Of Common Grace, Nature, And Bathrooms

On a quick trip to and from Washington D.C. I read P. J. O’Rourke, The Baby Boom And How It Got That Way…. As always O’Rourke is funny, insightful, and often right on the mark. I’m not sure that I’m convinced that those of us, whom he calls “freshmen,” who were born during the Kennedy administration are really boomers—the boomers had the Beatles, the Kinks, and the Stone and we got Disco. I watched Ed Sullivan but it was long after they changed the camera angle to hide Elvis’ gyrating hips and long after  the Beatles nearly brought down the theater. Nevertheless, his contrast between the relatively carefree way in which the Boomers were raised (no one drove us to school, no bicycle helmets, we played outdoors unsupervised until dark) with the structured, controlled, super-safe way children are raised today (brought to you by the Boomers and their children) rang true. Whatever the differences between the experiences of those born during the Truman administration and those of us born during the Kennedy administration, we do share things in common and one of them is that my generation had a lot in common. We all did more or less the same things, at the same time, in the same way while asserting our “individuality.” As a public school students we did a great deal of lining up and marching in order.

One of the places for which we lined up and to which we marched was the bathroom. Our kindergarten teacher was a female so when we boys went to the bathroom we were relatively unsupervised. Females were not allowed in the boys’ bathroom except in extreme emergencies and we never had any of those when I was in school. We took an extraordinarily long time to wash our hands. We competed to see who could pile up the foamy soap the highest while Mrs Engstrom stood outside pleading for us to finish and get back in line so we could march somewhere else. We knew, however, that we were boys and she was a girl, a grown up girl but a girl nonetheless. No one really had to explain to us that girls were different. We knew that. We could see it for ourselves. They behaved differently. They talked differently. They walked differently. They ran differently. They really ran when we chased them and we liked to chase them because when we did, they squealed and that was strangely exciting. While we were surreptitiously trying to set leaves and helpless bugs on fire with Billy’s father’s magnifying glass, the girls were huddled together in another corner of the playground sharing secrets and talking about girl things. We were doing stuff and they were relating.

As a very young boy I did not much appreciate the differences between boys and girls. I only knew that they were yucky. I don’t really remember liking a girl until perhaps 2nd or 3rd grade. At some point, however, there was a girl who caught my eye. I don’t remember her name or why I found myself thinking about her but she did and I did. I doubt I ever spoke to her but perhaps we traded Valentine’s Day cards. I don’t remember. I’m sure I was not much of a catch. There was no doubt among us boys that boys and girls were different. No one had to teach us that there was a difference. We knew it instinctively. We knew it from experience. We knew it from nature. Of course, when we made classroom trips to the bathroom, we separated and went our different ways. I’m sure it never occurred to any of us children nor did it occur to any of the adults that there might be a third group of students, who were neither male nor female. I’m sure it never occurred to anyone at school that a teacher should suggest to a child that he or she might not be either fully male or female. Nothing in the experience of the adults around us or in the experience of us children suggested to us that there might be more than two sexes. Some of us had pets and our dogs and cats were either male or female. When we traveled to Grandpa’s farm, the livestock were either male or female. That was just nature, creation, the way things are.

Remarkably, however, things have changed rather dramatically since the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Under the second Obama Administration we discovered that there are not only two sexes but, according to Facebook, dozens of them. Scientists are scrambling to explain the sudden proliferation of human sexes. Perhaps microwave ovens are more dangerous than we were told? Whereas, in his campaign for his first term, then candidate Obama promised Rick Warren and America that he believed that marriage is between a man and a woman, he “evolved” during the campaign for a second term and it happened right before our eyes. This was a figurative, intellectual microwaving. Somehow the Christian faith which governed his principles during the first campaign no longer governed his principles, at least not in the same way.

It wasn’t long after that the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell that marriage is no longer to be regarded as grounded in nature and not long after that we began to read of un-elected commissions and school boards imposing new standards, including “gender neutral” bathrooms and even more remarkably we read about an apparent explosion in the number of “transgender” students and their right to use any locker room or bathroom they will.

