Mar 292017
 

The topic of Transgenderism has become quite prevalent in our society and in our headlines and seems very likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

While the percentage of the population who have dealt with the condition of feeling like they are the gender opposite of their biological sex likely has always been a small minority, it probably can be safely assumed that those with gender dysphoria have always been with us.  The difference is that for most of the history of our Western Culture, and likely for most cultures in world history, having feelings of identifying opposite of one’s biological sex was not something that was to be readily admitted or discussed.  It was a taboo that many probably have kept hidden, and if they did share their feelings, it was done so with a very small circle.  Most people with these types of feelings have doubtlessly long lived in fear and shame.

Today, most assuredly there are those who still live with this fear and shame.  However, we also know that there has been a strong movement that has come about the last so many years that is contending for those with gender dysphoria and telling them and everybody else that what they are feeling is perfectly acceptable and right and normal.  This movement is proclaiming the needs and rights of the transgendered.  The mantra is that those with these types of feelings should be able to identify with whatever gender their emotional/psychological/mental state tells them that they are, regardless of their biological sex… and that the rest of society should accept them in whatever way they identify and should accommodate them according to those self-chosen identities.

I am not a psychologist or any way formally trained in a manner to understand the state of those who have gender dysphoria.  I have never had an inkling of a feeling myself where I thought I was a woman or really felt feminine in any way, and so I can’t personally identify with those who have these types of feelings.  I’m not going to give some kind of psychological diagnosis or say that I know what those with gender dysphoria are feeling.  How to equitably and compassionately handle this condition is more than worthy of discussion, but that which I won’t be venturing into here.

I have written about the transgender topic once before, but it continues in the headlines and keeps my concern.  It is seemingly everywhere nowadays in one form or fashion.  There is a constant push in our culture and media for LGBT rights.  There has been the bathroom law in North Carolina and potential other ones in other states.  There has been the uproar of the Target situation, and lesser so of Starbucks and others.  There is the Trump administration recently revoking the Obama administration’s previous guidance to allow school students to use the restroom or locker room of their choice, according to their gender identity. 

Even more recently, and the one that brought this topic to mind again for me, there is a legal case in the national news from my hometown area where a male student is suing his school district for allowing a transgendered student who is biologically female to use the boys locker room.  Still yet, the past two Linkathons here at this blog have had articles addressing transgenderism.  The list of examples could go on and on.

Even though I do not personally know and/or am aware of someone who is outwardly transgendered or who has strong feelings of gender dysphoria, I am concerned for those who live with these things.  I imagine that life in some ways must be a living hell for them.  Between the struggle of their own internal feelings and the way that some people undoubtedly treat them poorly or condescendingly or like wackos, life cannot be easy.  I wish that people didn’t have to suffer through such things.

I am also concerned with the potential harm we could now be bringing to others.  The first people I think of are my wife and school age daughters, and it extends out from there, throughout society.  We are placing many at harm’s edge when we attempt to accommodate the feelings of a very small minority in a fashion that exposes far, far more to potential danger.  To one degree, there is the discomfort and loss of dignity and innocence, especially with younger children, that comes with being exposed and having to dress and undress in the same area as those of the opposite biological sex.  To a still greater degree, you have those sexual predators (who are unlikely to be the transgendered) who will take advantage of relaxed restroom/ locker room/ dressing room rules, making it all the more easier for them to carry out their voyeuristic and even sexually assaulting activities.  If a sexual assault happens even one time because of someone taking advantage of the relaxed rules, this is one time more than what we should have ever allowed for.

As has been written here before, allowing people of the opposite biological sex into the opposite rest room or locker room is not even a Christian or religious issue.  It is an issue of common sense and common decency.  At least it should be.  We shouldn’t have to bring God or Christianity or religion into it at all.  From a perspective of common law and logic, we should be able to say that letting biological men into women’s restrooms and locker rooms is not a good idea because the potential of bad things happening is too great.  Yet, less and less of the population see things that way anymore.

All this makes me wonder.  We once lived in a culture where many more used to claim the title of Christian.  Many still will claim that this is a Christian country, or at least it used to be, and we need to get back to the way things used to be.  Of course, we’ve been down that road plenty of times, too, here at this blog, questioning how truly “Christian” the country has been or how a nation can even be “Christian” or what exactly it is that we need to get back to.  But at the very least, we lived in a culture where Christianity held much more respect, at least for traditional, orthodox Christianity. 

In years past, if Christian pastors and leaders or even Christian laymen had spoken up and said that this is not a good idea to let biological men and boys into the rest rooms and changing room of women and girls, they would have been respected and would have had a significant influence on the culture.  Just as today, they wouldn’t have even needed to bring Christianity or religion into it.  They could have spoken simply from a standpoint of common sense and decency and their words would have carried much clout.  Nowadays, they are more likely to be besmirched by many in society as bigots and religious lunatics who are suffering from some kind of immoral phobia, than they are seen as any kind of valued cultural influencers.

Why is this?

Part of me thinks that the church has brought this on themselves.  While certainly far from all have been guilty, there still have been too many Christian pastors and leaders and laymen, when they did have more significant cultural power over the years, who have acted terribly toward those who were the “wrong kind” of sinners and “wrong kind” of people.  All the while often protecting those whose wrongdoings were more acceptable or more strategically beneficial to be overlooked.  The regular and hypocritical demonization and outcasting and lack of compassion for some is now coming home to roost.  Even as segments of attitudes have improved in the church, it has been a case of too little, too late, as the church is now stuck with a stigma in society.  Add to that the portions of the church that have eschewed Scripture in favor of cultural morality and we’ve got a hot mess.

On the other hand, I wonder how much of where we have come to in our culture was inevitable, even if Christians were more consistently faithful in acting in a Christ-like manner?  We are cautioned many times in Scripture that we are not going to be accepted in this world.  That we can expect persecution and hatred (II Timothy 3:12, John 15:18-19, Luke 6:22) and will live as exiles (I Peter 2:11)  and that our ultimate citizenship is in heaven and not of this world (Philippians 3:20).  The troubles we have experienced in our Western culture are very little compared to what countless others have experienced in other cultures and over the history of time.  Yet, without a doubt, the tide has changed and continues to worsen in regards to how traditional, orthodox Christians and Christianity are viewed in our culture.  And maybe that was bound to happen, no matter how perfectly Christians acted.  And who knows how much worse it may become as time moves on.

Navigating our current world is not easy.  For many Christians, it already is and may become more difficult still than in time periods past.  We pray that things would change for the better – not for the sake of Christians to have more “power” per se, but that they would have more opportunity to influence the culture to be more righteous and just and Christ-like for the sake of the gospel – to see more souls saved and also for more souls to be treated better and more justly and more compassionately during their time on this earth.  But if our culture is not to change for the better, we pray that God would give us wisdom as to how to journey along our increasingly rocky paths.  On our own, we don’t fare so well.   

