Is God They?

This suddenly jumped into my mind last night as I was getting ready for bed. It is a very important question, because it rolls two questions together. Is God gendered?  Is God singular?  Both are excellent questions and I hope to provide satisfying answers.

I guess the first thing that needs to be answered is which God?  While I worship one of the Christian Gods, I retain my belief in all Gods and Goddesses. If you read the Bible, early one, there were several Gods and the commandment only says to not put any other Gods first. I choose to not worship other Gods or Goddesses, as is my right. I am also a pantheist. For me, that which is God is the entire universe, possibly even the entire multiverse. I do need to work on integrating that into the rest of my spirituality. Anyway, I worship a loving God that is a part of everything and has infinite love. That last means that I’m an old school Universalist, everyone goes to heaven, or their equivalent.

So, we’ve got my God roughly defined. Next up, is God singular?  I can only speak for mine and my experiences. There is the triangle that is the Trinity, but does that really  count?  I don’t think so. That is more about relationship with God than about number. Each piece is a different relationship. This is taken from S. Mark Heim’s ” A Trinitarian View of Religious Pluralism“. God is the impersonal relationship to God. Sounds funny, but please bear with me. The Holy Spirit is the personal relationship and how I see God being pantheistic. Jesus is the communion with God.

I’m going to unpack that briefly before getting back to the question of “is God singular?”  The impersonal relationship would be like that of an employee to a supervisor. It’s objective and rational. The personal relationship is like that between friends. It’s close and is more emotional. The communion is more like being a part of a large family. It’s close and emotional and you have to deal with their snoring and hogging the bathroom, but you love them anyway.

So, is God singular?  Yes, God is singular, at least the specific Christian God I worship. God is more than the Trinity and more than simply everything. And yet, God must fully be a part of everything.

So, is God male. Of course not. Nor is God female. I only use the word ‘God’ because it’s as close to a name as we have. I dislike the ‘He’ that is often used for two reasons. First, God is not male. Second, I don’t see why they get to have a capitalized pronoun. Probably makes me some sort of heretic, but I don’t care. God gets they as a pronoun, at least in my not so humble opinion.

 

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Mental Illness

Sorry about missing last week and for this one being late, I was in the hospital because life became very overwhelming. My depression and anxiety got the better of me and I needed help. It is so hard to ask for help for me because that was never an option in my life before. To make things worse, seeking help for dealing with mental illness is seen as even weaker than asking for help with anything else. It has a nasty stigma attached to it, one that kills. As I said for trans issues, visibility is the key. It can be just as hard to come out as having a mental illness as it is for coming out as trans. Sure, people don’t want to kill you for having depression, instead, they want to take all of your rights away. They want to steal your autonomy and your future.

So, let’s talk about depression. Merriam-Webster (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/depression) as:

a : a pressing down : lowering b (1) : a state of feeling sad : dejection (2) : a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies c (1) : a reduction in activity, amount, quality, or force (2) : a lowering of vitality or functional activity

All of that is exactly how depression feels. You feel like life is pressing down on you and overwhelming you. It becomes so hard to do everyday things. Simply getting up in the morning can become a huge chore and nearly exhaust you. I know for me, I tend to eat way too much. Perhaps it is a way to fill the void I feel in my soul during these times. Plus, I can never manage to exercise, there is no energy for just surviving, much less do anything else.

Depression has this ability to suck the life out of you. Worse, you get these tracks in your head that are very difficult to pull yourself out. The messages themselves will drive you crazy, but they are only a part of what is going on. And they will wear you down to where you can’t see anything that is good. Depression is kind of like being attacked by a Dementor.

Now, let’s talk about anxiety. Merriam-Webster (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anxiety) as:

1 a : painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind usually over an impending or anticipated ill b : fearful concern or interest c : a cause of anxiety

2 : an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physiological signs (as sweating, tension, and increased pulse), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it

Again, every bit of the definition is spot on. There is fear, worry, and there is all kinds of doubt. It sits on your chest and it lurks in your mind.  Anxiety makes you feel completely helpless and it causes your mind to race. It assaults you with so much that you get overwhelmed, then it kicks you when you are down. It can feel like you’re having a heart attack and it can feel like you have no energy at all while you bounce from thing to thing and thought to thought.

So, what can be done about all of this?  A lot. First is that we can stop making mental illness a stigma. We can make it easier to seek help. Pay attention, neither show up without signals. Be gentle and respectful. Take our lack of energy into account.

What can be done by those of us who suffer from mental illness?  We can be more open about our struggles. We can be gentle and respectful towards ourselves and take into consideration that we may not have the energy to do all that we want. Most importantly, we can ask for help.

 

 

 

Bathroom Bills

I’m trying a new way of writing these, hopefully it leads to better and more frequent posts.

So, the new crop of bathroom bills, what can I say about them?  It’s easy to to discount these people and make fun of them. It feels good to think your superior to them and talk and act that way. It’s the wrong way to solve our problems and will lead to more problems. We need to address their fears and concerns and do so in a way that shows we care. Even though we don’t like them and hate is easy, we still have to treat them as we want to be treated. Besides, listening to them, and I mean really listening to them, might throw them off and maybe they’ll be willing to listen in return. It’s amazing what treating people with genuine compassion can do.

All I ask is to stop demonizing and making fun of them. And don’t respond out of anger, that doesn’t help at all, trust me, I’ve done enough times to know. I know I’m asking for a lot, trust me, it’s not easy to be compassionate and not respond out of anger. It feels so good to tear them a new one, but it isn’t productive. This does not mean be a door mat or take their abuse. Be firm and polite. Start with recognizing their concern and support your case with facts. Weave into it how this is about letting women use the women’s room and how this is to make a safer environment for all. Hit them where they live emotionally, that will do more to change their minds than facts and figures.

Now, onto these stupid laws. Mostly, they are about trans women and are nothing more than a thinly veiled way to get back at those who supported gay marriage. They are never only about banning certain women from the restroom, the people behind them tack on all sorts of crap making discrimination against gays and lesbians legal. This means we really need to start working with other groups who face discrimination. We cannot do this alone. If we can get more people on our side, then we will change things for the better. Until we get over ourselves and work with others, we will continue to be used as scapegoats.

More of us need to become visible, eventually visibility will lead to respect and more equality. It will take time and be more dangerous at first, as we have seen. There are those who would force people out so there would be greater visibility. I find that to be a terrible way to become more visible. There are many good reasons for people to not want to be visible, including simply not wanting to be. I want people who want and feel that they can to increase visibility to do things to increase trans visibility.

I’m not the kind of person to ask someone else to do something I wouldn’t. I have been somewhat visible, speaking out for trans rights and trans inclusivity. I am doing what I can to be visible in my community. Visibility isn’t an either or thing, either. You can limit how visible you are and how you are visible. If you choose to be visible, do it in ways that you are comfortable and keep an eye towards safety. If you don’t choose to be visible, that’s fine, not everyone needs to be and it’s not for everyone.