I graduated from Kennesaw State University in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science, concentrated in Sport Management. I loved my time there. I met my wife there. I still follow KSU Sports and I am looking forward to their first football season coming up this fall. But, I am disappointed at the stance they have taken when it comes to those who identify themselves as «transgender». But, with all the discussions and law changes in our culture right in regards to «sexual identity», there blog post from yesterday does not surprise me.
What I would like to do in my post is respond to what KSU has declared as their stance in this issue and as well try to give clear thinking to how Christians need to react and engage a culture that, sexually, is moving more and more away from God’s revealed will for sexuality and gender.
Erik Malewski, Kennesaw State University’s chief diversity officer, said this:
“Our understanding and experience with issues of gender have been evolving, and I think this incident helps bring the discussion in line with the reality of what many people are living,”
What he says here reveals some key insights into how many in our world think and unfortunately where leaders are trying to force our culture to go.
- First he admits that KSU’s policies on how to deal with people who identify themselves as transgender are evolving. They are not even sure how to apply things yet. Malewski believes that KSU should make certain allowances for transgender people to express themselves, but even in his comment we can see that he is uncomfortable with saying how far he thinks the university should go. The KSU blog post gives an example of allowing someone to list a «preferred name» on their university application to allow those who have a male name, but think of themselves as female, can write their preferred female name. Obviously, the same thing would apply to females wanting to live as males.
- The question is: how far are they willing to go? When you open the door to this type of allowance, it is hard to stop it from opening up all the way. The reason is that an organization that does not have a clear set of moral principles has no choice but to be «evolving» on issues like this. Like a boat without an anchor, KSU and other organizations like it, have no choice but to be driven by the waves and currents of the perceived popular world thinking. And this reality leads down only one road, constant change due to a group of people who see an open door and want it opened wider to fit their desire for acceptance and control.
- Another thing that I think we need to see in Malewski’s statement is that he believes the university needs to adjust their policies based upon «what many people are living». This statement can seem to mean something that is not necessarily true. While it is true that some people in our world struggle with their sexual identity, it is not like it is a huge percentage of the population. The problem with a statement like this is that it can be used by the thinking of a minority to try to convince the overwhelming majority, who do not struggle with this issue in their personal lives, that they need to get in line with «popular» thinking. The quote tries to require the lives of a small minority to determine the trajectory of the whole culture.
- «and I think this incident». What incident is he referring to? He is talking about the Olympian Bruce Jenner’s decision to live a life that he, according to the interview, desired to live for years now. He wants to live like a woman because he feels like a woman (pun intended with making you think of Shania Twain). But wait a minute! Should KSU as an institution really base the need to change and/or implement policy due to a former Olympian’s desire to live his life opposite to that which He was created? Well, that is not really what Malewski is saying. But what I think he is saying, is that now this is a hot topic due to an ABC interview, now is the time to use the momentum in order to make a stand as a university. This is big when you think about it. Our culture is so popularity driven that all it takes is an ABC interview to cause universities to go public with culturally altering decisions that will affect how people think for years to come. Bruce Jenner’s struggle has now opened the door to making transgender seem popular and right.
My question is: is anyone questioning if Bruce Jenner is right in doing what he is doing, or does he need some real help and counseling? Some might say that yes, he does need counseling in order to deal with living this new life. But, what about counseling that would help him to see that he is not a woman, but a man, and while that may be hard for him to live with, we as a society understand, believe, and know that some people are born as a man, and others are born as a woman. It is scientific fact. But this is where KSU, and many others, have decided to separate sex and gender. It is a convenient separation. Convenient for trying to change how we as humans have lived for at least 6000 years.
The KSU blog gives five ideas proposed by Malewski. I have quoted them from the blog and then written my thoughts for each. Here they are:
1. Sex is biologically determined while gender is a much broader social construct that incorporates identity and the normative roles assigned to individuals based on their sex, i.e pink for girls and blue for boys.
- He is saying that gender is bigger than the sex we are biologically born with. He seems to be basing his assumption on the fact that some boys like pink and some girls like blue. But do not forget, a boy who likes pink is still a boy and still should use the boys bathroom and get dressed in the boys locker rooms. He should act like a boy, dress like a boy, and live like a boy.
2. While most of civilization has proscribed gender roles as male or female, many societies and cultures allow multiple gender identities and more fluidity of roles for each of the sexes, i.e. the two-spirit people in the Native American tradition.
- So Malewski is implying that KSU needs to start doing what most of civilization is not doing and has never done. Some might call this innovation. I would argue that it is a movement in a trajectory that will leads us where we do not want to go. It will be like when Tone Loc gave his Funky Cold Medina to the wrong person and found himself in situation that he did not want to be in.