  161 Responses to “Kevin’s Conversations: Tackling Transgenderism”

  1. Let the self-flagellation begin

  2. I will confess that I have no idea how to address this issue.
    Part of that is, I’m sure, related to my age and part related to the fact that I’ve always lived in an isolated culture.
    Southern Oregon isn’t exactly cosmopolitan or diverse.
    I’ve always been of the opinion that when God made male and female He got it right the first time.
    Now…scientists say that gender isn’t binary, but falls along a continueum.
    I read every day how if I don’t accept this finding, I am a hoary bigot.
    My gut feeling is that there are created norms that have served humans well for a long time…that exceptions should be duly noted,but the norms are a reasonable standard for civic living.
    I could be wrong…

  3. From what I’ve read, and admittedly I haven’t followed this closely, often the transgender individual is offered an accommodation, but isn’t satisfied and insists with being actually treated like the opposite sex, so that the other kids are forced to share the bathroom or locker room with the transgender individual. It seems like the other kids are forced to relinquish their rights to privacy so that the transgender kid can have his/her rights. So, a Christian can’t simply say “you are at liberty to express yourself”. The transgender kid wants the Christians go give up their privacy. It’s very fair.

    And, come to think of it, it’s not just Christians. Anyone who thinks that locker room and bathroom admittance should be based on the sex of a person (and not just how they feel about their gender, or chemical or medical modifications) is being asked or forced to give up their rights to privacy.

    This is not right. I’m not for shaming anyone, or even denying anyone their right to liberty (even if I don’t agree with it) regarding how they identify themselves, but when their rights bump up against my rights, why, why, why do I have to sacrifice my children’s rights to privacy and safety, when other accommodations can be provided?

  4. Michael,

    And that is why I don’t get into the psychology and science of the whole thing because those are areas where I lack understanding in the issue. But I do agree with your statement where we acknowledge the exception but that the norms for civic living have worked for us. If we abandon those norms we could end up doing much more harm than good.

  5. In my #3, where at the end of the first paragraph I said “It’s very fair”, I meant to say “It’s very unfair.”

  6. I am a hoary bigot.

    I think I will add that to my business card.

  7. I think it has to be accepted that there are norms that have to be applied in at least a general sense, especially when the majority is so large and the minority so small.

    It makes no civic sense economically or ethically to indulge every groups desires.

    That’s not bigotry, that’s reason.

  8. Jean,

    I think in some (if not many) cases it’s not necessarily the transgendered person who becomes all indignant and refuses to be satisfied and insists on more. It seems to be more the politicized movement surrounding the transgendered individual who does such things. Or suspectingly the individual does them at the prompting/pressuring of the movement.

  9. Steve,

    There needn’t be self-flagellation. Just an honest admittance that some parts of the history of the church in our culture have seemingly contributed to at least some degree the current predicament within which we find ourselves.

  10. Jean,

    I think if T was younger I might have a more visceral response than I do now.
    I wouldn’t let him use a public restroom by himself until he was 10 or 11 … if I had young daughters now my guess is that I would have some ugly attitudes.

  11. I look at transgender like I do a fart. Look, the person next to me has the right to fart (I think it’s a right, I’ve never really looked into it) but then I also have the right to say “hey, cut that out.”

  12. I’m not interested in self flagellation,but always interested in self examination.
    I believe God created them male and female…I also believe that the Fall screwed up everything, including my ability to think clearly about all things.

  13. Kevin

    Nicely done balanced piece. Like you, I’m not a physician or a psychologist and, like you and Michael, I long for some civic norm. I can read about X and Y chromosomes until I’m blind and still not get it. I simply don’t have the experience, although I think the media exposure is driving much of what we see happening.

    In terms of the Church, I think we have lost much of our voice or, better yet, civil society’s regard for our voice. Maybe it’s because we’ve often been the loudest in assailing what we are against, rather than what we affirm…

  14. “Maybe it’s because we’ve often been the loudest in assailing what we are against, rather than what we affirm…”

    and all God’s children said…amen.

  15. http://qideas.org/videos/transgender-1/ I thought this guy did a pretty good job explaining gender dysphoria. It gave me some food for thought.

  16. Michael,
    “I also believe that the Fall screwed up everything, including my ability to think clearly about all things”

    I think we can still think clearly and do so on many things. So you have a married guy in your church who does not treat his wife really well but isn’t physically abusive and for the past couple of months he has been showing up to church with a couple of girlfriends on each arm.

    So, do we have confusion? Are we afraid to hurt the guys feelings? Do we sit and ponder what his issues may be? or do we call a spade a spade and tell him he cannot play in our sandbox any longer.

  17. MLD,

    I don’t equate transgenderism with spousal abuse or infidelity.
    That’s is grossly unfair.
    I’ve already noted here before that spousal abuse counseling in my church involves the use of a two by four…

  18. We are way softer on this than the early church was. Everyone used to agree with us on the topics. The last 30-40 years, culture changed their views. Outside of the small minority of Westboro types, I don’t think the church is much to blame.

    Interesting side note: I was at a conference once where an ex-lesbian was speaking. She was talking about going to protest at Liberty University during the height of the moral majority stuff. When she got there, she was surprised that Falwell had called a meeting of the student body. He pulled her up on stage, put an arm around her,and said sternly to the crowd, “We have a special guest on campus today. If I find out that she has any issues today, you will have to deal with me.”. And her day there was amazing and smooth, and her mind was blown. Started a long process towards Christ.

  19. MLD compared transgender to a fart. What??

    These are human beings made in the image of God. There are complex emotional issues below the surface. My 1 cent: treat everyone as an individual, not an “issue”. We can’t control the laws the government makes regarding bathrooms, etc. But we can look at how Jesus treated the woman at the well and try to act accordingly.

  20. “My 1 cent: treat everyone as an individual, not an “issue”. ”

    I think that’s where we should start at the local church level…

  21. JoelG,
    “But we can look at how Jesus treated the woman at the well and try to act accordingly.”

    He confronted her squarely with her sin … as do I – and as I expect others to do with me.

    And I was sensitive – I did say that the person has the right to fart – and the transgender has the right to be confused – just as the adulterer has the right to play around … but I do not have to accept any of it. I have the right to reject whatever they are selling.

  22. #15 Steve
    Thanks for the link… very good.

  23. Josh,

    What you describe Falwell as doing that day was a great and loving act. Other side of the coin is that we know Falwell is infamous for blaming gays and lesbians and others for helping to cause 9/11.

    Our culture has certainly changed their views over the last 30-40 years. When Falwell and other Christians have carried out acts like you describe, that is wonderful. When they say things like Falwell did after 9/11, that makes me wonder how much culpability the church has had in helping the culture to change their views?

  24. MLD,

    A person with gender dysphoria being confused in their feelings is far from a sin. It is not a matter of “rights”, theirs or ours.

    Now when that person starts demanding that you have to recognize them as a sex opposite of their biology or that they have the right to enter the rest room or locker room opposite of their biological sex, then that becomes a different issue.

  25. Yeah, I gad forgotten about his 9/11 statements. Complex character, that Falwell.

  26. The arguments, thus far, indicate many here consider gender dysphoria a choice, or, at the least a result of nurture (influence of a parent). Might I just interject that we don’t know that as a provable fact. If it is nature, rather than nurture, we have another whole set of questions to answer…

  27. KevinH,
    I am speaking directly of those who are acting out and advocating – especially for Church recognition.
    Outside of the Church I don’t care what adulterers do, I don’t care what homosexuals do and I surely don’t care what transgenders do. My business has a huge homosexual presence and not less than a few in my office. We joke, we lunch, we work on projects together. Altar fellowship … not gonna happen.

  28. Does dressing as the opposite cure the feeling of dysphoria? It sounds like they have an issue, but I can’t imagine that putting on a dress and lipstick will make them better.

