I've spent over fifteen years (over half my life) thinking about gender and sexuality from various angles ("biblical" and otherwise), and I have yet to encounter a world in which "God's design" isn't just code for "your difference threatens me."

People have the right to work out their sexual identity in safe spaces. Pious, universal declarations about "what God intends" for human sexuality will not help the church, but fuel fear and create further space for social stigma and legal oppression of those who don't fit within the heteronormative framework of the dominant culture.

Believe me, as someone who has lived in such Christian spaces for many years, I understand the good intentions of those who make such declarations about "biblical manhood and womanhood." But if there's one thing I've discovered over the past three years that has devastated me to my core, it's that people can be kind, caring, well-intentioned, and generally decent people, and still perpetuate massive injustice.

Sometimes I tremble when I look back on the ways my lack of perspective has reinforced and perpetuated injustice, and fear that I am still perpetuating injustice because I am unable to experience the world from someone else's center.

But I refuse to acknowledge that a blue pill existence is a necessary or permanent state of things.

Whatever you believe, whatever your convictions or story, you cannot rely on what you have always known because what you know has been experienced from your own center. And that experience from your center has been joined to the experiences of people who look and sound like you.

These people are actually different from you, but through repetition you've created the comfortable illusion of sameness. Together you have eaten meals and forged new memories and created a communal core experience by collapsing the individual perspectives into a monolith to eliminate the terror of difference.

But then someone different comes along--or, rather, someone whose difference you feel more acutely because it doesn't fit into the illusion of sameness you've created. And it frightens you of course because you've learned that all things are best experienced from your center or your community's illusory center. In your design for the world, you are the core, the stillpoint of the turning world. And that must be preserved at all costs.

But there is an alternative to this perspective. A disposition (both individual and communal) that says, "I cannot experience consciousness from your center. You must tell me your story, and in the telling I will learn to know your existence and not to fear it."

The power you think belongs to you will be scattered, dispersed, redistributed. You will not see from every center, but you will live in the joy of knowing that every center matters, that your body is not diminished by the presence of another body. You will love that body as you love your own.

You will love, but you will not be free. For in letting go of your need for your center to be the center, you will find a new terror.

You will find yourself spread out through the cosmos, bound in relation to all things. You will find that your body was never in danger from difference, but from the illusion of sameness. And you will find that in loving your neighbor's body, you have loved yourself.

You will find no escape from the world you so desperately love, no relief from the weight of relation. You will radiate from every center, and every center will radiate from you.