What is our hope of dealing with transgender issues, and is there a way we should think about it? We are not going to solve this dilemma in this brief blurb, but how we think about these issues is as important as the conclusion. It is obvious this is becoming a very controversial and sensitive issue. The Huffington Post had an article today slamming Chicago that while bragging about being a multicultural city it has little tolerance of transgender people. There are a couple of issues about how we think about this that I would simply like to raise from a Christian framework:

Our theology makes a big difference in how we deal with these issues. Obviously the transgender community look at their gender as an intrinsic reality of the way they were born, sort of… In other words, their rights are violated day by day due to their claim that their inner self is born in the wrong body. Which, to be honest, is probably a pretty strong argument for the Fallen nature of human beings – we are affected by sin and its effects from conception. Often the typical response, as in other similar scenarios, is simply that people are not born this way, but that they are choosing to give into the weight of the “flesh” (to use a biblical term). Any criticism or opinion that is in opposition to this choice is often labeled as trans-phobic regardless of other contingencies.

One of the challenges of our theology is the conflict between our freedom and the theological sense of total depravity (pervasive depravity).  I believe the Bible affirms that human beings are sinful, ‘fallen’, and enemies of God; separated from Him with no way to repair or restore that on our own (Romans 3:23; Ephesians 2:1-3). The meaning of total depravity does not mean we all do evil things all of the time, but that we can never do the kind of good that entitles us to a right relationship with God (Romans 3:10-12). We are all born in God’s image and have value (Gen. 1:26), but none of us are good enough to be right with God (Romans 3:10-12).

Question: If the effect of ‘fallen’ humanity (this sense of depravity compared to the holiness of God) is passed on from every parent to child, where does that begin? I believe that the reason we see physical birth defects, natural aborted fetuses, and numerous other medical complications (for the mother and child during a baby’s development) is a direct result of the effects of the corruption of sin – passed on and through the parents.  I believe that the affects of our depravity is far more extensive than physical. While I do not have the precise medical or scientific framework to express this, I believe it is true.

Baby Thoughts: It is possible that, while these examples don’t have anything to do with what a baby chooses, the developing baby is seriously affected by these ‘physical challenges.’ I believe they are firmly and ultimately anchored in our sinful state of separation from God.  How does anyone not have compassion for a baby whose internal organs are outside of its body, or the Siamese twins that need extensive surgery to get them to a normal individual and independent existence? While we do not have to abandon the issue of choice in the larger discussion (which is another discussion later on), many Christians have very little compassion for people who ‘are making these choices’ because we reduce it simply to moral evil with no other contingencies, as if the only influence is culture or really bad circumstances.

The problem with our position is that we can virtually abandon the position of pervasive depravity until people start making choices. The question, if for no other reason than to see if our own compassion and mercy comes close to God’s grace and mercy towards us, is to at least consider that: all of us are broken, dysfunctional and messed up from conception. Even if we place more weight on choice, the danger is abandoning compassion for the sake of being right. From God’s lofty viewpoint, above the heavens, I think he sees a collective humanity that is very confused and we are all messed up compared to His righteousness, holiness, and purity. We have much to learn.

Starting Point: All that I want to remind us of here is: the need to be consistent with our theology, or at a minimum, to make sure that we allow our theology to inform all parts of the discussion. The tendency of trying to be right above all else can cause us to lose sight of the people and that same compassion, mercy, and grace that God has extended to all of us in Christ.

Pastor Brad