Current Culture: Anything Women Can Do, Men Can Do Better

Genesis 1:27 — So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Time Magazine’s latest cover says “Beyond ‘He’ or ‘She’: The Changing Meaning of Gender and Sexuality”. Once again, an emperor without any clothing.

We live in a culture that has gone legitimately nuts. We live in a world where everyone is supposed to cheer the continued subjugation of women as men get cheered for dominating women’s sports.

Man wins female weightlifting competition.

Man wins female bike race.

Man wins female track meet.

Man competes in female track at Olympics.

Woman taking testosterone to “transition into man” wins against women not allowed to take said drugs.

Other ways our culture is saying men are better women than women are:

Man named “Woman of the Year”.

Man named latest “Cover Girl”.

And hey, don’t worry African-American community…you wanted to see more roles going to strong black women? Well here…we’ll give them to men pretending to be women, like on the new show Star.

Where are the true liberals? Where are the feminists? Why are so few standing up and saying that men don’t get to be women just by feeling they are so…or by chopping and reassembling body parts? Where are those standing up for the women and children being terrified by men (who aren’t even pretending to be women, mind you) in women’s bathrooms?

Read this blog about a woman who observed a man standing and just smuggly enjoying watching everyone inside the women’s restroom at DisneyLand. None of the women felt like they could do anything in protest.

Gender is fixed. Gender is immutable. Your feelings don’t determine your gender and neither does society. Both male and female are required for procreation and the continuing of the next generation. The emperor has no clothes. And the madness is terrifying.

What Happens When Men Have Sex with Teenage Boys

Where Grace Goes To Die

Does Grace matter in current western culture, that doesn’t think anything we do/feel/believe is wrong?

Grace according to Merriam Webster: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification.

In my experience, our lives are cloudy and fruitless when we just pretend we’re not doing anything wrong, or put someone’s feelings about their morality above the reality of morality. I’ve started equating “moral” with “healthy” when I chat with people. There is something that is best for us as humans. It is obviously not best for us to eat McDonalds every single meal, though I often want to try. It’s not best for us to binge watch TV to the extent we accomplish nothing productive in our day and have no deep relationships. Right? So why wouldn’t there, in our biology, our psychology, our spirituality, be a best for us when it comes to sexuality and how we interact with others? This MUST be so, especially if you acknowledge God as Creator, Lord, and that He’s given His Word to us.

There’s a best. We haven’t lived up to it. We’re actively hurting ourselves and others. The best was revealed, through the Law, through Jesus’ teaching and even more than that, he became sin for us, and offered us redemption and restoration to right relationship. We can’t be cancer patients that just walk around pretending we don’t have cancer! We can seek treatment and direct others to treatment. It’s not about us or judging…it’s about acknowledging our OWN sickness and brokenness and pointing to the Doctor. The unmerited favor and divine assistance of the Creator God of the universe for U S.

I’ll tell you from a personal standpoint, freedom wasn’t found in pretending I wasn’t a sinner. I never had the luxery of being in a community that told me what I was doing sexually was ok. Even now, I’ve confessed my story to people and had them offer me the empty reponse of “oh, I don’t think that’s that bad/a sin.” “It’s really just important you’re accepting yourself.” I poured over scripture and couldn’t find a get-out-of-jail-free scripture. Freedom was found when I hit rock bottom and faced my sin. I found grace and freedom when I confessed to others…sometimes because I had wronged them by lying to them and not living with integrity…sometimes just admitting what I had sinned against God and against this other person. Their grace proved God’s grace to me.

 

Culture says:

Pretend you aren’t sinning

Hang out with people who will also pretend you aren’t sinning

Live trapped by your “nonexistent” sin

Rinse

Repeat

Bible Says:

You’re a sinner.

Repent

Receive God’s Grace (bought for you at the Cross via Jesus Christ)

BE FREE

The Hatmakers’ Millstones

You probably heard about the latest drama? Jen Hatmaker gave an interview to Religion News Service where she covered Trump, BLM, and sexuality.

