The following are notes from Megan DeFranza’s plenary talk.
*Disclosure: The following views are not my own but I believe faithfully represent the views of the speaker as best I could catch them in my notes.*
Imago Dei: Theological Anthropology in a Hall of Mirrors
Current context makes TA interesting because our current knowledge of our self is constantly changing.
- Substantival View: Rationality = soul
- Functional View: “Let them rule” à “Let him rule”
- Relational View: “Male and Female”
- Strengths: Women are fully included in the image // Men cannot image God without women // Recovering value of sexual/spousal love as an image of divine love
- Weaknesses: Paradigmatic “other”/”Mother” = no room for real women, feminine diversity, female humanity beyond womanhood // Privileges “Spousal love” as paradigmatic of divine love, Devalues singleness // Spousal love become sexual love, sexualizes the Trinity, Devalues celibacy, asexuals, sexual dysfunction
- Article 3 – Okay, an improvement on old views
- We see the phrase “divinely ordained differences throughout the statement”, e.g. Article 5 – “anomalies” – “We should not sweep them or their differences under the rug”
Stories of Intersex and Faith
- Showed a video of Megan Brukiewa and Jennifer Brukiewa
- Megan had Androgen Sensitivity Syndrome // Intersex
- Joshua Gallardo (Youth Pastor)
- 5-2% born intersex (same as % with red hair)
- David Burkiewa – we looked for answers, the right answers, in the Bible – Wants to be able to talk about these things.
- Reassignment surgeries often happen in infancy – sometimes with emotional, physical, psychological, spiritual effects
- Jennifer – God has a very specific purpose for Megan, she was not a mistake
Nashville Statement 6
- They acknowledge some people w/multiple sex markers
- Tell us JC recognized this
- Remind us – they can live a fruitful life in joyful obedience to Christ
- The authors draw a sharp line between those who are intersex and gay – but nowhere in the document are those who identify as transgender or experience gender dysphoria that they too are made in the image of God and can life a fruitful life pleasing to God – See Article 13 which calls “transgender self-conceptions” sinful.
- Failure to acknowledge the fellow humanity/dignity of all is a weighty matter
Why it Matters
- 57% have family who choose not to speak to them
- 50-54% Harassment at School
- 60% doctor refused health care
- 69% homeless
- Those who attempt suicide 41% vs. general population 4.6%
Telling the Truth About Sex and Gender
- I am troubled about how Christians treat the “least of these” – vulnerability, those in danger physically spiritually emotionally, numerically
- Binary (Male vs. Female) is typical – Reality (Male female – an area of overlap between) both in biological and Behavioral Gender Differences
- Intersex and transgender represent the “least of these” as the minority group but also in terms of the vulnerable and harassed
- What I do know is that the Good shepherd cares – this (Jesus) is the one whose image that we are called to be in
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