Saying Goodbye To My Alma Mater

Its Time To Go Our Separate Ways…

Photo by Pablo García Saldaña on Unsplash

So, firstly, I am cooking about a half-dozen stories right now (some rumbles, some just thoughts, and one about my ‘secret crushes’ in cartoon land, thanks to KP_the_writer…lol!) But mid-week this came up and I had to share, because I think its an important step for me…

As you may recall, I have two therapists (one for gender dysphoria/transition work, and one for “integration” work, I wanted her to help with boundary setting, bouncing off ideas, and the other various things we do with therapists to further our healing process. But from a more holistic perspective. I will have to dive into this another time, but I think we need to do that work here so you can see how helpful it can be.

Two Therapists? Too Many?

I think you can do this with simply one therapist too (I just wanted to be super cautious). Just talk about that at the intake and make it another goal to integrate your trans-identity, and what that will mean to you, with the rest of you, if that makes sense.

Back On Topic: My Former Higher Education

So, there I was, doing church work as a part-time, volunteer, pastor, couples and individual counseling, worship leader, pianist, fill-in preacher for about 20 years. The most meaningful work was what we called “prophetic ministry” where we would hear what God wanted to say to someone. And we would tell folks that the message needed to line up with scripture and that they shouldn’t make any major decisions without talking to spouse, family, pastor, etc. You could also call it christian channeling because we got images and “picture shows” (Holy Ghost streaming service, lol!) but we only used it for our God, when the gift can be used for any sort of spiritual connection, at least that has been my experience. Another article for another time. And I’m not with that ministry anymore, or planning to return. They were progressive in their spirituality but not inclusive…

Left My Former Helping To Learn About Me

Yep, after two lifetimes of helping others (including raising 4 beautiful and unique children) I’m ready to help me. And I don’t mean I didn’t ever do things for me, but I was always last on the list (except when I was in school). So now I’m learning about me and its wonderful! And I want to keep up that process, I’m shooting for syncing it with my HRT progress so do an assessment at the end of two years and see where things are at. And I will keep trying things, but that will be the check-in for “happy with” results or, think about other options.

So no more ministry. But still rumbling with what makes ministry “ministry”? And what parts of that are good and what parts are exchangeable or just droppable? And that brings us to this week…

The Beginning Of The End

My graduate school sends out fund raiser cards to alumni (I have a Masters of Arts in Theology that I’m currently not putting to use). They will usually have a story attached so you can see a practical use for the funds. But this time I said enough was enough. Because I applied for scholarships and got nothing, so I took out student loans, which anyone can do as far as I understand it. I understand that people want to get out without debt, but there are ways to get that debt reduced, including working for non-profits. So I don’t feel bad about not donating. So I was going to send a message to them and asked to be removed from the mailing list, but then I thought I should check with them on a theological point too…

The Bombshell

I went through the web site of my seminary, and found all the affirming language that they have (non-discrimination for gender, culture, age) but no language about inclusiveness for LGBT. And eventually, after digging around for a while, I found their articles of faith and yes, they want to help ministers engage with current social issues, including homosexuality. So, maybe not a surprise for those of you who have been in a Christian community and come out. So my graduate school is anti LGBT, just like my old church. (They both see LGB as sin and don’t even mention T). And I have to tell you, when I started my transition I stopped talking to God for a while, because I assumed they were just like the churches. And that didn’t feel right to me. So now at least I’m talking to God again (another story). But not to the ministries…

What To Do?

Well I couldn’t keep supporting a ministry that doesn’t support my rainbow family. So I sent a message to the director of the alumni association and explained that I could no long support the seminary and that they should take my name off the distribution lists. And that if there was a way to “un-diploma” me, I would. Because God doesn’t hate me for being Trans. She loves me for being me…

Photo by Zack Silver on Unsplash

The Road Less Traveled

I have to keep moving forward, to be me. But I’m still rumbling with this question of church involvement. For now I am doing my own thing and asking God to lead me through this process from her side. And I still hear from other entities from time to time too. All of them affirming and encouraging me that I am on the right path, my path, learning about the wonderful diversity of creation, and myself.

A Final Thought…

And I will tell that to anyone who needs to know it. God love you for you, not for what you do or don’t. For you. And if you got kicked because of who you are, its the humans doing that. Find an affirming church, because spiritual support is important in your journey too!!! And if your path is in the wilderness like mine is, then walk with your guide there and know you aren’t ever alone. I love you and God loves you…

Photo by Omer Salom on Unsplash

References:

Edit:

This was not meant as an endorsement for any particular religious practice, but it IS and endorsement of sprituality. I feel it is so important to who we are, to have a spiritual connection with our world, and the world beyond. Because it is another resource and way to know ourselves and each other (and everything else that is). I will write further on my experiences here but I guess you could call me “affirming” when it comes to other’s experiences too. Love in all her forms…

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Jenny Starr✨

Jenny Starr✨

A transgender woman (she/they) learning her way in this beautiful life…queer, curious, thoughtful. I write poetry, LGBTQ and whatever else. Come away with me!