A new Video on Transgenderism put together by TEC Reappraisers to be shown at G. Convention 2012

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This is an important video because it represents the prevailing theology among the TEC elite. It is something you need to be aware of as illustrated by the fact that it is planning on being screened at General Convention 2012, and that it contains two members of the House of Bishops in its content. You, however, need to make your own decisions about whether to view it since the theology advocated will cause major dissonance--KSH.

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologyReligion & CultureScience & TechnologySexuality* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

37 Comments
Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:00 am

To comment on this article: Go to Article View

The URL for this article is http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/43294/



1. Kendall Harmon wrote:

I am choosing to leave comments open, but caution people to be careful in their comments to focus on the content of the theology advocated in a Christian way.

June 7, 8:06 am | [comment link]
2. ReinertJ wrote:

I listened to the first few minutes, “huge number of people who do not fit the box”?  They have got to be joking, surely people will see through this blatant attempt to make an aberration the norm?

June 7, 9:29 am | [comment link]
3. Br. Michael wrote:

3, No they will not see through this, they do not want to.

June 7, 9:31 am | [comment link]
4. BlueOntario wrote:

I think one sentiment of this video that I can agree with is that God loves these folk. The other is that how transgenderism relates to Christian formation is a subject worthy of discussion.

Outside of the “God doesn’t make mistakes” quote, there isn’t much theology discussed other than of the feel-good type. To which I would submit: Well, He doesn’t make mistakes, but as both the Old and New Testament show people do. And it’s mostly when we think we are wiser than God, who has revealed Himself through his word and the Word. Satan has been using our self-deception since Creation as shown in the third chapter of Genesis, and as this video show continues to do so with effect.

June 7, 10:01 am | [comment link]
5. Br. Michael wrote:

4, but to the transgendered God has made a mistake.  He put a man inside a woman’s body and vice versa.  This is 180% opposite and mutually exclusive from what [some] gays say.

June 7, 10:26 am | [comment link]
6. A Senior Priest wrote:

I’m like Arnold Schwarzenegger on this matter. I don’t care. If someone feels this way about themselves, go ahead, let ‘em convince their insurance company to do a bunch of essentially cosmetic surgery on them if it makes them feel better. But, no matter what they do they will always be regarded by society as rather strange, no matter how many videos are made and GC resolutions that can be garnered.

June 7, 10:56 am | [comment link]
7. Cranmerian wrote:

If someone feels this way about themselves, go ahead, let ‘em convince their insurance company to do a bunch of essentially cosmetic surgery on them if it makes them feel better.

#6, there’s only one problem here, much like the HHS mandate, you and I will be expected to offer this type of reconstructive surgery, as a right and matter of justice for transgender folk.

The theological problem with this entire line of thought and belief can be summed up in one verse of Scripture, Judges 21:25

In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

I know that I am not who God wants me to be.  I know that I am a miserable sinner, and that I do the very things that God does not want me to do, and I don’t do the very things He wants me to do.  Without a healthy Biblical doctrine of sin, nothing is left but each person doing what he deems right in his own eyes.  God is no longer God, and sin is no longer sin.

God will not be mocked, and this is an affront to His sovereignty.

June 7, 11:14 am | [comment link]
8. m+ wrote:

When a person looks at him or herself in the mirror and sees a dangerously overweight body, even though they weight 100lbs., it’s a mental illness and not blessed by God. The same is true for individuals who have distorted thinking about their arms, legs, and other body parts. But when a person looks at him or herself in the mirror and says “I’m the wrong gender” it’s blessed by God?  And they’re free to pursue surgery to remove their healthy and properly functioning body parts, or otherwise pretend that those body parts don’t matter?  I find the line between sick and blessed to be blurred in a dangerous way by this logic.

June 7, 11:28 am | [comment link]
9. Teatime2 wrote:

I agree, #8. Moreover, I really don`t understand why they are so hellbent on destroying the church over what is essentially a mental illness and probably a hormonal/endocrine matter that truly affects a tiny number of people. Should these folks be welcomed and served by the church? Yes, of course, but our theology, traditions, and teachings shouldn`t be altered for them.  And if we`re truly seeing ourselves as the church that serves the marginalized, then we should do a better job of reaching out to the poor, the other mentally ill folks found in large numbers, etc.

