In light of Saturday night’s massacre of 50 gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals, and transgender people at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, we Christians must repent of our narrow vision of who God is. By repent, I mean that we must change our way of thinking. This is what I believe the Bible has to offer as I meditate on the crucifixion at Orlando.
It is often said that “God never changes”. I do not not see it that way. God not only changes, God is by nature change. God is so fundamentally about change that, according to the writer of John’s gospel, God is trans.
In verse 1:14 of his gospel, John wrote in the most beautiful way that before the present age began, God already was trans. Before the present age, God was abstraction then transitioned to Good News. Before the present age, God was Word then transitioned to Flesh. Before the present age, God was Poem then transitioned to Prose.
What was right for one context and in one age was not right for another context in another age. In the abstract Beginning, the world had been a place of liveliness and peace. It had been a garden. But by about 30 CE, or thereabouts, the world had become a place of paranoia on the part of pharaohs and caesars obsessed with national security and of religious leaders obsessed with their arrangements with pharaohs and caesars.
Living on a brink which was crumbling, as they presumed, because of a seismic shift in the order of things, they were in a profound and continual existential crisis. Because they were in a profound, existential crisis, they caused to suffer anyone who threatened their existential well-being. Whether the threat was real was not the issue. The issue was the existential crisis and the on-going dreadful sense of being under attack.
They were terrified. By the same token, they resorted to acts of terrorism.
They turned to the ways they believed would allow them to hold onto order, the status quo, the cash coming in, oil for the chariots, and regalia for the soldiers. They turned to humiliation and death. They turned to the terrorism of crucifixion. At first it was only one or two bandits. The next thing anyone could remember, it was 72,000 bandits crucified along the Appian Way. (Not that they really were bandits; they were revolutionaries who had announced that God was the God of Life and not the Idol of Death.) Once it reached mass execution proportions, crucifixions had become official announcements to the masses that Caesar was God.
That Caesar was God was a lie. God knew it was a lie. Thus, God decided that God could no longer be the authentic Lord of Life so long as God stayed Word. God had to transition to Flesh in order to maintain God’s integrity as Lord of Life.
And so the God who since The Beginning had been trans made God’s transition from Word to Flesh as a sort of counter announcement.
If we are familiar with the Bible, we know what happened next: after about 3 years or so, God, too, was crucified.
What happened in Orlando was a re-run of sorts. It seems to me that if the crucifixions are to end, we might do well to reflect on who God is. We might consider that God had no fixed nature. We might consider that God was trans.
In memory of all those died at Pulse, June 11, 2016.