Some critical words for the Left on Gay Reparative Therapy (ii)


Update II: I posted some important final words on these posts.

Yesterday I began giving some of my thoughts on Exodus International‘s recent repudiation of gay “Conversion Therapy” that was supposed to have “cured” gays of their homosexuality. I began by talking about my experience reading the primary text on this type of therapy in college, and then I criticized some of the common thinking of those on the more conservative side of the spectrum when it comes to this topic, especially how Evangelicals have reacted to Exodus International’s President, Alan Chambers. I also wrote some further thoughts responding to some questions about “homosexuals ‘persisting’ in their ‘sin'” (Update: I clarified some thoughts on that post).

But today, I’ve got some words for the Left…
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some brief thoughts on “willful persistence in sin” & homosexuality


Update III: I posted some final thoughts on these posts.

Update II: In some commenting I did on facebook, I feel I communicated myself more clearly on a couple of issues than I did on this post. So, below, you’ll find those clearer comments, edited for your consideration.

Update: The second and final part of these posts is up.

In response to my post earlier today on Exodus International’s decision to move away from “conversion therapy” of homosexuals, in which I criticized many more conservative reactions (don’t worry, you progressives will get your due tomorrow, haha). A couple of comments, messages, and such have asked me about that classic Evangelical formulation that homosexuals that “persist in their sin” or “walk in deliberate willful disobedience” cannot be “saved”.  (This idea is based on some parts of 1 John, but that application of those verses has too many interpretive issues to go into here, as I type on my phone. Suffice it to say, though, that it’s a bad application and doesn’t naturally flow from the text).

Anyway, back to the question.

Life is much more complicated than those simplistic categories of “willful”, “deliberate”, and “persistent” (and “sin”, frankly). Being in counseling myself, and being a counselor, this whole “willful disobedience” thing is much grayer than that articulation implies.

What do you do with pastors that are irresponsible in their preaching and “pastoring”, and even in light of SO many other believers telling them they are wrong, disobedient, harmful, and sinfully relating to their people, they “wilfully persist” in that? What about all of us Christians that “willfully persist” in driving even 5 mph above the speed limit? What about the person in the church that never stops gossiping, even in spite of sitting in sermon after sermon on the topic? Or all the southern and midwestern christians that “wilfully persist” in their gluttony?
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An Amazingly Thoughtful Discussion on Gay Marriage


Thanks to David Sessions, the editor of Patrol Magazine for bringing this all to our attention.

Now, I have remained in the closet for much of this discussion (forgive the pun), though I have spoken of this in-person with others, with varying reactions. For a myriad of reasons, it’s generally wiser to controvert into a half-empty coffee cup or beer pint than it is to do so on the web. But nevertheless, this is a charged issue that demands response, both public and private, from those that have (hopefully) given it deep and communal thought, allowing both time and others to help refine and nuance one’s opinions. I hope I may be so bold as to include myself in those numbers.

Someday.

For now, I’m still figuring it out, and discussions like the one I want to bring to your attention today both clarify and confuse the issue for me.  I find myself agreeing with each article you will find below; a similar reaction Sessions has eloquently articulated in his Patrol article.  I appreciate his public candor and can easily relate.

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Open Mic: A Theology of Transgenderism? (pt.iii)


As I said in a previous post in this series (Part 1, Part 2), this problem of how the Church must address Trangenderism will be an increasing problem as time goes on. This is mainly because of how the whole idea of gender identity has changed in the past 100 years.

It is only since Sigmund Freud that we use our sexuality as an “identity”. And it’s only after the Enlightenment that living in light of one’s natural identity is seen as the highest ideal.

Now, Christianity agrees with the Enlightenment on this point, but with a caveat. A very, very important caveat that should shape this entire discussion, especially as it pertains to how we actually counsel and interact with transgendered individuals.

The caveat is this: humanity is the image-bearer of God. We are called to reflect and live in light of that Image. When we don’t do this, we are actually going against how humanity was truly designed to live. We are, in effect, acting less human, not more.

Therefore, as we become Christians and our hearts are (slowly) changed, we live more and more as our fully-human, Resurrection selves. Being joined to Jesus as our representative for true humanity, we find our truest, most truly human identity in him–not in our sexuality, not in our physical sex, not in our gender.

In Christ there is neither slave nor free, Jew nor Gentile, male nor female, gay nor straight. There is only Christ.

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Open Mic: A Prolegomena of Transgenderism (pt.ii)


UPDATE: This series is finished. Part 1 can be found here and Part 3 is here.

Yesterday, I started a little miniseries on Transgenderism in response to a question a friend sent me. They were wondering how Christians are supposed to look at this particular issue. I laid out the questions and definitions involved here and asked for feedback (be sure to read all of those comments). Today, I’m talking about a “Prolegomena of Transgenderism”.

Prolegomena” is just a big (but appropriate) word that basically refers to all the things we must keep in mind before trying to answer big questions. For example, in Systematic Theology, Prolegomena is when we lay out the very foundation of our knowledge about the given topics and the presuppositions that will guide us through the rest of the endeavor. That’s what this post is. I want to explore a couple of perspectives that have driven a lot of the answers I’ve seen about this before trying to come to firm conclusions in the next post. So, with all that being said, let’s get started.

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Open Mic: The Question of Transgenderism (pt.i)


UPDATE: This series is finished. Part 2 can be found here and Part 3 is here

A couple of days ago, a friend of mine shot me a facebook message asking me for a Christian perspective on, of all things, transgenderism. For many reasons that will be explained later, this will be a topic of increasing pertinence that the Church will have to give a theologically-informed account for at some point. We need to have answers for questions like: “Did God make them that way?”, “Are they just confused?”, “Should we support many people’s desire for surgical alterations?”,”What hope for ‘healing’ can we expect in this life?”,”Is it something that needs to be ‘healed’ in the first place?”, “Is it a sin?”, “What does a Christian with transgender issues look like?”, “Is that even possible?”, among others.

To be honest, I don’t feel like I have a rock solid answer to any of these questions. Every time I feel like I do, I talk to someone and they show me a new dimension I hadn’t seen before. So, I’m very open to ideas, which is why I’m writing this on the blog. I would love everyone’s feedback and opinion as to how one should answer these questions.

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