I realize that I'm going to ruffle feathers, poke the bear, be labeled a "sh*$ stirrer" with this post. Heck, I will probably loose some Facebook "friends" and followers over this one. But what has become overwhelmingly clear over the last several years is that God did not put me here to nod politely, and be demure, and keep my thoughts to myself. I tried to. I really did. For the first 35+ years. I was encouraged to...strongly. My mother's backhand to my face became my significant other's slap across my mouth or fist to my eye (or worse) when I would speak up or question or disagree. As I recently said to one of my closest friends, "I have the RIGHT to remain silent, but I simply no longer have the ABILITY". Nope. I'm convinced before Baby Eliska was born, God whispered into my ear, "Lisk, I need you to go down there and, when you grown up, I need you to use that big voice of yours. I need you to be loud...challenge people's beliefs.....challenge what they believe about ME. Shake things up a bit. Your going to make them really uncomfortable. You are going to make more enemies than true friends, but that's ok. I've got your back. I love you and I will never leave you."
So here it goes.
This all has been brewing inside of me for a while. I don't know exactly when it began, but it was sometime earlier this year when the whole wedding cake/pizza/religious freedom debacle in Indianapolis began (which, by the way, was NOT about wedding cake, pizza, OR religious freedom). Then I found out that two dear friends of mine, a lovely married couple, who just suffered the devastation of their son being stillborn last year, were asked to leave a church because they chose to support one of their other children who, as a young adult, made the decision to live life as a gender he was not assigned at birth.
THEY WERE ASKED TO LEAVE A CHURCH.
If you are a Christian I ask that you sit with that for a minute. If the house of God is not a place you can be to deal with these kinds of issues, where are you suppose to go??
Then, about 24 hours ago, the whole Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner thing turned the internet on it's ear and I foolishly read many of the comments that were being made by friends and family and Christians I respect. As a very "live out loud" Christian, I realized that by staying silent on this issue many people could assume that I feel like other Christians who have taken to the airwaves and internet to share their unsolicited opinion.
It's important to note at this point that one of my favorite quotes, one that has influenced my life greatly, is this one from Edmund Burke: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing". This is, in part, why I feel the need to throw my unsolicited opinion about this into the overcrowded ring today. It's not that I'm "right" or "good" and anyone who believes differently than I do is "evil", but what grinds my gears about all of this is the people who are proliferating half truths to make their point. They are not trying to educate others with balanced information and allowing people to come to their own conclusion about these issues. And what really pisses me off is when people use Scripture, usually chopped up and taken completely out of context, to make their point. When did being "right" trump educating people and trusting that the Holy Spirit would convict that person as He sees fit??
In an effort to bring education and understanding, I proceed.
Most Christian’s arguments against transgender are rooted in Genesis 5:2: “[God] created them male and female.” As a clinician, I want you to know that you need to understand that there are medical conditions: Gender Dysphoria, Klinefelter syndrome (two or more X chromosome in males), and Intersex people (those persons who have physical and genetic variations that do not allow them to be strictly designated as either male or female) as well as a host of others that could be at play here. Am is saying "God made a mistake" when He made these people? NO! And neither should you! We live in a fallen world (that bit is at the beginning of The Book) and if you are going to continue to be armchair theologians, you need to figure out where these other real medical issues fit in to your theology:
"According to research conducted by Anne Fausto-Sterling of Brown University, one in 100 children are born with “bodies that differ from standard male or female” biology. This includes those children born with both a penis and a vagina, as well as those with vaginal agenesis, ovatestes, or genetic disorders such as Klinefelter syndrome. Apparently, God sometimes creates humans both male and female or neither fully male nor fully female. Intersex persons offer a critique of those who believe that gender is a static binary assigned from birth and divinely ordained. For example, what about a person who is a sexually “mosaic,” which means they have mixed gonadal dysgenesis such as the development of both ovaries and testes? It’s hard to say because Christian commentators almost never acknowledge the existence of these individuals." (from "Transgender Issues are More Complicated than Some Christians Portray")
1 in 100 children. That makes for a LOT of potential people reading your social media posts and/or sitting in the pews of your church waiting to see how YOU respond to Caitlyn Jenner.
Would they be welcome at your church? Do we treat people who are different, people who's issues we don't understand, like modern day lepers? What happened to the idea of Christians being "salt and light" in this world? By the way, salt was used in biblical times, as it is now: a flavor enhancer. In the same way that salt enhances the flavor of the food it seasons, the followers of Christ stand out as those who “enhance” the flavor of life in this world. Christians, living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in obedience to Christ, will inevitably influence the world for good, as salt has a positive influence on the flavor of the food it seasons. Where there is strife, we are to be peacemakers; where there is sorrow, we are to be the ministers of Christ, binding up wounds, and where there is hatred, we are to exemplify the love of God in Christ, returning good for evil (Luke 6:35).
RETURNING GOOD FOR EVIL.
So lets break this down: If you like it, love it. If you don't want to love it, love it. If it hurt you, love it. If you don't understand it, love it. If it's your enemy, love it. If you love it, love it some more.
Where is the Love my brothers and sisters? Some of you are so wrapped up in fearing "tolerance" and a watering down of God's Word that you have literally rendered yourself completely ineffective at the most important job He gave us: to LOVE (See below). You are trying to do work that is above your pay grade. It is not your job to judge or convict or be the critic. His light, His LOVE shining through us is suppose to draw others to Him. I love this quote from Billy Graham, “It is the Holy Spirit's job to convict, God's job to judge and my job to love.”
How close do you think the lost will get to God's Word and the Holy Spirit if they are feeling judged by you?