I recently wrote about the relatively unremarked issue of gender dysphoria and believers opting for gender reassignment. I wrote that I had communicated with Assemblies of God leadership about this issue some years ago, and that I believed a position paper is in order — now, not at some later date when it becomes a “real” issue.
And it has begun. I’d say the issue is now real.
While it hasn’t surfaced within the Assemblies of God yet, I suspect it will within the next few years. Meanwhile, The Church Report Online released a special report in its May 2007 issue, titled: “Identity Crisis: A Transgender Minister Reappointed to Lead Church.” MinistryToday magazine’s weblog quickly picked up on the story. And the story threatens to go national now that a CBS affiliate has featured the item (includes video).
On May 25, at a previously unheralded United Methodist Church in Baltimore, the Reverend Ann Gordon announced her gender reassignment and consequent name change to the Reverend Drew Phoenix. And while the UMC has rules of discipline regarding “sexually active gay clergy,” there’s nothing on the books about transgendered clergy. So, for now, for the next year at least, Phoenix remains pastor.
(It is no coincidence that the timing of the announcement syncs with Pentecost Sunday, when we celebrate the founding of the Church and the empowerment of the Spirit for ministry.)
Meanwhile his more clear-headed colleagues from the Baltimore-Washington Conference are calling for a review of the decision. Good luck with that. And a conservative UMC group, UMAction, is petitioning the UMC General Conference to come up with a position paper. Good luck with that, too.
As Ann Gordon/Drew Phoenix said, “I want to be the face for an issue.” Phoenix will get his wish. And the issue is going to steam-roll the United Methodist church. If anybody thought that the Gay and Lesbian clerical issues were difficult to resolve (and largely remain unresolved), wait’ll this hits the debate floor.
Here, for your consideration, are the comments I posted to the Ministry Today blog, which asked: “How should the Methodist Church respond to this situation? What would you say?”
I’ve blogged about this nascent issue on my own weblog. Churches simply aren’t prepared for this. And the mainline churches who gave up the struggle on ordaining homosexual ministers will probably have to roll over on the issue if they’re going to be consistent in their rejection of orthodox Biblical values.
While the Bible does not directly speak to sexual dysphoria or sexual identity issues, I believe there is a Biblical foundation for rejecting the claims of the transgendered proponents.
The creation account clearly depicts the inception of two sexes: male and female — not some admixture of the two. And as God created man in his image, clearly expressed gender identity is very likely a part of that imago dei. Any confusion regarding one’s innate gender would, therefore, be a result of the Fall, sin, and its many effects. To surrender to the dysphoria and adopt a new sexual identity does not clarify the chaos, rather, it cements it.
The Apostle Paul makes it clear that our identity in Christ is not tied to our “meat space” identity. He encouraged the Corinthian believers not to waste their energy in changing their social or psychological circumstances:
“Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. … Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him.” (See 1 Corinthians 7)
I’m sympathetic to circumstances where gender dysphoria arise from true hermaphroditism (having both male and female sexual characteristics) or where sexual genitalia are opposite one’s genetic endowments. In such circumstances, I believe acting out a sexuality or gender that is at odds with oneâ€™s innate physical genitalia creates a self-contradictory gender image — and this does violence to the “image of God” within.
Our denominations will have to wake up to this issue, like it or not. I’ve called for my own Fellowship to respond to this — years ago, and it hasn’t happened yet. But the trend is inexorable and we must respond now.
Notes from around the Blogosphere and Web
- The Albert Mohler Radio Program: “Gender Identity Disorder In The Pulpit” (with MP3)
“When the former Rev. Ann Gordon returned to her congregation at St. John’s United Methodist Church as Rev. Drew Phoenix, the regional leadership of the United Methodist Church was faced with something of a dilemma. Their decision to reappoint Gordon/Phoenix has ignited a firestorm of controversy and we’re joined by Mark Tooley, of The Institute on Religion and Democracy, to analyze the issues involved in the case.”
