My Son’s Love for my JCrew Peep Toe Heels – the Art of Gender Bending and Parenting

posted in: parenting | 1

I have a pair of shoes that I love.  Found them at a consignment shop in Belmon, NC – a pair of JCrew Zebra peep toe 3 inch heels.  They are fabulous.  Heels are amazing and so are flats – gorgeous shoes that make any outfit.  What about the lipstick I just found in a perfect shade of purple or that great gray knit clutch I have that goes well with any outfit I have on – any time of the year?

Should be there some boundaries in what I allow my son to wear/try on?

Read this article in Parenting magazine.  I couldn’t believe it.

“Picture this: you are a single mother raising a son. You walk into your 4-year-old’s room and find him wearing his sister’s tutu and his face smeared with lipstick.  What do you do:

A.  Get on the phone with your pediatrician, sure that the lack of a male role model at home has caused irreparable harm

B.  Tell him peach is more his color and grab your tube of Coral Sea

C.  Shrug and reach for the wet wipes.

Parenting Answer: You are a fine parent if you do any of the above.  Children from single parent homes are always experimenting with perceived ideas about gender. 

This article frustrated me so much.  Really…here are my thoughts.

1.  God made you the parent to help shape your son or daughter into who they are going to be.  That is a significant role.  And I don’t think it is right for a boy to dress up in girly fashion, try on lipstick, or really, play with barbie dolls.  I think boys struggle with their identity as it is.  Just like girls do.  But, fathers – step up and be a good positive manly role model for your son – starting before he is even born.  Women – teach your daughter how to be feminine even when she is a baby.  You have this charge!  God created each of us male and female.  We display the glory of God by being who God created us to be.

2.  If you are a single Mom – see if there are dads in your local congregation that you can ask to help show your son what it means to be a strong man of God.  Ask the children’s pastor or youth pastor if there is someone he would recommend.  Single Dads – do the same thing – but with a godly woman (aunt, sister) who might mentor your daughter on what it means to be feminine.

3.  Don’t feel like a failure.  If I catch baby trying on my heels or lipstick.  I may laugh then tell him that those are not things that he is to wear.  Then I’ll go grab his daddy’s cologne and spray it on him, put a tie around his neck, or maybe put his ball cap on his tiny little head.  Much grace is needed in parenting – we don’t need gender bending. 

I’m not talking about teaching your son how to cook or make a bed, or teaching your daughter how to change the oil in her car.  These are life skills that each person needs (and I still don’t know how to change the oil in my car).  I’m talking about gender-specific activities or apparel.  Lipstick, dresses, soldier play, guns, etc. 

The one part I liked about the Parenting article: “Parents are a key influence!”  Will you be an influence for biblical masculinity and femininity – that hopefully will give them rich insights into the Gospel of Jesus Christ – or will you allow you children to determine their “preference” in who they want to be.

Photo: These aren’t the shoes I’m referring to in the post, but aren’t they gorgous.  I saw them in an NYC store front while we were on our honeymoon.  Fab.U.Lous!

Two books to recommend on this topic: Boyhood and Beyond by Bob Schulz and Girl Talk by The Mahaney Family and this link by Randy Stinson


Dan(vers) in Real Life (Part 2)

posted in: Bible, Women | 1

Continuing on our discussion of the Danvers Statement from yesterday, we finish off with Affirmations 6-10.  I hope these have been an encouragement to you and not another list of rules to follow.  Sometimes it is difficult to know how to apply Scripture to our lives when sin has marred the world we live in.  Thank God that He is redeeming all of creation for His glory!

6.  Redemption in Christ aims at removing the distortions introduced by the curse, both in the family and in the church. (Titus 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1-7; 1 Cor 11:2-16)

The death of Christ on the cross is available for all who believe (and if they believe they will be the elect of God).  God knows those whom He has saved – both male and female.  Males don’t have an easier time being saved.  We are all on equal footing: sinners in need of a Savior.  While we are equal in that rite, there are some standards and roles that God set up before the foundation of the world, that now that sin has entered the picture, these roles are more difficult to adhere to – but nevertheless, we are told to adhere to them.  Husbands and wives have equal partnership but different roles in the home.  Elders and roles in the church that require biblical teaching of men needs to be reserved only for men.  God has a great purpose in this.  We would find great joy in the beauty of submission in these areas.

