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December 3, 2020 1:00 am
How do I talk to my family about transgender issues?" J. Alan Branch, Professor of Christian Ethics at Midwestern Seminary and author of "Affirming God's Image," gives direction for families, affected by confusion and brokenness over this issue, in how to lead with truth and grace.
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This is probably being from family life today were again going to be dealing today with a very sensitive subject.
The subject of transgender is for people who are experiencing gender dysphoria. Is there an alternative to hormone blockers and gender reassignment surgery. Alan branch says there is some point we just have to stop and say wait a minute how many surgeries are we gonna do, isn't it a better game plan to say we understand you feel this way and we grieve with you and we know it hurts and we love you, but list found a way to try to embrace the image to cut gave you list find a way to embrace that. You gotta fight the rest of us don't have but we love you and will be with you through this not to mutilate your body to achieve this goal. This is family life today. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson on Bob Lapine. You can find us firstname.lastname@example.org. What does it look like for us to respond to the issue of gender confusion or gender dysphoria with both grace and truth. Talk with Jay Alan branch about that today. Stay with us and welcome to family life to.
Thanks for joining us and you grew up in house full of brothers. I did and there were times as you were growing up were you going to wish you were a boy I said those exact words to my mind.
I was out playing football. I think I like nine years old eight or nine and on the day this girl comply for some football and telling I was the only girl playing with all the neighborhood boys.
I thought I was really good. I don't know if I was you that I thought a wise and I remember coming in because somebody didn't want me to play one of the blazing dating think I was is good and I walked in house and I told my mom want to be at girl I want to be up boy. I don't know why God would meet me.
A girl because it's dumb being a girl talk and I was glad that my mom didn't freak out and I felt like I wasn't like most the girls I wasn't the girly girl.
I was more of a tomboy and I liked all the things the boys did.
I didn't like thinking about being older and having a cycle I didn't like thinking about the pain of childbirth, and I just got terrible boys had it so much better in my mom's reaction. Never forget it because she just sat and she listened and she said oh, honey, he's to feel like that once in a while and she said that when you get older and you have kids and you do these things the boys can't do, and you can it be amazing at being a mom or a wife or career or whatever it is you can do. We really good to settle my heart and I said why don't want to be at right now and that was it.
But as I got older I never even thought about it, you have to wonder if you have that feeling as a child today and gone on YouTube and found the videos member talking about the issue of transgender today and this is a whole different arrow for boys and girls to start to be figuring out what is it mean to be a boy or girl. I think it would be very confusing and I wasn't confusing that damages not in the moment and I wanted to beat all the boys but today it can make it very confusing during the summer and said you are me will do what you search for truth. Can somebody give me truth. Your mom was able to do that and I think if my mom we believe in Jesus but I wouldn't call us a Christ reared family in terms of biblical teaching. If someone had brought the Bible to me. I would've been hungry to know what God said if more people are than we realize.
Well, we got Ellen branch joining us today on family life today. Welcome back to the program. So glad alum is a professor of Christian ethics at Midwestern seminary in Kansas City has written a book on this subject. That's very helpful. It's called affirming God's image, addressing the transgender question with both science and scripture I'm interested. I mean this is in a like topic, how did you decide to tackle this will part of it is that God's call me to teach it seminary and so this is a huge issue in the culture and its a Philip or my responsibility. Serving the body of Christ and serving my denomination to answer these issues, but we've encountered folks in life that experienced either same-sex attraction somewhere across LGBT Q spectrum or in particular have family members that wanted to say they were on their transgender young lady was almost after church in North Carolina about 25 years ago. Wonderful Christian woman. And after she left our staff to go to some of the things the Lord. She had a brother that suddenly out of nowhere to the families knowledge said I am not a God I'm a girl and adopted a new identity, and I wanted to about this family. This was a good family okay this mother and father so often the media portrays Christians as hypocrites were one thing, a public something is completely different, probably more than they did a good job raising their kids and they love the Lord and what they were in public is what they were in private and their son is very conservative, so members family. To this day. Now identifies as a woman in the grief that they went through. These are people. This is not someone else's people that we know these are are are our friends buddy Nell were both veterans and sometimes going to Cracker Barrel together as a brother that now identifies as a woman and so these are real people. People go to church with their family members are same as what you do.
