I thought of who we are in Christ as I read an article lauded by a Presbyterian pastor I follow on Twitter. A pastor, who, also follows me. The article, Pussy Don’t Fail Me Now: The Place of Vaginas in Black Feminist Theory & Organizing, was written by Dr. Brittney Cooper who writes under the name crunktastic on Crunk Feminist Collection. What was the Presbyterian pastor thinking? How did it “blow her mind” and send her “reeling?” Couldn’t she see the awfulness of floundering in a darkness that will forever hide the beauty of Jesus?
I couldn’t help thinking of a song that became popular during the Jesus Movement, Turn your eyes upon Jesus lo0k full in his wonderful face. There was another about looking into each other’s eyes and seeing Jesus, (I don’t remember the title.) It is about the identity of the Christian. We belong to Jesus and there our identity is lodged.
The article was Cooper’s dialogue with herself about whether black feminists should still identify with an emphasis on their vaginas or put that aside for the sake of transgender people who do not have vaginas. It was her reaction to some transgender people’s views about the recent women’ march in Washington D.C. Please forgive the quote, it summarizes Cooper’s posting:
“After this weekend’s historic and inspiring Women’s Marches all over the country, I happened to see a few trans folks naming and calling out the pussy-centered culture of the marches, and reminding those of us who are cis, that vaginas aren’t a prerequisite for womanhood. The march was filled with white (cisgender) women reveling in the opportunity to wear their very pink pussy hats and shirts, and talk freely about their vaginas in public. I was not able to attend a march, but the nostalgia for both the movements of the 1970s and the Riot Grrl Days was palpable, even in the pictures. Many transwomen, however, pointed out the ways in which a focus on vaginas can marginalize womenfolk that don’t have those parts.”
I am sorry for the vulgar images and painful jarring thoughts these words produce. But all I could think, as I read, was how we, the Church, must feel sorrow for those who are so hurting that they demean themselves in this way. Cooper in another place states that she is religious and reads the Bible from her perspective—but, for those who belong to Jesus, there is a union with Jesus that negates our bitter selves and moves our identity into his. It is his goodness, his righteousness, his holiness that marks us and gives us identity.
Those who have their identity in Jesus Christ have beauty; the beauty of Christ. They do not quibble, with vulgar emphasis, over which body parts should identify them and help them face a broken and too often ugly world. They have Christ.
The church walks in the goodness of her Lord and bears his beauty. May the women who marched and the women of the Crunk Feminist Collection find their identity and beauty in Jesus.
“And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet he has now reconciled you in his fleshly body through death, in order to present you before him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard …” (Col. 1:21-23b)