The Take-no-Prisoners War on Gender

And it’s increasingly uncertain you or anyone else will be permitted personal views which fail to correctly align with what the viewshapers often call “the right side of history”.

It began when some men who were convinced they should be women and some women who were convinced they should be men–or believed they actually were, went public. In an emotional interview with Diane Sawyer in 2015, Bruce Jenner popularized the idea that some people were meant to be someone else when he came out as Caitlyn. Vanity Fair did a cover story complete with provocative photos of “Cait” in makeup, jewelry and a woman’s breasts, and suddenly it was chic. Like a dam breaking, seemingly overnight a society in which everyone was either male or female was flooded by an almost limitless collection of new genders. As Samantha McLaren writes on LinkedIn, “Gender is a spectrum, not a binary”.

“Transgender” was quickly joined by labels such as agender, pangender, two-spirit, third gender–and in the early days of transmania, Facebook users could chose their gender identity from over fifty options. Christians reading God’s Word usually have a problem with this because of “…from the beginning, God made them male and female” (Jesus, Matthew 19:4). While admittedly there are those in the body of Christ who do feel like they would be more comfortable in the skin of the opposite gender, it’s suggestive that those who embrace that trajectory, often despise religious views.

And it’s increasingly uncertain you or anyone else will be permitted personal views which fail to correctly align with what the viewshapers often call “the right side of history”.

Keith Rohrer

So maybe, we should be quiet, don’t disagree in public, be tolerant. And by tolerance, I’m not talking about being agreeable–something the word once meant. It now usually means approval–even celebration. Even if you keep a low profile, it’s increasingly uncertain you or anyone else will be permitted personal views which fail to correctly align with what the viewshapers often call “the right side of history”. The “right” side is usually where society’s trendsetters are dragging us, not necessarily the side that is correct or moral.

If you shrug, “Hey, how some people think about gender doesn’t affect me”, look at what’s happening in the US House of Representatives and think again. In the House, the current leadership now prohibits the use of any gender-specific terms such as father or mother. In the following article, the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s (CBMW) Colin Smothers unpacks this and its implications. CBMW mans a lonely post in today’s church due to its unflinching worship of God’s wisdom and beauty in so uniquely shaping and distinguishing femininity and masculinity.

Urgent Good News for Parents

Even if you start parenting totally green–without any training or input, the job is so hard that you will inevitably seek advice from facebook, articles, blogs, books, friends–or other parents who seem successful at it.

mother scolds her child

Probably no one admits it out loud, but all of us are looking for tips that will WORK.  In other words, we’re looking for guidance that guarantees that our little violators will begin behaving, begin showing respect, and not embarrass us in public.  What if we’re majoring on the minors?  What if something else matters most for Christian parenting?  I found Paul Tripp’s article riveting–and wish I could get a do over!  Get your Bible out and give this a read. 

Your Bible: Digital or Paper?

Occasionally I use my phone’s YouVersion Bible app but mostly just if my paper Bible isn’t within reach.  In private worship time, study, or preaching, I’m all paper except for comparing translations.  Admittedly, I’m old school but I think there are some good reasons for being slow to abandon paper.  Several months ago the elders started a conversation about whether digital Bibles are a plus or a minus.  We also discussed the concern others have that putting Scripture on the screens Sunday mornings may be reducing a person’s interest in his/her own Bible, in bringing it to worship, even in reading it.  That discussion is ongoing.

One elder said he is now bringing his paper Bible for worship more often after being digital for some time.  Notes are more readily made–and remembered/reused.  A few days ago I read the following by a Canadian pastor who is also leaving digital more often in favor of paper.  His 5 reasons are worthwhile considering:

The Devil Lies about Marriage

Yesterday at the church’s Welcome Luncheon for new people, I introduced my wife and  said we’ve been married 40 years.  The person next to me said that in today’s world that’s really saying something.  “Thanks for setting an example.”va beach 041I still fumble with compliments so instead of saying thank you I pointed to my wife, the real hero of our relationship.  And she is.  But both of us absolutely love being married, and being married to each other.  In fact, I might go so far as to say that our marriage is euphoric.

I’m having trouble stopping right there.  I’m tempted to add all kinds of qualifiers like “we have our problems too,” or “it’s not a perfect marriage,” or “we’re human”.  But those are not what conveys the general nature of our relationship, nor how we think of it.  I want unmarried people taunted by an endless drumbeat of bad news and bad reviews of marriage to grasp that in the natural world, NOTHING CAN COMPARE to marriage.  The fact that marriage can produce such devastating sorrow when it’s breaking or broken, is only more proof that its potential to offer couples delirious joy, is boundless.

I was thrilled to read Biola professor Rick Langer’s magnificent defense of–and elevation of marriage in the current issue of EFCA’s online ‘zine “EFCA TODAY”.  Click here.

My Downtime and the Glory of God

tv viewing

Tomorrow is the third message of six at Keystone about how we spend our time.  This one is on our leisure time pastimes.  I’ve been kind of dreading it because I love leisure and have been wondering what I’m going to say about it!  I love a good book, a suspenseful movie, a quiet evening on the patio with a fire blazing.  Because these are not intrinsically bad things, the question caroming around my soul is not, “When are you going to stop?”, but “How much do you love it all?”

The following excerpt on leisure time from Treven Wax’s book, Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals, is disturbingly penetrating.  Bring your steel tips.