I have long thought that Mom was more the preacher than Dad. I certainly take a lot of Mom’s character in that respect, and I note a lot of similarity in style as well as sentiment in your letters, mine and hers. I think also we have inherited from both of our parents a spirit of sincerity and compassion. And I appreciate your letter and your willingness to share it. I will share (hopefully briefly) my difficulty with the “standard” church arguments against homosexuality and other orientation issues.
As to sexual orientation, the focus in the church has long been on homosexuality: choice or imposition. As I look at the broader issue, I wonder about the hermaphrodite which is neither addressed, to my knowledge, by the Bible or the stated church positions on homosexuality. Regarding it, a long standing medical practice has been to select a sex for that infant early so the child will not grow up confused and subject to ridicule, often later to find that the wrong choice was apparently made for that child, and that the process destroyed the sensations that are part of being human: akin to making the child a eunuch. No one can argue that such individuals exist and they did not choose the dilemma. The trans-sexual I know at church has XXY chromosomes: genetically that person has the wiring for both male and female. For my friend, the male mentality predominated but also the female genitalia. His condition and XXXY are called Klinefelter’s syndrome. How would we handle that situation if that was our assigned inheritance? Are we really in a position to judge his choice in a matter that does not affect us? Turner’s syndrome is a condition in which an individual has one X and no Y chromosome, thus they are neither an XY male or a XX female. In addition, the gonads degenerate before birth. In most respects the person will be anatomically female, which is the initial course of all human development, however without hormone treatment there will be no secondary sexual characteristics. Would the introduction of hormone treatment be a trans-sexual act and sinful insofar as it changes the state? I wonder what the religious arguments would do to contribute to the lives and spirituality of these people.
What if these people, as my friend, profess the Christian faith but they don’t fit the normal pattern on the inside, on the outside or in their feelings or behavior. Are we to assume that despite their professed sincerity they are ignorant and nonetheless persist in their sin? Given those genetic and physical ambiguities, which can be objectively determined, and about which no one can reasonably argue, I wonder how clear really is the distinction assumed by the religious arguments. I wonder, how much are we really in the position to judge any of these persons? My position is that healthy judgment is for the purpose of making choices for one’s own life, as we are not in a position to make those choices for another.
Finally, I believe that when Jesus says, in Matthew 25:31-46 that those who were kind to the suffering shall enter into the Kingdom but those who do not shall go to eternal punishment, he mentioned examples of those who suffered and did not provide an exclusive list. I believe he would have included the hermaphrodite, the XXY and XXXY, the sexually confused and the oppressed homosexual in that group deserving of our loving help. Whereas one can cite Paul and other Biblical sources for the proposition that homosexuality is a sin, does anyone want to judge them, exclude them or just plain ignore them on that basis at the risk of eternal punishment? It seems to me both kinder and safer just to accept them and love them as they are.