The Gospel of Mark teaches that nothing hidden will remain covered and all secrets will come to light (Mark 4:22). In this vein, René Girard’s work on scapegoating effectively busts myths. He uncovers the violent origins of ancient myths. His analysis compels us to examine our own tendency towards victimization and violence. Since our victims often seem to be people marked as different, it makes sense to join the work on accepting our differences. As a feminist, I have embraced Audre Lorde’s call to recognize, accept and celebrate our differences. Too often we victimize people who are physically/mentally/socially different. We exclude or condemn LGBTQ+ people from churches and leadership. We want women and men and people of color to fit into certain categories and punish them if they do not fit. However, Girard writes, “Despite what is said around us persecutors are never obsessed by difference but rather by its unutterable contrary, the lack of difference” (p. 22). As we learn to celebrate our differences, Girard challenges us to consider a bigger threat: lack of difference. This insight holds implications for Third Way and may shed light on some of the strong negative reactions to a Third Way approach. Continue reading
Four of us from the Blue Ocean Faith, Ann Arbor staff team attended the Gay Christian Network Conference (GCN) January 7-10, 2016 in Houston, Texas. This incredible gathering of over 1500 people inspired and uplifted. GCN revealed how people with great ideological and experiential differences can come together and worship in acceptance of one another. Perhaps in part because of the sting most people had experienced from mainstream Christian culture around the acceptance of LGBTQ people, the worship and conversations were rich with God’s presence. During the conference, Pastors Emily Swan and Ken Wilson were invited to give a workshop on Third Way. Emily and Ken invited Cassie Brabbs, our worship leader, and me to share about going Third Way. My portion is included here and reflects some insights around power and privilege that I gained as we transitioned towards full inclusion.
“I am a creature of God, and…I’m created and intersexed people are created, no less than anyone else, in the image and likeness of God.” – Selwyn/Sally Gross
Some Christians say that the biblical creation story of “male and female” made in God’s image must be God’s purpose for all individuals and for marriage. In addition, some conservative Christians fear that the sexual revolution has led to a loss of important boundaries and want to draw clear lines around these complex issues. However, by clinging to arbitrary categories, Christians close their ears to the voices of people we are called to love – namely, one another1. People’s lived experiences in all our (God-given) diversity related to sex, gender and sexuality cannot be ignored. The lived experience of intersex is one area within this diversity that has frequently been ignored, rejected or marginalized. Continue reading
After the Supreme Court Decision to allow same-gender couples to enjoy the same rights and privileges of state-sanctioned marriage, many Christians have responded by crying “Foul!” This, on the grounds that advocates of traditional marriage are now subject to victimization themselves as a harassed and oppressed religious minority. In this piece, Caroline Kittle addresses the issue of privilege (or a sense of entitlement) and how it can affect our response when a previously marginalized group gains more equality. Caroline takes a fresh look at what the “Parable of the Landowner” might say to us. Continue reading
What do we do when a key aspect of our identity is rejected or stigmatized by the faith communities in which we are involved? This can be a challenge with any social identity that may not be embraced or accepted by our communities, whether that identity be our sexual orientation, race, gender, or even mental health status. Caroline Kittle shares from personal experience and argues that the Third Way is a biblical way for embracing all marginalized groups and creating unity within faith communities. Continue reading
What does a young feminist make of Third Way? Caroline Kittle contends that nobody is free until we’re all free, and unpacks a pillar of gender studies called “Intersecting Oppressions.”