November 20th was the Transgender Day of Remembrance. A day to remember the beautiful lives of precious, courageous, brave people. I was honored to be a speaker at the Austin TDOR event and wanted to share with you my talk at this special, emotional event.
Freeing Hearts to Love and Be Love. By Susan Cottrell
I’m a mom of 2 queer kids and 3 straight/cis kids. But tonight I speak to you as a pastor!
Every day I fight to stop the damage inflicted on the LGBTQI community by parents and Christian conservatives.
My name is Susan Cottrell, founder of FreedHearts.org.
If you’ve had any dealings with the conservative church, you know that their MO is to exclude those they consider unworthy. Beneath them. More sinful than they.
But if you have any dealings with Jesus, the Real Jesus—not the one propped up by the church—
then you know HIS MO is full inclusion.
What’s the deal? Why the big disparity? Let’s do a little “compare and contrast.”
Full inclusion is an AMAZING THING, a beautiful thing. Why so much resistance?
You may have heard the expression the “Slippery Slope of Sin.” (Sorry if that’s a trigger!)
That’s the idea that acceptance of “unauthorized” behavior is a slippery slope toward more acceptance.
Yes it is! Acceptance is a slippery slope toward more acceptance—and it’s one Jesus modeled!
Let’s look at where this slippery slope has played out.
Women were once considered subhuman, property, “deformed men.” We shifted on that—
which paved the way to treating women as humans—
which paved the way to the vote —
which paved the way to JOBS for women—
which led the way to creating a life outside their
father’s or husband’s ownership—which led to women in business, government, and (shh!!) being pastors!
Dear Lord, what will happen next?
African-Americans—and other people of color—were once considered subhuman, property, “deformed whites.”
We shifted on that which led to emancipation—
which led to the vote—
which led to jobs in corporations and government—
which led to desegregation—interracial marriage.
Poor people were once considered subhuman, property, subjects of the king. We shifted on that which led to founding a new nation outside the reach of a king.
Which led to a country that says that every person is created equ—… well, every man is created equ—… well, some men… straight men… straight, white men.
So we’ve created a system in which some men are created equal!
Anyway, we’re still working on that.
In truth, rethinking our acceptance of one group does open the door to acceptance of other groups!
Acceptance leads to acceptance… and Jesus shocked people by the ragtag people he accepted!
The slippery slope is toward full inclusion—I say, “Slide on down”!
Now, let’s turn this Slippery Slope idea upside-down!
It is in fact religious people who are on a Slippery Slope. Judgmental-Christians are continually focused on sin, on defining sin, on notifying others of sin, on trying to stamp out sin—none of which they have any business doing!
Jesus told us to love, not judge sin.
In fact, he didn’t really talk about sin as a thing,
he talked about having a loving relationship with God.
He did not define sin in terms of what’s sin and what’s not, but defined sin as not trusting God! That’s all!
Sounds to me like Judgmental-Christians are in sin…
because they’re not trusting God.
Jesus said we ALL need God—he intentionally put us all in the same boat, instead of “You sinners and us non-sinners”! Did you know that Jesus was kindest to the people the religious leaders rejected, and harsh only to the religious leaders?
They didn’t see that coming, did they?
Jesus warned religious people repeatedly about their arrogance and harshness and oppression of the powerless, and he warned people not to judge but to mind their own damned business!
Jesus railed on them for their lack of love.
The real slippery slope is judgment.
The real slippery slope is defining other people’s sin.
The real slippery slope is the horrific lack of love.
No one has the right or authority to define for you what your journey looks like. You’ve heard the phrase, “Who died and made you king?”
Well, we can say, “Who died and made you judge!”
No human being gets to tell you who to be.
You get to discover that, as you connect with what’s real inside you.
Jesus slayed the idea that your spiritual path rests in the hands of religious leaders—or belief systems, or structures, or traditions. Instead, he taught people to listen… and follow the life-giving Spirit within.
I am so grateful for you. For your incomparable courage—courage to be true to yourself. And for not letting others define you.
You… are giving the world… an amazing gift of authenticity.
You’re indispensable to the growth and evolution of this world—and you’re making a huge difference.
Please, keep being you. This world needs you.
FreedHearts Online has full, conference-length, comprehensive video courses helping parents love, accept & affirm their LGBTQI children, and helping LGBTQI heal from family, religious and community wounds. Please just click here. 🙂