O God, you know my folly;
the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.
Do not let those who hope in you be put to shame because of me,
O Lord God of hosts;
do not let those who seek you be dishonored because of me,
O God of Israel.
It is for your sake that I have borne reproach,
that shame has covered my face.
I have become a stranger to my kindred,
an alien to my mother’s children.
~ Psalm 69.5-8
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.
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.