The Alive in Christ leadership team recently presented one of our new trainings, “Speaking to Youth about LGBTQ+ Issues.” We end all our trainings by answering questions from participants as a panel.
I thought I’d share a few of those questions here.
How do you best navigate a youth at church asking “is it a sin to be gay?”
For parents, how can we more effectively and holistically talk about sex?
What happens after you’ve transitioned (meaning the person has undergone gender reassignment surgery) and want to marry? What sex do you choose after committing to God? Are you supposed to change back?
How do we, or should we ever, address gay adoption? What is your view on it?
As always, we got very interesting inquiries! The answers to some questions are very straightforward in Scripture. One of Alive in Christ’s belief statements is that God created sexual intimacy to be expressed only between one man and one woman who have committed to each other for a lifetime in marriage (Genesis 2:24). However, there are questions related to interacting with those experiencing same-sex attraction and/or gender dysphoria that can’t always be answered so easily. Using a panel allows us to offer our personal and ministry experiences as well as nuanced opinions.
One example is a question concerning pronouns and the name change that occurs when someone “transitions” in terms of their gender identity. The answer might vary depending on your relationship with the person, whether they are a believer or not, if you knew the person before their transition, and other such questions. I have a friend that I didn’t know prior to their transitioning. This person eventually shared their given name with me, but initially, their new name was the only name I knew. On the other hand, as a parent, it’s difficult to imagine calling our kids by different pronouns or a name other than the ones my husband and I chose for them. The parents who attend our support groups have made different decisions concerning this challenge. Some call their child by their preferred name. Several of the parents have come to a compromise with their son or daughter, and call them by a mutually agreed upon nickname. Some still use the given name.
There aren’t always simple answers to some of these questions, though we do offer some guidance at our trainings! I was reminded recently when reading through the epistles that the apostle Paul spent three chapters of the Bible addressing a point of contention in the early church, a matter of personal conviction: if believers in Jesus should eat food that might have been offered to idols as part of pagan rituals (Romans 14, 1 Corinthians 8 & 10). Paul told them not look down upon one another for matters of conscience on which they did not see eye to eye (summarized in the beginning of Romans 14, but also touched upon in the other chapters mentioned above).
In one of those chapters mentioned above, Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gives us some great advice: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
The Simonds family recently had some new photos taken. These were meant to be used in a series of articles published at ag.org, one with my (Brenna’s) testimony and another about the trend of identifying as transgender among teens (you can find these articles linked on our website and Facebook page). They didn’t use the photo, but I thought I’d share it. As you can see, the kids are growing fast! Nathanael (age 14, in the light blue shirt) is officially taller than my husband Roy! JJ (age 12 in plaid) is about to pass me in height, and Maggie (age 7) will catch up soon enough. Thank you for supporting the work God is doing in and through Alive in Christ. We could not do this without your prayers and support!