Monday, July 28, 2008

Pueblo Chieftain columnist bashes Dr. James Dobson -- What's Up with the Presbyterian Church USA - Part 7

In the Saturday, July 12, 2008, issue of The Pueblo Chieftain, columnist Christian Piatt admits to being "on a bit of a James Dobson-bashing spree lately" (pg. 5A). (His words, not mine.)

His column on this date gets after Dr. Dobson and "his crew" (Focus on the Family Action, I assume) for running an ad in the Chieftain following the passage of a certain law here in Colorado. Proponents of the law call it an "anti-discrimination law" which, if I understand it correctly, allows people of any gender into more public spaces. Opponents, like Dobson and "his crew," say the new law now allows men/transgenders/gays to use women's restrooms, and Dobson shares his concern for what type of man might now legally enter a woman's restroom and what that person might do to the young, innocent, or weak in there.

In his column, Christian Piatt rails again "Dobson and his anti-gay agenda." He writes, "Ultimately, it seems that the fear behind such ads is about something much greater: the fear of diminishing relevance. Hate, fear and judgment are strong medicine..." And, "I have at least some sense of sadness for those who honestly believe that they are doing what is right, yet they see their agendas slipping away from them as the rest of the country turns toward a more just and humane understanding of community."

Now, I'm assuming Christian Piatt is a Christian, not because of his first name, but because his bio at the bottom of the column states that he is a "music minister at Milagro Christian Church" (Disciples of Christ) here in Pueblo.

As a minister, and as a Christian, Mr. Piatt should know that homosexuality is wrong. Those of us who refuse to give in to political correctness when it contradicts God's Word have been bashed over the head with language like Mr. Piatt uses. We're said to have an "anti-gay agenda." We're told we are motivated by "hate, fear, and judgment." And worse. And on and on...

Not so, Mr. Piatt. We (meaning I, and dare I speak for Dr. Dobson, too?) are motivated by truth as well as love.

The truth is homosexuality is wrong. Transgender gender-confusion is a sad thing. But stating or implying that people can be gay/homosexual and/or transgendered and everything is just fine ... between them and God ... is just as wrong. It's not loving to tell people or imply that wrong behavior is okay and that God is just fine with it.

It's far more loving to tell them the truth. God loves them, yes, just as He loves all of us regardless of what our personal sin is. However His love does not mean we can go on sinning and He overlooks it all and lets us just keep doing as we please. No, He wants to correct our wrong behaviors, often through the instruction of Christians who stand firm for His truth, like Dr. Dobson.

Which is the more loving way, Mr. Piatt: To "love" people who are doing something wrong and never tell them what they will face when they meet God face to face? Or to tell them the truth, so they can make changes in their lives if they choose to, changes that are pleasing to God?

This is one of the (or perhaps THE) major problem in the mainline Christian denominations, like the Presbyterian Church (USA). We now have confused or wimpy people in LEADERSHIP who think it's better to "just love people as they are" than to tell them the truth.


"If we truly love Him, we will trust Him and gladly submit to Him and to His ways. But when we find ourselves making the choice to go our own way, our love for Him is not complete. There are still hard spots in our heart...
"When He shows us those wicked ways--those hard spots in our hearts--and we, in turn submit them to Him, He will melt them away with His great love. He truly does love us just the way we are, but , thankfully, He loves us too much to leave us that way."
Kathi Macias in Beyond Me: Living a You-First Life in a Me-First World (New Hope, 2008)
Coming next:
Gay Leaders in Mainline Christian Denominations -- What's Up with the Presbyterian Church USA - Part 8
Coming in August:
Interview with author Kathi Macias about her newest book, Beyond Me: Living a You-First Life in a Me-First World

33 comments:

Carlie said...

Ms Butts You wrote, “It's far more loving to tell them the truth. God loves them, yes, just as He loves all of us regardless of what our personal sin is. However His love does not mean we can go on sinning and He overlooks it all and lets us just keep doing as we please. No, He wants to correct our wrong behaviors, often through the instruction of Christians who stand firm for His truth, like Dr. Dobson.”
Who gave you the right to judge what sin is greater? The only one who can make that judgment is GOD. What about your sin and you do have it we all do. How do you judge that you are so much better than others that you may “Instruct” them?
Matthew 7 1-5
1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
I sometimes find it Ironic how you rail that these Gays and Transgender People are sinners but none of you openly invite them to your churchs. Jesus Christ wants us to live as he did with Love and compassion, letting the Father GOD do the judging.

Hazumu Osaragi said...

Hi;

May I interject a real life situation. I’d like to hear your guidance on this.

My mother was given a drug to take to lessen the chance of miscarriage and promote healthy babies — that’s what the doctor told her. The drug is Diethylstilbestrol, or DES. In male fetuses, it feminizes the brains of one in five of us ‘DES sons’.

I finally came to terms with this, and realized my choice was transition or die. So, I’m now a male-to-female transsexual who’s had ‘the operation.’ I’ve changed all my legal paperwork and although I still have a male body with XY chromosomes, it has been retrofitted to approximate female anatomy, which is good because if I ever end up in an accident, there will be no ’surprise’ for the first responders.

I ‘pass’ very well, thank you. Only rarely do strangers figure out I was not born this way. Most people have to be told, by me, or, more often, by someone else who just has to ‘drop the bomb.’

So my question to you is — knowing what you know now about me, and assuming for the moment you get absolute power to label me and make determinations on where I can and can't go —

-Which restroom and changing facility do you feel I, a male-to-female transsexual, should use when in public spaces?

-Am I immoral?

-Am I a paedophile?

-Am I tearing down western society in support of a deviant agenda?

-Am I selfish?

I eagerly await your responses;

Hazumu Osaragi

Zoe Brain said...

Before talking about Transgender - which includes both Transsexual and Intersex - as a moral issue, may I please beseech you to look at the medical issues.

A basic explanation is at TS 101. That doesn't deal with all the issues in great detail, it's a basic introduction.

A more technical explanation is at BiGender and the Brain.

Read that and you'll learn about such peculiar syndromes as 5alpha-reductase-2 deficiency (5alpha-RD-2) and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-3 deficiency (17beta-HSD-3) which cause a natural sex change.

You'll see the actual pictures from fMRI scans that show as plain as day that transsexuality is as much biological as any other congenital condition. Male Brain, Female Body, or the reverse.

There's also a small mountain of evidence from brain autopsies, studies on mixed-sex twins exposed to each others' hormones in the womb, male foetuses exposed to feminising hormones, conditions that can masculinise a genetically female foetus, or feminise a genetically male foetus, and a lot more.

