What does the world have to say about gender norms and abortion, and how are Christians to respond? Join AMBrewster as he helps Christian parents correctly interpret the cultural trends around us.
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“The Four Family Loves, Part 1” (episode 128)
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Click "Read More" for today’s Transcript.
Hey, guys, it’s great to be back with you again as we wrap up our discussion about 2019 Parenting Trends.
If you missed our last episode, I would start there, but today’s topics do not require yesterday’s discussion to appreciate them, so stick around if you like.
And if you’re new to the show, I pray that we can be a blessing to you as you do this crazy thing called parenting.
And it really is crazy; crazy to think we could do it well on our own.
But praise God we don’t have to. The Lord provides our direction through His Word and the life and strength necessary to follow Him through salvation.
This way we can always know the Truth and identify the lies.
And today’s there’s going to be a lot of that.
But before we jump in, I want to thank Adam and Nichole for making today’s episode possible. They believe in what TLP is doing so much that they graciously support us via PayPal.
And if you’re curious why someone would do that, you can subscribe to the show and hang out with us for a while, and you click on the “5 Ways to Support TLP" link in the description. There you’ll find a ton of helpful information about who we are and what we’re trying to accomplish for God.
Now, I know that it’s almost Valentines, but we decided to not do anything specifically love-related this month because we spent so much time with it last year.
If you have not heard our Four Family Love Series or the book-end episodes we did last February, you really need to check it out. You need to go through it with your family, you need to download the free notes, and you need to start implementing it in your lives.
So many people told us how impactful it was for their families, and we want you to be able to experience that as well.
I’ll include a link in the description of today’s episode for “The Four Family Loves, Part 1.”
Okay, let’s review our topics from last time and then pick apart the final two 2019 Parenting Trends.
Last time we discussed Raindrop Names, Self Care, Limited Technology, Parenting Styles, and Family Redefinition.
And we tried to make sure that when we encounter a philosophy (which is “why someone does what they do”), we always try to compare it to God’s revealed Truth.
Now, we only have two more points left, but these are the big ones we all should have seen coming in 2019.
So, let’s shed our emotional responses, preconceived notions, and culturally-informed ideologies and really grapple with these concepts.
Okay, so number 6 on the list is . . .
6. Gender Confusion
Yeah, this one was obvious.
First, let me say that I’m not yet 40, but I’m so old-school in so many ways that I really don’t like using the word gender to refer to anything other than grammar. I prefer the word “sex” and have some very strong opinions on why we should use it.
I won’t bore you with the details right now, but you can hear more on this subject by listening to our TLP Snippet #5 called “Transgenderism is Child Abuse.”
The TLP Snippets provide parenting wisdom in 5 minutes or less, so it’s not a lengthy discussion, but it’s still very valuable.
Anyway, if I use the word “sex” instead of “gender,” you’ll understand.
Now, the research I did primarily focused on disappearing Gender Reveals.
A lot of my reading included people putting down gender reveals because they argued it was becoming frivolous and over-the-top as people seemed to want to outdo everyone else.
Some also argued that inviting your friends over just to announce the baby’s sex is a lame idea for a party.
Well, before I get to the real issue here, let me say that I believe everything is worth celebrating. I also believe that the sex of your baby is an important part of the identity God has given him or her.
So celebrate it however you want. Tell people, have a party, concoct some ridiculous way to announce it. It’s no big deal, and if your friends and family don’t appreciate it, I’d say the problem lies with them and not with you.
But, here’s the crux of the issue: A couple seconds I said that the sex of your baby is an important part of the identity God has given him or her.
And the world doesn’t like that.
The word “gender” has been redefined to refer both to sex and also to an emotional or cognitive state of behaving within the stereotypical cultural constructs for a sex.
What’s really funny is that the whole “gender” push chips away at its own foundations.
One article said that, “parents are expressing concern about reinforcing damaging gender stereotypes with parties that are all about the ‘pink’ or ‘blue.’”
And another writer wrote that it “forces your newborn to subscribe to gender norms while they’re still in utero.”
But in order to express a gender construct that runs counter to the child’s sex is to openly admit that people of different sexes act differently.
