One of the things that I and other transsexuals are accused of by Christians is that we are playing God. The accusation is a highly subjective one in most cases. Basically, it means we are taking into our own hands something that God says is reserved for Him alone. But there is no verse that specifically defines the term. More importantly, there is no verse that says that my transition is playing God. However, in Matthew 19:12, Jesus talks without condemnation about those who were born eunuchs and those who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.
The other thing that stands out to me is the inconsistency of Christians taking this position. One of the people who accused me of “playing God” and I both personally know a man who had reached a high position in Christian ministry. Some years ago, he was facing a terminal illness and on the waiting list for a kidney donation.
After three years of dialysis and waiting, a donor match came forward. Almost three years ago to the day, he underwent successful transplant surgery. As of August 2013, he is still doing well health wise.
My accuser is an outspoken man who knew about this man’s kidney transplant. If he believed it was wrong to do so, he would have said so straight out.
In other words, taking a part of one person’s body and putting it into another person’s body is not playing God? But changing one’s manner of dressing, changing one’s name, taking some hormones (some of which are the same or similar to ones he took in treatment of prostate cancer) and acting consistent with the gender one claims to be: that is playing God? Something is out of whack here.
Some might respond, “But that man needed to do that to save his life.” You don’t know where I was emotionally in 2010-11. In fact, one of the preliminary signs that told me something was wrong related to this man with the kidney disease. I couldn’t understand at the time why he was fighting so hard to live, going through so much pain.
I wasn’t suicidal and I didn’t want to die at that time. But I didn’t have a strong desire to live, either. If I had been diagnosed with the same disease, I would have asked the doctors to give me something to deal with any pain and side effects and let me go to see Jesus.
There is another important detail about the man with the kidney disease. His salvation testimony is that he came to Christ with a gun pointed at his head, a gun held in his own hand. Finger on the trigger, he made a split second decision to give God one more chance. God took that and turned his life around.
By the summer of 2011, I was miserable, caught up in sin that I seemingly could not break free of. It was nothing like I had ever experienced before and there was no immediate deliverance as I prayed and read the Bible. It was growing worse and I was getting more concerned for my life. I didn’t want to risk taking things to the brink of suicide.
I sincerely believe this was how God answered my prayers. Within a couple of weeks after I seriously explored all elements of transition for the first time in my life, I was delivered from that sin.
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, – 2nd Peter 2:9a
I have included videos of the two magicians so you can hear their stories in their own words.
Jim Munroe admits to being a charlatan by trade. While he may have had a vague belief in the existence of God, perhaps only a foxhole belief, he didn’t understand why people went to church. He suspected that church goers were falling for an illusion. Like the Wizard of Oz, there was really someone behind the curtain.
Then Jim was diagnosed with leukemia. The type he had, chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), is characterized by a translocation of chromosomes known as the Philadelphia chromosome. Parts of the 9th and 22nd chromosomes begin to switch places.
Let’s put it in layman’s terms. In typical cases of CML, treatment with combinations of drugs has proven to be quite successful. In Jim’s case, however, the condition had grown so severe that the doctors initially told Jim that they could not cure him. Like a spoiled master produces bad photocopies, bad original blood cells were producing bad copies.
The doctors gave him a slim hope, but it required an extremely dangerous procedure. They would search a database to find someone whose DNA was compatible enough with Jim’s to attempt a radical bone marrow transplant. Then, employing a “vicious form of chemotherapy”, they had to destroy Jim’s entire blood system before substituting the bone marrow of the donor, so no corrupt cells could remain to start making the malignant copies again.
One perfect donor match was found, a 19 year old female. A portion of her blood would substitute for his. As Jim describes it, the nurses celebrate the patient’s birthday in the hospital. He would literally be “born anew.” As the procedure begins, the staff is hoping that the patient’s body will receive the new life-giving blood.
