Austen Hartke

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March 2012


Austen Hartke is the author of "Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians," a new book on theology and personal narratives, published by Westminster John Knox Press in 2018. He is also the creator of the YouTube series Transgender and Christian, which seeks to understand, interpret, and share parts of the Bible that relate to gender identity and the lives of transgender individuals. Austen is a graduate of Luther Seminary’s Master of Arts program in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible Studies, and is the winner of the 2014 John Milton Prize in Old Testament Writing from the same institution. As a transgender person of faith, Austen's greatest passion is helping other trans and gender-non-conforming people see themselves in scri ...more

Average rating: 4.42 · 487 ratings · 111 reviews · 2 distinct worksSimilar authors
Transforming: The Bible & t...

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More of Austen's books…
“The thing is, we can't be in right relationship to each other if we can't see each other. We can't be fully present in any relationship if we're walling off part of ourselves or hiding beneath a mask.”
Austen Hartke, Transforming: The Bible & the Lives of Transgender Christians

“There are two ways to interpret what Paul says in Galatians 3:28 about our being one in Christ: either it means that we're all whitewashed and homogenized and our differences are erased... or it means that we're called to find a way to make our different identities fit together, like the bright shards in assorted colors that make up the stained glass windows of a cathedral. Are we called to sameness, or are we called to oneness?”
Austen Hartke, Transforming: The Bible & the Lives of Transgender Christians

“It might seem daunting to a congregation to have to learn about pronouns, or to designate a bathroom gender-neutral, or to have difficult conversations about what it means to affirm LGBTQ+ identities. But transgender people are not a burden for Christianity, or for the church. They come bearing gifts!”
Austen Hartke, Transforming: The Bible & the Lives of Transgender Christians

“What made me feel 'real?' When Errol tied my glove on for me or poured water in my mouth, or when I tripped over the jump rope and had to begin again. I felt real when I asked for help, when I failed, when I was myself. I did not want to become a real man, I realized. I was fighting for something better.”
Thomas Page McBee, Amateur: A True Story About What Makes a Man

“Hey Meg! Communication implies sound. Communion doesn't.' He sent her a brief image of walking silently through the woods, the two of them alone together., their feet almost noiseless on the rusty carpet of pine needles. They walked without speaking, without touching, and yet they were as close as it is possible for two human beings to be. They climbed up through the woods, coming out into the brilliant sunlight at the top of the hill. A few sumac trees showed their rusty candles. Mountain laurel, shiny, so dark a green the leaves seemed black in the fierceness of sunlight, pressed toward the woods. Meg and Calvin had stretched out in the thick, late-summer grass, lying on their backs, gazing up into the shimmering blue of sky, a vault interrupted only by a few small clouds.

And she had been as happy, she remembered, as it is possible to be, and as close to Calvin as she had ever been to anybody in her life, even Charles Wallace, so close that their separate bodies, daisies and buttercups joining rather than dividing them, seemed a single enjoyment of summer and sun and each other.

That was surely the purest kind of thing.

Mr. Jenkins had never had that kind of communion with another human being, a communion so rich and full that silence speaks more powerfully than words.”
Madeleine L'Engle, A Wind in the Door

“Ecclesiastes calls you the All-powerful; the Maccabees call you the Creator; the Epistle to the Ephesians calls you liberty; Baruch calls you Immensity; the Psalms call you Wisdom and Truth; John calls you Light; the Books of Kings call you Lord; Exodus calls you Providence; Leviticus, Sanctity; Esdras, Justice; the creation calls you God; man calls you Father; but Solomon calls you Compassion, and that is the most beautiful of all your names.”
Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

“The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It's for you I created the universe. I love you. There's only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you'll reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.”
Frederick Buechner

“when the imitation of Christ does not mean to live a life like Christ, but to live your life as authentically as Christ lived his, then there are many ways and forms in which a man can be a Christian.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society




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