Whirlwind reviews for “Hurricane”

My book has now received twenty-three reviews online. 22 of 23 have given it five stars. The screenshot, below, shows my rating and the latest review . . . and the photo of the hand—thanks, Sue!—shows where I grew up in Michigan (it’s a book reference).

The review might be too small to read. Here it is: This is a book that educates people about being transgender. I loved it! As a Christian, I appreciate the author’s sincerity and honesty in relating his experiences while maintaining and expressing his Christian faith. This book should be read by everyone, especially those who condemn transgender people based on their Christian beliefs.

To read the rest of the reviews, click on the book, below. Even better, you may purchase it today, either as a paperback or an ebook.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

While I hope to sell many books, there are some folks I can’t ask to shell out bucks for it. On July 7, Julie and I attended the annual Eilers family reunion. I took a bunch of books with me to Michigan. Indeed, as I toted a handful to the reunion’s picnic area, I inadvertently snapped a pic:

Announcing that I would be honored if anyone took my book, I set a stack on an end table. After we ate, folks began to grab them. I continued to refill the stack. I was pleased that fifteen were taken . . . and many folks asked me sign theirs.

One cousin zipped through it in a few days. Before you read her reaction, know that when she asked me to sign her copy she requested I note how she’s my best, most wonderful cousin. After her review, I’m not arguing.

She posted on Facebook: You two are amazing and I love you both and admire you so much! Sooo who will play you guys in the movie? Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow?

I have a call in to Matt’s people. I’ll let you know how that goes.

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LCMS 2019 convention resolution on gender identity

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod holds its triennial convention beginning July 20. Among the proposed resolutions is this one:

I have included the entire text, below, or you may find it here: https://files.lcms.org/wl/?id=KuJNmMBOaTz54nqcyjk0Hbx1eVuOXTmt

I appreciate what is behind this proposal, the desire is to help, to educate, to display compassion. Because I continue to find the leaders of the LCMS have not thoroughly educated themselves regarding gender identity issues, I find this proposal lacking. Thus, if it were ratified by the convention, it would only serve to extend the lack of understanding and the large amount of misunderstanding regarding gender dysphoria and being transgender.

I have placed in italics the text of the proposal. My thoughts are placed between the sections on which I comment.

Page 162: 43 WHEREAS, Our society includes persons who are uncertain whether they are “truly” male or female (this does not
44 include intersex individuals, see excursus in Commission on Theology and Church Relations [CTCR], Gender Identity
45 Disorder or Gender Dysphoria in Christian Perspective), others who present themselves as a member of the opposite sex
Page 162, 2019 Today’s Business, 1st Edition—Proposed Resolutions
34 WHEREAS, In the beginning God created man in his own image, “male and female, he created them” (Gen. 1:27); and
35 WHEREAS, As the Small Catechism (SC) teaches, “I believe that God has made me and all creatures. He has given me
36 my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members …” (SC II, First Article); and
37 WHEREAS, After humanity’s fall into sin, Jesus again affirmed God’s continuing work: that from the beginning he
38 created them “male and female” (Matt. 19:4); and
39 WHEREAS, Gender is now considered by many in our culture as a social construct rather than a physical reality created
40 by God; and

Do not assume that those who suffer gender dysphoria believe that gender is a social construct. Even more, those Christians in the LCMS who suffer gender dysphoria know that the Lord created sex and gender as male and female, and they have no argument that the Lord’s intention was that males be men and females be women. Their trouble is not that they despise that the Lord created them male or female, but that they have a physical condition which does not allow them to be at peace with their birth sex.

In the secular world, many ideas are held that are not in agreement with God’s Word. I know several transgender Christians of the LCMS and none of them believe gender is a social construct. They do not debate the Lord’s intention for males and females. They look forward to their resurrection from the dead on the Last Day, when they will be made whole, with no more conflict with their birth sex.

41 WHEREAS, The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that marriages may be contracted between two persons
42 of the same sex; and
Page 163
1 in dress and physical appearance, and others who participate in hormonal and/or surgical procedures in an attempt to
2 modify their anatomy from male to female or from female to male; and

The CTCR’s definition of intersex is narrow, confined to the genitals and reproductive system. It ignores the many variations of intersex hormonal and chromosomal conditions which cannot be seen with the naked eye.

