For the last couple of days I have been preparing a presentation on Transgender Theology for Call To Action’s annual conference. In my reading and researching, I came upon the insights from Jewish rabbinical tradition that views the twilight as an in-between moment, a borderland, that reflects G-d and creation being beyond traditional categories—a moment of holiness that some see as being embodied by those of us who live at the in-between place of gender. The harmonious tension of in-between and both/and has been a source of inspiration, comfort, challenge, and wholeness throughout my journey of coming into voice and self. It was exciting to see that I am not alone in my queerying…I stand on the shoulders and witness of scholars, rabbis, theologians, ministers, writers, poets, and many others who have affirmed and celebrated the twilight and borderland as sacred—a place where G-d is revealed as identities collide and ripple into each other. Rabbi Reuben Zellman wrote “twilight cannot be defined; it can only be sanctified and appreciated…people can’t always be defined; they can be seen and respected and their lives made holy…this Jewish approach allows for genders beyond male and female…it opens space in society…and it protects those who live in the places in between” (quoted from HRC’s Gender Identity and Faith Communities).
May the struggle continue for the church and society to honor the twilight and borderland present not only within trans folk but within and among each of us—if G-d is beyond our understanding of binaries and boxes, than as people created in G-d’s image we too embody diversity and the coming together of identities and moments that cannot be contained in binaries and boxes.
Blessed be the hotmess of creation!!!
I wanted to share the prayer below that captures the holiness of being a borderland and twilight people.
In a World of In-Between by Norm S. D. Esdon
Like shorebirds living between sand and surf
We live in a world of in-between.
Between punching the clock and smelling the roses
Serving others and renewing ourselves
Between hanging on and letting go
Sticking with the old and risking the new
Between speaking the truth and sparing feeling
Seeking justice and avoiding division
Between the economy and the environment
The “loonie” and the loon
Between computer byte and human touch
Avoiding harassment and needing a hug
Between who we are and what others may think we should be
Who we are and who we may become
We are shorebirds living
Between cross and rolled-away stone
Between the alpha and the omega
The beginning and the end
And the spirit of the one
Who walked the shore before us
Walks with us
Hallows this in-between world
As God’s world—
We are not alone
Thanks be to God.
(Prayer from the book “Courage to Love: Liturgies for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community”– compiled by Geoffrey Duncan)
(Feature image from: http://wallpaper.avantzone.com/nature-wallpaper-p-581.html)