As part of my research into the novel exegetical exercise of “queering the Bible”, I came across Genderfork, which is a website that serves as a safe haven of support for people who don’t self-identify in the typical male/female, gay/ straight paradigms. Its motto is “beauty in ambiguity” and the community posts short profiles of themselves and say what label if any they identify with and what sort of third-party pronouns they like to be addressed by. Here is a small sampling
I identify as…
“Genderqueer, Androgynous, Boi, Gender-Fluid.”
” Masculine-Feminine Switch, Dyke-leaning pansexual girlfag.”
“Ambiguous Gender Ninja.”
“Transgender, Two-Spirit, Polysexual, BiDyke.”
“A pansexual and autochorissexual trans woman (sometimes a little genderfluid) who is polyamorous at heart but not in lifestyle or practice.”
“A vaguely butch, vaguely femme, trans male-bodied anarcho-queerion.”
Lastly a “They” named Crispin stated “I identify as a Schrödinger’s cat of gender, I never know what I am until I try to observe it. One day I’ll observe and be a straight man, five minutes later I may find myself to be an asexual androgene, or a genderqueer woman, or none of the above.”
Its been an interesting time of introspection to develop a fully-orbed response to this. Because here’s the thing- there are Christians who will read something like that and be at a complete loss. In their state of revulsion and sanctimonious piety they’ll hurl epithets at these ambiguous ones and dump their bodies into hell themselves if given half a chance. Others in their ignorance will fight and argue using strawmen. They’ll throw philosophical sophistry bombs while raging about the damage “them queers” are doing to society. Others still will present rude, unsophisticated, damningly stupid biblical arguments which serve as little more than to kindle the fire of resentment and recoil. All of which is unfortunate and is a blight to our faith, because we have so much more to offer than that. We have beautiful, wonderful, exhilarating and redemptive things to say- so let’s not lose our opportunity.
We live in a pluralistic, post-modern society, where created and contradictory self-identification is not seen in a negative, pitying light, but instead completely legitimate and something to be celebrated. In a way queerfork can be thought of what happens when Jacque Derridas intermingles with the critical theories of Eve Sedwick. It’s gender deconstruction and reconstruction without the societal mores which we’ve traditionally understood and navigated. For all practical purposes we have discarded the laws of non-contradiction so that we can be whatever we want to be, whenever we want to be, and it doesn’t matter if they overlap, bump up besides each other, or are at odds in any way.
And yet the whole time we are being told that far from being confused, imbalanced or having deep seated psychological issues, those with this mentality are free, clear- headed thinkers. Its stated that they have attained a higher level of consciousness than we have and have become unshackled and unburdened from “heteronormative” ways of thinking. Whether that be the former Olympian coming out as a woman in his twilight years, or more recently, a woman believing that she is a cat trapped in a human body and the impact that would have to have on her sexuality and how it is expressed.
Has a failure to polarize sexuality into distinct camps done damage to society? Not in the way that is commonly understood. Fluid, borderless and “DIY label” sexual identities is the natural progression for a society that “loves the world and the things of the world.” So its not damaging society as much as it is reflecting society and changing societal norms. Its not causing a rift in our societal evolution so much as it is our societal evolution with the challenge not to stop it but to navigate through it and recognize it for what it is.
So what is our response? Our responses are manifold. We don’t laugh at or mock people who are dressed like this or look this way. We don’t make jokes out of it or use the occasion to demonstrate our own sin. We are the first persons to engage them and love them through friendship and relationship. We stand up for them and offer them protection from all verbal, emotional, and physical violence. We never for a minute regard their socio-sexual expressions as sin without being bruised by the weight of our own. We step in and repel any ignorant misconception, misstatements or fallacies regarding anyone expressing themselves on whatever end of the sexual matrix they feel they are on. And lastly while all that is being done, we never lose sight of the core of our convictions as Christian believers, and we verbalize with compassion the good news that Jesus is sovereign over all gender and sexuality. This is the reality that he has in his wisdom and glory created it for a specific purpose and function, which we proclaim the truth in conjunction with the gospel, and never apart from it.
What is the truth? To quote Albert Mohler,
“The Bible addresses human sexuality from a holistic perspective of God’s intention and design. In contrast to both pagan sex rituals and our modern obsession with sex, the Bible places sex within the total context of human nature, happiness, and holiness. Taken out of this context, sexual anarchy reigns as sex is set loose to be an end in itself.