OK, they`re trashing scripture and tradition, but will no one invoke reason? Surely even the most hippy-dippy among them has to see that this makes no sense on many levels. Even when they`ve shown odd applications of the first two legs, reason is the objective stickler. This isn`t reasonable. It will have implications that will exceed the VGR fallout, I think.

June 7, 12:01 pm | [comment link]
11. Yebonoma wrote:

For another perspective read: http://www.religioustolerance.org/transsexu16.htm
Johns Hopkins, once the preeminent institution for doing gender reassignment surgery, has stopped performing such surgeries.  They indicate that it is predominantly a psychological problem and not solved by resorting to surgery.

June 7, 3:06 pm | [comment link]
12. Douglas Hunter wrote:

#8 & #9
There is an important ethical issue that you and others are over looking here. History and good ethics tell us that we should use extreme caution when we feel empowered to speak for others, to claim that we know more about the nature and meaning of their being than they do. To simply dismiss these folks as mentally ill / having hormonal problems is hubris. Have the courage to LISTEN to these people, don’t dismiss their lives, their experiences, their self-understanding. Show them the same respect that you assume you will be given when describing the meaning and nature of your own being.

Further, The line between the sick and the blessed is not being blurred. #8 your first example is of someone who is Anorexic. The comparison isn’t fitting because the Anorexic is doing harm to herself that causes stress, and eventually leads to death. People who go through gender transition go on to be more healthy, and lead happier lives after they transition. Transition leads to better emotional health, untreated Anorexia does not.  You also need to explain why the physical body is more important to, or a better indicator of who we are than is our emotional / spiritual experience of self.

June 7, 3:13 pm | [comment link]
13. Teatime2 wrote:

#10—There are problems with this area of study. First, the studies themselves are very small. Look at the numbers of participants. Also notice the bit about one of the “affected” areas of the brain being so tiny they could only study it post-mortem.

And that leads to the biggest problem—wh at they`re doing is creating science to justify how a small group “feels.” According to the group in the vid, it`s all about clothes and appearance. As a woman I find that ridiculous and insulting. So would the female ranchers, truckers, etc. who don`t dress “girly” but are every bit women. By the vid`s standards, any woman who prefers to wear slacks and engage in sports or outdoor pursuits is a “transman.”

And one of the studies you cited would idntify children and medically delay their puberty. Sorry, that isn`t interesting—it`s junk science with an agenda.

June 7, 3:33 pm | [comment link]
14. Teatime2 wrote:

#12—So you assume that since we don`t share your views, we haven`t listened and don`t know any transgendered people? Heh. You are entirely wrong, in my case.

I journeyed with two transgendered women, one through her sad and untimely death from rectal cancer. Both felt exploited and lied to and they both deeply regretted having sex reassignment surgery. Neither was at all religious but both came to believe that what they did was wrong.

These two ladies aren`t alone in feeling this way. Why doesn`t this vid and your side reflect their voices and experiences?

June 7, 3:42 pm | [comment link]
15. Douglas Hunter wrote:

#14- No, you miss the point completely. I make no such assumptions and It’s got nothing to do with sharing my views, or who you know. its about showing basic respect for how people describe their own experiences and sense of self (whatever those may be), and not speaking for them the way you did in your first post.

June 7, 3:58 pm | [comment link]
16. Creighton+ wrote:

What is being presented is a Theology of Self as validated via personal experience.  The Christian Doctrines of the Fall and Original Sin are rejected.  Until sin’s power over us is broken we cannot truly know ourselves.  Nor should we trust our experiences so completely.  If one accepts this Theology of Self as affirmed by one’s experience, one must let go of Biblical Truth as revealed in Holy Scripture and as received embraced and taught by the holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

June 7, 4:03 pm | [comment link]
17. Sarah wrote:

RE: “The comparison isn’t fitting because the Anorexic is doing harm to herself that causes stress . . . “

As is the male or female who has mutilating surgery on him or herself in order to fulfill a false fantasy about who he or she is.  Hard for me to imagine anything more harmful then cutting off one’s parts and attempting to create fake ones in order to pretend to be something that one is not. The analogy is, in fact, perfect.

RE: “People who go through gender transition go on to be more healthy, and lead happier lives after they transition.”

No, they don’t. A casual awareness of the transgender demonstrates that they are still as delusional, still committed—most of the time—to lying to themselves about their identity, and now tortured over the dreadful choices that they have made.

RE: “Transition leads . . . “

A lovely word, “transition.” Reminds me of the word that the Heavens Gate cult members used to describe their own self-mutilation and suicide in order to go to the spaceship beyond the comet.

