In 2010, US Army soldier Chelsea Manning disseminated over 750,000 documents and videos to WikiLeaks. The troubling material was exceedingly embarrassing for the US government. Diplomatic cables gave the world an inside look at the unseemly sides of US diplomacy. Arguably, the most damning of the materials was a video of a US helicopter attacking and killing Iraqi civilians and journalists. Eventually, Manning was arrested and tried. After being found guilty of multiple counts, a military judge sentenced Manning to 35 years in prison. A day after her sentencing, Manning came out as Transgender. For almost seven years, Manning has been locked up in an all male prison in Kansas. Throughout this time, Manning has had to fight for medical care that she requires for her transition. Earlier today, President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence and she will be released in May.
Christ comes to us in surprising ways. The incarnation wasn’t a singular event. The incarnation happens constantly and Jesus tells us where to experience it. In Matthew 25:43, Jesus says, “I was in prison…” This means that the incarnation is in prison. Christ is in prison. In the midst of our searchings, we are told to look to the oppressed. I can think of few more oppressed than Chelsea Manning. From being denied proper healthcare to repeatedly being placed in solitary confinement, Manning has persevered as only the incarnation can. For a long time, I’ve prayed for her. Occasionally, she has come to me. In the midst of my deeply spiritual interactions, I have met the Transgender Christ.