7.  In all of life Christ is the supreme authority and guide for men and women, so that no earthly submission – domestic, religious, or civil – ever implies a mandate to follow a human authority into sin. (Daniel 3:10-18; Acts 4:19-20; 1 Peter 3:1-2)

This definitely was seen with the DOMA voting that occurred in NC recently.  Many politicians and even many Christians Iwere agreeing with the government in their allowance of homosexual and lesbian marriages.  There were so many issues that were included in this.  My thought process started out as one thing, moved to another, and then voting day came and went.  We do not live in a theocracy.  Even though truth is truth, we can’t expect non-Christians to want to adhere to the same biblical truth that we obey and live under.  So, even if we passed a lot (which NC did) that marriage is between one man and one woman, it is only one state – any couple can just choose to up and move to another state.  As Christians, we have a different standard in life than non-Christians.  Non-Christians will be under the wrath of God at judgment day.  We have been freed from the wrath of God because of the blood of Jesus.  But we can’t impose biblical standards on those that don’t believe Christ is the only way to heaven.   But, we must live according to the Bible.  And that goes for every area of our lives: home, church, gender roles, etc.

8.  In both men and women a heartfelt call to ministry should never be used to set aside biblical criteria for particular ministries. (1 Tim 2:11-15; 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9)

Earlier on in my life I struggled with this one, primarily because I hadn’t been taught any better.  When I was in college, I was assistant to our youth pastor at a church (whom I loved and learned a lot from and loved being in ministry with those girls and families). I was encouraged to go to a certain seminary because the seminary I wanted to attend put too many restraints on women.  When I started being taught what the Bible had to say about roles within the church, I learned more about women could do and what women couldn’t do.  These mandates are not set up for our punishment, but for our good, for us to thrive under God’s authority.  When women will come to me saying they are being led of God to be a pastor, I honestly have to suppress a laugh (which is sinful), but then I’m hurt that they don’t see the laws of God as beautiful.  I want them to open their eyes and see God’s beauty.  What this is saying is not that women have nothing to say to men or they don’t have the ability to teach, it is just saying God’s way is His way and it is the best for our good and His glory in the church, our families, and the world.

9.  With half the world’s population outside the reach of indigenous evangelism; with countless other lost people in those societies that have heard the gospel; with the stress and miseries of sickness, malnutrition, homelessness, illiteracy, ignorance, aging, addiction, crime, incarceration, neuroses, and loneliness, no man or woman who feels a passion from God to make His grace known in word and deed need ever live without a fulfilling ministry for the glory of Christ and the good of this fallen world. (1 Cor 12:7-21)

Some people ask this question: can a women lead a man to Christ.  By all means, yes.  That is declaring the truths of salvation.  Whether you are sitting on a bus, waiting at a terminal or hospital, sharing with your husband – this isn’t haven’t Scriptural authority over a man in a church’s teaching role.  There are many ministries: orphanages, nursing, sex trafficking freedom, etc that women can do and have such a great impact in this world.  Why some women understand that the only way they can have an impact for the kingdom is by preaching to men/leading worship to men is beyond me?  There is so much more out there.  Women can have a huge impact for the gospel in many arenas that men can’t.  Think of Muslim cultures.  Men and women don’t talk to each other.  How else will these lost women hear the gospel if women don’t share it with them?

10.  We are convinced that a denial or neglect of these principles will lead to increasingly destructive consequences in our families, our churches, and the culture at large.

This has definitely been the case.  Look at: single-parent homes, divorce rate both in and outside the church, the feminization of the church, lack of men’s involvement in local churches, gay marriages and lifestyles on the rise.

The Danvers Statement was written 25 years ago.  Men and women have been upholding it by the grace of God ever since.  Will you strive to live by the laws and beautiful truths found in God’s Word, or will you demand your own way.  Self-enslavement is worse than God-enslavement (taken from Amy Spiegel’s new book, Letting Go of Perfect).

Go in peace and grace.