As there are conditions that are acknowledged as real—for one, autism—yet we do not know what causes them, so there are conditions that cause gender conflict that are real but so far cannot be proven. As with autism, just because the source cannot be absolutely determined does not negate the physical reality of the malady.

The CTCR allows for those to medically and socially address their condition when it can be viewed with the eye. For all others who suffer? The CTCR only allows for confessing as sin their gender identity conflict. Their suffering could be just as physical as the person who has a cancerous tumor, yet the CTCR, and this proposed resolution, makes no provision for them by the church other than spiritual care.

3 WHEREAS, The Christian church is not without fault and has too often failed to minister compassionately to those who
4 experience sexual orientation and gender identity issues, and has too often failed to address the sins of heterosexual
5 members; and
6 WHEREAS, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) parochial schools, congregations, seminaries, the
7 Concordia University System, and individuals in our Synod are experiencing mounting pressure as a result of cultural and
8 legal changes; and
9 WHEREAS, LCMS church workers and laity have asked for guidance in pastoral care for individuals and families
10 struggling with matters of same-sex orientation and gender identity issues; and
11 WHEREAS, The LCMS has produced resources such as the following CTCR reports: Gender
12 Identity Disorder or Gender Dysphoria in Christian Perspective (adopted Sept. 2014); Human Sexuality: A Theological
13 Perspective (adopted September 1981); Response to Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust (adopted April 2012); and The
14 Creator’s Tapestry: Scriptural Perspectives on Man-Woman Relationships in Marriage and the Church (adopted
15 December 2009); therefore be it
16 Resolved, That the LCMS in convention affirm and faithfully confess the biblical truth that God created humanity as
17 male and female; and be it further
18 Resolved, That we regard all those who struggle with sexual orientation and gender identity issues as our neighbors,
19 beloved of God, and therefore condemn acts of abuse committed against them; and be it further
20 Resolved, That pastors and congregations of the Synod be encouraged to minister compassionately to those who
21 experience sexual orientation and gender identity issues through prayer, the proclamation of Law and Gospel, the
22 Sacrament of Holy Baptism, corporate and individual confession and absolution, the proper administration of the Lord’s
23 Supper, the mutual conversation and consolation of the brothers and sisters, and pastoral care; and be it further
24 Resolved, That pastors and congregations of the Synod be encouraged to minister compassionately to the families,
25 friends, and all others impacted by those who struggle with same-sex attraction, those involved in same-sex relationships,
26 and those whose sexual self-understanding is shaped by a distressing conflict between their biological sex and their gender
27 identity through prayer, the proclamation of Law and Gospel, the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, corporate and individual
28 confession and absolution, the proper administration of the Lord’s Supper, the mutual conversation and consolation of the
29 brothers and sisters, and pastoral care; and be it further

Does this mean that the Christian who transitions, if he or she does not confess it as sinning and cease, will have Matthew 18:15ff carried out on them, and that if they do not repent they will be excommunicated?

Matthew 18:15ff wasn’t carried out with my wife and me, when I lived as a transgender woman. The LCMS church that took us in was only threatened with expulsion should we remain members. No one, at that time, called any of us to repent. To calm the storm and save our pastors and congregation, Julie and I resigned our membership.

I have met other LCMS Christians who have been treated similarly, who in their suffering finally transitioned in order to regain their emotional health. Matthew 18:15ff was not utilized; they simply were shown the door.

Is this how the church wants to minister to these people, who love the Lord, who have no desire to offend Him or their fellow Christians, who are only trying to find relief from their suffering?

Pastors have told me, “You wouldn’t tell an anorexic person that it’s okay not to eat.” No, you would not. But, if I were the pastor of an anorexic person who could not find the strength to eat sufficiently, I would not simply proclaim this one’s sin. And I certainly would not kick out of my church this suffering child of God.

Is there no way to extend the same compassion to Christians who reach the point where they need to see if transitioning will help them, to ease their tremendous distress that likely includes their suffering thoughts of killing themselves?

30 Resolved, That church workers and congregations in the Synod be encouraged to utilize the following CTCR reports:
31 Human Sexuality: A Theological Perspective; Response to Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust; The Creator’s Tapestry:
32 Scriptural Perspectives on Man-Woman Relationships in Marriage and the Church; and Gender Identity Disorder or
33 Gender Dysphoria in Christian Perspective; and be it further
34 Resolved, That the CTCR be directed to prioritize the updating of the 1981 study, “Human Sexuality”; and be it finally
35 Resolved, That the Synod in convention direct the Office of National Mission, Concordia Publishing House, the
36 seminaries, and the Concordia University System to continue to provide resources that enable the church to confess the
37 truth boldly and minister compassionately both to those who struggle with sexual orientation and gender identity issues
38 and those who care for them.

