Who Am I/TransFormed

I was invited to contribute a spoken word piece at the Catalyst conference at Newton Mearns Baptist Church today.  We were discussing the theology of and pastoral response to issues of gender. As I drove to the conference, a heated discussion was taking place on the Today programme, and I was struck by how quickly our views on this issue become polarised. Binary, if you will. Surely it’s more interesting to turn the question around and answer it a different way…

Here’s the piece I wrote. It draws on Romans 12 and asks the question, Who Am I? I’m happy for it to be used or quoted, so long as it’s used as written, or that chunks are used in their entirety. As ever, all views are my own, and questions are provoked rather than answers given.

Who am I?

One or

Other

Loved or

Lover

Male or

Female 

Gay or

Straight

He or

She

Transitioning

Positioning myself against the crowd

To whisper aloud, ‘Who am I?’

Bi 

Binary

Non-binary

Trans 

Formed

Transformed

…wait

Who am I?

Loved or lover

Good or bad

Designed, refined, broken, mended

Knit together, formed, intended for…what?

To live forgiven 

Driven 

To seek and save

as you have done

A living sacrifice

Wriggling, refusing, stubborn, confusing

Sacrifice of a life laid down

To say that you alone are holy 

but I am wholly yours 

Offered to you in worship

To do as you would please

Conformed not to this world and all its talk of ‘me’s’

For who I am

in you, I AM, is 

An offering

Holy and pleasing to you

Transformed 

Made new

In mind and heart and soul and body

Bound to you

And to your will – good, pleasing and perfect will 

Tested and approved

Heart aligned and spirit moved

To seek and save the lost.

So, who am I

To scorn and hate

To miss the point

Fall out of joint

Through lack of love

And sense of place,

To win the race

But miss the face

Of God that weeps and keeps and waits?

Who am I but yours alone

And so I fall before that throne

And say I offer who I am 

To be transformed

Reformed

Re-assigned

Aligned with your purpose.

For who I am is found in you.

And one or

Other

Loved or

Lover

Male or

Female 

Gay or

Straight

He or

She

Transitioning

Positioning themselves against the crowd

To whisper aloud, ‘Who am I?’

Can be transformed within the One Who Is.

(c) Fiona Stewart/Foolproof Creative Arts 2018

Advertisements

On taxes, nose hair and love

Intergenerational strife is not new, and while social policy change is important, Jesus models a different way of being. Life as a follower of the One who is described as the Alpha and the Omega, beginning and end, is radically counter-cultural, as illustrated in John 13. Thought for the Day this morning followed the release of the New Generational Contract proposed this week by The Resolution Society.  As ever, you can listen again here by scrolling forward to 01:23:00 or simply read it below. Thanks are due to my good friend, Ali Laing, whose quote is used (and exaggerated somewhat!):

Good morning.

I was in a meeting yesterday with a friend who has just had a significant birthday.  “I’ve never been more interested about my hair cuts than I am now I’ve turned 40,” was his main complaint, “And don’t get me started on my nose hair.”

Each generation has its own troubles.

A report released this week by the Resolution Society proposes reforms to help young adults facing stagnant wage levels and the housing crisis. Meanwhile, older people in our society are dealing with care bills, NHS waiting lists and social isolation and the Gen X’ers in the middle are time-poor and emotionally and financially stretched by their responsibilities.

Each generation has its own troubles

Proposals for the ‘New Generational Contract’ include giving a one-off payment to help get under-25s on the housing ladder, introducing a new property tax to target more affluent homeowners and taxing earnings for those over state pension age. Of course, social policy should always be open to review, but there’s perhaps a deeper issue at work here.

Human beings exist as part of families and communities. And families and communities help one another out. Tax and tax reform is part of how society makes decisions, but there is also a deep societal need to reconnect old and young, to create community where there is none, to share our resources and learn to love our neighbour a bit better. Across the generations we need to work together.

During the meal known as The Last Supper Jesus reminded his disciples that following him meant living radically:

‘A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’

Tax breaks are practical to redress any economic imbalance, but practical love for other people will also bring radical change to a world that can be a lonely and anxious place for people of any age.