Chris has some thoughts on Christians addressing the subject of transgender identity, starting with 1 Peter and going through some unloving commentary on Twitter. He then says:
I will be the first to admit that I don’t have a fully-formed theological position when it comes to transgender issues. This is a topic that will no doubt soon get fuller treatment in the theological world much as homosexuality has over the past decade.
To which I respond simply:
That is the only necessary and sufficient response.
So much about Christianity’s response to homosexuality has been about whether we’ll let “the gays” into our little club or not. Isn’t the Gospel inclusive by nature? Are we not all sinners? Leaving aside whether homosexuality is a sin, at what point do we start throwing sinners out of our churches?
I’ve never seen an effective call for shunning based on a lack of repentance; the ones that I see pick and choose on which sins to discriminate against. Lord knows that I have enough habitual sins that are personally damaging to me and potentially to others that, should a standard be set, I should be thrown out of a church. That said, because I am a heterosexual white male with an engineering degree, no one is rushing me out of the door, because I look too much like those on the “inside”, especially in this town.
Social scientists are still coming to grips with transgender identity as they study it for origins and meaning. Christians should look past the identity and love the person. We should spread the Gospel and let its power work on the hearts of those who do not believe, and that imperative is true no matter how normative someone’s identity and/or lifestyle are.
So I had this realization Sunday morning at church, in a discussion of spiritual gifts: just because mine is leading1 doesn’t mean that I have to use it in all phases of my life. I was specifically thinking about work. As I contemplate a new job2, I’ve been seeking both project management and non-management jobs. I would prefer a non-management job at this point in my career3. That is a big shift for me, as I’ve really been defining my self-worth through my job performance, which is unhealthy in a number of ways:
- If there were a way to quantify my job performance independent of my coworkers and situation, that would be one thing, but this isn’t baseball, where sabermetricians have worked to provide context-independent measurements of player performance. There is always the Yearly Review, which always left me with the same thought: “I would’ve graded myself more harshly than my boss did.”
- In any regard, deriving self-worth from performance is a fruitless endeavor. Self-worth is best derived from one’s value system and the degree to which one holds to those values4.
- The things I do at my job do have value5, but how I show and receive love for my fellow man is far more important to me. I can do a lot of things in life, but it’s far better that I care for other folks in life.
In parsing through all of that, I had the thought: what if I re-oriented my thinking here? I did the management thing because I am a leader, and because I wanted to lead. However, wouldn’t a better expression of that leadership gift be done in a church body where it could be better used, rather than in a work situation where it’s mostly for profit? I think so. Let’s be clear: I’m not going to turn down a management position that comes my way; after all, I do need a job. But given a choice, I might choose a different route to leave breathing space in my life for leading in a more meaningful6 position.