It doesn't mention Matthew 19:12, neither does it mention Isaiah 56:3-5, which gives a guide for Intersexed people on how to behave since the usual biblical gender-based strictures cannot apply to someone neither wholly male nor female in body, no matter how normal their minds. These conditions are not new, and the Bible gives explicit guidance. Nowhere does it say that there is any excuse, or reason, for treating them as Pariahs.

You do not understand the Colarado law correctly I'm afraid, but considering the massive misinformation spread due to ignorance or malice about the issue, you can hardly be faulted for that. Some "Christians", scare quotes intended, have taken a very flexible attitude towards "bearing false witness", not merely lying, and rather more true Christians of goodwill have believed them.

The facts - regarding restrooms, the legislation regularises an existing situation where those born with unusual genitalia an those born with the normal kind are not subject to physical examination before entering restrooms. Their overall appearance is what is used, and those who appear unusual are still allowed to use the restroom that most suits their ambiguous appearance.

The rest disallows both sexual orientation and gender identity and appearance as being legal excuses for persecution, just as religion isn't. One may still think that the practices of, say, Hindus are against one's personal convictions, and that by worshipping false gods, they are mired in sin. One may still similarly anathematise homosexual practices as abominations. What one cannot do though is to persecute either Hindus or Homosexuals for their sinful ways.

Some deeply committed christians object to that. A few have maliciously manufactured outrageous lies that misrepresent the situation entirely. They falsely claim that it's not out of hatred for sinners that causes their objection, but a perfectly understandable concern for safety.

Similar or identical laws have been in force in 13 other states, and nearly 100 cities and counties, sometimes for 30 years now. Not a single incident of he kind they fear, not one, has ever been recorded in that period. Not one.

They know this, it's been pointed out to them numerous times. They merely redouble their efforts.

The opposition is not from Rape Crisis Centres, Women's refuges, or Child Protection advocates. It is solely from deeply religious people whose hypocrisy conceals their true agenda.

Now a disclaimer - I have a particularly and fortunately rare Intersex condition. Most natural sex changes are from female to male, mine was in the opposite direction. In all but one such case, the body changed to match the brain, and it was a blessed relief from a life where everything felt... perverse and un-natural. I've had to do a lot of research on the subject.

DBAGAL_10 said...

I also await her respone Hazumu. I, too, am a male to female transexual woman who lives life every day, every minute as my true gender, in the body I was always meant to have. I have no confusion whatsoever. In fact, I am grateful to God for allowing me to live a full and productive life with many friends and a wonderful career. I am truly blessed. And I deny anyone the right to define me and to dictate where I can and cannot go and to associate me, even implicitly, with pedophiles and deviancy.

Thank you also, carlie, for a wonderful biblical response.

Sara Law, Washington DC.

Sue Tornai said...

I will speak for Ms. Butts whom I know to be a very loving person who trusts God. I would also like to hear how others interpret Romans 1. We believe the Bible to be God's inspired word without contradiction or error. It is part of our relationship with a living God. It is where we find truth and joy and strength.

I am happy to invite you to my church, Sunrise Community Church in Fair Oaks, California. It is my prayer that you will feel loved and respected, that God's word will speak to your heart, that you will find the answers for yourself. It's between you and God and it is vitally important. It's a forever thing. You may not believe in Heaven or Hell, but you will someday. I hope it's not too late - when your choices are gone.

I don't believe God makes mistakes. We are each given hardships and obstacles in life. No one gets out of here without them. We have choices. Will we choose God's way or our way?

I chose my way for too many years in my life. I tried God's ways and I wasn't happy, so I decided to do whatever I wanted to be happy. I ended up depressed and lonely. Because I had some fragmented faith roots I cried out to God and told Him I didn't want to go on anymore. His quiet voice said, "Could you make it today if I promise to stay with you?" I gave Him the benefit of my doubts and opened my Bible. I began to trust Him as never before. That was 18 years ago. Today my life has meaning and purpose. I serve an awesome God who loves me and I love Him with all my heart. I would like for you to know this love and I am praying for you.

Jan Verhoeff said...

Sue, Nice to see your comment. It always amazes me when I read comments implying that we should simply accept and tolerate differences of all sorts, out of love.

The bible says we're to love the sinner, not the sin. There's often a discrepancy between how we treat the sinner based on the sin. There's NO difference from one sin to another, the bible doesn't justify any sin. Man, however, often uses the Bible to justify sinful behaviors.

If a man commits a crime, we punish the criminal. Should it not be so of sin?

Christ died for all sin. He didn't stay longer on the cross for sexual sin, or for theft, or for other misbehaviors. He died, he gave it ALL for sin.

Carlie seems to be implying that there should be no instructors in saying "How do you judge that you are so much better than others that you may “Instruct” them?" Then later implies that compassion would be 'openly inviting (the proverbial) them' to our churches.

If there's to be no instructors, what difference would church do? We're ALL sinners.

Hazumu, you seem even yet to be seeking acceptance and understanding. How is this different than before you had the operation?

DES was a horrible drug. It effected many, and most of them differently. But I'll tell you in all the loving candor that I can muster that if God can (and he has) healed men of other issues, then he CAN heal you of your issues with DES. It may have been simply your "cross to bear" and your reason to lean on HIM. It may STILL be your cross to bear and you may have to learn to LEAN ON HIM. Not one of us is perfect, and none of us is without sin. Our choice is to lean on God and allow Him to lead us and guide us in the way HE would have us to go. When we take it upon ourselves to take a different direction, we end up with bigger issues.

Your mother made a choice, as have you. Those choices are visited on generations (yes, this is biblical) and will continue to effect you. You can make the choice to refute the debilitating desire to sin that comes with those choices, and follow God. The choice is yours. You can continue down the path that has brought you, still seeking acceptance and assurance, or you can seek the path of righteousness and God.

Zoe, medicine, as proven here in these quotes, alone, is not a proven science, but rather scientific theory. They're still learning, and each choice made teaches yet another lesson as with the drug DES, which was considered to be a miracle drug, and is now removed from access. How long will it take for scientists to realize that their theories of transgender or bi-gender existence is also theory. Not only theory that isn't based on any fact what-so-ever, but falicy that has created a generation of people who don't know who or what they are, who are so confused and lost in their own choices that they don't even remember why they made those choices, and don't care any more?

How long before this scientific theory becomes based on other scientific theory based on other scientific theory with no basis in FACT? How long has it been that we've based carbon dated fossils on carbon dated rock and now we've found that carbon dating is essentially bunk and the theories don't measure out?

Are you willing to base generations of sexual identity and personal acceptance on scientific theory that isn't proven and has no basis in fact? What drug will they come out with next month that fixes the feelings of disillusionment that come with a sex change that can't be undone, based on theory that is unfounded in reality?

How many people out there are currently on mind-altering, anti-depresents that fool them into thinking they can continue on down their trail of sinful behaviors instead of seeking solutions for their depression?