Therefore, to allow a child — regardless of their sex — to embrace any kind of “gendering” should be unacceptable as it suggests that to act masculine or feminine requires certain behaviors.
We don’t have time to pick apart this movement in any great detail, but we must grapple with Truth, and some of you aren’t going to like it.
I’ve been thinking about publishing an episode called “The Gender Discussion Everyone is Going to Hate.”
And here’s why: the Biblical data on this topic doesn’t fit into most of our philosophies, whether secular or Christian.
Is it true that God created humans with one of two sexes? Yes.
Should we embrace everything that it means to be a man or a woman? Yes.
Should we teach our children to cherish and appreciate and fulfill their God-given calling to be a man or a woman? Yes.
But, my friends, our 21st century gender norms are completely messed up.
In fact, I would argue that some of the most conservative notions concerning gender are patently not biblical.
Now, I want to save most of this content for the episode I just cited, and I really want to spend more time on the final point of today’s show, but let me say this one additional thing so I don’t have you jumping to any inaccurate assumptions about what I’m trying to communicate.
1. Biblically speaking you will not find much information differentiating the roles of men and women.
Now, they’re there, but they’re limited, and they mostly have to do with authority structures within the family and church.
But . . .
2. You will not find any biblical texts that suggest that men and women were created by God to have different character traits, desires, ideas, capacities, proclivities, personalities, thought patterns or responses.
Let me give you just one illustration. There is a patently false idea going around that women were created to be nurturers and men were created to be providers.
You will not find those ideas anywhere in Scripture. You won’t find them illustrated. You won’t find them commanded. You won’t find them hinted at.
And yet, well-intentioned writers and speakers braid biblical concepts with psychological and cultural expectations and — without actually preaching the text — they lead everyone to assume that the way we are is the way God created us to be.
They observe that since men seem to thrive in a provider role and that women tend to fulfill the nurturer role that this is how God created us.
My friends, it is not so.
The most famous passage in the Bible about Godly women lists more stereotypical masculine traits than traditional 80’s femininity. The woman depicted there was a provider in every sense of the word.
How many times in Scripture does Paul compare himself to a mother in his love and compassion for people? Paul fits the model of a nurturer so beautifully.
And, in a parenting context, God calls the man to bring his children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The bulk of the responsibility to teach and correct and counsel and train the children falls on the men, not the women.
Now, do the women bear responsibility? Yes, but my point is that we too often accept our culture’s definition of gender norms because “it’s the way things are.”
Well, in 2019, the ways things are is changing. Celebrity parents are claiming that they’re going to raise their children without gender identity until they choose one for themselves.
Of course, this will only fuel the confusion and sinful temptations that arise when we refuse to do things God’s way.
On the other side, enforcing biblical gender expectations is not going to look like your 1995 independent, republican, fundamental baptist either.
Now, I'm not making fun of any of those people. I identify as all of those.
But the accepted gender norms of that group in the 80’s and 90’s were not consistently biblical either because they too put more emphasis on cultural stereotypes than High Biblical Expectations.
It’s my hope to deal with God’s understanding of gender norms in that future episode called “The Gender Discussion Everyone is Going to Hate.”
And, if you’re listening to this in the future, it may already be posted. So you should check it out.
Here’s the point:
Don’t reject anything until you find that it doesn’t line up with God’s Word. The Lord will not be glorified by a little boy who believes he’s a girl, or vice versa.
But He’s also not going to be glorified by us teaching our sons that boys don’t cry, crochet, or play the clarinet.
Okay, here’s the final 2019 Parenting Trend we’re going to discuss today.
7. Miscarriage Transparency
Now, on the surface, I’m really happy about this trend.
One author wrote: “Previous generations of parents may have hidden their secrets about how they grew their family behind closed doors, but today's parents aren't afraid to talk about the hard stuff. More celebrity stories and high-profile figures, from Carrie Underwood to Michelle Obama, are helping to start the conversation about miscarriage, infant, and pregnancy loss. An emphasis on the good and the hard parts about parenting is a trend for the new year that will be sure to stick around.”
