The Transgendered Target

transgendered

Dear Right-Wing Christian Brothers and Sisters,

Please forgive me, but it’s about time someone calls you out on your nonsense. I’ve tried to stay out of it. I’ve wanted to stay out of it! After all, I’m Canadian, and none of this really applies to me; at least not yet. Besides, what can I add to the cacophony of voices already bickering and arguing over Target’s decision to allow transgendered people to choose which washroom to use?

But seriously? This is the issue? This is the thing that deserves a million signatures?

You’ve got to be kidding me.

So, Jesus died on a cross so you could tell people where they could and couldn't pee. Click To Tweet

Here’s the thing conservatives, I’m one of you. I read the same Bible, the same way and I believe most of the same things that you do. But I can not, for the life of me, understand ¬†how you choose the hills you do to die on. First it was taking Christ out of Christmas, then it was gay marriage and straight bakers, then it was healthcare, then the red cups at Starbucks, now it’s this. All throughout these hissy fits you all have been throwing you have accomplished exactly two things: 1) You have made yourselves look ridiculous, and 2) You have cheapened and sullied the Gospel and your mission to spread it. In short: you have committed a ridiculous failure.

Ridiculous

There was a time, it’s true, when Christianity, conservative evangelical Christianity in particular, was not only popular, but was the guiding moral principle in terms of culture and law. The fact is simply that that time has passed. We no longer have the luxury of making ourselves feel more comfortable by legislating our morality and imposing our values on any group of people who neither share our worldview nor much care to! I will beat this drum until the day I die: your behaviour is not what makes you acceptable to God! It’s only what you say about His Son that matters. Western evangelicals (especially the loud ones that start boycotts and petitions) have spent so much time trying to make people behave a certain way that they have forgotten their first calling: to go out into the world and proclaim the good news of the Gospel to people, not add to the burden of their behaviour before they’re saved! This is where you’ve failed.

Failure

The great commission is to go and preach the Gospel, not to go and teach behaviour. We have tragically inverted the two. Behaviour must now come before belonging. This is antithetical to the Gospel. Righteous behaviour is a natural outpouring and desire of the heart that loves and submits to Jesus. For crying out loud, the whole point of the incarnation of Jesus was that we couldn’t save ourselves by our “good behaviour” so He had to. Putting good behaviour before the gospel cheapens the gospel and is a failure in our mission.

Transgendered people, are just that: people. Jesus tells us to do one thing with people: love them. We are called to love people and share the gospel with them. When it comes to sharing the gospel with people, whether they are transgendered or not, the key is to love them first, first! Then, if they are interested, they will ask questions of us. If you examine the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ interactions with outsiders, this is overwhelmingly how he acted. He moved second, usually waited to be approached or asked a question. Even 1 Peter 3:15 encourages us to be prepared so that we can answer a question¬†when it is asked of us. That’s the key.

We aren’t tasked with changing people, making outsiders like the LGBT community as an example, conform to our standards of behaviour won’t encourage anyone to ask questions or seek understanding. All it’ll do is proliferate a culture war that isn’t only not worth winning, but is also destructive to our real mission. We are not called to make our existence a comfortable one, but a faithful one, and I am convinced that focusing on changing behaviour to fit our comfort is not faithfulness.

4 thoughts on “The Transgendered Target

  1. At the risk of arguing over the fact that we agree, I’ll just say that I basically give a hearty amen to 95% of your post: grace, not law; gospel, not moralism; inside-out transformation, not behavior-modification. This is my bread and butter and I’ve no interest in making things comfortable or in legislating morality. I’d like to think we roll our eyes at the same kinds of overreactions, fear-mongering, and thinly-veiled bigotry that comes out of the conservative wing.

    But having said that, I’ve also come across a number of thoughtful public intellectuals, Christian and not, who on the grounds of culture, society, and general human flourishing, are raising questions about the implications of going along with the latest LGBT ideas.

    You’re right that in terms of being ministers of the gospel, it doesn’t make much difference if you are in the midst of New England during the Great Awakening, in communist China, or in Amsterdam. People need the gospel everywhere.

    But as a resident of a given neighbourhood, city, province, country, and culture, is there any place for the kinds of intelligent discussion that would seek to ask whether a certain ideological change was beneficial for that society? That used to be known as the public square, and thoughtful people would have a hearty and cordial disagreement about these things. In your mind, does a Christian who engages publicly in these kinds of things necessarily obfuscate the gospel? That’s kind of the sense I get.

  2. Good thoughts, Kevin. Although something in your reaction to the reaction of others has left me feeling dissatisfied. And then while trying to elucidate my thoughts, I realized that my thoughts aren’t very lucid (this just keeps happening to me). So how happy was I when I stumbled across THIS (http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2016/05/the-language-of-love) and thought, I will post this on Kevin’s blog and he will have to read it.

    Hope you are well.

    1. Hey Phil,

      So good to hear from you!

      I had to read the article you shared a couple of times to try and understand what it was that Trueman was saying. In truth, it seemed like he was spending quite a bit of time talking around his point rather than actually making it. Honestly, it left me discouraged. He seemed to be making veiled allusions to the “homosexual agenda” and he made reference to the political movement of LGBTQism. I believe that when we focus on such small issues as politics and political rights and realities, we miss out on our true calling as gospel proclaimers. The truth may be harsh, but we ought not deliver it harshly.

      We have bigger fish to catch than securing a comfortable life for ourselves where non-Christians are legislated into behaving righteously. How tragic a righteous man with a heart of stone; unchanged and unmoved by grace.

      I hope you and the family are well, and I hope you can clarify, in your mind, your own thoughts on this. It’s a discussion that will need to happen in our own country sooner than later.

  3. Yes! And we are not only alienating the LGBT community-we are alienating others who do not yet follow Jesus. I am also a conservative Christian, but expecting those who do not subscribe to our beliefs to conform to the standards we embrace is unhelpful and unbiblical. Thanks for posting.

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