A transitioning culture
It started out as a little nugget of an idea, born from a series of quiet alarms going off in my head. Little things at first: a questionable book about penguins here, a little boy in a tutu, lipstick, and sparkly high heels at the library there, innocent encounters with my own kids where I’d gently redirect their wishes to marry their father, their same sex sibling, the family cat, batman, etc. to the reality of love and the gift of marriage and the truth which God has written into our hearts in creating us to – and for – love.
I remember vividly one such incident, explaining to my then two-year-old son that he can’t marry daddy or his big brother when he grows up because boys marry girls – if marriage is indeed the vocation they are called to – and glancing furtively over my shoulder to see if anyone at the neighborhood pool had overheard my bigoted explanation. Also, incest is not culturally appropriate. Yet.
Insanity, thy name is trying to parent in 2018.
That I, a seasoned mother of 5 and no stranger to the weirdness that is the little kid stage, would give pause to wonder – and worry – whether another parent might overhear me in a conversation with my toddler about what marriage is, is ludicrous. Should I pause with the same social trepidation when explaining to him that Batman isn’t real? That he can’t become a dog when he grows up? That he can’t marry his own sister, either?
We have become positively unhinged in our efforts to embrace anything – and everything – in the name of diversity. “Diversity month!” our local library cheerily announced on rainbow colored display boards, featuring pictures of, among other personalities, Mother Teresa, a kid in a wheelchair, a black female scientist, and a drag queen. Because the unifying factor in each of these unrepeatable images of God is…what, exactly? Since when is having a differently abled body or a call to serve Christ in the distressing disguise of the poor or being a woman of color advancing in the sciences on par with a man dressing in women’s clothing?
We are being slowly and steadily numbed to the oddness and the illness that is gender confusion. In the name of tolerance and marching under the banner of progress, we are being fed a diet of media and public policy proclaiming the end of the gender binary.
Progress! Select male, female, or other. Write in your own answer, depending upon what suits you. Encourage your children to think outside the biological box if they’d rather play with dolls and wear dresses, or prefer kicking a soccer ball to ballet lessons. Your penis is incidental, son. Your breasts are an aftermarket upgrade that we can easily have removed or modified to suit your taste, darling.
A human being is, after all, a blank slate, a tableau rosa upon which we may in this brave new world inscribe an identity of our own design. In this ultimate expression of materialism, the body itself becomes mere matter to be manipulated at will, a physical apparatus to express the inner self.
And it’s so close to true. It’s almost reality. Satan is never far from the truth. Indeed, his trademark is to manipulate and twist and tweak until it looks pretty darn close to the real thing.
A body is, after all, the incarnate expression of the person. Jesus Christ took upon Himself a human body in order to mediate the salvific love of the Father to fallen humankind. Christ’s body is an outward sign, a physical image of a spiritual reality. God became man and dwelt among us as a Son, a brother, a man. But His body was not insignificant to His incarnation; indeed was essential to the Incarnation.
Materialism would have us be masters of our own reality, manipulating the flesh at will like one more technology to be mastered. Bodies are reduced, in this vision, to incidental flesh-prisons that propel us through our earthly existence.
If my body has no meaning, no intelligent design, contains no intrinsic value endowed by its Designer, then why should I not manipulate it as I see fit?
There are real people who really do suffer from gender dysphoria. And some people are born with genetic deformities that render their secondary sex features unintelligible. Disease and dysfunction plague us on our earthly journey, reminding us that this side of eternity will always fall short. That this world is not, ultimately, our home.
But because a thing such as blindness exists does not justify us in gouging out our own eyes.
We are a culture infatuated with progress. We celebrate the destruction and reconfiguration of every cultural edifice, every possible human institution, figuring that if it has always been done one way, a new way is surely better. But the human person is not an iPhone. We shouldn’t approach our bodies as material to be upgraded and adapted to suit the latest trends. We have a Creator, and His design is intelligent, not incidental. When we forget that we were created by a loving God, that we were made for love and by love, then we begin to lose our bearings in reality.
And that is where our culture sits, in the West, in the year of Our Lord 2018.
