DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Shocking and Confusing from an African Perspective

Written by: on March 10, 2020

Growing and Living in Africa is an interesting life experience, coupled with different cultural dynamics from one place to another. African cultures have put a lot of emphasis on a boy child. Many parents would opt to educate the boy child than the girl child because they believe the boy would inherit and continue the family line and preserve the community values. The girl would be married to any community and hence would not take care of the community cultures. My brother has seven boys and one girl. They were getting all boys, and he kept on trying to get at least a girl, and they eventually got one who is the seventh child now. My sister had only girls, and they kept on looking for a baby boy, but they did not and had six girls. The husband married another wife just to get a boy who would inherit and preserve the family heritage as they always believe.

The book “Transgender Children and Young People” edited by Heather Brunskell-Evans and Michele Moore is challenging and disturbing. Many questions arose as I read this book with difficulties for real. Where is God in all this theory? Is creation a reality, or is it a dilution? How would one classify the transgender of children with God’s creation or evolution if one had to think in that line? From where I was raised and grown through the culture and systems of life, what we have known is having inter-sex children, and one may determine the dominant sex but not a normal girl becoming a boy. Child sex is determined at the conception period, and one always knows the kind of a child they will get when pregnant. A question one would ask, was this a fault during the development of the child in the womb of the mother, or is it a creation fault and need to correct? The term ‘gender dysphoria’ is a 21st term that goes against God’s creation and human norms. God created every living thing with a male and a female and each having a role to play in procreation. How one would be born in a wrong body is a wonder.

The ‘transgender’ label treats all ‘gender dysphoric’ children as a homogenous group; the reason an infant boy who loves playing with dolls believes he is really a girl becomes the same reason a troubled autism spectrum teenage girl thinks she is really a boy: ‘because they are transgender’.[1] I agree with this statement. Children are confused, and I wonder what the role of a parent is in guiding the child into a mature male or female. During the period when boys go through an adulthood transition after circumcision, boys are taught their roles as men and the head of their families. The church’s purpose is to ensure the boys play their part and girls their part as they grow up in building a family. There are men ministries in our church, which is very strong, and men teach each other how to raise their boys and be responsible fathers. Equally, the women have their women ministry doing equally the same. Here is where the western cultures differ sharply with our African cultures. A good number of our churches have disagreed with their parent churches in the west on this same theory. We cannot deny that it is not happening, but we need to find the voice of God in this new world culture where male or female is not loudly pronounced on the children.

[1] (Heather Brunskell-Evans and Michele Moore 2018, page 30)

About the Author

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John Muhanji

I am the Director Africa Ministries Office of Friends United Meeting. I coordinate all Quaker activities and programs in the Quaker churches and school mostly in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The focus of my work is more on leadership development and church planting in the region especially in Tanzania.. Am married with three children all grown up now. I love playing golf as my exercise hobby. I also love reading.

2 responses to “Shocking and Confusing from an African Perspective”

  1. mm Nancy VanderRoest says:

    Hi John. Thank you for sharing your post. I appreciate your statement that “we need to find the voice of God in this new world culture where male or female is not loudly pronounced on the children.” The voice of God is needed in all aspects of our life, including these confusing times. Your response was both engaging and enlightening.

  2. John Muhanji says:

    Thanks, Nancy for your response. It is actually very challenging when you think about what would God do in our situation? I even wonder If God is involved in this theory of being in the wrong body.

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