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Blessed Are the Binary Breakers
28 minutes | Jun 15, 2021
God Gets Vulnerable: A trans & autistic look at Elijah and the "still small voice"
Avery was delighted to be on their friend Laura's Autistic Liberation Theology podcast; this episode features a clip from a longer conversation on "Toxic Mask-ulinity" that you can listen to at anchor.fm/laura-sommer. In this clip, Laura introduces the concept of autistic masking — concealing parts or all of yourself in order to survive in an allistic (non-autistic) world — and relates it to similar trans experiences; then Laura and Avery connect these concepts to the 1 Kings 19 story of God coming to Elijah not in fire or earthquake, but in a "still small voice." What message do we find in God meeting Elijah's feelings of frailty with vulnerability of Their own? How does God make use of "masks" to accommodate us humans? For an episode transcript, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com. __________ Talking Points: (0:00 - 4:30) Intro — an update from Adam Richards, the guest from episodes 3 & 5 back in 2019, on their journey in Methodist ministry! (4:31 - 9:29) Laura explains autistic masking — a survival tactic with a major cost — and links it to trans experience (9:30 - 13:39) Joy Ladin's concept of God as the ultimate Other, just as trans persons are often treated in our world (13:40 - 16:21) Reading 1 Kings 19: Elijah is ready to die; God comes to him as a "still small voice" (16:22 - 18:26) The Hebrew behind the "still small voice" — more literally "a voice, a thin whisper" (18:27 - 25:53) Frailness or vulnerability is one face of God, which They use to accommodate our own frailty (25:54 - end) Wrapping up — don't forget to check out Laura's podcast, Autistic Liberation Theology! __________ Blessed Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast Network. Find more shows, such as Magnified Pod, at www.rockcandyrecordings.com. This show's theme song is "Aetherium" by Leah Horn. This episode also includes "Sept 15 Jam" by Jeremy SH Griffith.
35 minutes | May 31, 2021
When a trans traveler and an autistic apostle cross paths: Reading Acts 8 in community
When we delve into any holy text together, we all come away the richer for it — just as Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch enriched one another during their odd desert encounter, each sharing what they found in the prophet Isaiah. In this episode, Avery shares a sermon they wrote on Acts 8:26-40 that draws not only from many transgender theologians but also from a conversation with a handful of people who all brought their unique insights to the story. Philip can be read as autistic, the eunuch as trans — and so much more! What unique experiences do we need YOU to share to expand our understanding of this story even further? For an episode transcript, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com. Talking Points: (0:00 - 4:53) Introducing Acts 8 and sermon background (4:54 - 9:00) Sermon starts - how eunuchs of old connect to trans persons today; conversing in community (9:01 - 17:30) Part 1 of the Acts 8 text — on the wilderness road, Philip's autistic enthusiasm breaks down barriers (17:31 - 26:30) Part 2 of the Acts 8 text — the eunuch's connection to Isaiah's suffering servant using theology of survival (26:31 - 31:20) Part 3 of the Acts 8 text — the eunuch is baptized as they are, bringing all their differences into their relationship with God; our diversity is a gift we bring to our faith communities (31:21 - end) Wrapping up with resource suggestions __________ Blessed Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast Network. Find more shows, such as Bible Bash, at www.rockcandyrecordings.com. This show's theme song is "Aetherium" by Leah Horn. This episode also includes "Mod 4" and "Sept 15 Jam" by Jeremy SH Griffith.
