There are certain moments in life that you never forget–those indelible moments that fix themselves in memory, sometimes for happy reasons, and sometimes for not so happy reasons. I had such a moment in the latter category when I was in the 8th grade. A friend of mine handed me a newly-released rock-and-roll album from a band that was just making its mark on popular music. I remember right where I was standing in the schoolyard of my junior high school when he gave it to me. The album cover showed four big-haired overly made-up vixens on the front of the album, and I remember thinking: “Wow, these girls are pretty!”
As I looked closer at the picture, however, my initial impression dissolved into horror as I realized that the four pretty girls weren’t girls at all. They were the four male members of the band Poison, gussied-up to look like girls for their smash-hit LP “Look What the Cat Dragged In.” The gender-bending foursome was more than my little 8th grade psyche could handle. That event made such a negative impression on me that I loathed the hair-bands that dominated popular music for the rest of the 80’s. Everyone else was listening, but I wasn’t. What can I say? They just creeped me out.
I think the recoil that I felt in that moment was a good thing. I didn’t really understand what the Bible said about such things. I just knew at a visceral level something was wrong here. Indeed, there was something wrong, even though I couldn’t quite put my finger on it biblically. I knew that God had created human beings as male and female, but I hadn’t properly reflected on the fact that God says this distinction of the sexes is “good” (Genesis 1:26-31). My gut told me that boys should look like boys and that girls should look like girls, but I didn’t know that God had commanded such a thing (Deuteronomy 22:5). Nor did I understand how gender-bending might indicate an underlying rebellion against God’s design for human sexuality (Romans 1:26-27).
Gender-bending is not new, nor is it on its way out. In fact, it is becoming more and more a feature of our popular culture. Yet gender-bending attire is not the source of our culture’s moral degradation, but merely its symptom. We know this because there is a pervasive confusion about gender in our society that goes far deeper than external dress.
In a recent two-part sermon series at Boyce College, I explain in detail what our culture’s gender confusion is all about and how the Bible teaches us to be a counter-culture where we live. I have much more to say about this subject, and I say it in the two sermons linked below. May God grant us all the grace to live as a gospel-shaped counter-culture in the midst of our gender-confused culture.
P.S. Dr. Albert Mohler recently published an article on this topic, and I encourage you to check it out as well.