- Teflon at MoltenThought says, “We are created with the proper gender, and those afflictions of body, mind, and soul not self-inflicted do not excuse us from proper behavior. … Is it not more likely that the creature is twisted and the Creator straight and true?”
- The Baltimore Sun: “Transgender minister is reappointed”
“In explaining yesterday’s decision to the conference, [Bishop John] Schol said he looked at the Book of Discipline, talked with fellow bishops and other experts and ‘learned that there is nothing in our discipline that speaks to transgendered persons, learned that there is nothing in our policies or guidelines that speaks to transgendered persons.’ According to the Book of Discipline, to be a pastor, ‘the person has to be of good character, and faithful to the church and effective in ministry,’ Schol said in an interview. Phoenix is all of those things, he said.”
- UMC.org: “Pastor speaks of transgender experience“
“Phoenix believes his transition is making him “even more effective” as a pastor and said his greatest concern “is that the congregation continues to grow and thrive.””
- Darrell at Dow Blog in “Post-Modern Gender Confusion” writes: “Is there any doubt that we are living in an era of sexual and gender confusion? In our post-modern mind, we ourselves determine what it means to be man and woman, to be human. The Author of creation is cast aside as the goddess science is enthroned and worshipped, even in the ‘church.'”
- MBT at Right Pundits in “Transgender Methodist Minister Is Reappointed” comments: “I wonder if a pastor with a conservative bent would even get ordained anymore in the Methodist church, let alone become Bishop?”
- And more…
[tags]1-Corinthians, Albert-Mohler, Ann-Gordon, Assemblies-of-God, Assembly-of-God, Baltimore, Baltimore-Sun, Baltimore-Washington-Conference, Biblical-values, Bishop-John-Schol, Bishop-Schol, BlogRodent, body-image, Book-of-Discipline, charismatic, Church, Church-Report, clergy, controversy, creation, deviance, DNA, Drew-Phoenix, dysfunction, dysphoria, ethics, female, Gay, gay-clergy, gay-minister, gender, Gender-Confusion, gender-dysphoria, gender-identity, Gender-Identity-Disorder, gender-reassignment, General-Conference, genitalia, GLBT, hermaphrodite, hermaphroditism, identity, Identity-Crisis, identity-in-Christ, imago-dei, John-Schol, Lesbian, mainline-church, male, male-and-female, Mark-Tooley, Maryland, Methodist, minister, ministry, MinistryToday, Pentecost, Pentecostal, perversion, Phoenix, position-paper, Protestant, psychology, Reconciling-Ministries-Network, Religion, Reverend-Phoenix, sex, sexual-identity, sexuality, sin, The-Church-Report, The-Fall, The-Institute-on-Religion-and-Democracy, theology, Transgender, transgendered-clergy, UMAction, UMC, United-Methodist, United-Methodist-Church[/tags]
This is sheer craziness. I can’t imagine that the AG will actually have to deal with this.
Do we really need position papers regarding how to deal with clergy that choose to mutilate their bodies and present themselves as the opposite sex?
Carl, it is, indeed, hard to imagine, but I believe we’ll have to confront it. After all, as I mentioned previously, a good church in Northern California hadn’t thought through the issues and a transgendered believer was teaching Sunday School, teaching the teachers how to teach Sunday School, managing the church Website, and so on. While not clergy, this was a position of leadership. Is that acceptable? Is it not? Apparently, to this pastor it was.
(Note: the person I’m speaking of — who I will not name — is a firm believer and a fine teacher and someone I’ve corresponded with often over the years and consider a friend. I’m just unhappy about the way things have developed.)
Without a clearly defined position and policy, a test case will inevitably prompt a flurry of coulda, shoulda, woulda.
Unfortunately, policies and positions are like stop signs: They often get erected only after an intersection proves dangerous.
As much as I hang on every word of self-righteous hissy fits of Bloggers…
Gimme a break!
The Church needs to stop running to the hills every time it’s presented with real issues in the real world.