41 minutes | Apr 29, 2021
"God's love should not be tainted by the fear of earthly hatred" - April is a proud Catholic Latina trans woman
April Willow Castillo knows what it is to believe yourself to be the only queer person in all of Peru; to question your sexuality while in Catholic youth group in the US; and to finally grow into yourself at a university supportive of LGBT faculty and students. In this episode, April discusses how the love of God has pulled her from depressive states and religious trauma into deep joy and pride in being herself and bonding with other Hispanic queer folk. She also talks about LGBT community in Peru and the US; the history of Indigenous and Catholic religion in Peru; and how God is often twisted into a political weapon in the US. For an episode transcript, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com. Content warnings: swearing; depression; grandparent's death; homophobia & transphobia from friends, family, & faith leaders; internalized queerphobia; brief mentions of conversion therapy _______ Talking Points: (0:00 - 5:35) Introducing April - Latina trans Catholic university student, Peruvian immigrant, aspiring gamer girl (5:36 - 8:50) Growing up - Hispanic Catholic communities in US; Peruvian town where Catholic celebrations bring the community together (8:51 - 13:57) Youth group - from depression to a spiritual reawakening (13:58 - 21:28) Questioning sexuality and realizing how church wields God as political weapon; youth group & church tainted by fear - though some peers are more accepting (21:29 - 25:29) "Are you a man?" - questioning gender - "how did anyone ever think i was cis?” (25:30 - 26:30) Jesus would be seen as a communist/socialist - but US churches twist him into pro-capitalism (26:31 - 30:52) Exploring Peru's indigenous religion - coming to terms with being a proud Catholic while holding the history of it being forced on her ancestors (30:53 - 36:18) queerness in Peru - not talked about: "I was pretty sure I was the only queer person in Peru" - more recently, ads using LGBT figures (36:19 - 39:17) In college - realizing she had to do something about gender - finding a good therapist and community - finding joy in being trans (39:18 - end) wrapping up - more of April's story in future ep _______ Blessed Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast Network. Find more shows, such as Hot Tea Hot Takes, at www.rockcandyrecordings.com. This show's theme song is "Aetherium" by Leah Horn. This episode also includes "Damage" by EleventySeven.
38 minutes | Apr 14, 2021
Goodness Embodied: An intersex, nonbinary first human and a disabled risen Christ
Avery shares their sermon from a recent worship service centered around the goodness of all bodies - particularly those the world labels broken or lesser. When so many of us are made to feel imprisoned by our own flesh, how do we embrace embodiment as something holy? Let's look to ancient interpretations of the first human (ha-adam) as intersex; connect this human's story to gender affirming surgery; and explore Jesus's choice to rise in a physical body with disabling wounds to discover how what the world calls broken, God calls Good. For an episode transcript, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com. Talking Points: (0:00 - 7:27) Intro: unlearning Greco-Roman dualism that pits spirit over flesh; learning how autistic stimming connects our minds & bodies (7:28 - 12:15) Scripture readings from Genesis 2:7-25, John 20:19-29, & 1 Corinthians 1:18-29 (12:16 - 14:11) The sermon begins - our bodes become cages in a world that teaches us some bodies are normative and all others are deviant; but Genesis 2 & John 20 teach us differently (14:12 - 16:41) The first human, ha-adam - an intersex being with no assigned gender - created good, but in need of a helpful counterpart (16:42 - 19:21) God does not deny or dismiss ha-adam's problem of aloneness, but identifies the problem and fixes it - what if we did likewise for the disability and transgender communities? (19:22 - 22:02) God the first surgeon, creating two bodies where there was one - affirming the steps we take to be more at home in our bodies & demonstrating our need for community (22:03 - 23:42) Jesus's body is also labeled lesser; Jesus is connected to ha-adam by scar tissue - a surgery performed in love vs. a soldier's spear (23:43 - 26:14) Jesus keeps his body to connect to Thomas; to show us that we are not spirits in flesh prisons, but inspirited bodies; for the sake of all who are told to hate & punish their bodies (26:15 - 29:55) Jesus keeps his disabling wounds to show that disability and wholeness are not incompatible; what does it mean if disability will not be removed, but redeemed? (29:56 - 31:17) Both Jesus and ha-adam show us that interdependence is not weakness, but strength (31:18 - 34:29) Showing our bodies love even when we struggle to love them (34:30 - end) Wrapping up with a prayer _______ Blessed Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast Network. Find more shows, such as Bible Bash, at www.rockcandyrecordings.com. This show's theme song is "Aetherium" by Leah Horn. This episode also makes use of Jeremy SH Griffith's pieces "Mod 5," "Sept 15 Jam," "Camilla," and "Mod 2."