I went up to this girl, she said, Hi, my name is Sheena
I thought she’d be good to go with a little Funky Cold Medina
She said, I’d like a drink, I said, Ehm, ok, I’ll go get it…
…So, I took her to my crib and everything went well as planned
But when she got undressed, it was a big old mess, Sheena was a man
(I am not endorsing the song, just giving an illustration that I find funny).
3. People whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth are considered cisgendered; for transgendered individuals, their identity and the sex they were assigned at birth do not match. Their identity and the roles they assume are based on who they perceive themselves to be intrinsically, as in Bruce Jenner’s case, not necessarily on how one looks.
- He is assuming that when identity and sex does not match that society needs to make sure that those people feel good about it not matching rather than helping them to live according to their sex. Of course I think this is absurd. But again, when a society decides to ignore or even combat biblical principles and worldview, this kind of thinking is the only logical result.
4. Many people are not sure where they fit in and are “questioning.” Another group of people, who often use the designation “queer,” seek to reclaim a term normally considered derogatory and challenge gender and sexual identity categories altogether.
- In a messed up world, I can see why people are questioning. But do we not see it? People are questioning because the world is in moral chaos. And without a clear moral absolute to trust in, it is only going to get more chaotic. This will only lead to more questioning and confusion with no clear direction to follow. What will we do when people will start to think of themselves as not human, but rather a dog or a cat, and want to live as one? Will KSU adopt a policy that will accommodate it? When the door is open, who is to say how far is too far?
5. Gender identification and gender roles change over time and tend to dissipate with age, i.e. whoever can see the best becomes the family driver as a couple ages.
- So, we will only know later in life whether we are to live as a male or female? What are those who struggle with this suppose to do in the meantime? Just wait it out? What kind of hope is that? Are they just suppose to experiment until they figure it out, while in the process probably cause great damage to themselves, those they experiment with, and the friends and family around them? I think there is a better way.
So, how does the church need to respond to cultural stands and shifts like this? How are we to serve, love, and minister to those that struggle with sexual identity? We need to answer this question and apply it well. For sure my thoughts here will be incomplete, but I want to give a few ideas of my own that are completely contrary to that of Erik Malewski.
- We (Christians) must remember that this issue, like all issues, is mainly about God’s glory. Without keeping this in mind, we will be tempted to bend our beliefs and applications toward culture rather than honoring God and His word. The answer to what we need to believe about this and how to relate to those struggling in sexual identity is found in God’s word, not in people’s preferences, popular culture, or even in a struggling person’s desires (i.e. – Bruce Jenner). To decide to live contrary to how God created you is a sin and is offensive to God. It is an attempt to raise man’s wants above God’s will. Because Christians first and foremost want to glorify God above all things, we are to stand firm against issues in our culture that seek to silence God and His word. We are to be zealous mainly for God’s glory.
- We (Christians) must wholeheartedly love the people who struggle with these issues, but do so like Jesus, who had no problem showing love to sinners and then calling them to repent of their sin at the same time. How do we do this? We share the gospel with them. We ensure them that God loves them. But we call them to agree with God, give Him glory, and trust in His saving grace through Jesus’ literal death, burial, and resurrection. We are not to be ashamed of the gospel nor lose sight of its power to save (Romans 1:16).
- With professing Christians that may struggle with sinful ideas of living opposite of the created identity that God gave them, we love them by continuing counseling them to embrace God’s will, word, and desire for their life as their Creator. We remind them that God’s will is good and perfect. We pray for them and support them (not to sin, but to staying committed to God by turning away from it). We remind them that this is spiritual battle, not only a physical one. We remind them that God is able and willing to help them in their struggle. We help them see that the temporary struggles in this world are nothing compared to the glory that will be received by those who trust in Jesus. We also encourage them to use the victory God gives them as a witness to others who struggle as well.
Ultimately, what Erik Malewski and KSU are communicating is that we (humanity) need to make provision and even celebrate the transgender community. This gives a horrible message to university students, the next generation, and the world as a whole. It is tragically supporting a lie that has been in existence since Genesis 3: that it is better to make our own decisions about morally, right, wrong, good and evil, and do so without God. That lie has eternal consequences which, unless they repent and trust in Jesus, Bruce Jenner and others like him will sadly understand and experience one day when they stand before a holy God who will bring judgment on all those that sought to live their lives without His sovereign Lordship and under His saving grace.
To read full blog post by KSU, copy and paste the link below in your browser.