Transgendered clergy, laity, or even church mice for goodness sake, are unacceptable in the Kingdom of God. You gave more than adequate scriptural force to the reasoning that would be so, but I would add Deuteronomy 22:5 to the mix. Yes, it is the law, and not in force as a means to righteousness, but it still describes debauchery quite well, and so makes the argument clear. Life is not about getting God to accept our concept of ourselves, but about us dying to ourselves so that Christ might arise within us. Christ certainly was not transgendered nor homosexual, so how can anyone letting Christ live in them be so without transgression?
With this turn of events in the UMC, it seems apparent to me churches no longer have the option to look the other way in regards to the gender dysphoria issue. This could be the catalyst for the church community to look at addressing this issue. Let’s pray others will follow the lead of Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in tackling this. (On his radio program yesterday, May 29, and in his blog today, May 30.)
However, we know we humans like to continue in our familiar vein of not addressing something. I recall an analogy Neil Anderson (author of Bondage Breaker) shared at a seminar in Denver in the 90s.
Thanks for your comments, all.
As for running to the hills, that’s kind of the opposite of what I’m proposing. I believe the issue needs to be addressed before it becomes a crisis within any of our churches.
I would not expect you, Swift, to see this as relevant, important, or critical. Just as I would not expect, say, the Judaizers to think that Paul’s concerns about circumcision were legitimate: you’re an admitted proponent of the GLBT point of view.
If the Apostle Paul felt it was important enough to protect the integrity of church leadership by requiring that pastors have intact marital unions (e.g., a “one-woman man”), I cannot see how it is any less important to insist on intact genitalia.
You say that like it’s a bad thing : )
Can you please tell me where hermaphrodites fit in your little boxes? Or those with “Ambiguous Genitalia?”
Certainly. From this post:
And from my previous post on this subject:
The news show 20/20 did a show on transgendered children a few weeks back. I can’t help but wonder if the Church is going to see this topic through it’s anti-gay colored glasses and come out on the wrong side of this issue also.
In short, as far as you are concerned, unless there is a physiological abnormality involved, there is no such thing as a valid transsexual.
Let’s talk about this business of “God’s Image” for a moment. If physical sexual characteristics can be ambiguous, and one argues that all of us are created “in God’s Image”, one must conclude that the intersex people are similarly created “in God’s Image”.
Expanding on that, we know from a variety of sources that a variety of conditions occur quite naturally that we cannot necessarily see – including variations in personality and basic behavioural characteristics. Similarly, those variations between individuals would fall under the general category of “In God’s Image”. (I’m talking about those basic attributes that differentiate me from you, and the reality that I’m not you, and you’re not me – we are different individuals)
So, why would you exclude psychological variation from your tautology about “In God’s Image” when we reach the topic of gender identity? To assert that psychological variance is any less “In God’s Image” than physiological variance seems to diminish the very notion of “God’s Image” to a superficial thing that only scratches the surface of creation.
Thanks, Michelle, for taking me to task on something I didn’t write well.
At creation, mankind was made in God’s image.
Now, several millennia down the road, we still bear his image, of course, but the introduction of sin into creation now means that “all creation groans,” awaiting that time when all shall be made anew and recreated with perfection. All creation, including the imago dei.
It is interesting to me that transsexuals assume that they way they think and feel is correct while they way they are physically built is not. Why does the inner state trump the physical state? Why not assume that what is observable is the correct form and that the inner state is what must be corrected or endured?
In today’s climate it’s becoming increasingly non-politically correct to suggest that homosexuals and transsexuals have had the eyes of their minds blinded. But because surgery can reliably transform the flesh and psychology cannot do so reliably, then let’s start cutting away whenever we feel at odds with our gender.
You know, there are people who feel their body image really shouldn’t include an arm, a hand, or a leg, and they voluntarily submit to amputation.
You know, there are pregnant women who feel that since having a baby would make them unhappy, and since unhappiness endangers the emotional well-being of the woman, aborting the pregnancy is justifiable. This despite the reality that the baby is no more a part of the woman’s body than her toe belongs to the baby’s body.
So, if you’re unhappy, just start flailing away at your body with the scalpel and a good surgical team on standby until meat space conforms with inner space. Then true happiness is at your fingertips.
