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Friday, April 24, 2015

Listening and Learning: Christians and Our Transgender Neighbors.

When Paul Stone Williams made a public statement saying, contrary to all appearances, he was truly a woman, people took notice.

Until the announcement last year, Paul, who now goes as Paula, had been an editor of the Christian Standard magazine, a flagship publication for the Independent Christian Churches for over 100 years.
More recently, a son of two faithful members of an Ohio Church of Christ, Joshua Alcorn, threw himself in front of a semi-truck in reactio against his parent's treatment of his transgenderism.

And today, former Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner, a professing Christian Republican, conducted a historic interview with Diane Sawyer about his transgender journey.

If one thing is clear, it is this: the Church cannot avoid the issue of transgender identity.

And that is not a bad thing.

My greatest fear is the "Christian" conversation on transgenderism will be dominated by those who advocate against trans-friendly bathrooms or job discrimination bills benefiting trans people.

However, as more people open up about their gender dysphoria, opportunities have also opened for Christians to inform and be informed through mutually respectful dialogue.

With all my heart, I believe the Lord teaches us God's intent and purpose in creation was to bring together the two halves of the sexual spectrum, male and female, into life-long, life-giving, and loving union unto the glory of God.

He also taught us to love and to share our faith with gentleness and patience.

These two doctrine complement (not contradict) each other.

And with widespread bullying of LGBTQ youth and a skyrocketing suicide rate among transgender individuals, Christians, more than ever, must be obedient to these admonishments of Scripture.

In fact, in some cases we should do a little less talking and more listening!

If we expect our trans friends and neighbors to listen to us about our faith in the God who made male and female and in whom ultimate healing and hope is found, the least we can do is listen to them, learn from their experiences, and let their lives edify our dialogue on a subject that touches them personally.

And in all things may God be honored.