Saturday, June 25, 2022

dangers of affirmation

When my daughter was about 3, she would have told you, without hesitation, that she wasn't a little girl--she was a puppy. She would be a puppy at the grocery store, much to my embarrassment. She was committed, let me tell you. There was more than once that we had to get onto her for licking somebody or for barking in response to a question she was asked, or to tell her to get up off the floor and walk on her feet instead of crawling on all fours.

Why do I bring that up? Because we have somehow decided that kids are capable of making life-altering decisions when they are at an age when it used to be considered completely developmentally normal for them to pretend to be any number of things, from a puppy to a train. What has never been normal, though, is to tell a child that they actually are whatever they are pretending to be.

Now, though, we're supposed to go along with whatever someone is pretending to be. 

We've come to a point in our society where it has somehow become "normal" to have to ask what someone's pronouns are before speaking to them. People have started putting their pronouns in their email signature. If you "misgender" someone, you're considered a hateful bigot. We have the concept of "deadnaming" someone, meaning you call somebody by the name they were given instead of the name they chose for themself when they "transitioned." We are supposed to "affirm" everyone, and to even suggest that it could be harmful marks you as hateful. And now, there's even a trans-Barbie (not a joke, though I wish it was) and drag queen story hour--and yet we're not supposed to think that our kids are being targeted by LGBTQWXYZ-activists?

Pronoun cards 2016-02
from https://uwm.edu/lgbtrc/support/gender-pronouns/

What has happened to us?

It has even come to the point where we are being told we are possibly breaking the law if we don't use someone's "preferred pronouns." Think about that for a second--if you don't use the specific term someone has decided they like the most, you could be committing a crime. That's not something that should happen in the United States, something that has been obvious since the 1st Amendment came into being.

More importantly, though, the ideology of transgenderism not something that people who claim to be followers of Christ should be going along with.

As Christians, we are supposed to believe that each one of us is an individual who was created by God with inherent value simply because we are a child of God. We are supposed to believe that God knows what He's doing and that He doesn't mess up. We are supposed to believe that God designed the world we live in, and that what He designed was good. That means that when God created my daughter, He specifically chose to create her as a little girl--not a puppy...or a boy.

Why is it a big deal? You'll hear a lot of people claim that the loving thing to do is to just go along with it, to call people whatever they want to be called. The problem with that is two-fold.

First and foremost, to go along with the ideas of transgenderism and sexual identity politics is to go against God's word. It is to blatantly say that biological truth doesn't exist (what happened to "follow the science"?), that biblical authority doesn't exist, that God's truth doesn't exist. There is only one truth. It isn't subjective. It doesn't matter what your "lived experience" is, or what seems true to any one person. God's word is truth, and if we say anything different, we have no right to claim that anything in the Bible is true. Jesus Himself confirmed that, saying, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)

People twist that thought, saying that if we believe that God doesn't make mistakes we have to believe that God made people with sexuality or gender issues "just the way they are" and therefore they are just living out their true, authentic selves and God would be happy with that. The problem is, that's just plainly not biblical. God created us, but ever since sin was first introduced into the Garden we are all born into a fallen world. The whole story of salvation is that in our own fallen, human self, none of us is good enough. We are all sinners, and we have no chance of being right with God unless we repent of our sins. Repenting means turning completely away from the things that go against God's will, no matter how much we want to do them. It's not easy and it's not popular, but that's not a surprise either: "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow is the gate and difficult the way that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14) We are called to set aside our old lives and every sin that holds us back to pursue Christ. That means that my thoughts and plans for myself, no matter what they are, have to become secondary to God's plan.

Second, it isn't loving to go along with someone when they are doing something that is harmful to them. It isn't a popular opinion, but I truly believe that the vast majority of people dealing with issues related to gender and sexuality are people who are struggling with much deeper hurts. That's backed by studies that have shown that someone changing their appearance to look like the opposite gender doesn't reduce their risk of suicide or improve their mental health. If someone is trying to cover up a deep wound by hiding behind something that is, in the long run, going to cause them nothing but pain, what is loving about cheering them on?

It's here that I'm reminded of Jesus with the woman who was brought to Him after being caught in adultery. First, the fact that she was "caught in adultery" comes with it's own set of questions--why didn't they bring the man, too? And how in the world did they catch her? Second, though, is how Jesus addressed her after all the men wanting her stoned had left. He didn't excuse her actions. He didn't tell her that He loved her just the way she was. Instead, He told her, "Go, and sin no more." He didn't condemn her, but He didn't excuse her sin, either. He didn't affirm her choices, just like He doesn't affirm ours when they go against God.

We as followers of Christ need to find a better way to reach out to hurting people--I have no doubts about that, and no doubt that these are hurting people. When the Obama administration looked into sex-reassignment surgeries, they found that people who had undergone such surgeries were 19xs more likely to commit suicide. That leaves very little doubt about the true depths of pain these people are feeling. We need to do better about offering true hope to the world around us.

That doesn't mean, though, that we ignore God's will. It doesn't mean that we brush off the things He condemns. Yes, we can come to God just as we are. That's something we should all be incredibly thankful for, because otherwise we would all be in a mess. The thing is, the fact that we can come to God just as we are doesn't mean we can stay that way after. God demands changed lives. He demands that we die to the past in order to live for eternity with Him. He demands that we sacrifice ourselves and our desires--our only identity after coming to Him is the identity we find in Him, and we are called to continually strive to become like Him.

