“If the body of Christ in these works is both male and female, if the body of Christ in these works is the body of all bodies, then His body is also the trans body,” Joshua Heath said in a Sunday sermon.
Heath, whose doctorate in theology was supervised by former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, also claimed that in one of the medieval paintings he showed the congregation, the spear wound in Jesus’ side “has a distinctly vaginal appearance.” On another, he pointed out how the blood was flowing from his side to his groin.
Heath’s sermon during the traditional Anglican service left many in attendance, including children, “visibly uncomfortable,” according to an anonymous parishioner who sent a letter of complaint to the Dean, Michael Banner. Shouts of “heresy” reportedly rang out in the church as the angry worshipers left in disgust.
“I left the service in tears,” the churchgoer wrote to the dean. “They offered to talk to me afterwards, but I was too desperate. I despise the idea that a man can become a woman by cutting a hole in his body through which he can be penetrated.”
In Banner’s response to the letter, seen by the Daily Telegraph, the Dean defended Heath, claiming his sermon “suggested that we might reflect on these images of Christ’s male/female body as they offer us ways to think about issues around transgender people today.”
The Dean of Trinity College defended Heath. Joshua Heath had expressed “legitimate” speculation in his Evensong sermon. He added that he would not have extended an invitation to someone: “who I would assume would intentionally try to shock or offend a congregation or could be expected to speak against the Christian faith.”