Based on my experience with the LCMS when I was transgender, and with those transgender persons who are or were in LCMS congregations, indeed there is a need for education regarding gender identity issues. To this end, I am writing a book, “Ministering to Transgender Christians.”

In this book, I will address what gender dysphoria is, the suffering it causes, theological concerns, and how to provide pastoral care to those who suffer gender conflict. I will introduce a number of LCMS folks who experience gender dysphoria, some of whom have transitioned.

The book is now in the editing process. My hope is to have it published by the end of the summer.

My garden: 7.11.19

I’ve posted little about my garden this year. With this spring’s heavy, constant rains, I planted late and things grew slowly. I was frustrated, and even more so because last year was as good a growing season as ever.

Yet, I kept telling myself that my trouble was but a blip compared with our farmers, so don’t be a whiner, Eilers. Indeed, as Julie and I drove north to Michigan last week, we saw field after field with no crops—a heartbreaking sight—or corn and beans that are a month behind.

Finally, the rains stopped in Indianapolis. (Completely stopped. I’ve had to water the garden twice this week.) The air warmed. The garden has grown. We are harvesting crops. And I’m grateful.

Last year, on July 12 I picked the first eleven ears of corn. This year, the cobs are right now in the early stages of forming. During all of my years gardening in Michigan, I never had corn bear cobs in mid-July, a fact I need to continue to remember!

The fence (front right, above) covers Swis chard. For the first time in our four years in this house, deer have eaten in our garden. Even with this fence, they got into the side and killed off those plants. What else might they pester? I’m on edge, every day I check the garden.

The tomatoes (front) are doing well, with many fruits on every plant. Green peppers are behind them, and also bearing. Next comes broccoli, which are beginning to form heads. Then row are the green beans, now blossoming. At the back (far left, below) is my second planting of potatoes, now in blossom.

If the photo, above, captured the final edge of the garden, you would see three hills of watermelons, which have gotten off to a terribly slow start. Last year at this time, the first fruits were baseball-sized. This year, the plants are just beginning to send out vines.

This week, I dug the first potatoes and have picked three zucchini. I fried these potatoes with onions and these zucchini. The other zucchini was sauteed on its own. A second digging of potatoes became a cheesy casserole.

For the rest of the summer, I will be planning my meals around what is ready to harvest. What a wonderful task that is, to wander the garden, find the latest ripe and ready gems, and turn them into supper!

Montague three-reunion vacation

Julie and I went to my hometown—Montague, Michigan—for five days, spanning Independence Day.

The vacation began as a get-together with my immediate family on the 4th. Then I learned the annual Eilers reunion would be on Sunday. Along the way, an impromptu gathering happened with some of my mom’s side of the family.

I wish I had taken more photos. Here are the better ones I snapped, in chronological order.

Our first morning in town, I headed out for a run, a favorite thing to do wherever I go. Along my route, I passed my first school. I attended Oehrli Elementary until we moved to Hart in November 1964, when I was in second grade. My first three children were students here, before we moved away in 1992. Now, two of my grandchildren attend here.

Independence Day began with another run. I was on the rail trail, heading toward downtown. It was almost parade time, so I looked for family. My first wife Kim was settled in with three of our grandkids: Maggie, Charlie, and Margot.

Montague boasts the world’s largest weathervane. Yes, it works. And, yes, couples get married under it!

On the 4th, we gathered at my son and daughter-in-law’s place, two miles north of Montague. In this pic, from left: grandson Oliver, daughter-in-law Tara, sister-in-law Jo, sister-in-law Debbie, granddaughter Margot, brother Dave, brother Tom, son Addison, and my first wife Kim.

Friday morning, I contacted Rhonda Bogner, who was one of my good buddies during our Hart years, when we were ages 7 to 11. Rhonda became a good friend again through Facebook, and I saw her in 2013, but had never been to her house. She lives outside of Muskegon, only twenty minutes from Montague. She was home and gladly welcomed our stopping by, and she finally met Julie. We had a lovely visit!

Friday afternoon, Julie and I drove to Lake Michigan, where the channel connects White Lake to the big lake. The boat traffic was heavy, as it should be on July 5, with sunny skies and temps in the 80s.

