If Mary and Joseph had brought Jesus up on non-binary lines . . . .

. . . . what might have been the consequences? (Yes, I realise they would all have been stoned to death, but set that aside.)
For the benefit of non-UK shipmates, there is a news story here of a couple who are refusing to describe their new-born child as male or female and leaving 'them' to decide for themself which gender they should be assigned. I'm not sure if this thread belongs here or in Purgatory; Host, please decide when we see how the discussion progresses, if at all.

Comments

  • Setting aside the cultural context, and at the risk of making this Purgatorial, or possibly Epiphineal (?) straight away, my instinctive response to the question was "none at all".

    I can't see anything in the Bible to suggest that Jesus' core identity was bound up in his biological sex, and at least one possible reference in the Bible to his resurrected body having female secondary sexual characteristics.
  • Depending on your ideas about the Incarnation it could be argued that Jesus, not having a Y chromosome, was transsexual. (The 'H' in Jesus H. Christ stands for "Haploid".)
  • God isn't gendered. He made humans in His image, male and female, so He incorporates both. Jesus was born male because you couldn't be a female rabbi in His culture. But He was radically inclusive of women and everyone else who was marginalised. Christianity initiated both men and women into the church by baptism from the earliest date and promoted a radical view of equality.
  • I asked my Spiritual Director (a.k.a. Mum) about this when I was a little girl (c.1964). She said Jesus did not come as a woman "because I don't think people would have listened to a woman in those days".

    These days, I think he thought of himself as a person though, rather than a man . So yes - I think today he'd be some sort of non-binary. And he'd be "out" about it too!

    During The Missing Years - when he was at Eton and after that travelled to The Far East - I am sure he indulged in the usual speculation and experimentation. But there was no High School Year Book (a la Brett Kavanaugh) or Facebook, Twitter, etc then - so we are unlikely to find anything in The Church Times of 32CE
  • Eutychus wrote: »

    I can't see anything in the Bible to suggest that Jesus' core identity was bound up in his biological sex, and at least one possible reference in the Bible to his resurrected body having female secondary sexual characteristics.

    Can you point to that possible reference, please? Enquiring minds need to know where it is...most intriguing!
    :flushed:

  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    There's an online article, 'Will we be male and female in the Resurrection? Psephizo' which discusses the question of whether humans will be gendered in the new creation.

    When Jesus debates the Sadducees about the bodily resurrection He says that when the dead rise they will not marry but be 'like angels in heaven' (Mark 12: 25).
  • Eutychus wrote: »
    Revelation 1:13 (see also here).

    Thanks!

  • No consequences to the Church?
  • Eutychus wrote: »
    Revelation 1:13 (see also here).

    It’s a bit of a stretch to suggest that “mastos” is referring to women’s breasts. Liddell & Scott note that it’s used with both genders. Although it is unusual wording as the Greeks usually used a word for “chest” that’s currently eluding me.

  • Circumcised on the 7th day?
  • I understand that in the unlikely event that somebody were to be born by a naturally occurring parthenogenesis, as a self-activated clone, they could only be born female. Nobody would have known that though before the mid twentieth century.

    Jesus's having been born male precludes that argument against the traditional theological understanding.
  • Gender presumes there's freedom to live as you feel and experience yourself to be. Such options are recent. Most of history is of external control of who you are. Born with penis, that defines it.
  • Eirenist wrote: »
    . . . . what might have been the consequences? (Yes, I realise they would all have been stoned to death, but set that aside.)
    For the benefit of non-UK shipmates, there is a news story here of a couple who are refusing to describe their new-born child as male or female and leaving 'them' to decide for themself which gender they should be assigned. I'm not sure if this thread belongs here or in Purgatory; Host, please decide when we see how the discussion progresses, if at all.

    Fairly traditional societies can sometimes cope surprisingly well with the unusual, example. I suspect people would have thought the parents odd but possibly not much else would have happened until marriage was being considered.

