59 episodes

Join seminary graduate Avery Arden as they converse with transgender persons of various religions about their experiences with faith and gender. Discover the wonderful diversity of gifts and wisdom that trans people offer their communities.

Find episode transcripts at blessedarethebinarybreakers.com/podcast

Blessed Are the Binary Breakers Avery Arden

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 5.0 • 11 Ratings

Join seminary graduate Avery Arden as they converse with transgender persons of various religions about their experiences with faith and gender. Discover the wonderful diversity of gifts and wisdom that trans people offer their communities.

Find episode transcripts at blessedarethebinarybreakers.com/podcast

    Marginalized Bodies as Spectacle & the Good News in Jesus's Disabling Wounds

    Marginalized Bodies as Spectacle & the Good News in Jesus's Disabling Wounds

    In Jesus, God rose with wounds that would have impaired his mobility and fine motor skills. In John 20, Jesus allows his disciples to gaze at his impaired body, and even lets Thomas touch his wounds. Let's explore how this story connects to the complications of marginalized bodies being put on display for public consumption — of being made into a spectacle.

    Is it possible for marginalized persons to have any agency in how our bodies are viewed and interpreted? How does Jesus model possibility for his disciples, similar to what Laverne Cox calls trans possibility models? How have marginalized persons identified with the wounded Christ across the centuries?

    Content Warning: brief, undetailed mentions of hate crimes, transphobia, ableism, antiblackness, fatphobia

    ___

    Part of this episode explores an art piece by Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin — a photograph of Jesus with top surgery scars — that you can view here.
    Or view it and other images, with image descriptions, in the episode transcript.

    The episode also draws from S. Bear Bergman's 2021 article "Please Come and Be Fat."

    The episode ends with Rebekah Anderson's meditation "The Body of God."

    A previous episode of this podcast also delves into the John 20 story of Jesus and Thomas through a trans and disabled lens — episode 40, "Goodness Embodied: An Intersex, Nonbinary First Human and a Disabled Risen Christ."

    If you want to watch the sermon that this ep is based off of, visit here.

    ___

    TALKING POINTS:

    (0:00 - 3:36) - Introducing the topic: based off a sermon; Jesus's disabling wounds & marginalized bodies as spectacle
    (3:37 - 6:30) - Affirmation of Faith in God the seamstress, the wounded Christ
    (6:31 - 9:59) Introducing & reading John 20:19-29
    (10:00 - 15:59) Identifying our experiences with Christ's — medieval labor pains; Jesus with top surgery scars
    (16:00 - 21:52) - Possibility models: proving it's possible to be trans and successful & happy; Jesus proving there is life after suffering & death
    (21:53 - 23:51) - Jesus on the cross was forced to be a spectacle; the resurrected Jesus has regained his agency, chooses to share his wounds
    (23:52 - 26:10) - "Blessed are those who haven't seen and believe" — parallel with a friend's chronic illness & being believed
    (26:11 - 29:18) - risking vulnerability — visibility politics in trans & disabled communities
    (29:19 - 33:48) - The risen wounded Christ proves once and for all that what the world calls shameful & broken is not incompatible with the divine
    (33:49 - end) - "Imagine the body of God...God has every ability, and every disability in the world"

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    Blessed  Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast Network. Find more shows, such as Magnified Pod, at www.rockcandyrecordings.com.

    This show's theme song is "Aetherium" by Leah Horn. This episode  includes clips from “Dreamer,” “Theme 9,” and “Mod 5,” by Jeremy SH Griffith; as well as "Can't Find" by Mother Hood.

    • 38 min
    Queering the Cross, Tomb, and Resurrection

    Queering the Cross, Tomb, and Resurrection

    Now are the days that God lies dead — the God who, in dying, expressed ultimate solidarity with all who have been unjustly killed across the ages. Let's explore how various queer theologians between 1993 & 2006 — plus some trans poets more recently — have connected Jesus's Passion, death & burial, and resurrection to LGBTQ experiences.