Lake Michigan’s water level in June measured a few inches short of its all-time high. Everyone had told me, “There’s no beach left.” As you can see, there is, but … see the man at left, standing in the water? I suspect in a typical year he would be on dry land.

My folks are buried in the Montague cemetery. I don’t have the need to visit often, but we had a few minutes when we returned from the lake and it popped into my mind to stop. Mom’s stone is more dull than Dad’s because she’s been there 24 years longer.

I had posted on Facebook that Julie and I were in Montague. Cousin Kim Wiegold (far right) saw the post and said that a bunch of my mom’s side of the family would be in Muskegon for the weekend. Friday evening, we gathered at Rebel Pies, which just happens to be co-owned by my son Addison.

I had not seen my uncle Ky, who is my Godfather, since his wife, Aunt Ginger’s, funeral in 1994. He’s the gentleman in front of me. With us are his three daughters and some other dandy folks from the Vogel side of the family.

While Indianapolis has been a blessing for Julie and me, I am a small town kid at heart. I miss the wide open spaces of Montague. On Saturday, I jogged the rail trail to the west of town.

The trail became a reality because of my uncle Bill Field: https://eilerspizza.wordpress.com/2016/05/13/rail-trailblazer/

Saturday afternoon, Julie and I made a quick trip to Hart, a half-hour north of Montague, where I lived from 1964-68. Julie gazed at the lake from a spot that is a block from where we lived.

When I go home, I most often stay at what I lovingly call the Todd B & B. I’m even more welcome when I bring Julie with me! Saturday evening, Grace “Mom” and Tim, who’s been my best friend since 1975, and Julie and I enjoyed a meal at the Old Channel Inn, on Lake Michigan.

Our five days were capped off by the annual Eilers reunion, twenty minutes northwest of Montague at Claybanks Township Park, which sits on Lake Michigan and is only a couple of miles west of the family farm: https://eilerspizza.wordpress.com/2016/09/09/meet-the-eilers-farm/

It was only the second one I’ve been able to attend since leaving Montague in 1992. 45 were in attendance, including all three of my dad’s living siblings: Betty, Pat, and Margaret.

We departed the reunion for the long drive south on US-31, our hearts filled with joy for our week chock-filled with family and friends.

The 4 in 1 post

Retirement: fifth anniversary

June 30 marks five years since I retired from being a parish pastor.

I’m still bummed out about it.

I still consider it to have been forced on me, having preferred to keep my gender dysphoria in check instead of leaving the ministry in order to address it.

I still wish I were a parish pastor.

I’ve accomplished a lot the past five years. I’m grateful about that. I have a lot more in mind to do. But I still wish it didn’t have to be this way.

Greg’s return: one year ago

July 9 marks one year since I made public that I had ceased experiencing any sense of being female, that I gradually got used to the idea that I would resume living as a guy, and that by late May I had been living full time as Greg.

I lived as a transgender woman for three years. I did everything a person can do to transition sexes.

It all feels like it was a dream.

If it were not for all of the evidence that I transitioned, I might not believe it had been real. When I ponder it, I find myself physically shaking my head in disbelief.

All my life, I wanted to feel like a guy. For the past nearly one-and-a-half years, I have. I wish I didn’t have to go through all that I did to achieve it, but I am thankful that I finally arrived at this wonderful wholeness.

Hormone update

I have passed the seven month mark since resuming hormone therapy. Each Sunday, I inject a low dose of estradiol (estrogen). The purpose is to protect my bones, muscles, and joints, and to stop the infernal hot flashes I had been having multiple times a day since May 2018.

When I started feeling like a guy at the outset of 2018, I stopped my hormone therapy with my endocrinologist’s permission to do so. I feared continuing to take estrogen would upset my sense of self.

In a few months, I started feeling sluggish. Then my muscles felt like mush. My knees protested when I got out of bed in the morning and when I walked stairs.

By autumn, I could hardly run. I returned to my endocrinologist. I had researched my condition and was quite sure what she would tell me. She immediately confirmed that my hormones were too low.

We debated whether I should take testosterone or estrogen. Long story short, we settled on estrogen. With either one, I feared upsetting what I believe to be a delicate balance with my gender identity. In November, I resumed weekly injections and held my breath.

