Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lost in Transgender?

This morning, I woke up with a deep sense that I desperately need God's wisdom.  I value education, workshops, books, but when it comes down to the crunch...especially in ministry, we need to rely heavily on wisdom that comes from our Eternal Creator Father God.

This post will come out of conversations that are now happening in regards to transgender issues.  Most people especially in the Church feel helplessly lost and alone with this issue,  I would dare say even within secular society and even in the LGBTQQ communities!  There has not been any long term case studies on transgender especially in the area of faith and so we can feel like we have no clue in regards to the roots of development or biological factors.

As I have been dialoguing about this, I then turn my gaze toward God.  I ask him the questions that I have.  "God, why are there no clear answers and if there are...can you show me?  Is this biological? Environmental?"

I sensed a bit of an answer the other day.  No neon light answer...but rather a deeper, quieter response back.  I sensed God say, "What if biology plays a role in this?  Did that mean I made a mistake?  Do you realize the state that everyone lives in?  Do you realize that you live in a fallen/broken world?  Could this extend to transgender issues?"  We concur that with homosexuality, biology does play a role, we would be ignorant if we didn't believe that we could be born with a sensitivity toward struggling with gender given our creative/sensitive/relational bent...and factoring in the environment, interactions with our family unit, peers, how our perceptions speak to us and other varying things...which can cause us to struggle with homosexuality.

Can this be said in regards to transgender issues?  I can look at my own life and see...yep, I was born with a more sensitive relational side to me which caused me to gravitate toward females (who relate and communicate more freely) and staying in this environment and considering interpretation and perceptions of my  parents, family, peers, began feeling like I was a mistake, born in the wrong body.  How come I couldn't be a girl like those I played with.  I clearly remember trying on my mothers wedding dress, wondering what it would be like to be a woman.  It excited me, caused me to begin to play with the notion that maybe I could one day.
Couple with the disassociation toward my male peers and my attraction to guys this propelled me to consume my thoughts with having  a sex change.  For years I thought that my issue was strictly homosexuality, but the more I remember of my past, and my behaviors, thoughts and actions, I realize that it is only by the grace of God that I did not have a gender reassignment surgery.  I know that even now, with much healing I still have the occasional thought of  "what would it be like?"  I realized in my healing that no matter what I decided, and if I went that route, it wouldn't give me long term happiness.  I may lead to happiness in the short term and it would fix the confusion on the outside but on the inside I'd still remain the same Kenny that I was born as.  My DNA says male...but what if tests showed that I had a hormone imbalance or missing this or that?  I'd still have been born male.  Many people can decide to switch this, live like that, but in reality we cannot change the blue print that God made when he designed and formatted us in our mother's womb.  Our body, our shape, our DNA points to a God who didn't screw up or make a mistake when he designed us.  He formed us, and said, this is good.  Living in a fallen, sinful world, we also know that we where born into sin.  There can be things that go wrong biologically, but does that mean we throw away our gender and decide to be something that will make it easier for us?  For me, if I think honestly about my life...I could say it would be easier to throw in the towel and be gay or transgendered...then I wouldn't have to deal with all the other deeper more meaningful stuff in my life.  It is tough sometimes, yet, life and learning to know the complexities of life and growth and maturity means that life is going to be hard sometimes...but we face this all with Christ walking alongside of us.  The Holy Spirit teaching and guiding us through our submission to the Lord.  Listening to the words of God affirming us in the created design he had for us when we were born male or female.

There is a lot written in the secular world which is creeping into the church in regards to transgender issues and development.  Much of it is affirming the reassignment surgery, that this is the answer to the confusion.  This issue is gaining momentum, gaining strength culturally.  I continue to think about this issue as it is very close to my heart.

I don't think we can discount that there are many factors that play a part in development of gender identity disorders.  As I see it, the factors are spiritual, biological, emotional and relational.  I believe that with all of us, the greatest gift God gave was giving us free will.  So that we aren't puppets, but rather we are free to decide and live how we want to live.  It's deciding how we live with that free will!  As we walk in relationship with Christ, as God's children, we mature, grow develop  and submit to His leadership in our lives.  Sometimes we don't like it right?  We fight with Him, we do things our way, we'd like to be our own boss sometimes, and yet we laid down that right when we submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  Like it or not, it has a cost.  I know that Gender matters.  It is very important to God and how we live it out is crucial to the world around us.  How we compliment each other as gender beings (male and females) is a great treasure, as it shows the world God's image in it's fullness.  Can we see, that if our gender was distorted or confused, it breaks down how we compliment each other.  It breaks down the image of God.