But no amount of surgery and hormone therapy will make Drew Phoenix into a man who can naturally impregnate a woman.
And that masculine procreative ability, like the feminine procreative ability–like it or not–is a part of the image of God in the natural created order of the world. Only in this fallen world corrupted with sin do we have women who acquire the equipment to penetrate but lack the ability to impregnate. Only in this world do we have men acquiring the equipment to receive but who lack the ability to conceive.
I am aware that many suffer from gender identity dysphoria, and I can barely imagine how painful and difficult life could be under those circumstances. But unhappiness is our lot in life. This is a fallen world. It is cursed.
Or do you really believe that in Eternity anybody currently suffering from ambiguous sexuality will still suffer?
The inner state trumps the outer state because the inner state is the seat of my soul, spirit, who I am, who is me. You stress procreation in your argument, but both Christ and Paul pretty much ignored that incentive in what they taught and how they lived.
Well said Rich.
In rebirth, the inner space is precisely the theater of change. Our physical embodiment is not transformed, but the inner man, day by day after the likeness of God. The outer must wait in groaning until the resurrection (or rapture) to be rectified. If our inner man is at odds with what God created in the physical, it is the inner that can and needs to transform, not the outer by undertaking a technological shortcut. Does the word Ishmael mean anything?
All of us travail in one way or another because of this truth, but that gives none of us an excuse to change the times and seasons according to our fleshly inclinations. We don’t have the right to rewrite the word concerning drunkenness, gluttony, greed, envy, etc. just because it would ease the dis-ease of our inner space. We certainly don’t have that right with transgenderism.
I believe that you have failed to address the logical conundrum that I was raising.
If it is not “immoral” to treat a physical abnormality such as the intersex (often without the input of the patient), and we legitimately treat a wide variety of mental space conditions to the best of our abilities, then why is it that being transsexual raises your ire?
It seems to me from what I read, your argument could just as easily be turned on the medical treatment applied to enable intersex people to “fit into” a role that society expects. The reasoning of “noble suffering” that you postulate could just as easily be applied to intersex individuals, as well as a variety of mental and personality conditions that cause significant problems for those who encounter them.
Further, I would assert that by focusing upon the surgical aspects of the treatment of transsexuals that you have substantially misinterpreted the goals and journey of these people. Gender transition is much more about adjusting to a social role than it is about the “reworking of the plumbing”. The WPATH (formerly HBIGDA) “Standards of Care” for transsexuals are quite clear about a significant period of life “in the desired gender” before surgery of any kind would be approved. In many respects, the physical changes are secondary to the journey, only really available once the transsexual has demonstrated an ability to survive in that social role. Oddly, this overarching goal is in fact the same core goal that genital constructive surgery on intersex people is supposed to enable.
My point being that if you focus solely upon the physiological and sexual aspects of the conversation, you are in fact missing key and vital facets of the transsexual’s experience in your analysis.
Life for a post-transition transsexual does not get easier, if one is lucky, they are slightly better equipped to cope in the world than they were before they transitioned. In this case, treatment is not curative, only ameliorative.
While I would certainly not advocate that “surgery on demand” should be provided to prospective transsexuals, on the other hand, someone who has successfully transitioned and lived in their chosen gender role for a period of time have a legitimate right to make their own decision on such a matter.
Or do you really believe that in Eternity anybody currently suffering from ambiguous sexuality will still suffer?
Frankly, I do not know. Although scripture provides a particular view of what comes after this world, the cold, hard reality is that we cannot know what lies beyond this world – we can only speculate.
If, as you assert, this world is cursed, then we are all here to find our way to make the best of a bad situation. That being the case, it seems to me that it is up to the transsexual to find the best possible path for themselves to live – if that involves gender transition, that does not make the person necessarily immoral or licentious. (In fact, you would find most transsexuals live quite unremarkable lives after transition)
Fundamentally, what I am claiming is that your judgment comes from a limited, and flawed, analysis of a subgroup of people that few even attempt to understand, and I further claim that the conclusions drawn from such an analysis are similarly flawed.
