Sunday, November 20, 2016

An Open Letter To Lauren Jauregui

This is an open letter to Lauren Jauregui in response to her recent open letter:

This is an open letter written back to you, Lauren Jauregui, as an American and as a Christian who voted for Trump.  

It’s true that Trump is not qualified to give a sermon in church.  There are many unfortunate things he has said, and alarming character traits, and he was not the first choice of many who were going to vote for a conservative candidate for president.  But it’s not true that voting for Trump means that those who voted for him approve everything he stands for, and everything he has said and done and allegedly done.  As many have said, it was a choice for many between the lesser of two evils and the greater among competing goods.  

Your letter demonstrates no respect for those nuances in differing opinions, between those who reluctantly voted for Trump and those who think he is an American savior.  By doing so, you have left no room for dialogue of any kind or consideration of those nuances.

Those who think like you have already taken over many of our universities and created an environment where dissent is suppressed, and where there is no true exchange of ideas. The more those who think like you are allowed into power the more they will continue to impose a leftist caliphate and silence dissent and criminalize thought. 

Hillary was poor candidate who was propped up by the power of political-correctness, and so the power of political-correctness took a dent when Hillary was voted down.  As an American, I’m glad this election has put a speed bump in the way of the march forward of an increasingly weaponized political-correctness that attempts to squash any dissent.

Now let me deal with your letter as a Christian.  You believe that since Trump does not respect political-correctness, a Christian who voted for Trump is a hypocrite because they are taking a stand against what it means to be “Christ-like”, since to be politically correct is to be Christ-like. 

Even as I think that political-correctness is abhorrent, I recognize that political correctness can challenge the church to acknowledge those on the margins, and challenge the church to be mindful of the tone and manner that it is communicating to them.  But in no way does political correctness have anything to do with the Gospel or the teachings of Jesus Christ. Political correctness uses the force of social taboos to convert behaviors into being socially and morally acceptable that were heretofore considered to be morally deviant.  

Christ’s views on sexuality are clear, as are those in the Old Testament Scriptures, which Jesus Christ affirmed, and those written down by the men he chose as his Apostles who wrote the New Testament Scripture.  Scripture as a whole is unambiguous in its condemnation of sexual desire and sexual interaction among people of the same sex. It is also unambiguous in its condemnation of human jealousy and a host of other things.   The Gospel must be bad news before it is good news, and until anyone recognizes the wretchedness of their current condition and the power of Christ to enter it, they will never comprehend the Gospel. 

In regard to the challenge that political correctness presents to the church, Jesus teaches us to worship in Spirit and Truth.  We are to speak in Truth, as clarified in Scripture, without compromise, and we are to speak in Spirit, guided by the Spirit as to the timing, the words and the manner of our speaking.  That is what it means to be Christ-like, as reflected in Christ’ words and actions.

Friday, November 18, 2016

An Analysis of Gender, Sex and Deuteronomy 22:5 Part 2

I want to add a thought to the prior post, based on a question I was challenging myself with: Does a man does cease to be a man just because he is effeminate and/or because he is operating with the persona of a woman? 

To explore this we must define the difference between a person’s being and their persona.  A person’s being does not change despite whether their persona changes.  Persona, on the other hand, is that aspect of personhood that finds its expression in the exercise of dominion, and within the context of a particular type of dominion.  A person’s persona changes if they change the nature of their dominion, even if their being remains the same. A person’s personality is the product of both their being and their persona.

If one were to ask whether the man known as Saul was also Paul, the answer would be yes and no. Saul and Paul were indeed the same person, but different personas. Saul was only Paul in the sense that Saul had the potential to become Paul, with the persona of Paul being buried in person of Saul as a seed that had not yet germinated, while Saul was still a Christian-condemning Sadducee.  “Paul” is the person that operated with the persona of Paul in the dominion of being Apostle, in contra to the persona of Saul.

Gender is the basic God-ordained male persona as man, and the basic God-ordained female persona as woman, that was intended to be expressed in the context of different but over-lapping spheres of dominion to properly reflect God’s image.  From this there are infinite specific minor God-ordained variations among each individual man's and woman’s personality, being the product of both their person and their persona.

As a man, you are less of a man when you don’t operate in the God-ordained dominion designed for men, because by failing to do so, you cannot fully realize your God-ordained man persona, even if your being remains that of a man. The same goes for women. 

