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19 June 2015

Think Friday: Race, gender and identity

This week’s video blog looks at the recent news stories around Rachel Dolezal who was accused of misrepresenting her race and Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce. 

My colleague Dr Don Horrocks has written a longer piece on gender dysphoria which you can read here. There are parallels with gnosticism in the Early Church which viewed the material world and bodies as unnecessary, deceptive and somehow lesser. Gnosticism thought that true enlightenment and freedom was found in peeling off the outer layers and finding your true inner self. The apostle Paul was clear in his first letter to the Corinthian church about the dangers of minimising the body.

The gender debate is relatively new to many but this piece highlights how important it is that we begin to think seriously about it. Christian psychologist Mark Yarhouse suggests that we need to engage with compassion, integrity and build redemptive relationships. His work is helpful for those who are already facing this issue.

When it comes to issues of identity we should be well equipped to point to the transformative work of Jesus Christ who created each individual and knows them from the moment of conception and is able to lead them to acceptance rather than rejection of their true selves.