Thursday, May 27, 2010

It is Summer

Being productive during the summer has always been a struggle for me. It's warm out, I'm at home, there appears to be endless hours and days and one can always do something other then what needs to be done. Yet, I have planned out some projects, am taking some classes and have a life to live.

First, I am taking eight hours of classes, (regional geography and microeconomics) and working on my senior paper. All them have one due date, the day I get back to school in late August.

Second, I am reading The Summa of the Summa. This repetitive title designates the great work written by Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica or Summary of Theology. Thank goodness I am reading only a summary of that summary. That means I'm only reading one volume instead of a couple dozen.

Third, I have my own reading projects of about 25 books categorized as following: history, philosophy, devotional literature, novels and education. (Reviews of some will be following.)

Fourth, I am training for three triathlons: The first is in June, second in August and the last in September. See previous post for racing goals.

Lastly, but not least, I am working as a pastoral intern at 2nd Reformed Presbyterian Church, my church. I'm helping out with the high school group, helping lead a missions trip, being a counselor at Covfamikoi and doing what Pastor Johnston needs me to do.

Now, am I going to be able to accomplish all my goals this summer, probably not, but I know that by setting up goals, it gives me more motivation to get things done that otherwise I would have not even had tried. It is better to set your mind to something, fail and reap the benefits of trying then to not ever try in the first place.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Chaz Bono, how does the Church Respond

Chaz Bono recently has completed a sex change. Now he is recognized by the United States government as a man. Known previously as Chasity, Chaz's parents are singers, apparently famous but I don't know who they are. (then again, I don't follow contemporary music very much.)

How does the church respond to someone who changes their gender? The cornerstone of the church is Christ, a man and God who befriended and publicly associated with prostitutes, tax collectors and gentles. (Otherwise known as the "unpopular" or rejected group of people.) It is safe to say that Jesus would never had rejected someone who had a sex change.

Rebellion and the Church
One who is in rebellion against God is not in personal relation with God. They do not have salvation. [That is not to say that if one rejects God, God similarly responds.] The church can legitimately put someone who shows evidences of rebellion against God under church discipline. Is getting a sex change a sign of rebellion against God?

Why Get a Sex Change?

There are many reasons for getting a sex change:
1. Don't feel comfortable with your gender.
2. Physiologically you are caught in the opposite gender of who you really are.
-This reason assumes many things about sexuality, identity, views of of the soul.
3. You want to be different.
There could be many others, and it is probably much more complicated then the reasons I have given. Bottom line: if one has a sex change out of rebellion against God then it gives warrant for the church to put that individual under church discipline. [note: if I started to drink alcohol out of rebellion against God this gives the church warrant to put me under church discipline. Having a sex change does not automatically qualify as a sin, just like drinking alcohol. ]

What is Church Discipline
I do not mean shunning an individual or kicking them out of the church when I use the term "church discipline." I mean it in a larger context: from an elder or pastor coming alongside someone and exhorting them on their behavior to a friend confronting his brother/sister in Christ.
There is formal church discipline informal church discipline. Formal discipline is the church acting as an official body responding to someone's actions and privately/publicly disciplining them. Informal discipline would be an elder or pastor coming alongside someone and exhorting them on their behavior.

So how does the Church Respond
Certain things will not change if a person has a sex change even if they are or are not a member of the church.
1. The Church does not condemn
2. The Church comes alongside and loves as Christ loves.
3. The church protects itself from intruders, people not of the faith.
4. The Church helps its members by exhorting one another.

So what does the church do?
I don't have an answer to this question. I think that it there needs to be carefully thought through Here are my thoughts: 1. You don't want to reject someone who has become repentant of their sin. 2. You don't want to allow a unrepentant (person in rebellion) person to be a part of your community. 3. The church needs to be careful not to condemn people who undergo sex changes. What do I mean by this? I mean, the church needs to treat these people as who they are, human beings. They have gone through a unique and rare process, that doesn't disqualify them from being the same beings as you and me.

Bottom Line
In the situation where a person who undergoes a sex change wants to become a part of the church, the churches response should be one of love and shouldn't treat that individual any differently then anyone else.