    CONTENT WARNING: graphic depictions of hate crimes, including the murders of Matthew Shepard & a (fictional) Argentinian trans woman; deaths of gay men with AIDS; uses of dated LGBTQ+ language; mentions of religious homophobia

    Click here for an episode transcript (works cited at the end).

    Avery invites you to check out their YouTube video exploring theologies of the cross;
    and to revisit last year’s Good Friday and Easter eps: they’re episodes 39 and 40 here.

    Talking Points:

    - (0:00 - 4:35) Intro: different theologies of the cross; connecting Jesus’ Passion to contemporary LGBTQ experiences
    - (4:36 - 6:01) A poem on the cross by Slats Toole
    - (6:02 - 10:30) Queering the Beloved Disciple - Robert E. Goss
    - (10:31 - 12:17) Poem by Keaton St. James: “A Portrait of John at the Last Supper”
    - (12:18 - 16:59) Maxwell Lawton’s 1993 painting “Man of Sorrows: Christ with AIDS”
    - (17: 00 - 20:59) Jesus & Matthew Shepard: Redemption comes in what comes after
    - (21:00 - 27:39) The cross as solidarity; Avery’s poem “Your death was nothing special”
    - (27:40 - 37:46) Blamed for their own deaths: Jesus & LGBTQ+ Argentinians - Marcella Althaus-Reid
    - (37:47 - ) Lingering over Holy Saturday; Avery’s poem
    - (42:10 - 48:28) Easter - Jesus comes out; God’s queer surprise – Thomas Bohache & Goss
    - (48:29 - end) “Gay Angels?” Rolling back the stone - Rev. Nancy Wilson & Rev. Daniel Smith

    _____

    Blessed  Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast Network. Find more shows at www.rockcandyrecordings.com.

    This show's theme song is "Aetherium" by Leah Horn. This episode includes clips from “Dreamer,” “Theme 1,” “Theme 6,” “Mod 4,” “Dreams,” “Mod 5,” “Camilla,” and “Theme 3” by Jeremy SH Griffith. “The Circles I Went Round In” and “Beaconsfield Villas Stomp” by Doctor Turtle are also used.

    • 58 min
    Making Space for Gethsemane: two disabled & trans theologians discuss what people in pain actually need

    Making Space for Gethsemane: two disabled & trans theologians discuss what people in pain actually need

    For Holy Week, Avery joined Laura Sommer on their Autistic Liberation Theology Podcast to discuss two Gospel stories through a disability theology lens — with some trans theology sprinkled in: John 12's account of Mary of Bethany anointing Jesus; and Mark 14's telling of Jesus' Agony in the Garden.

    Our world does not teach us how to face discomfort and pain healthily: we avoid, dismiss, or deny it; or we blame the one suffering; or we jump to action even when there are no easy fixes. In Bethany, Mary teaches us the art of simple affirmation and tenderness in the face of another's suffering. In Gethsemane, Jesus shows us the power in taking time to lament, to complain, to rage, to question — to feel whatever emotions come — when we are the ones in pain.

    Read along with the episode transcript here.
    For the unabridged episode, listen on Laura's podcast here, where the episode is titled "The Gethsemane of things."

    Talking Points:

    - (0:00 - 4:52) Introducing the topics – making space with Jesus for fear and grief; chronic pain

    - (3:22 - 9:33) First story: John 12:1-8 — reading; discussing Judas – it’s fine to ask questions

    - (9:34 - 13:53) Hierarchy of luxury — judging the spending of poor & disabled persons, activists

    - (13:54 - 15:31) Mary had to use oil on Lazarus’ body not long before; now she can use it on Jesus while he’s still alive to appreciate it — Trans message: “Give us our roses while we’re here”

    - (15:32 - 17:19) Avoiding inspiration porn; diluting people’s message after their death — MLK, Jesus

