Aimee Byrd and I would like to withdraw our claim that gender makes no difference.
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Several weeks back there was a bit of a dust-up in conservative Reformed Protestant circles over the following simple question: Does being a man or a woman have any ethical significance for the way we live together in civil society? Despite the success of feminism in radically reworking gender roles . . . . Continue Reading »
Should pastors grease the Kardashian celebrity machine by mentioning Bruce Jenner from the pulpit? There are good arguments for ignoring the whole thing, but I think that’s a pastoral mistake. So much of our cultural trajectory converges on Bruce: our rampant Gnosticism, our confidence in technology, our moral libertarianism and determined flight from biblical standards, our cult of fame, our sexual self-contradictions. Bruce Jenner will be forgotten soon enough, but what he represents isn’t going away, because transgressiveness is one of the few cultural imperatives that we are not permitted to transgress.If we preach about Bruce, what should we say? When I asked the Jewish theologian David Novak how a synagogue would respond, his answer was stunning in its simplicity: First, “Jews would not recognize Jenner as a woman”; then, “Torah forbids castration.” Castration doesn’t turn a man into a woman. It only leaves him a damaged man. Continue Reading »
The brilliant lay philosopher of Judaism, Dennis Prager, has written lucidly about the utter distinctiveness of Judaism among the nations of its time in its understanding of human sexuality. Prager writes: The gods of virtually all civilizations engaged in sexual relations. In the Near East, the . . . . Continue Reading »
If one were to seek a connecting thread that runs through the biblical witness, a good candidate would be “faithfulness.” Robert Jenson has written that faithfulness is “the theological heart of the Bible,” and that, in turn, marriage is “the paradigm case of an ethic of faithfulness.” . . . . Continue Reading »