Summary: With all the gender confusion in our society, it's time for the church to speak up.
“Getting A Clue: How Am I Different?”
Gen. 1:26-31 & 2:4-7, 18-25;
In preparation for this series I discovered a powerful, inspirational, challenging sermon by Mary Kassian, entitled The Genesis of Gender.” (1) Some of her opening words are important for our consideration this morning.
“Over the past few decades, we women decided that we needed to put together a new model, a new definition of womanhood. The ‘Leave it to Beaver’ model was lacking. We didn’t like it, so we decided we wanted to be like men. Men and women were the same and should be treated the same. They should do the same things, have the same jobs, have the same career goals, make the same money, act the same, think the same, drink the same, swear the same, party the same, sleep around the same, and self-actualize the same. So we moved marriage and motherhood from the top of our list to the bottom of our list or crossed them off altogether. Reaching the highest rung of the career ladder and becoming tough and powerful like men became our ultimate goal. We decided that men should become more like women, and that women should become more like men; men should tone down their aggression, and we should ramp ours up. We decided that men should metrosexualize, feminize, emotionalize, reel in their competitiveness, get manicures, pamper their faces, stay home with the kids, learn to clean a toilet, turn off those sports programs, be nice and sweet and agreeable, and do whatever we tell them to do. We decided that women need more power and prestige and control, and that we should become gunslinging, karate-chopping, hyper-sexed, Wall Street savvy, independent, saucy, sassy, malebashing heroines. We’ve got girl power! Take that, guys! ... According to a cover piece in Time magazine last year, women have achieved more of the same as men and yet are more miserable than ever before. We’ve made a mess of our homes and our families and our relationships. I think that it’s time that we swallowed our pride and went back to read and follow the directions, don’t you?” (2)
Perhaps it sounds harsh. But we need to hear it. There are, after all, parents today who believe children should choose their gender and therefore refuse to tell their children what gender they are, because they don’t want to influence them. Consider also that the New York City Board of Health actually considered a proposal to allow city residents to change the sex on their birth certificates without undergoing sex-change procedures. In January of 2007, they unexpectedly withdrew it. Heath Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden, who enthusiastically supported the plan only a month before, told the New York Times that institutions like hospitals and jails raised concerns the board hadn't considered: Would female patients end up in hospital beds next to men? Would male inmates wind up in women's cell-blocks? "This is something we hadn't thought through, frankly," Frieden admitted. "What the birth certificate shows does have implications beyond what the birth certificate shows." (3)
Just two days ago I came across a new article concerning a school district in Lincoln, Nebraska. Those in power are on a campaign to make their classrooms gender-inclusive. It means teachers will no longer be able to refer to boys and girls…as boys and girls. "Don't use phrases such as 'boys and girls,' 'you guys,' 'ladies and gentlemen,' and similarly gendered expressions to get kids' attention," reads a handout from the Lincoln Public Schools that was given to teachers…"The agenda we're promoting is to help all kids succeed," Brenda Leggiardo the district's coordinator of social workers and counselors told the newspaper. "We have kids who come to us with a whole variety of circumstances, and we need to equitably serve all kids." So instead of asking boys and girls to line up as boys or girls, teachers have been encouraged to segregate the children by whether they prefer skateboards or bikes, or whether they like milk or juice.
"Always ask yourself, 'Will this configuration create a gendered space?'" the handout stated…"When you find it necessary to reference gender, say 'Boy, girl, both or neither,'" the handout states. "When asked why, use this as a teachable moment. Emphasize to students that your classroom recognizes and celebrates the gender diversity of all students." (4)
Any discussion about how we are different and unique must, therefore, begin with the fact that we are different because of GENDER DIFFERENTIATION. Having said that, let’s state at the outset that there is A BASIC EQUALITY. (Gen. 1:26-27) “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” BOTH MALE AND FEMALE ARE CREATED IN GOD’S IMAGE. IT TAKES BOTH MALE AND FEMALE TO REFLECT THE FULLNESS OF GOD. Gender displays God. Neither male nor female is superior over the other.