Christianity and Identity 

In case you haven’t read enough posts/blogs/articles/memes about Identity in the past few weeks, here is one more for you! Hopefully it is a little different though than most of the other things you have read. I myself have read one thing after another in the past few weeks about gender identity (in light of the Great Bathroom War of 2016), as well as watched arguments, clips and so on from both sides. The topic seems to take up about 88.9% of my facebook news feed at the moment, and of course I ran the numbers so that statistic is totally completely real.  Initially I felt no need to add to the clamor and was fine simply sitting back and absorbing all the info I could.  I also try to be extremely careful and picky about what I say and post on social media, since I have friends from all walks of life, and I try extremely hard to walk the fine line of holding to my beliefes and values while trying my hardest to show love, sensitivity, acceptance and not be offensive (as much as possible).  The problem with this situation is that I fear the truth IS offensive to some people, and in such situations one has to make the difficult choice of speaking out so that others might hear and know the truth, or staying silent for so long that the truth becomes irrelevant and your voice drowned out. 

 So in light of this, I want to say that first and foremost I believe in truth. Not just “my personal truth”, but an absolute truth. 1+1=2. The earth revolves around the sun. There is good and evil in this world. Crocs are ugly.  H2O is the chemical make up of what we have designated as water.  Just as we have designated the word “male” to describe a person made up of DNA containing XY chromosomes, and a “woman” as one whos DNA contains XX chromosomes.  This is determined at conception, and no matter what a person does their entire life, they will not change their DNA or chromosone makeup.  No matter how a  person changes or controls their hormones, makeup, clothes, or genitalia, none of these thing actually change your DNA or your scientific designation as a man or woman.  If this offends you, I apologize, but there is nothing I or anyone else can do about it.

However, the truth is, I don’t think a single person actually has a problem with their DNA.  Truthfully, (actually rather obviously…) I think that the problem lies in how a person identifies themselves in light of the roles of each gender and in the eyes of society.  We have predetermined roles for men and women, (which for some is a freeing thing, and for others, shackles).  Men are for the most part expected to fit into a mold of being strong, tough, hunter, protector, warrior, provider, more analytical and so on.  Women are for the most part expected to fit into a mold of being homemaker, wife, mother, caretaker, cook, cleaner, more emotionally driven and so on.  (Now personally I believe that God created many of us to ENJOY these molds, like myself, though not all!)  However, fitting into these roles them selves does not DEFINE whether or not you are a man or a woman, and thank goodness! Our world needs people who break the mold just as much as it needs people who make it!  

We also have another set of rules predetermined by society, rules which are ever changing and differ from culture to culture.  These are the things society determines are “acceptable”, such as women wear dresses, men do not. Women can wear makeup, nail polish, long hair, jewelry, ect. Men can not.  However these things do not define a man or a woman.  Men in the ancient world used to wear clothing VERY similar to dresses (tunics, robes, ect…). They wore makeup, styled their hair in the fashion of the day, wore jewelry and even nail polish.  Only recently did our culture for some reason decide these things were not appropriate for men.  So now we as a culture identify those things as “feminine”, and lable a person  the same if they partake in such actions. 

I don’t know about you, but when it is broken down like this, the whole thing actually looks a little ridiculous!  Why does one have to identify as “male” or “female” simply because you go against the predetermined expectations assigned to your gender, based on ones DNA? Does an apple need to start calling itself an orange because its shape does not fit the usual expected shape of an apple but is closer identified with the shape of an orange?  Of course not! Even if you surgically cut up an apple to make it the exact shape of an orange, it still is not an orange. And why should it try to be!? It is beautiful and delicious and unique just the way it is without having to fit the stereotypical mold! 

What I am saying is, you don’t truly need to “identify” as anything but your self!!! You can not change your chemical make up and the fact that you a “male” or “female” as the diferentiations have been scientifically termed, but you can change and challenge the stereotypical mold by simply being yourself.  Wanting to wear a dress does not make you a female, just as wanting a super awesome lumberjack beard does not make me male.  Be yourself, and if that is different from the mold that is fine, but do it because you think it is a reflection of who you are. Not because it is who others told you to be. Not because it is cool. And especially not because you are trying to “make a point”.  That quickly turns into a slippery slope where one does things to spite others, making both parties angry, bitter and enemies. 

Now, in case you didn’t know already, I am a Christian. I believe in a God who specially and wonderfully  created each person with a plan and purpose for their life.  If you are also a christian reading this, you may be going, “um, did she just tell guys that it is ok to wear dresses and nail polish!?”  Ummm… Ya. Kinda. And guess what I have to say to you! Get over it. No seriously… We just went through that it is society that made up these rules, arguably influenced the heaviest by Christians! God did not put in the 10 commandmets that men shalt not wear dresses.*  Actually, God probably doesn’t give a crap if a male wears a dress. Or makeup. Or even what their genitalia looks like! (Though I do believe he designed each person the way they are on purpose, no mistakes!)  “God looks at the heart”, the very soul and core of a person, and as Christians we are called to love each person and to care first and foremost about their soul. Which also goes hand in hand with caring for their needs and feelings above your own (so pee before you go to target Gol-Darnet and then shut up about it! Or if you really care about fairness and equal rights, then start fighting for secure genderless bathrooms/more family bathrooms/ect. so that everyone can feel safe and comfortable!).  Caring for a persons soul has absolutely nothing to do with how they look on the outside, or even with how they “sexually identify”.  Caring for their soul also has nothing to do with changing either of those things.  Caring for a soul is simply loving others as Christ first loved us.  Wholly, unconditionally, just as we are. Broken people, sinners, in need of a savior and a healer.  We were also once lost, not know what “Truth” was.  Not knowing our true identity or purpose.  But when Jesus took our punishment and sins on himself, he gave us the opportunity to take his identity as a perfect, beloved child of God.  The only Identity that brings true healing, contenment, purpose, and joy; a claim I will stand by as true even if it is offensive to some. 

Fellow Christians, our job is not to judge, oppress, or dictate how others should and should not be.  Our job is to love and be a light of HOPE and encouragement in a world of soul crushing darkness.  We may offer guidance towards an easier,healthier, Godly path, but conviction is mainly the role of the Holy Spirit for those that are in a relationship with the Lord.  But, demanding that a world on non-believers must accept and live by our convictions and values is futile and destructive.  Stop yelling for change, and start quitly changing through love. Love as Christ first loved you.

And to my friends who may be questioning (or already settled upon) their Identity in any way (gay, straight, black, white, transgender, liberal, conservative, Croc wearer.), I want you to know I love you and accept you just the way your are.  I appreciate your differences and what makes you unique, and I will strive to put your needs before mine and to respect you in all things. If respecting you means calling you by a different name or referring to you as a specific gender, then so be it. The only thing I care about is your soul (the essence of who you are beyond any physical body), and my not so secret agenda is that you would come to know the same love and relationship that I have with Jesus, the giver of the only identity I ever need. #SorryNotSorry 😝❤️

*There is one obscure verse in Dueteronomy 22:5 that seems to talk about cross dressing, however the interpretation and specifics of this verse is HIGHLY debated. In my opinion, even if it is talking about a man putting on a dress or a woman wearing blue jeans made for men, I doubt it is the very act itself that is “abhorrent” to God. If wearing a dress at all as a man is a sin, then Tyler Perry and every crossdressing male actor ever is in some deep trouble.  So again I would argue that God looks at the persons heart, and knows if they are doing something in a way that is rebellious, spiteful, deceitful or wrong. If you wan to read more, this is in interesting link, or you can do a study yourself! 

http://www.beki.org/dvartorah/crossdressing/

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