The Hatmakers are liberals, so not much of this article should surprise anyone. But I’ve pulled out the piece interesting to me, around sexuality.

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Q. Politically speaking, do you support gay marriage?

A. From a civil rights and civil liberties side and from just a human being side, any two adults have the right to choose who they want to love. And they should be afforded the same legal protections as any of us. I would never wish anything less for my gay friends.

From a spiritual perspective, since gay marriage is legal in all 50 states, our communities have plenty of gay couples who, just like the rest of us, need marriage support and parenting help and Christian community. They are either going to find those resources in the church or they are not.

Not only are these our neighbors and friends, but they are brothers and sisters in Christ. They are adopted into the same family as the rest of us, and the church hasn’t treated the LGBT community like family. We have to do better.

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I don’t know that any Christians disagree that gay marriage is now legal. Yes, it is. It has no bearing on the morality of it. From a civil rights/liberties side, I would say that consenting adults can have whatever variety of sexual relations they desire. That doesn’t mean your personal proclivities equal marriage though, does it? I think most rational people, if you ask if Person A should have the right to have Person B visit them in the hospital or make decisions for their end-of-life care in an emergency, the sexual orientation of said person won’t make most people say no. If marriage was about legal benefits, then Hatmaker would be fine. But she’s a Christian, so she’s supposed to know it’s not. She then says “from a spiritual perspective” and completely ignores the spiritual realities of marriage…what?? How the church has/does/and should treat those who identify as gay is OF COURSE a question…of course we have not gotten it right…but that ALSO doesn’t mean “therefore, you can change marriage.”

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Q. If an LGBT friend of yours got married, would you attend that wedding?

A. I would attend that wedding with gladness, and I would drink champagne. I want the very best for my gay friends. I want love and happiness and faithfulness and commitment and community. Yes. That’s an easy answer.

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Given her other clear misunderstandings about marriage, I will let this go. If I held her beliefs, I wouldn’t have a problem going to a “wedding” of two people of the same gender either.

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Q. And how would you respond if one of your children were gay?

A. I think we would parent that child exactly the same as the rest of them. Which is to say, we would always be on their side and in their corner and for them and with them. We want for all of our kids the same thing: faithful, committed marriage and a beautiful family that is committed to God and the church. I would have the same standard across the board, no matter what.

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Faithful committed monogamy? Or is it ok if your kid is faithfully married to two or three other partners? Oops, that isn’t popular yet. She’ll evolve on that later.

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Q. You mention faithfulness and God. Do you think an LGBT relationship can be holy?

A. I do. And my views here are tender. This is a very nuanced conversation, and it’s hard to nail down in one sitting. I’ve seen too much pain and rejection at the intersection of the gay community and the church. Every believer that witnesses that much overwhelming sorrow should be tender enough to do some hard work here.

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Here is the definition of “holy”: dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred. Thinking about this concept drove me to look at what commentaries about scripture say about holiness. Here’s a great article from Christianity Today: What does it mean when God asks us to be holy as He is holy?

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it,” says Jesus, “but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:35-36). To be holy means that all we are and all we have belongs to God, not ourselves, and that every aspect of our lives is to be shaped and directed toward God.

It’s unfortunate that to the Hatmakers and those who call themselves “Affirming”, think that someone who is attracted to the same-gender doesn’t qualify for following Jesus as HE describes it. So everyone else coming to follow Jesus is required to lose their lives. People around the world are brutally tortured and murdered following Christ. People starve, live in cages, are mocked and beaten for the name of Christ. Muslims give up more than religion if they convert. They often lose their jobs, finances, safety, homes, their entire families, and legally is Islamic countries can be executed. But to some people, in the American church, in 2016, if you’re attracted to the same gender, THEN Jesus words don’t apply to you. 