It’s a “transition” alright!

June 7, 4:25 pm | [comment link]
18. Douglas Hunter wrote:

#16
You say that “until sin’s power over us is broken we cannot truly know ourselves.” But since no one is free of sin, I suppose you are saying that we can never truly know ourselves, and therefore we need to look to other authorities to understand ourselves such as scriptures. Is that right?  But since there is no such thing as using language, reading, and receiving without interpretation, our own understanding is still going to be a primary variable in determining what that biblical truth is. In either case one’s own understanding is primary.

June 7, 4:27 pm | [comment link]
19. QohelethDC wrote:

A casual awareness of the transgender demonstrates that they are still as delusional, still committed—most of the time—to lying to themselves about their identity, and now tortured over the dreadful choices that they have made.

A “casual awareness” may not be the most effective tool for understanding a whole group of people.

June 7, 4:39 pm | [comment link]
20. Sarah wrote:

RE: “A “casual awareness” may not be the most effective tool . . . “

You’re right—a more detailed awareness demonstrates even greater dysfunction and illness.

June 7, 4:47 pm | [comment link]
21. QohelethDC wrote:

That was fast! How did you acquire this “more detailed awareness” so quickly?

June 7, 5:04 pm | [comment link]
22. Don R wrote:

Regarding the efficacy of sex-change surgery, read this from the former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  There’s an element of exploitation at work, too.

Regarding Kendall’s initial comment on this thread, the discussion seems to have moved away from the question of theology, implicitly equating Christian faith and practice with some sort of therapy.  The aims of the two are quite different.  Reconciling ourselves with God can achieve benefits that therapy aims for, but therapy cannot reconcile us with God.  I think Christians are called to something more than just feeling better about ourselves.

June 7, 5:11 pm | [comment link]
23. Sarah wrote:

RE: “How did you acquire this “more detailed awareness” so quickly?”

Maybe some of us have been investigating this for a bit longer than the moments that it’s arrived on the TEC-latest-cultural-bandwagon feverish fandom efforts?

QohelethDC—you’ve been around this blog a long time [heh].

You’re familiar with all the assertions and counter-assertions of the past 8 years on this blog. Don’t think for a moment that I’m going to waste my time rehashing them all about *this* latest little trendy effort from our Dear Leaders in TEC, when all that it reveals is precisely what was pointed out back in 2003. We don’t share the same Gospel, or the same faith, or the same foundational worldview, or the same values, or the same principles—and we’re in the same church.

Thus, we’re not going to agree on this, any more than we agreed on the latest currently-trendy minority sexual attraction thingy that TEC’s leaders have bought into either.  We’re merely making assertions on a blog—across a very very very deep and broad chasm.

Our job—the job of those who believe the Gospel in TEC—is to point out this latest demonstration of the false gospel that so many of our leaders believe and promote to all of our fellow, but less informed, conservative friends in TEC so that all of us can continue to make good decisions about funding/stewardship, and other matters. It’s certainly not our job to try to convince people who don’t share the same gospel that their latest little bandwagon thingy is just another symptom of the foundational chasm in our church. The only thing that can do that is conversion—and that’s out of our hands.

June 7, 5:18 pm | [comment link]
24. m+ wrote:

One point from #12’s post that has not been answered and that has theological underpinnings:

“You also need to explain why the physical body is more important to, or a better indicator of who we are than is our emotional / spiritual experience of self.”

Our physical bodies are given to us by God.  Our created gender is part of who and what we are.  If we accept that Original Sin affects the created order as well as the moral sphere, then we can see that our created bodies are not always right and need correcting.  Thus we have medicine and corrective surgery.  However, if that created body is perfectly healthy and functioning properly, and a person’s perception is that said body is flawed and “wrong”, then it is a denial of God’s will to attempt to correct that body.  It is also entirely possible that the perceptions of the individual are the source of the problem, and not the body.  Corrective surgery to change gender would be altering the body to fit the sickness and a violation of the principle, “first do no harm.”

June 7, 5:57 pm | [comment link]
25. QohelethDC wrote:

#23:

Good heavens, I haven’t followed the site for anything like eight years. Even my masochism has limits! I had a flurry of posting years ago, then wandered off. Saw a reference to it recently and poked my head back in.

That said, I’m not sure what my T19 history (or lack of it) has to do with my simple, empirical question. You made some sweeping statements about transgendered folks, and I’m wondering what evidence underlies them.

