Issue 19 | June 12, 2015
SUMMARY: Issue 19 covers Most Anticipated Games, “Slut Shaming”, and The Hot Seat: She or He
WHAT VIDEO GAMES STUDENTS ARE ANTICIPATING
- Call of Duty: Black Ops III (ESRB Mature)
- Batman: Arkham Knight (ESRB Mature)
- Madden NFL 16 (ESRB Everyone)
- Halo 5: Guardians (ESRB Mature)
- Star Wars: Battlefront (ESRB Teen)
- FIFA 16 (ESRB Everyone)
- Mortal Kombat X (ESRB Mature)
- Splatoon (ESRB Everyone 10 and older)
- LEGO Jurassic World (ESRB Everyone 10 and older)
- Grand Theft Auto V (ESRB Mature)
ARIANA GRANDE’S HAD ENOUGH “SLUT SHAMING”
Ariana Grande’s “feminist” tweet went viral this week. (Even Taylor Swift supported her.) She wrote the tweet as a response to the media coverage of her previous relationship with rap artist Big Sean, saying that she should be valued for more than what relationship she is in or not in. However, the post is a double-edged sword, smattered with truth though not quite hitting the mark. The truth: we shouldn’t define women by their relationships to men, or vice versa for that matter.
Where it falls short: We, as a culture, celebrate male promiscuity and shame women for the same activity. When a woman is condemned for behavior that men usually get away with, this is (so kindly) called “slut shaming.” The problem with the term is that it is meant to do the same thing it’s accusing the perpetrator of doing: namely, shaming someone into right behavior. And though we applaud Grande for saying we shouldn’t have a double standard, her solution seems to be to let everyone be as corrupt as they want to be. However, instead of lowering the standard to what men are currently held to, we ought to hold everyone, including ourselves, to a higher standard. God’s people should never be known to excuse behavior because “boys will be boys” while condemning women. Nor should they give women the license to behave like fallen men. Instead, we should seek to be conformed to the image of Christ, not this world.
Discussion Questions: What are some less obvious ways that men and women are treated differently when it comes to relationships? How has the culture’s mentality seeped into Christians’ mentalities? How can we effectively encourage a higher standard in the people around us? How can we use this tweet to talk to students about the issue?
THE HOT SEAT: HE OR SHE?
Last week, we made a mistake in our article about Bruce Jenner transitioning to Caitlyn by calling Jenner a “she” without clarifying why. We apologize if we offended or hurt you in any way. We got great responses about that decision, which got all of us thinking more deeply about it. Many asked good questions about how we Christians should think about, act toward, and respond to our culture’s views on gender and identity, as well as what to do when the issue becomes personal. And while the topic is extremely nuanced and emotionally charged, we’d like to offer some questions (with brief commentary) to discuss with your family and hopefully come to a conclusion that is loving toward God and others.
Can someone’s gender truly change?
No, not fully. No matter what clothes you wear, surgeries you have, or hormones you take, your chromosomes can’t ever be changed. See this story about a transgender woman who wishes to “de-transition” back to a man because he felt he was living a lie. And is gender more than simple biology?
Does calling someone the opposite of their “birth gender” reaffirm a lie?
Depends on the context. If you’re trying to teach your kids/students how to have a biblical view of gender and sexuality, then you shouldn’t refer to someone like Jenner as a “she.” If you’re talking about transgenderism with acquaintances who aren’t Christians, then referring to Jenner as a “he” would be misunderstood and possibly add to the perception that Christians are hateful.
Should the extent of one’s relationship with a person change the response we have?
Probably. If someone you don’t know very well decides to “transition” genders and your first reaction is to refuse to acknowledge that change, does that come across as loving? How does that make God and Christianity look? All people, no matter their vices and sins, need Jesus. If we vitriolically criticize and condemn, why would they want anything to do with Him? However, if someone you know well says he/she is transitioning but claims to be Christian (see this), then your relationship with him/her might warrant lovingly speaking truth into his/her life.
When does loving someone become enabling him/her to stay in sin?
That’s tough. Again, it has to do with your relationship to him/her, as well as how much you’ve already talked to him/her about your beliefs. If it’s your underage child, is it loving to allow him/her to “change genders” when you are responsible for his/her spiritual well-being and flourishing? What if you allow him/her to, but then he/she grows out of it? But if it’s your adult child who has made up his/her mind no matter what you say or do, then maybe it’s time to “stop saying and start praying.”
Aren’t we supposed to be “true to ourselves” and “follow our hearts”?
These ideas are at the heart of the sexual revolution, and we’re seeing the consequences of them. When being true to yourself means thinking about yourself above all others or following your feelings means disregarding consequences, then it is counter to God’s design. Focusing on achieving personal happiness necessarily means that we will hurt others in the process because we are elevating self and diminishing others, which is the exact opposite of what Jesus did. And there’s a difference between being true to how God made you and being true to how the fall has distorted you.
If we disagree with how culture is treating this issue, what can we do?
Posting how we feel about it on social media is not the answer. In fact, there are minimal occurrences of doing so having anything but extremely negative effects. But doing research, speaking the truth in love, having deep discussions with your kids about culture, and possibly getting into politics are better and more effective avenues for creating change. This article has great questions to ask when in dialogue with supporters of transgender transitioning, as well.
As you can see, though some may try to convince us that it’s simple, it truly isn’t. After all, Jesus didn’t come right out and say, “Thou shalt not attempt to change genders!” But there is much to glean from Scripture and from Jesus’ life as to how we should approach the topic, as well as the people. Please see this article for more guidelines on how to approach the issue with your kids.
We’d love to hear from you on this topic! Please tell us experiences you’ve had, ideas to contribute to the discussion, or concerns. The issue is by no means concluded, and we’ll only be encountering it more and more in today’s world. In addition, this year’s Axis Virtual subscription includes excellent resources about gender and sexuality. To find out more and to sign up, please click here. Our gender training for Axis Virtual will include special guest expert, John Stonestreet, one of the authors of Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage.