Category Archives: Gender

When Gender Identity is Regarded as Meaningless

In April 2015 Dennis Prager wrote in National Review: “The End of Male and Female: Whatever one’s position on same-sex marriage, one must acknowledge that at the core of the argument for this redefinition of marriage is that gender doesn’t matter.

Marriage is marriage and gender means nothing, the argument goes. So, too, whether children are raised by mother and father or two mothers or two fathers doesn’t matter. A father has nothing unique to offer a child that a mother can’t provide and vice versa. Why? Because — for the first time in recorded history — gender is regarded as meaningless.

Indeed, increasingly gender doesn’t even exist; it’s merely a social construct imposed on children by parents and society based on the biological happenstance of their genitalia. When signing up for Facebook, one is offered nearly 60 options under “gender.” In various high schools across the country, boys are elected homecoming queen. A woman was recently kicked out of Planet Fitness for objecting to a man in the women’s locker room. She was accused of intolerance because the man said he felt that he was a woman.” http://www.nationalreview.com/article/416543/americas-decay-speeding

 

Sons Leave; Daughters are Given – Genesis 2:24

In identity formation, which honors two genders (male and female), a happy mother and father will delight in early expressions without being threatened. One morning our grandson wanted to go to school with his sisters, which was a cause for delight. He was ready to leave, and came out all ready for school before his time.

Although God is His own interpreter, this beautiful act prompted in me both a smile and a thought. Boys sense from early on that they must separate and differentiate from mamma bear, especially when they receive well-being from her. Ruth H. Barton has written on gender formation, and found evidence from Carol Gilligan’s studies.

Gilligan observes that mothers are the ones who, for the most part, are the primary caretakers of young children; therefore issues of identity formation are different for boys than they are for girls. Barton writes: “Female identity formation takes place in the context of an ongoing relationship in which a girl can continue to think of herself as like her mother. Boys, on the other hand, recognize from early on that they must separate or differentiate from their primary caretaker if they are to define themselves as masculine. Their father, the person with whom they could identify strongly while continuing to develop their gender identity, is usually not as accessible to them. Thus, separation and individuation are critically tied to gender identity for boys, while for girls and women, issues of feminine identity do not depend on the achievement of separation from the mother or on the process of individuation.” Barton quotes Gilligan:  “Since masculinity is defined through separation while femininity is defined through attachment, male gender identity is threatened by intimacy while female gender identity is threatened by separation.”

 

Carol Gilligan, In a Different Voice (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1982), p. 17. 5Ibid., pp. 7-8. 6Ibid., p. 173.

Ruth Haley Barton. Equal to the Task: Men and Women in Partnership (Kindle Locations 1236-1242). Kindle Edition.

Identity in Christ Course at Grace College of New Zealand

These four sessions were given in 2015 during a preaching trip to the South Island’s Family Conference in association with Grace Presbyterian Churches near Christ Church and in the North in Auckland in two churches and a pastor’s gathering.

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May these simple lectures bless you for embracing who you are in Christ, Bob

Session One https://youtu.be/NKFC2bvmbqo

Session Two https://youtu.be/vy-h9__A1xM

Session Three https://youtu.be/zU0ZyJUBQdI

Session Four https://youtu.be/5R05yMQn5L8

 

Keep the Bridge

When parents or friends discover a loved one or child has trouble embracing their true identity in Christ, it is important to “keep the bridge.”

Our tendency is to fight or flight – angry attacks with strong arguments or cutting off the relationship altogether. Both of these neglect the third way; namely, the way of love. Loving the child or loved one requires us to remain in the tension and seek God’s wisdom and salvation in ways that are much more difficult. img_0266

Sometimes it is a gender crisis wherein their brokenness makes it difficult for them to embrace what feels odd or goes against their strong urges for same-sex connection. Maybe they need “vitamin M or F” (male or female nurturing), but it isn’t the end of the story.

Sometimes the loved one embraces a condemning thought; i.e. “I’m a loser or worthless or unlovable.” Your Gospel presence and gentle reminders of their justification and adoption in Christ may free them from Satan’s lies.

When you stay warmly present to them, you will have much more honest conversations that often lead to redemptive results. Soon this dear person can walk over the bridge to solid ground again.

Masculinity

A man must embrace the curse before he will admit that he is licked and in need of Christ to redeem his masculinity; before he will renounce his foolish strategies to overcome the curse, trying to prove he is enough without grace – without God’s strength in his weakness. img_1108

Manhood in Genesis is termed by the Hebrew word zakar, which means to leave a mark. Men are meant to plant seed in earth and womb in order to leave their mark of greatness in culture and in family.

My grandson Micah (pictured) is meant to make an impact, but he needs God’s grace to do it well 🙂

Passive in the Beginnings of Identity

We are passive in receiving our identity, which is is to say what is so un-post-everything and unpopluar in our Time!