  29. agreeing here that this post is a well reasoned and clear presentation of this subject – add my thank you to the thank yous, Kevin
    i don’t know where the declaration first occurred, but “I know what you are against. Now tell me what you are for.” was a memorable line (anyway, it stayed with me all these years) from the movie South Pacific.
    Michael, “My gut feeling is that there are created norms that have served humans well for a long time…that exceptions should be duly noted,but the norms are a reasonable standard for civic living.” go with your gut … IMNSHO
    we can get so deep into trying to understand, to analyze the ‘why’ that we get lost in the woods… MLD’s crude fart explanation (?) is a good example, perhaps… when something doesn’t smell right, move away from it – reasons are not excuses
    i concur that all the aspects of our reproductive parts seem to have taken on a skewed perspective ever since the Fall and we are victims of our sad heritage, no doubt
    i think – dunno – that the very best thing the Church as a body and as individuals can do in these muddled and destructive times is to stand… stay focused on Christ and on the Way, the Truth and the Life… the old saying that your arms are not long enough to box with God, could also be turned to warn that our arms are not strong enough (in the natural) to box with the Devil and he IS the source of all this trouble, this ripening fruit around us

    just sayin… again

  30. MLD,

    Transgenderism is not just something the individual has to deal with. We all have to deal with it. Although rare, there are some people that when they are born not even the doctors can tell us their sex. Even genetic testing with chromosomes aren’t clear and their anatomy can have both sex organs. Your theology stinks when you think this is just their problem.

  31. “anatomy can have both sex organs. ”

    But that is a totally different issue. Transgenders are born physically 100% one sex, but feel that they are the opposite.

  32. on Falwell’s putting the blame on the degenerates for 9/11… course not, but…

    i’ve been spending time in the O.T. and am forming an opinion that God has not changed in His interaction with nations (Jew excepted, perhaps)…
    in what some call this age of grace, we may think that that grace includes nations, not just individuals, but i’m coming around to thinking that that is wrong… a nation descending into acceptance of depravities (okay, what we in the Church had better label as such) is not under grace and is headed for decay, chaos and, perhaps, collapse…
    even tho it may be true, it just isn’t enough to try to excuse wrong headed behavior with the confession that such behavior lurks in all of us… get off the fence and stand for what our Lord exampled, focus on Christ and things get clearer and easier… IMO, of course

  33. Steve, are you judging me?

  34. But that is a totally different issue. Transgenders are born physically 100% one sex, but feel that they are the opposite.
    ______________________________________________________________________

    Wrong. Listen to the link in #15. No two transgender people are the same and to put this blanket statement on a whole class of folks is irresponsible.

  35. MLD, I’m not judging you. I’m judging your theology that stinks like a fart.

  36. for the record, i see all those who’ve become confused about their sexually identity as victims, of course they want to normalize their impulses… when they say that that is who they are, in their minds that is the truth, the brain can have some very insidious controls over our reactions and even our reasoning

  37. “whole class of folks is irresponsible.”

    ? Umm, Ok.

  38. “but feel that they are the opposite.”

    How would they know? I only know what I feel like – I have no idea what a woman feels like. I have been married just under 50 yrs and believe me I have no idea.
    So how do these guys know what the opposite feels like to make that claim?

  39. “denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex.”

    And maybe you are right, but the people born intersex physically would seem to have completely different needs than one who feels they are born the wrong sex.

  40. “So how do these guys know what the opposite feels like to make that claim?”

    It seems that they want to wear dresses and make-up. That is certainly very shallow on my part, but I can’t see much else that they think would make them a woman.

  41. Here is the funny thing. God’s commands are always against the things that are NOT natural to us. Notice there is no command to makke sure we eat enough ice cream.

    Why are there commands against adultery? Because adultery is natural to us. Why the commands against envy and greed? – because they are natural to us. Do I need to go on?

    Just because things are natural to us does not make them right in God’s eyes. We don’t have to call them sins – we just need to tell people to stop doing these things.

    I think this is all Boy George’s fault myself. 😉

  42. Wearing dresses and make up are not something inbred in women – it is a cultural “like” – oh, that would be nurture.

  43. I think we may be missing at least some part of the point here…. We are making comments such as “one who feels they are born the wrong sex”, or “I feel like”. While feeling a certain way may be true in some cases, in others it is not a “feeling” any more than someone who says, “I feel bipolar” or, “I feel epileptic”, or “I feel clinically depressed” – these things are real and affect a person and their self-identity every moment of every day. There are conditions, and permutations of conditions, that we don’t fully understand and, I think, we need the humility to say we don’t fully understand. As pointed out above, some may have actual physical issues, as well. I think “compassion” is the key word here…

  44. I fully admit that I have no clue what they are going through. I try to understand, but it is probably impossible.

    I only repeat the “feels they are born the wrong sex” from the transgender people I’ve listened to. I can’t imagine what it would be, other than a feeling?

    Why would that be seen as less than compassionate? To me, the first point of compassion would be understanding. I don’t see anything else I do being of much use, until I figure out what in the world they are talking about.

  45. I agree with #43 here.

    I view transsexualism as a form of mental illness, not unlike schizophrenia. The problem we as a society have is that we’ve normalized the non-normal. Now there are genders and non-genders; words no mean anything.

  46. Duane’s said pretty much everything I’ve thought about the matter. I can’t make a blanket accusation of sin about something so foreign to my own nature and so difficult to understand.

  47. But imagine the grief you would get if you said that out loud.
    If you said “transgenders are mentally ill.”

  48. Error in my #41
    “God’s commands are always against the things that are NOT natural to us.”
    Should read
    God’s commands are always against the things that are natural to us.

    Because it is natural to us or in our nature, does not make it right in God’s sight.

  49. MLD,

    If gender dysphoria was so cut and dry, why didn’t the Lord include it in one of the 10 commandments? As you said in your #27, you would never share alter fellowship with them. Again, your theology is poor. How would you know a transgendered person who had sex re-assignment repented? Do they have to have the redo the surgery again to reverse it before you would fellowship with them?

  50. #45 Everstudy

    So as not to be misunderstood, I don’t view it as a form of mental illness. I do view it as a condition that can arise from any number of issues – physical, emotional, chromosomal, etc. The point I’m trying to make is that it is not merely a matter of waking up one morning and saying, “I feel like wearing a dress and lipstick today…”

    #44 Josh
    I understand what you are saying… On that point, I may never fully understand someone who is clinically depressed, but I can understand if they say to me, “that’s why I never keep a loaded handgun in my home…”

  51. Steve,
    Speaking of bad theology – it is altar fellowship
    2nd, there are 613 direct commandments not just the 10.

  52. “I may never fully understand someone who is clinically depressed, ”

    True, but in any affliction (?) that I am unfamiliar with, If I hope to show compassion, first I’ll have to admit my ignorance, then ask a lot of questions. Some of the questions will be uncomfortable for all involved, but the learning is necessary in moving from pity to compassion.

  53. MLD, What about Jesus’s new commandment to us? That seemed pretty direct to me. How about the Great commission? That was pretty direct as well. Should we make it 615 to be authentic and complete? I can list a whole bunch of other imperatives also from the New Testament but you are hung up on the old testament. You can’t even mention half of the 613 laws because they have no bearing on your life. No, its not my bad theology, its yours. And btw, I meant to say altar fellowship. That was a mistype.

  54. #52 Josh

    Agreed. I note your (?) – how about, “in any condition that I am unfamiliar with”… We could use that as the basis for compassion across the board.

  55. LOL – I don’t hold to any ‘laws’ because they are in the OT

  56. @54 – good point. I suppose the human condition is to categorize things, and unfamiliar things would immediately go into the “Bad” box. Compassion may be taking the time to understand.