    - (17:20 - 24:29) Mary affirms Jesus’s identity and mission when no one else does — versus avoiding, blaming, denying, or trying to fix disabled persons’ pain; our culture doesn’t teach us how deal with discomfort

    - (24:30 - 28:20) The oil will follow Jesus through his suffering; comfort to Mary as well; it’s hard to feel helpless as the person suffering or the person watching that suffering

    - (28:21 - 33:49) Second story: Mark 14’s Gethsemane story; comparing the disciples’ sleep to coping with reality by shutting our eyes

    - (33:50 - 40:38) Jesus took the time and space to sit with his grief; disabled people deserve to grieve their own experiences without it “betraying the cause” — allowed to camp a while in the Gethsemane of things

    - (40:39 - 42:40) Community members who affirm your experience make all the difference; it makes sense that it’s the women who “get” Jesus because they know what it’s like to have their pain & reality dismissed

    - (42:41 - end) Wrapping up

    __________

    Blessed  Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast Network. Find more shows, such as Bible Bash, at www.rockcandyrecordings.com.

    This show's theme song is "Aetherium" by Leah Horn. Other music used in this episode: "Mod 4" and "Mod 5" by Jeremy SH Griffith.

    • 46 min
    What's in a Name Change? — How I became Avery Arden and made it through the legal process

    What's in a Name Change? — How I became Avery Arden and made it through the legal process

    Avery brings their wife on to reminisce about Avery's name journey — from picking out Avery several years ago, to choosing new middle & last names in time for the legal name change process. Why is that process so dang complicated and expensive? Why was "Banana" ever on the table for surname options? How does Avery honor their family & faith roots with their new name? And what do Avery, Cher, & Sasquatch all have in common?? 

    Listen — or read along with the episode transcript — to find out!

    Talking points:

    (0:00 - 7:11) Introducing Leah, Avery's new full name; discussing Avery's nicknames growing up
    (7:12 - 10:20) When a family member chooses a new name; advice for any parents about their kids' names
    (10:21 - 20:27) Picking the name Avery, process of telling it to Leah, family, church, teachers
    (20:28 - 24:45) Picking a new last name (Banana??!)
    (24:46 - 30:16) Why Raphael for a middle name — archangel, name of Avery's church growing up
    (30:17 - 37:16) A little rant about deadnames getting shared on school rosters, doctors' offices — a deadname is like a haunting
    (37:17 - 45:37) The legal process! Announcing your petition for name change in the paper like it's the Old West; waiting on clerks and judges — who can choose to make it even harder on you if they want to be jerks
    (45:38 - 49:15) More on the name Arden — from Shakespeare's play As You Like It, where the Forest Arden is a place for gender hijinks and freedom from social norms
    (49:16 - end) Wrapping up — Leah's incredible sign-off

    ———

    Blessed  Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast  Network. Find more shows, such as Bible Bash, at www.rockcandyrecordings.com.

    This show's theme song is "Aetherium" by Leah Horn.

    • 50 min
    O Beautiful Dust — Lenten Prayers & the Gospels’ genderqueer water bearer

    O Beautiful Dust — Lenten Prayers & the Gospels’ genderqueer water bearer

    In O Beautiful Dust, RW Walker explores what difference traditional, queer, and Christ-centred common prayer might make in a chaotic and divided world. Avery had the honor of narrating the audiobook put out by Squirrel House Publishing — and they're offering A FREE COPY of that audiobook to the first 10 people to email them for it! Listen to the episode (or read along in the transcript) for more details.

    In this episode, Avery shares 6 of the over 40 prayers contained in O Beautiful Dust — and offers some cultural context behind one of those pieces, which explores the story of the gender non-conforming water bearer to whom Jesus sends his disciples shortly before the Last Supper.

    Visit https://obeautifuldust.carrd.co/ for all the links for where to purchase RW Walker's book, as well as for info about the author, narrator, and publisher. (This page is still being updated as more purchasing links go live in the coming days.)

