So I don't really want to write what follows. That's because I don't love people enough. I love myself. My quiet life. My popularity (not a huge issue I know!). So I don't want to write what follows.
The problem was the combination of the BBC News web site and my Bible reading this morning. If I'd just looked at the news. I could have ignored the issue. I mean it's pretty much there everyday, as the media campaigns not too subtly to change our attitudes. If I'd just read 1 Timothy 1 I could have ignored the issue. Remained in a nice little Christian bubble. With all my nice Christian friends. Quietly moving between coffees and writing sermons.
But 1 Timothy 1 and the BBC came together this morning so that I have to write something about sexuality and gender.
The comment on the news is simple. It shouldn't surprise us that in a culture that has rejected God, people are defying even the "laws of nature" in the way that they choose to express themselves sexually. Nor should it surprise us that people love to talk about it and champion the latest way this divine rejection is expressed. So today on the front page we had:
The transgender family where the father gives birth http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-37408298
In pictures: Gender blending at London Fashion Week http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-37406827
'Queer history' landmarks celebrated by Historic England http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-37438800
Romans 1:18-32 tells us that this is the world we live in. We shouldn't expect people who don't know Christ to live any other way. We should with all love and compassion seek to share the good news of Jesus with them.
But as Christians we need to be absolutely clear that God's design for all sexual intimacy is for between a man and a woman in life long marriage. And that the Bible says that we are made male and female by God (Genesis 1:27). And so whilst people might agonise with feelings that their gender is different from their "sex" as defined by their organs, we must help them, with gentleness and acceptance, live out they way that they are physically rather than the way they feel they should be.
And why do I have to write that? Because 1 Timothy 1 tells me that when there are people claiming to be Christian teachers, teaching things that are contrary to the Bible, I have to refute them. And sadly there are lots of Christian leaders who appear happy to run with the world's teaching on sexuality. They think they're being loving by ignoring the Bible's teaching. But they aren't. Because God's love is truly experienced as seek to walk in obedience to him. As Paul says to Timothy about the need to challenge false teaching:
The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (Timothy 1:5)
That's why the loving thing for me to do is to tell you not to listen to anyone who doesn't faithfully teach God's word. And to lovingly tell them to stop it.