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Apr 19 17 8:44 AM

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I recently happened across several remarkable videos from an organization called "Qideas.org" which is described on their website as:

Q was birthed out of Gabe Lyons’ vision to see Christians, especially leaders, recover a vision for their historic responsibility to renew and restore cultures. Inspired by Chuck Colson’s statement, “Christians are called to redeem entire cultures, not just individuals,” Gabe set out to reintroduce Christians to what had seemed missing in recent decades from an American expression of Christian faithfulness; valuing both personal and cultural renewal, not one over the other. Re-educating Christians to this orthodox and unifying concept has become central to the vision of Q.

Now, some may worry about their statement "Christians are called to redeem entire cultures, not just individuals" but to the way I interpret their statement is that they are acknowledging their past (some of which isn't admirable to say the least) while saying that their mission here is to modernize their faith and educate their flock - which I think most of us would applaud. 

The videos (available here and on YouTube) were recorded at a TED-like seminar for Christian leadership, and made some very important points: The first one features Dr. Mark Yarhouse, who is a psychologist and holds an MA in Christianity. He very articulating explains the transgender umbrella, gender dysphoria, and especially, how people (particularly Christians) may view trans people through different "lenses" that, unless recognized and understood, make it difficult to communicate. I do take an issue with one statistic he mentioned, that 3/4 of gender variant children desist as they grow and become adults. That said, he recommended that parents and others treat them with a wait and see approach: don't try to force anything upon them. 

The second video features a gender fluid woman (Melinda Semlys) who describes her real-life experiences, how pregnancies affected her gender dysphoria, and now that she's past that (with seven children!) she's learned that her GD is real, and how she is living her life. 

The last video is a Q&A with Mark and Melinda answering audience questions. One that came up asked what the scripture teaches regarding crossdressing and/or transgender people. Here again, Mark knowledgeably challenges the "wisdom" of the religious right saying that although there are some Old Testament mentions, that they are far out of context and don't mean anything substantial or negative about transgender people. 
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#1 [url]

Apr 19 17 10:06 AM

Emmasweet, I believe that the idea of Christians having a commission to remake culture, and all it's institutions, to be a highly dangerous in a diverse society. I also believe this idea has become the intellectual justification for much of the fundamentalist sponsored legislative repression of LGBT people we have seen in recent years. Of course, some Christians, could see that remaking to be rooted in Christ's love, which could be a good thing. But most fundamentalist Christians tend to look at the judgmental Epistles of Paul than to Christ's inclusive message of love and forgiveness.

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#2 [url]

Apr 19 17 2:33 PM

April,

Christians have been spreading their gospel since, like, forever. The Crusades, the Inquisition, Africa, China, Japan... it's nothing new although I agree that it's not good, especially when they try to rigidly impose their views - which we have certainly seen of late. My point is that the lectures and discussions in the videos are specifically aimed at the ministry and other Christians to educate them that they need to update their views. The audience is (evidently) ministry leaders and while I doubt that many change their views in that one day every little bit helps, and especially when the "messengers" are fellow Christians.

Have you watched the videos?

Emma

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If we set aside the idea that Christians are to restore other cultures, it is most certainly good that some American Christian leaders preach a positive gospel about gender variance. I wish we could hear more about them in the news. 

Right now American  right wing fundamentalist Christians gives people outside the US the impression that all American Christians are racist, misogynistic, transphobic and gun-loving haters. This is obviously not true, and the teachings of Jesus point in the exact opposite direction, but they make a lot of noise. I have Christian friends in Norway who no longer call themselves Christians, as they do not want to be associated with American Evangelicals, Conservative Catholics and the Russian Orthodox Church!

The Norwegian Lutheran clergy is dominated by what Americans would call "liberals" and feminists.

I would like to know what caused so many American Evangelicals to end up in such extreme positions. 

 

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You may also want to take a look at this article from Good Housekeeping (of all places):

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/parenting/a43702/transgender-child-kimberly-shappley/

In this article a Christian Conservative mother writes about her transgender daughter and how she has tackled the conflict between an often unforgiving culture and the needs of her child.She writes:

Yes, the emotional challenge has been great, but I’d rather face that challenge myself than have my child face it alone like so many transgender children have to because their parents won’t let them transition. There’s never been a moment of doubt or regret after making the choice to let Kai transition. I’ve learned too much about identity and faith in loving my beautiful daughter exactly the way she is. She’s a loud, happy and joyful girl who expects that everybody’s going to be kind and good. It’s her persistent spirit that has enabled her to transition so young. She knows who she is and has no problem making sure that everyone else knows too.

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#5 [url]

Amazing article, Jack! It's fantastic also for being in Good Housekeeping. Did you notice at the bottom of the article they have links to still more articles? You can't buy grass roots PR like this. I'm thrilled. 😀

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