  57. When I saw the post title I immediately thought ” here we go with the insensitive and knee-jerk moronic comments” – but I am encouraged that, for the most part, the comments here have been compassionate and even-tempered and thoughtful. I know of one transgender individual from my past and don’t feel like I have to beat them over the head with a bible and demand they “just get over themselves” – I’ll leave that kind of thinking for those who need to get over their own pride.

  58. MLD, so if you are saying you don’t hold to any laws because they are in the OT what the heck does your #41 post mean? You seem to indicate the commands are for “us”?

  59. Steve, are those not commands Jesus gave? You aren’t still back in the day of the “you have heard it said…” are you?
    You need to upgrade to “but I say to you…”

    I am a NT guy – you know, a Christian. Why would I follow the laws given to the nation Israel?

    The point was that we are commanded to not do what comes natural … because the world does what comes natural.

  60. To Dan’s comment at 57. I don’t beat anyone over the head with the Bible. I don’t care enough about people for that. The lady who sits next to me who boinks everyone in town gets no sermon from me – that is her business. However, if she wants to join my church (note I said join) then we will have a talk.

    The same with homosexuals or transgenders. But I do not have to accept their lifestyle.

  61. MLD, If you are a NT guy, I can only speculate your rational in bringing up the 613 commands from the OT. The 10 commands that I mentioned are spoken of in the NT from a moral perspective. Keeping the Sabbath I believe is fulfilled in Christ and is applicable to us in ceasing doing all work in trying to earn our justification. But back to the topic at hand, not sure how this relates to gender dysphoria.

  62. “The point was that we are commanded to not do what comes natural … because the world does what comes natural.” this deserves consideration as there is more depth here than the somewhat flippancy of its succinctness IMHO 🙂

    we talk of feelings and pity and compassion and, frankly, as we try to do so, don’t we flounder about in an attempt to ground ourselves? we can’t stand if we aren’t grounded, can we? and where do we who have our lives in Christ ground ourselves when it comes to facing human viewpoint? isn’t it in the Word? rooted and grounded, isn’t this our only hope of standing and doing so with strong compassion and true pity for our fellow man?

    for instance, i could not love my enemies even though commanded to do so (i could smile and be somewhat polite) until it got thru to me that they were going to spend eternity in hell – wherever and whatever that is, you don’t want to go there, nor do you want to see your worst enemy there…

  63. Steve – it seems Jesus had only 6 commandments when he spoke to the rich guy.

    I brought up the 613 because you ran to the 10 commandments of old to Israel. Again, there are no 10 commandments in the NT.

  64. MLD, I only brought up the 10 commandments when you mentioned God’s commandments to “US”. How it relates to gender dysphoria I’m still perplexed. The way I see it is the way Jesus explained it: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, might and strength and love your neighbor as your self. If we do this, we are doing well.

  65. Em #62 agreed. This is a tough and confusing subject, especially for those of us raising kids in this culture. The hardest part for me is maintaining compassion for my kids’ transgender friends yet not approving of the “choice”, if there is a choice for them. I try to err on the side of grace. It helps to view each person as a unique individual rather than a member of a “sin group”. I know I wouldn’t want to be labeled by my sins.

    You are right, though. His Word is our only ground.

  66. #50 “I do view it as a condition that can arise from any number of issues – physical, emotional, chromosomal, etc.”

    I can agree with this, although I think that chromosomal defects (for lack of a better word) are a completely different issue. I do still think that it is a mental health issue, one that can be caused by a number of issues, including faulty brain chemistry (thus the term gender dysphoria).

    “The point I’m trying to make is that it is not merely a matter of waking up one morning and saying, “I feel like wearing a dress and lipstick today…” ”

    I tend to agree.

    Because I see it as a mental health issue, I look at this way: if you had two sons, and were sitting at dinner, and one was speaking to the purple dragon (which his brain was telling him he was seeing and hearing), you’d get him help. And if the other son said that he was really a girl, you’d get him help.

    But transgender is being debated whether it’s a mental disorder or not (the reading I’ve done leans toward those that suffers intense dysphoria, it might be proper to call it a disorder). Society has said that being transgender is normal and natural, and the solution to any problems caused by it is acceptance by all.

    The challenge, I think, is how we deal with the individual vs. how we deal with the movement. The movement wants gender redefined, the individual just wants to find normalcy.

    And how do we deal with 5 and 6 year olds that now declare themselves transgender?

    Just thoughts…

  67. I have a propensity to lie.

    Be chauvinistic.

    Selfish.

    And arrogant.

    I don’t excuse those things when I fall into them.

    I call a spade, a spade.

    I confess.

    I repent.

    And I am forgiven.

    Why can’t that be applied to a sin such as this?

  68. Costco,

    What is the sin you are referencing that we would then apply repentance and forgiveness to?

  69. #65 – “This is a tough and confusing subject…..”
    my question is, do we have to ‘understand’ it or is it enough to stand – sure of our ground – with compassion?
    do i have to understand what it feels like to be run over by a bus to have compassion for the poor person who’s been run over?
    if the occasion arises, is it wrong to say, “i don’t understand. i’m not sure that i should understand, but i do know it is a problem and i care that you are caught up in it?”
    the hearer won’t like that and most probably will reply that it isn’t a problem – that i am right in saying that i don’t understand… does that make them right? no!
    well half right, maybe, but they do have a problem whether they agree or not and the question remains, do we have an obligation to “understand?” i’m leaning towards, no we don’t…

  70. Kevin,

    Sorry.

    I am referring to the sin of transgenderism (and homosexuality, for that matter).

    Call it for what it is.

    And we all need the grace of God.

  71. Costco,

    Thank you for the clarification. I can call homosexual behavior sin because Scripture calls it so. I don’t if transgender behavior is as clear as to being sinful. It strikes me as not being what is best or healthy. I just don’t know if I can make the jump to definitively declaring it sinful.

  72. Missed the word *know* between “I don’t” and “if transgender behavior”.

  73. Em it’s my guess that they know they have a problem, whether they admit it or not. My question is can they help it? If they “act their gender” is that going to change complex causes behind it? I’m talking about the folks that genuinely struggle, not the ones that do it for attention or because it’s “in style”.

    You’re right… we don’t have to understand to have compassion. We all have our sins we wrestle with. It may take a lifetime to repent of some, if ever. But I sure want my Christian family there beside me regardless. And I’m guessing transgender folks do too.

    I’m sorry if I missed your question. At the Home Depot. 😉

    Thank you for the article Kevin. Very very helpful.

  74. You’re welcome, JoelG.

  75. As Costco waits for the applause to die down, all I will say is that I can’t be sure that transgenderism is always a sin and the celibate homosexual Henri Nouwen may have been one of the holiest men of our time.

    Congrats to Kevin for not only enriching our site,but providing Costco wth Facebook fodder…

  76. I apologize for calling it a sin. That’s my own ignorance shining through. And I had no idea Nouwen was a celibate homosexual. Thanks Michael.

  77. JoelG,

    I was referring to Costco’s proclamation from Sinai, not anything you said.

    As I teach through the OT prophets, I’ve yet to read where God spends much time on this topic.

    The things He does bring up, we don’t spend much time on.

    How odd…

  78. On the other hand, if your politics lines up with the right, they’ll overlook your sexual sin as in Milo Yiannopoulos…

  79. I’m in a very foul mood…

  80. I didn’t mean for applause.

    I think it’s a relevant subject.

