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                             On Gender Shifting in Our Time
                               
    ―Shakespeare Spoke of It Centuries Ago
    
Regarding the shifting of gender, the change pursued by some today, the idea of it occurred centuries ago in English literature.   It flowed from the pen of Shakespeare, who put it on the lips of his character, Lady Macbeth, in one of his plays, the tragedy of Macbeth.  

     In Act I, scene v , Lady Macbeth contemplates the death of Duncan, the King of Scotland, saying: "The raven himself is hoarse that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan under my battlements (defensive walls).   Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here."   She appears to wish to undo her femininity, to change her into the stronger, male gender.  

     Continuing on, she says:
"And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty! make thick my blood; stop up the access and passage to remorse... "   She calls on evil angels to come to her and she addresses darkness: "Come thick night, and pall (cover) thee in the dunnest (darkest) smoke of hell, that my keen knife see not the wound it makes, nor heaven peep through the blanket of dark, to cry 'Hold, hold!'    Dire and direct, she didn't cloak the deed.

   
 Shakespeare's words "unsex me here," have left us with apt words, for a confusion in our time  words about undoing God's design for gender, the attempt to shift from the gender assigned one by the Creator.

     There are also those today who even attempt to multiply gender.  Consider this headline from the internet, "What Each of Facebook's 51 New Gender Options Mean." And this news item: "Germany will join Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Columbia, Argentina and a handful of US States to recognize a third legal sex on official documents. In Denmark, Ireland, Malta and Norway, adults can self-determine their gender without undergoing a medical examination or chromosome test. In some of these countries, individuals can change the gender on their birth certificate retrospectively."

     With such attempts at revision, on a light note, can you imagine someone addressing a ladies' club, saying, "Good afternoon, ladies and "gendered men"?   

     But on a serious, note, think about the impressions left on children from these notions, in our culture.   It's a confusion of something that shouldn't be confused, and we should consider what's being sown in the minds of these young, and even in the minds of the older.  

     G
enesis
clearly says that God made them two, male and female, and told them be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth. This is God's intent.   He commanded them to multiply humankind, not genders.   He made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, nor Eve and Genevieve.   He wanted them to generate new human life, and provided for this.

                                                  What Adam and Eve Had, and Lost

       W
e should look at the overall work of God in the world, as well as at what man has done to disturb the order, and put the problems of today into this context.    Otherwise you won't get the true picture.    If we look to what Adam and Eve had, at the very dawn of the race, they not only possessed the supernatural life of sanctifying grace (through which they were given a right to heaven), but they also had happiness, great knowledge, control of their passions by reason, and were free from suffering and death.    It was an existence  God meant for us and one much to be desired.  

     Their disobedience to God's command led to their loss  of these gifts, and to original sin by which we inherit the punishment of Adam: suffering, death, ignorance and a strong inclination to sin.   Had Adam not disobeyed we would've inherited his gifts (perhaps just being tested individually as his descendants).   Adam was acting on behalf of the human race, the race deriving from him.   Even Eve was fashioned from his rib.

     Because of ignorance we have difficulty in knowing needed truth, may easily fall into error and are more inclined to think of the worldly rather than the eternal.   We are left with a fallen nature, more subject to the wiles of the fallen angels, and to our own passions.   We must distinguish between the nature we received after the Fall of Adam and the one we were meant to have, but could no longer inherit through him.

     Besides sanctifying grace, as a help to us, God also gives us actual grace which enlightens our mind and strengthen the will to do good and avoid evil.   This particular grace is an impulse from God whereby we may act above the level of nature.

     At the commencement of the race, our first parents were untroubled.   Theirs was a harmonious existence.   But when they disobeyed God, a great, momentous change came about.   The troubles we experience originate from this Fall of Man in Paradise and from his posterity wandering in error. We now have to deal with this fallenness and with disordered desires.

     That strong inclination to sin mentioned before shows itself in various ways we conduct ourselves. We are not born, compelled to follow out these tendencies, but being born, need to deal with their existence, and if any are a personal problem to any of us, to struggle against them.

     We humans have our own spirit in the soul, with its faculties or powers of the intellect and free will--the intellect to know and the will to choose. The will is always attracted to what is good, or what appears to be so, so we have to be careful what we expose ourselves to.

                                                             The Way Temptation Works    

     T
his is the way temptation works: evil it is presented to the mind under the guise of something good. We are then subject to being misled to do something bad, it being cloaked by something appearing good.    Lady Macbeth, while of necessity attracted to what appeared as "a good" however, didn't seem to conceal her intent.   The raven may've croaked but Lady Macbeth didn't cloak.   (It didn't help her when she invited the evil angels to come to her bosom, who Shakespeare called "
you murdering ministers wherever in their sightless [unseen] substances you wait on nature's mischief!")