The following video gives Jim’s testimony, intermingled with the testimony of musician Lacey Sturm and former Super Bowl hero David Tyree. Billy Graham’s remarks are also interspersed during the video. It is about 28 minutes long.
Jim survived the procedure and is now 100% completely cancer free. Certainly, as a Christian, his survival and the story of his conversion is extremely important to me.
Jim further explains that when the doctors look inside of him now, they see a new person inside. The chromosomes in his blood are retained from the donor, part of the making of good copies. This includes the chromosomes normally related to sex determination. The chromosomes in Jim’s blood are now XX because his donor’s chromosomes are XX.
I would bet my bottom dollar that the significance of this fact to a transsexual Christian like me was not appreciated or intended by Jim Munroe and the people who produced the video. That doesn’t make it any less real. Here is a person whose life was saved by a procedure that made Jim an intersex person to some extent, although not by the normal definition of the term. Even so, he has both XY and XX chromosomes co-existing in his body.
Because he allowed this to be done to him, does it make Jim a vile sinner? Did Jim and his doctors “play God”? The answer to both questions is “no”. Instead, it makes Jim alive, a survivor, a new life brought back from the brink of death. And it makes the doctors the people who helped save his life.
Even so, the Christian testimony is part of the story and cannot be detached. Jim had to be delivered from death. The only way to new life, a rebirth, was new blood. That blood, from someone else had to be substituted for his. But he had to receive that blood for the new life to occur. Rejection of the blood would have meant rejection of being born again, which would have led to his death. Without chemotherapy turning away his corrupt blood cells, his body would not have been able to successfully receive the good cells.
This is a remarkably close analogy to the finished work of Christ on the cross to pay for our sins (corruption), to give us the gift of new life, as well as our need to receive that free gift and to repent (turn away) from our sins. Every part of this story takes my breath away. I praise God that this story is now part of the public record and that He brought it to my attention. And when they show him meeting his donor, I can’t stop the tears.
The first words of Billy Graham after Jim Munroe concludes his testimony: “And God looks at your heart.” Amen!
I am aware that there are non-Christians who might be offended by my inclusion of the Gospel message in this post. That leads to the other magician I am discussing in this post. He is completely on the other side of the spiritual spectrum from Jim Munroe. Penn Jillette, one half of the comedy magic duo Penn & Teller, is an avowed atheist. But unlike many atheists or followers of other religions, Penn has a much different viewpoint on the proselytizing activity of Christians.
The following is video of Penn Jillette delivering a monologue about this topic. It is slightly over five minutes long.
Penn is correct that he should not be converted because of one polite and good Christian, as positive as that encounter was. If someone is persuaded to follow God by a person, another person could come along and persuade that someone in a different direction.
For someone to truly come to Christ, one must be persuaded by God, not a person. It is the anointing of the Holy Spirit combined with the power of God’s word that accomplishes this. It grieves me that thus far, Penn Jillette has not received this. But as long as he has the breath of life, the possibility remains that he will come to Christ. As I wrote this, I prayed that it would be so. In the unlikely event that I meet him, you can bet I will witness to him.
What I do appreciate is that Penn gets it when it comes to the nature of the Gospel message and what Christians should do with that message if they are to love their fellow man. He does not respect people who do not proselytize regarding life and death information. As he puts it, “How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”
The message is there. Whoever hears or reads the Gospel message, how they deal with it is in their hands alone.
And to bring this topic full circle, I have not heard from God telling me that I am male. There was only one person who made the determination to put an “M” on my birth certificate. That was the doctor who delivered me when I was born. I cannot fault him. He acted on the best evidence he had, evidence that is correct over 99% of the time. From what I know about him, he was a good doctor and a good man with the best of intentions. But that doesn’t mean that he was right in my case. Ultimately, he is the only one that I am really contradicting by my transition. Until a little over a year ago, everyone else was operating on the belief that his determination was correct.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations … – Matthew 28:19 (portion)