June 7, 8:20 pm | [comment link]
26. The_Elves wrote:

The request to commenters at the head of this thread is “to focus on the content of the theology advocated in a Christian way.”

Comments which are personal or which stray from that request will be deleted.  We request commenters’ assistance with keeping this thread strictly on topic.  Thanks - Elf

Got questions about T19? E-mail us! .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

June 7, 8:28 pm | [comment link]
27. Sarah wrote:

RE: “You made some sweeping statements about transgendered folks . . .”

Yes—we both traded assertions, as usual. Both of us recognize what the other believes.

RE: “I’m wondering what evidence underlies them.”

Doesn’t matter—as its the foundational worldview that will interpret and translate the evidence.

I’m not sure if my pointing that out is focusing on the content of the theology “in a Christian way.” But as has been demonstrated in spades when Episcopal revisionist activists and conservatives talk to one another, the two sides don’t share enough of a Gospel to be able to then reasonably discuss far more minor matters like “empirical” evidence.  Before rationally discussing with some sort of logical coherence the “empirical evidence” we’d have to agree on a lot larger and more sweeping presuppositions about sin, the Fall, the original and now different nature of humans, the Gospel, salvation, sanctification and transformation, reason and the nature of “certainty,” what makes up a “sexual being,” what makes up a complete and whole human being, and so much more.

And we don’t agree.

June 7, 10:10 pm | [comment link]
28. Yebonoma wrote:

I have a theological question.  If a man/women undergoes gender reassignment surgery and maintains hormone therapy to live as the opposite gender, when they die and are subsequently resurrected to eternal life or eternal damnation, will their resurrection body have their original gender or their reassigned gender?  I know what I believe the answer is, but I would be interested in the comments of those whose theological learning is far beyond mine.

June 7, 10:33 pm | [comment link]
29. Alta Californian wrote:

A few thoughts:

On one hand, Douglas Hunter is right. I listened to this and I heard not dysfunction or disorder, but pain. They began in pain and brokenness, and that should grieve our hearts, and needs to be responded to with respect and love. That is true.

He is also right that anorexia is not a good example. But my first thought is that a lot of people are born with diseases which cause suffering and death, say muscular dystrophy or cystic fibrosis. The question “Did God make a mistake?” is a theological error to begin with. Such diseases exist not because God made a mistake, but because death and decay entered the world at the Fall. A lot of things are inherent and inborn that are evil: sin itself, mortality, and (unfair as it may be) certain illnesses that afflict some people and not others. I am not saying that transgenderism is a disease, necessarily, merely that “I was born this way” has never been a sufficient theological argument and never will be.

Lastly, I think the fundamental disconnect is that some in the church today, such as Mr. Douglas, have come to believe that “knowing their true selves” is the highest point of spirituality. I’m not sure I have ever seen sufficient theological or scriptural justification for this. Setting our “selves” aside and being reborn in Christ through Baptism (in essence drowning our “selves” and being remade), and joining in Communion with God, through Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit in the Eucharist seem the point of the Christian tradition. One might say Eastern religion is more relevant to this pursuit (and the rise of practices such as yoga in the Western church point to this), but even there the point of Buddhism is to transcend the self through mindfulness, not “accepting the true self”. I’m open to any theological justification one might offer for this relentless emphasis on self obsession and self gratification. I’ve seen none yet.

June 7, 10:37 pm | [comment link]
30. montanan wrote:

I second Alta Calilfornian’s points - all of them.  Additionally, the question of our bodies as delineated from our souls - that is gnostic heresy.  We are created in the unity of body and spirit.

June 8, 12:23 am | [comment link]
31. QohelethDC wrote:

#27:
I realize there’s a “chasm,” as you put it, between us. But does it really preclude your being able to say whether your “awareness” of transgendered people comes from firsthand encounters or reading what scientists have learned or somewhere else?

June 8, 1:04 am | [comment link]
32. A Senior Priest wrote:

The willful rush of TEC to destroy itself, once-great institution that is was, and that I loved, no longer excites any passions in me. It bores me because it’s all become so expectable. Pedestrian. Banal. Borring. What fascinates me is that people still care about it so very much, even when the horse is not only out of the barn, but it’s vanished over the horizon with no possibility of being caught.

