If I could force everybody to adhere to the things I believe are right, life would be so much easier. It’d be more convenient, cleaner, and free of discomfort.
Sadly, I am not a tyrannical dictator. Neither do I possess the divinity needed to call my will “moral” and another’s will “amoral.” Thus, I have to find ways to cope with changes that do not require my approval. Changes that may make me uneasy or at the very least confused.
Changes such as Target’s decision to allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their chosen identity.
Right, Wrong, and Everybody Else
I am a Christian.
You just judged me. As a friend or an enemy, I don’t know, but you’ve already placed your experiences and biases on my shoulders. I politely request that we both set those things aside for a moment. I’m doing my best to listen and I ask that you extend me a similar grace.
Some years ago, I was arguing with a friend over the internet (dumb, dumb, dumb) about the morality of a certain topic. Late in the discussion I realized that all my morality came from my faith. I believe that God is real, that he is good, and that he is right. So all my arguments came from that belief.
Not everybody believes that. Like my friend. And if they don’t believe God is real, good, or right, then everything I stand on falls on deaf ears to them. I’ll never convince another person to believe my side is the moral one if I can’t convince them of the basics of God.
So what to do? Well, stop arguing so much for one thing. I understand some Christians like to argue various topics on non-theistic moral grounds, such as “this is healthy” and “that is natural.” But to me, that’s only halfhearted. It’s healthy, natural, or functional because God made it so. God is the core of all a Christian’s moral arguments.
Jesus mostly argued with religious people because they had the basics down: Scripture is king. Unbelievers were only shown God’s goodness and invited to partake. The Christian’s God shows him that salvation comes from Christ, not behavior. Behavior is important, but it is entirely secondary. Jesus didn’t waste time with many moral arguments.
So that brings me to my recent musings: should I join my Christian brethren in the mass boycotts or should I continue shopping at Target? Well, for me, Target is the only store of its kind in my general area, so there’s that…
The common argument is that this makes it too easy for perverts to sneak into the opposite sex’s bathroom and prey on someone. I get the fear of being targeted (meh-heh, Targeted) by a predator…but…this argument seems full of holes.
For one, a man would still have to get into the woman’s stall to see anything, and that would be relatively obvious. Women don’t go into the same stall together unless one of them is vomiting. And if they are peeing in each other’s presence, they’re a special kind of friend, and you would know if that person was a predator.
Ladies, when’s the last time a woman peeked under or over your stall? I think most women would lose their minds, no matter the sexuality or identity. Actually, that brings to mind another point: women are worried about male, heterosexual perverts, but what about the lesbian perverts who already have access to the ladies room? Think about that one.
As for a woman peeking on a man, that’s certainly possible given the urinal setup. However, Men’s Room Rule Number One is “eyes forward.” If a man is peeks, his penis is confiscated and returned at a later time. If the perpetrator doesn’t have a penis, we simply bash their face into the urinal and make them eat the cake. That’s how it works in the porcelain jungle. No peeking.
I’m relatively certain similar rules already exist for the women’s rooms.
He, She, Them, and Us
I saw someone on Facebook who said that when you break it down, the Christian’s argument is is “Ew, gross.” There’s some truth to that. Most Christians see something that is wrong and run to the other side. That’s why Donald Trump is doing so well. ZING!
Seriously, though, this fearful reaction that someone “might” be a predator is eerily reminiscent of the Christians’ reactions to Syrian refugees. They “might” be dangerous, so keep them all out.
If we break it down, too many Christians want to separate themselves from everything that is wrong or uncomfortable. Like the Pharisees who were so irritable to Christ. Jesus was not so divisive.
So if Jesus tells us to leave the ninety-nine “found” sheep to to find the lost one, shouldn’t we go where the sinners are? And if we can pick up three twelve-packs of soda for $9.99 at the same time, why not?
But for real, any time we see a collection of people who are not Godly, that’s usually an opportunity to be a witness. Notice I said “be” a witness, not just preach one. Sometimes being Godly is as simple as being a good friend, loving someone so much that you can tolerate their presence, even if you don’t agree with everything they do.
And if Target is going to become the sinful cesspool Christians fear it will, maybe that’s the place Christians should be going. Maybe “Target” should be just that.
As For Me…
I speak as though I’m perfectly educated in the matter, thoroughly grounded in my conviction, swinging so high on the left that I’m high-fiving the moon.
But I’m not. I do have my own qualms and discomforts. I have no high horse on which to preach because I’m just a guy. I can be wrong. And frankly, I can be a turd.
As I said, I am a Christian. I believe that God is the ultimate authority and that we can trust him as such. And I believe that gender and other questions of identity are too big for us to make without divine input. I don’t think we have the right to choose our own genders; I think God knows us better than we know ourselves.
And so I have qualms. When someone decides to choose their own path, without God’s direction, it gives me goose bumps. I think it’s wrong and I think they should stop doing whatever that thing is. I think it’s sin.
And like many Christians, when I see that sinful thing, it bothers me. So to comfort myself, I want to get away from it. I want to find people who think just like I do so I don’t have to be challenged to experience anything but what I want to.
But as I said in a previous post, that’s because I have a nasty tendency to hate first. I’m not above the selfishness I despise in others. So I have to pull myself back and challenge my own instincts, to talk to God and see what’s truly right and wrong, not just comfortable or uncomfortable.
So that’s what I’m doing even as I write this. I require patience and grace, which is a thorough reminder that I need to dole it out, too. I haven’t worked out everything I believe on this topic, but I’m leaning on the side of not boycotting something out of unchecked fear and discomfort.
And I really, really don’t want to shop at Walmart.
Not surprisingly, I’m not active in the LGBT community. I only know one trans person and we disagree on the matter of gender. She thinks she should be a he and I think she should consult God, not just her feelings. But she knows I feel this way and I know she feels her own way.
And we’re still friends. In fact, we’re in-laws, and when you like your in-laws, you know something’s going right!
But we would not be so agreeable if we had not been committed to it. We each had to get over some fears and prejudices, and we’re both still doing that. I could have stayed away and grumbled about her under my breath, but God provoked me to love instead.
I don’t believe love means letting everyone have everything they want. To be blunt, I think that’s closer to hate or apathy than love. Love, to me, means wishing the best, and in my opinion, that best is God. God can give identity, eternity, and joy that doesn’t depend on sex organs or corporate bathroom policies.
But transgender people need grace. Target needs grace. I need grace. Grace is not easy to give because it means enduring what clashes with what you believe is right. But that’s love.
I don’t often quote Tyler Perry’s Madea, but he/she (meh-heh. He/she) said something once that stuck with me. “If love was easy, Jesus wouldn’t have had to go to Calvary.” Love drove Jesus to the cross. I’m pretty sure I can handle Target.