    I stated my opinion and then asked for response from the alternative view point in said Facebook page, Michael.

    First, you may have read me wrong.

    Second, I may have portrayed my viewpoint incorrectly.

    I was in a good mood. 🙂

  81. …”Christians, what am I missing?” was meant to be fuel for conversation. Not me preaching from a high and mighty pulpit. If I didn’t articulate that good enough, that’s not the first time and it won’t be the last.

  82. It’s all too damn easy.
    Spit at the gays and get the applause.
    Spit on the “illegals” and get the applause.
    Spit on the liberals and get the applause.
    Whine for a while about persecution after spitting, get a cyber standing ovation and go to bed.

    Of course, you better never have a real relationship with someone who is gay, undocumented, or liberal…you may end up caring for their soul and you’ll have to find someone else to spit at.

    In the meantime today, I watched two different guys who started out here locally trying to get their TV shows off the ground because they evidently have a special mission that only they can accomplish…if you give, of course.

    Now that’s holy.

  83. …in Scripture, cross dressing is a blatant sin in the OT. And effeminate men are considered sinners in the New Testament. Just as lying and theft is sin.

  84. Gay is sin. So is my chauvinism (that I pray I have repented of and pray I will continue to do so). Therefore, the Holy Law is an equal opportunity condemner. Christ is an equal opportunity Savior. 🙂

  85. So…gender dysphoria is now the same as cross dressing.
    Just exactly how does one define “effeminate”?

    It’s all so simple…

  86. I never stated it was simple.

    In said Facebook post, I even said, “Correct me if I am wrong.”

    My having a conversation is not “a proclamation from Sinai.”

    That is why I started that conversation.

    It wasn’t gaining fast traction here.

    Good grief. 🙂

  87. My mother is left handed. For 12 years at school in the 1930s they forced her to try and write with her right hand – accepted educational practice in many places at the time. My mother at 90 is still left handed. She did not fit in with the “standards”. Telling her she should use her right hand did not work. Making her stand in the corner and being publicly ridiculed changed nothing. Now, I’m not stating this as an exact parallel, but to call a disorder that cannot be helped by the individual “sinful” is not, I believe, the best approach. It smacks of “who was a sinner, this man or his parents…” We need further understanding of the problem and a compassionate approach to dealing with the individual who, by the way, is someone created in God’s image and for whom Christ died. That people are not synonymous with their problems is one of the first rules of counseling…

  88. …having said all of that, both on Facebook and here, may the Lord have mercy on me!

  89. Duane,

    “but to call a disorder that cannot be helped by the individual “sinful” is not, I believe, the best approach.”

    Exactly….unless the goal is to completely alienate the person you’re speaking of.

  90. I think none of us have any idea how sinful we really are. It’s worse than we imagined. And God loves each of us to death.

  91. It’s funny – Kevin invited conversation – Michael applauded Kevin’s efforts and now Michael shouts down and tries to intimidate any opinion differing from his own.

    I said earlier when the conversation turned to transgender being not sin but mental illness – I tried to point out that you would still be shouted down as a bigot for both sin and mental illness.

    There is only one conversation to have — how can I better accept transgenders as normal?

  92. Costco, I am with you – I have long said as did Martin Luther – we even sin in our good works.

  93. ….I dunno, MLD.

    I may be wrong.

    I may be right.

    Either way, I am hungry.

  94. “There is only one conversation to have — how can I better accept transgenders as normal?”
    I have someone in my family who is mentally ill.
    I do not call it sin.
    I do not call it normal.
    I do not know why some people find themselves in this condition…whether it be nature or nurture or a combination of both.
    Simply declaring it sin does not make it so…and if I find myself calling someone a sinner that God does not, then woe is me.

  95. MLD

    “It’s funny – Kevin invited conversation – Michael applauded Kevin’s efforts and now Michael shouts down and tries to intimidate any opinion differing from his own.”

    Not sure that I’ve seen that happening. Of course, I’m in a very good mood just coming back from seeing The Pretenders and Stevie Nicks tonight!

  96. But transgender is not a religious issue – it is however a public policy issue – How are we going to keep old dudes like myself out of the high school girls change rooms and restroom in public places?

    My favorite bar in Lake Havasu for 30 yrs has labeled their restrooms “Outboards” and “Inboards” – long before the issue came up they had the good sense to look at the nature of your power – and use that facility and get over it.

  97. Duane,

    I saw Stevie Nicks many. many moons ago…she was magic.

  98. Cross dressing and having sexual relationships as such is a sin.

    There is no question on that one.

    Not to say that I do not sin, as well.

    What I am saying is people better go through the process of changing gender.

    Or it is homosexuality. i.e “Same Sex.”

  99. Okay.

    I’m done.

    Time to watch a chick show with my wife and daughters.

    And a dad in it is gay!

  100. #97 Michael

    It was remarkable… AND only about half of the hall were boomers. The rest were girls aged 15-18 screaming like Beatlemania was back in fashion. No backup tapes. Just real music. Authenticity raises its head once more…

  101. “Authenticity raises its head once more…”

    🙂

  102. What was the venue Duane?

  103. #102

    Bankers Life in Indianapolis. Waddy Wachtel headed up Stevie’s band…

  104. I saw Stevie Nicks a couple of times. God blessed that woman with an awesome gift.

  105. MLD, to your question. Some mom with a blog wrote of her experience recently at Disneyland. It went viral. Long story short, she is fine with transgenders and not coming from any Christian perspective. But notes that somehow a dozen women were all too scared to speak up and call out some regular dude standing against the wall staring at the women when just a year or two ago they would have run the dude out. And it bothered her, including her own silence.

    I shared a different article on this topic the other day and have never seen a response as total strangers shared it all over (friends of friends). There was that much interest.

    The Church must take its stand for objective truth on this and all other issues where God has spoken clearly. We will NEVER somehow “reach” people with wavering or half measures. Speak the truth in love. Period.

  106. I have read a couple places here where transgender-ism is not mentioned in the Bible as being a sin. But the Bible does say that our bodies are the Temple of God. And we are to honor that, are we not? Isn’t it a sin for me to change my Temple (body) into obesity because I feel-think-believe I do not have to do what I in fact do have to do to make it NOT what it actually is? Isn’t being transgender the same thing of knowing what we really are and wanting to be something different? Isn’t the original sin the result of wanting to be different than the way God made us? I also read where someone here stated properly that there is a difference between transgender and those born with complicated physical sexual conditions. In that case I would agree that the person is not “sinning” to make their own decision of which sex they want to be identified to.

  107. I didn’t read all the comments so don’t know if either article was referenced earlier.

  108. “The Church must take its stand for objective truth on this and all other issues where God has spoken clearly. ”

    As soon as I see where the Bible has spoken clearly on this, I’ll jump right in.

    In terms of a public policy nightmare, I agree.

  109. Steve Wright and MLD

    Public policy issue – agreed. It’s the definitions and details of the public policy that creat the real problem. I’m not sure there are easy answers.

  110. too lazy and too late to look up references, but the Bible does speak plainly about behaving as if you were of the sex opposite to the one you were born into… that said, surely when one has any kind of birth defect and that includes ambiguous genitalia common decency says show compassion
    i am convinced that some folk experience, perhaps without being aware of it, trauma that can screw up their sense of what their sexual nature and responses should be… for those folk i do have compassion… they are in my view, victims – victims of a mean old world
    yet i cannot condone and i’m not sure i need to understand their acting out… i pray that God gives discernment and strength to stand firmly in the knowledge (& grace) that He’s seen fit to give us… it is enough

  111. #109 – yep

  112. Sure, the Bible is clear as crystal on these issues. It’s all so obvious.

    Just like with the slavery debate in the U.S…

  113. One major problem I see through this thread, and in general, is that transgender and homosexuality are lumped together as one thing. Seems to be two very different issues, with different reactions and solutions.