13 minutes | Apr 1, 2021
Combatting Antisemitism on Good Friday: An Alternative to the "Solemn Reproaches of the Cross"
The scriptures and liturgy that Christian communities read during Holy Week, the week we commemorate Jesus's arrest and crucifixion, have borne violent antisemitic fruit across the centuries. Particularly poisonous is the "Solemn Reproaches of the Cross," or Improperia, which pins the blame for Jesus' death squarely on the Jewish community. In this episode, Avery shares the alternative liturgy they wrote, with the hope that it might be a jumping off point for conversations on this topic. Rather than pretending the "Solemn Reproaches" never existed, Christians must grapple with it, guide our communities in understanding why it is so evil, and thus move towards acknowledging and dealing with our antisemitism, past and present. For an episode transcript, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com/podcast-archive. Find the referenced article by Amy-Jill Levine with its strategies for dealing with problematic New Testament texts here. Avery also published their alternative text at binarybreakingliturgy.com. Blessed Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast Network. Find more shows at www.rockcandyrecordings.com. This show's theme song is "Aetherium" by Leah Horn. "August" & "Knowing" by Jeremy SH Griffith, as well as "Gold Beamer" by Mother Hood, are also used in this episode.
59 minutes | Mar 30, 2021
Finding the Power in Our Queerness and Rebellion in Our Love: Neville studies and creates queer Catholic art
Amy Neville (he, she, or they pronouns) is a 21-year-old Australian art historian & artist whose work celebrates being both Catholic & queer. In this episode, Avery and Neville discuss Neville's life and how they've learned to stand up for themself and other queer persons; the way women & queer artists have used textile arts over the years; and Europe’s Renaissance Period, focusing on queer artists who navigated adhering to & rebelling against the Catholic Church's rules for art in that period. For an episode transcript and more info about this show, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com/podcast. Find Neville on instagram @krem.caramel; check out their work at amyneville.art. Talking Points: (0:00 - 4:51) A reminder to Christians to confront antisemitism in Holy Week - see here for Amy-Jill Levine's article (4:52 - 13:43) Discovering queerness while in Catholic high school - finding resources, standing up against a teacher's homophobia (13:44 - 18:04) Meeting confident queer persons at university; coming out as genderfluid, going by last name Neville (18:05 - 21:37) Creating art about being queer and Catholic; push-back from fellow queer folks for being Catholic (21:38 - 29:22) Finding fellow queer persons of faith; the joy of community; Neville's graduate art exegesis "Divine Rebellion" (29:23 - 37:08) Some textile arts history: suffragettes & feminists reclaiming it; queer persons expanding it - "the perfect medium" for underrepresented and undervalued groups (37:09 - 43:32) Europe's Renaissance Period: the Catholic Church's power over the art scene; Caravaggio's role in rules censoring what could be depicted (43:33 - 44:30) Resisting pinning down dead artists' sexualities with labels they didn't have (44:31 - 48:24) Da Vinci's revolutionary art; sympathy for Judas (48:25 - 55:26) Michelangelo's struggle with religion - not because of queerness, but because of his love of science; rebellion in his Sistine Chapel masterpiece (55:27 - end) wrapping up - "find the power in your queerness and the rebellion in your love"; a future ep will continue Neville's tour of Renaissance art ____________ Blessed Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast Network. Find more shows, such as Magnified Pod, at www.rockcandyrecordings.com. This show's theme song is "Aetherium" by Leah Horn. "August" and "Mod 5" by Jeremy SH Griffith are also used in this episode.
25 minutes | Mar 15, 2021
No end to transphobia without uprooting ableism: exploring embedded forms of oppression
In this first episode focusing on the interconnections between trans & disability communities & theologies, Avery draws from Mel Baggs' theory of embedded forms of oppression to describe how ableism is at the heart of many manifestations of transphobia, including pathologization and coerced treatments. When transness is perceived as a disability, and disability is perceived as brokenness, the logical result is to try to "fix" or "cure" the trans individual - as evinced in the non-affirming "disability framework" through which some Christians view transness as a symptom of a Fallen world. How can trans persons and disabled persons join together to fight their similar battles, within faith communities and beyond? For an episode transcript (with citations) and more info about this show, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com/podcast. Talking Points: (0:00 - 5:13) Introducing the topic: why we must be anti-ableist in order to be anti-transphobic (5:12 - 6:48) At least 39% of trans people have one or more disabilities (6:49 - 7:46) Mel Baggs' theory: “There is ableism somewhere at the heart of your oppression, no matter what your oppression may be" (7:47 - 13:23) Example of sexism embedded in homophobia, and ableism embedded in both - drawing from "clobber verse" 1 Cor 6:9 (13:24 - 17:29) Examples of ableism embedded in transphobia - eugenics, pathologization; Christian psychologist Mark Yarhouse's "disability framework" for understanding transness (17:30 - 21:39) This embeddedness requires that we confront ableism in order to combat transphobia - how? (21:40 - end) Wrapping up - 1 Cor 12's interdependent members of one body ________ Blessed Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast Network. Find more shows, such as Bible Bash, at www.rockcandyrecordings.com. This show's theme song is "Aetherium" by Leah Horn. "Gold Beamer" and "Can't Find" by MotherHood are also used in this episode.
