A Ministry of Make and Deepen Disciples
Embrace Webinar #7 – Steve Froehlich
Gender Dysphoria & Pastoral Care
by Mark A. Yarhouse
Few topics are more contested today than gender identity. In the fog of the culture war, complex issues like gender dysphoria are reduced to slogans and sound bites. And while the war rages over language, institutions and political allegiances, transgender individuals are the ones who end up being the casualties. Mark Yarhouse, an expert in sexual identity and therapy, challenges the church to rise above the political hostilities and listen to people’s stories. In Understanding Gender Dysphoria, Yarhouse offers a Christian perspective on transgender issues that eschews simplistic answers and appreciates the psychological and theological complexity. The result is a book that engages the latest research while remaining pastorally sensitive to the experiences of each person. In the midst of a tense political climate, Yarhouse calls Christians to come alongside those on the margins and stand with them as they resolve their questions and concerns about gender identity. Understanding Gender Dysphoria is the book we need to navigate these stormy cultural waters.
Grant challenges us to think missionally about sex, singleness, and marriage, and he offers some insightful and helpful cultural analysis on ideas that strongly influence how we think about and enact sex, singleness, and marriage. Our webinar presenter, Steven Froehlich, has culled some selected quotations here
Quotes from this secular resource:
- “Most childhood gender dysphoria has not persisted in various clinical samples.”
- “Most gender dysphoria is found to fade around age 10-13.”
- “Early gender transition may relieve immediate distress but complicate transition to former gender role later on.”
Camille Paglia is an influential social critic and non-Christian who self-identifies as lesbian and transgender. In this interview, she warns against irreversible surgical interventions for minors with some additional commentary on current culture.
John Stott Quote on Dialogue
“Dialogue is a token of genuine Christian love, because it indicates our steadfast resolve to rid our minds of the prejudices and caricatures that we may entertain about other people, to struggle to listen through their ears and look through their eyes so as to grasp what prevents them from hearing the gospel and seeing Christ, to sympathize with them in all their doubts, fears and ‘hang-ups.’ For such sympathy will involve listening, and listening means dialogue. It is once more the challenge of the incarnation, to renounce evangelism by inflexible slogans, and instead to involve ourselves sensitively in the real dilemmas that people face.”
John Stott, Christian Mission in the Modern World, InterVarsity Press, 1975, p 81
STEVE FROEHLICH (Presenter)
Steve Froehlich is senior pastor of New Life Presbyterian Church in Ithaca, New York. Previously Steve served as board chair of the Chesterton House Center for Christian Studies at Cornell University and as executive vice president of Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. Steve completed graduate theological and pastoral studies at Reformed Theological Seminary (MDiv) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (DMin). His interests include the intersection of Christianity and the arts, especially literature and film. Steve and his wife, Sheryl, have three sons and four grandchildren.
A Note from Steve: My prayer is that our conversation will be a small contribution to a much larger ongoing conversation that needs to mature within the church. My thoughts are not the final word on the subject, and I still have much to learn. I’m keenly aware that I’m engaging as an outsider—that is, I do not live with gender dysphoria, so I endeavor to engage with humility as one who continues to listen and learn. My most immediate concern is that I be a faithful shepherd to the flock entrusted to my care. Finally, I want to make clear that the views expressed in this webinar are my own and do not speak for any of the organizations with which I am associated.
MICHELLE SANCHEZ (Facilitator)
Michelle Sanchez is Executive Minister of Make and Deepen Disciples for the ECC. Her dream is to foster a multiethnic movement of disciples who make disciples across all ages. Prior to this role, Michelle served as Pastor of Christian Formation and Mission at Highrock Covenant Church in the Boston area, ministered to international students in New York City with Cru, and worked as an investment banker for Goldman, Sachs & Co. Michelle earned an M.Div. and Th.M. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, an international business degree from New York University (NYU), and certification in spiritual direction from Boston College.
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