Within two weeks the hot flashes had ceased and my muscles and joints were beginning to feel better. After a month or so, my body was back to normal. Best of all, I experienced no fluctuation in experiencing myself as a male, and I continue to feel great.

This spring, because I got my muscles healthy and worked at losing weight, I improved my running to where I was in late 2017, which was the best I had run since retiring. Last week, running six miles, I ran my fastest pace of the year.

The more weight I lose, the better I run. I love that, but . . .

Greight Loss on hold

I have put my Greight Loss on hold. I am grateful to have lost so much weight so quickly—twenty-eight pounds since my high of 260 in February—but the thing has occurred which I feared.

In my initial Greight Loss post, I explained that I intentionally put on weight last year so that my breasts might appear as man boobs. It worked.

Then it didn’t work. I hated carrying the extra weight.

Since I successfully adjusted to living as a guy with this busty chest, I hoped I could lose some weight and not be too self-conscious about my breasts. As I passed the twenty-pound mark in weight loss, my chest stood out so much more. It really bothered me.

Yet, I didn’t want to stop losing weight. I carried on.

Nearing the thirty-pound mark, I finally had enough. The rest of me shrinks, but my chest remains the same. When I go out in public, I have to select my shirts carefully, to disguise my chest. I have to wear a sports bra when I run, and that makes them even more prominent.

A few weeks ago, I began the process to see if our health insurance might cover the cost of my having a double mastectomy. I await word from them. I am not overly hopeful it will be covered. If not, I’m going to have to put up with these breasts for now.

I don’t know what I’ll do about losing more weight. I’d love to take off another thirty pounds.

No joke, it’s pun time!

After a dry spell, punny ideas have returned to me. Of course, after reading them, you might be of the opinion that my dry spell has turned into an all-out drought.

I signed up for Amazon’s box/carton/parcel promotion.

It was a package deal.

There are so many roads closed in town this summer due to construction that I figured I could make a few bucks guiding drivers on streets through neighborhoods they’ve never before visited.

I always wanted to work in detourism.

As I was listening to a news report about Ohio’s tire city, I wondered: is that town’s name based on a whole word, or is it an Akronym?

The smells that come from the kitchen when Julie is making breakfast make me want to kiss her. It’s so aromantic!

Recently while jogging I came to a fork in the road . . .

. . . so I took it.

My love of surfing comes in waves.

I’ve run by this mailbox dozens of times and it finally dawned on me why it is so close to the ground.

It’s for snail mail.

Stick a stamp on me, cuz I’m licked until the next post!

Another brick in the wall

“Male and Female He Created Them” is the latest paper released by the Vatican in which the pope of the Roman Catholic Church seeks to state his church body’s position on a contemporary issue. http://www.educatio.va/content/dam/cec/Documenti/19_0997_INGLESE.pdf

The title tells the entire story.

Don’t waste your time reading it.

Theologically, there is much with which I agree with the pope when it comes to how the Lord created humans, what His design is for the family, marriage, and sex and gender. When I dealt with my own gender dysphoria and transitioned, living as a transgender woman for three years, I grappled with God’s Word, with my Lutheran understanding of sex and gender, and with every religious and ethical issue being transgender presented to me.

I was able to retain every theological belief, all which I hold dearly. I learned that I could deal with my gender dysphoria as a physical malady, as any Christian makes use of earthly gifts and ways to achieve healing and find wholeness. I didn’t have to trade one for the other. I have come to know many transgender Christians who hold the same beliefs.

In “Male and Female He Created Them,” the Roman Catholic Church seeks to understand sex and gender issues theologically, that her congregations and leaders might educate according to Roman Catholic theology.

Fair enough.

So, what?

Where I see the paper lacking is in addressing those who long to be faithful Catholics, who do not espouse views that are opposed to God’s Word, but who, nonetheless, experience real issues of sex and gender which the Church rejects, who seek understanding from the Church and long for the same temporal, physical, and emotional wholeness as do those who experience any serious condition.

I find the paper to be nothing more than another barrier of separation between the Church and those who grapple with their sex and gender. Reading it, I heard, “There. That’s that. Onto the next issue.” I did not hear, “Here is how we will lovingly care for our people who carry these burdens, so that they know the Lord loves them the same as He loves everyone else.”

With this paper, the pope didn’t make anything better. He made it worse.

He created more division between the Christian faith and everyone the Church wants to know that Jesus Christ is the Creator and Savior of all.

It’s just another brick in the wall.