Jump Start # 3038
Genesis 1:27 “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.”
As I write this, dark clouds fill the skies. Thunder is heard rumbling in the distance. A storm is coming. And, how symbolic this is for our times. “Troublesome times are here,” begins one of our hymns. We don’t need someone to tell us this. All around we see this. Civil unrest. Citizens not happy with the government. Crime escalating. Culture reshaping the thinking of young people.
Recently, one of our Jump Start readers wrote me asking for help with what to do. This person works in the medical field. A female patient came in with her mom. The front desk coordinator instructed the medical staff not to use the words, “she” or “her.” They were to use, “they” or “their.” The patient had declared non-gender. This person was dealing with anxiety and depression issues. The patient was seeing both counselors and psychiatrists. The medical company this questioner works for just added “inclusion” as one of the company core values. “As a Christian,” she asks, “how am I to deal with non-gender people?” I would add, how are to love the world when the world puts us in such difficult situations?
I see the storm clouds rolling in. What times we live in. Young. Confused. Depressed. What troublesome times we live in. I will be honest in that I do not know if I have the right answers. Some days, I’m not sure if I even have any answers.
First, medically, I would tell this person that you may identify with non-gender preference, but your physical body is either male or female. Therefore, as a person in the medical staff, I must treat you as you are biologically. Women’s health and men’s health are not the same. There are hospitals designated as “Women’s Hospital” just because of the unique and special issues that are within a woman’s body. You may want me to call you “They” or “Their,” but I will have to treat you as a man or a woman for which you are.
In some ways, the medical area may be one of the easier ways to deal with this. I know school teachers who must refer to a child as “They” or “Their,” and recognize that they are “non-gender.” The corporate world has embraced this ideology with open arms. It’s hard to navigate through these things as a Christian.
Second, “they” and “their” are plural words and not good English when talking about an individual. In a world that wants “inclusion,” why are words being used that are “exclusive?” If there is a “they,” then there must be an “us.” Us and them. That’s the language of division, separation and isolation. Rather than calling someone, “they,” how about “Us?” Are we not both of the human race? Are we not both sharing this planet? Within this gender crisis discussion are layers of different thoughts and issues. Some will say that biologically, there was a mistake. I am a woman trapped in a man’s body. Some will lean upon the psychological ideology of “If I feel a certain way, then it is that way.” Feelings become the basis of justification. Then there is the philosophical demand that states “I have a right to choose whatever gender I want.” Different issues. Different strands of thought. Different concerns. And, all of them difficult for a Christian to navigate through.
As a Christian, we need to treat all people with fairness. Jesus showed us this. The Pharisees complained “what kind of woman” was washing Jesus’ feet. They fussed at tax collectors and sinners surrounding Jesus. The Pharisees would have built a monastery for only their kind. Not Jesus. In Samaria, talking to a woman who had gone through five marriages and was living with someone. In the home of Zacchaeus, a tax collector. In the temple, with Pharisees. Name calling, those under the breath derogatory comments, rolling the eyes must not be found among us. It’s hard to say we love the world, when we act like we don’t. The golden rule, treat others like you would like to be treated, doesn’t fit only in the church house. It fits in the work place, the school house, the neighborhood and at family reunions. Treat everyone as Jesus would.
If someone wanted me to call him “they,” I think the first thing I would say is “why?” Their response would likely be, “I’m not male or a female. I’m neither.” I believe I would then ask, “Can I call you by your name? You do have a name, don’t you?” Now, this will bother some of us. Call a biological male a female name may sound like you are condoning or approving of this behavior and lifestyle.
Several years ago I conducted a funeral with a Catholic priest. Part of the family was Catholic and part were N.T. Christians. The priest was “Father” Dave. He said, “You call be ‘Father Dave.’” I was uncomfortable with that. I asked, “Can I call you ‘Dave?’ I don’t think he was real pleased with me, but I did what I had to. And, so must you.
The manager of the bank I go to always says, “Do I call you Pastor, or Reverend?” I tell her, ‘Just call me Roger.’ And, I think honesty here is the key. If you tell someone that I understand you want to be identified in a different way, I’m just having trouble with some of this. I don’t want to offend you, but what can we agree upon?
As a Christian, we have the right to tell someone the truth, in love and gentleness. When someone declares that I am a woman trapped in a male body, my response would be, “You know God doesn’t make mistakes. Have you thought about that?” Paul told the Corinthians, “For even if there are so-called gods whether in Heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him…” (1 Cor 8:5-6a). Was Paul giving approval, condoning or acknowledging the pagan gods of his world? There are many gods, he said.
Now, according to the company policy, you might say, I will help you the best I can. I will be honest, fair and right with you. I will work hard for you and give it my all. I do that because I am a Christian, and, God loves you. I want you to know that.
There is a very thin tight rope that disciples are forced to walk upon today in the corporate world. We have seen with public broadcasters, saying the wrong thing can get one fired on the spot. The world is trying with all its might to dim our light. Prayers and faith are a necessity in these times. The opponents of faith are quick to point a finger at us and declare that we are guilty of judging because we will not go as far as they want us to go.
Let us pray for our brethren who are faced with these difficult issues and choices. Let us be patient and encouraging. There’s no place for, “Well, I’d tell them that they all going to Hell.” We aren’t in the Hell business. The Gospel is good news and life and hope are in Jesus.
God has defined and solved the gender issue. There is no confusion. The confusion lies with us and not with God.