So to try to bring something to the body of Christ is helpful and his people way of thinking and least agreed to think of these things and how I talked to my family member. This is the transgender one of us a so I think the central verse I will do will make sure we mention this out of affirming God's image.
There's a reason why the books title that comes from Genesis 126 and 27 so all humans are made in the image of God been so much more. That's been a lot of discussion about rice in our country over the last year. Well, listen, racism, thousand 26 verse of the Bible right on the right to revise, made an image of God. So then the next first I was very interesting is Genesis 127 and says so God created man in his own image in the image of God he created him male and female he created them.
So our six being male or female is not an accident. I talked about this distinction between sex and gender.
The secular people might the Bible doesn't really make the distinction. The Bible just assumes that you're going to act in appropriate ways that match your sex so it's not a bad thing to be born a boy. It's not a bad thing to be born a girl is a very very good thing. So we want to affirm the image of God we want affirm what God has done this one called the book affirming God's image and some of the things we talked about for parents at a very early age affirming to children so good. God made you a boy and so good. God made you a girl. So that's what I do have affirming God's image and as we talk about this.
I've had this question come up as I've talked with people about this, I say, what about intersex people, people who have genital confusion is about the only way I'm I'm so I'm really so glad you asked them. So let me talk about this.
First of all some blisters may not know the term Bob deceives intersex refers to someone who has ambiguous genitalia. The popular terms intersex.
The technical term as disorders of sexual development, so transgender activists frequently use this as evidence of what they want to say is that was look the existence of people with the with the disorder of sexual development proves that gender is very fluid is not about Mary. This gender binary. Been trying to force upon us is just wrong. Well I think there's some very important differences between modern-day transgender is him and disorders of sexual development and let me give them to first evolved a disorder of sexual development can be clearly diagnosed. Usually they are some genetic problem is taking place and I can trace it down to the gene that's very different from modern-day transgender is a modern-day transgender is him is all subjective.
Is this is how I feel okay. I'm trusting what you're telling me I have no objective diagnosis and that we need to be clear about this. There's no way that you can do a genetic test and look at the baby genetically is this baby is going to be transgender. The science has no predictive value about that. There's no way you can do a brain exam SL ha this is a transgender brain science is no predictive value were all basing this on subjective evidence, which is a major major distinction and one of the key points in ethics as you want to treat different cases differently so DST is a different issue a disorder of sexual development is a different issue from transgender is him all of us do with the effects of the fall in our body right kids with the DSD deal with it much more profoundly, much more earlier and so they need our grace and mercy. But that doesn't mean that gender is not binary. In fact the gender. This is the case with the exception proves the rule.
The only reason we know that these kids have a DST is because the rule is the gender binary male and female right so the exception actually proves the rule. Now is you have been studying this for how many years you note for the last five years of really made an intensive study of transient and you know what I was reading your book I'm reading things I've never read you know even the surgery and how that yes is playing Fleming quite a chapter to read what about the results.
I mean, is people take hormone therapy or are they going to have surgery to change their reassignment surgery reassignment surgery. What is the result. Something I don't know. So that's a great question.
So first of all, usually what they'll tell you someone who has had gender reassignment surgery is they will usually say they are pleased with the aesthetic results afterwards because they look differently and so they're usually pleased with that. But the data on the other comorbid psychological issues that go along with transgender's and here's what you need to know transgender is him has a whole bag of other problems that come with depression, suicidal ideation or very very common. So let me go ahead and tell you about this even after the surgery. Yes, it's common after the surgery.
This would let let me explain what's going on. Here's what's happening.
The secular people will say we yes people whose who have transgender identity have a higher level of suicidal ideation, and here's why. Preachers of churches and that are saying the things about sin and that gives people guilty. They self internalize the guilt below than they hate themselves well.
There was a huge study coming out of Sweden.
You will not find a more transgender affirming country in the world and sweet and they're looking at about 300+ folks who had gender reassignment surgery 2011. I believe it was and they were looking at what were the mental health outcomes after they had the surgery.
So what you found was what they were pleased with the aesthetics of the surgery.
The suicidal ideation and go away. The mental health problems didn't go what they were not in southern United States, the Bible Belt, they were in Sweden. So what you find is the comorbid mental health issues that the surgery is supposed to fix is not fixing yet infected. There's a book that has come out recently by a left-leaning gay affirming non-Christian and I bring that up only to say this is not somebody who would be in our camp but she's written a book called irreversible damage. The transgender craze that is seducing our daughters. She's looking at the data saying boy there something going on here where girls in particular are being seduced into hormone replacement therapy and surgery right and the other issue is puberty suppressing drugs. This is brutal. These drugs were developed years ago to address kids who have precocious puberty so there's some children for reasons we don't know.