     In the working of temptation, imagine say, a berry pie baked with a golden brown crust sprinkled with sugar, warm from the oven. It can fill one with anticipation of a delicious, tasty bite. But say, that underneath the sugary crust are not berries like gooseberries nor blueberries, but berries of another kind, those of the black nightshade. What the sugary crust overlies and hides is something poisonous. The ripe, dark purple berries of this nightshade, contain a glycoalkaloid toxin known as solanine which should be avoided in the ripe, while the green, unripe ones have been reported to have caused fatalities. And a pie might have a bit of a mixture of both. It's reminiscent of the fruit in Eden--deadly to the race which Adam represented, and failed.

     The will being attracted to what is a good, or what appears so, is something like a magnet being drawn to iron.  We need be mindful of not getting caught and drawn in the wrong magnetic field.

                                                    Inclinations from the Fall

       Let's focus more on that strong inclination to sin resulting from Adam's fall.    We his progeny can have inclinations in the wrong direction, which were not there at the commencement of the race, but came after the Fall.

     A person, for example, might feel inclined to over-imbibe and drink too much, even to the point where the drink becomes master of him, not he, the master of the drink. Do we say that drunkenness and subsequent bad behavior are okay?   Common sense tells us that drunkeness is not okay, but is from an appetite gone awry, in need of control.

     We can have an inclination to overeat, and maybe get a bellyache. But we know we can control this, maybe with a smaller plate (A piece of advice I've heard is eat till you are a little hungry).

     A person may have an inclination to anger, which might lead to one carried away to assault or kill another. Do we say assaulting or killing another is okay?   I think not.  I'd think we'd generally recognize that this would be an inclination gone too far and that the emotion must be held in check.

     A person might be inclined to gamble and thereby spend money unwisely, becoming impoverished. The person's family suffers from his or her improvident spending. The inclination of unwise spending needs to be controlled and reined in.

     Another person may feel some affection or liking for another of the same gender. To like another of the same gender, in itself, is not abnormal, like son's feeling for his father, or even liking someone because of his or her kindness and smile.   However, to become sexually attracted to another of the same gender and to carry that out physically, goes out of bounds.    It's not what we're created for.   God made us with purpose, and that isn't the purpose.  

       Yes, impulses or feelings can come to one, that outside of marriage are not to be acted upon, no more than getting so mad as to kill another human, or falling down drunk are satisfactory actions.   These temptations, if they present themselves, need to be struggled against.

      If a person says "I was born this way" and thinks therefore he or she can't help it, but was made to follow out the inclination, the person is not seeing the objective truth.    It doesn't make sense that God would make and constitute man or a woman, in such a way, that he or she must sin and offend God because he or she was born that way.   God would not make a human born and bound of necessity to sin, and then condemn him or her for the sin.   This doesn't make sense.   It 's unfair to God, to think He would.

                                                                  The Outlook in Error

      T
he errant outlook on genders today, does not accord to God's design.   We need look to the history of the Fall of man in the Garden of Eden and the result of it, which we have to contend with.    Those who'd want us to follow a confused and erroneous path, would be the nether spirits who tend on mortal thoughts, to tempt us.  

      The notion of gender shifting and the multiplication of such change, are not something to invite under one's battlements and into one's soul.    A battlement, a defensive structure on a castle wall with openings to shoot through, to battle against outside forces.   And there are those who would want to overwhelm our spiritual defenses and enchain us to their evil intent.

      Something to be wary of regarding this issue, would be the opposing of a homosexual life style, being characterized as a hate crime.   You hate the sinner, but the sin.   If those given over to this way of life, contend you cannot speak against carrying out homosexuality carnally, their contention is in error and wrong.   If they think that we must be legally forced to agree with such a contention, this would be an unjust law.   We are not wrong to hold fast to God's design, and need to do so.    It's the temptation to the errant action that needs to be stood against.

      We should charitably pray for them to leave a life, lived in a moral fog. But any attempt by them, or those in league with them, to foist guilt or criminality upon those holding fast to God's design, is neither acceptable nor fair. It is an infringement on the right of others to live the way God meant them to.

      There is, of course, the devious one who works to lead us astray, his name mostly spelled out in the adjective given him here.    In Sacred Scripture, we know him in Chapter 12 of Revelations as "the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan who has deceived the whole world."   Were he a playwright like Shakespeare, he'd like us to follow his "ancient script" of temptation.   In this case, we might refer to him as Snakespeare!

                                                                                                      John Riedell

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