Target Just Became the New Front Line of the Culture Wars

In case you missed it:  Target just announced that they would be doing away with gender-specific signage in their children’s toy and bedding departments.  Not surprisingly, the complementarians of the world are crying cultural capitulation.  Grant Castleberry of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, the flagship organization of the complementarian movement, took to the blogosphere to denounce Target for blurring the God-ordained distinction between male and female.  In his view, “the very concept of gender is being neutralized” and “parents themselves are trying to outrun their own gender identities, dragging their children onto their own dark labyrinths”.  In this day and age, “all it seems to take is a few social media punches from disgruntled, progressive customers, and companies are swift to jump on the winding, zigzag gender line.  The problem is, the line keeps moving and twisting, and in this case, disappearing.”  “Rather than reinforcing maleness and femaleness, this confuses it.  Instead of helping guide children towards embracing who they actually are, this blurs reality.”

Anybody out there starting to get “Blurred Lines” running through your head?

In a rant almost worthy of an Ayn Rand speech, Castleberry asserts that “gender means things”.  Regardless of how we may feel about it, we are all fundamentally and inescapably wired by God to be either male or female.  This distinction means that men are wired by God “to protect and to pursue”, while women are wired “to nurture and to be pursued”, as the Bible clearly teaches.  This works itself out in the form of boys gravitating toward toys that involve fighting, building and racing while girls gravitate toward American Girl and Barbie dolls and Disney Princess dresses.  (Not that toy companies actually believe the Bible.  They don’t.  But they’re smart enough to know how the universe works, which is of course based on the Bible.)  But this is all rubbish to the progressive/postmodern mindset, because the sovereign, self-determining individual is the arbiter of all things and is free to remake himself and his world in his own image, removing all the God-ordained realities and boundary markers of our universe.  Yet in the end, this is a losing enterprise.  It does not work.  There are fixed realities in the universe that will not budge, and reality will avenge itself in the end.

True enough.  There is a distinction between male and female that is woven into the very fabric of our being.  Male and female are two completely different experiences of being human, and it takes a great deal of empathetic imagination for one to relate to the other.  Male and female are not interchangeable, as the more progressive and liberal elements of our society would like us to believe.

Yet in the world of complementarianism. the distinction between male and female is loaded down with a lot of excess baggage that it was never meant to carry.  In their view, the Bible clearly teaches that, as noted above, men are created “to protect and to pursue” while women are created “to nurture and to be pursued”, and they have very rigid and specific ideas about what this is supposed to look like in the home, in the church, and in society.  These ideas amount to an absurd legalism that reduces masculinity and femininity to a list of prescribed rules and roles and behaviors.  Example:  John Piper, in a withering diatribe against women in combat that was originally written in 2007 and resurfaced a couple of years back, gives the illustration in which a male and female student are headed out for late-night munchies and get attacked by a man with a knife.  The female student has a black belt in karate but is nonetheless required by God to submit to the male student’s attempts to protect her, even at the cost of his life and potentially hers as well.  Another example:  Owen Strachan dropped this doozy in response to that “Dad Mom” Tide commercial a couple of years back in which he castigated any man who makes less money than his wife and chooses to serve his family as a stay-at-home dad as a “man fail”, because the Bible clearly teaches that it is the responsibility of women to work inside the home while it is the responsibility of men to work outside the home.  It doesn’t matter if a woman is better at fighting than the man.  It doesn’t matter if a woman enjoys work or is good at what she does or if a man has a passion to help out at home and be involved in the lives of his children.  It doesn’t matter if the male student’s attempts to fight off the assailant with the knife would put both him and the female student in mortal danger.  It doesn’t matter if the man is incapable of earning at a very high level while his wife is required to give up her lifelong passion and the entire family suffers for it.  God is God.  He ordained these gender roles.  These roles will not be mocked, and neither will the God who ordained them.

People:  If your theology requires these kinds of sacrifices, if your theology preaches a God who is not above delighting in such sacrifices and the destruction wrought by such sacrifices, CHANGE YOUR THEOLOGY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Male and female are not interchangeable, as the liberal and progressive elements of our society would have us believe.  But when the distinction between male and female is reduced to a list of rigid, prescribed rules and roles and behaviors, it takes on baggage it was never meant to carry and we all suffer for it.