    I’m guessing joining together made for a stronger lobby.

  114. Josh,

    I agree that homosexuality and transgender are two separate issues and we don’t do ourselves any favors when we try to lump them together and address them as if they’re basically the same type of thing.

    Politically, they do join together, because like you said, it makes them stronger – strength in numbers and coordinated strategies.

  115. One issue I wish we could gain more clarification here is for those who are definitively calling transgenderism a sin. It could be, but to me, we just don’t have the same clarity on the issue in Scripture as we do about homosexuality (which often times unwisely get lumped together as just previously commented about). Despite the efforts of some liberal theologians to twist or dismiss portions of Scripture, the Bible is pretty clear in its multiple descriptions of homosexual behavior as being sinful.

    When it comes to transgenderism, I think we lack both clarity and instances where the issue is addressed. It seems we come to the conclusion that transgenderism is sinful more from inference than anything direct. To my knowledge, there is only one instance in the entire Bible where some portion of this issue may be directly addressed and that is the prohibition against what we would term “cross dressing” in Deuteronomy. But being that this is seemingly the only time that cross dressing is addressed in the entirety of the Bible, I’m not going to make it a hill I’m going to die on. Beyond this, I don’t know of anywhere else in the Bible where transgender issues may be directly addressed. Costco said in his #83 that effeminate men are considered sinners in the NT, but I don’t know where that comes from. Can someone direct us to where this is clearly addressed?

    I think some transgender behaviors can be clearly labeled as sinful. When a transgender person demands that their desires be met which in turns places many others at risk for harm, I believe this is sinful. But when a transgender person has some kind of condition/illness/psychological feeling where they think they are and choose to believe themselves to be the sex opposite of their biological make-up, I just can’t definitively say that this is a sin. Like I said before, I think it is far from best or healthy to be in this type of state, but I just can’t, without more clear-cut proof from Scripture, decisively declare this to be sin.

  116. Kevin (114 and 115). I tend to agree with you. Not that my opinion if Gospel, but I find it difficult to combine transgenderism and homosexual acts together and label them as sin. I just don’t think that someone, including a guy I knew in the past, who feels that way is necessarily in sin, just as I don’t see someone who is attracted to the same sex (while being celibate) is in sin also. I believe the “effeminate” = sin comment stems from somewhere in the New Testament where it is outline who will not inherit the kingdom of heaven, and I think that “the effeminate” is listed in some versions.

    I am just stating where I stand and will read further comments that are constructive in nature, and will bypass any negative/attacking/judging my salvation comments.

    Thanks all!

  117. Here is where I am coming from on this, boys and girls.

    If a man sleeps with a man, even if he believes he is a woman, that is homosexuality.

    If he becomes a she, that can be a different subject. Yet, in proportion, that is rare. As Mr./Mrs. Jenner.

  118. Costco,

    The overriding tenet when discussing the topic of transgender is how people identify themselves (male/female), and not who they are sleeping with. Some may even choose to be celibate. So when someone’s says that being transgendered is sinful, they are communicating more so than anything else that a person is sinful for identifying as the sex opposite of their biology (or at least their original biology if they have since undergone a biological sex change). The core of the issue is not who they are sleeping with.

  119. Kevin,

    Same sex would be matching anatomy.

    That’s obvious to me.

    But hey, I’ve been known to be wrong.

    Just ask my wife. 🙂

  120. Costco,

    You’re not getting it. The predominant issue is not who a transgendered person is sleeping with. The predominant issue is what they feel about or identify themselves as in regards to their own gender.

    Since you are seemingly stuck on who they’re having sex with, what do you do with a transgendered person who chooses to be celibate?

  121. Kevin,

    For what it’s worth, it’s inconsequential to me how a dude dresses. It’s who he is in bed with that matters. Again, for what it’s worth. Hoy can keep the change. 🙂

  122. This is too funny. Once again “feelings” trump truth. We saw it with the conversation on The Shack – truth didn’t matter, only how the movie made people feel.

    So here we have it similar – plumbing doesn’t matter, chromosomes don’t matter – but how I feel and how I identify – ahh! this is what matters.

    But it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Because of America’s mass hysteria with this we have seen the beginning of ‘men’ taking over women’s sports programs – as some guy who couldn’t make his wrestling team, declared himself trangendered and won the women’s title. It has happened in several sports — there goes Title XI my friends.

    In the end as I said yesterday, I don’t care enough about people to get all upset with what they do – I expect the non Christian world to act like beasts and cut off their body parts – like Baal worship. We will wait to see how much bad public policy will come out of all of this.

  123. This subject got me thinking about what sin is. If it is simply missing the mark, then sin runs deeper in us than we can perceive. I think about sin in terms of: ” Is this what God intended” when he created the universe? Surely He did not intend gender dysphoria any more than He intended depression or cancer. So I suppose it’s a matter of understanding sin and the effects of sin. Sin begets consequences which begets sin, etc. This then leads to understanding(?) of why God allows evils like the Holocaust, for if He were to wipe evil out of existence we would all be wiped out of existence.

    Just some Thursday morning ponderings. 🙂

  124. MLD, it was the opposite.

    A woman, in transition to being a guy, won her women’s wrestling title.

    All jacked up on steroids due to the transition.

  125. Having four daughters, I am probably taking this issue way to personally,

  126. *too

  127. Didn’t we used to test the East German women for that kind of thing in the 60s & 70s? 🙂

  128. Yep. They became men. 🙂

  129. Costco – but nothing to stop it the way I described.
    Just think, when Michael Phelps can’t quite compete with the boys any longer, he can declare his true feelings and dominate women’s swimming for another 10 years and 20 more gold medals. 🙂

  130. I have a theory.
    Actually, I have lots of theories, but one will suffice this morning.

    If this issue is as god awful sinful as some make it out to be, then within a generation or so it will solve itself.

    “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.”
    (Romans 1:26–27 ESV)

    The penalty for such behavior appears to be built in to the sin…

    We have a few verses that support being very dogmatic on this matter.

    We have 92 that talk about welcoming the alien and the stranger among us…

  131. #122 MLD
    #125 Costco

    I think “feelings” do matter and so does “taking the issue personally”. I usually have a cocktail each evening. Some nights, however, I don’t. I don’t have one if I am feeling down, or feeling afraid, or if I feel that I “really need a drink”. Why? Because I had two brothers who died as a result of alcoholism and I take the research about it running in families seriously – I take the issue personally. Feelings are not always about getting what we want. Feelings can also inform the “better angels of our nature” to do or not do something that will help or harm us. I’m not sure about how we deal with those coping with gender dysphoria, but I do know we have to approach what they are telling us with the same compassion that we would hope others would extend to us if we were sharing our “feelings” of being depressed, lonely, burned out in ministry, or whatever else is on our plate. Brusque moralizing or making light of their issue is simply not an option in dealing with something of this sort.

  132. Bravo to Michael’s theory on #130.

    Duane, I never said feelings do not matter. There is a reason we were born with them.