Wearing gender specific clothing is one part of assuming the persona of your gender and affirming the sphere of dominion appropriate for your gender.  Deuteronomy 22:5 teaches that you are accountable to operate in the gender persona that is suitable for your sex, whether male or female.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

An Analysis of Gender, Sex and Deuteronomy 22:5

The “what” in terms of what Scripture says about sex and gender boundaries between men and women are clear. Egalitarianism, aka Christian Feminism, is fundamentally an attack on the “why”. It is by introducing doubt into the church over the “why” that Egalitarians try to advance doubt over the “what”. As a friend of mine stated it well to me recently, Complimentarianism is the Gospel clarified against Egalitarianism/Feminism. While it is important to clarify the “what” of Scripture in regard to sex and gender boundaries, it is also important to clarify the “why” by clarifying how they are both something that is of part the Gospel and something that uniquely expresses the Gospel.
To begin to do this, it is important to understand the relationship between God's Image, the dominion of Man on the earth, God-created sexes of male and female, and the God-ordained genders of man and woman, and human culture. We know from Romans 1:20 that Creation has the purpose of showing the Maker through what was made. The creation of Man as male and female, having been specifically made in God’s Image, unlike any other thing that was made, has a special purpose to instruct us about the Maker. It is not God who is the direct beneficiary of having his Image revealed in Man, but us who are the bearers of God’s Image to better understand God through perceiving the spiritual significance of what God that has built into our making, so that we may relate to God as his children. The spiritual significance of our making as image bearers of God is intended to be illumined for us as we operate within Creation and in relationship to each other and to God.
In Genesis 1, God created man in His image male and female he created them to take dominion over the earth. So there is an aspect of having God’s Image that comes by virtue of being human, whether male or female, and there is an aspect of bearing God’s image that is specifically male and not female, and that is female and not male. As taking dominion flows from bearing God’s Image, so too is there an aspect of taking dominion that is human—whether male or female-- and an aspect of taking dominion that is male and not female, and an aspect of taking dominion that is female and not male.
In Genesis 2, the relationship between what God directly creates, and what God ordains as an out flow of the design from what is created can be seen as Adam names the animals. God did not specifically create the names of the animals nor did he force Adam to do so, but he created Adam to be able to produce language and to use words to relate to Creation. As God spoke Creation into existence, Adam spoke the animals into their names. So in Adam naming the animals, there is first expression of human dominion over the earth in the form of man-created language and culture, which expresses God’s image.
The relationship between what God has created and what God has ordained in the realm of sexuality is this: the male and female sexes are God-created as the basic imprint of human male and female physical and emotional wiring. Meanwhile, the genders of man and woman are God-ordained sexual identities that are designed as an out flow from the God-created sexes to be expressed in distinct yet overlapping spheres of dominion. The genders of man and woman are somewhat subject to human will, unlike the sexes of male and female which are not.
Adam naming the animals prior to Eve arriving on the scene is the beginning of a God-ordained norm of men having a unique form exercise of dominion vis a vis women. So the naming of the animals was not only the first expression of human language and culture, but also the first expression of gender, of man-ness as unique from woman-ness.
Both the God-created sexes of male and female and the God-ordained genders of man and woman are integral in expressing God’s Image. It is in operating in distinct but over-lapping spheres of dominion that men and women express the Image of God for the benefit of each other’s understanding of God and what it means to be a child of God made in His Image.
You cannot choose your God-created sex, but you can choose not to operate in your God-ordained gender, though by doing so you would be violating your design, and the exercise of your dominion would fail to reflect God’s Image. As we are corrupted by sin, our dominion is corrupted and not fully able to achieve the purpose of reflecting God’s Image. To correct this, Scripture contains rules and guidelines to guide our will away from sin into following the God-ordained genders of man and woman as they were intended to work with the God-created sexes, male and female.
Even to the extent that certain aspects of gender are expressed with some cultural variations, they are nonetheless God-ordained. This is why Deuteronomy 22:5 says "A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this." It did not stop being detestable in the New Covenant any more than any other explicitly sexually prohibited behavior, nor was it only detestable for men and women to cross dress according to the dress that distinguished gender in ancient Israel.
Cross-dressing, for any purpose other than to be comedic and ridiculous, is detestable because superimposes the gender of man over the sex of being female and the gender of woman over the sex of being male. Because it puts what is God-ordained into dissonance with what is God-created, cross-dressing, as with other sexual behaviors prohibited in Scripture, diverts sexual energy away from reflecting God’s image and toward idolatry.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Business Aphorism

Excellent customer service is the product of rising to both the technical challenge and the human challenge that lies within every task, obstacle and difficulty.