not in agreement on some serious issues, I take none of them lightly. Our pastor already knows some of my concerns, and he, and most in the congregation, know my history. Julie and I are doing the best we can, and we consider First Trinity to be a marvelous blessing. Thankfully we do not worship church bodies; we worship the Lord.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Q & A #5

  1. To address two things:

    I hope you don’t feel as I am being antagonistic when I refer to you as Greg or he. It is not to be mean spirited or hurtful, merely that I personally cannot in good conscience use female forms that you are trying to adjust to. It is not a means of disrespect but my own convictions.

    Second, I’m glad you (at least according to you) have a good ELCA preacher. Honestly, your jump to ELCA is probably the most frightening thing I’ve heard in your whole transition process. Knowing your preaching background, I think it’s relatively safe to assume you’ve found a good ELCA church. In many ways, I think the ELCA handles the liturgy better than the LCMS, which is why I’m so flabbergasted by it’s absolutely atrocious preaching. That’s not to say that there aren’t good pastors in the ELCA. There are. Just as there are some terrible pastors in the LCMS. Amusingly though, the one time I listened to a good ELCA pastor, it turned out he was a former LCMS pastor. Go figure. It is my prayer and hope that you remain strong in your faith and don’t succumb to the ELCA’s way of thinking.

    God bless you, Greg.

    Like

  2. Could we bargain about the name? I know you are not being belligerent, yet the old name doesn’t work, so could you compromise by simply calling me G?

    ELCA and LCMS doctrine aside, on the congregational level one finds a wind range in both. We have worshiped in eight LCMS churches in Indy, but were only pleased with four of them. I have heard so many horrible sermons from LCMS pastors, including at district and national conventions and conferences, and experienced some horrible liturgy and music. In some cases, one wonders if it is even a Lutheran church.

    There are LCMS churches and pastors on the wonderful end and then all the way down to the awful end. Same goes with the ELCA. Truly, we are pleased to find a congregation where we are being fed well each Sunday and, being in this tough situation we are in, we could not have asked for more. The Lord continues to watch out for and over us.

    The Lord be with you, Brad!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sup, G! (You asked for it :P)

      My biggest concern with you in the ELCA is the actual doctrine that they ascribe to. Good and bad pastors aside, what’s your stance in regards to communion? Your particular congregation may be great, but by participating in communion, you are effectively saying that you agree with the doctrines of the ELCA.

      I have a friend whom I very much believed that he is saved. I believe he is doing great work for body of Christ. I consider him a Christian brother. But I could never commune with him. If I were, I would basically be saying that I agree with the doctrines of his church (Calvary Chapel). I don’t. In fact, I disagree with a great much from his church. I actually bring up that very point in this blog post.
      http://rofaith.com/2014/04/21/undecision-for-christ/

      I guess my questions are do you commune with those at your ELCA church or do you simply go for the wonderful liturgy and gospel? And if you do commune, why?

      Thanks a bunch, G.

      Like

      1. Yo, B!

        Yes, we have begun communing. This all is terribly challenging to me. We could discuss all sorts of doctrines and practical aspects which are dicey. I take this all so terribly seriously. Since Julie and I cannot have a home in the LCMS right now, we had to weigh options. We have made what we hope is the better decision. In all matters: Lord, have mercy.

        Peace,
        G

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s