Gender Doesn’t Matter

posted in: Women | 1

One of the lines that I have heard recently is Ellen saying “gender doesn’t matter.”  She of course is married to Portia DiRossi and have been touted as the couple for the new millinium.  Not a millinium I want to be a part of.  She may not think that gender matters, but I would like to assure her that it does.

She has no doubt that both her and Portia are female.  They cannot partake in normal sexual relations as God designed sex to be between a husband and a wife.  One wears dresses, one doesn’t.  She sells makeup (as a spokesperson) for a leading makeup company – who sells makeup to clients – mostly who are women.

The latest trend in Hollywood according to CNN is Flexisexuality.   Huh?  (I would advise only watching the video if you are mature enough to handle the topic at hand.)

“You know, its 2011.”.  I know many of the people who I am friends with on facebook are enamored with Grey’s Anatomy.  They support this, many of the stars and songs and movies that are coming out now approach this type of lifestyle with great enthusiasm

Basically, what I hear, is that we don’t want to live within any norms by understanding how God made us, what God made us for, and who God made us to enjoy sexually (our spouses in a lifelong, male/female, God-centered marriage).

I assure you: gender DOES matter.  This video above and what I see happening in our world and what our world portrays as norm grieves me.

1.  God, who is the Creator of the World, designed gender.  He created male.  He created female.  They were both created in the image of God the Creator.  Praise Jesus we are not are men; and praise Jesus we are not all women.

2.  Genders display the beauty of God.  God does everything to display His glory in the world.  Male and female do that.  Marital, faithful, sexual relationships are beautiful (and babies are so darn cute) and just the way He created the complementary physical bodies of males and females are beauty that we need to turn back to praise God, not bring praise to man.

3.  Gender matters in everyday life.  I really think the Bible speaks to this as well.  Throughour Scripture we are told of men working in the fields as providers and women providing a nurturing home environment.  Look at Genesis 2, Prov 31, Ruth, Titus 2.  Lately women ask me or we have a conversation about what it is like being single.  While I love where God has me in life, it is burdensom in ways other than being lonely.  Loneliness is of course something you learn to deal with.  God has created us to be in relationships with others.  I am thankful for the friends that God has placed around me.  But, the other burdensome part of being single is: scraping your own car, paying all the bills yourself, being concerned with your month to month running of the house, worrying about the car, opening the jar of pickles, what happens if something starts leaking.  All these little things.  While taking out the trash is not gender specific by any means – the burden of living life on one’s own…

How will you choose to live in freedom by living according to the restrictions that God gave to us in His Word?

How will you display this in your relationships of the opposite sex?

How will you:

1.  If you are female: adorn the gospel and be distinct from the world?

2.  If you are male: lead lives of humility and servant leadership and masculinity with the strength of Jesus.

For the Gospel –

Response to John Starke: Gender, Suffiency of Scripture, and Life on Life Ministry

posted in: Bible, Books, Women | 0

My friend, John Starke, who serves at The Gospel Coalition, wrote this article as a response to a book review of How I Changed My Mine about Women in Leadership.  I wholeheartedly agree with everything John said (as I knew I would), but wanted to elaborate on some of his points and maybe state things from a women’s POV who is in full-time ministry.

Disclaimer: Some may say that the “women in ministry” issue isn’t really timely.  I do not find that to be a valid argument.  Anytime we have failing marriages, dysfunctional churches, and church leadership teams that aren’t biblical, then it will be a valid topic for discussion.

Complementarianism is unsatisfying to egalitarians.”  The reason I think it is.  We, all of us, sin-nature, is to put man first.  Sin nature is man focused.  God is God-focused.  To use the Westminster Catechism: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”  We like to focus on ourselves, our desires, our wants, making our name great (Genesis 11:4).  God’s authority and plan for our lives is that we make MUCH of Him (John 3:30).    Most of the arguments I’ve heard from egalitarians is man-focused.  “I’m gifted in preaching and can’t use it.  I can work just as well as my husband at _________.  Being a mom is not really a satisfying job.”  The underlying theme in all of these is “I”.  The gospel is not about “I”.  The gospel is about Christ.

