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Liturgical Naming Rite for a Transgendered Member

February 6th, 2012
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When the time to reprint the Lutheran Service Book Agenda rolls around, this won’t be in it. A rite for the renaming of a person who decides to have his/her private bits snipped and tucked to turn themselves into a new him/her/he/she.

No, I’m not making this up, I picked this up off the web site of one of the champions of the ELCA’s gay agenda. Here it is:

(Prayers of the People)

Presider:

Holy One of Blessing, in baptism you bring us to new life in

Jesus Christ and you name us Beloved. We give you thanks for the renewal

of that life and love in Mary Christine Callahan, who now takes on a new name.

Strengthen and uphold him as he grows in power, and authority, and

meaning of this name: we pray in the Name above names, Jesus, your Son,

whom with you and the Holy Spirit, the Triune God, we adore. Amen

 

(Lindsey) A reading from the letter of Paul to the Galatians.

There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no

longer male and female; for all are one in Christ Jesus

The word of the Lord

Thanks be to God

 

(Laying on of hands)

Let us pray:

We pray for your servant Asher, with thanks for the journey and awakening that

have brought him to this moment, for his place amongst your

people, and for his gifts and calling to serve you.

 

O God, in renaming your servants Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Peter,

and Paul, you gave them new lives and new tasks, new love and new hope.

We now hold before you our companion. Bless him with a new measure

of grace as he takes this new name. Write him again in your

heart and on your palm. And grant that we all be worthy to call ourselves

Christians, for the sake of your Christ whose name is Love, and in whom,

with you and the Spirit, we pray. Amen

 

The Giving of the name

 

Pr. Nadia: By what name shall you be known?

Kate: The name shall be Asher 

Asher: My name is Asher

 

The community may respond by repeating

Your name shall be Asher

 

Pr. Nadia: Bear this name in the Name of Christ. Share it in the name of Mercy. Offer it

in the name of Justice.

 

Christ is among us making peace right here right now.  The peace of Christ be with you all. And also with you.

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  1. George
    February 6th, 2012 at 17:32 | #1

    2 Timothy 3: 13: “…while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (ESV)

  2. February 6th, 2012 at 18:04 | #2

    Paul, now what were you doing visiting such a web site?!?

    • February 6th, 2012 at 18:47 | #3

      It’s the “blog of record” for this kind of thing in the ELCA, helpful.

  3. Rev Mathew Andersen
    February 6th, 2012 at 19:15 | #4

    Ow it almost hurts physically to read that.

    It is a shame and very very frightening that any church body would support an action which, far from changing an individual’s gender, leaves the individual in a hopeless dead end with the gift of masculinity or femininity permanently and irrevocably scarred while in this life. The fact is that transgenderism can only give the individual the outward look of the opposite gender. It can not grant them the full experience of that gender. (I am surprised by the number of people who do not realize transgender surgery is mostly cosmetic. Attempts to transplant actual female reproductive organs into a male, for instance, have ended in failure and even death – not that it would cease to be a sin even if were physically possible) At the same time it prevents them from experiencing the fulfillment of the masculinity/femininity God showered upon them at conception. To support such a masquerade is, in every sense of the word, a tragedy.

    But it does raise some questions we in the LCMS need to be considering as we look toward a rather strange future for our society. The are questions we need to be discussing before we have to face the actual situations:

    1) What do we do if a repentant transgender person comes to us? Assuming such a person has had the surgery, such surgery is not fully reversible and the psychological scars are even deeper. Not to mention that in some cases there may be a marriage under the new “gender” and/or adopted children, friends and coworkers who are unaware that the person they know as a woman was once a man or vice versa. Obviously, as they are repentant, we offer forgiveness. But what do we advise them to do? Do we help them live as well as they can in their present “gender”? Do we insist they revert to their old gender as best they can? Do we leave the decision up to them?

    2) For some time it was standard treatment to surgically assign a sex to a child born with indeterminate genitals. Often the assigned sex did not match their genetic code. Thankfully, this barbaric practice is, I believe, no longer standard procedure. Yet these children are now in their young adulthood. Through no fault of their own many are facing a crisis of gender identity. How do we help one of these young people should we encounter them in our ministry?

    3) Most importantly, how do we minister to parents and family members of transgender people? The first two questions deal with pretty rare circumstances and most of us will never have to really consider them. However, I hear from more and more pastors that they have encountered members who have transgendered family members or friends. How do we advise them as to how to relate to them? Especially when dealing with parents, the pastor is going to be facing a person who has a lot of guilt and uncertainty. Once we have offered comfort and grace to the parents themselves, do we advise them to require their child behave according to their true gender when relating to family? Or do we tell parents to do the best they can to treat their child as their “adopted gender” while being clear about their disapproval? I honestly don’t know the answer.

