According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Christian Transgender Acceptance and Equality

Lately I've been watching argument and confusion arise from Olympian Decathlete Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner's transgender change (who is famously associated with the Kardashian's). To help towards a positive construction of this discussion I'd like to make the following observations:

First, to understand "transgender identity" let's start with a medical diagnosis of what "gender dysphoria" may mean... is it governed by a miswiring of the brain or by genetic encoding? Or, does it stem from the pressure to fit inside society's boxes?

Since it may be a struggle with personal identity should we omit from our street vocabulary the discriminatory label of queer which too easily reflects popular ignorance and discriminatory labeling based on personal feelings of fear or of religious/cultural standards of what should be norming according to the "book of us?"

From comes the following observations:

gender dysphoria

"A psychological condition marked by significant emotional distress and impairment in life functioning, caused by a lack of congruence between gender identity and biological sex assigned at birth."

Also called gender identity disorder.
—Usage note

"Some transgender individuals and their advocates object to the use of the word "disorder" to describe this condition and therefore reject use of the variant term gender identity disorder. However, others feel that classifying it as a disorder may facilitate access to medical care related to the condition."

Secondly, very few of us understand the confusion a child or young teenager may have who struggles with this crisis. I would like to suggest we put away labels and finger-pointing and consider how to help in ways that are constructive to the well-being of these individuals.

All the worse is the child who now becomes an adult having not resolved his or her's gender identity crisis. For the church, as for society, we must always remember our shortcomings and grave ignorance of individuals who harbor deep feelings of non-acceptance along with the fears of being personally harmed or shunned should they speak of their personal crisis to others. Obviously this is not helpful and the greater harm has been committed by ourselves who are short on empathy and prone to castigate others different from ourselves rather than to redeem those who would normally become outcasts from society.

Thirdly, let's make this personal. Rather than attempting any diagnosis at all (including anything medical) let's simply try to see a transgender individual as a person. As an individual. One who has the same needs as you and I to be loved and accepted, befriended and ushered into a cocoon of people who will protect them for who they are. This goes way beyond any labels and psychologies and simply let's someone be who they wish to be. Who must be what they are regardless of whether it is norming to society or not. Jesus did the same in the New Testament to the outcasts of society and I believe the church should also be on the frontlines of love and acceptance to those who are condemned and unloved.

Finally, I have linked a related article of a young girl's experiences who has gone through her own transgender identity crisis. The link provided will take you to her story. Just like a gay or lesbian individual who must deal with societal exclusion so too does the transgender person find similar discomfort by friends and neighbors. Perhaps, by reading of their personal struggles, we might better appreciate what many of us fail to understand.


R.E. Slater
June 18, 2015

Rebirth of a Transgender Teenager:
Katherine Boone's story

Kat Boone, "Before, I was unable to look in a mirror"

For further reference -
Wikipedia - Transgender

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