‘Pastors should take these concerns seriously and labor to answer them appropriately.”  For complementarian pastors and ministry leaders, it is not enough to just say “Egalitarianism is wrong.  The Bible says so.”  You need to know what the Bible says about this and why/how these truths are applicable.  Some content that will decidedly be helpful to you as you learn more about this is: CBMW, Grudem and Piper’s Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and Wayne Grudem’s Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth.  Theologians and pastors such as Dr. Grudem, Dr. Peter Schemm, John Piper, Randy Stinson, and Chris Cowan have all been highly instrumental in my thinking on this subject and I’m grateful for their ministry and knowledge of this subject and the Word of God.

The Bible must be our “go-to” starting point for this discussion.  If we start anywhere else, we’ve started at the wrong point.  And I my boss says, ‘If we are only 1% off now, ten years down the road, that 1% has turned into 40%”.  We don’t want to be 40% off on this subject.  It is too crucial to the understanding of the gospel to a lost and dying world that needs Christ.

So, we take our situations (existential) and we see what the Bible has to say to them.  If I have the ability to speak and write, then what guidelines does the Bible give me in how I can use those gifts.  Am I a Mom?  Then what does the Bible say about how I’m to respond to and respect my husband and how I’m supposed to nurture my children and order my home?  What does the Bible say is important in these roles?

We should conform our worldview and feelings around the Word of God – the norm above all norms.”  Pivotal statement by John.  If you understand this, then the rest will fall into place.

We trust that complementarianism makes sense of reality and can be satisfying to believing hearts.” God’s rules and authority are not for our torture.  They are for our good and His ultimate glory.  Jesus said in the gospels that His yoke was easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30).  If we are burdened or put-out by these rules and regulations as woman, then our hearts needs transformed by the gospel.  We all stand in need of redemption and sanctification.  Pray that the Spirit would sanctify and transform your heart as you see God’s bigger Truth and how it is completely satisfying.

Here is where we fail, where I fail, as pastors, ministry leaders, women’s leaders, wives, friends: we don’t know how to have a pastor’s heart in this area: a shepherd’s heart: like Jesus who was compassionate to us, knowing we are stupid like sheep and tend to wander away.  We need to have a more compassionate heart to meet women where they are, take their circumstances, and lovingly walk them to the gospel, show them the right ways of Jesus and the gospel and allow them to see that God has such a more glorious path for them to be on. 

This world is full of sin, abuse, neglect, pride, dysfunction – not at all the way the beauty of the original Creation was: walking in the Garden of Eden in perfect harmony with God.  We suffer broken marriages, poorly led churches, men who abuse the authority that God has given them.  My word of exhortation and edification: pray that God would soften your hearts to those who are in need of the truth of God.  These may be non-believers who need to surrender their hearts to God.  These may be women who do not yet see the beauty of God’s design for the home and church as He designed it.  Live life on life with these women (or men, life or life with other men), pulling them aside the gospel, praying that your life and God’s truth would be transformative in their lives. 

God has a Grand Design.  It is based in the gospel.  It is based on His character and not our situations.  He redeems.  He has purchased us.  He has made His plan known through the Bible.  Let’s share life with people, live in authentic community, and bear with our people.  May God use His sufficient and perfect word to transform our lives, hearts, churches, and homes.

For His Fame.

