Thursday, June 12, 2008

Freaks, media, and Christian compassion

You've doubtless heard of the "world's first pregnant man."

I'm not going to put up a picture, and I'm not going to link to any of the breathless, adoring, giddy MSM articles on it. Unless you're locked in an attic (without any media access), you know the story. And, I would hope, you know that this is no such thing. Pregnant, yes; man, no.

And if you're either Christian or some-kind-of-morally-sane, you're repulsed at the media-fed, Oprah-fed adoration of this person, and how the story is being leveraged to feed the aggressive barrage of the homosexual agenda.

That being the case, you might initially find this essay by Ben Shapiro refreshingly different, for which I have Al Sends (—is that his real name?) to thank. Shapiro's opening graph is more sober and factual than most entire articles in the LSM:
The media seems bizarrely obsessed with the story of "Thomas Beatie," aka Tracy Lagondino. Beatie, a woman who legally changed her sex to "male," retained all of her internal female organs at the same time she took testosterone, grew a beard and had breast removal surgery. She then "married" her lesbian partner, Nancy. Nancy proceeded to artificially inseminate her "husband." And so the press has announced that Thomas/Tracy (Thracy, let's call her) is the world's first "pregnant man."

If Thracy is a man, then so is Rosie O'Donnell. Thracy has two X chromosomes, a fully functioning set of female genitalia, and a uterus -- and a voice higher than Alvin the Chipmunk's. She's a plain old lesbian who was weirdly fascinated with the idea of using a Schick Quattro on her face. Though Thracy's decision to artificially inseminate herself is the height of narcissism, it is hardly a medical anomaly.

Shapiro is clearly disgusted both by the media rapture, the not-so-hidden agenda, and the individual who has put herself and her self-disfigured body in the spotlight. His intent clearly is to rip off the gauzy filter and expose the many lies and deceptions.

Here's a taste of how he does it:
Thracy is no more than a glorified bearded lady, an Elephant Man for a new age... a self-promoting sleazebag willing to sell her soul and the soul of her baby for publicity... self-made monstrosity ...self-butchered breasts ...
The tone is angry, outraged, disgusted. You have to grant he's got good reason; it's a repulsive story, and the media's raptures are disgusting.

But I think that, as Christians, we have to resist fleeing from one error to another. This woman is a human being, created in God's image — and she's ruined by sin. She has ruined herself, disfigured herself, in her flight from God and pursuit of her twisted passions.

My first question, then, is: "...and that makes her different from you and me, exactly how?"

By nature and by choice, we're all in exactly the same boat. Check this:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:1-3)
Dead, enslaved, and getting deader. Doing it to ourselves over and over and over. Then rinse, and repeat. That's you, and that's me.

I can only conceive of two differences.

One: if you're outside of Christ, then perhaps this poor woman has taken her perversion, her brokenness, her rebellion against her Creator, and put it out there in a display of public bravado. But yours is more quiet. It is indulged in your thoughts, your beliefs, your attitudes. To see it, other humans would have to monitor your bedroom, your computer account, your checkbook, your heart. God sees it, though; and He sees you the same way He sees this poor woman: lost, condemned, hopeless in yourself. Same book, different cover.

Two: if you're in Christ — well, God help you and me if our response is anything along the lines of "I'm not that bad!" If that's true, then the rest of the truth is that we're probably worse. Because, as Christians, we don't have this woman's "excuse" of being dead and blind. We should know better.
For who makes you so superior? What do you have that you didn’t receive? If, in fact, you did receive it, why do you boast as if you hadn’t received it? (1 Corinthians 4:7-8 CSB)
A Christian should know and acknowledge that the only reason we're not in the same boat as this woman, or a worse boat, is the mysterious, unfathomable, sovereign grace of God. If we cherish even the slightest notion otherwise — God help us, and God help us specifically in what He might allow us to discover in ourselves, to awaken us to the horrifying truth.

