Interview: Gender-Identity Conversations Don’t Have to Be Scary

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Preston Sprinkle gives guidance on thinking biblically and listening in love.

Of the many books concerning Christianity and LGBT topics, most have addressed the front end of the acronym, leaving the back end woefully neglected. Yet questions of gender identity are growing in volume and urgency, both within and outside the church. In his latest book, Embodied: Transgender Identities, the Church, and What the Bible Has to Say, Preston Sprinkle, president of the Center for Faith, Sexuality & Gender, provides guidance on addressing these questions constructively and lovingly. Author and Cru leader Rachel Gilson spoke with Sprinkle about his book.

Why this book, and why now?

There are two emphases woven together in the book: a people strand and a conceptual strand. I’m focused, in other words, on loving people well while also thinking biblically, logically, and scientifically on all the topics that gender-identity conversations stir up: male and female sexual embodiment, relationships between body and soul, and gender stereotypes surrounding masculinity and femininity. We can’t just do one without the other. Thinking carefully without loving well leads to damage just as surely as loving well without thinking carefully.

Did any of your views change while researching and writing?

I certainly gained a stronger appreciation for some of the finer nuances of these conversations. For example: One common question is whether someone can be born in the “wrong” body. My hunch going in was: no. Having wrestled with that question from several angles, I haven’t changed my mind. But I can better understand why some make this claim.

How much of your personhood is due to your brain, and how much to your body? That’s a complex question! It brings in neuroscience, philosophy, theological …

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