True Woman Conference Chattanooga – Mary Kassian

posted in: Women | 0

How many of you have messed something up because you were too proud or stubborn to follow the directions? Over the past few decades, we women decided we needed to put out a new definition of womanhood. Men and women are the same and should be treated the same. Being like men became our highest goal. Men should be more like women; and women should be more like men.
Genesis of Gender (God’s original design for male and female – the directions – the theological meat of gender). Genesis 1 reveals male and female are more like God than anything else in the universe:
1.26-27 “Let us make man in our image.” God is talking to God – the Father is talking to the Son. God created male and female in His image. There is something about the us of God – the relationship of the Trinity – that speaks to gender. He created male and female, gender displays God. How we relate is an object lesson, a parable, the story isn’t about us. Scripture saiys God created sons and daughters to display HIS GLORY. Male and female are the focal point of everything God made. When you observe the differences in male and female, all these things tell a story. Gender and sex constantly display truth about God.
Paul says in Romans 1 that people are without excuse because gender screams out two truths about God: His power and his diving nature. He wants us to get it. Eph 5 connects the dots, marriage and sex, male and female, all illustrate the Gospel Story. That is why God created male and female. Before the foundation of the earth, God knew the story of the Gospel – He had this in mind when He made male and female in the garden during the week of Creation.
12 differences in male and female evident in creation (Girls Gone Wise, Chapter 9):
1. Male is uniquely male – he is firstborn. 2.7. God created male first. This is not random. The firstborn son held a special position in the family – responsible to carry out his father’s instruction. Adam was the firstborn of the human race. Romans tells us that in Adam, all die. This points us to Christ – Col 1 – he took Adam’s place. He is the firstborn, the last Adam, the representative for all who place their trust in Him (Hebrews). Paul tells Timothy the reason men are called to be leaders of the church is because Adam was created first. Men need to step up and be responsible for the church family; as well as his earthly family (Eph 5).
2. The male was put in the garden. 2.15. God took the man from where he was created and put him in the garden. God created man out in the wild, from the dust of the dessert, and put him in the Garden of Eden. A garden is a place with specified boundaries.
3. The male was commissioned to work. 2.15. Work is translated for tilling soil. It contains the idea of serving someone else. Man’s life in the garden was not for himself, but he was to provide for his family’s need. The primary responsibility for provision for a family lies with the man; this is in their makeup.
4. The male was commissioned to protect. 2.15. “Keep” translates to be in charge of, oversight, to be attentive, protect what is in one’s charge. He created men to be stronger, more suited for a fight.
5. The male receives spiritual instruction. 2.16-17. Before woman arrived on the scene, God put the instruction to the man. Woman had a personal relationship with the Lord, but as leader of his newly formed family unit – he needed to know God’s command.
6. The male learned to exercise authority. 2.19. This “naming of the animals” was a training exercise for authority. He was mentoring him in how to do that – how to govern well. He wanted him to exercise that authority with gentleness, care, and wisdom.
7. The female was created from the male. 2.22.23. We need to remember where we came from. We are not to regard that which we were created from as lesser than us. It was proper for the woman to have a sense of respect for the male from which she was created.
8. The female was created for the male. 2.22. It was not the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man. The Hebrew preposition denotes direction – with reference to, or towards him, his existence led to hers. We have fallen so far from the created order. When brides walk down the aisle, we need to be thinking “I was created for this man.”
9. The female was created to help. 2.20. Help with what? She is a helper “fit” for him – a like opposite – a complement to him. His purpose was to glorify God – woman helps man glorify God more than man could do by himself.
10. The female deferred to the male. 2.23. She didn’t try to have dominion over him.
11. The female was the perfect counterpart. 2.25. The sound of the ish and the isha are similar, but ish comes from the root: strength, and isha comes from the root: soft. Strength and soft. She is able to receive. The biblical meaning for strength: a champion valiantly serving his people, manhood, virility. Woman’s corresponding softness is her ability to give life, directed by inner strength. The bodies of male and female show this. A woman’s body is meant to receive; a man’s body is designed to give. She is the beautiful soft woman. Each is a beautiful counterpart. According to Scripture, it is a woman’s softness, our ability to nurture, that is our greatest strength.
12. The woman was created in the garden. Gen 2.15. Female was created in a place of safety. The place that was designed as a place of authority by her husband. She is the constant beneficiary of the protection God has put in her life.
God’s design for biblical manhood and womanhood is spectacular. The sexes complement each other – both exult to the glory of the Gospel. Ultimately, that is what women and men are supposed to do. God designed creation and gender in this way so we could have a display of the Gospel – the story of His Son and His Bride. It also gave us a picture of longing, desire, and relationship. The visible symbols give picture to the unseen – that is why gender is SO important. Is it any wonder Satan tries to destroy this picture? It is where we hurt the most.
1. God has a spectactular design for your womanhood. He has a pattern for what He wants for you to be as woman. It is very profound and significant.
2. God wants you to say yes to His design. He wants you to recognize the ways you have messed up your life by not wanting to read the directions. It is not a cookie-cutter or a list. True womanhood says yes to God and His right to be God. I am a true woman when I acknowledge that God has the best insight into who I am and how I should live.
3. God will do an amazing work of restoration.