When you find true Joy in the Lord, you don't need anti-depressants, a sex change, or even worldly acceptance to be the person you can be in Christ.

Biblical or not, there's no logic in changing the person you were born as into something you were never meant to be, to please 'the world'. Those of you who have made those choices already, if you're not yet content with who you are, have you considered that possibly, you're looking for the wrong answers? Maybe instead of looking for worldly acceptance of your personality and spirit, you need to be looking for God's acceptance and your heavenly reward?

Dianne E. Butts said...

Hi Carlie,

I'm really sure I didn't say any sin was greater than another. And you're always welcome at my church: Parkhill Baptist in Pueblo, Colorado. Actually you should be welcome in any Christian church. When you attend one, if you're not welcomed let me know the name and location of the church and I'll call them on it and check into what's up with that.

Finally, I'm glad you're familiar with the Bible, but we ARE to judge between what is right and what is wrong. Here's another verse back at you: The words of Jesus: "Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment." John 7:24

Dianne E. Butts said...

Hello Hazumu,

Thanks for sharing your difficult journey. I can say with absolute certainty that God does not make any mistakes. I can also say with absolute certain that He can guide us through any dilemma that we face.

You asked for my guidance on this? Here it is: Pursue an ever deepening relationship with Jesus Christ. Just as you are. He knows your situation. He knows your name. And He loves you.

Dianne E. Butts said...

Hello Zoe,

You wrote "Some deeply committed christians object to that. A few have maliciously manufactured outrageous lies..." I highly doubt that. A deeply committed Christian doesn't maliciously manufacture lies--that's an oximoron.

Neither I, nor any Christian I know, has ever advocated treating homosexuals, transgendered folks, or anyone else as pariahs.

Do you personally know any Christians? Because I know a lot of them and they aren't anywhere near the awful, malicious, lying people you seem to think we are.

Thanks for sharing your story.

Dianne E. Butts said...

Thanks, Sara in DC, for your note. I'm glad that you, too, acknowledge God in your life and know your blessing are from Him.

Keep pursuing Him. And I will, too.

Dianne E. Butts said...

Thank you, Sue and Jan, for your comments.

I appreciate you sharing your story, Sue, and for extending the open invitation to your church.

Jan, thanks for all the points you made.

Both of you responded with kindness and thoughfulness.

Thanks.

Zoe Brain said...

Jan Verhoeff - did you read the articles I linked to?

How long before this scientific theory becomes based on other scientific theory based on other scientific theory with no basis in FACT?

This theory, as you put it, is less certain than the "round earth" theory. It's less certain than the "heliocentric" theory. It's about as certain as the "theory of gravity" and "theory of evolution", both of which we know work, even though we're not certain of the details.

You stated one great truth, that all science can do is give "best guesses". But when the best guess leads to electric lights, computers, and such, it's not helpful to say that the theory of electromagnetism is only a theory, with no FACTS behind it. Even though, as you said, it may be replaced with an even better guess in future.

When you find true Joy in the Lord, you don't need anti-depressants, a sex change, or even worldly acceptance to be the person you can be in Christ.

I've never taken any anti-depressants. And I may not have needed a sex-change, but I got one anyway, from natural causes. The consequent relief was indescribable.

I'm no Christian. I do try to follow His principles. The precepts I try to live by are 1 Corinthians 13, and Isaiah 56:4-5.

Thank you for attempting to help me, by the way. I realise you're not communicating with me for your own benefit, but for mine. God bless you for that.

diane e butts -
A deeply committed Christian doesn't maliciously manufacture lies--that's an oximoron.

We are all fallible, and sinners. One can be a deeply committed christian and still commit sin, especially "in a good cause" of course. See St Augustine on "just wars" and similar situations where we have a choice not of good and evil, but evil and worse evil.

Much of the problem in Phariseeism, those who adhere to the letter of the law while going entirely against the spirit behind it. The obverse problem is that of wishy-washy Kumbayah-singing ineffectual christians who would never dream of overturning the tables of the moneychangers.

Both think they're doing the right thing - mainly. But some Pharisees are in it for the church-sanctified hate, and some Kumbayah singers use their doctrine as an excuse for sloth and inaction.

Yes, I've met some Christians. One I most admire has very different beliefs than myself on such minor matters as cosmology, but actually practices true Charity.

One cannot oppose the Pharisees and the Indolent without first understanding that most are truly trying to do the right thing. Even if one thinks them to be terribly misguided, and doing awful harm, one must still love the sinner while hating the sin. Not "must" as in "because we are commanded to", but "must" as in "we can't help doing it" as they are just like us, doing their best, and no doubt in error in some ways.

I'm no Christian, lacking faith, but much of what He said is what I try to live by.

Oris Reedetrac said...

I think church leaders should generally approach these unhappy, homosexual, people in the true spirit of the gospel of love and understanding rather than of condemnation. They are sons and daughters of God, and intended to become like God in righteousness and honor and integrity and virtue.

They should be convinced through kind persuasion that a total continuing repentance could bring them forgiveness for the transgression. They can also be assured that in spite of all they may have heard from other sources, they can overcome and can return to total normal, happy living.

Many of these people have reached their present depressed state on a long road of gradual deterioration and cannot be expected to perfect themselves instantly. Consequently, high ideals and positive programs should be suggested to them and frequent visits will help them gain self-mastery.

The inspiration of the Lord will generally bring happy solutions to these problems.

I was just reading Paul's letter to the Church at Corinth, Greece, about A.D.55. In which he says:

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kindom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornnicators, nor idolater, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with Mankind. Nor thieves, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God. And such were ome of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

May we all give thanks for the atonement of Jesus Christ.

Zoe Brain said...

oris reedtrack - Hi!

I think church leaders should generally approach these unhappy, homosexual, people in the true spirit of the gospel of love and understanding rather than of condemnation.

I have a question for you though: is a person who looked like a boy at birth, had sex reassignment, and is attracted to men, "gay"?

Conversely, if the same person is attracted to women, are they "lesbian"? That's how they'd describe themselves.

About 1 in 3 transsexual women are lesbian, by the way. Their gender identity is female, but their sexual orientation is a separate issue.

They should be convinced through kind persuasion that a total continuing repentance could bring them forgiveness for the transgression.

If we were to catalogue my sins, we'd be here all day. Starting with the sin of pride, then wrath - my immediate reaction to your charity was "How arrogant! How condescending!" - for example. That was wrong, and although only I and God knew I felt that way, you do too now, and I ask your forgiveness for my lack of charity. Various acts of omission, sloth, where I did some of what I knew was right, but only if it didn't inconvenience me unduly... as I said, we'd be here all day.

But repentance requires acknowledgement that one has done wrong, and when it comes to my situation, I honestly don't see what sins I've committed.

