Thursday, June 04, 2009

Ministering to the Transgender

In this set of articles, Russell Moore, a seminary faculty member at Southern Seminary, deals with the ethical dilemma of how to counsel a surgically altered transgender with a daughter who comes to faith in Christ. To be honest, I am still wrestling with this one. Where Moore's article may break down a bit is the assumption that this person does not have a whole host of emotional struggles that keep them from neatly progressing through the process of discipleship. None the less, he certainly has well thought answer that is Biblically sound. I just worry that his thoughts are written from the perspective of one who has never actually walked through this type of issue with a transgender individual. I am concerned that those who read his thoughts will "amen" them and not really be equipped to handle the sophisticated issues one encounters when working with people in this situation. If dealt with improperly, the Christian could end up pushing the individual out of the church. One thing for sure, helping people with these types of issues requires you to have lots of grace and be in it for the long haul, but that is what the church is to be all about. Here are his thought provoking posts on the issue.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5


Anonymous said...

I would be interested in talking more about this with you. Sexuality & Gender is one of my special interests in my work. While I'm by no means an expert in transgender issues, I've had the privilege of working with some trans individuals and have attended some conferences on the subject. I agree with your reservations about addressing an issue without substantial knowledge and experience. To say that his example is misinformed is an understatement. I realize he is teaching people how to minister, but can a person ethically educate people while completely divorcing himself from science - which in recent times has proven that gender is not a binary system? Recent sound research has shown that gender is better defined in terms of a continuum - due to various biological & psychological factors. It is a difficult dialogue to engage in, b/c like homosexuality, it requires the acknowledgement that transgenderism exist naturally, and is not a result of sin. I'm sure there could be many rich debates about this topic, but at the end of the day, I'm simply reminded of the numerous transgender individuals who have been oppressed and outcast - nearly to the point of death - by ill-informed fundamentalists. - Tom

Scott Sterner said...

Very thoughtful comment Tom. No doubt your profession qualifies you to speak on the issue with clarity and credibility.

I am hopeful it will work to speak with you on Sunday afternoon/evening. I am very willing to dialogue.