We receive our soul and life’s beginning from God. We are endowed with God’s image, and our gender. Gender is given; we are either male or female. Doctors and nurses name what is true of our health and blood type, etc. Finally, we are given a name.

478337_10151030395801320_882750470_oThis little boy is with his loving father. He was named Gideon, after the Old Testament character in the book of Judges. Names draw forth calling, and today this little boy turned four years old. He received a sword – “a sword for the Lord and for Gideon. (Judges 7:20).”

If we come to Jesus, then we receive a new identity. We are passive in receiving our new identity in the very beginning of Christian experience. We are born again by the sovereign Holy Spirit, declared righteous and forgiven in Christ, and anointed as a saint – yes, even as a warrior. Our Father in Heaven has written our new names in Heaven.

Why Men Fear Intimacy and Women Fear Separation

The argument goes like this: since mothers, for the most part, are the primary caretakers of young children, issues of identity formation are different for boys than they are for girls. Female identity formation takes place in the context of an ongoing relationship in which a girl can continue to think of herself as like her mother. Attachment-1

Boys, on the other hand, sense from early on that they must separate or differentiate from their mother to find their gender likeness. It is in their father that they can identify most strongly with.

Thus, separation is critically tied to masculinity, while femininity does not depend on the achievement of separation from the mother to discover likeness.

This makes sense. Sons leave, and daughters are given (Genesis 2). “A daughter is a daughter all her life; a son is a son until he marries a wife.”

The conclusion, of some, is that this explains why men fear intimacy, and women separation.

“Since masculinity is defined through separation while femininity is defined through attachment,” Carol Gilligan concludes, “male gender identity is threatened by intimacy while female gender identity is threatened by separation.” Carol Gilligan, In a Different Voice (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1982), pp. 7-8.

What do you think?

A Woman in Your Own Right

A daughter must know the likeness she has to her mother in gender, even calling. A mother’s delight gives her daughter well-being and shalom so that she may rest secure in her gende12183830_10208056962161487_8442307244271546964_or and being. In the milieu of her warmth, she soon will be a woman in her own right – differentiated from Mom & Dad and set apart for her calling.

A father delights in his daughter, and separates her from mama bear. He throws her in the air, while her mother gasps. She intuitively begins to sense from the other masculine gender of papa bear that she has a voice. A father separates and points her to her Father in heaven. She is told by papa bear that this is her Father’s world, and that He has a safe place for her to fulfill her calling in life. As she hears: “You are my daughter in Christ in whom I am well-pleased,” she obeys that voice and call on her life.

In marriage sons leave, but daughters are given. A father pledges to walk her out of her mother’s home, into education and vocation, and down an aisle to a godly man.

We walked our daughters to two godly men, who are both in Gospel ministry training. This picture speaks a 1,000 words, which we cannot put into words (Mom is weeping with joy and the sorrow of separation because they are so very close).

Embracing Your Gender in Three Ways

You are a man, or you are a woman. Femininity or masculinity is irrevocably given into our being so that nobody can ever obliterate gender or be correct in claiming, “I am first a person and then female or male.” Our soul has only existed with vitality and potentiality according to the gender God intended for us. I am a man, and not a woman. God spoke very intentionally according to the original Hebrew in Genesis 1:26-28: “Let us make man in our image, male (zakar) and female (neqebah).”

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Both genders share a direct correlation between their gender’s glory and gender’s curse. God is not the Author of evil. It is because of Satan’s lie and Adam’s sin (Eve’s too) that people are ruined. It is because God is the giver of all good gifts that we are endowed with glory, that the glory remains, and that His curse is gracious in a mysterious way. Why is the curse directed at the gender’s glory? God has a redemptive aim. Until we admit we are licked, that our autonomous strategies cannot overcome the curse and get us back to Eden, we will never cry out for a Redeemer to save us and transform us into His glorious image again. Dr. Larry Crabb explains:

“God’s judgments on both the man and the woman were neither rude nor uncaring. God’s intent was to discourage Adam and Eve (and their descendants) from thinking that their lives could ever work without him and to help them realize that the full realization of joy awaits a new heaven and earth. He wanted to hedge them in, to surface a despair that would drive them back to himself.” Larry Crabb, Men & Women: Enjoying the Difference, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1991), 150–158.

In one sense, both are true about every Christian. For example, I am a glorious man and a fallen man. In the words of C.S. Lewis in Prince Caspian: “You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve, and that’s both honor enough to lift up the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth.” Since I am a Christian, however, I am also a redeemed man. Each new creation in Christ is all three; namely, a redeemed glorious-ruin (Lewis’ terminology).

This picture was recently taken of our grandchildren, grandsons and granddaughters – Male and female from the womb. They are glorious ruins, and we ask God for Him to pour out His Spirit upon them and to apply the redemption Jesus accomplished on the cross (Isaiah 44:3-5).

Embracing your true identity according to gender, then, requires an understanding of all three aspects of glory, fall, and redemption.