June 8, 1:18 am | [comment link]
33. Br. Michael wrote:

32, I have to agree.  However I do remain curious as to what they will do next as they proceed to mainstream every sort of sexual dysfunction people can think of.  If their theology is that what anyyone does is from God and must be celebrated can S & M, bondage and dominatrix liturgies be far behind?

It is fascinating how cutting one’s body parts, rearranging them and pretending to be something else has been elevated to be a central feature of Anglicanism.  I say this because TEC is part of the Anglican Communion and the Anglican Communion continues to do nothing about it.

June 8, 6:41 am | [comment link]
34. BlueOntario wrote:

#32, it is an issue because even if TEc’s path appears to be headstrong along the path of destruction, its errors continue to effect the rest of Christianity. And there is always the prayerful hope that God will use “a remnant in Israel” to set it straight.

June 8, 8:42 am | [comment link]
35. Creighton+ wrote:

We can know ourselves more correctly and fully as sin’s power over us is broken and our souls enlightened by God’s presence in our lives.  Also, it is this enlightenment that enables us to understand or interpret God’s revelation as He intended it to be received.  A Theology of Self Affirmation as confirmed via experience is one we do without God’s presence and the enlightenment that comes from His presence and as confirmed by His Holy Words through Scripture. 

The problem for us in our present society and culture is we believe we are wiser than those who were the human authors of scripture in times past.  The argument is that men wrote the Bible and were constrained by their day and time.  Yet, we are more enlightened today. Our understanding has progressed and therefore, we know that these human authors are in error.

This denies God’s inspiration through the human author.  It is no longer God’s inspired Word but the words of a person and therefore we may accept or reject what our intellect, mind, or experience tell us is not true to us.  Truth is relative to what is true to us.  We become the judge of reality and truth.  Truth is not truth.  It is relative and is in flux.

As a Traditional priest, God has revealed His Truth to us regarding our Fallen state and the only way we can know ourselves is to see ourselves as God sees us.  By His presence, God can and does renew our hearts and mind to see ourselves truly as He sees us and by doing so we seek His grace to be transformed into a new creature in Christ.  This is done from the inside out and not seeking to conform to our understand of who we are as confirmed by our experience of self. 

These are different Worldviews that are in conflict with each other.  One does preclude the other and this is why conversation (or the term “dialogue” if you prefer) accomplishes nothing.

June 8, 9:54 am | [comment link]
36. Sarah wrote:

RE: “But does it really preclude your being able to say whether your “awareness” of transgendered people comes from firsthand encounters or reading what scientists have learned or somewhere else?”

Not at all. But then . . . it’d have to be both. ; > )

Because if I say “firsthand encounters” then I’d have met the wrong ones and I’d need to study “true science” and not base my beliefs on qualitative experience that’s not truly objective and lab-verified. And if I say “scientists” the caws would go up about how I had never really met *real* transgendered persons and *that’s* why I recognize that they’re mentally ill. If only I knew *enough* people who think they’re another sex I would recognize just how great and wonderful they really are and truly see that they need to be affirmed for who they *want* to be!

In short, I’d have to say “both”—and *then* we’d start working our way through the details of “both” only to discover—once again—The Chasm:

Before rationally discussing with some sort of logical coherence the “empirical evidence” we’d have to agree on a lot larger and more sweeping presuppositions about sin, the Fall, the original and now different nature of humans, the Gospel, salvation, sanctification and transformation, reason and the nature of “certainty,” what makes up a “sexual being,” what makes up a complete and whole human being, and so much more.

And we don’t agree.

In short—I don’t bother engaging in debates with TEC revisionist activists because of The Chasm.  I haven’t in years. And I’m not going to start just because now there’s a Fresh Currently Fashionable Minority Sexual Fad for the current TEC leaders to pursue.

Ah, the “dialogue!”  ; > )

June 8, 10:02 am | [comment link]
37. driver8 wrote:

“we should use extreme caution when we feel empowered to speak for others, to claim that we know more about the nature and meaning of their being than they do”

I have some sympathy for this view but think it ought to encourage us to listen quite a lot more attentively to what God says in Scripture.

June 8, 10:52 am | [comment link]


© 2014 Kendall S. Harmon. All rights reserved.

For original material from Titusonenine (such as articles and commentary by Dr. Harmon) permission to copy and distribute free of charge is granted, provided this notice, the logo, and the web site address are visible on all copies. For permission for use in for-profit publications, please email KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com


<< Back to main page

<< Return to Mobile view (headlines)