In 1968, I picked the name "Zoe", at age 10. I thought I'd have a normal puberty like other girls, that I'd been classified as a boy by some mistake.

I was vaguely worried that I wasn't attracted to boys, so was a "defective model" so to speak. I was rather innocent, naive, and they weren't big on SexEd in England in 1968.

5 years later, I had learnt things in biology class. The monthly bleeding I had at age 12 was put down to an episodic infection. My body looked almost normally male. So I decided that my internal feelings must be wrong, and I had to be a boy after all. I tried to be the best Man I could be, trying to embody all the masculine virtues I would have sought in the father of my children. Think "Sir Galahad".

When I was 20, I had a severe illness, one incredibly rare in males, almost unknown. My abdomen was slit open from below the bikini line to my breastbone, and various "anomalous tissue" removed, as well as the diseased organ.

When I was 23, I met and fell in love with another girl. But that was OK, my birth certificate said "boy", and I still looked like a rugby player.

At 27, I went to a fertility clinic, as we'd been unable to conceive. Now there was some technical difficulty there, I didn't have normal male organs. To me, intercourse was always only for procreation, it felt un-natural, I didn't have the instincts or reflexes men have.

The diagnosis on the basis of blood tests and examination of my genitalia was "undervirilised fertile male syndrome". "fertile" meaning "not completely sterile". This was thought to be due to AIS - Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome - which in its most severe form leads to a sterile woman, not a man. The odds of me ever becoming a father were about 100:1 against, and it would probably take medical assistance.

I tried to be a good husband. I was never much of a success as a man, but I genuinely believe I was a success at being a decent human being.

In 1999, we tried a new medical technique (syringes etc to extract gametes), and started having miscarriages. These were emotionally devastating, but it was still the first glimpse of hope in nearly 20 years that we might become parents. In 2000 we hit the jackpot, and my son was born in mid 2001.

I loved fatherhood. It was the one part of being male that seemed natural to me, looking after my child. Others' children too, I did volunteer work at a kindergarten, and was the "honourary mom" who had the brute strength to dig holes and lift things.

In all that time, I felt no attraction to anyone other than my partner. Neither men nor women interested me in the slightest, only her. My monogamy was natural, not laudatory, as there was no temptation to resist. I really didn't understand the concept of "sexual attraction" that seemed to dominate so many people's lives.

In 2005, my metabolism went crazy. I lost a third of my body mass in 3 months, over a pound a day. Even my eyes changed colour, as they do in some pubescent girls. I changed shape, skin and hair texture. There were other changes of an indelicate nature.

As the result of many, many 21st century diagnostic techniques, MRIs, ultrasounds, gene scans, blood tests, it was decided by my medical team that I was more accurately classified as a "severely angrogenised non-pregnant woman", and treatment started accordingly.

This required some intellectual flexibility on my part. Those silly feelings that had never gone away that I was actually a woman in a horribly masculinised body were accurate after all. And now my body was no longer masculine, well, not more than a trace. About as much as it had been feminine before, only detectable by medical exam.

I had some more surgery to normalise my body, and remove atrophied and dysfunctional parts of my body that were a cancer risk. I had no other surgery, nothing cosmetic, no implants, as that would be pure vanity. I will never know what it is to look pretty. (Ok, so add vanity to the list of sins... it would have been nice to look that way for some part of my life, as other women do).

We remain married. Our vows were "in sickness and in health", forever, and we have a boy who needs two parents. Our relationship is chaste of course, but the love we've always felt for each other - Agape not Eros - remains.

So... what exactly must I repent? What have I done wrong?

They can also be assured that in spite of all they may have heard from other sources, they can overcome and can return to total normal, happy living.

Normal? No. Rather ... extraordinary.

Please read the article on families in Polare, the magazine of the Gender Centre in Sydney, Australia. There you'll see a picture of my very happy if unusual family. The Gender Centre by the way, is there for people who were "born eunuchs from their mothers womb", as Matthew 19:12 says. These days, we'd call them "Intersexed", "Gender variant", or victims of "Disorders of sexual development".

I have sought guidance from learned theologians - it helps that the Australian Catholic University is only a stone's throw away. I've had significant assistance from the Anglican Bishop of Durham, a former schoolteacher of mine. At the time I picked my name in 1968, in fact.

I'm no Christian, but all their advice came down to following Isaiah 56:4-5. My personal guide is 1 Corinthians 13, and the first two Zen Boddhisatva vows:

Beings are numberless; I vow to help them.
Delusions are inexhaustible; I vow to end them.


A Boddhisatva, by the way, is someone who forgoes Nirvana, the Buddhist Heaven, despite qualifying for entry, to stay reincarnating here on Earth in order to help others. Such a person is the embodiment of compassion, whose motto is "While there is a single person drowning, how can I leave the pool?"

This is a goal I will never reach. But I can try. I think Jesus would approve, just as the Pharisees would condemn.

Eyes of Love said...

God is a god of love and not of hate. What part of love don't you understand?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghpeqotJxKA

Jan Verhoeff said...

Yes, Zoe, I did read the articles you linked to.

You indicated that you've been unhappy as a man all of your life, with few areas of masculine joy or contentment.

Could you please describe the men in your life who were your role models? As a child, then later?

In every case I've seen, including a relative who went through similar issues to yours, the male role models were absent, lacking in their own masculinity, or simply uneffective.

I don't doubt there were physical/chemical changes. I do have to question the cause.

There are physical/chemical changes that happen to create other issues in lives, such as depression, bi-polar, etc. These changes all have a cause.

From a Godly point of view, I can love a person with any sin, because we all need and desire to be loved. It's in our nature, and it's our greatest gift.

From a human perspective, I can accept differences. Those differences often make me question the life and choices of the other person, when their choices could have been different.

What might have been different had you chosen a different solution?

Had you gone to a Doctor who didn't believe the transgender option was possible? Would you have accepted changes and perhaps found a different option?

Medicine is said to be 'practiced' for a reason. They haven't got it right either.

Forty-five years ago, I was given anti-biotics. Those anti-biotics have created problems I'd rather not have to deal with, but I've been dealing with them much of my adult life. Medicine isn't an exact science either. While my experience is quite different from yours, I've been a victim of medical science falicy as well.

Choices are made on the best information available at the time, but occasionally, we have to reconsider at a different time and think about the concequences of choices we make. And also of choices we made.

God is a big and loving God. He accepts us as we are, loves us as we come to Him, and gives us what we NEED. He doesn't promise an easy road, but He does promise not to leave us stranded on the road.

There is no judgement here, I don't know your situation well enough to judge you. God knows you and you can turn to Him for whatever needs you have. With an on-going relationship with Jesus Christ, you can obtain the healing you need (not what I perceive, but what God knows).

