Thursday, August 2, 2012

Aug | 02 | Of Genitalia & Gender, or The Lack of Both!

Dream Word – PREPARE

Matthew 19:8-12 He said to them, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery." His disciples said to Him, "If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry." But He said to them, "All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it." NKJV.

Of Genitalia & Gender, or The Lack of Both!

In my final of three thoughts on sexuality, may I say again tonight, that these texts about eunuchs, do not speak directly to transsexual issues, but rather, they speak directly to sexual celibacy, both as a gift and as a practice. Let me explain.

In our Bible text for tonight, the response of the ‘blokey’ disciples to the instructions of Jesus here regarding marriage and both its demands and difficulties, placed next to divorce and all its inherent and serious repercussions, is one of “Bloomin’ Nora! Best not even go there then!” Jesus immediately responds to them by highlighting the great difficulties of such a fearful and negative statement. “Unless the gift of celebecy has been given” He immediately responds to them saying, “....you will never be able to NOT get married....” In other words, in us all, there is a driving imperative for physical union. Now, as sex outside of marriage was never even contemplated by Jesus, it is the good sex drive as expressed within marriage then that He is talking about here. So in effect then, JESUS goes on saying, “You can’t give up sex, unless celebecy has been given to you and accepted by you as a gift.” Jesus then highlights celibacy in this text, by describing three classes of eunuch, that is, the three classes of men who have no testicles, and in terms of procreation then, have no real capacity for sexual intercourse in marriage, which is what He is actually talking about.

“For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother's womb, and

Jesus acknowledges that there are ‘NATURAL’ Eunochs, and please note here that I use the word NATURAL somewhat reluctantly. Even so, here I believe Jesus is referring primarily to an involuntary, but ‘NATURAL’ and literal absence of male genitalia. This happens! And Jesus here seems to see this as an opportunity for the embracing of the focused Kingdom life. I do not think Jesus here is referring to those folks who are born inter-sexed or androgynous. I will deal with that later.

there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men,


Jesus acknowledges that there are artificial eunuchs. This is the involuntary removal of male genitalia, so that the dispossessed might better serve the robbers. For without testosterone they would have less strength to rebel, and as there would be no children born to them, then there was little chance of future blood vengeance, and certainly no chance of the implantation of their seed placed into the women put into their charge. Jesus acknowledged the existence of this type of person. They were a people without sexual choice. Their condition was imposed upon them. Even so, again Jesus here seems to see this as an opportunity for such folk to better embrace the focused Kingdom life.

there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake.

Jesus acknowledges that there are eunuchs by CHOICE. For sure, the choice Jesus refers to here does not lead to a transsexual turning. No, this choice must not lead to mutilation, as His reference was not to literal castration here, but to a figurative one. Though a literal interpretation and subsequent wrong choice was made by Origen and many others in the early church, who chose to mutilate their manhood and all its underlying passions, so as to live what they considered to be a more holy and a more pure life. By the way, Origen later repented of this early and fanatical choosing of losing. No this is a figurative choice, and it is not a choice rooted in the drives of gender confusion, or of cultural manipulation or of the fleeing of right or wrong sexual urges. No, this is a positive choice (though not for me, for I cannot accept it) of laying aside the passions of procreation and recreation for the sake of the Kingdom of God. That is, to forsake the many energies, passion, and personal time of personal relationships and then to refocus that redeemed energy, time and passion, when putting it to good use for the Kingdom, in terms of a closer relationship with God, in terms of the conception and creation of Kingdom dreams, Kingdom peoples, Kingdom processes, Kingdom procedures and Kingdom products of every kind!
He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”

Like I said, I personally am not able to accept it. However, I know of some who are, though not that many, for sure. The Apostle Paul had the gift of celibacy. Now listen, for often times, being single and waiting to be married is like living the eunuch life! This is not so much a choice, but a necessity. It is only for a period of time however, until marriage most happily occurs. Without the gift of celibacy this kind of waiting singleness can become a nightmare unless the Kingdom of God is sought most thoroughly during the time you are waiting and seeking to be married.

