I am sure you are wondering what “zer” and “hir” mean. Well, Harvard University’s arts and science college are giving students the chance to indicate whether they prefer to use the traditional pronouns “he” and “she” or alternatives including “zer, “hir,” or variants of “they.” “If faculty or advisers are inadvertently outing someone by using a name or pronoun that doesn’t reflect their authentic self, that is a problem,”said Michael Burke, registrar for the university’s school of arts and sciences. Burke noted that it was not uncommon, “to go to a meeting where people introduce themselves not only by their name and title, but by their gender pronoun.” But what exactly is an “authentic self.”
Men, this is how crazy it has gotten on our college campus. But thankfully there are exceptions, like at Washington State University, where a professor in her syllabus entitled, “Women & Popular Culture” warned that offensive language would not be tolerated. “This includes [phrases such as] ‘the man'” and “reference to women-men as females or males.” There was a reaction. WSU released a statement reaffirming its commitment to free speech and announcing that “no student will have points docked merely as a result of using terms that may be deemed offensive to some,” yet wanting to, “cultivate diversity of expression while protecting individual rights and safety. This creates a real dilemma.
These are examples of “the coddling of the American Mind” according to an article in The Atlantic. The article maintains that the issue is more then restricting hate speech. “The current movement is largely about emotional well-being….it presumes an extraordinary fragility of the collegiate psyche, and therefore elevates the goal of protecting students from psychological harm.” The goal is to turn campuses into “safe spaces,” “where young adults are shielded from words and ideas that make some uncomfortable.”
The creation story is the true view of reality, which gives us the original blueprint for male and female relations. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27). Jesus affirms this view of reality when he said, “But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female” (Mark 10:6). Men, don’t let the rapid cultural decay in which the light of reason has gone dim, shake your confidence and cloud your view of reality. We are either male or female, period.
Men, in the midst of all this cultural confusion regarding gender, let us be “cultural warriors” in our own quiet manner. What do I mean by this suggestion. First, get it straight in your mind and heart that as men we will maintain a biblical view of reality. We don’t have to be apologetic or defensive of our maleness. We joyfully declare that our personhood as a male is a gift of God. We cannot tamper with who we are, without serious consequences. So as cultural warriors, we will celebrate our maleness, and make no apologizes for being a man.
Secondly, we will have a healthy and respectful view of the feminine as a proper balance to our maleness. We will not flee from the feminine, nor disparage its importance to bring balance and harmony in relationships. Thirdly, we will humbly admit the failure of men to respect and honor the feminine in the past. Finally, we will live with open hearts before God, allowing God to bring healing to our male souls, in order that we might be more like Jesus, both “tough and tender” in his relationship with others, embracing the demeanor both of the “lion” and the “lamb”.