I believe that God has led you here for a reason. There are God fearing individuals here who love the Lord and have reached out to you in Christian Love to offer guidance and direction. If you are truly seeking salvation and acceptance as a child of God, you will find it.

If you're seeking to justify, and find justification for choices against biblical principle, I doubt you will find it here. To be honest, I doubt you will find it anywhere, because that isn't what this site is about, and those justifications don't exist in the minds of believers.

Zoe Brain said...

Hi Jan

Could you please describe the men in your life who were your role models? As a child, then later?
Certainly, if you think it would help.

The greatest influence by far was my Father, and definitely the reason why I didn't particularly want to be a girl. Still, it's not something you want, it's something you are or are not.

I had, and even though he's been dead 15 years, still have, a bad case of Hero Worship for him.
He used to take me out fishing, I loved that. Or surveying. Or flying kites, which we made together. I "helped" him do some programming at Harwell Nuclear Research Labs in 1966. Despite my help, he still got his work done.

We had great fun together with the model railway set, or going out to the airfield where he'd worked on a "Black Project", the Miles M52 supersonic aircraft, during WW II.

He taught me how to be a good father. He lived by Kipling's "If".

I desperately wanted to be a Man like him.

When he was just 19, a student of engineering at Liverpool University, he was put in charge of a rescue unit. He could look at a bombed building, do a few calculations, and decide if it was safe to rescue the people trapped inside, or if not, where to shore up the structure.

One dark day in 1944, a 1-ton "Land Mine" hit a street. There were two townhouses blown flat, with a 3-story wall shakily standing between them. It was unsafe, it would collapse on both piles of rubble. Now one of them had a basement, and was a shelter for the local school. Kids were inside, he could hear them. The other was just a pile of rubble, but again, there were signs of life.

The wall had to come down. So at 19, he had to decide which group of people to kill when it did.

He risked the basement ceiling being strong enough, and it was. But he had to make that dreadful choice, or everyone would die.

That's the kind of man he was. A mountain climber, a cricketer, a man who always managed to find some time for his children, even taking them to work and getting them involved. He was disappointed that I didn't share his love of cricket, but I was almost as good a shot as my Grandfather, another influence, who had been a sniper at Gallipoli and the Somme.

I miss him. I miss his quiet courage in the face of adversity. And I'm extraordinarily proud, and blessed, that he was my Dad.

In every case I've seen, including a relative who went through similar issues to yours, the male role models were absent, lacking in their own masculinity, or simply uneffective.

That happens. I've even seen it as an article of faith on the subject in books written as recently as 1989. Studies from 1992 showed no correlation, and no systematic difference in family background, compared to the general population.

You haven't actually met many TS people, have you? Especially FtoMs? A dozen perhaps? Less than a hundred, certainly.

At paragraph [252]: ‘The traditional analysis that they are "psychologically" transsexual does not explain how this state came about. For example, there seems to be no suggestion in the evidence that their psychological state can be explained by reference to circumstances of their upbringing. In that sense, the brain sex theory does not seem to be competing with other explanations, but rather is providing a possible explanation of what is otherwise inexplicable’.
That's from an evaluation of the scientific evidence by the Australian Family Court in 2003.

I don't doubt there were physical/chemical changes. I do have to question the cause.

We do have more evidence that came in after I wrote that article, more is coming in every day, and more than 50% of all scientific papers there have ever been on the subject have been written in the last 10 years.

For example A polymorphism of the CYP17 gene related to sex steroid metabolism is associated with female-to-male but not male-to-female transsexualism
Summary : a gene that causes male hormones to be released in a female foetus during pregnancy is associated with an increase in rate of FtoM transsexuality.

Then there's Male-to-female transsexuals show sex-atypical hypothalamus activation when smelling odorous steroids.

This shows another way that MtoF transsexuals have a feminised lymbic system in the brain, one not associated with past use of hormones.

There's this article in Endocine Today.

Research has started to explain the correlation between specific DSDs and gender identity later in life. For example, more than 90% of patients with 46,XX congenital adrenal hyperplasia who are assigned female in infancy later identify as females. Other conditions are less concrete: among those patients with partial androgen insensitivity syndrome, androgen biosynthetic defects and incomplete gonadal dysgenesis, approximately 25% go on to suffer dissatisfaction with their assigned gender.

This can best be explained by the timing of hormonal surges during gestation due to these anomalies: if they happen after neural development is mostly complete, only 10% are affected, otherwise it's a third to a quarter. About a third of people are BiGendered, able to function in whatever gender they're arbitrarily assigned.

And so on...

Now correlation does not imply causation. There's 4 possibilities when 2 phenomena, A and B, are correlated.

A could cause B
B could cause A
Both B and A could be caused by another phenomenon, C
Or it could be a coincidence.

There's enough evidence to rule out the last as hopelessly unlikely.

The third is most likely - that C, hormonal factors during gestation, cause both A, the brain differences, and B, transsexuality.

We know A cannot cause B, as some of the brain gender differentiation happens at puberty, after transsexuality appears (at age 2-7). Contrast with Schizophrenia, where symptoms and brain degeneration are coincident.

There's no hypothesised mechanism for a behavioural syndrome can cause neural changes, only factors set in the womb can do that. So if B causes A, we'd have to junk neuroscience completely. Not impossible, but since there's no evidence why we should, it's most unlikely.

The Bible is an excellent guide to what we should do, and how to behave. As a biology or cosmology text though, not so much. The stars are not affixed to a beaten metal shield - a "firmament". Rain is not caused by windows opening in the firmament, letting the "waters above" through. The hundreds of different Intersex conditions are only described in Matthew 19:12, "some are born eunuchs from their mothers womb".

The last lines of Matthew 19:12 have been interpreted in various ways, from a highly elliptical call for chastity, to specific authorisation for genital surgery sometimes - not always - being required for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Similar words are used in the injunction "if thine eye offendeth thee, pluck it out".

I hold no opinion on the latter exegesis. It may be correct, but I can't say it is. Certainly that interpretation has led to heresy such as the Skopsi sect, so should be viewed with grave suspicion.

I did not come here for "justification of choices against biblical principle". If someone can show me chapter and verse where this biological condition is described, other than Matthew 19:12, I'd be most grateful. My contention is that it is a biological condition, and that the treatment of such conditions is never against biblical principle, unless specifically mentioned. In view of Matthew 19:12, it just may be, but approved of, not enjoined.

Transgender gender-confusion is a sad thing. But stating or implying that people can be ... transgendered and everything is just fine ... between them and God ... is just as wrong.
I ellided the "Gay" bit as that is another issue.

Please tell me exactly what is wrong? I see no evidence. In fact, Isaiah 56:3-5 specifically states that those with biological gender abnormalities have a special place in heaven waiting for them, providing only that they keep the Sabbath, and not the many other laws as well. Some of which they cannot keep, as it's biologically impossible.

