Posts Tagged ‘theology of the body’

boy and girl

I read a story on parenting a few years ago.  It was eye opening to say the least.

A mom and a dad wanted to start a family.  They wanted to raise their child in a better way than they had experienced.  The parents wanted to raise their child to have better choices free from social norms that they considered harmful in our world.  This all sounded fine and dandy until I read their plan.

You see, they believe that society imposes certain gender norms on people.  And these norms make us who we are.  Biology has nothing to do with it.  Boys are wrapped in blue blankets and girls are wrapped in pink blankets at the hospital.  We are all hapless victims of circumstance and society after that.  Boys play with toy guns and girls play with dolls.  This forms us.  Boys take wood shop in school while girls take home economics.  This determines who you are.  All of these social constructs are then forced down on the individual child and that is what makes us a guy or a gal.  We become products of our environment and mirror the social norms around us.

The couple has a child and launch out on their parenting plan.  From this point on, the story reads more like a strange sociology experiment.  They give their child a gender neutral name.  They dress their child in neutral clothes, so that it could decide if it wanted to be a boy or girl.  They give their child a neutral haircut or hair style, so that it can have the freedom to choose its own gender.  You see the parents are just waiting for the child to tell the parents how it wants to be raised, known, and identified.  Will the child play with boys or girls on the playground at school?  They will stay out of the way until the individual child makes a decision.

This libertine parenting method struck me as very odd.  Why would these parents purposefully keep truth from their own child?  If there is no truth from mom and dad, what kind of life will this kid endure?  What other choices are they leaving up to their child?  Why wouldn’t they try to help, protect, and actually raise their kid?

A laissez-faire approach to life can only get you so far without dramatic consequences.  I am personally grateful that my parents taught me that fire is hot, some snakes are poisonous, and to come in from the rain.  That sounds ridiculous, but so is laissez-faire parenting.  Perhaps it is best to share the truth with those that we love.  Living in the example of Jesus, wouldn’t that be a better way?

Part of that truth is that we are made in the image of God.  Psalm 139:14 declares, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made . . . .”  Each life is a wonderful masterpiece made by our Creator, the Living God.  God does not make garbage.  While people may question who they are or why they are here, they always bear the fingerprint of the Master.

God made us male and female.  Pointing to Genesis 1:27 is not bigotry, but science.  Our DNA is unique from our parents.  Gender is determined immediately upon fertilization or when life begins. The 23rd pair of chromosomes will establish the sex of a baby.  Biology, not feelings or childhood toys, determines our gender.

We are all called to honor God with our body.  This means living in purity.  This is accomplished by upholding fidelity in marriage and upholding chastity outside of marriage.  We need to be aware of potential temptations and be transparent with those who hold us accountable.  This is also where parents need to speak truth to their children.  A laissez-faire parenting plan in this arena is reckless and harmful.  Teach your kids what is right, don’t ignore the truth.  Scripture calls us to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” and to be “transformed by the renewing of your minds” Romans 12:1-2.  Heaven help us all to live by this standard.

As the bathroom wars of 2016 go on, let us remember to speak the truth to those we love.  Let us also remember that parenting is a ministry of the heart that deserves our very best and sharing what we know is never the wrong answer.

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Christians need to understand a biblical theology of the body.

I share this because of several recent events.  First, the Supreme Court struck down the federal definition of marriage being between one man and one woman.  Second, California recently passed a law allowing transgender students to choose which restroom and locker room they use.  The law, which will take effect Jan. 1, gives students the right “to participate in sex-segregated programs, activities and facilities” based on the gender they identify with as opposed to their birth gender. Those programs also include sports teams.  Third, a day after being sentenced to 35 years in prison, Army Private First Class Bradley Manning announced that he self identifies as a female and wants to be known as Chelsea Manning.

These events are more than news stories.  They are a reflection of our nation, our culture, and our society as a whole.  They also reflect what currently passes as acceptable behavior.

Here are a few reminders to share from the National Association of Evangelicals and its Generation Forum.

People are created in the image of God.  God made us.  We are not descendants of another mammal.  God created human beings in His image, looked at all He made, and pronounced it “very good” in Genesis 1:31.  We are included in this decree.  This makes every human a holy reflection of God and a unique work of art.  God bestows us with some of His divine attributes setting us apart from the beasts of the field.  Created in His image, we are relational and embodied beings, whose very nature bear the fingerprints of God.

God created us male and female.  The genders announced in Genesis 1 are different.  God’s design is for man and woman to be together in the covenant of marriage.  This bond is blessed so that people can find greater relationship, happiness, intimacy, and know the joy of children.  Jesus confirms this creation paradigm in Matthew 19.  Competing models to the marital covenant are found in current and ancient cultures, including polygamy, same-sex unions, serial monogamy, polyamory, and “open marriages.”  These constructs lack the essential ingredients that fully express God’s plan.  They are flawed imitations of what God intended.

We should also embrace our gender as a gift from God.  The contemporary dance with changing gender identity represents a rebellious rejection of our Creator’s biological design.  We should not change or exchange our humanity.  It would only distort God’s canvass.  This rejection also demonstrates a rebellious desire to exchange “the truth of God for a lie” and make ourselves in our own image, Romans 1:25.

Honor God with your body.  The Biblical mandate is clear, we are to pursue purity.  This is accomplished by upholding fidelity in marriage and upholding chastity outside of marriage.  We need to be aware of potential temptations and be transparent with those who hold us accountable.  Sanctification is both an event and a process.  We are incapable of eliminating ourselves from the problem of sin.  Only Jesus Christ can and will set us free, Romans 8:1-4.  But all are called to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” and to be “transformed by the renewing of your minds” Romans 12:1-2.

As Christians, we are called to honestly share the standard God has given through Scripture.  Many will reject it, but the church must be steadfast and faithful to biblical teaching.  Another challenge in speaking God’s truth is being compassionate like Christ.  Hate and anger will only hurt our Christian witness.  Instead, let us continue to advance God’s kingdom by speaking the truth in love.

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