Gender Options in the Bathroom

A couple years ago I wrote a piece called “Facebook Gender Options.” The topic of that piece was the move by Facebook that gave more gender options to its users beyond male and female. Facebook provided fifty six gender options to be exact. Facebook intended this move to be inclusive of every variant gender identity or “questioning” person under the sun. A person who is “questioning” is confused as to whether they are gay or transgender and  as to who they are and where they should be headed. Gender differences have expanded in these two short years since that piece was written. Now in many places a man who identifies as a woman or vice-versa has the right to use the bathroom consistent with their gender identity. In other words, if a man feels like he is a woman he has a right to use the bathroom or locker room consistent with what he feels he is on the inside, even if it doesn’t match up with what his body actually is. This has become the law in a number of cities and states. Those who speak out against it are branded as intolerant and will even be kicked out of public facilities. This has actually happened to woman in Ohio who complained about a man behaving himself inappropriately in the women’s restroom of a Planet Fitness gym.

Not only do such policies go against common sense, they also violate God-ordained notions of gender. “Male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:27b). This passage means that a person’s biological sex is permanent. Many things about a person change in their lifetimes including height, weight, voice and hair color. Personalities develop over time as well. That being said, one’s gender remains consistent throughout all of these changes. Transgender advocates, on the other hand, teach that people are gender-fluid, that is, that a person can be male one day and female the next. Think of a jar of Play-Doh or the sand you find at the beach. These things can be changed to whatever you want them to be. You can use that lump of Play-Doh to form a dog one day and a castle the next.  The same thing is true of the sand at the beach. That’s the kind of thinking that supporters of transgenderism engage in.

Play-doh and sand are malleable, gender is not. There is no record of any human being actually switching sexes. It doesn’t happen and  it cannot happen. God is the only one who can mold things the way that He wants them. He takes the people that live in this world and He forms them as He seems fit. “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”(Romans 9:21) Here God is referring to election and reprobation whereby He saves some and not others. The same thing is true in this world. He makes one male and another female and each individual fulfills the unique role that He as ordained for them.

Our calling as young people and young adults is to live as Christians in this world. Part of living as a Christian is living contentedly in the body God has given us, the body appropriate to the gender He has given us. We are not surgically to mutilate our bodies as many people do today. We are not to celebrate those who have had this done to themselves or are contemplating having it done. In both cases we are to exhort them to repent and to pray for their repentance.  God has made us different. Men and women are different physically, mentally and psychologically. We are to recognize, celebrate, and enjoy these differences without trying to pervert them into something that God never meant them to be.  When we do this properly God is glorified. He will judge those who defy His creation ordinances  and reward those who by His grace and Holy spirit seek to honor and obey Him in this and in all things. May God receive all the honor and glory due unto His name!

Kevin Rau

Trusting God through Afflictions

One of the most incredible stories in the Bible can be found in the book of Job.  As we read through this book, we can see how Job went through a horrible loss, and yet God led him through and upheld him in all things.  In one day, Job lost his entire fortune, his children, and his servants but still kept faith in God.  Over the next few days he was stricken with horrible diseases and was brought almost to death.  Even after all seemed lost and he was given seemingly every excuse to curse God, Job was granted the strength to keep his faith in God and was even given great rewards and blessings.

As we travel through this earthly pilgrimage, we often find ourselves in situations that we would rather not be in.  We sometimes find ourselves echoing the words of the psalmist in Psalm 77: “Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favorable no more?”  Whether it is because of a loss of a job, a death of a close family member, or persecution from the world, we are called to maintain our faith in Christ to lead us through all things.

As we look back on our lives and throughout history, we can see countless examples of God using trials to the advantage of his children.  We are called to constantly trust in Him and to know that everything will work out to our profit.  One passage that has always given me strength through trials is II Corinthians 12:9-10.  In this passage, the apostle Paul is given a “thorn in the flesh”, and asks repeatedly for it to be taken away.  The answer he gets is something that we all need to hear when facing adversity. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

Fast Food and Instant Coffee

Some things in life are better when they’re faster, like internet connections, horses and cars (okay, those last two depend on the person). For other things, though, there’s just no substitute for waiting for the real thing. For instance: fast food and instant coffee. Both will do in a pinch when you need a quick lunch or caffeine kick, but the quality just isn’t there.

In a culture that’s all about quick fixes and immediate gratification, it suddenly struck me that our Christianity sometimes reflects that. The results sometimes aren’t all that great when you take the easy route. There’s just no substitute for a home cooked meal or a freshly brewed cup of joe.  Here’s a couple ways we sometimes treat our spiritual lives like fast food and instant coffee.

It seems like a good idea at the time. When all we really want is to feel better, to be in a relationship, or have kids, it seems like the sooner, the better. What could possibly be wrong with NOW? It’s funny how we think that solving one little problem in our life will create total happiness and utter contentment for the rest of our lives. We don’t realize that the easy way out isn’t usually as satisfying as it looked beforehand.

It doesn’t last. The crazy spiritual highs we feel at certain times in life are amazing things. Singing with raised hands and crying out “Amen!” with a group of believers isn’t a bad thing, but it will leave you hungry again soon, just like a trip to a drive-through burger joint. A home cooked meal of doctrine and gospel, however, will fill you up and keep you going until the next meal. There’s no substitute for that. In relationships, churches and most of life, it often pays off in the long run to take the time and put in the effort for higher quality friendships or deepened doctrinal understanding.

We just don’t have the time. It takes ten minutes or so to brew a full pot of coffee. It takes several hours or more to fix a full Sunday dinner. It also takes time to cultivate a real relationship with God. Still, running through the drive through every once in a while won’t hurt you, and having instant coffee isn’t the end of the world. It’s so easy to listen to contemporary Christian music radio (NOT a bad thing in itself!!), but we can’t live solely off that. It won’t have the same effect on us that sitting under the preaching does. We need to be willing to put in the time every day to work for lasting, fulfilling results, not instant gratification Christianity.

Simply praying to God for the things we want doesn’t guarantee that we will receive them, and even if we do, it doesn’t guarantee that we will have lasting contentment from them. That job we’ve wanted for so long won’t necessarily solve our money problems. That relationship we’ve longed for might not fill the loneliness we feel. When I think about the things I want, I want them right now! I often find myself thinking “Lord I need this, and I need it yesterday!” I often need to realize that the best thing for me right now is to sit back and let God prepare a fuller meal. Wait a little longer for something so much better. Trust that if God hasn’t given you instant coffee this morning, He’s brewing up something so much better.

Suzie Kuiper