57 minutes | Feb 23, 2021
Solaris Baldwin is Christian not out of fear, but out of love for a co-suffering God
Solaris Baldwin is a 21-year-old Black, genderfluid Methodist who first learned about Jesus as a watchful judge ready to throw people into hell. However, as they explored their identity and sought out community, they uncovered the God who does not will suffering but who suffers alongside us; who does not demand unquestioning obedience but desires our joyful efforts to emulate God's own love. Join Solaris and Avery in a conversation about finding our people, wrestling with scripture, and letting go of fear in order to embrace growth and love. Find Solaris @seraphic_sapphics on Instagram. For an episode transcript and more info about this show, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com/podcast. Timestamps: (0:00 - 6:17) Lent as a time for openness and self-nourishment; introducing Solaris (6:18 - 12:34) Solaris' childhood - white-majority Christian schools, learning that God is a watchful judge (12:35 - 17:53) First school with Black classmates - don't recognize Solaris as one of them; first Methodist church - learns that faith doesn't have to be fearful (17:54 - 26:39) Exploring identity - asexuality invalidated; trying out Islam, Catholicism, and....Juggaloism! - Searching for find a community & culture of their own (26:40 - 32:15) University - connecting to queer and Christian community at last; coming to understand God as co-sufferer & Outsider (32:16 - 43:05) Why fear-based religion doesn't work - the Clobber Passages, asking why, and hateful acts fueled by fear (43:06 - 54:37) Solaris' favorite Bible passages; accepting growth and changing our minds as part of faith; taking on witchcraft and accepting that none of us have everything right about God (54:38 - end) Wrapping up - visit Avery's instagram, Twitter, or tumblr for daily book quotes & reflection questions this Lent ________ Blessed Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast Network. Find more shows, such as Common Creatives, at www.rockcandyrecordings.com. The theme song come from "Aetherium" by Leah Horn. "Can't Find" by MotherHood is also used in this episode.
42 minutes | Feb 15, 2021
Transgender Mental Health: with affirmation, community, and purpose, we thrive
Trans persons experience drastically higher rates of mental illness and suicide attempts - when they are denied support and safety. In this episode, five trans and/or nonbinary persons of faith share their own mental health journeys, that move them from harmful theology to discovering God's deep love for them; and from isolation or hostility into relationships where they are embraced for all that they are. CONTENT WARNING for discussions of suicide ideation & suicide attempts and brief mentions of self harm; as well as mentions of non-LGBT affirming ideologies. Timestamps: (0:00 - 9:00) Statistics & studies surrounding transgender mental health; Avery discusses how mental illness is higher in trans populations because of lack of support, not because of sin or brokenness. (9:01 - 15:34) Solaris Baldwin discusses how their suicide ideation stemmed from lack of options, and tells the story of how God sent two strangers to save their life. (15:35 - 23:18) Avery and Solaris discuss how prevalence of illness is not because of sin, how community helps; they then discuss how these experiences can help us develop greater compassion for others and God's presence in the midst of suffering. (23:19 - 25:43) Raphael shares their experiences with schizoaffective disorder, suicidality, and God's protection in the midst of it all. (25:44 - 33:53) Alex Burchnell tells of his journey from anxiety and uncertainty into a life of love and purpose as the president of Queer Christian Family Values. (33:54 - 39:52) Lavii has always been queer, Christian, AND proud, even while struggling with family homophobia and isolation at school; with the help of God and loving relationships, her journey is looking up. ____ Find the participants online: Raphael - on TikTok @hostmodem; on mastodon at email@example.com; on Discord at Cactus Divina#3353. Alex Burchnell - QueerChristianFamilyValues.com; on Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram @AlexMBurchnell. Lavii - thisisworsethanitlookslike.tumblr.com ____ For an episode transcript and more info about this show, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com/podcast. Blessed Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast Network. Find more shows, such as Brown Suga Diaries, at www.rockcandyrecordings.com. The theme song come from "Aetherium" by Leah Horn. Other pieces used in this episode are "Can't Find" by MotherHood as well as "August," "Dreamer," and "Knowing" by Jeremy SH Griffith.
