One of our old students in Mexico asked us to address the gender issue as the Mexican government is debating laws etc around this. So grab a coffee and a cookie and let’s talk this over for a few minutes.
There is an increasing movement to ‘de-gender’ the world. I remember overhearing a conversation on a plane almost 20 years ago between an older woman and a younger woman.
The older woman said, “What are you studying?” the younger replied, “Women’s studies.” The older asked, “What do you hope to accomplish with your education?” The younger answered, “We hope to remove gender specific words and ideas from our vocabulary!” The older gave a reply that I don’t remember but her tone was one of shock and disbelief. I remember looking at Celina and we both quietly laughed and said, “They’re crazy! This will never happen!” I wish we were correct but it is happening in many countries.
There’s no way I can answer all of the questions on our cultures’ current thoughts on male and female identity in one post. I believe this battle, if it is to be won, will happen in conversations between people, like the one I heard on the plane that day. I want to plant a few thoughts into our minds that will help us as we have these conversations.
What’s wrong with removing gender?
I know what many people think it doesn’t matter if we all know who’s a boy and who’s a girl, but the main issue I see with removing or lessening gender is one of identity. And the problem with the lessening and confusing of gender centers on the lessening and confusing of the identity of our Creator.
Scripture teaches us that God made mankind in HIS image and in HIS likeness. It says MALE and FEMALE made He THEM. (Gen 1:26-28). My ‘maleness’ isn’t just connected to me it’s connected to God Himself! The same is true for Celina’s ‘femaleness’. Our gender is part of HIS IMAGE. It’s demonstrates an aspect of who God is not just who we are.
In my imagination, I have seen the creation of man like this: God makes Adam and for a time Adam has both the male and female perspective inside of him (I’m not speaking biologically but more psychologically). Because God is a great Father, He is setting mankind up for an important life lesson. There was a period of Adam’s life where he was living out God’s plan alone, but with the ability to interact and understand things as both male and female.
Then God says, “It’s not good for Adam to live life by himself and with such independence. He needs someone LIKE him so he can live in interdependence.” So God creates Eve. Now, where did God go to make her? He didn’t turn to the earth again and make something new. He went to where she already was…IN ADAM! He pulled from Adam everything female and made Eve.
Look at what Adam says the first time he sees Eve, “This IS bone of MY bone and flesh of MY flesh” There is a ton of insight in his first declaration of who he knew Eve to be! She wasn’t some strange and different creation she WAS and IS himself!
If we can get men and women to quit seeing themselves as different and see themselves as part of EACH OTHER then we’d answer so much of the gender debate. When we remove someone from their gender, we are disconnecting them from one of the primary demonstrators of who God is in them!
In my opinion, men and women are not so much fighting over identity as they are fighting over EQUALITY.
The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 2, ” Have this same attitude in yourselves which was in Christ Jesus [look to Him as your example in selfless humility], who, although He existed in the form and unchanging essence of God [as One with Him, possessing the fullness of all the divine attributes—the entire nature of deity], did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped or asserted [as if He did not already possess it, or was afraid of losing it].
I love the attitude of heart that Jesus had. He KNEW He was equal, so He didn’t fight to PROVE that He was. I’ve come to believe that anytime I’m fighting to prove to someone else that I’m equal to them it’s because I have forgotten that I AM equal to them.
Paul also tells us that in Christ there is no distinction between nationalities, sexes, or socioeconomic status because we are all ONE in Christ. We are all equal to one another because we are all sons and daughters (Gal 3:26-28). We are united with Him; therefore, we are united to each other. No one greater than the other because He is the one who fills ALL in ALL! (Eph 1:22-23)
It’s time for us to go and have these conversations with the world around us. I think they just haven’t heard the truth that their identity is a reflection of their Creator and that through His sacrifice for them they are already EQUAL!