    What would non-binary mean in first century Judea outside marriage / for a child ? You wear a robe and nothing else whilst young, you help round the house doing whatever your parents tell you.
  • Rublev wrote: »
    God isn't gendered. He made humans in His image, male and female, so He incorporates both.
    If god made man in "his" image, then god would be male and female, not ungendered.

  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    The Image of God:

    'So God created humans in His own image,
    In the image of God He created them;
    Male and female He created them.'

    Gen 1: 27 has got a lot of interesting theology in it.

    In 1: 26 the image of God is linked to authority to rule the, earth as God's representatives.

    The image of God also expresses the capacities which set humans apart from animals: reason, morality, language and freewill.

    The pattern of male and female expresses God's image in relationships.

    The Hebrew term 'adam' translated as man is often a generic term that denotes both male and female.

    Jesus bases His teaching on marriage and divorce upon the image of God in Gen 1: 27 and 2: 24 and the kinship of marriage resulting from the union of husband and wife: 'They are no longer two, but one flesh' (Mark 10: 2-12; Matt 19:3-12). The human marriage covenant expresses the image of God by creating a unified community like the plural community of the Godhead.
  • So. What.
    The Bible also days the universe was created in 6 days.
    Newsflash, it wasn’t.
    There is a lot that the Bible says that does not make sense in any literal way.
  • I thought it was evident that the Creation story in Genesis was myth. But myth can reveal profound truths about the nature of God. As expressed above.
  • Re the UK family:

    I understand things like giving a child gender-neutral toys, and/or leaving them free to play with toys that are usually thought of as for the other binary gender.

    I get honoring a child's own sense of being other than binary.

    But {thinking through this aloud} ISTM that the parents are still pushing their kid into a particular way of being, living, thinking of themselves...relating to the world. And they're setting the kid up for unnecessary awkwardness, which will affect interactions with other people.

    Why not identify the kid as their binary physical gender (if they have one)? Let them play as they wish. Then if the kid expresses an awareness of, say, being trans, honor that and work with that.
  • I would tend to agree with you, except in so far as I observe toys have become so much more gendered than when I was little. It seems like *everything* produced for girls is now pink. If I had a child, even bringing the, up in a gender associated to their sex, I would tend to shy away from those very charactured gender presentations.
  • Rublev wrote: »
    I thought it was evident that the Creation story in Genesis was myth. But myth can reveal profound truths about the nature of God. As expressed above.
    Perfect example of creating God in one’s own image.

  • I knew people who did this non-gendered child thing at close to 100% (without the media exposure) from 1987 till their child started school in 1992. Noone was allowed to call him a boy (per se - he had a boy's given name though). He wore what he wanted, had a little gingham skirt for dancing, played as he wished etc etc. He turned up to his first day at school in a pink sweater and purple corduroys which caused "reaction" from both pupils and teachers. Then, when the teacher tried to divide the class (boys to the left, girls to the right) for some team-activity, he was just left standing there getting laughed at even more. Basically he had no friends at all. Little boys did not want to play with him because all he wanted to do was sit and chat over a drink and biscuits (rather than run or build things outside). Little girls had enough choice already. He suffered all through primary/elementary school but it got a bit better at an all-boys high school with a good academic reputation. He became active in student politics. From there he got involved for quite a few years in a sado-masochist circle. (He invited our daughter to one of their "meetings", that's how I know)
    Now 32, he has built and runs a company doing very sophisticated computer-y thingies, is "happily married" with a new baby but probably emotionally scarred for life. (Aren't we all but he is moreso).
  • And what lesson do we learn from that example?
    That the decision was wrong or that society is wrong?
  • Small boys who prefer the company of girls, and what you describe as girl activities, and small girls who prefer the company of boys and boy-activities, are not all that uncommon. Most of them aren't non-binary, trans, gay, or whatever else - it turns out that the state of being a boy is a little bit bigger than just liking to run around yelling and wrestling.

