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Real Stuff My Dad Says 80: Vanity Fair Is A Church Issue

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Last week, I was able to enjoy one of life’s great pleasures: Dad and I went to a ballgame together. My poor wife and mom endured eight long innings of what they considered monotony, but what Dad and I considered pure joy!

I say only eight innings, because I don’t care who you are, the ninth inning was a blast – tie game, bases loaded, five-man infield, capped off with a walk-off grand slam by the home team! (It was just a shame that Dad’s Pirates were on the losing end).

Throughout the game, there were moments with a full count on the batter, two outs and men on first and second, Dad and I couldn’t help but laugh at the abundance of opportunities we had to wonder “Do you send him? Will the runner steal third?”

You see, nearly two years ago, we did a podcast titled “Do You Send Him?”. In it, I summarized:

According to my dad, “The most important play is the one that hasn’t happened yet.”  In baseball, and in life, it’s important to mentally prepare for any situation that the game – or life – may send your way.

So, what’s the curveball coming across the plate today?

Well, anyone who has logged onto any social media outlet, news source, gossip rag, or fishwrap (newspaper), has been struck by the latest cover of Vanity Fair.Call Me Caitlyn

It’s everywhere.

And praise, condemnation, adulation and vilification are overflowing Twitter’s and Facebook’s respective cups.

So what?

And THAT’S the problem.

You see, when we were at the ballgame, my mom and wife weren’t paying attention to the game on the same level that Dad and I were. They were aware of the score. They knew when the seventh inning stretch was coming, and when the wave was circling around to our section. But, when the bottom of the ninth came and things got exciting, they were caught by surprise.

But not my Dad and me.

Dad and I saw the little cracks in the defense; we noticed the shifts in momentum; as well as the pitcher/batter match ups and other intricacies that escaped my mom and wife.

We saw the drama coming.

Of course, we couldn’t predict a walk-off grand salami – things could have gone any of a dozen different ways, but we could envision each of those possibilities, and so could every player and coach down on the field.

They saw the drama coming.

So what does that have to do with Vanity Fair?

I see the drama coming.

Now, I’m not here to wave a judgmental finger at Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner, nor at any of those who chose to wrap him/her/them in a heroic robe and proclaim the ushering in of a new era in gender identity. That’s not my game. Not today.

Today, I’m waving a judgmental finger at the pastors and leadership teams of America’s Bible-believing, Christ-following churches.

You see, whether our pastors, teachers, shepherds, or leaders want to accept it or not, our American culture and its collective moral compass is shifting faster than it ever has. Many people point to the fifties and the advent of rock n roll with Elvis’ gyrating hips as a catalyst for moral change. Some point to the sixties and the invention of The Pill as the gateway drug to free love and fewer inhibitions. Yet neither of these, nor Disco, Wall Street greed, wartime patriotism, nor any other movement or fad since has spun our culture into a frenetic, spiraling pace as much as sexual identity in the past five years.

And almost all churches remain mute on the subject.

I’m not saying that churches should be hosting rallies every weekend. But I am saying that they should be teaching and preparing their congregations for when there are five defensive players across the infield instead of four. The parents in our churches should be instructed on how to field the soon-to-come awkward questions from their kids with authority and uncompromised Biblical conviction, as well as unwavering grace and compassion.

But they’re not.

They don’t acknowledge the drama coming.

Instead, when pastors teach on parenting, they use the same sermon notes from the turn of the century (pick a century). They assume that the whole congregation is on the same page when it comes to their collective understanding of what the Bible says in regards to gender identity equality and same-sex marriage.Church In A Bubble

In their “Parenting 101” sermons, they tell their congregants to stop focusing on GPA’s or MVP’s and merely focus on GOD. Loving Jesus and loving others is more important than straight A’s.

I’m not arguing against this. Not one bit.

But how does this help me when my son asks why a third restroom is being installed along with the boys and girls restrooms?

This cultural denial of God’s authority is not a fad. It’s an ever increasing, ever encroaching societal shift. When it comes to society’s denial of God, the season of delicately addressing the other side or ignoring it altogether is over.Christ-Cleansing-the-Temple-Carl-Heinrich-Bloch-1875

Take Jesus’ example. He didn’t lash out when people assaulted Him. But He left no table unturned when they devalued God and ignored His sovereignty. Even when it came to discussing divorce, Jesus brought up gender identity:

Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?”

“Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’” And he said, “‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” (Matthew 19:3-6)

Jesus first had to start with the foundational ground rules of God’s plan for men and women before even starting about His plan for marriage.

Yet, our culture has a different plan… a different agenda.

You see, just seven years ago, in one of the nation’s most liberal states, California’s citizenry voted to amend its constitution to limit marriage to one man and one woman. But then, two years ago, that popular vote was deemed null and void. Unconstitutional. Twenty years ago, liberal hero Bill Clinton instituted the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in our military in regards to loosening things up on enlisted servicemen and women who swung from the other side of the plate. Now, since 2011, with the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, homosexuals are completely free to dutifully serve their country, but those who exhibit “transvetism” are psychiatrically disqualified and those who have “major abnormalities or defects of the genitalia” are medically disqualified.

I see the drama coming, and I see this policy changing.

So, what’s a parent to do?

You see, following Jesus’ example, my point is in regards to the previously widely-held understanding that mankind is created in God’s own image –

    In the image of God he created them;
Male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

I say previously, because there is a shift in our culture – even within many churches – that ignores God’s authoritative plan for humankind and the gender roles they are intended. Even though this verse is printed in black and white, in the first chapter of everyone’s Bible, it’s recently been tossed out of America’s “common understanding”.

Some would say that our culture is now “more enlightened”, and those who oppose such a view are as old-school, ignorant, bigoted and unenlightened as a confederate flag waving, whites only drinking fountain installing racist.

But that’s simply not the truth.

The truth is that the Bible contains some content that was meant for the ancient Israelites in order to sustain their people group and much more that is eternally directed to all mankind.

Who God is: Sovereign Lord and Creator, is one of those components of Scripture woven throughout the Old and New Testaments, written for us today as much as for the ancients.

Therefore, if we believe that the Bible is truth, and that the intention for mankind is to be men – created as and living as men – and women – created as and living as women – married to one another, one man to one woman… then we need to be prepared to discuss this truth amongst one another, with our children, and from our pulpits.

So, this is it.

It’s up to you. It’s up to your church leaders to prepare today’s Christian parents. It’s up to all of us to begin and continue this discussion so that when secular culture knocks on our door, we will not be frightened, but we will be prepared to give an answer with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience so that anyone who speaks maliciously against our good behavior may be ashamed of their slander (1 Peter 3:14-16)

There you go. It’s bottom of the ninth. The game is tied. They’ve brought an extra infielder in to stop you from scoring the winning run. The pressure is on.

Will you stand tall, stand firm, stand on the Solid Rock and hit it out of the park, or go down silently looking?

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