Wednesday, June 10, 2015

St. Paul, the Corinthians, and Transgender issues

Just rereading St. Paul's Epistles to the Corinthians (the theme of next fall's Grace Church Adult Ed program) light of the current discussion of transgender issues, this line, 1 Corinthians 7:20,  caught my eye..."each person would remain in the situation they were in when God called them." On the one hand this could read that people should tay where their biology calls them, if you are born a man, you stay a man, and the same for women...which would surely be the 'conventional' reading. But it seems to me it reads just as much that 'people should stay as who they think they are at the moment God calls them', so if e. g.  you think you were born a man, you feel that, you should not be a woman just because people say you should be given your biological condition that if you were called by God when you felt yourself to be a woman you should remain in THAT state....St. Paul could be very inclusive, even if not consistently. Later on he says women should not speak  in church. Yet he ends the epistle receiving warm greetings from a house church run by two women....the New Testament cannot be described in either 'liberal' or 'conservative' terms, but it is way more open on gender issues than many suppose....

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