21 minutes | Jan 26, 2021
How Shiva gave Rudra their name: the life of a disabled nonbinary Fijian-Canadian
For an episode transcript and more info about this show, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com/podcast. Rudra Maharaj navigates feeling disconnected from many of the communities around them due to racism, ableism, homophobia, and cultural differences, even while embracing the gods whose stories show them that queerness is compatible with Hinduism. In this episode, Rudra discusses their family's unique ways of practicing Hinduism as descendants of the indentured Indian diaspora living in Canada by way of Fiji; how Shiva gave them their name; and how being disabled intersects with their faith and family life. Find Rudra on Twitter @RY_Maharaj Talking Points: (0:00 - 3:00) Intro - explaining that the interview was held over text message; Avery's sister helps read the transcript (3:01 - 5:49) Rudra's time at university - disconnect within a largely white and abled department; studying history because of their family's history in the indentured Indian diaspora (5:50 - 8:20) Rudra's Hinduism - about the world, connecting to family and tradition, as much as about the gods (8:21 - 15:07) Rudra's name, queer stories of the gods, and discussing differences between Hinduism and Christianity (15:08 - 18:36) Disability - for a lot of Hindus, it's the consequence of actions in a past life; Rudra's family accommodates their disability (18:37 - 21:21) Wrapping up Blessed Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast Network. Find more shows, such as Sacred Tension, at www.rockcandyrecordings.com. The theme song come from "Aetherium" by Leah Horn. Also used in this episode is the instrumental version of "Can't Find" by MotherHood.
27 minutes | Jan 14, 2021
Interfaith and Interracial Solidarity in the Georgia Elections
For an episode transcript and more info, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com/podcast. Avery shares their plans for this podcast for 2021! But first, they discuss the hard work that won white Jewish man Jon Ossoff & Black Christian Rev. Raphael Warnock the seats that flipped the US Senate blue, using an interfaith and interracial lens to do so. Talking points: (0:00 - 4:21) Episode intro, summary of presidential election & GA's runoff election (4:22 - 10:05) Exploring Ossoff and Warnock - how their respective faiths fuel their civil work; comparing them to Congress's white Christian majority (10:06 - 13:23) Shifting the narrative about faith in politics (13:24 - 18:09) Stacey Abrams and others' hard work (18:10 - 23:51) This podcast's future: expanding the binaries we "break"; 2 episodes per month (23:52 - 27:02) Call for submissions on mental illness and health among trans persons - due Feb 15; wrapping up Blessed Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast Network. Find more shows at www.rockcandyrecordings.com.
25 minutes | Dec 22, 2020
A Queer Nativity: God’s transition, Mary’s trans-gressive yes, and Joseph's trans-formation into an ally
For an episode transcript and more info about this show, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com/podcast. Find more of Avery's poetry at binarybreakingliturgy.com. Avery reflects on the queerness of Advent + Christmas, including 3 original poems. They show how the Nativity story (as presented in Luke & Matthew) is bursting with binaries broken, assumptions flipped on their head, and God's uplifting of persons the world calls unworthy. They explore Divinity's transition into a physical, finite form assigned male at birth; Mary's "yes" that put her at risk of social condemnation - not unlike what trans persons risk when coming out; and Joseph's initial confusion and rejection transformed into solidarity due to his openness to God's word. Talking points: (0:00 - 4:00) Mary's Magnificat and God's revolution (4:01 - 4:56) Poem: "God's Revolution" (4:57 - 8:30) God's transition + Poem: "Snowball" (8:31 - 15:16) Mary's betrothal, and her "yes" to social condemnation (15:17 - 19:06) Poem: "Mary, Mother of Your Transgender Children" (19:07 - end) Joseph: transformed by God's angel into an ally Blessed Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast Network. Find more shows at www.rockcandyrecordings.com. The theme song is "Aetherium" by Leah Horn. The other music featured in this episode comes from "Valpariso" and "Dreamer" by Jeremy SH Griffith - find more at www.jeremyshgriffith.com/home.
