Sunday, November 29, 2009

Take it Like a Man; or Woman

“Cool”, “Dank”, “That is boss”, “You got murked.” Sound familiar? These are just a few of the “hip” phrases that are common jargon for the current generation of high school students. However, after this past weekend, some of them have developed a more robust vocabulary.

For 3 days nearly 100 high school students from Grace Pelham and Powdersville dialogued, discussed and even debated what it means to be created in the image of God; to be created male and female. Today’s teens just aren’t being asked to “be open” to alternative ideas such as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender, but additionally are being told that gender is self-defined, that no outside force, culture or deity can determine who you are or who you should be.

So in an attempt to bring clarity and direction in a world of chaos, we spent our weekend studying what it means to live out manhood and womanhood biblically as a high school student. Here are a few of the takeaways:

1 – Gender is a worship issue. Gen 1:26-27 says that “in god’s image we were created male and female.” As Christians, if we are going to adequately reflect the image of God, we must live out our gender the way God intended. As much as singing songs, journaling, reading the Scriptures and living in community, fulfilling our gender as male and female is a way we worship God.

2 – Gender is broken. (Genesis 3) All of creation is affected by sin and the fall of man. Because of this men and women no longer naturally reflect the image of God through their gender.
• Man’s core struggle is passivity which gets played out in areas such as school, friends, family and how we relate to the opposite sex.
• Women’s core gender struggle is independence and it can be evidenced in the lives of high school girls’ interaction with friends, families and relating to the opposite sex.

3- Gender can be redeemed. (Rev. 21:1-5) Due to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, “all things, (including gender) are being made new.”
• Men are called to pursue, protect and provide.
Pursue = lead, take initiative
Provide = take care of your responsibilities
Protect = defend the weak and needy, hold your peers accountable
• Women are called to affirm, respond and nurture.
Affirm = to come alongside and fill in what is lacking
Respond = to react for the benefit of others
Nurture = to provide life for those around you

4. We are agents of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). As Christians, we are part of God’s game plan to reconcile the world to Himself. He has given each of us, including teens, a role to play. We believe that one of those roles is to be the men and women that God intended for us to be and to show the world how great our God is.

On the heels of this retreat we are praying that God will give our high school students a vision and a trajectory to go out and lead their peers, families and culture in the area of gender. Realizing that the way they embody masculinity and femininity today, has immediate impact and eternal consequences.

Now that is dank!

For further study in biblical gender for singles and young adults, you may want to read Doing Things Right in Matters of the Heart by John Ensor.