The appropriate Christian response to this woman is, of course, not to celebrate her perversion, her self-mutilation, her agenda, or her abuse of this innocent child. Nor is it to treat her as if she were some foul sort of being beneath and other than ourselves. She's a lost soul, acting like a lost soul. The difference is simply that she's put her depravity on more open display than others.

Our response, I think, should be a tricky mixture of repulsion, sadness, compassion, prayer, and renewed resolution to reach out to everyone in our sphere with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who alone can save and redeem poor souls like this — and like ourselves.


Al said...

Well said... Good Gospel. Good God.

al sends
(this sign off is a hold over from my days as a Crypie in the US Navy)

April said...

Thanks for reminding us that it is by the Grace of God and that alone that we are saved from our stinking selves.

Carlo said...

Dan said, "Our response, I think, should be a tricky mixture of repulsion, sadness, compassion, prayer, and renewed resolution to reach out to everyone in our sphere with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who alone can save and redeem poor souls like this — and like ourselves."

Yes, I think our response should be mixed. If we have embraced the gospel we should not, in one very real sense, be shocked by behavior. Since the only difference that separates me and the "guy across the street" is the grace of God.

At the same time, I'm reminded of Habakuh when he was outraged at the blatant sin against God by Israel (it's not quite the same the same because US is not Israel - our nation is pluralistic nation - not a chosen people like Israel once was). And Habakuh's plea is "how long Lord?"

And the Lord tells them, don't worry, it will be okay, I'm sending the Chaldeans.

I know the Lord will not respond to us in an audible voice to us, but in one sense, I'm almost afraid to plea to the Lord and say, how long will you tolerate this blantant disregard for you. He's already judged this nation, that is clear, but I'm almost wondering what else He has already planned for our nation, don't worry, it will be okay, I'm prepared to give your nation over more to themselves in their and blinding them more them ever and give them over totally to their wickedness, don't worry, it will be okay.

The point of the Lord's message to Habakuh was for Habakuh to trust the Lord's providence.

If Obama is elected, if the laws of marriage are perversed to include all sorts immorality, if churches lose their non-profit status for speaking truth, if clerks in CA lose their jobs because they in good conscience cannot "marry" same sexes, the Lord seems to be telling us, don't worry. He is in absolute control.

LeeC said...

When I think about the acts done I am sick and angry.

When I think about the people I want to cry.

They are slaves, unable to even want to do whats right. In the same pityable state I too was once in and am not more because someone rescued me in my helplessness.

I see no contradiction in desiring the Lord to come soon and judge the unrighteous, while praying for the lost to flee the wrath to come and to take shelter with me in the arms of Christ.

God will be glorified by both.

DJP said...

I think what angers me most is:

1. The blithe, irresponsible celebrations in the LSM; and, even more

2. How innocent children are mere props in these immorality-plays

LeeC said...

Number 2 is the one that most often makes me ask "How long?"


Carlo said...

I believe the reason for #2 is to demonstrate God's loooooooooooong forebearance with sin. And that forebearance needs to be manifested in our lives as well with our neighbor.

I don't know about you all, but I know a couple of REAL stupid people. People who think they are wise and smart and have become absolute idiots and fools. I know a couple of people who crawl under my skin and make me sick. I don't know, maybe I'm the only that has friends like these and I'm cursed.

But I think the lesson here for us, first, I can never truly love these people and show forebearance like the Lord does to the world. Love they neighbor as thyself? I can never do that like God does, even close, never mind perfectly.

All I can do is confess my sins and I trust the Lord will allow afflictions, trials and tribulations to conform (ever so slowly) me more and more to His image.

Jay said...

Good post... I initially thought you were going to be supportive of Shapiro's piece -- which I had already read -- and I'm glad to find that you pointed out his lack of compassion for a lost sinner.

I do want to say, however, that I don't think children are mere "props" in these situations. Perhaps to the MSM, but the individuals involved really do love their children. It's just that in this area, they too are blind to the destruction they could be causing.