While gender transition is a rare, and difficult to understand event, I would argue that the fact that it is primarily a social journey, not a sexual one, substantially changes the tone of any reasonable analysis.
Rich, Michelle et al
I am a genetic male Christian who struggles with gender dysphoria. Through the years I have generally “walked the fence” between living as a male and moving towards transitioning as woman, generally drifting from one side to the other. I have lived as a man for some time now, but that doesn’t mean I have no desire to bring my “inner state” into alignment with my “outer state.”
I have come to the conclusion that a significant portion of my condition is not genetic, but really a result of my past (and primarily child-hood) experiences. The knowledge of understanding the impact that my past has had on this issue, in addition to changes that I have made in the way I live life, have made it easier for me to live as a man. Most notably, the longer I practice these changes in how I live my life, the more congruent my inner and outer self become. While I hope to one day experience pure harmony between my inner and outer self, I don’t know if this will ever happen; presumably not if there is any genetic component to my internal disposition.
The primary reason I never pursued transgenderism with a passion is that I believe that it is not what God desires of me. That belief is not based on a “feeling” (as otherwise I would have pursued living as a female more aggressively), but on my inability to reconcile such an action with living a spiritual and godly life. Acting according to my belief however is extremely difficult when I was confronted with the emotions I felt (emotions and feelings usually win out).
What convinced me that God did not intend for me to live as a woman is the fact that I was born a man. While I may feel a sense of conflict about who I “really” am, it’s this fact that makes me believe that God’s intention for me personally was to live life out as a man. My knowing this is useful when I reach a heightened level of confusion. Secondly, examining human nature and understanding the “moral law” I can see that my feelings are not a true indicator of who I am or what I do.
Unfortunately, I personally do not have any significant sense of right or wrong when it comes to transgenderism. I am not appalled at living life as a transgender; I don’t cringe when I see others living life as a transgender, in fact quite the opposite. My internal moral compass vacillates between being agnostic to being supportive to me living as woman.
But I by examining those around me, I find that this “internal compass” can be somewhat undependable. I look at others around me who have strong inner compulsions to doing one thing or another but I would certainly not want to see them acted out. In fact a significant portion of people with strong compulsions have attended addiction recovery groups. Whether my pre-disposition is genetic or not becomes irrelevant as alcoholism has been shown to have genetic roots as well, but no-one in the mental health profession would ever tell an alcoholic to “Drink up,” since he was obviously meant to drink and he’s not hurting anyone.
The analogy is obviously not absolutely correct, since the impact of alcoholism is enormous to the physical self and those near the alcoholic. But who’s to say that transgenderism isn’t equally devastating to the inner self and those around him/her? As far as I can tell, everyone is straddled with baggage (issues), some of it genetic and some of as a result of experiences during formative years. These issues all cause us to want to do things that are destructive. The cause of these issues is generally immaterial. It’s what we do with these issues and how we respond to them that is material.
Now that I’ve set the high-level stage for who I am and probably gone off on a tangent or two. My question to Rich is this:
OK, so we (Christians) think that transgenderism is not part of God’s plan and that Christians who choose to change their gender should not be in Christian leadership. The number of (non-Christian) transgendered individuals out in the real world is increasing significantly. The current message that churches send to these individuals is “stay away.” There are churches that do appeal to GLBT individuals, but they emphasize love and acceptance while ignoring spiritual truths. I’m assuming that at some point some of the more progressive churches will de-stigmatize transgenderism (probably as society as a whole does). and transgenders will be integrating themselves into the spiritual landscape, much like some former Gays and Lesbians have (walking away from the lifestyle).
But as you might guess it’s a lot easier to stop living the gay lifestyle than it is to reverse surgical procedures and transgender lifestyles. What does the church demand of the transsexual who is converted to Christianity? Do you tell them they have to revert back to their genetic sex? Do you force them to reveal their “secret” to the whole church? Do you put a restriction on the nature of their relationships? Should they be treated according to their genetic sex or their transformed sex? Do you allow them to rise in positions of authority or ministry? Do you allow each of these individuals to pursue their own path as they are prompted by God? Do you even put guidelines together or is each case handled individually?
