How Do We Think About Gender Identity?
In our theology classes we define theology as
words about God.
Forming words about God that relate to social and cultural topics, especially regarding gender and sexuality, is a more difficult task than you may think.
The goal of our Theology Class series is help us form these words in a way that understands history, acknowledges personal and cross disciplinary experience, and respects difference and disagreement.
In preparation for our class on gender identity, we asked the question: How does gender matter to God? Below are some of the responses we received as people work out how to form their own words about God and gender identity.
These responses are 100% anonymous and do not represent the "right" way to answer the question (as if there were one). Instead, we hope these responses help you think more critically as you begin to form your words about God and gender identity.
Instead of reading each response as something to either agree or disagree with, try empathizing with the perspective. Imagine what kind of upbringing, knowledge, belief, and experience would form this theology. Imagine how this theology could inform your own words about God. Imagine where your own questions and convictions may differ from what you read and where they may also align.
Join us at Level Ground HQ TONIGHT from 7:30-9:30pm to discuss "How do we think about gender identity?". RSPV and learn more here.
How does Gender Matter to God?
Some of the pre-class survey responses.
I have tension saying gender does matter because I don't think it matters to God. At least not in how the world presents gender; I think God is above that and if God isn't gendered, why would humans having gender be important.
I think gender matters to God the same way that the heart does. If being a heterosexual male/female is the only "right" way to live, then many people don't have a fair shot at pleasing God if they are born with a different identity. Did God also not create in us desires of the heart? God wants us to be true to ourselves and worship from the truth of our reality.
I'm not sure. I used to think gender mattered a LOT. But as of recently, I have my own questions as to how much God cares.
I'm not sure that it does. I think gender is so culturally grounded and specific, that I think its hard to nail down a theory that spans all times and cultures. I can't imaging gender playing a roll in morality or love for God.
I think each person has a small puzzle piece of God's image and gifts, and when we bring them together as a community we demonstrate God's character. Gender is one of the ways we express/embody our pieces of God's image.
In a biological and a reproductive sense It is clear there is a difference between genders and one of those differences is clearly for reproduction. But this is not the end all, be all for gender's purpose. I believe both genders also provide fuller insight, understanding and experience of the fullness of God Godself. Allowing for freedom of expression away from limited societal expectations and roles might actually be closer to God's intent for gender than having to create another definition altogether.
God gives us freedom to perform within the gender spectrum. God cares that we think about gender more critically.
I think God is using gender as a tool for us to get together despite our differences. Being different breeds creativity, I think God LOVES that. I think he created us uniquely. We are at the age where we are coming to terms with accepting the difference. We used to put people who are different on the cross, now we are questioning why the heck we are doing that.
I don't think it matters as much to God as it does to us. I think God wants us to be fully ourselves which of course includes gender but I think we put a lot more emphasis on it than God does.
I imagine gender matters very little to God. I think He likely cares more about the condition of our heart, our faith, our adherence to His word, and the way we treat each other.
I think God calls us to live out his glory in being the best most authentic versions of ourselves, which may mean becoming a transgender person. I dare even say that I think that God makes "mistakes" sometimes (what that means entirely, I'm not 100% sure myself even) and that people have God's grace to have integrity in their gender identity and sexuality.
I think gender matters to God because it matters to us. The injustices and pain that people suffer in these journeys matter but the specifics don't. Our bodies are temporary and in my own spirituality I don't feel bound to my gender to the extent that I feel able to deviate from the expectations attached to it.
I believe God loves all regardless of the gender that one identifies with. I believe there is a distinction because biologically each man and woman have different physical capacities but whether or not they "use" those capacities doesn't mean they are loved more or less.