Trust me, I know. I don't think I have much chance of getting married and I really am fine with that, but even I can't escape the strong desire to have a child. I'd love to adopt, but as a Christian I know that only a father and mother can provide the kind of home a child needs. A single man, no matter how faithful, cannot. It's a hard thing to accept, though, and I wouldn't expect it from non-believers. I do think they love and care for their children, though, the best they know how.

LeeC said...

I would disagree Jay.
A non-Christian is incapable of the true love that is described in 1 Cor. 13.

Before we are saved we can desire things strongly, but never with a truly others centered unconditional love.

The very fact that they are going through this media circus shows they are thinking about how to shake thier fist at God and society for not giving them what they want.

Love is about what you can give, not what you can get.

The Bororean said...

Great post Dan, I thought I was reading a Piper sermon there for a moment.

Jay said...

leec: I would say that a truly others-centered love is rare even if you are a Christian. And if you want to share the Gospel with someone, telling them that they don't or are incapable of loving their children isn't really a good way to go... unless you stress that love is difficult for any human being, even a Christian like yourself.

As for the media circus, I suppose I agree, although all Beatie did was write an article for a GLBT paper before it was found out by more mainstream media organizations.

I don't think she was searching for the circus (but not stopping it is equally her fault). In actuality, she is not even the first "man" to get pregnant. There have been documented cases of intersexed individuals (born with XY chromosomes yet with fully-functioning female genitalia) conceiving and giving birth to children.

LeeC said...

I'm not sharing the Gospel with you though. I'm stating facts.

The world has something they call love based upon perosnal desires and emotions that is NOT love as the authjor of love defines it. I find it a shame that Christians have so thoroughly allowed the world to hijack the word to the point that we have adopted it.

If you are a Christian, you have love. That is how we are known is it not? Even if the world does not recognize it as love.

I used to have discussions with a friend of mine who is not saved who would look me straight in the eye and say that she could not "buy" Christianity because no one does ANYTHING from selfless motives. I agree with her, unless you are saved.

We certainly have strong emotions that drives us, but they are in every case I can think of based upon personal desires for fullfilment outside of godly love.

If a nonchristian could truly love then they could do a good work on thier own. And we know that even Christians cannot do that right?

And again, no, I would not go over this with a nonchristian, and will probably offend any that read this.

If someone does read this and is offended I beg them to not take what I say out of context, but to study the Scriptures, read the book of John and Romans. And believe in the work that Christ did for them to save them from His wrath against all sin.

Love is a choice and an action not based upon the others actions. Mistaking this is why we have so many peole get married "madly in love" and then a year later when they roll over and see that other person in thier "morning face" and both are grumpy they decided they "dont love each other anymore" and get divorced.

Like I said, but for the grace of God, as incomprehensible as it is to me I could be that lady in the article. I feel for her, my heart bleeds for her, but her actions are not loving.

Jay said...

I largely agree with you, leec. Only those in Christ can attain a true understanding of Love (and even then it's not an easy task). But isn't there at least some room for common grace here? Otherwise you're saying that non-believing parents don't love their children, nor do non-believing couples love one another. Yes, motives are largely selfish (even the motives of Christians, because we so often fail to reflect Christ), but there has to be, in every person, the slightest traces of the image of God that are selfless.

LeeC said...

Jay Said:
"but there has to be, in every person, the slightest traces of the image of God that are selfless."

I would love to affirm this Jay, but I cannot. I think you have a different view on common grace than I.

If this were true then there would be some essence of goodness in us on our own. Christ saw nothing "lovable" in us on our own, nothing. Thats the amazing thing.

He came to earth to save a people that despised and hated Him, we, well Paul under inspiration says it best:

"28And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God,God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them."

And yet Christ CHOSE to come here. GOD who deserves ALL glory honour and praise humbled Himself to be cursed, spat upon, beaten and eventually killed and abandoned by His Father for a people that had no redeeming qualities of thier own. THAT is the point.