It’s offensive. A person who identifies as gay can get married. A man can marry a woman. A woman can marry a man. You can call other things than that marriage, but it doesn’t change anything. Anything outside of what God has designed as marriage, simply won’t be marriage. And it won’t be holy, because it’s ignoring what God said was holy. Sexually complimentary. Male and Female. Two aspects of God’s creation made in his image. We don’t get to just move things around to get more hits on facebook, be seen as relevant in the eyes of our culture. And in doing so, you are tying millstones around the necks of people who desperately need LOVE AND TRUTH. 

Here’s Jen’s husband’s sad explanation for switch from the Bible to a cultural acceptance of sexuality.

Rosaria Butterfield’s amazing response: Love your neighbor enough to tell them the truth.

Are we born gay?

Probably the wrong question. From an orthodox Christian understanding, we are all born into sin, as a result of human rejection of God in the Garden of Eden. Sin did something to us, as humanity, right? You don’t have to be confused about your gender or sexuality to wrestle with your flesh. Paul goes on and on about this in many of his letters.

Gal 5. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Uh oh. We’re all already screwed.

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

And it gets worse apparently.

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh [a list of really bad things are coming…] are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Like I said. WE ARE ALL SCREWED. Humans. All of us. Good news incoming:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Someone can say “I was born gay.” We can debate it. But what one can’t say, clearly in scripture, is that “I was born gay, therefore I can do whatever I want. Therefore the Biblical teaching on sexual expression being most healthy between one man and one woman within the covenant of marriage doesn’t apply to me.”

We do have to accept that our flesh is automatically at odds with the Spirit. And further, the indication in scripture (and let’s get real, in the natural world all around us) is that the FLESH manifests itself in really negative ways.

Stop “Affirming”. Offer the Gospel.

I tend to put Christians in three categories when it comes to beliefs about homosexuality and scripture.

Group 1: Believers who place the highest priority on Scripture and use it to change their worldview, not the other way around.  This means, whether they live it or not, they accept that the Bible says healthy sexual expression is only between one man and one woman, in a marriage covenant.

Group 2: Believers who place a high priority on Scripture, but add their own laws on top of laws in the Bible. Legalists, Pharisees. These folks might think and act like homosexuality is the worst sin a person could struggle with or act on and that it’s the highest ranking of the sexual sins.

Group 3: Believers who are uncomfortable with the growing divide between Western culture (since 2001) and what Scripture teaches, so they have desperately sought something that would help scripture adapt to the culture regarding sexual ethics. Seems like much of the time, it has to do with the ideas of social justice, having someone who identifies as gay in their friend group or family, or simply seeing sexual ethics as something that changes with the decade.

I have been on the outskirts of both Groups 2 and 3 at some level as I’ve grown up, but as my faith matures, I desire more and more to be rightly aligned with Group 1. It seems in the current state of my city and age group, I’m interacting with Christians who are proud of themselves for being in Group 3 and this is the group I find the hardest to have grace for.

If you identify as gay and you’re in Group 3, that’s one thing. I get it. When one deals with the emotions, confusion, and attraction like this, especially as a Christian, we’re desperate to be right with God. But it’s unfortunate when we think that changing what God said will accomplish that, because it won’t. That’s my frustration with Group 3. I struggle with fury when I consider this argument. Being gay is ok. It’s God’s design. The Bible is wrong. You were born that way. If you feel something, then that means it’s ok to do it. No one would choose to be gay. Paul didn’t mean monogamous relationships. God just wants love. God just wants monogamy. Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. Love is love. Those slogans don’t even work if you’re reading them from a fortune cookie. I don’t understand how the new “affirming” apologetic could be so popular when it’s less than an inch deep theologically or philosophically. But worse, the majority pushing this drivel these days aren’t people who themselves struggle with the confusion, but people who see themselves as wanting to get involved and that this is about social justice or making people feel better about their emotions, pushing that because you think that’s what’s right… your deception is dragging people into the pit.