Now what "keeping the Sabbath" means is open to interpretation, but flat, absolute statements that "well it's just wrong" with no well-reasoned and unambiguous scriptural exegesis to say *why* it's wrong, has to be challenged when it leads to uncharitable acts.

I don't think anyone could dispute that transsexuals are treated uncharitably.

Oh, and if by "questioning the cause" you mean the cause of my own change, please have a look at this photo record. Changes from external hormone therapy - licit or covert - happen at pubescent rates, over years, not months. They also leave unmistakable traces on blood tests.

Dianne E. Butts said...

Has anyone else been having trouble accessing my blog?! How frustrating to not be able to pull it up -- kept getting an Internet Explorer error message. I've been receiving your comments by e-mail, but havne't been able to get on my own blog to respond!

I'm not the only one having problems--there's a lot of buzz on Blogger about lots of people having trouble. (The same problem is plaguing my web site.) They're working on it. I just figured out how to fix mine and the fix worked.

Unfortunately, I have to leave for the day in a little while so don't know that I'll have time this morning to respond much to your past comments. I'll try to respond some before I have to leave. Otherwise...later this weekend.

Thanks for all the conversation on this interesting yet difficult issue.

Blessings to all, (And I mean that!)
Dianne

Zoe Brain said...

I've had no problems using Firefox.

Looking over my posts though, they seem too brusque and confrontational. The content is good, but the overall effect may easily be seen as abrasive rather than pursuasive.

My apologies for that. Reasonable people of goodwill can disagree, and we're all trying to do our best.

Thanks are due to Dianne for providing a forum for us to communicate our ideas. I may not have been a rude guest, but I fear I may perhaps have been a surly one. I apologise, and will try to be less confrontational in future.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Jessica said...

You say The truth is homosexuality is wrong.

You cannot be farther from the truth. All you have to do is look at http://www.soulfoodministry.org/docs/English/NotASin.htm and http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0714-22.htm

I'm sorry to say Diane, You've been lied to. Christians have been lied to throughout history. You have been taught through tragic error the wrong doctrine, which has caused pain to untold thousands of people.

If you truly believe in what Christ actually taught, then you have to consider the misrepresentation that has been perpetuated and work to correct that misteaching. The challenge is yours to accept, Diane. Are you up to the challenge?

Jessica said...

You say The truth is homosexuality is wrong.

You cannot be farther from the truth. All you have to do is look at http://www.soulfoodministry.org/docs/English/NotASin.htm and http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0714-22.htm

I'm sorry to say Diane, You've been lied to. Christians have been lied to throughout history. You have been taught through tragic error the wrong doctrine, which has caused pain to untold thousands of people.

If you truly believe in what Christ actually taught, then you have to consider the misrepresentation that has been perpetuated and work to correct that misteaching. The challenge is yours to accept, Diane. Are you up to the challenge?

Jessica said...

Oops, sorry for the double post.

Dianne E. Butts said...

Hey all. I'm back. Thanks for your patience with me and my blog woes.

Oris, I wanted to thank you for writing in.

I don't know of any church leaders who treat homosexuals, transgenders, or anyone else with condemnation. Obviously, if any individual did, that would be wrong.

Christians work toward convincing people through persuasion that there is only one true God and He came in human flesh (while still remaining fully God) and we call that human Jesus (the Christ). (Other religions, like Islam for example, sometimes attempt to convert people at the threat of death. That, of course, is never a true conversion because if a person's heart is not really believing what they are professing, then they are not converted. Duh!)

You wrote, "They should be convinced through kind persuasion that a total continuing repentance could bring them forgiveness for the transgression. They can also be assured that in spite of all they may have heard from other sources, they can overcome and can return to total normal, happy living."

First, I'm guessing most of these folks are not at all convinced that they need to repent or need forgiveness because they are not convinced they are doing anything wrong.

Second, I'm guessing most of these people are not interested in "returning to normal, happy living." Have they left something behind that they desire to return to? I'm sure they're not entirely unhappy in their lifestyles or else why would they be remaining in it? And saying they are not "normal" might be a bit offensive. (And I know your heart, Oris. I know you're writing out of kindness and not wishing to be offensive.) Besides, what is "normal" anyway? Aren't we all at least a little abnormal is one way or another? (Please let me hear someone out there chuckling.)

Finally, we have a fundamental disagreement. You wrote: "Many of these people have reached their present depressed state on a long road of gradual deterioration and cannot be expected to perfect themselves instantly. Consequently, high ideals and positive programs should be suggested to them and frequent visits will help them gain self-mastery.

"The inspiration of the Lord will generally bring happy solutions to these problems."

When you mention "perfect themselves" and "self-mastery," this is fundamentally opposed to Christianity. According to the Bible (God's words to us--and I'm talking Old and New Testaments only. Christians don't recognize any additional books as God's Word.) we can do NOTHING to perfect ourselves. We each have sinned, and we cannot "undo" our sin and therefore make ourselves "perfect" again.

Here's a quote from the Bible for you. Isaiah is speaking to God in Isaiah 64:5-6 (NIV):

"You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways. But when we continued to sin against them, you were angry. How then can we be saved? All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away."

Ever since sin entered the picture we CANNOT perfect ourselves or master ourselves. God knows this. That is why He had to figure out another way to redeem us (so that we could once again enter His perfect, holy presence). So He instituted the substitutionary system: Before Christ, an animal could be sacrificed for the sin of a person. When Christ came, He stepped into our shoes and took our sins upon Himself, and put His righteousness upon us.

Here's another quote from the New Testament. (Sorry if this one is pretty long. Not sure where to start to get the context... I'm getting a running start, but my aim is to get to that last sentence, so please hang in there with me):

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old had gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:17-21, NIV).

We cannot become righteous in God's sight in any way other than accepting the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross on our behalf. The good news is, the moment we believe and "accept" that fact, we are redeemed. We are made right in God's sight. We are accepted by God (becasue He promised that's what would happened if we accepted His provision on our behalf). In other words, we are "saved."

Dianne

Dianne E. Butts said...

Hey Eyes of Love,

I don't understand what you're seeing on this blog that you think is hate. I don't allow hate on this blog (or threats or profanity). Do you think whenever people disagree it is automatically hatred? Can't we discuss issues that we disagree on?

The alternative is allowing everything (and I mean EVERYTHING)in our society, because if we voice opposition to something, that would then be hate.

God, in His love, doesn't allow everything to occurr without consequence. To do so would not be loving. I think that's a part of love you don't you understand.

Ironically, it might feel like you're shooting condemnation and hatred back my way, except that from your user name I'm guessing that is not your intention.

Dianne

Dianne E. Butts said...

Hi again Zoe Brain,

In two comments you've mentioned: "I'm no Christian, lacking faith, but much of what He said is what I try to live by."