They go through puberty really really early ages and is not the best scenario because you want puberty happen at the right age in the can emotionally process things. So some drugs were developed in the early 80s to help suppress puberty for the schizo to be clear, the drugs were so were developed for reason which Christians would find morally permissible how young this happens all yeah this is like 67 that you're okay so the idea was were not postponing puberty forever were only postponing it until the developmentally correct time so the drugs were developed for a morally permissible use will some folks in Holland started saying hey wait a minute.
Some of these kids that are transgender. What if we gave these drugs to them and we just kept them from going to puberty and so the ideas they say will part of the problem. The anticipatory burden of going to puberty is too great for these transgender cheers. The they don't want to go through these changes in their bodies to rooms to suppress puberty. What that tell you is that this is completely reversible and that this gives the child how to make up their mind if they want to embrace transgender Zimmerman but embrace the verse six. The data shows us not what happens if they start taking the previous present drugs to go transgender on his overwhelming data just take this a bad idea. Children have lots of anticipatory burns about a lot of things and puberty.
I had an anticipatory burden about not wanting to go to junior high I mean I had an anticipatory burden about algebra class on.
I didn't so children have lots of things that they don't want to go through but to suppress puberty.
This is ridiculous and for the boys who want to become girls, this is it gets very vicious and let me explain what happens in gender reassignment surgery and this is why puberty suppression is such a bad idea. The physicians will take the boys genitalia and they will inverted into his body to create an artificial girl's genitalia.
However, a boy who has been through puberty suppression. His body doesn't grow as large as it normally would and there's not enough material there to do that. So then what happens is they have to go and bisect a piece of the colon or of the intestine and use that to create an artificial female organ. This is brutal surgery is extensive.
All in the name of an expansive notion of transgender identity now at some point we just have to stop and say wait a minute how many surgeries are we to do. Isn't it a better game plan to say we understand you feel this way and we grieve with you and we know it hurts and we love you, but list found a way to try to embrace the image to cut gave you list found a way to embrace that. You gotta fight the rest of us don't have but we love you and will be with you through this, but were not to mutilate your body to achieve this goal. Now I found it is fitting and make them understanding this wrong in your book, but it sounded like when doctors even presented that to the person coming in like hey this is how it's going to go and I would discourage it.
It seemed like you were hearing.
They said I still want to go ahead before trying to understand transgender's and these are real people it's and we don't objectify them just to some sort of object is or not these are human being and some of them are brought. Honestly, our brothers and sisters in Christ are experienced gender dysphoria. For whatever reason.
Okay, the challenge is, if someone knows up front how brutal the surgery is, but they still want to go through it. That should give us some idea of how terrible this distress is desperate or desperate yes and said that should cause us to have mercy and to show kindness now the world says well if you really want to be kind and merciful than help them do the surgery were saying no, no, that's not the merciful nest, not the kind thing to do, but we do love you and we don't hate you, and we will be kind to you so that someone would be that desperate that they think that drastic of a surgical procedures will solve my my grief then it should cause us to have some mercy. I'm thinking about parents who are raising kids who aren't experiencing any kind of gender dysphoria. But here's what they are experiencing at age 13 or 14 or 15 and their school if they are not crow transgender. They are canceled they are haters. They are outcasts. How do we help our sons and daughters understand that it is loving to say this is not can be good for these people.
I think this is wrong because it's come to hurt them and hurt them for the rest of their lives.
Well, truth is never popular in many cases and so what we want to do as Christians is to share the truth in love, and her demeanor does me to much and I think part of the challenge we have particular in America when it comes to issues just like you describe above about how do we stand for the right thing in the right way and endure the fact that we are very popular. For this we have a bit of of challenge because this country had such a rich Christian tradition recruit changer celebrate. It's a good thing you play quarterback in college I met with Steve Borkowski the quarterback for the Falcons in 1978 got saved. He's a Christian day limit for the Lord and everybody was talking about when this great even nonbelievers. What we know. I don't want Jesus, but I'm glad that worked out for Bart right but were living the day today if you get saved all will you join the haters right. This does not a good thing. I think what we had to teach our kids today is frankly you are now stepping into what Christianity is like for the rest of Christians outside the United States around the world. Christians in Orion already faces Christians in China already faces for other reasons is not for transgender is numbers for other reasons. The Marxist hate Christians so to teach our kids that if you go to live for Jesus.
