“Call me Caitlyn,” is a very courageous statement to make, and it sounds very purple to me. What I mean is Caitlyn Jenner demonstrates the image of God with tenacity, much like Bonaventure described.
Bonaventure, a 13th century mystic, described our creation with a tambour that feels like the effervescence of a vital harp. Using gorgeous language, Bonaventure claims that the best name for Jesus is “Word.” Jesus, according to Bonaventure, started out as a mental word, or thought, in God’s consciousness (Delio, 2013).
I find this incredibly fascinating— the idea that Jesus and humanity all originated as an initial thought of God’s creativity. We are just like the onset of a precious painting, a mere creative idea that will inevitably become a fixture to adorn the halls of some prestigious museum.
God’s created child stands like a prism, an intermediary, to the created world. God is the bright, pure light shining through his child, Jesus. As the light passes through Jesus, we have a multihued expression of the essence of God, one astonishing rainbow of demonstrations. In other words, Bonaventure would say that creation is one massive display of God’s creativity through Christ (Delio, 2013).
In this way, I find it impossible to think that God is male in form. Sure, we read God as Father, a label we’ve used with the guise of our current dualistic and binary-induced systems of rhetoric. However entrenched in this myopic impression, I have to believe that if we are all created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), then God must embody both maleness and femaleness. God very well may be genderless. What a beautiful thought.
I simply cannot put a blue hat upon my understanding of God. Here, then, I find it imperative to emphasize the soul beyond the paint of the soul’s housing.
Others, however, find it overly commodious to think in terms of either blue or pink. We want to feel comfortable. We want our intellectual boundaries to extend far outside of our physical and cognitive world so that we have plenty of room in which to stuff our own version of truth.
Basically we want to afford a sense of peace in our self-derived/-defined comfort. Some need God to be blue in order to feel comfortable in their own expressions of gender. Many will prematurely assume that being transgender is choice much like deciding which job to take.
Examining the transgender disposition cannot be entirely understood with the notion that God mistakenly put a female soul in a male body. From a clinical perspective, the transgender disposition is much MUCH more complex than that.
So I ask, what if we really live in a world wherein gender is purple, where blue and pink could not nor should not be separated? What if God is better represented as purple more than blue with the potential of creating pink? In this light, I would say that my female counterparts are just as much the essence of God and not merely some offshoot of “his” creative capacity.
Many can easily comprehend God’s purple reality, the very world of diversity in which men are unreservedly emotive and woman are freely assertive; or the paradigm wherein we can respect the essence of one’s soul even because it has developed inside a physical body too dissimilar.
Others, however, will fight against their own God-inspired androgyny. They will try to pull the pink from the blue as though they can separate one frequency of light from another despite its originating prism, Christ.
Diversity continues to be a struggle for humankind as we’ve see in the gay wedding that was bombarded and its guest detained. The purple version of love is even attacked in far-off countries like Kyrgyzstan it seems.
When we are able to embrace the purple hue, the paradigm wherein we have no need for distinct categories to place God’s creative output and no need to limit the expression of God’s creative design of gender, we will be able to fully understand the complexity of God’s essence.
In other words, we cannot love the diversity of another if we cannot first understand how to love the full complexity of our own being.
One of my students at a local seminary asked one profound question. As he asked it from his evangelically rooted seat, he aimed to make a dashing point: God is concerned with the presentation of our bodies more than the preservation of our souls. Thankfully, his question backfired on him. What he realized is that God is concerned with our entire whole, not just the exhibit we make out of our bodies. He asked the following:
“Do we try to change the soul of the person to match the body or do we change the body of the person to match the soul?”
Inasmuch, “Call me Caitlyn” isn’t a statement of ruin or hopelessness. It is evidence of her embrace of the God within her. Essentially, she has learned the value and beauty of “created in God’s image” and the sweet song it makes when she expresses her body to match her [God given] soul. She has learned to see that God and herself can be one beautiful purple ray of light that finds a perfect spot within the multi-hued array of God as Rainbow.
Yes. Yes, I will call you Caitlyn. Caitlyn is an inspiration for all to continue discovering their entirety as God’s created purple children.
Delio, I. 2013. Simply Bonaventure: 2nd Edition. Hyde Park, NY: New City Press.