Millipede: Part Two

by Millipede

Eventually, the church building materialized. At first, we had a larger group. Soon however, there was a falling out with a group which had comprised most of those from the Patriot group. Part of it was personality and some of it was viewpoint. Some wanted to the place to be a patriot type meeting house while some wanted it to be a church. This belied a rift that plays itself over again and again in this end of the spectrum.

On one hand there are what I would call the “political types”. This is simply for lack of a better term and is not indicative of a lack of Faith. People within this group were most often led into church via ideological means. Their religious views are part of a larger concert of views. I heard a pastor bemoan such people, saying that they simply added Christ onto a long chain of train cars of belief. One car might be their position on gun control, another states’ rights and so on. With the “religious question” answered they move on to continue to build the train. He stated that they needed to make Christ the locomotive, not merely regulate Him along a set of beliefs.

On the other hand you have those for whom Faith is the primary motivation. They often come from a strong Fundamentalist background. Not from in a distant childhood past either, but often having recently come from various conservative churches. for these folks, ideological issues are important, but they are subordinate to questions of faith.

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Who Was That Masked Man? Part 1

by Calulu

This is a new series that I’m starting. I actually started writing about my history with the one person that impacted me the most during my days at the old church. I’m flip, I’m sarcastic in this series but mostly I am processing what happened to me because it seems like a plot straight out of the recently cancelled series GCB (Good Christian Bitches). After telling my therapy years ago about this man I was encouraged to write it all down. I did and if I didn’t laugh and poke fun I’d be crying right now. It was the most corrosive relationship I’ve ever been in and I didn’t even have the common sense to run from it. I’ve changed names and some small details because until recently this person still stalked me in an effort to make me return to my old beliefs. I have to believe his extreme inner hurt drove his behavior.

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If there was one person that affected my journey both into and out of a Patriarchal Fundigelical church that man would be Tom Smith. He was there at the start and he still haunts me like a cackling insano Captain Ahab chasing Moby Dick around an endless ecclesiastical sea. He has a monomaniacal desire to either force me back into our old borderline fundamentalist way of life replete with a submissive attitude or to hound me about going to hell. Sometimes he seems to spit at me “ … to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee. “ but it sounds more like, “You are going to HELL for going to THAT church with homosexual abortionists and unGodly UNSAVED!!!!” Eleventy1111111!!!!

Back when the husband and I were new believers we ended up going to the same church as he back in 1995, PCC. He and his wife pounced upon us at once, inviting us over to watch movies, play cards, or share a meal. We didn’t know anyone else in the church at that time and they, Tom and Tina, had four boys ranging from just older than our son to the same age as our daughter. The kids loved to get together.

From the first I was put off by Tom’s fake-seeming Jesus Freak persona. He would do things like stop in the middle of a movie or game to lecture about Jesus. He prayed very publicly in almost a showy fashion at the drop of a hat and constantly had Christian rock and roll playing at full blast. These things set off my internal bullshit detector but since we were newly minted kool aid drinkers I thought I was the wacky one.

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Unwrapping the Onion: Part 7: Charting a New Course

by Permission to Live

This post is part of a series of nine posts. Please click here to start with the series Introduction.

It had been a year since my spouse had come out to me. It felt like it had been much longer. So much had changed and yet nothing had changed. We still hadn’t decided how Christianity tied in with our changing reality: I was leaning further and further away from the idea of God but my spouse still believed. We felt like there were no real answers anymore. Life was not as black and white as people wanted it to be. My spouse was talking more and more about transitioning and I felt like there was no one-size-fits-all in gender identity. Maybe my spouse would become comfortable living as a man and wouldn’t need to transition, but maybe he wouldn’t. Maybe he would transition to living as a female someday, but again, maybe he wouldn’t. The idea just wasn’t that scary to me anymore. My spouse was already living as such a feminine person as he had grown more comfortable with who he was, transition would just be a natural next step if it happened.