These are much more complicated issues than they are for Gays and Lesbians.
Transsexuals as a group do not set foot in conservative Christian communities because of the hostility that they would encounter from a subset of parishioners if they were to reveal themselves (definitely not a “safe” environment). The fact that these communities believe that transgenderism is wrong is actually secondary. Putting together some general guidelines regarding transgenderism might actually allow churches to wrestle with this issue earlier rather than later. In this way it publicizes to those on the outside that the church does not view transgenders as second-class citizens. And it allows for churches as a group to hash through these issues before those that are transgendered arrive at the door-step rather than after.
I’m curious to know what you think on this subject.…
Ooops! I responded to “Your not a spambot are you?” With a “yes” and still got posted.
I see your hate ‘in the spambots too Rich! Does your hate know no bounds?
In all seriousness though, I’d like to believe the transgendered have a place at God’s table in Heaven and a place at ours here.
Wow, thanks for the thorough and thoughtful comment. Rich can can initiate the responses to your questions, I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated the obvious turmoil and struggle you have been engaged in. I applaud you for not letting your feelings on the matter dictate your theology on the matter.
You are absolutely right about the welcome the transgendered would likely get in conservative churches. It’s just not the kind of thing church folk want their kids exposed to, so they would either drive out such folk or leave should such folk start showing up (if in fact they knew!). I don’t need to tell you who church leaders will support in that case.
Rich has been advocating preemptive action (maybe it’s a little late for that term) in the A/G concerning our stand on leadership in this issue and even for a white paper for the broader issue. I’m beginning to think he may be right. At least then we could deal with the issue from a proactive ministry approach rather than circling the wagons and having a pitched battle whenever someone dressed in feathers shows up. We will never get to the place where we can, like Paul concerning the Corinthians, say “and such were some of you,” without having the grace minister to everybody.
You’ve opened a whole bunch of things up here. I’ll address them as I see them:
I think it’s important to recognize that each of us has our own unique stories, especially when we are talking about issues of core identity. The truth of your narrative should not be used to negate the truth of someone else’s very different narrative. (Which is a common tactic among the “ex-gay/ex-trans” crowd)
Here’s the key aspect of where you differ from transsexuals (and yes, I am being particular about the use of language here) — the fairly common narrative for transsexuals (those that transition and live full time in the opposite gender role) is not that they are acting upon a “compulsion”, but rather it is better described as an underlying drive that remains constant for them, no matter what they attempt to do to reconcile it. (This isn’t saying that your narrative isn’t valid, merely that it has significant characteristics that differentiate it from the narrative of many transsexuals)
Now, here’s the crux of the issue. The common pseudo-religious argument is that one is being “immoral” or, as Rich puts it “doing violence” to God’s Image. However, from the perspective of the transsexual, what is the “constructive” approach? To live a life in denial, to submerge one’s self in patterns of behaviour that are emotionally destructive or deadening? (The rate of suicide and suicidal ideation among transfolk is astonishing) Or, is it more constructive for them to face themselves (which is very much the transition process) and come to terms with themselves by transitioning.
Now, to turn it towards the more spiritual/faith aspect of the topic, Christian faith is fairly harsh in its condemnations of suicide to begin with, and some argue that it is similarly harsh in its condemnation of transsexuals. (I take some exception to this latter assertion as the notion of transsexualism simply did not exist in any knowable sense when scripture was recorded, and the notion of psychological identity being in conflict with physical body was simply not understandable at that point in human history, therefore any such interpretation of scripture is a fairly radical extrapolation.)
It is my position that while one might counsel or advise against transition, absolute proscription is folly. Proscription results in exclusion and marginalization of people, with the net result of simply fostering an ongoing sense of “Otherness” between the groups rather than brokering some kind of mutual understanding.
The more conservative approaches to faith have tended in recent years to become increasingly absolutist and in doing so have created an environment of adversity, rather than understanding.