Were there large numbers of repressed transgender children in the 1960s and 70s? I doubt it. There were a couple of boys in High School who were openly effeminate who, so long as they did not openly say that they were homosexual, were relatively safe. Their idea of pushing the boundaries was to join the cheer leading squad during the football games. We thought it was a little subversive until we learned that boys had been cheer leaders decades before cheer leading somehow became the girls’ domain.

Whence the apparent flood of students who cannot tell or will not decide if they are boys or girls? As someone opined on Twitter, it is the new way to rebel. The kids we called “moody” are now called “emos” (emotionals) and this sensitive lot now does its feeling on social media rather than in private journals. This seems a likely source for the new crop of ostensibly transgender kids. It’s the new way to say “pay attention to me.” Coming out as transgender is plausible only in a culture that has quite lost connection to nature. Even from the perspective of evolutionary biology, if the fundamental impulse of species are to perpetuate itself, what has nature to gain by suddenly producing a crop of asexual or trans-sexual members of the species? Of course, this is not a biological phenomenon at all. This is a social phenomenon. It’s a cultural phenomenon. It’s a way of rebelling against order, especially a created order with Creator establishing the order.

The rise of ostensibly asexual or trans-sexual people is also a clear sign of a culture that has lost its mind. That adults should be inculcating into children the notion that they are neither male nor female, that nature is not, that sexual identity is a mere nominal, arbitrary, subjective construct, is quite insane. Should enough people embrace such insanity, the human race will simply die off. That seems unlikely. The trans-sexual emperor, if you will, has no clothes. He/she is parading about, living in fantasy world that has no connection to actual, objective reality. If a little boy speaks up now, however, he will be fined by the local human rights council. Human reproduction has not really changed, however. Chromosomes are still chromosomes. Biology is still biology. This is just politics. It’s just silly and dangerously so.

That quasi-governmental entities are seeking to impose this nonsense on the rest of us is a reminder of how dependent we are upon the kind, gentle, restraining providence of God, which our theologians have sometimes called “common grace.” I used to think that the doctrine of common grace was a 19th-century construct of the Kuyperian or neo-Calvinist movement but I have seen it in our earlier, orthodox writers in the same terms. Still, the idea was usually covered under the doctrine of providence. What we are seeing is a glimpse of what could be were the kind Providence of God to lift its restraining hand, if you will. The sort of corruption that the Apostle Paul describes in Romans 1–2 seems to be on the verge of becoming federal policy.

Human sexuality is not arbitrary, nominal, or insane. It is grounded in nature, in creation. There is a connection between the names male and female and nature. What is arbitrary, what is a purely nominal, social construct is the claim that there is suddenly a great wave of trans-sexual, asexual, or trans-gender people. There are not. Mass psychoses happen. Millions of Germans identified with a maniac, which led to the deaths of millions of people. The French lost their minds in the late 18th century. American colonists lost their minds briefly in a frenzy over witches. The list could go on. This is one of these collective, social, psychotic breaks with reality. Usually cultures come to their senses but sometimes after a great deal of suffering. Frankly I am not sure whether to pray that God might restrain this insanity or whether that is a form of enabling. Perhaps it’s better to let the addict suffer the consequences of his choices with the hope and prayer that he sees the greatness of his sin and misery and cries out for help.

Whatever the right course, it’s time for those of us who can see that school boards and human rights commissions have lost their minds to say so and to act accordingly. Nothing has really changed since Mrs Engstrom led us children to the bathroom in 1966. Boys are still boys and girls are still girls and all the claims to the contrary are just sound and fury signifying nothing.

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  1. thank you.

    “What we are seeing is a glimpse of what could be were the kind Providence of God to lift its restraining hand, if you will.”

    and what ‘could be’ is what ‘will be’…..

    Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 2 Thess 2:5 -7

    But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word. 2 Thess 2:13-17

  2. RSC,

    Good piece. You wrote, “The trans-sexual emperor, if you will, has no clothes. He/she is parading about, living in fantasy world that has no connection to actual, objective reality. If a little boy speaks up now, however, he will be fined by the local human rights council. Human reproduction has not really changed, however. Chromosomes are still chromosomes. Biology is still biology. This is just politics. It’s just silly and dangerously so.”

    As I reflect on this I’m left wondering if there might not be a parallel to nominalism and the debate about substance and accidents? Your thoughts?

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