Originally published in the Washington Times on April 21, 2019.
Trans-gendered. Trans-abled. Trans-species. Trans-identity. It is hard to spend more than five minutes reading the daily news without being bombarded by stories about those who tell us of “transitioning” — stories of what has come to be called the “trans-community.”
The premise to this trans-argument goes something like this: No one should be restricted or confined to their broken biology. The born-that-way argument is a lie. Who we are at birth is not the end of our story. We can transition. We can become something new. We can to be “born again.” We are more than what we are “assigned at birth.”
If you have a haunting feeling you’ve heard something like this before, you have. You heard it decades ago in your catechism classes. You heard it when you were a young child in Sunday school. You heard it at mass. You heard it in the church. You heard it in days gone by when pastors and priests still taught you things that sounded vaguely similar. You heard it in the ancient words of St. Paul, St Peter and, yes, even Jesus himself.
Here are just a few examples:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come “
“You have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”
“Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
“And we all are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, for this comes from the Lord”
“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead we too might walk in newness of life.”
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind “
“Put on the new self, created after the likeness of God”
“He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world “
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
You see, the “trans-message” is not new. But what you are hearing from our cultural elites, those who are “woke” and the purveyors of identity politics is a very poor and corrupted copy of the original.
Selfish cries for “transitioning” resemble Christ’s promise of “transformation” little more than a child’s crayon scrawls resemble the maturity of a Rembrandt. Oh, yes, there is a hint of a deeper truth in every lie (and perhaps the bigger the lie, the greater the allusion) but don’t forget what C.S. Lewis warned of some 60 years ago: We are fools to be too easily satisfied with brass and clay when pure gold can be had for the asking.
All of us intuitively know the brokenness of our biology.
All of us understand the flaws of our human nature.
All of us know the evil that lurks in every human heart.
All of us recognize what we were “assigned at birth” must be changed.
All of us want to be “born again” and become something different, better, and new.
All of us yearn to transition; to be transformed.
St. Paul told us these truths are written on every human heart. G.K. Chesterton said the fact that human beings are not complete, noble or good, but rather broken and in need of repair is perhaps the most provable part of all of Christian theology.
The need to change, to transition, to be transformed, to be redeemed and reformed, did not spring on the scene at the intersection of Haight and Ashbury in the 1960s nor did it stumble down the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015. It is a story as old as time. It is the story of Easter.
“Do not be too easily satisfied,” cries Christ! “Transformation was born at the foot of the cross and the door of my empty tomb, not in your hardness of heart or the pursuit of your passions.”
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” — C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”
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