In fact the only fear that still clung to me was how this would affect our children, and that made me wonder if my spouse should try to put off transition until the kids were grown up. The faith and culture that I had been brought up in told me that children had to have parents of both genders to be happy, healthy, and well-adjusted. Wouldn’t our children resent us for having grown up with two female parents? How would society treat them? Would they always be the kids with the weird dad? Was it even possible to raise kids without a “manly influence?”

Despite my fears and doubts, I couldn’t deny that my spouse was happier than I had ever seen him. He was relaxed and involved. He was dressing more and more femininely at home, and the kids didn’t mind at all. They were starting to figure out that their daddy was a bit different than other daddies, but they were happy to have a peaceful parent who loved them and cared for them, talked with them and snuggled them and listened to them. It was as if a huge burden had been lifted off his shoulders, like he no longer had to spend the majority of his time struggling to constantly tread water and keep his head above the surface and stay alive. Instead, all of the energy that had been consumed in that struggle could be spent on parenting and living. The conversation about transition “someday” started to change into transition being a real option in the near future, and I couldn’t come up with a reason our kids should have to go back to having a depressed repressed parent who lived as a male and struggled to survive with the help of anti-depressants instead of a happy relaxed involved parent who lived as female. A guy as feminine as he was turning out to be was going to out of the ordinary anyway. Why was I questioning this at all? To please a god? Who had played this gender joke on us in the first place? A god I wasn’t even sure existed?

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Unwrapping the Onion: Part 6: Talk of Transition

by Permission to Live

This post is part of a series of nine posts. Please click here to start with the series Introduction.

Even though we had hoped that it would be enough for my spouse to simply be more authentic to his feminine self, it seemed that the idea of transition was coming up more and more. My spouse talked about how frustrating it was to have this battle raging in his head every single day, his brain telling him again and again that he was really a woman. He told me how the idea of becoming an old man terrified him. It was bad enough being trapped in the body of a young man, but to be old and helpless and cared for by people who would treat him as a guy was dreadful to him. Sometimes he cried, all of the bottled up fear from the years gone by pouring out along with fears of the future and living life day after day fighting this never ending battle.

When the talk of transition initially came up, my heart sank. Were we losing the battle? Was I wrong to have let the conversation continue this long? Should I have told him to be quiet and put his head down and fight it alone? I told my spouse again and again that he didn’t need to change anything, that he had me in his life, and I loved him exactly the way he was. Except that as time went on I realized that I was contradicting myself in that very statement. Transgender WAS exactly the way he was, and if I really loved him regardless, transition wasn’t going to change that.

Talk of transition was a natural progression of the ongoing discussion we’d been having. Right alongside the growing contentment and happiness, my spouse would have periods of days or weeks where he slipped back into despair. It was usually triggered by some conversation where we discussed the future and how we were going to continue to handle this question of gender.

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Unwrapping the Onion: Part 3: A Growing Up Story

by Permission to Live

Before I go any further I just want to make it clear that my spouse has participated in the writing and editing of this series, and has given their full support and approval of it’s publication.

This post is part of a series of nine posts. Please click here to start with the series Introduction.

Over the next number of months it seemed that we talked about transgender questions and issues constantly. My spouse had been unable to talk about this for so long and now it was like a floodgate had opened. He told me about how he had always felt different, that even as a small child he wished he could play with some of the girls’ toys and wondered why he couldn’t have long hair like his sisters. He remembered feeling sad when he figured out that he wouldn’t ever be a mother. But he learned early on to behave in the manner expected of him and he didn’t have a name to put to the feelings he had.

As a little Christian homeschooled boy, there wasn’t much available information on LGBTQ people, but one day at about 11 years of age, he was reading a large illustrated history of the 20th century when a small paragraph near the bottom of the page caught his eye. The title of the section was “Man becomes Woman” and reading it with his heart thumping wildly, he realized that there were other people like him. The short story was about one of the first transsexual women who went public with their story, her name was Christine Jorgensen and she had transitioned back in the 1950s. Several times a week he would pull the heavy book from the shelf and open to the page with the story, to read again and again about Christine. He was not alone.

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