And then again, "I'm no Christian, but..."

Jesus said it takes the tiniest amount of faith to believe in Him. He said, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you" (Matthew 17:20, NIV).

You also wrote, "I have sought guidance from learned theologians - it helps that the Australian Catholic University is only a stone's throw away. I've had significant assistance from the Anglican Bishop of Durham, a former schoolteacher of mine. At the time I picked my name in 1968, in fact."

How interesting that you're still in contact with this former schoolteacher. It seems clear that you are seeking to understand not only your situation, but also God. It is good and it is wise to seek help, guidance, and information from others, especially learned people like you've mentioned. If I may, I would suggest that you also read the Bible for yourself, because nothing can take the place of that. If you pursue that, may I suggest a modern translation of the Bible. My favorite is the New Internation Version, and I love the NIV Study Bible because I love the additional information (historical and cultural context, original language information, etc.) given in the study Bible's notes on each page. The NIV Study Bible (Zondervan, 2002) is available from Amazon.com and most bookstores.

It is okay, I guess, to try to live by a few verses like you've mentioned -- "...Isaiah 56:4-5. My personal guide is 1 Corinthians 13-- but no one can't truly know the heart of God without reading His book for themselves.

Keep seeking Him.

Here the words of Jesus: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened" (Matthew 7:7-8, NIV).

Respectfully,
Dianne

Dianne E. Butts said...

Dear Zoe,

I don't think you've been brusque, abrasive, or even surly at all. At least you didn't come across that way to me. As a matter of fact, I thought you have been quite respectful, listening to those of us who think differently than you and engaging us in conversation. I can see you've put a lot of time and thought into your comments, and I appreciate all that you have contributed. I can certainly say I have learned from this conversation.

No apologies needed. You'll always be welcome here.

Dianne

Dianne E. Butts said...

Hello Jessica,

Thanks for writing. Homosexuality is wrong, and I haven't bought into a lie. I don't get my information from articles like you cited--I get it straight from God's written word to us.

I should say, I haven't read the articles you cited -- Sorry, I don't have time to take homework assignments.

You say I've been lied to, "Christians have been lied to throughout history," and that I've been "taught through tragic error the wrong doctrine." If you can back up your position by showing me in the Bible (which I hold to be the inerrant Word of God) something that supports your position, then I'll consider carefully what you have to say.

But if all you have to offer to support your position is a couple of articles on the internet, well, honestly, anyone can find something on the internet to support anything they want to believe, right?

You wrote: "If you truly believe in what Christ actually taught, then you have to consider the misrepresentation that has been perpetuated..."

I truly do believe in what Christ actually taught. I just don't think you know what that is. The challenge to show me something out of the Bible that will convince me I'm wrong is yours to accept, Jessica. Are you up to that challenge?

Thanks for chiming in.
Dianne

Jessica said...

Diane, I tried to show you that you are wrong and I posted the work of bible scholars to back up my statements. You chose to show me that you are a closed-minded bigot who continues to prefer the lies you were taught than to consider the truth.

Fine and dandy, I know now where you stand. I know now that you will pick and choose your facts to fit your prejudices. I know that you are a hypocrite.

Also, a couple of comments above you say that you don't know of any Church leaders who condemn homosexuals. What about Fred Phelps? What about your precious James Dobson and his Focus on the Family? What about Jerry Falwell? I could list many others but perhaps they don't exist in your comfortable little fantasy world.

So no, I don't accept challenges from hypocrites. Have a nice life.

Dianne E. Butts said...

Hello again, Jessica. As I said, I don't have the time to take homework assignements from you to go read articles you want me to read. How about you recap what these scholars said here and we'll discuss it?

Just because I don't agree with you or immediately jump to say, "Oh gee, I guess I'm all wrong," you call me a closed-minded bigot? You say I continue to prefer the lies I was taught than to consider truth? I have considered truth. I read it for myself in the Bible. I came to my own conclusions. I don't rememer being "taught" homosexuality is wrong, but I do remember reading it in the Bible.

I do not pick and choose my facts, Miss fine and dandy. I checked into it myself and, as I said before, I hold the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God. Therefore if the Bible says it is wrong, I believe it is wrong.

You seem very angry and ready to immediately condemn anyone who doesn't agree with you.

I don't know Fred Phelps--never heard of him. I've heard of Jerry Falwell, but don't know a lot about what he has said. I am quite familiar with Dr. James Dobson and I know full well he does not condemn homosexuals. (I doubt Jerry Falwell has either.) Mr. Dobson, like me, believes homosexuality is wrong. By your standards, saying so is "condemming homosexuals," but it is not so to the rest of us. If you put me in the same category as Dr. Dobson that's fine with me, I'm in good company.

Perhaps it is you who is the closed-minded bigot who continues to prefer the lies you were taught (or have chosen to believe) than to consider the truth in the Bible. I hope some day (soon) you learn how much God really loves you and that calling sin a sin is for your good and not your harm.

I wish you nothing but the best,
Dianne

Zoe Brain said...

Jessica -
I think there's something about honey, vinegar, and relative merits when capturing musca domestica.
Yes, sometimes difficult, but we're all human. A repeated polite request to view the evidence would have been more useful.

Dianne -
I'm honestly surprised that you've not heard of Fred Phelps. Here's the site that preaches his "Christian" message. Scare quotes intended.

I'll quote a little:
Since 1955, Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) has taken forth the precious from the vile, and is therefore as the mouth of God (Jer. 15:19). In 1991, WBC took her ministry to the streets, conducting over 34,000 peaceful demonstrations (to date) opposing the fag lifestyle of soul-damning, nation-destroying filth....

The rest is of the same ilk.

Now the WBC is an extreme example. There are less insane ones which use much the same language though, even if they don't quite go so far as to anathematise the US, Sweden, the English Monarchy and various other institutions.

For example, from MassResistance:
The Coming Nightmare of a "Transsexual Rights and Hate Crimes" Law in Massachusetts:

...transgender/transsexual” activists... want to offer your children on the bloody altar of transsexuality -- pulling them into sex-change operations involving unimaginable bodily mutilations and hormonal manipulations.
...
The culture of death has created a compulsion in the souls of the homosexual radicals and their "trans" allies, driving them ever further into new perversions. There is no bottom to this pit of depravity, and they will drag many innocent victims along with them: the young, the lonely, the psychologically and physically wounded, the confused – including some of your children and grandchildren, family, friends and neighbors. There will be no safe haven. You cannot cocoon in your homes or churches. Our public schools, businesses, public accommodations (which may include churches), your employers and insurers, will all be forced to yield to yet-undefined perversions, protected by law.


This kind of rhetoric is being used even now in an attempt to roll-back human rights laws, and with some success.

Irv said...

