The New Religions: Gender
Since the moment that Adam pointed his finger and cast blame on Eve in the garden, gender has been a divisive topic. God created us to be different. Yet, It is in our differences that we become strong.
In creating man and women, God revealed distinct parts of His unfathomable character to us. God is not male or female. He is God. He is a spirit. He is beyond gender. But through gender, we can learn about God.
Unfortunately, today we look at our God-given differences with disdain. We use gender to accuse God of unfairness and favoritism. We blur the lines of male and female, and in so doing, we have become perplexed about who God is and who we are.
Rather than recognizing and appreciating a God who created us with complementary differences, to demonstrate His Character, we have focused on male-ness and female-ness to ignore God and his purpose completely. We have even fractured the two genders into a growing number of confusing categories that no one can decode.
All of this in an attempt to deny God and elevate ourselves to His throne.
Masculinity is not found in a burly bearded man who loves sports, smoking cigars, and chasing women. It's not exemplified by the professional athlete, the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or a working cowboy. Masculinity is defined by a heart that loves so much that he lays down his life to protect and provide for those he loves. He is full of compassion and not afraid of hard work. He sees others are more important than himself.
Femininity is not found in a beautiful swimsuit model, who wears the most fashionable clothes, and is the envy of women and the desire of men. It isn't exemplified by the Instagram model, the homemaker, or the school teacher. Femininity is defined by someone who daily empowers others to reach their potential. She provides a safe place for people to grow and learn how to be who God desires them to be. She helps people see the beauty that is all around them, but they cannot see. She sees others as more important than herself.
Both of my definitions are sacrificial in nature. It's no wonder that things have gotten so unhealthy. We have used our genders to focus on us instead of helping others. Maybe it is time to consider how we can use this divine gift in the way that God intended.
Are you a Gender worshiper?
Identity: People who worship their gender go into great detail and specificity to define themselves through these lenses. Today there are innumerable options to choose from: hyper-masculinity to androgyny to radical feminism, Transgenders and Agender, and everything in between. They NEED people to recognize them as their stated gender to know who they are & how they fit into society.
Hyper-masculine men make jokes about men who aren't as manly as them. Radical Feminists deride all forms of masculinity to bring attention to the righteousness of the feminine. Everywhere else on the spectrum, you will find confused people desperately trying to define themselves based on a strange mix of anatomy and feelings.
Christians are not immune to these divisive tactics. We have created an enormous rift between men and women using "doctrine and theology."
Complementarians believe men and women are equally valuable but have different roles. This is fundamentally true, but they have used this ideology to control the church and shut 50% of God's unique creation out of active participation in worship.
Egalitarians are no better. They deny the clear differences that God has given us, preferring a culturally acceptable theology to a biblical one. We must remember that God gave us genders to reveal himself, not to define us.
Scriptures: Self-Identity The holy writ of the Gender worshiper is a fluid document continuously in flux. What was accepted 20 years ago would be considered today as heresy. The general idea is that you are what you decide to be, and you can change your mind at any time. The fluidity of this concept denies any absolute truth or source of authority.
For the "Christian Gender worshiper," they fix meaning to benign passages in the Bible and take things out of context to proof text and support their already defined ideas. The truth is, culture is still their script. They just live in a different culture than their secular counterparts. Most live in the Bible Belt, where cultural Christianity and southern-ness defines what is correct and incorrect, not God's word.
Priests/Prophets: They are everyday people who find a deep sense of identity and belonging in their gender.
Proselytizing: How people view gender is deeply influenced by what they see on television and movies. The entertainment industry has perpetuated unhealthy models and used their influence to normalize extreme gender perspectives since the inception of the moving picture.
During much of the twentieth-century, men were influenced by the "manly men" of Hollywood, who taught them that men don't cry, and they should live like lone wolves. Women were perceived as simple, humble homemakers. Though there may be some morsels of truth in those portrayals, they underrepresented the complexity and diversity of God's creation.
In the twenty-first century, clear lines have become increasingly difficult to recognize, and people have become more adamant about their gender identities. They are going so far as to legally require others to identify you in the same way you see yourself. A biological man who identifies as a woman gets offended when people are confused with his designation. This leads to activism and policies that make simple things complicated.
Motto: I am who I say I am.
What do the Scriptures say? Men and women were both created in the image of God and hold his divine design within them. They are both eternally valuable to God, and as Christians, we should see and value all men and women in the same way that God does.
We recognize that in the world, there is injustice and inequality. Everyone is striving to make their life better, and in that striving, there will be marginalized people. Unfortunately, the ones who are most marginalized are the ones who have less power (women & children). BUT there is good news!
Within the church, those distinctions no longer divide us, because we are all one. Paul says there is no man or woman. We focus more on the spirit than the flesh. We recognize that we have different responsibilities, but one is not more valuable than the other.
Women are not a threat to the church. They are recipients of the same spirit as their counterparts; when they share, they give us a glimpse into the beauty of God's character that men can not see without a guide.
Conversely, Men are not a blight on the church. Their insight into God's vision and purpose can comfort their counterparts in ways that provide for their deeply held needs and lead them to rich new pastures.
If you are interested in the New Religions Series, read below:
The New Religions: Race
The New Religions: Sexuality
But No One Compares to Jesus!
Also check out my book "Letters to an Apprentice" on Amazon