Unable to accept being a eunuch, I am also very fortunate not to have had this challenge of “castration” imposed upon me in terms of the foul physical, selfish actions of others, or in terms of the outworkings of this particular manifestation of sexual death through one of the by-products of the presence of original sin. No, I have a whole bunch of other emasculating challenges to battle against! Neither have I had to accept the damage imposed upon me by the side effects of various drugs intended initially to do good. I am chiefly talking here of the effects of Diethylstilbestrol, though not totally so. Yes, we do need to acknowledge the presence of many folks in our world, whose human “firmware” has been damaged both by drug use and the outworkings of original sin. In these cases for sure, medical technology can aid gender assignment or even gender re-assignment, but it can never justify sin and continuing to live in sin. When local churches increasingly become presented with such emascualted folk, then each case of broken humanity must be judged by the local church leadership, in grace, in truth, in clarity, and with the gingerness of a cat with big paws walking through an overpopulated minefield.

Unfortunately there are still three things the church cannot allow itself to let it guard down on.

Firstly, that there is also a continuing demonic design to destroy the image of God. Remember, “Male and female He created them.” Yes, the attempted destruction of this Biblical gender differentiation through the addition of another gender consisting of the blending of the male and female, is manifested both in the terrible side effects of certain drugs like Diethylstilbestrol, as well as in present political and legal action against the church. We must graciously then, but with great clarity and strength, be prepared to fight in this gender related Biblical barley field.

Secondly, that there are greedy money grabbers ‘disguised’ as transsexuals and homosexuals, who hoping to make a swift and substantial buck, will bring lawsuits against people making such a stand in the Biblical gender barley field. When this happens, be sure this is not a transsexual or a gender issue, it is a greed issue, a theft issue and therefore needs addressing as such.

Thirdly, that there is a need to put in place local constitutional guidelines and practices that are REDEMPTIVE in root and flower, to guide local bodies of churches in dealing with such challenging matters.

These are challenging days into which we wake, challenging nights in which we lay our weary heads. Let’s walk wisely. Let's not mince in any way. That means walking Biblically, that means walking in grace and truth and in strength and courage.

Listen: - Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:11-13 NKJV)

Pray:- Lord, this celibate life is certainly no gift to me. Though I cannot accept it, I pray tonight for those who have accepted this strange gift. Strengthen them O Lord, and fill up in them all that is lacking in procreation, peace and prosperity, that your Kingdom through their efforts would come all the quicker and all the more, in Jesus name we pray, amen.


2 comments:

Zoe Brain said...

Treat each case on its merits, case by case. That we can agree on.

It's not so much an article of faith, as bitterly won knowledge in transsexual support groups that there is no "one true way" of dealing with the situation, no "one size fits all".

For some, episodic cross-dressing (in direct contravention of Leviticus) is enough to keep mostly functional. In more severe, but mild, cases, small doses of hormones, not enough to cause significant bodily change, are enough to keep the brain from becoming dysfunctional due to the mismatch between neurology, and the hormone bath.
In more severe cases yet, more hormones are required, and to disguise the physical effects becomes difficult. But still the person can remain mostly functional in their assigned gender role.
In a minority of cases, the effects are so severe that larger doses of hormones are needed, and trying to "pass" as the assigned gender is impossible. Worse, in most jurisdictions, surgery is required to make a gender change legal. This puts some in a terrible dilemma: although they may desire treatment that will make them consistent, they don't actually need it. But if they don't get it, they are condemned to have a legal identity at odds with obvious physical characteristics. Being arrested and put in remand is often a death sentence, as they are put in a remand centre for the opposite sex.

I'll quote:
December 1997. After an appearance in a Local Court, bail was refused and Ms M. was remanded in custody. Late on 22 December she was transported to a remand and reception centre where that night and into the morning of December 23 she underwent induction assessment. She was identified as transgender by the welfare officer and it was determined she should go into a “protection” wing. Having spent December 24 in court Ms M. spent December 25 and 26 in “strict protection”. During this time she was brutally raped at least twice during daylight hours. The attacks were so vicious that two other prisoners took the unusual step of reporting the incidents and giving sworn evidence. On December 27 Ms M. was found dead in her cell hanging by a shoelace.
Source

Then there are those who cannot stay sane and remotely functional without a consistent body. This can be the result of breaking after decades of fighting against it, because it gets worse with age, or in the most severe cases, the patient could never successfully "pass" as the assigned gender, the brain is too cross-gendered.

