Bigger Than Pronouns

Call me crazy, but one of the ways I like to express my thankfulness to God is to write and live gender-specifically.

Not all “gender-inclusive” style books published within the past twenty years agree with my zeal for gender specificity, but that doesn’t dampen my resolve.  I prefer words that celebrate the layers of differences between the sexes, rather than attempting to neutralise what isn’t neutralisable.

“So God created man in his own image,

in the image of God he created him;

male and female he created them.”

Genesis 1:27

Gender uniqueness is a beautiful, beautiful reality of creation that deserves ongoing celebration, not only in life but in language!

So, I’m totally okay with waiters and waitresses at eateries; actors and actresses to make me laugh, cry, or hold me in suspense; or a chairman or chairwoman to head up a committee.

Since I have the privilege of working with married and engaged couples, I counsel husbands and wives or fiancés and fiancées.  “Partners” and other creative combinations necessitate other types of counseling.

When I write about a man or a woman in third person, I use a male or female pronoun.  Thankfully there is no neuter third person singular pronoun in English — which makes perfect sense since each one of us is either fully male or fully female.  “They” is not an acceptable substitute for him or her, as it is a third person plural pronoun.

In spite of the biblical, medical, experiential, scientific, clinical, historical and common sense reality of gender uniqueness, opponents of gender-specific language call out gendered language as “sexist”.  Name calling aside, I just think that sentences with real guys and gals are much more interesting and honouring of our humanity.

Beyond language

As a healthy, red-blooded male, I’ve celebrated gender uniqueness in one way or another for my whole life.  As a boy I was often considered “girl crazy”.  That led me down some unproductive paths in my twenties when energetic appreciation wasn’t counterbalanced by good values.  Eventually, as a Christ-follower, my appreciation skyrocketed when someone pointed out to me that the woman was God’s final and crowning achievement in creation.  No argument from me!

As a man, I do emotional backflips everyday that I get to enjoy Melissa as my wife.  I’m more than okay that she is not like me in any way … that her biochemistry is uniquely female … that her brain is wired differently than mine … that every cell in her body is uniquely female … that she is not in any way the same as me.  Different as night and day.  What a gift!  Thank you God!

I find it helpful to learn that males and females can’t ever be the same (or be each other) because they were created from the beginning to be complementary.  Within marriage, a woman completes a man.  In Jewish theology, a man of marriageable age is not complete until he takes a wife.  Until then, he is like one half of a pair of scissors.

“I will make a helper fit for (or like opposite) him”

Genesis 2:18b

So, mutually exclusive genders, and one for the other, was a creation necessity.  Different was God’s design.  Still is.

The bottom line here is that if one is born a male, every cell in one’s body is male, so he’s male for life.  Nothing can ever change his identity — not hormonal treatments, nor name changes, nor pronoun tinkering, nor access to a woman’s bathroom, and not even surgical mutilation.  Gender cannot be changed.  Behaviour can, but identity can’t.

Men and women do not just get to be the opposite sex simply because they say so.

Maya Forstater — fired in December 2019 from her job at The Centre for Global Development, for tweeting this outrageous statement.

I figure if healthy gender differentiation is important to God who created everything from nothing (try that sometime!) — then it should be perfectly acceptable for folks like you and me.

Over the past fifteen years, I’ve given a number of talks on gender uniqueness, strongly recommending listeners push back on the cultural trend towards gender neutrality or fluidity.

Early on, the agenda was advanced by feminists.  Many of their motives were well-founded, but some aspects ended up having negative impacts on the home.

Some things that start out for noble reasons, end up going too far.

Professors at two separate U.S. colleges were fired this past year for using grammatically-correct, gender-specific pronouns while addressing guys who were pretending to be girls.  Both professors are now on my hero list.

While neutralised language began years ago with feminists, gender mischief has new salesmen:  Men dressed up as women — “drag queens”, who are wrongheadedly allowed access to innocent elementary students in public libraries without parental consent.  Let me repeat that — without parental consent.  How is this form of child abuse even happening?  Why aren’t these men in jail or in court-mandated therapy?

Add to that, gender-confused men who shop at Target are allowed access to women’s restrooms and changing areas, endangering our girls and women.  Just this past week there was yet another Target sexual assault incident at a Harris County, Texas store! You can help protect the women in your life and stop this insanity by joining the growing boycott.  The larger tragedy here is that policies like Target’s don’t help the men get healthier through compassionate care.  They need that, but they’re not getting it.

Language runs ahead of the culture.  Now we have both to contend with.  Words have taken on flesh.  This is now way bigger than pronouns.  Time to fight back.

If you are reading this, I recommend you find ways of standing firm and pushing back hard, especially if you are a parent.  What a precarious age to be raising children!  Your precious kids are being targeted (excuse the pun) by LGBT activists in government schools, in the media, in public bathrooms, and even in public libraries.  How many years ago were these all safe places in our communities?  Time to reclaim the territory.

Some recommendations …

  • Reject gender inclusive language.  It is not a worthwhile goal.  It denies the uniqueness and exclusivity of being male or female.
  • Just as in English there is no neuter third person singular pronoun, in healthy human reality there is no across (ie. trans) gender identity.  Just male and female, from birth to death.  Anything else is pathology.  Anything else breaks the heart of God.
  • Male and female are equal in value before God, but not even close to being the same. That’s reason to celebrate!
  • Gender is an immutable aspect of human identity.  God tied gender up tightly, and there’s no unravelling his plan.
  • Gender disorders are opportunities for compassionate and competent mental health therapy.  There are 80-100 years of clinical history on this stuff, some of which I will touch upon in future articles.
  • If you are a pastor, please preach God’s truth on biblical sexuality.  Our Lord will be responsible for what happens.

All people are broken and in need of a saviour.  I certainly am.  As we continually pursue health and God’s best for our lives, our ultimate goal should be for our lives to line up with God’s word, and not with some other man-made standard.

Blessings on your home,

robert

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