It goes without saying that this is a tragedy and it’s impossible not to feel the intense pain and confusion in this child’s writings…pain and confusion that led to his death by suicide.
I wish I could have done something to help him…but I wonder if I’m even equipped to do so.
The comments that accompany the story as it’s made it’s way around the internet basically tar and feather Christians as the ones culpable for the tragedy.
Much wrath in particular has been directed at “Christian counseling” as wholly inadequate to address such issues…and as being deadly to people struggling with them.
For this generation the answers are simple…the Christian faith and it’s moral standards are primitive, ignorant, irrelevant, harmful, and should be discarded.
Many of them will contend that any form of sexual and gender expression is a choice that must be respected and affirmed and those that refuse to do so are the enemies of reason and love.
For my generation, it’s not so easy.
When I read much of the writings on this issue, I’m staggered by the number of choices in sexuality and gender identity that are now supposed to be within the norm.
When I grew up, you were either male or female, you were “straight”…and if you fell into another category you were usually silent about it and placed yourself outside the common society.
The closest we came to knowing anything about “transgendered” people was when a well known male tennis player became a woman…and we thought that was the strangest thing we’d ever heard of.
That may not have been right or righteous, but it’s the frame of reference I work from …as it is with most people my age.
The current acceptance of “diversity” in sexual and gender identity is, quite honestly, baffling to me.
As a Christian with a traditional view of the authority of Scripture I believe that God created them “male and female” and He pretty much knew what He was doing.
I believe that the Bible teaches that homosexual acts are sinful, thus I cannot affirm the behavior of those who practice them.
I do not and will not condemn the practitioners as we all have sinned and fall short of the holy standards of God.
I think that in a fallen creation all of our faculties have been marred by sin, including our sexual identities.
The question is how do we address these issues pastorally, scripturally, and lovingly?
I wonder what I would have said to this young man who believed that he was trapped in a body that didn’t fit him.
I wonder if what I would say would be different if it was my son.
Is it possible that a surgeons knife and hormone therapy are legitimate tools to reverse this effect of the fall?
I do not want to be ignorant or uncaring…but I cannot and will not relinquish my faith either.
I do not want to be perceived as anyones enemy, neither do I want to support anything that God rejects.
All I know this morning is that the Gospel is the only thing I’m sure of…and I’m sure it is for everyone who will receive it.
We need to think and talk about these issues…acknowledging the complexity and risks both to those vulnerable and our faith.
What is the way forward?