Secondly, “Dysphoria,” defined by Marriam-Webster’s Collegiate dictionary as “a state of feeling unwell or unhappy,” or in the American College Dictionary as “a state of dissatisfaction, anxiety, restlessness, or fidgeting” is simply too soft a word to describe the angst most clinicians see on intake with this population. At best it may be an apt descriptor for individuals who, despite strong evidence to the contrary, are making an extraordinary effort to convince themselves that they are sex/gender congruent. These individuals make life decisions such as getting married and having children not only because they may find it appealing to have a spouse and have children but with the added hope that this activity will ease or erase their obsessive cross gender thoughts. Although there may be instances where these special efforts succeed, (i.e. the incongruity is mild) the more likely outcome is a realization they have actually made matters worse. Typically, at time of presentation these individuals report that either their lives are in ruin, or they are very afraid that if their gender variant condition was to become known they would loose all that they cherish and be ostracized from family, friends and the ability to support themselves. High anxiety and deep depression with concurrent suicide ideation is common. One of the most extreme cases I have treated was that of a 50 year old genetic male, married and the father of 3 grown children with an international reputation as a scientist who reported to me that the reason he finally sought out treatment for his gender issues was because the number of times he found himself curled up in the corner of his office in the fetal position muffling his cry was increasing. That is not dysphoria, that is pure misery.
Source

Note that he, or rather, she, did not seek therapy because she was merely undergoing the tortures of the damned. She only did it when she became dysfunctional, unable to continue. She had a family, they came first.

I've been there. My GD was nowhere near as bad as hers, with episodes like that no more than a few times a year. I was still functional, that's all that mattered. My own life was unsalvageable, it always had been, but at least I could gain a victory by helping others, by making them happy, even if my fate meant I never could be. I was...content with that. It fed my sin of pride, that I could look myself in the mirror and think that I wasn't such a bad person, even if horribly deformed.

Then my body staged a palace revolt... but that's another story.

One thing: it was when my endocrinologist told me that my condition had sterilised me, and that since the dysfunctional glands were getting "cooked" so were a cancer risk an would need removal... and at the same time atrophy in other areas was so severe I'd need my urethra replumbed just to micturate, that I made the choice for full genital reconstruction to female norms. I did not need a neo-vagina, but I did need everything else. Since it would be my only chance of ever looking normal, something I'd never been, I think it would be inhuman to deny the choice to have the additional work done.

That decision was made even before I changed my presentation. I did think I had rather more time though, 6 months not 6 weeks before I could no longer pass as male.

Now about the contentious last lines of Matthew 19:12 : the traditional interpretation has been that it refers to chastity, and is not literal. Origen and co were the last to do it "with approval" so to speak. But even then, it was too much like the rites of the pagan Goddess Cybele, so was looked on with grave suspicion.
Later Manichean heresies also practiced castration, and so it became associated with Heresy, and the issue politicised. Instead of being the former "no need to take this literally, chastity will do", the official line was "this means CHASTITY, that's all, and anyone who disagrees is a heretic".
This was not altogether unreasonable: the Skopsi heresy persisted into the mid 20th century.

Attitudes recently further hardened as the result of the obscene medical practices in Germany in the 30's and 40's.

There's a problem though. The church(es) vigorously condemn voluntary castration of consenting adults to relieve misery, but are almost silent on the practice when it's performed on intersexed infants, without consent, in an effort to make them conform to social norms. For more on this, see Square Peg, Round Hole.

One final point - in another comment, I mentioned that agrarian societies tended to treat the intersexed and transsexual with more humanity than today.

From Peter Cantor’s De vitio sodomitico — or On Sodomy (d. 1192 AD)
The Lord formed man from the slime of the earth on the plan of Damascus, later fashioning woman from his rib in Eden. Thus in considering the formation of woman, lest any should believe they would be hermaphrodites, he stated, “Male and female created he them,” as if to say, “There will not be intercourse of men with men or women with women, but only of men with women and vice versa.” For this reason the church allows a hermaphrodite — that is, someone with the organs of both sexes, capable of either active or passive functions — to use the organ by which (s)he is most aroused or the one which (s)he is more susceptible.

If (s)he is more active [literally, “lustful], (s)he may wed as a man, but if (s)he is more passive, (s)he may marry as a woman. If; however, (s)he should fail with one organ, the use of the other can never be permitted, but (s)he must be perpetually celibate to avoid any similarity to the role inversion of sodomy, which is detested by God.

Source.

And on that note from 850 years ago, I bid you God Bless and Goodnight from Canberra.

Take care, my friend.

Robert said...

Zoe

you are now my my go to gal on all things transexual--- I might not agree with all your conlcusions, BUT thou art a mine of information, gracioously comminicative and highly informative, and occasionally, exceptionally funny!

Blessings