What a wonderful, creative, and godly blog! For what they're worth, there are a couple of intriguing articles on Google etc. that can turn a person inside out. I refer to "Open Letter to the Noah/Lot Gang" and "Dangerous Radicals of the Religious Right." Check 'em out. Irv

Shannon said...

Dianne,

I am going to define bashing for you. Bashing is the act of saying disparaging things about another person for some attribute which you do not posses. It may be defined slightly different ways in various dictionary sources available online and in print, but that is how I am using it here. I think bashing is a particularly unchristian attitude to have, and you are welcome to quote scripture to disparage me of that notion, but I doubt you will find any to support the notion that Christians should be bashing anyone, and a lot of scripture to support the idea that they shouldn't. There are a number of places in this post and the comments where you deny the existence of Transgendered Christians, and in fact try to deny the reality of our existence with disparaging words—essentially calling us emotionally disturbed. I can assure you I am not emotionally disturbed and if you drive a car, use an iPod, use servers to send your emails and post through that you use the product of my hands and brains everyday.

Since you have not met a transgendered Christian, let me introduce myself, ShannonB, Secretary of the Board for Pacific Northwest Reconciling Ministries Network, the Lay Leader of my congregation (United Methodist), and a member of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference--the lay and clergy that vote on church law and policy in the UMC). I have been a Christian my whole life, and I have only fallen away from the church for the time when I believed that the church could never understand or accept transgender persons and the role in this world that God had for them; but I never fell away from God. Fortunately, I have long since found churches who do not need to maintain their membership by inciting fear and hatred of the "other," be the "other" race, gender, religion, or even sexual orientation. I not only walk with God in my life, but it is God who led me by the hand working absolute miracles through my transition.

I am also the transsexual granddaughter of a transsexual woman. As Zoe Brain aptly pointed out, the evidence for a genetic basis for transsexuality in the last 20 years of medical research is becoming overwhelming; hence reality does not need your permission to be true. But that ultimately is not the point of this post. I just wanted to point out that in the light of such evidence, it has the same moral high ground to bash transgender persons as it does to bash black people for being black. Roll that one around your mind for a while and see what the Holy Spirit has to say about it. In the next 20-30 years the statements and attitudes you express here will seem as outlandish as the Jim Crow laws in the US of half a century ago seem now.

The point of this post that I have been so long in getting to is that there is substantial support for the transgendered community IN THE BIBLE. First, lets start with a discussion of Deuteronomy and the prohibitions against cross dressing and the crushing of testicles. Note that these are not sins, these are reasons to be excluded from the temple and the Holy of Holies in the temple. These are no different than eating pork or shellfish. Considering the sales of both pork and shellfish to Christians in this country, your idea that there cannot be transgendered Christians is ludicrous on the face of it. That is the equivalent of saying that if you do not keep all the dietary and other laws of the Old Testament that you cannot be Christian. Paul explicitly debunked that idea in many places, but if you want a reference I would start with Galatians 1-3 and his discussions revolving around Peter's behavior. Further, if you knew your biblical history you would know that Nebuchadnezzar castrated the royal family of Israel and the Priests of the temple during the Babylonian captivity in hopes of putting an end to that troubling regime. When repatriated to the land by Xerxes, this left Israel in the difficult position of not having anyone to officiate at the temple. So God gave a revelation to Isaiah in Isaiah 56:4-5. Note here also that the Hebrew word used for Eunuch includes all of those who do not marry either for religious reasons, surgical reasons, or personal reasons (which in principle could include homosexuals here, but that is a whole other discussion on sexuality which is not relevant to this discussion of gender); Jesus says as much in Matt 19:12 if you want another source on the matter. Here God explicitly rescinds the prohibition against Eunuchs and further says that "I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off." Not sure about how you do things, but to go up against God when God says something like that about a group of people would seem to put you on tenuous ground at best.

Keep in mind too that if it hadn't been for the eunuch Hegai, there wouldn't even BE a book of Ester too. Just sayin' is all.

But let's go one deeper. For this you will need a concordance and a Bible dictionary. You are a Christian, yes, so I am assuming that you have those? In Genesis 37 tells the story of Joseph and his being sold into captivity by his brothers. Shredding the "garment" and throwing Joseph into a pit later to be sold seems like a bit of a strong reaction to Joseph's younger brother taunting regarding how great he thought he would be later in life. Let's look at what really drove that reaction. The Hebrew word used to describe Joseph's garment given by Jacob is used in only two places in the whole Bible. Considering that the whole Bible was not committed to pen and ink until much later and was committed largely in its entirety with regards to anything predating some of the minor prophets, the only logical conclusion is that it was intended by the writers documenting this history of God's people that they meant the same thing in both places. In looking up that word in the concordance and the dictionary (and often in the margin notes of study Bibles), this word is shown as having an unclear meaning. Let us examine that statement in the light of the fact that the word is explicitly defined in its other usage in 2 Sam 13:16 in the story of Amnon and Tamar. There it is defined as the richly ornamented garment only worn by virgin daughters of the king. So in essence we have Joseph in Gen 37 running around the fields looking for his brothers in what would effectively be called now days ....a princess dress. Hmmm, do ya think that might have had something to do with his brothers' reaction? Yet God sent Joseph to the one place in the middle east of that time where his gives would not only be not reviled, but even celebrated: Egypt. If you know anything about Egyptian religion of the time, gender variance was not only tolerated but considered to have religious power. There are a lot of things that this was true of in the religion of that day that we would not see the link to today, but it is Gods providence that is the point here in using Joseph to save the fledgling nation at a time when it could have been starved to death.

So also does God have a role in today's society for transgendered and transsexual people. God has allowed us to experience the gender and patriarchy that divides today's society and church and God can use us as prophetic voices that can speak the truth of experience to both sides of those debates. And that is only one place. Studies done of transgendered people find that they often tend to gravitate to positions in organizations that are between the isolated silos of power and knowledge, acting as an effective social lubricant to get different groups of people working with each other effectively. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God. Echoes of Isaiah 56 no?

Yours in Christ,
ShannonB

Irv said...

[found the following internet piece - Irv]

OBAMA SUPPORTS SAME-SEXERS
(and supports the "rights" of little kids to view public depravity!)

Google "Americans for Truth," click on "Zombietime" [or go directly to: www.zombietime.com], then click on "Up Your Alley Fair"! After recovering from the uncensored photos (!), Yahoo "God to Same-Sexers: Hurry Up" on the "ucmpage" listing (even Jesus told Judas to hurry up - John 13:27). Also Yahoo "Dangerous Radicals of the Religious Right." See all of this before the predicted California earthquake happens a la Rev. 16:19 ("the cities of the nations fell") - and before hurricanes and other conscience-stirring disasters occur elsewhere!

(Obama, Pelosi, and Newsom did NOT approve of this message.)