The Grace We Show By Not Cooperating
It's sad whenever someone's conception of reality veers from physical reality.
It's alarming when people hurt themselves in an effort to bridge that gap.
And it's dismaying when healthy people celebrate and abet the destructive brokenness of their fellows in the mistaken belief that doing so is proof of their own sophistication and compassion.
I've worked with anorexic young women before. At some point in their lives their perception of their bodies became disconnected with the reality of their bodies. Now if I had shown how clever I am by saying "well her physical weight is 85 pounds, but her mental/psychological/spiritual weight is 150," if I had shown how cooperative I can be by constantly flattering her for the effects of her starvation, how compassionate by offering her dieting tips, all of that would have made me a monster.
Just consider that those of us who are not getting swept up in our nation's transgender moment might have convictions born not by bigotry, but by compassion and a deeper wisdom about human nature.
We live in a peculiar time, a time when new diagnoses and disorders are popping up all over the place with new pharmaceuticals hard on their heels. Any number of things that used to qualify as personality traits or character flaws are now psychological conditions ripe for treatment. But at the same time that we are mounting the effort to cure conditions that previous generations might have considered virtues (what we call "shyness" the Victorians might have called "self-possession"), there is a push to validate what is clearly disordered behavior. If a boy acts too much like a boy the "professionals" will swoop in to give him a chemical straight jacket. But if a boy decides that he's really a girl the same "professionals" will swoop in to affirm him and encourage him in the violence he does to his person.
Those who struggle with their gender identity are not just attention seekers or willful deviants. It would be unkind and unjust to assume so. Their disorders run deep and are, like all our disorders, fastened by a hundred little padlocks in the hidden places of our inscrutable hearts. And it is such hard and tiresome work to walk with someone through that long and halting journey to wellness that it is a great temptation to say, in effect, "well let's just see if we can make this work." Some of us who've made a loud peace with the idea of transgenderism are simply disguising our moral laziness in the costume of a new found "virtue."
So be it. If you would rather not take criticism for wanting people to be whole and rightly ordered, preferring instead to validate the disordered, that is up to you.
But keep in mind what consistency will require of you. When you meet someone who, though in his fifties, feels very strongly that he is a teenager stuck in a middle aged body, on what basis will you object to his dating a fourteen year old girl? On what basis would you object to the practice of elective amputation because of Body Integrity Identity Disorder? If being "a woman stuck in a man's body" should be resolved through surgical violence, why shouldn't being an amputee stuck in a well-limbed body?
And if you still want to take that approach to disordered thinking and behavior, can you at least refrain from making villains of those of us who have as our goal for people a rightly ordered wholeness that gracefully considers the challenges posed by our fallen condition?
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Isaiah 5:20
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