35 minutes | Dec 17, 2020
“It’s good to have wings, but you have to have roots too”: Cultivating your own faith while embracing religious pluralism
For an episode transcript and more info about this show, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com/podcast. This is the second of two episodes featuring excerpts from authors who speak on religious pluralism and interfaith relationships. In this episode, Avery reiterates how opening oneself to beliefs beyond one's own can enrich one's connection to divinity and to humanity - rather than posing a threat to one's own faith life. The passages Avery shares in this episode come from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks' Making Space for Difference, Philip Vinod Peacock's "Some Insights on Imago Dei," Rev. Jonathan Thunderword's From Christendom to Freedom, and Eboo Patel's Acts of Faith. Talking Points: - (0:00 - 3:30) Announcement - this podcast is now part of the Rock Candy Podcast Network! - (3:31 - 9:01) Peering out from our own boxes to avoid stagnation - seeking knowledge is an act of faith, not fear - (9:02 - 11:31) Rabbi Sacks and Philip Vinod Peacock on no one person or group fully representing the Image of God - (11:32 - 16:02) Introducing Rev. Jonathan Thunderword - a Black, trans, omni-faith, multi-spiritual practitioner and author of From Christendom to Freedom: Journeymaking with a Black Transgender Elder - (16:03 - 21:03) Engaging in multiple religions in his search for faith that nourishes rather than harms; looking to his ancestors and being shaped by every tradition he's explored - (21:04 - 22:50) Introducing Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core and author of Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation - (22:51 - 28:25) Choosing between religious totalitarianism and religious pluralism - active commitment - (28:26 - 36:52) It's okay to personally prefer and maintain your own tradition as your "home" - but leave the windows open "so that the winds of other traditions can blow through and bring their unique oxygen." Blessed Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast Network. Find more shows - such as Bible Bash - at www.rockcandyrecordings.com. The theme song is "Aetherium" by Leah Horn. The other music featured in this episode come from "Dreamer," "Mod 5," and "Mod 4" by Jeremy SH Griffith - find more at www.jeremyshgriffith.com/home.
35 minutes | Nov 26, 2020
"No one owns God" - readying yourself for respectful interfaith encounters
This is the first of two episodes featuring excerpts from authors who speak on religious pluralism, interfaith relationships, and how diverse identities and cultures enrich religion. In this first episode, Avery focuses in on the extra complexities faced by Christians in approaching interfaith relationships respectfully, as members of a religion with a history and present tangled up in colonization and assimilation. The passages Avery shares in this episode come from Barbara Brown Taylor's 2018 book Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others and Kaitlin B. Curtice's 2020 book Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God. The next episode will feature authors from religions other than Christianity. (0:00 - 5:35) Why trans persons of all (and no) faiths need to include religious identity in our solidarity and activism; why the focus on Christianity for this first ep (5:36 - 10:35) Excerpts Barbara Brown Taylor's Holy Envy begin - "Could my faith be improved by the faiths of others?" (10:36 - 16:41) How fear of hell and a need to be most right, most favored poisons Christians' ability to open themselves to learn from other faiths (16:42 - 20:17) Moving Christianity from the center and putting God (or absolute truth) there - Christianity becomes one of many "planets" (religions and other ideologies) orbiting around that center (20:18 - 24:25) Excerpts from Kaitlin B. Curtice's Native begin - the violence of Christian colonization and white assimilation against Curtice and her Potawatomi ancestors (24:26 - 31:38) How Curtice's Potawatomi identity enriches her faith and helps her see the interconnectedness of all faiths and cultures (31:39 - end) Reckoning with one's personal history of oppression that comes with being Christian and/or holding white ancestry For an episode transcript, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com.