  133. #132 Costco

    “Feelings” was directed to MLD. I included you on “taking the issue too personally”, which I think you are quite right to do with four daughters…

  134. I commend this link to all involved in the discussion…the writers nails it.

    https://thinkchristian.reframemedia.com/two-truths-to-consider-regarding-transgender-identity

    “Often, those of us who express concerns about what the culture is cultivating are dismissed with charges of making “slippery slope” arguments. But recognizing that culture advances ideas and that ideas shape people is not a fallacy — it’s a fact. Even the notion of identity as something that is constructed (by the self) rather than bestowed (by birth) is a modern social construct.”

    “Christians who want to follow Biblical teaching in these matters must hold these competing truths — that gender dysphoria is real and that culture cultivates — in tension. We can meet those experiencing gender dysphoria in ways that will either help or harm. The same God who created us male and female is also a God who sees and cares for the outcast and the hurting. Those of us who are in Christ find our identities first and foremost in Him, not in our gender or our politics. Regardless of where we fall on transgender identity, we are called to act as salt and light, not cradle or bludgeon.”

  135. Then we should hold to the ‘truths’ that the transgender community hold to – it is wrong to presume gender. We who do are the ones in actual sin.

    I vote birth certificates be changed to list plumbing and have a blank for gender that says TBD.

  136. MLD, Not all gender dysphoria folks are the same. I doubt the community if you can even call it that has a common ‘truth’ that they all hold on to.

    Regarding, birth certificates, my own doesn’t cite “gender” but cites “sex” instead. I already thought that was a legal thing in most states but I could be wrong.

  137. Steve, You could say that about anything and then no one could even have this conversation.
    Some could not say ‘Christians believe this’ or ‘Christians are against that.’

    I said way up the thread I only address the activists – if they weren’t carrying the right message, then you would think we would hear rebellion among the common transgender. I don’t hear that.

  138. The whole topic of “gender” is rather fraught with peril. Much of it imagined, but there is also a great deal of uncertainty in not knowing how people will react or the viciousness in which people on both sides of the issue are attacked. It is something that I have struggled with throughout my life. Were it not for the clarity of the Bible when it comes to the topic of marriage, I imagine I could rationalize it away and take advantage of our current cultural shift and start my own “transition”.

    I don’t think it would be disputed that different people are more likely to struggle with different sins than others. For example, there are those for whom alcoholism can quickly become all-consuming, and those who have never had an issue with it. Same goes for theft, adultery , or any number of sins. All of us struggle with sin. I think one of the biggest challenges with the transgender issue, is that we have a very strong cultural bias that wants it to be deemed acceptable.

    It is one thing to struggle with a sin that is readily seen as destructive. Even our culture recognizes the effects of alcoholism or drug abuse. The problem with gender identity, is that the way it is portrayed, the person struggling with that issue is shown as repressed. To not allow them to fully express that identity, is seen as bigotry and even painted as abuse.

    Can we address this problem as anything other than sin? Biblically, I don’t see how. The challenge is to address the sinner with love.

  139. Costco.
    Jenner sleeps with women, not men.
    You use him/her as example, but don’t seem to really grasp how gender vs sexuality is defined by folks in 2017.

    Also, transgender is not the same as cross dressing.

  140. I had what seemed to be built in wiring to be a thief beginning when I was 5-6 years old. I was a thief up through high school and maybe further. It was easy and came naturally. Eventually I got over it but to this day I still see ways to steal. So in a sense I battle it.

    I drank for a year or two and coming from a family of alcoholics I easily could have become an alcoholic. Not really liking the taste of alcohol and waking up covered in my own puke one morning let me know things were amiss. I haven’t drank in over 40 years and have no desire to.

    I can’t begin to understand the transgender topic. I could google it but that’s about it.

    What I do believe is we serve a perfect God. He makes no mistakes. Everything that happens in this world and in individual lives He knows perfectly. When each of us passes away He will deal perfectly with each soul that appears before Him.

    I believe what determines a person’s eternal destiny will be what did they do with the claims of Christ.

    Each sin you can think of is fruit of the choice a non saved person made regarding Jesus. It’s not why they will be separated from God for eternity.

    What confounds so many is how a “good” person can be separated from God eternally the same as a serial murderer.

    What further confounds people is how salvation is available to the serial killer, etc. It doesn’t make sense to people.

    What happens with many of us is we forget we were lost at one time also and it’s only by God’s grace and mercy we aren’t still among them. We forget we can still do much evil if pride seeps in and we look at the lost as somehow lesser than us. The Bible is full of examples. They should serve as warnings to each of us.

    I’ve seen a lot of changes in my lifetime. A lot of it has been sad to see unfold. I’m ashamed of many of the things I’ve said and done. But my God is quick to forgive when I ask.

    Down the road (maybe sooner than later) we’ll be faced as a church with age of consent arguments for same sex relationships as groups like NAMBLA organize and move forward with their agenda. I bring this up as this thread deals with sin of a sexual nature.

    How do we approach anyone with the Gospel? With humility and love. Sadly the majority will reject the truth.

    That doesn’t mean we give up. It certainly doesn’t mean we mock or demean them in any way.

  141. E, you bring up a good point.

    “Down the road (maybe sooner than later) we’ll be faced as a church with age of consent arguments for same sex relationships as groups like NAMBLA organize and move forward with their agenda.”

    But is this even a church issue? The same with the Transgender. As I said above it is a public policy issue. If the NAMBLA thing comes up, each of us citizen’s gets his / her one vote and we live with the decision.

  142. MLD, I honestly can’t see the nation putting a rubber stamp on pedophilia. Yet if it does come up by NAMBLA or someone else for example there are those outside of the church that would go absolutely ballistic. I could envision all sorts of things happening with none being pleasant.

    It’s a topic the church would and should address. Hopefully things won’t get that far.

  143. Interesting discussion; easy, I think, to make bold statements when one does not interact with transgender individuals, but merely engages the theoretical. I think the challenge for the church is first, perhaps, to engage those who identify as transgender in conversation. I cannot picture Jesus giving them the silent treatment, even understanding that these conversations, at least initially, will probably happen outside the walls of our church culture.

    Perhaps our conversation, when given opportunity, can be focused on affirming the humanity of individuals that Christ died for–and exploring those areas of common grace we share, as a starting point. Where it goes from there will be a mystery–I am still at the stage of learning to interact in non-judgmental, caring ways. I am enjoying the opening conversation so far,….

  144. Probably need to affirm my belief that God created us, male and female. All sin mars our identity; I am not interested in creating a scale onto which I try to fit just how marred we are, if that makes any sense. I am convinced that Christ came to save us from sin–and ourselves, and to awaken us to life as He meant it to be. I think the economy of God has a much bigger and broader expression of that life. One of the great challenges for individual Christians is to not let our Christian culture squeeze us into its mold, but truly to be conformed to Christ.

  145. Well said, Rick!

  146. London. Okay. So Jenner is a woman with a penis. Is that what you are saying?

  147. Rick, has anyone said differently? Has anyone refused to talk to these people? I said earlier – I sit next to the town whore at work and we talk and laugh it up all day at work, we also have a couple of homosexuals in the office. We have a great time as associates.

    As someone here used to point out it is not up to me to point out short comings for those outside the church.

    So let’s bring it into the church. Ralph is a long time elder in your church. He brings up in the elders meeting that he had been seeing a psychologist for some ‘gender identity’ issues for quite some time and under counseling has started gender reassignment – in fact he now has the boobs, has lost his facial hair, got rid of the adam’s apple and had some cheek and butt implants. Ralph only has some work to do south of his border in about 6 months and he is all set.

