Promise and Law

This is my paper for my first seminary class, "New Testament Foundations" at Andover Newton Theological School.

Passage: Galatians 3:15-29


It is not uncommon for Christians to turn to the Law (Torah) when they disagree with someone's actions or lifestyle. Paul reminds us of the promise made in God's covenant with Abraham and declares that the coming of the Mosaic Law did not modify that covenant. Paul shows that the Law is inferior to, and not a substitute for, the promise, but reveals sin and leads to Christ. He then declares that Christ's death frees us from the Law and its works, making all equal in the promise. In doing this, Paul declares that mature Christians should not be using the Law as a club to normalize behavior.

Candidacy Interview Questions

During my entrance interview with the Candidacy Committee I was asked a couple of questions for which I should have been better prepared. The questions below could easily be part of my witness in the future and a coherent answer is called for.

Tell us about your baptism

This question arises because I was baptized a year and a half ago, as an adult, at the church that endorsed my beginning the candidacy process. The committee may not see many people who actually remember their baptism.

Candidacy Essay

Being transsexual and having lived in both genders gives me an understanding of human nature that few have. Having been the target of hatred in the name of God, and overcoming it, gives me both the knowledge and the desire to minister to the disenfranchised, perhaps even showing, by example, that outcasts can come home. A desire to help believers mature in Christ also compels me to consider some sort of educational efforts. As a certified project manager and professional web developer, I also bring knowledge of technical subjects.

From as early as I can remember, I knew I was different from other kids. I didn't have much interest in the things boys did; I was more interested in what the other girls did. Making friends with girls was much easier than with boys. It took many years before I realized I was not alone in being transgender. In the meantime, I tried hard to dismiss it.

Welcoming is Not Enough

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. (II Cor. 5:18-19, NIV)

Pastor Nancy Kraft wrote of events in her church describing its journey to being a "welcoming" church. She describes welcoming as the first step, that of tolerance. Tolerance eventually morphs, she informs us, into acceptance. That is a notable transformation in itself.

That's not the end, however. Her church then moved into "wanting;" that is that those who were tolerated and then accepted are then elected to active participation in the congregation.

The Smile

You know that little "beatific" smile that some people have, especially those who feel close to God? Well, it seems to be showing up on my face more often these days. Scary thought, huh?

Perhaps it is because, lately, God is showing me things almost every time I turn around. I had already noticed, starting somewhere around Easter (my favorite day anyway), that my spirits have been rising steadily, even while being sick and unemployed.

Pastor Steve

I found Steve on Facebook and invited him to connect. Steve was the minister at Harvard Avenue United Methodist Church when we started there, and is the minister who married us. I think he's responsible for igniting my study of the Bible, but let's not downplay the Holy Spirit.

A short time after the invitation, I got an email asking if I used to live in Oklahoma. I replied stating my old name. I didn't hear anything for over a day, so I was worried that the Methodist stance on the LGBT community had put him off.


Last weekend I was honored by the church with being the voting representative to the New England Synod Assembly. The assembly included to selection of a new bishop - a very interesting process.

My Best Friend

When I got home from work this evening, I found my best friend, perhaps my only true friend, lying dead at my front door. Since he was not yet cold or stiff, I can only surmise that he knew I was on the way home (I was delayed by several events) and used his last ounce of strength to let me know he loved me and was glad I was home.

First, Unclench Your Fists

I didn't write this, but it touched me, so I'm putting it here to remind me. This was written by the wonderfully wise and great-hearted Roman Catholic priest Henri Nouwen at the Harvard Divinity School.

Is there a man who is secure in his manhood?

Well, it has happened again. A man I met online was interested in me. We'd talked a few times. But then he found my web site and learned of my past. I got an email that he doesn't want to talk to me again and that I should remove his name from my email address list. End of discussion.

Is there any man out there who is secure enough in his manhood that my past doesn't threaten him?

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