We have forgotten who we are, and Whose.
If we are random creations of a chaotic universe, what does it matter if we want to mold and sculpt and reject and revise any part of our material selves? If life is meaningless and random, and humanity a stroke of dumb biologic luck, what harm in a little tinkering?
But we know better than this, as Christians. We know that we are not the random offspring of an impersonal universe, balls of genetic material that happened to lurch out of a primordial sludge at the right moment.
We are the willed, known, and loved children of a loving Father. Created to be sons and daughters who, in our sexual diversity as male and female, uniquely communicate some aspect of God’s nature to the world.
God is glorified in my femininity as woman who seeks justice and does not flinch from confrontation. These historically “masculine” characteristics do not suggest that I am a man trapped in a woman’s body, but that history has been incomplete in portraying the full human diversity exemplified by members of both sexes, as anyone with a fleeting understanding of how history came to be will concede.
Was Joan of Arc actually a trans man who donned armor and led armies into battle? I’m sure there are revisionist “gender theory” experts out there who would say so. In an ironic attempt to foster diversity, our culture ends up reinforcing the most stereotypical aspects of both sexes. Sensitive boys who prefer quiet activities and shun athletics might be gay, or might actually be in the wrong body altogether!
Or they might just be…sensitive boys. Men who have a broader spectrum of emotional awareness than the average male. Still fully male, and still uniquely and intelligently designed.
Rather than slavishly conforming to the narrow 2018 view of what constitutes our maleness and femaleness, we ought to push back and boldly proclaim the truth. That we are wonderfully made, and utterly unique. That each of us are personally willed, known, and loved by God. And that we live in a fallen, broken world that has been redeemed by Him and continues to be redeemed as we conform more and more to His nature, not to this present world.
If my 3-year-old unearths a stack of five (5!) copies of “I am Jazz” at the local library, you can bet those puppies are going straight to the bottom of the circular file. Because yes, I am intolerant of children being indoctrinated by a culture that would have them at odds with their very selves, questioning the goodness and the intention of their own bodies. I am bigoted against sin, which eats away at the human heart and separates us from the One who made our hearts. And I am positively rigid that children not be abused by their own parents, even at the expense of their very pressing wants and needs. My child believes that he can fly, use matches, and ride in the front seat of the car. I resist him on all fronts and continue to mentor him in reality; I don’t surrender to his capricious demands because he persists in them.
It’s not a matter of tolerance to allow poison in our children’s diets, no matter if the clamoring mob decides that arsenic is the new kale. We are called to fight for our children and to fight against the rulers and principalities of this world, those who seek to enslave and to destroy, to disfigure in any possible way the living image of God.
All that is necessary for this evil to continue to flourish is for good men and women to do nothing, to continue to turn away in discomfort, to keep the cable subscription or the streaming service with all the questionable content, to push the book back on the shelf and say nothing, to shrug our metaphorical shoulders, rationalizing “you can’t fight progress.”
Walking the wrong way into oncoming traffic isn’t progress. And sitting back and allowing the culture to continue plunging, unchecked, into debauchery and delusion is no progress either.
The time for going along to get along is long passed. If your kids are in public school, you can guarantee they’re getting schooled in the finer points of transgenderism on a regular basis.
The books that so disturb me when I encounter them in the library? They’re being actively circulated into school libraries and curriculums by forces with a vested interest in communicating with your children early and often, encouraging them to question reality and undermining their philosophical foundations. It is worth asking the question, why are some adults so invested in encouraging children to question their identities?
And why are adults who know better not rising up, en masse, to resist the insanity?
Because we have been steadily numbed to the onslaught of culture “progress” made in the past decade. Because what was unthinkable and illogical for all of human history has suddenly become possible and is therefore passably normal in 2018.
Human nature has not changed. God’s design for the human person has not altered. What was good in the beginning – male and female, He created them – is still good, even now.
And if reality appears to be moving away from that fixed point of reference, it bears asking, are we moving in the right direction? Not all movement is progress, after all.
(Thoughtful discussion and civil comments welcome on social media, though I won’t be there to read them)