Duh! We see it as sin, what do you expect, for us to cozy up to it? It is not an insult for us to been seen as adversarial to sin, that’s a badge we can wear with pride!
I’m fully aware of the argument that “it is sin”, but I believe that assessment is based heavily upon a flawed understanding of transsexualism in particular — an understanding which often equates it with homosexuality.
Further, as I alluded to earlier, it’s not in the least be clear in my view that it is reasonable to claim that there is a significant scriptural basis for viewing it as ‘sinful’ without making huge extrapolations. (More or less the same kind of extrapolation that results in some religious communities viewing certain kinds of medicine as “against the Bible”)
Further, one of the core ethics of Christianity is to reach out to others in the form of ministry. You _CANNOT_ minister to someone whose situation you do not fully comprehend. Reaching back to my earlier commentary, I suggest strongly that the determination of ‘sinfulness’ is based upon a substantively flawed understanding of the condition at hand.
When I posted about the ‘spambots’ there was no activity on this thread for at least 4 days prior; â€œgender Dysphoricâ€ had NOT posted on the board yet. Now you put HIS post prior to mine and know I come off as irreverent to what he just wrote, so not cool.
Amen to that! And donâ€™t be intimidated by the bullies Michelle; people here are going to be more receptive to â€œgender dysphoricâ€ because he confirms what they want to believe.
@ gender dysphoric,
You can state what you like about YOUR specific issue, but please do not drag homosexuality into your lopsided argument; you are in MY territory now and from your use of the term â€œgay lifestyleâ€ (sigh), to bringing up these â€œex-gaysâ€ shows either ignorance or dis-respect on your part.
In an earlier comment I made, I said concerning Rich’s post,
I don’t think it is a huge extrapolation at all to see transgenderism as sinful. That being said, I do agree with you that the church should reach out in ministry. I’d would rather have a transsexual sitting beside me in the Kingdom than burning in hell any day! But I also know that can’t happen if they are abandoned to their condition. Ministry means change, in this case helping a transgendered individual overcome the desire and temptation to live out of harmony with God’s design. We can be gracious, we cannot be accepting, and it’s not like there isn’t power in Christ to become a new creation.
I might consider agreeing with you if the condition were demonstrably merely a matter of cross dressing. That is a key point of differentiation in our positions.
I’m being quite careful here to restrict my narrative to transsexuals (particularly those who choose to transition and live in the opposite gender to their birth-assigned gender) here. A transsexual is arguably not the same as a cross-dresser. (even with in the trans* community this distinction is seen and recognized)
You may choose to argue that “biology is destiny”, but the very existence of intersex and chromosomal chimera individuals flies in the face of that argument. If someone can be born with ambiguous or even “dual” genitalia, what’s to say that they cannot have an ambiguous (or even diametrically opposed) gender psychologically?
To argue that treating a transsexual is encouraging “sinfulness” is essentially the same as arguing that any mental condition that the Bible speaks condemningly of should not be treated, simply because it is “all in their head”.
Returning to the topic of “God’s Design” for a moment, I would argue that the very diversity of humanity speaks loudly that transfolk in general are very much part of that design. Are those people part of that design to deny themselves? Perhaps those people exist to challenge seemingly “pat” assumptions that we “know” just what that design, or any intent behind it, might be.
As a very firm believer of Jesus and the bible, as well as just so happening to be transgendered here is a nugget of information most of you commenters are forgetting.
Transsexualism is a documented mental health condition. It isnt the same as being gay or lesbian of bi, it isnt a sexual prefrence, it is a condition to which very simply your insides and your outter shell dont match.
Seeing as it is a mental health condition it falls under healing. Jesus showed us three diffent types of healing, one of which is the conditional. Conditional healing is when AJesus had the blind man apply mud to his eyes as the healing process occured. A conditional healing is every time you go to a doctors office. So weather it is a transgendered person recieving healing from therapy and surgeries or an average joe getting a flu shot, God still heals but the doctor gives you the bill.