Women in Combat and Gender Roles

posted in: Uncategorized | 2

I love the Patriot – the Mel Gibson movie about the early days of our country and fighting for freedom. It is one of my favorite films: always in a mood to watch it, and I always cry during several parts. Courage, bravery, family, loss: these are things of which make a good movie. In this movie, Mel Gibson, aka Benjamin Martin, is spurred on to fight for his country when the fighting hits close to home. What Benjamin doesn’t do is urge his sister-in-law, Aunt Charlotte, to fight in his stead. He sends the younger children to stay with her. Was it because Aunt Charlotte wasn’t capable of shooting a musket? No. It was because she was to be at home taking care of the children.
Why do I bring this up? Andrew Sicree wrote an article in the latest edition of Touchstone Magazine entitled “Mothers in the Line of Fire”. His basic premise is that women fighting in combat as immoral based on a pro-life argument. Especially in light of the coming anniversary of Roe V. Wade, I am all for pro-life. Our worth is based on the truth that we were created male and female in the image of God (Genesis 1.27-28). However, even though his logic is sound, I think this is a secondary argument, one that totally leaves behind the first argument about women in the military.
First, some thoughts from Sicree:
“The moral question of placing women in combat applies to all women who serve in positions that make them legitimate military targets, even if they are not engaged in actual combat.” (p. 23)
“The fact remains that it is not men but women who carry pre-born children within their wombs.” (p 24). While true, I do not see much validity in this argument. Men are needed in the “be fruitful and multiply” command as well. And, while yes, women are the only ones who can actually give birth; men are very important as leaders in the home and as fathers. Sicree uses this as the base for his argument, “it is rather, the uniqueness of women as bearers of pre-born children that creates a unique moral problem for women in combat.” (p 24) That is not up for debate, men were not created to be child-bearers.
Sicree alludes to the Just War theory as it says “that waging war on a non-combatant is immoral. If it is immoral to bring war to non-combatants, surely it is likewise immoral to take an innocent non-combatant into a combat zone.” If his argument is the endangerment of the child (or the mother carrying the child), then a woman who is sexually active and may be pregnant (without knowing it) should not ride roller coasters, eat luncheon meat, or drink alcohol.
Leaving Sicree’s argument where it is, what should be the underlying reason for women not to fight in the military? I can’t lay out a verse and say “The Bible says it is wrong for women to fight” because there isn’t one. That doesn’t mean there aren’t many verses that give reason why women shouldn’t fight or be involved in military combat.
1. Women weren’t created as warriors; they were created as helpmates and nurturers (Gen 2.20; Prov 31.27). Men were created to be protectors. 1 Peter 3.7 gives the command to husbands to “show honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you”.
2. In CBMW’s resolution on women in combat, the organization says, “the purpose of combat is to inflict deadly harm upon an enemy, and the essence of combat is to engage an enemy in order to kill, slay and destroy – a purpose and essence aligned with the gender-based roles and responsibilities of males but opposed to the gender-based role and responsibilities of females.”
3. Scripture sets a pattern for men serving in battle. Throughout the Old Testament we see men going off to war. It would have been degrading to the enemy if the opposition sent its women to fight. It just wasn’t done. Deuteronomy 20 speaks of the laws or warfare, calling men to be valiant, brave, and to “draw near to battle” because the “Lord your God is he who goes with you fight for you against your enemies”. (Deut 20.4)
4. I would say that, as with many other oddities in our culture, the fact that women are serving at all in military combative positions is a failure of male leadership. This doesn’t say that I am ungrateful for the women who have given their lives and have sacrificed much on my behalf. I am grateful for the protection you offer; but, you shouldn’t have to. Men should be fulfilling their role as protective citizens. They are men. Men, I plead for you to step up and protect your families, just as Benjamin Martin did in going to war in the 1700s.
There are so many more points and thoughts related to this topic. I can not cover them all. This topic brings up gender neutrality, authority, who is going to raise the children, etc. This is not a perfect world. Sin entered and there has been a battle waging ever since. That war is targeted at the family. By women going off to war with the men, this is just one more scar from the war. As with failing marriages, families is disarray, women pasturing local church and teaching doctrine to men, and a multitude of other areas where the gender roles are bent, this area of women in combat is one more area that needs redemption by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And to that end, I say, “come, Lord Jesus.”