31 minutes | Oct 30, 2020
Halloween is a Queer Thing - from Celtic peasants to LGBT communities in the US
Avery draws from multiple sources to discuss Halloween as a holiday that has elevated gender diversity since its origins deep in the ancient Celt observance of Samhein. As a holiday that has undergone various transitions, traveling across time and space and religious experiences while maintaining its binary-breaking core, Halloween is the perfect time for those of us who don't fit into gender norms to live into our holy truths. Indeed, its rise in popularity in the United States may well have relied on LGBT communities! Talking Points: - (2:50 - 5:19) Leslie Feinberg - "...The old butches told me there was one night of the year that the cops never arrested us – Halloween." - (5:20 - 8:10) Judy Grahn - "The qualities of impersonation and the dangerous business of crossing over from one world to another help explain why Halloween is the most significant Gay holiday." - (8:11 - 16:10) Samhein's survival in spite of Church suppression; history of matrilineal peasants vs. patriarchal landlords and priests - (16:11 - 19:35) Feinberg - "Transgender [expression] has been outlawed by the ruling classes of both our systems -- feudal nobility and modern industrialists alike." - (19:36 - 23:40) Halloween comes to the USA; "cross dressing" policed until ~1914 when the police give up and no longer arrest "cross dressers" on Halloween night - (23:41 - 25:54) David Frum - "the Halloween craze started in gay culture," 1970s San Francisco - (25:55 - end) Grahn - "On Halloween 1980, my lover and long-time partner Wendy Caden and I...go to San Francisco and look at the Fairies and Queens..." Find resource citations and an episode transcript at blessedarethebinarybreakers.com/podcast
25 minutes | Oct 16, 2020
“Marginalized people should know not to marginalize people” - Andy’s research into bi and trans exclusion
Andy Thornton shares their research into the exclusion experienced by bi and trans persons not only in Christian spaces, but also in LGBT/queer spaces. They found that many persons are made to feel like they are "not enough" - not Christian enough, not queer enough, not trans enough - and feel compelled to alter or suppress aspects of themselves to fit in better. How do we learn to stop hurting one another in the same ways that the normative world hurts us? For a transcript and more places to listen, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com/podcast-archive. Talking points: - (0:00 - 4:12) Intro: relating Andy's research to the tv show Pose - (4:13 - 6:47) "The gays don't want me and the Christians don't want me" + the cliquey elements of both Christian spaces and queer spaces - (6:48 - 8:35) Methods of exclusion: ignoring, making exceptions, virtue signalling, conformity - (8:36 - 9:50) "You cannot be religious and queer" - (9:51 - 15:00) Internalizing, self blame when excluded or misgendered - (15:01 - 16:55) What the story of David and Saul teaches us - "don't fall into internalizing and repeating the patriarchal norms" - (16:56 - 21:38) The perils of gatekeeping and relief of finding we are not alone - (21:39 - 24:41) Wrapping up - Pose again; new website
30 minutes | Sep 28, 2020
"Helping each other be whole": trans insights into intersectionality and solidarity
In this special episode, 8 trans and/or nonbinary persons share their insights on solidarity and allyship, intersectionality and wholeness. How do we resist assimilation and recognize our interdependence? How does religion uplift or fail trans persons? What can all of us, cis and trans alike, do to recognize our privilege and show up for other marginalized communities? Let's keep the conversation rolling. Talking Points: (1:50 - 5:38) Hadassah (she/they) is a Black Jew who wants those who would be their ally, accomplice, or co-conspirator to understand that they must support every part of her. Every human and community must be taken holistically, for we are all journeying towards wholeness. (5:39 - 9:23) Andy Thornton (they/he) discusses how trans persons must show up for other marginalized groups, both members who are also trans and those that are cis. They bring up the issue of assimilation within the trans community and the need to fight the tendency to "other" others. (9:24 - 11:14) William (they/he) is a white 14-year-old in Missouri who is learning young what it means to show up for racial justice. They also talk about the support they find at their church. (11:15 - 12:58) Chris Paige (they/zey) recounts how their friend stands up for his nonbinary siblings by calling out cissexist language even in the middle of worship. A good ally or co-conspirator is willing to disrupt and take risks so that members of an oppressed group don't have to. (12:59 - 17:45) Elliott (he/him) is thankful to have found a Catholic community that listens to and uplifts trans voices, recognizing trans persons as fellow children of God. (17:46 - 20:35) Anonymous (she/her) is an Afro-Caribbean trans woman who emphasizes that transphobia is not inherent to every culture and often stems from white supremacy and colonization. Her mother is teaching her the practices of their people as an empowering alternative to white-dominated expressions of spirituality. (20:36 - 27:16) Dr. SJ Crasnow (they/them) teaches at a small Missouri university and studies how queer and trans Jews engage in and shape Judaism; in this episode they discuss how the US government attempts to violently regulate our bodies and identities; and then about privilege and what responsibility we have to bring our whole selves into our activism.