How dare people take the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in essence say that it doesn’t apply to me or people like me.

You’re telling me that God created all humans, and filled page after page of stories of using murderers, thieves, adulterers, prostitutes, tax cheats, Pharisees, fishermen, judges, evil and good kings, left-handed prophets, a woman with 5 husbands, and roman officials to propel the Good News…that God became a man, that Jesus walked the earth and restored broken and diseased limbs, made blind eyes see, made deaf ears hear, made food multiply, told fish to swim into nets, read minds, read hearts, could never be trapped by a question and could never be out thought or out maneuvered, who forgave and loved extravagantly, who told OCEANS TO “SHUT UP” AND DEAD PEOPLE “WAKE UP” doesn’t have grace or power IF you’re attracted to someone of the same gender.

Seriously?

That’s the issue you’re going to try to whitewash out of scripture?

That’s the thing that makes you feel too dumb to believe is true in the Bible because our culture says different?

Don’t you dare come to me with your version of the Gospel. It’s not good enough. Don’t edit and scrape away the Gospel thinking you’re making it palatable for “those” people…because being attracted to the same gender, or confused about one’s gender or sexuality somehow means they don’t deserve to look square into the eyes of Jesus and be devastated by the brokenness that separates us from him? If you love people, Group 3, you’ll wake up and realize that the only thing that matters is following Jesus. Not an identity based on who you’re attached to or your preferred pronouns. Not the idea that you might be single for life [Like Jesus…] or not have kids. No. Nothing. If you offer a Gospel that stripped Jesus of his convicting and saving power, then God help you. People like me deserve better from those who call themselves Christ-Followers.

People Like Me

When I was younger, my thoughts and struggles made me feel very alone. I was convinced that I was the only person like me. From the earliest I could remember, I thought, matter-of-factly, that I was a girl on accident. It felt so strange: something in me believed that I was supposed to have been a boy but God had pushed the wrong button before the stork dropped me off. I carried this interesting belief well into my pre-teens, never mentioning it to anyone. I hated wearing dresses, I hated the color pink, and I always played the boy when my siblings or neighborhood friends would play together.  I had an atrocious bowl cut and wore my brother’s hand-me-downs. I tried to go shirtless until my parents told me it was immodest. [I didn’t understand why.] As I got older a bunch of things happened at once. Puberty came with the usual physical changes and my theological puberty helped my understanding of God to also mature. I realized that the Supreme Creator of the Universe can’t put an elbow on the wrong switch and mess up when creating a person, so I was obviously a girl—now a woman, intentionally.  Ok, so I’m a woman, but then why do I feel this discomfort around my body and gender, and why am I so confused when it comes to attraction?

These things have been the greater journey for me. I’m excited to share what I’ve come to know and believe over the last many years walking with Jesus. Here is what I am convinced of, in the meantime.

The God of the Bible is real. He came to earth in the form of His Son Jesus Christ, who lived, taught, healed, loved, was brutally murdered, and rose again from the dead. I believe these things because I believe the Bible is true. I have seen the power of God’s Word, living and active, cut through the world’s crap and my own hurt and brokenness to restore people to life. I believe that the point of morality is to guide us into doing that which is most healthy for us. Not morality for morality’s sake, but a completely everlasting and accurate picture that demonstrates that living within God’s guidelines and design makes a person healthier, happier, and more effective in sharing the Good News.

I do not accept the alterations to scripture that have occurred in the last 10 or less years that supposedly show that our Christian ethics for 2000 years were off. I believe that the healthiest expression of sexuality is between one man, one woman, in a marriage covenant for life. There are many people like me, and for too long it feels like no one has talked about or to us. There are Christians who now endorse whatever sexuality one feels for the moment, there are Christians who don’t know and don’t care and there are Christians who think sexual attraction/confusion are the worst sins possible. You’re all wrong. Hopefully, God uses me to shine the light he’s shone to and in me, to others like me.