  • We learn that it was hard to do as a parent and hard to cope with as a child.
    I learned that I am glad I did not do it for our children (who were the same age) and I am sorry I encouraged my friends because it caused such suffering to their child
    I hope things have changed significantly since then
  • Golden Key wrote: »
    Re the UK family:

    I understand things like giving a child gender-neutral toys, and/or leaving them free to play with toys that are usually thought of as for the other binary gender.

    I get honoring a child's own sense of being other than binary.

    But {thinking through this aloud} ISTM that the parents are still pushing their kid into a particular way of being, living, thinking of themselves...relating to the world. And they're setting the kid up for unnecessary awkwardness, which will affect interactions with other people.

    Why not identify the kid as their binary physical gender (if they have one)? Let them play as they wish. Then if the kid expresses an awareness of, say, being trans, honor that and work with that.
    The mother has the first name of Hobbit: need I say more?
  • TheOrganist--

    Well, I doubt the folks in the Shire would approve of raising a child that way. (Though Bilbo's family was rumored to have some fairy ancestry, and those magical folk might have a different view.) And having a hippie sort of name doesn't necessarily mean a person is a bad parent.
  • Galilit--

    Yeah, that scenario is what I'm worried about.
  • Small boys who prefer the company of girls, and what you describe as girl activities, and small girls who prefer the company of boys and boy-activities, are not all that uncommon. Most of them aren't non-binary, trans, gay, or whatever else - it turns out that the state of being a boy is a little bit bigger than just liking to run around yelling and wrestling.

    I'm sure that what you say is true, but I suspect there may also be more non-binary people out there than people realize. There's a tendency out there to assume all non-binary people adopt obviously androgynous or gender-ambiguous gender presentations, to the point where a lot of people seem to conflate nonbinary gender identity and obviously gender-ambiguous gender expression. I can't speak to numbers, but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only non-binary person out there who doesn't match this description. Also, I do have distinct childhood memories of the kind of thing you're describing - though more along the lines of gravitating towards girls as schoolyard friends at recess than of being attracted to "girl activities" per se.

    I haven't read the UK news reports people are referencing. For obvious reasons, I'm totally in favour of parenting styles that allow children maximum flexibility for children to figure out who they are, but my gut says that totally trying to hide any notion of gender from a child such that they are encouraged not even to think of themselves of male or female would require heroic efforts bordering on child abuse. Kids shouldn't be guinea pigs for progressive parents' experiments in gender politics, any more than they should become victims of conservative parents' ideological investment in traditional gender roles.

  • This pretty much sums it up for me.
    Kids shouldn't be guinea pigs for progressive parents' experiments in gender politics, any more than they should become victims of conservative parents' ideological investment in traditional gender roles.
  • Experiments like this will most certainly keep psychiatrists and psychotherapists in business, sadly.
  • The idea of this kind of experiment keeps reminding me of an episode of the original "Twilight Zone" called "The Mute" (Wikipedia).

    That article lays it out very well, including the story opening and closing. tl;dr: A group of parents decide telepathy is the wave of the future, and plan to raise their kids to communicate through telepathy--*only*. Stuff Happens; and one kid is left on her own, unable to communicate with normal people. There is, ultimately, a good resolution. But getting there is brutal.
  • The5thMary wrote: »
    This pretty much sums it up for me.
    Kids shouldn't be guinea pigs for progressive parents' experiments in gender politics, any more than they should become victims of conservative parents' ideological investment in traditional gender roles.

    As an aside, I should probably have mentioned that non-binary gender identity as I understand it arises largely independently of upbringing. So whatever weird things parents do, they're not going to make their kids non-binary (any more than they could make them bisexual), though they may make them very confused. The OP seems a bit confused on this point.

  • Black parents in the American South put their children in "white" schools knowing there would be difficulties. It is not as simple as parents "experimenting".
    Not sure where I fall on trying to completely avoid gender whilst raising children. Societal expectations are the real problem, but the expectations exist and children are vulnerable.
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