God created human beings as male and female, both in His own image [Gen. 1:27]. Thus, gender is not a mere biological accident or social construction. The contrast and complementarity between the man and the woman reveal that gender is part of the goodness of God’s creation. Modern efforts to redefine or redesign gender are directly contrary to the Bible’s affirmation of maleness and femaleness as proper distinctions. God’s glory is seen in the maleness of the man and the femaleness of the woman. This pattern of distinction is affirmed and enforced by liturgical orders and restrictions on dress, hair length, etc. Any effort to confuse or deny gender differences is expressly forbidden and opposed by Scripture, especially as seen in Old Testament legal codes.”
As image bearers of God, made in the image of male and female, we don’t see a plurality of options or purposes. We don’t see a “he made them male-ish” and “female-ish” but rather two distinct and unique groups, so that when the woman enters into union with the man, they would become “one flesh.” There will be times when a jumbled genetic state may mix or obscure these marks, but these are rare exceptions, and by nature of being rare they buttress and fortify the norm.
The physical design of our anatomy is not inconsequential. Christ himself has permanently etched the sexual and gender identities of men and women into the physical makeup of their bodies. Everything that is contrary to that, no matter how much it may be genuinely felt, biologically anchored, or sociologically accepted, is to be rejected and recognized as the ruthless embodiment of confusion and sin-scrapped rebellion that it is.
Yet in His mercy, Jesus died for every sin, whether it be heterosexual, homosexual, or everything invented by the human mind that could possibly lie in between. There is grace and forgiveness for everyone who repents and puts their faith and hope in Christ. Our heart of stone is removed and we are given a heart of flesh to fuel our new nature, which abides in Christ. No longer are we slaves to sin and to our former nature, but we are free to love and worship him and experience true joy apart from the shallow fleetingness that is “happiness”. Through him we get to become his friends, sons and daughters, no longer under the threat of his wrath, but free and forgiven in his love. That’s the template we work from.
As we emerge from the ravages of our slavery and come into the freedom of sanctification, there are rarely any silver bullets when sin is concerned. Having ones sexual orientation inclined towards the same-sex as a born-again Christian is a weighty, weighty burden. In light of this, I would suggest that the biblical command for anyone who is struggling with same-sex attraction or sexual dysphoria has three prerogatives:
The first is to take this to Christ in prayer, asking that God would redeem their sexuality so that Christ might help them become “reoriented,” so that they would be counted in the “and such were some of you” category in 1 Corinthians 6. This is possible. It’s not some fantasy or mythical state to be achieved, but rather is a true and genuine promise from God, no matter how strenuosuly the leaders in the “Gay Christian Movement” say otherwise.
If the Lord in his sovereign mercy does not make this a reality, and that feeling of attraction to the same-sex, or that feeling of attraction to the opposite sex from perspective of being a different sex, or that feeling of grotesque displacement from the physical body does not go away, then the charge is to live a life of celibacy, all the while praying for the former option.
The third possibility would be to marry someone of the opposite sex they are not sexually attracted to- that is a homosexual man marrying a woman, or a lesbian marrying a man. The marriage would be faithful, God-honoring, joyful, fulfilling and yes- a painful cross to bear that would touch pretty much every area of the relationship.
All three options, with emphasis on the latter two, would at times be lonely, frustrating and bleak. There would exists a withering effect that would seek to shrivel up and collapse the heart to tug it towards sin and resentment. For this reason it is a bloody war; a vicious and heartbreaking battle which must be fought with the help of the greater Church body. These sort of ventures ought not to be undertaken alone- two sinners trying to muddle through it by themselves, but rather in lockstep with the bride of Christ which offers love and support for these souls trying to make it. In the whole process God will be slowly refining these men and women in the slow burn of sanctification, and his pleasures and promises are better.
To the “Masculine-Feminine switch, Dyke-leaning pansexual girlfag” such notions will probably be regarded as horrific, scary, and an attack on their being and nature. [Note, I would regard blurring of the line and failing to polarize sexuality ultimately as the true ferocious, deviant, and mephistophelian attack on women, but that specifically is a different argument] In a very real way it is though- scary as hell. It is the destruction of their worldview along with their enslaved heart and the recreation of a new one. Its a deconstruction of all the lies they’ve absorbed over a lifetime, and a reconstruction with a truth that has endured a hundred lifetimes.
As Christians, all we can do though is approach each person as calmly and loving as we can. Not as a project to tinker with, but so that we can genuinely like who they are as people. Not as self-righteous, but from a posture and position of constantly being bombarded with our own sins and inadequacies and the price that had to be paid for them on the cross. Not as timid, reserved, or uncertain about what we know to be true, But bold, zealous, and confident in the work of Christ to act in these circumstances. That’s what we need to communicate and what we need as Christians to start being the driving force for our forays into the world. Let us be unmoving and unyielding in our convictions while being extravagant and immoderate in our joy and affection for each others souls.