This Trinity Sunday, an inspired friend posted an image of a trinity knot with the words,
‘Trinity Sunday: Our annual reminder that G-d’s pronouns are they/them’.
Inspired myself, but slightly less brave, I posted the words,
‘Happy Trinity Sunday. If you can accept that God is 3-in-1 then you can surely accept that my pronouns are they/them (and perhaps God’s are too).‘
The complexities of speaking and writing about the Trinity reminded me of the amazing writer, researcher, friend and ally Michael Jagessar’s blessing,
‘Go and sin boldly’.
There are things about which people in churches are afraid to speak, for fear of heresy or sin. I wonder if the real sin is when people with power make the people who they hold power over afraid to speak about God authentically, creatively, experimentally, and joyfully. I wonder if the real sin is limiting God, who is surely beyond human limits, to formulaic, binary, normative certainties.
As a non-binary trans person, I am all too familiar with things that people are afraid to talk about. In churches, people often avoid talking about LGBTQ+ identities. This avoidance limits theology and causes real, tangible harm to the many LGBTQ+ people who attend churches where we are not really welcome for months or even years before learning the truth, often in painful, damaging, and abusive ways.
It’s not just churches, though. In the UK, today, it has become divisive and challenging to embody, talk, or write about trans identities and rights. The government, media, and so-called ‘charities’ that are in fact anti-trans lobby groups have set up a polemic, binary debate in which everyone loses. Speaking at all about being trans leads to being labelled as a trans ‘activist’ and our experiences, opinions, and expertise are discredited as ‘ideology’. I have received hate mail and threats from both anti-trans people and supposed ‘allies’ when my words have fallen over on one side or another of the tightrope that I, and many of my peers, walk every day.
Heresies aren’t only used to control faith and spirituality, they are the oppressive norms that control every aspect of every person’s life, every day. In reality? Perhaps there are no heresies. Well, apart from all that which leads to hatred and harm. There is no one correct way to think, to identify, or to be. Speak your truth. Enable others to speak their truths. More importantly, listen. We can all be heard, and recognised, and loved.