I recently was talking with two of my friends about their miscarriage, and I said, “I’m so glad you chose to tell everyone that you were pregnant as early as you did. So many people refuse to give the big news lest they were to suffer a miscarriage. But I believe it’s during times like that that you need the body of Christ to know with what you’re struggling and be there to help.”
Miscarriage is a physically and emotionally and mentally and spiritually brutal experience. I’m glad that people are realizing that this is something about which we need to talk . . . not hidden and coped with in the dark.
Not only does it provide opportunities to the Body of Christ to one-another each other in these difficult times, but it also provides opportunities to point hurting, unbelieving moms and dads to the hope that only God gives.
So, on the surface, this trend is positive and wonderful. We need to be there for each other.
However, I can’t help but acknowledge that this trend is emerging right alongside the growing abomination of abortion.
On one side people want to talk about the grief associated with losing their unborn baby (which normally occurs in the first four months), and on the other side people are pretending to celebrate the death of an infant in the third trimester or on the table after a botched abortion!
Now, I believe with all my heart that my core group of TLP listeners stands firmly with us as pro-life in every way possible. And I’m going to say more about that in a minute.
But, I’m just appalled at the diametrically opposed viewpoints concerning the value of life in our society.
Yes, my friends, be open and transparent about your miscarriage. Grieve and joy with the Body of Christ.
But don’t then turn around and applaud someone else as they murder their baby.
Those mothers need to know the Truth and hope and salvation of God. They don’t need an apathetic tolerance that doesn’t loving warn people when they’re doing something dangerous.
In a world full of obligatory warning labels, you would think that people would understand that the most loving thing to do is warn people when they’re using something or doing something that may hurt them or someone else.
Of course, most people don’t interpret being told “no” as loving, but we mustn’t stop.
Now, let me transition just for a minute and ask you for some assistance.
Truth.Love.Parent. wants to take a more aggressive stance against abortion. We’ve always been pro-life and will continue proclaiming the beauty and value and purpose of life.
So, we’re not changing anything about what we believe.
Also, my asking this doesn’t mean that fighting abortion is going to become our main, overarching mission.
But we want everyone to know that TeamTLP is decidedly against abortion, and we want to do what we can to help families struggling after an abortion, or who are uncertain about what to do with their unwanted pregnancy. We also want to make sure our voice is heard when it comes to the sanctity of human life.
But I want to make certain that we align ourselves with groups and causes that purposefully glorify God in everything else they do.
I know there are people on every side of the fence who are pro-life. There are millions of people in the US who hate abortion, but who also don’t love God.
We want to stand against abortion, but we want to do so hand-in-hand with other believers who are trying to worship God by protecting the unborn.
This is where you can help.
If you know of strong, vocal, Christ-honoring pro-life organizations who are decidedly Christian, please send links to TeamTLP@TruthLoveParent.com.
Of course, we know about LiveAction and Lila Rose, and we’re so thankful for what they’re doing, but we’re also interested in the underdogs, the less-well-known organizations who are in the trenches doing the work of the Lord.
So, please, send us your nominations. You can also link your favorite organizations on our Facebook page.
I want to personally contact some of these organizations to find out what TLP can do to play a more aggressive role in protecting our little ones.
I also think it would be great to have a page on our website dedicated to pointing people to counseling ministries and programs to help them if they think that an abortion is their only option.
Truth.Love.Parent. has never been, nor ever plans to be a political engine. We want to be the go-to hub for all things biblical parenting, but we also don’t believe we should just be a tacit spectator in this cultural theater. We want everyone to know that we support life — not just physical life, but spiritual life to the honor and glory of God.
We can’t preach eternal life through Christ if we’re going to ignore the physical lives around us who are in need.
Again, this is not a social justice stunt or political posturing. This is TeamTLP and I realizing that we need to be a little more vocal about this very huge issue in America. And this will also encompass far more than just abortion. We need to continue discussing adoption and foster care and the like from God’s Word as well.
Thank you for joining us friends.
Please share this episode, and join us next time when we get a better understanding of the sin that so easily besets us and our kids.
I’ll see you then.
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