There is lots of confusion in our culture today about bathrooms, gender, and sexual identity and what makes up our humanness. Are we just a collection of biological features that can be changed, chemically adapted or surgically altered? How much choice does one really have? What is gender? Is it a movable category? What role does it play in our lives?
This morning we woke to the bracing news that the Obama Administration is pressing this confusion forward. They are liquidating the lines between genders. Boys can now fully mix with girls and vice versa in bathrooms, locker rooms, and other places. Children in public schools, who are too young to drink, drive, or be deployed, now suddenly have the maturity, insight, and self-awareness to determine their gender for themselves. (Presumably with parental approval.)
But for the Christian, gender is not a moral category. It is not a civil right. It is a fact of creation…and we should be thankful for it.
Consider the unique way that God used a specific gender to save the world. God sent His Son into the world to be born of a woman. Not to be silly about it, but Jesus wasn’t hatched. He didn’t just appear. He wasn’t transported or beamed down. He didn’t come from space like baby Superman to be raised by foster humans. He was born of a person whose gender was fully female; fully gestated in her womb which belongs only her gender. God needed the unique piece of anatomy that only a woman has. Women, without your gender, we would have never been saved; Jesus would have never been born.
And even more to the point, remember that God didn’t use sex to save the world; he used gender. We need to remember this in our sex-obsessed/saturated culture: The woman whose womb God borrowed was a virgin. Our culture should take this as an important clue: sex is not the most important aspect of our human life. However, gender is. If a person is not having sex, it doesn’t make them less of a person at all. It doesn’t make them less of their gender.
Next, consider Jesus and Paul. Their gender was used by God to transform the world! Both men were teachers of the law as only men could be in the ancient world. They had been fully trained and shaped under the Law as all Jewish boys would have been. They were fully Jewish males, properly circumcised under the law, as only boys could be, literally. The gender of the Messiah had been given in prophecy: he would be born a son. In other words, the progenitor of the New Creation HAD to be a new Adam, a new male.
And again, sexual relations can’t be all that important to what it means to be a human. Both Jesus and Paul, the two more influential figures in history (one of whom was perfect and without sin) were both celibate males. But their gender (male) did not exclude them from some of the more tender moments in their ministry. Jesus wept over the death of his friend Lazarus (John 11). Paul’s tenderness and love for the Ephesians provide one of the most emotional scenes in the Book of Acts; he hugs their necks and weeps as he boards his ship never to see them again. (Acts 20)
The point is that both the female and males genders are good things. Very good. They are set firmly in the creative will of God…not to be made creatively fluid by the will of a government.
Gender means that there is a glorious difference in creation. A needful difference. He made us this way: male and female. Those who struggle in these areas need our prayers and pastoral care. They do not need our judgement or our condemnation. (Just imagine of the pain of this culture on its victims.) But we also need to remember what the biblical story brings. It brings clarity not confusion.
(The author blogs here and at LeaderWorks)
Canon David has over 35 years of local congregational ministry, diocesan and national involvement, leadership, and ministry experience and is the founder of Leaderworks. He was the founding Rector/Pastor, Christ Church, Plano and currently serves as the Strategic Leader and Dean, Diocese of C4SO.