Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Love>Logic: How a brain can kill something genuine

Don't let your brain do this!
You can always just switch the stickers...
I am a member of a Facebook group known as "Thruway Christians." Started by famous blogger and LGBT activist John Shore, the TCs are a group of modern Christ-followers dedicated to a fairly progressive (but ultimately roots-deep) model of following Christ. A couple of the tenets (being sick of the strict issues for the Christian right, but also being sick of the theological ambiguity of the Christian left) assist in creating an environment that is fairly loving towards those who reside outside of what a majority of Americans would call "normality."

One of the members is transgender. My own personal life has rarely consisted of truly provoking my brain into my own beliefs towards those who are afflicted with the burden presented by a transgender mindset. This particular member believes that she is a woman trapped within a man's body. Totally awesome, however, was the encouragement provided by the members of the TCs. They totally loved this person for who she is! That is a beautiful thing!

I myself, sadly enough, was not without struggle. The idea that God would make a mistake and create a soul to reside in the wrong body... How could that ever be so? God does not make mistakes! Of all of the struggles for my brain as of late, this one was definitely the most challenging. First came trying to logic around the issue. Then I sought some pleasant debate with a friend who has struggled somewhat with this issue.

Eventually a conclusion came to me. I will choose no side. It is irrelevant. A person who takes issue with how they feel gender-wise is already living with a struggle. It is not my place to make his or her journey any more difficult. Instead, I will genuinely care for and pray for this person. Just as we all should for everybody.

Will I ever find an answer to this on Earth? I don't know. Do I care? No. God did not make a mistake, and I know there is a bigger reason for the struggle that this person has to fight through. So my challenge to all of you is to mill this thought over in your head, put yourself in the shoes of someone different than yourself, and, when all is said and done, to genuinely love and show gratitude towards every single person you come in to contact with.

Thankful that this is an issue I don't personally struggle with, and proud of those who do struggle with it,

(For far better writing than my own, and much more on similar issues, visit John Shore's Blog)


  1. I love this! I've often worried that my "non-stance" on LGBT issues was a cop out, so it's wonderful to see someone come at it from a place of love instead of feeling a need to choose sides. It shouldn't matter if a person's actions are right or wrong, because that doesn't change the commandment that I have been given to love them. God can take care of the rest.

  2. As an atheist student of the Bible, I'm often perplexed by the questions you and others pose regarding God's fallibility. In the Bible the means & methods God chooses to test the faithful are limitless and often cruel and unusual; Didn't he put the soul of his only son in a mortal human body only to be tortured to death?

    I admire your attitude towards accepting the struggles each of us faces at face value, but there's no Biblical reason why you or anyone would even need to wonder about it. Anyone who would play the God-doesn't-make-mistakes card is obviously not paying attention to the Bible.

  3. Brilliant piece! And the bright and shining diamond of truth it contains is "It is irrelevant." I've used this phrase to shut down so many meaningless debates within my own thought processes that I've grown to cherish it. So many "problems" can be kicked to side and ignored once you realize that whatever the answer is, it has no effect on how you should live your life.

  4. In terms of God's "fallibility," how about individuals who are born with other challenges: autism, blindness, spina bifida, sickle cell anaemia... Do you feel the same challenge to reconcile the existence of such individuals and the difficulties they have to contend with with an infallible god? What is it about gender and sexual identity that seems to bunch us up more than other issues that face us as human beings, when really it's all part of the multi-faceted reality that is our world and God's creation.

  5. Long ago, yes, I would have required some sort of reconciliation. I choose to believe, however, that God uses these things as challenges in our lives. We are to consider it pure joy when faced with trials. Some people may struggle to see it as such, but I myself have witnessed how the difficulty one person faces can move mountains in the lives of others. It is when a person who is limited from birth or accident overcomes these issues, when a person doesn't allow him/herself to derive their entire identity from these limitations, that a powerful testimony is revealed for the entire world to see! That being said, I know many who face your aforementioned limitations don't see themselves as such. That is where the love of others comes in and allows anybody to overcome any obstacle!

    Why does this bunch us up? Because it is a new and controversial issue. People en masse have never had to deal with something such as the growing voice of the transgender nation. It bunches us up in a similar way to every new controversy.

  6. Dear Troy,

    This is Robyn, the woman who originally posted the piece on Thruway Christians. I'd like to thank you for you thoughtful, compassionate response.

    In no way do I blame God for my condition, nor do I think (any longer) that it was a mistake. I simply look upon it as a birth defect, and it was given to me to learn and, hopefully, grow from. Or, perhaps, it's "just one of those things." I don't pretend to understand the reason for it. I simply cling to the belief that God never tests a soul beyond its capacity, and trust that there is a reason for it.

    Again, thank you for your compassion and insight.


  7. I do not believe God makes mistakes. Paul spoke of the "thorn in the flesh", and I see it as something which drew him closer to God by acting as a reminder of his own imperfection as a fallible human being. I, like Robyn, am not the biological sex my spirit tells me I am (unfortunately reassignment surgery is not an option for me). This makes me, in a sense, imperfect. It causes me frustration and, at times, pain - it is one of several thorns in my flesh.

    I am slowly learning to accept myself as God made me, to accept the limitations and frustrations placed on me by the thorns in my flesh, to take advantage of them in my relationship with God, and to anticipate the day when this body is replaced and those imperfections are gone - when my body finally matches my spirit as God created it to be.

  8. And I am truly thankful that you see your condition as such! Both you and Robyn! Thank you for being a light to this world for people that I doubt I can ever 100% sympathize with. I do not share this "thorn in the flesh" with you. I do, however, see the anger, judgment, and lambasting that is directed towards you daily by people who claim to follow Christ. I won't judge those people, because they probably do follow Christ in some way. When they judge you, I pray that you will be a loving light towards them. They just don't understand. Thank you for sharing who you are, and for allowing me to at least attempt a few steps in your shoes!

  9. If I might give a secular humanist viewpoint. Accent, I hope, on the Human, as in humane, compassionate, common humanity...

    Something Zen-like first. Some situations that will challenge much theological dogma about sex and gender. Don't worry, follow Matthew 22:35-40 and 1 Corinthians 13 and all will be well, no matter how disorientating you may find this.

    The Guevedoces of the Dominican Republic.

    Two boys from Gaza


    Those two syndromes are 5alpha-reductase-2 deficiency (5alpha-RD-2) and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-3 deficiency (17beta-HSD-3) respectively. Other, rarer syndromes can cause similar effects, in some from male to female rather than female to male.

    Any of these syndromes can either cause transsexuality, or cure existing transsexuality, depending upon the patient's neuro-anatomy.

  10. Hey I'm a transgender Christian as well. I don't claim to know for sure why God would put someone through the pain of having the body of one sex and the brain of another, but I myself had to come to terms with the "God made a mistake" criticism. I had to come to realize that it wasn't a mistake. If God had not of given created me with a male body and female brain then I would never have taken the journey he set out for me, and would not be the same woman I am today. I often wish that God would have just given me a female body like every other woman, but more and more I start becoming increasingly grateful towards the strange blessing in disguise he has bestowed upon me. I have an appreciation of my gender that most just take for granted, and have learned so much through the whole process about how God does not limit his creation just to fit the categories we created for it.

  11. Why do we continually forget that God created a perfect world, but sin has tainted it and let in all measure of sickness, disease, irregularities, and imperfections. GOD, by nature, cannot create anything imperfect. It is His great enemy causing dischord in the world. I don't question God, rather I pursue the fight against Satan.