55 minutes | Aug 27, 2020
"It's an honor to be trans" - Andy is a queer Quaker
Andy Thornton (they / he, age 23, England) is an autistic artist and scholar, excitingly gendered, and passionate about expanding our inclusion within faith spaces and queer spaces ever wider. They became a Christian at 16 before realizing they were bi and trans, and despite queerphobic messages from church leaders, Andy received only messages of affirmation from God. Thus their love for a sassy, queer Jesus grew, and they eventually found a home in Quakerism, with its radical equality of all ages and genders and emphasis on activism. For a transcript of this episode, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com/podcast-archive. Find Andy and his art and writing online: @humansatsuma & @lesgetbetter on Instagram medium.com/@andykt3 - blog andythornton.work/ and behance.net/humansatsuma - art portfolios Timestamps: 00:00 - 06:07 Avery rambles & introduces Andy 06:08 - 10:01 Andy talks about their art, how it interacts with their gender and emphasizes representation 10:02 - 17:10 How Andy came to Quakerism - interfaith, emphasis on activism, long support of gay rights, working on trans affirmation 17:11 - 25:40 Andy's family; "God is definitely queer"; "my non-binary gender is really holy"; Andy's journey from anti-queer churches to God's affirmation 25:41 - 32:25 Quaker's communalism, civil disobedience, vs. church hurt from "Hillsong churches" & "Instagram Christianity" 32:26 - 39:06 Bonding over being autistic, intersections with autism, transness, and activism + a queer and autistic, sassy Jesus 39:07 - 44:55 being excluded from others Jesus lovers because of being trans & relief of finding people like us; more on the journey to reconciling faith and gender, being a Stonewall person of faith 45:56 - 50:16 more on Quakers being interfaith, 3 pillars of Quakerism 50:17 - 55:00 wrapping up: you are enough, and God made you perfect
35 minutes | Jul 29, 2020
Gender Diversity Pre-Patriarchy: what Genesis 24 reveals
Avery brings the story of Rebekah and her mother's household told in Genesis 24 into conversation with social anthropologists' understandings of the communal, cooperative societies that preceded the birth of patriarchal, patrilineal societies across the globe. Ze draws from Leslie Feinberg's text Transgender Warriors to explore how the rise of patriarchy and class impacted ancient persons whom we might identify as trans or otherwise gender diverse -- including the biblical character Rebekah, whom the original Hebrew text identifies as a na'ar, a "young man." Other texts from which this episode draws are Mx. Chris Paige's OtherWise Christian and Joy Ladin's The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective, as well as An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible by Gravett, Bohmbach, Greifenhagen, and Polaski. For an episode transcript, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com/podcast-archive.
25 minutes | Jun 29, 2020
Hagar and the Caravan - the Abrahamic God sides with the oppressed
Avery brings the story of Hagar - a figure shared by the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions - into conversation with the story of Charlotte and other trans women who were part of a caravan leading up through Latin America into the United States. This episode continues the theme of solidarity from June's earlier bonus episode. It highlights the urgency of recognizing how intersections of gender and race impact trans persons of color. It’s a reminder for all who experience some form of marginalization that we must not allow our shared enemies to divide and conquer us -- that we must stop oppressing one another in the hopes of advancing a little bit ourselves. It explores the stories we share, the struggles we share, the goals we share. For an episode transcript, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com/podcast. News articles drawn from: - sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Two-transgender-women-joined-migrant-caravan-13605687.php - nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/mexico-caravan-lgbtq-migrants-stick-together-safety-n935591
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