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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

"Transgender" by Vaughan Roberts. A Review


What is gender dysphoria? How are we to think about someone who is transgender? Is there a way to respond that is both compassionate while being committed to the biblical ethos?  Vaughan Roberts, Rector of St Ebbe's Church - Oxford, Director of the Proclamation Trust, and one who grapples with same-sex attraction, has compiled a nifty little 80 page booklet that addresses these issues, and more, in “Transgender: Christian compassion, convictions and wisdom for today's big issues”. It is a quick and easy read that is the right size and right tempo for handing out to anyone asking questions.

Roberts defines “transgender” and other sexual/gender recognitions, bringing out the origins and rationale that lies behind these identifications. He further discusses the Scripture’s narrative on what it means to be a sexually differentiated human, how the Fall has contaminated every aspect of our being and existence, and what our hope is in the resurrection. Finally, the author addresses different situations we will likely face, either personally, as a congregation, and as members of society, and how we can respond to them.  From cover to cover there is a genuine gentleness walking hand-in-glove with commitment to God’s design as expressed in Scripture; “As Christians, we shouldn’t let our responses be governed by our gut reactions, whether positive or negative, but by God’s word” (20).

My favorite descriptive analogy Roberts uses is that our bodies are not machines with replaceable parts. Rather, humankind “is God’s masterpiece – the pinnacle of his work of creation”. Yet since the Fall we are flawed masterpieces; and so what is needed is not to respond to our bodies as disposable or having interchangeable parts, but art masterpieces in need of restoration, with the goal of restoring the master’s intention – not changing it (36-40).

“Transgender” is short, sweet and simple. This booklet is good for personal reflection and examination. But it is also ideal for distributing to parishioners and parties who need some stable legs under them to keep them standing in this shaken society that is reeling under the raging winds of rapid change! I warmly recommend the book!

Roberts' book can be purchased here: "Transgender"

You can hear Vaughan Roberts, his friends, and read several thoughtful articles at the Living Out website.

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