Here's the truth. Yes, you can have a victorious life. Here's a truth world not only happy and part of being a Christian is loving your enemies. We never have the liberty to be unkind.
We never have the liberty respondent hatred. We just have to tell her friends love you I care for you. Jesus loves you. I know you're mad at me, I'm not mad at you and I care about you. I think more than ever before, we have to have these discussions with our kids with our families. We are in a culture now that we have to know where we are where we stand. Let God's word says and we have to disciple our kids and love them and I love that your teaching our kids that were teaching our kids. We need to love people that are not also be sperm in our stance in our biblical worldview and this sure is true for churches as well because Lissa ministries Missy, I believe in evangelism and I want people to share their faith in Christ. But sometimes we forget that when somebody get saved doesn't immediately take away everything at once in life can be really really messy and ministry is messy and if you going to minister to people anywhere across the LGBT Q spectrum is going to be messy. Darrell have questions you have do with before.
I think the best thing that could happen for some churches. Right now they're arguing about you know the color of the carpet or how should the church govern the preacher preach into long as it's expository topic on the girl about these things, what they need is for somebody across the LGBT Q spectrum to get saved to come to church and Bible studies. I've got a question I feel like I'm still a male, but I'm a female one.
I do it that we worried about the church govern his right will matter and so but in all seriousness ministries Missy just like that and Jesus came into a messy world so the church comes into all this mess and we we reach out to people and the brokenness that there's a fabulous Japanese art form where they take broken braces and then they glue them back together with gold. Have you seen this really got it as a visual for one of our women's retreat is beautiful and so something that was broken is not more valuable. What is put back together than what it was in his original state because of the beautiful art form will this what Christ is with people's lives and across the LGBT Q spectrum and especially people who've gone through gender reassignment surgery. What you do. They've gotten saying they come on John, the church will God can take that brokenness and bring beauty out of it were absolutely confident that absolute the gospel is sufficient for that beauty from ashes. The slightest Isaiah says that's the glorious truth of the gospel may be messy and BS step-by-step a lot there to look perfect now and I think I see them on the menu said it.
I think it's so key that we lead with grace, yes they're both equal. You've got to have truth and grace, I think they're not gonna listen to truth and I mean they anybody unless we lead with love lead with compassion.
You've been so compassionate every time you talked about this is that's where you have to start that they feel loved by the love of Christ that they would be interested in knowing is there a truth in him that seeing yes it is here, and both are equal, and it's actually possible to be truth and grace. And here's how we got to help coach and train our kids because stop and think about every parent when your child is 89 years old. You want your kids have friends friends that they can connect with and they want to have friends and want to be popular when you recognize that the rules of friendship and popularity today may require compromise to your faith in order to have friends and be popular. You can't be a Christian. Now what you care more about that your kids follow Christ through that they have friends here so we gotta be able to sit down with our kids and say you know what late elementary, middle school. These can be very hard years and what's gonna be in your heart more than anything else is your gonna want the other kids to like you. You're gonna want to be a part of the popular group and there may be things that you believe that we believe is a family that that your friends are to say you you can't believe that you can't follow that and be popular and you gotta prepare them for what's ahead.
We have to disciple our kids can we can't be passive. Yeah, because the culture and social media. They are discipling our children and it all starts with relationship is not here the rules and here's what were going to do. It's weird, loving them. We are talking to them for teaching them God's blueprint and God's plan and man we can be the light of the world Alan in this conversation been so helpful, so good.
Thank you for the book. Thanks for being here, and for coaching us on all of this is been a great honor to be here and I want to remind everyone that's listening that the gospel is is sufficient for this thing is thank you. I hope our listeners will get a copy of your book.
The book is called affirming God's image, addressing the transgender question with science in Scripture.
You can order the book from us email@example.com or call one 800 FL today. Again, the title of the book by Jay Allen branches affirming God's image, addressing the transgender question with science and Scripture order firstname.lastname@example.org or call to order 1-800-358-6329 that's one 800 F as in family L as in life, and then the word today.
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