In our understanding of self, ethics, sexuality, and emotional health, our inertial frame of reference is often not examined. Yet it often determines the conclusion. Another way to understand this is to ask what should be inviolable, secure from infringement. If my internal feelings or thoughts are inviolable (I think, therefore I am), then my understanding of the world will be very different from a worldview that starts with embodiment.
The current descriptions of gender identity and orientation are a great example of this. I am not minimizing the depth of the feelings that constitute ones orientation and gender identity, but simply locating them within the spiritual, emotional, thinking side. Even if they are a part of the embodiment side (something you are born with), that is somehow carried or translated into our mind's understanding of self. The use of the word gender to describe our male/femaleness is an example of this change from body to mind. Gender refers to our internal feeling of being male or female while our sex refers to the physical indications (genes and genitals). In orientation, feelings are at the heart of identity.
The irony for me is this: Feelings are so important, so inviolable, it is now illegal in many states for a therapist to try to help a client change what they are attracted to if it is a same-sex attraction. But our sense of embodiment is so malleable, it is legal to have a surgeon cut oneself up to give oneself what looks like the genitals of the opposite sex. Children are even being given this choice. According to most LGBTQ activists, our spiritual, internal self must not be adjusted in any way, but our bodies can be cut and re-formed as we please.
This is Gnostic thought. It is heresy in the Christian church. Gnosticism elevates the spiritual and denigrates the body. Scripture teaches us to value embodiment. Our bodies are the pinnacle of God's creation, the temple of the Holy Spirit. Body and spirit are integrated. We can know know the inner spiritual sense of who we are by looking at our body. We can know our created orientation and gender identity by looking at our body, not by focusing on what we feel.
Part of what causes the confusion is that our culture and churches are too rigid in defining masculinity and femininity. There is nothing inherently Biblical about defining masculinity as lots of grunting, extreme sports, and shooting stuff. There are many masculinities, and some are expressed as attentiveness to the arts, intellectual pursuits, and being emotionally connected. Femininity is not just looking beautiful and demure. It can also be expressed in aggressive action and challenging physicality. But being a man and being a woman are most fully defined by the genitals we have when we are born, not by the cultural meaning we add to that definition.
Even those who are genetically born intersex, with an extra X chromosome, can be understood in a new way if we took embodiment seriously. We can recognize this as a real variant and develop an ethical response that takes our embodiment seriously. But that is a very different ethical response than the 56 different gender identity options now offered by Facebook that are mostly about the elevation of our mental and emotional identity.
If what I feel is the true me, than 56 gender identities is only the beginning. If we begin with God's transcendence, in which He created my body, and His immanence, in which I am a temple of His presence, we will live a very different story.
-John M Troyer
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