    Since we have discussed this seems to be a no sin issue and we see no outward sin in Ralph’s behavior (at least as it pertains to this area) – does Ralph get to remain on the elder board?

  148. #147 – a no sin issue? one of us needs to check our reading comprehension… i think the question has been discussed here as a sin issue that with slightly more complicated ramifications… Ralph has issues, however, should be off the board and dealt with kindly as a brother who has challenges… in the field of rationalization among them… for the Church it is, “when in Rome, don’t do as the Romans do, but be kind and compassionate” err something like that…
    what if Ralph confessed that he was madly in love with the pastor’s wife, had been fighting it for years, had trouble not thinking about her charms 24/7 and, as a result could hardly stand his own wife? what then? how much is body and how much is mind? and what does it mean to be “overtaken” in a sin?
    does Galatians 6:1-10 have any bearing on this discussion? i think it might

  149. I can’t speak for everyone, I can only share my own perspective. After years of searching, I am convinced that to act on my desire to be a woman is sin. The whole idea of relationship comes from God. In the beginning it was absolutely perfect, and then with the fall came corruption. That corruption is making it harder for society to improve, rather than break down.

    I can not look at the relationship and authority structure God has set up for the family, and rationalize a place for me as a woman. God created me as a man. I have always had strong desires to be a woman and found various ways to act on it. My problem is the shame that always comes after. It isn’t societal pressure, it isn’t fear of others, that shame is deeper for me. It is telling God that He messed up when he created me. But note the phraseology. God created me a woman in a man’s body. I was born a boy, but I’m really a girl. Eccetra. They all come from the starting point of, this is what my body was born as, but this is who I really am.

    At the root of it is, “God did this”, “I want this instead”.

    How anyone can look at that and not see it as sin, I really don’t understand. No one knows the depths of depravity I have sunk to in exploring this whole issue of transgender. Only one person knows that this is even a struggle for me. But, God has made it abundantly clear in the Bible that this is sin in His eyes. And every time I have acted on it, it has ‘always’ led to other sin. I can’t speak for others, but that is what I know.

  150. Anchored,

    Thank you for bravely sharing your struggle, my friend. Your identity is in Christ through the struggle. Praying for peace as you work these things out and that you never forget that you’re forgiven. Much love to you…

  151. Anchored,

    Thank you for your boldness and honesty in sharing. I am sure what you struggle through must be quite difficult and sharing about it can’t be much easier. If you are convicted that for you to act on your desires to be a woman are sinful, then please continue to stand on what you believe God wants you to do.

    As I have said before, I can’t identify with the type of feelings you have and I don’t have a good understanding of them in any psychological/emotional/mental/scientific manner. Add to that this is an issue that Scripture doesn’t speak directly to, then I’m not going to be dogmatic one way or another on it because it just is not clear enough to me.

    What I do know is that we live in a fallen world. And that fallenness affects not only our spiritual nature, but also our physical and psychological and emotional and mental natures, along with the physical nature of this world. Sometimes drawing the line between what is sin and what is an unfortunate negative effect of our fallenness but not necessarily sinful is not so simple to do. Especially when it is something that is not addressed much or directly in Scripture.

    I think it would do us well to speak carefully and compassionately about the issue (and I think you have done this here.) I think Christians sometimes speak on the issue in a manner where they make it seem like it is so simple and so obvious and where they give a strong impression of being uncaring. And this does more harm than good in conveying the love of Christ, even if some manner of truth is being conveyed, or is thought it is being conveyed by the speaker.

    But God bless you in your struggles and your willingness to share and in your willingness to do what you believe God would want you to do.

  152. Thank you Anchored. That is a perspective I could never have.

  153. #149 Anchored

    Thank you… please remember, God is walking beside you in your struggle…

  154. Anchored,

    Thank you. Keep walking with Him, He will clarify your heart, He will make you whole.

    I hope you are smiling because, by expressing your faith, repentance, and struggle in your gender confusion and what you so righteously define as sin, you prove less confused than the many of the M.Div’s, bloggers, and pastors here

    some who, in their thanks, seem to throw more confusion at you

    But you know
    He sanctifies us by the truth and that
    His word is truth.

    If you ever need a cyber ear:

    banelif @yahoo. com

  155. God bless you, Anchored.

  156. MLD, thanks for your response; I am the wrong person to ask about Ralph for two reasons–1. To pretend I have an answer for that would be a lie. Any speculation I offer here would have no foundation in experience or foundational thought.
    2. For all my 40+ years in the church, including many in leadership, I never met a person who identifies as transgender until the last several years. I find it interesting, however, that the younger generation does not seem to struggle with this with the same level of tension as we do.

    I do think our past ‘church’ political expression (think Moral Majority and those like them) has made it much more difficult to relate conversationally with those who would identify differently. It is why I wish the church would allow for maximum individual expression politically and morally without the grand pronouncements that accompany those to whom political power is important. I think we need to get quieter so that those who are outside of our ‘circle’ can hear us. I am more and more convinced that all evangelism is personal or local.

    I did not mean my comments to be accusatory in any way–I simply am expressing how I am challenged. Thank you Anchored, and to those who have responded to Anchored.

    Because of personal (some of it traumatic) experience with formal church leadership, I tend to identify church leadership much more in terms of functional gifting and behavior rather than formal office. The military terms this as ‘informal’ leadership. I do not give much thought anymore to what the ‘formal authorities’ are saying or prescribing–I am much more interested in how those I know who love Jesus love others. I try to look like them as much as I can.

  157. joining in the thank yous expressed here to Anchored… we all come from a flawed gene pool and Anchored may be surprised to find his name among those honored in heaven as a hero of the Faith…
    we all may be surprised to learn what God calls sacrifice and what He has called our cross to bear through life’s journey here on earth
    not excusing what we do, just acknowledging that we aren’t equipped to judge some things…
    stand for Truth in grace, but stand… and do so with grace and humility

  158. I appreciate Anchored’s sharing. May the Lord bless you in your battle.

    WHAT he shared as to doctrine could be shared by many of us, and indeed has been. And that is the bottom line issue. At some point the Christian has to comment in any “conversation” with someone battling this battle, or homosexual attractions, or yes any of a number of different sins with whether the Christian affirms what the world affirms or if we speak to self denial, cross bearing.

    The moment we so declare, no matter how lovingly, is the moment we invite the hate and disdain, and often persecution if for example a work situation is involved. There is no avoiding this reality. Thus my self flagellation reference to begin. If a pastor or other leader shared EXACTLY what Anchored shared but without the personal struggle, he/she is pilloried.

  159. Steve, totally agree–trust built through conversation and engagement is the bridge to the loving confrontation you describe. We have a model for that–Jesus.

  160. Amen, Rick

  161. Steve,

    If a pastor or other leader entered into the discussion about transgenderism and gender dysphoria and humbly described it as a complex issue that does not have much of a direct addressing in Scripture and displayed their compassion for those who struggle with a hard to fully understand condition, yet thoughtfully laid out their biblical rationale for what transgender behavior they believed to be sinful, then any “self flagellation” or “pillorying” from others would be wrong and unjustified. If a pastor enters the discussion by callously declaring transgenderism to be sin and lumping it together as basically the same as homosexuality with little to no other meaningful or thoughtful explanation or discussion, then any flagellation or pillorying would be self-induced. Again, there needn’t be self-flagellation or pillorying if people can approach the topic with humility and thoughtfulness.

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