Posted by: Diane | February 28, 2014

I’m Confused . . .

You don’t have to be just male or female on Facebook anymore. The social media giant is adding a customizable option with about fifty different terms people can use to identify their gender as well as three preferred pronoun choices: him, her or them.    The Star

These opening lines from a recent article in The Star newspaper have got me scratching my head. I suppose I’m getting old – first of all, I don’t have a Facebook account and secondly, I can’t think of forty-eight other choices of gender identify. If I’m really stretching myself, I could possibly come up with five or six – but forty-eight? (I just had a long discussion with a 22-year-old friend, so now I can think of ten.)

“There’s going to be a lot of people for whom this is going to mean nothing but for the few it does impact, it means the world” comments Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison.

Is it compassion I need to feel?

What I feel is confusion.

What I remember is a scene from my favourite movie, “Fiddler on the Roof”.

Tevya, a hardworking and loving father of three beautiful daughters, is struggling, trying to make sense of the changing world around him. He wrestles with cultural vs. biblical values.

“Because of our traditions, we have kept our balance for many, many years. Here in Anatevka, we have traditions for everything: how to how to eat, how to sleep, how to wear clothes. For instance, we always keep our heads covered, and always wear a little prayer-shawl. This shows our constant devotion to God. You may ask, how did this tradition start? I’ll tell you. I don’t know. But it’s a tradition. And because of our traditions, every one of us knows who he is, and what God expects him to do.”

Tevya’s daughters respectfully challenge tradition, with regard to marriage and this pushes Tevya into a “on the one hand” . . . on the other hand . . . conversation with God.

But there comes a point where Tevya won’t compromise— when, in his own words, “there is no other hand”—where it’s less about tradition and more about bottom-line belief.

“On the other hand, how can I turn my back on my faith, my people? If I try and bend that far, I’ll break. On the other hand . . . No. There is no other hand.”

When it comes to tradition, belief, and truth claims I feel a lot like Tevya. I have this running dialogue with God, struggling to sort out when I am willing to compromise and when “there is no other hand.” Because if I bend that far, I’ll break.

The Bible does not talk about 48 different gender identities.

Culture does . . .

 


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