Saturday Selections – April 4, 2020
3 things to remember when you're feeling anxious (3 min) "It's striking that the most frequent command in the entire Bible is to not be afraid. Don't...
Episcopalians consider non-binary/feminine pronouns for God
The 1.7 million member Episcopal Church opposes the death penalty, supports legalized abortion, and ordains both women and homosexuals into office. Now one diocese has voted to ask the denomination’s upcoming July General Convention if they could “when possible, avoid the use of gendered pronouns for God.” The 88-congregation Washington, D.C. diocese passed the resolution in January with the intent that any upcoming revisions of the denomination’s Book of Common Prayer would use “expansive language for God from the rich sources of feminine, masculine, and non-binary imagery for God found in Scripture and tradition.” The problem is, there are no rich Scriptural sources of feminine imagery for God; He overwhelmingly chooses to use the masculine pronouns to describe Himself. And that reality is a problem for many in this diocese. As delegate Rev. Linda Calkins shared: “Many, many women that I have spoken with over my past almost 20 years in ordained ministry have felt that they could not be a part of any church because of the male image of God that is systemic and that is sustained throughout our liturgies. Many of us are waiting and need to hear God in our language, in our words and in our pronouns.” It’s clear then, that instead of trying to know God as He has revealed Himself, they want to hear from a god made in their own image. When we see millions of professing Christians running from God, some self-examination would not be out of order. So….are we so different? To answer that question, consider how we deal with passages of the Bible that we find unpleasant, or difficult to accept, like those on: eternal damnation (Rev. 20:10-15) rods, and corporal punishment (Prov. 13:24) the annihilation of the Canaanites (Joshua 12) gender roles (Eph. 5:21-33) the Creation account (Gen. 1-2) slavery (Eph. 6:5) election and reprobation (Rom. 9:11–13) Do uncomfortable passages inspire us to dig deeper to find out what they reveal about God? Or do we want to ignore them, and ignore what they teach about God so we can go on worshipping God as we would like Him to be? The answer to that question will reveal the direction we are heading. Either we’re embracing God as He has revealed Himself in His Word, or we are heading down the same path (even if it is quite a distance behind) as the Episcopalian Church. Of course, God may yet turn them around and there is a small, almost ironic indicator that something is going on behind the scenes. The same Diocese that is pushing for gender-neutral descriptors has also, since 2015, been encouraging their members to tithe ten percent – how very literalistic of them!...
Feminists vs. transgenders? Why the Left is turning on itself.
In Judges 7 Israel is faced with a fearsome foe, and God decides to use that foe's strength against it. Gideon and his 300 get to watch as "the Lord set the sword of one against another even throughout the whole army." Might God have something similar in mind for today's liberal Left? Consider the case of Gabrielle Bouchard. This past December, Bouchard made news, and drew the ire of a small number of vocal feminists, when he became head of Québec’s largest feminist group. Bouchard is a man who identifies as a woman, and the group he now heads, the Fédération des Femmes du Québec (FFQ) has the typical feminist stands: abortion is good, capitalism is exploitive, the patriarchy is evil. It's on this last point – men running too much of the world - that the FFQ is getting attacked. Diane Guilbault, the head of a rival feminist group, told the National Post that she doesn't appreciate a man being in charge of a feminist group because: “the experience of a woman who is born a woman is completely different from the experience of a man who decides one day to present himself as a woman.” While the protest against Bouchard has been limited, it has garnered some favorable coverage from a mainstream press that isn’t sure which side they should pick when one leftwing group takes on another. A month earlier a similar sort of conflict occurred south of the border. An American white man, Ja Du, publicly identified as a Filipina woman and the mainstream press didn’t know how to handle that either. The liberal Huffington Post decided to accept he was a woman, but wasn’t yet ready to do the same for his transracial claims. Their headline read: “Filipinos aren’t happy with this white woman claiming to be a Filipina.” Their hesitancy is puzzling: once you grant a man can become a woman, what logic prevents us from acknowledging a white man can become an Asian woman? Why is that a bigger leap? Of course we knew it wasn't going to be long before "transracialism" was going to be embraced too, and this past week the National Post's Barbara Kay reported that the State of Delaware is going to allow students to self-identify not only their gender, but their race too. But the more the Left embraces this craziness, the sooner the infighting is going to get serious. The conflicts we see here – one feminist group vs. the transgender head of another, and the liberal media picking transgenders over transracials – might not seem to matter. But the problems these groups have with one another are only going to grow. Why? Because at their core, feminist, transgender, and transracial views contradict. And it's only a matter of time before these unnatural allies turn on one another. Are the differences real or not? The divide between feminists and transgenders comes down to how each answers this question: are the differences between the sexes real? The typical feminist is going to answer with a "no." They'll acknowledge reproductive differences only because those are impossible to overlook. But when asked why there are far fewer female CEOs, or why the overall average wage for women is lower than that for men, the standard feminist line attributes the difference to discrimination. It is most certainly not a result of men and women having different interests, or different strengths and capabilities – after all, anything a man can do a woman can do too! To put it another way, the predominant feminist take is that the differences between men and women are only outward and insignificant - we look different, but we aren't actually different. Meanwhile when a man like Gabrielle Bouchard claims that, despite how he looks, he feels like a woman then he is, unavoidably, attacking the feminist position. After all, he's implying that there is something, outside of the outward appearance, that makes a woman different than a man. In making his claim to be the other gender, Bouchard is acknowledging that there are differences between the genders that are both real and significant. What exactly those differences