Our family brunches are usually educational. Yesterday, the family brushed the issue of gender assignment in children and did not think too much more about it. But the snippet stuck with me. I realized something: people do not have a right to be ill anymore!
In the quest to provide people comfort with who they think they are and with the condition they are presently in, we force them to be “well.” We increasingly take care of things that were formerly considered disordered (or sinful) by accepting them as they are. In effect, we redefine them as “well,” even if the person experiencing them feels unwell. These days, if you feel unwell, you may be pressured to accept yourself, even if you can’t really affirm your wellness. It is soul DIY to the nth degree. (This is not really a post about transgender children, but here is a discussion from the Globe with one of the experts, Ken Zucker).
Part of the push toward this new phenomenon, where 1.6% of San Francisco high schoolers will identify as transgender, stems from all the postmodern philosophy that is gradually reshaping assumptions and law. While I have no doubt that some teens have a fascinating and troubling discomfort with their own bodies or gender assignment (and usually their families!), I also know that they have less choice all the time other than accepting invasive and expensive reassignment techniques to make them comfortable with the selves they can (or now should) affirm.
Christians have similarly fascinating and troubling expressions of this same mentality. They are quickly becoming unable to experience the sin and suffering so basic to their redemption because redemption is being redefined as self-acceptance and, by “legal” extension, the demand that others accept us. For instance, when a fifty-something parent wants to talk to their daughter about moving in with her boyfriend, they may feel so uncomfortable bringing the issue up that they will not even talk about it. The rule is: self-identified comfort trumps any lack of acceptance from someone else. The parent knows that. Their daughter may, actually, feel secretly less-than-comfortable with following the new rules, but she might hesitate to let that be known because she is supposed to be able to affirm what is right for her without entertaining being unacceptable, which is wrong.