We are broken. Christ fixes us. As long as we hold to some semblance of "Self worth" we are estranging ourselves from the cure for our need.

Spiritually dead, is spiritually dead. All the good in me comes from Him. I get credit for the rest of it.
And yes, it is hard even as a Christian to love like this, and my flesh often gets in the way. But if I am saved I WILL show the fruit of it.

Galations 5
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness

My apologies Dan if this is too much of a tangent. Feel free to delete if you wish.

Grace and peace to you Jay.


Jay said...

Yes, I apologize for the off-topic tangent as well, especially because I think I agree with leec more than disagree. :) I can be contacted through the e-mail address on my profile if you'd like to continue this conversation, leec.

Simply put, my ideas of common grace mainly come from Romans 2:14-15. Yes, we are broken and wicked when we are apart from Christ, but right and wrong are written on everyone's hearts. And I'd say even the majority of unbelievers would say that selfless love is right.

LeeC said...

They might well say that, but thats not the same as being capable of doing that.

If they are capable, then that greatly lessens their need for compassion does it not? If they CAN do whats right then we can just say "Suck it up!" instead of showing compassion.

There, back on topic. ;)

Jay said...

I don't think that's true, because doing good works isn't enough to consider yourself saved. Even if a nonbeliever exhibited good works (and many do), we still share the Gospel with them because we know works aren't enough. That's how we show compassion.

So, if a nonbeliever does do good things (like be a faithful spouse or parent) that doesn't mean that their need for a Savior is any less pronounced, because they are still depraved.

I think I just put us off-topic again. (c:

LeeC said...

Again like the difference between what God calls love, and what we do the same goes for "good things".

I submit that the biggest non-christian altruist in the world did not do one good thing in the eyes of God.

And any good things I do are 100% due to His Spirit and not me in myself.

He is worthy of ALL glory, and ALL honour and ALL praise!

"But we are all like an unclean thing, and all of our righteousnesses are like filthy rags" (Isa. 64:6)

"For there is not a just man on the earth who does good and does not sin" (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

"Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5). "The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth" (Genesis 8:21).

Romans 3

9What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;

10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

13Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:

14Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

15Their feet are swift to shed blood:

16Destruction and misery are in their ways:

17And the way of peace have they not known:

18There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Jay said...

You know, you don't have to throw verses at me. It's not like I disagree with you about man's sinfulness. I don't.

Maybe my biggest problem here is that we don't have good terms for love and good works as God sees them and love and good works as the world sees them. Surely people do do good things to better the world and the lives of others, even if they aren't in Christ. Does God see them as good because of it? No. But is it wrong for Christians to appreciate the good works of even non-Christians? I don't think so. Just think of all the medical treatments that were developed by atheists. Good works for society? Yes. Good works to God? No.

Now we just have to work on our language so we can distinguish between the two. And once again we're off-topic, although perhaps there's only so much one can say about a pregnant "man." :)

Cindy said...

Dan, to me your tone sounds far more angry, outraged and disgusted about and towards Ben Shapiro than Ben Shapiro's tone about or towards the pregnant "man" in the process of making a convincing and I thought fair case debunking the whole "triumph of man over nature" presentation of the deal. But it appears I may be the only one who had that reaction, but I did have it.

DJP said...

How? Quotations and exposition, please.

Carlo said...

Jay and Leec,

Piper's most recent
"Ask Pastor John" may help shed some light on this subject. I think can't be applied to love.

I don't know how to do hyperlinks on Blogger so just go to the June 13 "Ask Pastor John"

Jay said...

Thanks for the info, Carlo, although I think all that did was raise about a hundred more questions for me. I'm never satisfied. :)

Insignificon said...

Your compassion is an example for all of us to follow. Thank you.

I stopped reading Ben Shapiro a while back, along with a few other pundits, because all you ever see from the type is outrage, never tempered by compassion or love. Good for you, pointing out that problem, rather than picking the low-hanging fruit of self-righteous fury at a very confused and sad individual who needs prayers, not judgement.