With all of this said, no one can "change" another persons mind on how they decide to live their life.  I'd love to be able to scream it out...that it really does matter, that our naturally born genders is very important, yet until God enlightens an individual and validates their birth gender nothing will change.  I know this to be true in my life.  Until I had an encounter with the Living God, I was blinded to the truth.  I didn't fully know the roots, the developmental or biological factors that played a part in my gender and sexuality, until I was enlightened by God.  It has cost me a lot, but I count it all loss for the gain of Christ and an eternal perspective of the decisions I make here and now have an effect later on.

So to each of you who may encounter someone who is deciding to follow a path that you totally don't understand, but you see heartache, brokenness because you've encountered God in a way that has changed your perspective, ask Him for Wisdom and Understanding that makes the wisdom of man look foolish.  Seek Him first.  Acknowledge Him and He will direct your steps.  Love those who have these deep struggles with gender and sexuality.  They need encounters with Jesus Christ!  Love like you've never loved before.  You don't need an answer to love others, you don't need cliches, you just need to be dependent of your Father who will give you all you need through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which dwells within you.


Mark Perkins said...

Wonderful openness and wisdom. We love you all so much

deliveredjude said...

Through pretty much all of my life, the greatest question I've had was (the gist anyway) "What does it mean to be a man?" Recently, I feel God has given me some insight into this. It deals with a lot of different qualities like strength (not so much physical per se), integrity, dependability, steadfastness, etc. I'm coming to see that much of my lifelong question/issue has not been with manhood as much as it has been with gender; what is masculinity. I'm glad I've stumbled on your page so seeing you flesh this out can hopefully help me out more as well. Thanks for your words Kenny.

kenny said...

Totally am encouraged by both your comments. For those who struggle with masculinity (and so many men do...even those who do not struggle with ssa) we lose sight of our value and worth. It isn't in the physical, but it is so much more about how we view strength, integrity, steadfastness, and a host of many other attributes that make up our masculine sense of being. We do this in the company of other men, and if we are married we do this in the company of our wives...and if we aren't married in the company of those of the opposite gender, who are called to speak into our masculinity. Praying for both of you, that God would impart GREAT WISDOM to your inner man.

Sarah-Jane Melnychuk said...

I just read this post. Sometimes I forget that this is really all very complex with no real answers but to simply surrender at the cross... I think the church (myself included) want to present things in a nice package when in fact there is nothing nice at the cross of Jesus. There is profound love there but there was nothing nice when Jesus took upon himself all that the cross signifies. I sometimes forget that the way of the cross was never promised to be easy but rather difficult and maybe even potentially lonely when the choices we make is viewed as extremism and legalistic when we choose to not bow down to our feelings and emotions and when we take a stand so few ppl in the church take.

kenny said...

Sarah Jane...your words are so well put. I am encouraged by you and your own journey. May the Lord pour out even great wisdom to you in these that many people would come to see the journey of Christ is worth believing.

Stan said...

I think it is wrong to claim that God does not make mistakes in the creation of each individual, because God created the mechanism of reproduction as well as the environment of entropy in which reproduction exists. We are placed in a physical universe with physical problems which face us.

A spurious Xray emitted long ago from a galaxy far away is now known to create lightning bolts here on earth.

It is possible for a spurious alpha particle (from who knows where in God's universe) to alter a DNA strand.

Existing in God's universe is to be exposed to environmental entropy, even in ourselves, at unknown, seemingly random times, and with random affects on our persons.

There is no onus on a person who corrects personal physical errors with surgery (or whatever type of correction).

I hope for the inner person to be allowed to surface, however that might happen.

kenny said...

Thanks for your posts.

Stan, your post is intriguing and I believe in a world that is ingrained with malfunction.

Does God make mistakes? Not when God imagined up and began creating up...and then...he let's us be born into sin and sin is death. Can we view this God as loving? I do. Having encountered through my experiences in life...a living God, I cannot refute who He is and his amazing love.

That said, I believe creation groans and is sinful...due in part to human decision. With that comes the complexities of disease and birth defects and the list goes on.

My inner self is reconciled to God. This doesn't mean I am free of struggle or not prone to it...rather, I know that Jesus' work on the cross is enough for my struggle and when things get tough I meet him there again. My gender is affirmed by God. Who is all powerful, all knowing and eternal. I am thankful that my inner self, my masculinity is defined by God and affirmed in me. It is a wonderful thing being reconciled in this way.