I wish this was an issue that didn't have to be addressed. It makes no sense to be talking about using the right pronouns for people, or affirming their gender identity. For thousands of years, people have known that boys grow up to be men and girls grow up to be women, as is determined by biology and always has been (yes, I know intersex is a thing... that affects roughly 0.05% of people). It isn't something that can be ignored, though, because it's something that's being pushed to our kids. Blue's Clues, a t.v. show aimed at pre-schoolers, had an episode with a "Pride Parade". Public libraries host drag queen story time. Kids are taken to events like "Drag the Kids to Pride" where they are exposed to men dressed in skimpy women's clothing who dance in front of them while the kids are encouraged to stuff dollar bills into their waistbands. Kids movies show same sex couples kissing, and those who oppose it are "idiots" who will "die off like dinosaurs." And now, parents are being told that they are unfit if they refuse to "affirm" their daughter saying she's supposed to be a boy. Health clinics are starting to say that kids as young as 12 can hide their medical charts from their parents, despite the fact that it has long been understood that minors can't make health decisions for themselves.

Even if you disagree with me on quite literally everything else, think about the insanity of letting a kid make a life-altering decision simply because we are supposed to go along with their personal views. We have age limits on pretty much everything in society because we have long acknowledge the fact that kids simply aren't capable of making certain decisions for themselves. Besides just personal observations, we have science to back up that kids' brains aren't fully developed until they are in their mid 20s at least (though many researchers say it's more likely the 30s). When kids are put on hormone blockers to "affirm their identity," or worse yet, subjected to surgeries that are supposed to change their sex (a biological impossibility), they are doing things that will affect the rest of their lives. They are being put at risk of low bone density, stunted growth, and future infertility. That doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of all the mental and emotional issues. Kids are being allowed to make decisions that are based on thinking logically, planning for the future, and weighing risks and benefits before their brains are actually developed enough to consider those things. Kids can't even be counted on to have the same likes and dislikes from one week to the next, so why let them make decisions like this? That's something that has to be considered since as much as 20% of those who identify as transgender in the U.S. are between the ages of 13 and 17.

This isn't something we can just ignore, hoping it will go away or saying it isn't any of our business.


Wednesday, June 8, 2022

protect your kids

Our kids are under attack, and it seems like we're just going along with it. I don't mean from violence like the recent school shooting that devastated a community and has left so many families reeling. Things like that are obvious, and we have no issue taking a stand against them. We may not know exactly what we need to do, but we all agree that it is something we can't tolerate.

What I'm talking about is something more subtle. What I'm talking about is a battle for the souls of our children, and it's a battle the enemy seems to be fighting with no resistance from those of us who are supposed to the protectors.

When was the last time you watched something that promoted traditional, Christian values? Something that didn't show "alternative" lifestyles or people hopping into bed with each other as things that are totally normal and acceptable? Or maybe the more important question, when was the last time you stopped watching a tv show or movie with your kids because it promoted something you believe is wrong?

We as parents are failing our children. We are handing them over to the world, letting their values and character be determined by people who don't just disagree with our views, but think our values are outdated, hateful, and bigoted. We are giving them to a world that holds "Drag the Kids to Pride" events (as a word of warning, that link goes to disturbing content). We are handing them over to a world that tells them biology doesn't matter, that there's no distinction between men and women (while at the same time telling them men are evil and dangerous by nature and that all women should be believed... and telling them that they should "trust the science"). We are relinquishing them to a world that says there is nothing wrong with killing babies right up to the moment of birth. We are letting a world that hates God determine what our kids see as right and wrong.

The world says:

  • truth doesn't matter
  • everyone should just do whatever makes them happy
  • that you are being "literally violent" if you don't call a man pretending to be a woman by his "preferred pronouns"
  • religion should stay out of politics
  • you only become a human with rights once you leave the womb
  • sex is part of everyday interactions
  • self-expression is one of the most important things
  • kids should be taught about "sexual identity" at school, starting as young as possible
  • social justice and equity should be the focus
Parents, we can't just go along with the world. We can't give our kids over to a worldly belief that being happy here and now is what matters most. Instead, we have to refocus on what matters. We have to remember that Jesus once told the disciples,
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin,
it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck,
and he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
(Matthew 18:6)

It is our job to protect our kids. It's our job to raise them up to be the men and women God wants them to be, and that's not an easy task in a world doing everything it can to turn them away from Him. Because that's the whole battle, isn't it? Like James warned,
"Don’t you know that making friends with this corrupt world order
is open aggression toward God?
So anyone who aligns with this bogus world system
is declaring war against the one true God."
(James 4:4)
 
The world is set against God. That means we're fighting an enemy that doesn't play fair, which is something we lose sight of. As parents, we need to be as "shrewd as serpents" when it comes to protecting our kids. We don't need to shield them from all the horrors of this world--we need to teach them God's truth so they will have the strength to stand against the arrows the enemy hurls at them. We need to teach them what God says to combat what the world says:
 Stop letting the world tell your kids what's right and wrong. Stop letting the world determine their values. Speak up when they see something that contradicts God's word. Tell them the truth, even when it isn't popular. Teach them to make the hard decisions.

Parents, step up

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