    Unpleasant as these questions may be, we are going to have to face them. The approach of affirming transgenderism as “god-pleasing” in such a liturgical parody of baptism is a travesty and is worthy only of derision and scorn. But how do we present truly “God pleasing” help to parents wracked with guilt over a child who has recently announced that “he” is now a “she”?

  4. February 6th, 2012 at 21:11 | #5

    [Preach the Word]
    I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
    For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

    (2 Timothy 4:1-8 ESV)

  5. Rev. Allen Yount
    February 6th, 2012 at 22:16 | #6

    I must admit I’m confused about this transgender issue. I suppose that it might be possible that someone could become “crosswired” during development in the womb and be female mentally and emotionally but male physically (or vice versia) not from God’s will or design but from sin messing up biology. But then there’s stuff like that woman who transgendered to a man, but wasn’t “surgically reassigned” and still had female reproductive organs, and became pregnant – twice – because his female partner was infertile. Or that Chastity/Chaz Bono mess. Has the CTCR done any research on this?

  6. Dcs. Kathleen
    February 7th, 2012 at 01:22 | #7

    I think the part that caught my attention the most was the prayer where it mentions God giving people new names. And then likens that to people giving *themselves* new names to go with the new identities they have also given themselves. There’s something very Genesis 3 about this whole thing…

  7. Rev. Allen Bergstrazer
    February 7th, 2012 at 10:40 | #8

    Lord have mercy. This is more of the same agenda, which is to call one’s sin a blessing, and to call the fruits of one’s sinfulness a gift from God.

  8. February 7th, 2012 at 13:10 | #9

    Thanks for posting this as well as those who’ve posted comments. Most helpful.

    Allow me to add my two cents. This is perhaps stating the obvious but there were 2 glaring problems with the logic in this “rite” that jumped out at me:

    1) Galatians 3:28 is talking about redemption, not creation. In other words, yes, there are no distinctions when it comes to God’s forgiveness in Christ but that does not mean gender becomes completely irrelevant and/or subjective.

    2) To say “God, you renamed your servants so we can do likewise” overlooks the fact that a) the change in name had a purpose, b) their gender didn’t change, c) it was by God’s decree. Changing a person’s name given at birth is to me, not an issue in and of itself. But this is obviously far more than that and to equate it to God’s renaming of Biblical accounts of God renaming some of His people is, as Dcs. Kathleen pointed out, very much a Genesis 3 issue.

    And to brother Andersen – I appreciate your insight into the complexities of this that we need to be aware of as we as the church care for sinners.

  9. ric
    February 7th, 2012 at 13:42 | #10

    How do you know if you don’t commune with either sex every Sunday as it is. What are we to do now, a crouch check? A DNA check?

  10. Jay
    February 7th, 2012 at 16:12 | #11
  11. Rev. Allen Yount
    February 7th, 2012 at 19:38 | #12

    @Jay
    But they ordain women in the ELCA, so why did Asher bother with the switch?

  12. Rev. Allen Yount
    February 7th, 2012 at 19:47 | #13

    This sort of stuff makes my head hurt.

  13. Lindsey
    February 8th, 2012 at 09:42 | #14

    While I don’t agree that homosexual activity and practice is “okay” in God’s eyes, I do feel for Asher. Upon reading his story in Jay’s link, it sounds to me like he really struggled growing up with his identity. Does that make him sinful? We are all sinners, we all have our sinful struggles. He didn’t “choose” to have those male desires, they seemed like a natural part of him. I’m glad he found a place where he is welcomed and not judged and not pressured to fit into something that is obviously not him.

  14. Jonathan
    February 10th, 2012 at 10:54 | #15

    Have to wonder if there are long term studies about the “happiness” of the transgendered. Is the war ever over for them?

    • February 10th, 2012 at 11:25 | #16

      I happen to know one, personally, and most recently he/she informed “her” whole family that she has met the love of “her” life, another woman. It’s all very confusing.

  15. HlLittle
    April 21st, 2012 at 20:41 | #17

    I spent the last week with Asher. He’s a wonderful, earnest, intelligent, person who clearly loves Jesus a lot. Don’t judge people you have never met.

    • April 21st, 2012 at 21:22 | #18

      I judge the sin he is engaged in and pray for his repentance.

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