In The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, we are given many key directives to breaking our old habits and reaching a new freedom. I have read Ruiz’s seminal work several times now, as a way to center myself in self-destructive moments (I highly recommend the audio version narrated by Peter Coyote). Amidst extreme personal and national upheaval, it was the emphasis took when referring to forgiving all who have wronged us, especially God, that caught my attention in my most recent read. According to Ruiz, “Once you forgive God, you can finally forgive yourself (The Toltec Path to Freedom, pg 123).
I have an obsession with faith, thanks to a near-literalist Judeo-Christian upbringing. By the time I was in eighth grade, I had read the Bible front to back multiple times. I credit it as my inspiration to start writing poetry, as I found so much of its imagery profoundly beautiful. However, as a closeted queer, the Word is also a source of deep shame, a work that has been used to justify the dehumanization of my people. As a hopeful, one-day preacher, those who claimed to speak the Word’s truth would often instill in me harmful interpretations of scripture. I learned to conceal my queerness quite effectively, until I could do so no longer, so I moved to New York City for college. I ran as far away from the conservative Christian bubble of my formative years as I could, finding comfort in the works of the aforementioned Don Miguel Ruiz, Kate Bornstein, Laura Jane Grace, etc. Queer theory consumed me wholly, eastern philosophy as well. Many winding paths later, through addiction and mental illness, I came to the realization of my own transness, and with that the dysphoria long buried by religious zealotry.
Still, in all this time, I have maintained a love for the book, The Holy Bible. I love the contradictions. I know there are hang ups about Christianity I still have, which prevent me from fully living my realized life as an out trans person.
So then, welcome to my attempt at making sense of my obsessions, my attempt at forgiving God using His own word. Though my belief in Him has faded, His presence in my life remains. He is the voice that makes me feel foolish for attempting to transition, that keeps me worried about passing, that convinces me that those who use she/her pronouns with me are only doing so as a joke.
I need to get right with God, just not in the way many Christians have told me to. I hope that these weekly updates on my journey back through the good book find you well, dear reader. There is a case out there for a queer-friendly Christ, and I hope I can help you find Him. Or, at the very least, I hope we can find a way to move past the botched translations which harm our queer bodies to this day. We can forgive Him, never forget, then move on together.
Ruiz, M. (2011). The four agreements: A practical guide to personal freedom. Amber-Allen Pub.