Shannon T.L. Kearns
Shannon T.L. Kearns
why jesus?
Shannon T.L. Kearns > why jesus?
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Shay

one of the things that i do in my work at church is working with confirmation students. this sunday we will confirm a whole bunch of them. my job this week was to read through their “statement of faith” papers and craft a choral reading out of it to present to the congregation on sunday (there are too many of them to have them read their entire papers; the service would be three hours long!) there are some real gems in the papers of these students; things that made me laugh, things that made me tear up, things that made me think. reading the things that they wrote about jesus, though, caused me to pause. most of them think he was an interesting teacher, maybe a political radical, a few say the son of God, a couple called him a con artist or a prankster and the majority said that he doesn’t really have anything to do with their lives now. and here i am, writing a theology that centers around jesus. i spend so much of my time thinking about jesus and the very real implications that his example has on my life. and i wonder where the disconnect is? are we failing in explaining jesus to these kids? (probably) but even more than that can jesus be redeemed?

people like to trot jesus out to affirm whatever stance they are currently taking; jesus is a republican or a democrat; he’s for the war or against it; jesus is a politcal radical. and in a lot of ways i’m sure it looks like i am doing the same thing. how does this theology that i am writing play to people who aren’t into jesus? who don’t come from the christian tradition?

by the same token, what does this theology say to people who aren’t transgender? in my mind, this theology is for everyone. it’s for people who aren’t into jesus, people who aren’t transgender, people who aren’t necessarily religious even. so why the emphasis on jesus? well, because that’s the tradition i was raised into. it’s the tradition who’s language i speak. it’s the tradition that i need to grapple with and figure out. it’s the tradition that for so long condemned me and which i need to reclaim. for me, it has to be about jesus.

i also feel that the passion narrative is so evocative. it stirs up so many emotions in people, but more than that it’s full of drama; betrayal, weeping, mothers and friends, death and resurrection. it’s the human story writ large and that’s what i’m trying to convey through this piece of theology. i hope that the more i write the more clear things will become. but i felt the need to take this moment to clarify; this theology isn’t just about jesus and it’s not just about being trans. it’s about what happens when we have to confront the pain in our lives and live again. it’s about what happens when friends betray us because we’re trying to be true to ourselves. it’s about trying to become whole in a fractured world. for me, jesus is a window into possible ways to do that and my transition has been a very real and concrete way that i have seen myself experience resurrection.

i might try posting some discussion questions after each of my posts. i’m not sure if that’s cheesy or helpful, so we’ll give it a try and see what happens. i do encourage discussion, feedback, etc. feel free to leave comments or to contact me directly. i want to hear what you’re thinking. maybe it’s too early for you to share, but i hope that eventually we can have a lively dialogue going on here.