    And if you want to watch Peterson Toscano's film Transfigurations: Gender Outlaws in the Bible, click here!

    Talking Points:

    (0:00 - 2:13) Baha'i fast & Christian Lent

    (2:14 - 7:10) Introducing RW Walker and his book, O Beautiful Dust; Avery as narrator of the audiobook

    (7:11 - 12:47) Historical context for the first poem — the gender nonconforming water bearer of the synoptic Gospels

    (12:48 - 14:00) Poem 1: "Carrying Water"

    (14:01 - 16:05) Poem 2: "God's Reputation"

    (16:06 - 17:22) Poem 3: "My Delight Is in You"

    (17:23 - 19:15) Poem 4: "Help Us to Be Wise"

    (19:16 - 20:50) Poem 5: "When I Grow Up"

    (20:51 - 22:32) Poem 6: "Jesus, Be with My People"

    (22:33 - end) Wrapping up

    • 25 min
    Coming Back to Life — Rev. Krissy is a politically queer UCC pastor

    Coming Back to Life — Rev. Krissy is a politically queer UCC pastor

    Like Lazarus resurrected by Jesus, Rev. Krissy has moved from a stifling tomb — a church where they could not be openly queer & politically active — into the abundant life of authentic self and fighting for the liberation of all.

    Krissy is a pastor and chaplain in the United Church of Christ who loves their supportive spouse, children, and church; and who sees a message of good news for all whom the world calls shameful in the parable of the father with two sons (i.e. the parable of the prodigal son).

    Click here for an episode transcript.

    Talking Points:

    (0:00 - 4:54) Introducing Krissy — UCC pastor and chaplain in St. Louis
    (4:55 - 8:36) Krissy's family: a supportive spouse who doesn't get gender in general; supportive adult children
    (8:37 - 11:08) The United Church of Christ: variety of beliefs; full participation of neurodivergent persons & people with mental illness
    (11:09 - 14:50) Past work at a conservative suburban church where they couldn't be out; seminary friend who affirmed Krissy's queerness
    (14:51 - 18:22) Lazarus coming back to life; Krissy coming back to life with a queer-affirming, social justice oriented congregation
    (18:23 - 21:03) Made for freedom vs. constricting pulpits & gender boxes
    (21:04 - 29:06) "Queer" as a radical liberationist term; "slurs" are our shields & power sources; passing unnecessary
    (29-07 - 38:32) More on Krissy's ministry: chaplain for children with trauma; politically active church
    (38:33 - 43:21) Encouragement in a messy, suffering world
    (43:22 - 51:16) The parable of the man with two sons (i.e. the prodigal son) — letting go of social cleanliness & honor
    (51:17 - 54:11) "It's about coming back to life" – the good news in Christianity for oppressed peoples
    (54:12 - end) Breaking down barriers, drawing the circle wider

    Find Krissy at rev-krissy.tumblr.com; or visit their church website: www.epiphanyucc.org

    ______

    Blessed  Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast  Network. Find more shows, such as Bible Bash, at www.rockcandyrecordings.com.

    This show's theme song is "Aetherium" by Leah Horn. This episode also  makes use of "Gold Beamer" by Mother Hood.

    • 57 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
11 Ratings

11 Ratings

Ziel Starfallen ,

Phenomenal Hope for trans people of faith

This podcast is a Godsend. Faith can be such a mixed bag for queer people, especially trans people. Even if we are blessed enough to be accepted, very rarely are we the focus of the messages and theology. This podcast is full of bold and beautiful queer people with wonderful insight on their religions and faith journeys. I would highly recommend it to any queer person of faith.

cheesecake-factory ,

Insightful & wonderful

This podcast is super interesting and so important. Thanks Avery and to every interviewee for sharing!

NEONGLF ,

Let Avery open your Mind, Heart & Soul

Let Avery Smith open your mind, heart and soul to their world. Enjoyable to hear their stories and look forward to more.

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