are, isn't generally discussed. That's where Christians need to press the issue and ask: what does it mean to feel like a woman? What does that feeling involve? Imagine if a man said he knew he was actually a woman because he felt more sensitive and emotional, liked dresses and the color pink, and felt so very nurturing. What would feminists think of that? It doesn't really matter what differences a transgender might point to, feminists are going to either deny the differences are real, or that they are important. So we can see the rupture already starting. We can tear it wide open if we press that question: what exactly does being female or male mean? Are the groups fixed or not? When it comes to transracialism, it might seem surprising that even a liberal-leaning publication like the Huffington Post is slow to embrace the idea. Why would any on the Left have a problem with accepting that a person can swap ethnic identities? Maybe it's because, on some level, the Left understands that transracialism (along with transgenderism) undermines identity politics: minority groups pressing for preferential treatment to compensate for past wrongs (real or supposed) done to their group. After all, what happens to identity politics when it becomes possible to switch groups? What happens to demands for preferential treatment when a white man can be acknowledged as black and female? What happens to hiring quotas when an applicant can choose to identify as whatever combination of special identities a company is looking to check off? It becomes hard to pit one group against another when the lines between them are being erased. The tipping point Christians might be discouraged at just how fast our culture is embracing ideas that, only a few short years ago, would have been dismissed as crazy by just about everyone. But there is a bright side to the speed at which the Left is adopting one incoherent idea after another: the more craziness they stack on their shaky foundation, the sooner the whole mess is going to tip over. We can hasten that tipping point by asking questions that highlight that incoherence, like: Are the differences between the genders real and significant? What does it mean to feel like a woman, or feel like a man? What does it mean to be of a different race? And if I can be a different race, can I be a different age? Or a different height? How about a different weight? Or socio-economic status? Why, or why not? We can also point our culture to the one worldview that's built on a firm foundation. We can begin by teaching them that God made us male and female, and that can't be changed (though our feelings about our gender can be). We can share that gender-based differences do exist and they are significant, but they aren't scary, and don't have to be ignored or diminished. We can explain that acknowledging men are physically stronger than women isn't an attack on women's worth, because our worth doesn't come from our muscle size, or any other ability. We can point out that there is only one way in which we are all equal, and so, only one basis for any claim to equality: we are all made in God's image. We can clarify that while there are all sorts of ethnicities and cultures, there is just one race – the human race – and the denial of that truth has led to untold discrimination and persecution. And we can explain that the reason this all makes sense in a way that their secular worldview just doesn't, is because it is God's truth, and it is trustworthy because He is. Ryan T. Anderson has a similar, longer take, titled "Transgender ideology is riddled with contradictions. Here are the big ones." available here....
Have the MTV Awards set the stage for a transgender/feminist throw down?
At this year’s MTV Movie and TV Awards, actress Emma Watson was the proud recipient of what she called the “first acting award in history that doesn’t separate nominees based on their sex.” Instead of the usual best actor and best actress divisions, MTV decided to have one mixed-gender category. This seemed to be a response to the actions of actress Asia Kate Dilon, who self-identifies as “non-binary” – she claims to be neither male nor female. She made headlines when she was considered for an Emmy award, and didn’t want to be placed in either the actress or actor category…though she eventually settled on actor, noting that “actor” can mean male or female. When MTV decided to do away with their own gendered acting categories, they asked Asia Kate Dilon to make the award presentation for their new, supposedly more inclusive, award. Her presence on stage underscored that MTV’s change was done for the wrong reasons – this was intended as a fist, shaken at God and his binary creation. But just as no one is perfect, not even MTV can manage to always be wrong. Even in the midst of their rebellion they may have hit on something sensible. Why do we need separate acting categories for men and women? It makes sense in sports, where gender-based differences in muscle mass mean men competing against women wouldn't be a fair competition. But as Arnold Schwarzenegger has shown throughout his cinematic career, more muscles don't make you a better actor. So why the separate acting categories? The Oscars have "non-acting" categories like Best Director and Best Cinematography that aren't divided by gender. And even before MTV did it, another group, the Television Critics Association (TCA), already handed out acting awards without gendered categories. But here's where the problems pop up. Asia Kate Dilon is attacking the binary nature of gender. Feminists, however, believe the two genders do exist, and the difference matters. While feminists don't acknowledged gender-based differences in abilities, or interests, or in roles they do believe the two genders differ in how they are treated. Feminists believe that the only accounting for why there are fewer female than male engineers, or fewer female than male Best Director winners is oppression. So every year again, when the Oscar nominations come out, a story will be done about how only one of the 91 Best Director Oscars has gone to a woman. An Atlantic article on the MTV awards noted that of the 20 drama acting awards given out by the Television Critics Association 15 have gone to men. And 13 out of 20 comedy acting awards have also gone to men. Feminists are keeping track. So what happens when feminists who demand equal outcomes for the two genders run up against transgender activists like Asia Kate Dilon, who want to dismantle the two gender? Which oppressed minority gets the win? Sure, this year they managed to get along. But what if, instead of Emma Watson, a man had won the MTV Awards' "first acting award in history that doesn’t separate nominees based on their sex”? Would it have still been seen as a triumph of inclusivity? Or would it be seen as evidence of gender-based discrimination? The truce can't last. Picture credit: JStone/Shutterstock ...