It’s one of my favorite things every year since moving to Boise. Man Camp. Or in other words…men’s retreat. I have been going now for about 6 years. I remember the first year. I had just moved to Boise and didn’t really know anyone. There was group of about 30 of us camping out next to Warm Lake outside of Cascade, Idaho. I was definitely the youngest guy there. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I wondered where all the “younger men” were. It's no secret that there is an exodus of Millennials in our churches today. And what I’ve observed is it's a lot of younger men. They're nowhere to be found. Why is that?
Thank you for submitting your questions on Sunday, July 9th. Five Questions were submitted having to do with the Transgender Issue discussed last Sunday (39 questions overall for all the subjects). Three of them had to do with physical abnormalities at birth related to XX, XY chromosomes or varying degrees of physical deformations.
Q. Why does God allow this kind of deformity?
A. There is evil in the world and the effects of the fall are all around us and in us. God does not reverse all the results of the fall of man. In other words, many deformities and birth defects occur as a result of the fall. This is a reality. When Christ returns, no deformities will exist at all.
Q. What about babies born with ‘biological’ sex confusion, deformities, hermaphrodites, etc?
A. This is an important question. In other words, there is some level of biological transgender issues that nature itself has created. I’m not an expert in this, and correct me if I’m wrong, but I do think most biological confusion is corrected or treated early on by doctors and specialists, and that most transgender people are not, in fact, the result of such biological confusion from birth. In other words, theirs is a psychological transgender issue. I do not know how many transgender persons are actually the result of biological confusions at birth, but my sense is that the number is very, very small compared to those who simply developed the belief that they were in the wrong body.
Q. How common is intersex? From Intersex Society of North America
A. To answer this question in an uncontroversial way, you’d have to first get everyone to agree on what counts as intersex —and also to agree on what should count as strictly male or strictly female. That’s hard to do. How small does a penis have to be before it counts as intersex? Do you count “sex chromosome” anomalies as intersex if there’s no apparent external sexual ambiguity?
Here’s what we do know: If you ask experts at medical centers how often a child is born so noticeably atypical in terms of genitalia that a specialist in sex differentiation is called in, the number comes out to about 1 in 1500 to 1 in 2000 births. But a lot more people than that are born with subtler forms of sex anatomy variations, some of which won’t show up until later in life.
Below we provide a summary of statistics drawn from an article by Brown University researcher Anne Fausto-Sterling.2 The basis for that article was an extensive review of the medical literature from 1955 to 1998 aimed at producing numeric estimates for the frequency of sex variations. Note that the frequency of some of these conditions, such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia, differs for different populations. These statistics are approximations.
- Not XX and not XY one in 1,666 births
- Klinefelter (XXY) one in 1,000 births
- Androgen insensitivity syndrome one in 13,000 births
- Partial androgen insensitivity syndrome one in 130,000 births
- Classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia one in 13,000 births
- Late onset adrenal hyperplasia one in 66 individuals
- Vaginal agenesis one in 6,000 births
- Ovotestes one in 83,000 births
- Idiopathic (no discernable medical cause) one in 110,000 births
- Iatrogenic (caused by medical treatment; for instance, progestin administered to pregnant mother), no estimate
- 5 alpha reductase deficiency, no estimate
- Mixed gonadal dysgenesis, no estimate
- Complete gonadal dysgenesis one in 150,000 births
- Hypospadias (urethral opening in perineum or along penile shaft) one in 2,000 births
- Hypospadias (urethral opening between corona and tip of glans penis) one in 770 births
Q. Isn’t it possible that someone could be impacted by the sin of the fall and in fact have the brain of the opposite sex than their biological birth sex?
A. Yes. But, this is not somehow a unique situation. ALL of us are born with ‘sin on the brain’ so to speak. We all must battle temptations and tendencies that have been passed down to us, or that is a manifestation of the sin nature that we each were born with. No one is exempt. Each of us has our own sinful tendencies to fight through.
Q. Body dysmorphic disorder is the correct term. Body dysphoria means ‘depressed’.
A. According to Britain's National Health Service… Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), or body dysmorphia, is an anxiety disorder that causes sufferers to spend a lot of time worrying about their appearance and to have a distorted view of how they look.
Gender dysphoria is a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there is a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity.
Camp season is here and we are kicking things off this Thursday with Kid’s Camp! Whether your student is in 3rd, 8th or 12th grade, great conversations after camp can solidify the meaningful truths they experienced at our retreats. We want to help you have those conversations with your student when they return home from camp.
his is the right kind of question. It assumes we are asking some other pivotal questions:
What is the most strategic use of resources to help people connect with God?
What should we be doing to partner with God to reach our city?
These are great questions because it means that we are poised to take our time, our lives, our money and our passions and turn them towards God’s work in the world.
So, why should we plant new churches?
You feel it every morning you wake up and every night when you go down to sleep. You watch it on the news and see it in movies and television. In every conversation, relationship, thought and desire.
It’s sin. Such a typical Sunday school answer, but consider the real results of sin in everyday life: all types of pain, stress, anxiety, aggression, strife, selfishness, dishonesty, passivity, anger, stealing, just to name a few. We feel the alienation from God, nature and each other in all sorts of ways we can hardly wrap our minds around. James 4:1-4 says,
Our beautiful design as men and women made in the image of God has also been tarnished. If you pay attention to current issues at all, you have probably noticed the changing nature of conversations on manhood, womanhood, marriage and the like. For some of you, it’s scary. For others, it is a daily battle of identity and self-worth.
Clearly, sin affects all aspects of manhood and womanhood, but also in specific ways. Women are more inclined towards endless comparison (shape, size, tan, clothes, success, etc.) and perfectionism (the perfect selfie, job, relationship, measuring up to an impossible expectation set up by who knows!). Men, on the other hand, are prone to selfish passivity and selfish aggression. Just read statistics about pornography, fatherlessness, and incarcerations. It is truly a wilderness we live in.
Is there any way to be free from these temptations, struggles, pitfalls and failures as man and woman? Or are we doomed to be tossed about by the winds and waves of whatever our culture defines as good, or pleasurable or desirable in a man or woman?
Perhaps a better question to ask is one that takes us back to the Garden of Eden where humanity fell out of love with its Creator God. And that is, do you trust God? Can you trust His design, purpose and love for you?
If we were honest, I think we would say “no.” Our actions, thoughts, values and beliefs make the case. We need overwhelming proof of this love, this beautiful design and destiny with God, right? Then be glad, Friend, for Romans 5 says,
What kind of reaction does that stir up in you? Knowing you can’t save yourself is depressing, but the reality of God’s love is one of self-sacrifice and victory for you and me. There is power and freedom in the name of Jesus for men and women alike.
- What are some common struggles both men and women of all ages experience? What are some different types of struggles they each face?
- How does the truth of God’s love and salvation in Romans 5-6 change your perspective on your own worth and value as a man or woman?
- What might be your next step in engaging a healthy, biblical perspective on manhood and womenhood? How can we honor the unique image God has placed on each?
- Parents: What might be some next steps in encouraging your student’s value and worth as a young man or woman? How can you encourage their passions, gifts and beauty beyond what culture tries to value and encourage them in?
Keep an eye out for many more posts, interesting articles and helpful tips as we journey together through Beautiful Design.
Nick Binsacca - Director of Youth Ministry