Friday, August 11, 2017

Male and Female

There's been much in the media once again about transgenderism and transgender issues, and among all the noise, there is a lot of confusion, a lot of pain, a lot of offense. The shouting, it seems, gets louder, and it leaves the Christian wondering what to do with all of this. 

Let me say that as a Christian, I am not bothered by transgender folks. It's not a threat to my faith.

It's not a threat because my faith provides a narrative for understanding the issue. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, plants and animals, male and female. And then we went and screwed it all up so that today, we're spending our lives searching for earth in the heavens and heaven on earth, cutting down plants and hunting down animals. Is it that far of a stretch to believe that our male and female are a little messed up, too?

The science isn't there yet to say exactly how the transgender phenomenon occurs, but is it so far-fetched to believe it could be biological? After all, we have all kinds of developmental disabilities, cancers, illnesses, deformations, etc. that were once thought to be sin-related or demon-induced. Even in the New Testament, we see a blind man brought before Jesus while the crowd asked, "Who sinned?" Today, we attribute such to genetics and mutations and crossed wires. Are we to proclaim that some wires are off-limits to crossing? 

Even if it's not biological, are we willing to deny the psychological brokenness that is part of the Fall? Just to say that we have a reason...or even a look down on someone? Doesn't sound very Jesus-like.

Even if it's a choice...

Think about all the things that we've learned from individuals who aren't...well...perfect. Think about all that we have learned about joy from persons with Down Syndrome, from those who have one extra little chromosome. Think about what we've learned about perseverance from children born without limbs or confined to wheelchairs. Think about what we've learned about community from those who have battled cancer. Think about what we've learned about courage from those who live with crippling anxiety. Think about what we've learned about redemption from criminals, about grace from victims. Think about what liars have taught us about truth, what cheaters have taught us about integrity, what adulterers have proclaimed about fidelity. What the war-torn have taught us about peace. Everything we've learned in this world has been taught to us by someone who wasn't perfect.  

And everyone who isn't perfect has something to teach us in this world. Even, yes, something sacred. Every single person we've tried to write off has something holy written in them by God Himself. 

The broken see through eyes that the proud can only dream of. 

We talk so much in our Christian circles about "loving the sinner, hating the sin," and it absolutely is possible. The secular culture says it isn't, but it absolutely is possible that we can affirm the individual created in the image of God without affirming the agenda that lurks behind so much of this. And we should.

Because you want to know something? In the beginning, God created them male and female. And I think there's maybe something very important that the transgender community can teach us about what that even means. Something that maybe we've forgotten because it's been so easy for us to take for granted what has seemed so obvious.

I'm not afraid of the transgender community. I'm not disgusted by it. It's not a threat to my Christian faith. I'm grieved by it, as I am by all things that are not as God intended them to be, but I'm not willing to villainize it. I'm not willing to turn my back or to stick my nose in the air. That's not helpful and it's not Christ-like. 

What I am willing to do is to sit around the table, to break bread, to share fruit. Because we're all just trying to figure out what it means to be human, created in the image of God and fallen, so, so fallen. And I haven't met a man - or woman - yet who hasn't had something to teach me about that.

(There will be at least two more posts stemming from this discussion, so if you're a little upset right now, hold on. And if you're not upset, hold on.)

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