Is This the Time for Silence?


         Have you ever had someone walk up to you, out of the blue, and say words that rattled you to the core?

            That happened to me at the end of a recent women’s conference.  I was tired and spent, like you are when you’ve finished speaking.  In that lightly-controlled chaos that marks the end of such, an elderly African American woman approached me.   I could tell she had something she really wanted to say.

           Her name was Prudence.   She appeared, at first glance, to be suffering from a slight stroke.   But she put her arms on my shoulders.   And when she started to talk—her eyes bored a hole straight through me.

           “Paula, you have to speak what God gives you to speak.   Don’t you start saying what people want to hear just so they will like you.  Don’t you do that!   Everybody does that now.   You just say what Jesus tells you to.”

            Honestly, it felt like a visitation.   I told my friend, Connally, I thought I’d come as close to looking into the face of Jesus as I’m likely to in this life.   Prudence’s words were well-timed.  

            I had just published a Viewpoint editorial for the Charlotte Observer on why I thought, as a therapist and the wife and mother of an Eagle Scout, the Boy Scouts made a costly error in caving into political pressure to allow transitioning girls to join their ranks.   ­­­      

          Many discouraged scoutmasters, men who have given a chunk of their entire adult life to helping boys, replied to my personal email.     Thank you for your courage.   

            Then came the blowback from the other side of the aisle.   Didn’t I know that Katie Couric’s town hall and National Geographic’s article on transgendered children had decisively settled this terribly unsettled “science?”   Did I get my counseling license from a mail order catalog?   Obviously, I lacked the most basic of virtues—compassion—which is the ultimate sin.

            It was a bit fierce.  No wonder it took an unsuspecting grandmother to write that article!   And yes, I could have written my editorial in a softer tone—though it started out as a piece I’d been asked to write for a political group, the NC Values Coalition.

            But think about this for a moment.  I simply advocated for the wisdom of the ages which has always acknowledged that children need to grow and learn in some protected context with their own gendered peers.  

            One percent of the population struggles with gender dysphoria, and that one percent is upending 107 years of scouting culture and norms.    Gone is this historic safe space where girls can hang out with girls.  And boys with boys.  

            But here’s my point.   It is tempting to go silent now because the abuse is harsh.  It’s tempting to say nothing so, perhaps, people will like you.  (The truth is they aren’t going to like you no matter how quietly you go along).

            This is a plea from someone who’s passed through a recent fire:  please don’t go silent.   Be nice, be kind, be tactful, yes.   Be more tactful than I tend to be.  But don’t tuck your tail and just go along to get along.   

            I learned something valuable in this editorial experience.  I want to pass it along, free of charge, so to speak.    Sex is the new religion in this culture.   Any voice—yours or mine—that advocates for natural marriage or biological gender norms or heterosexual monogamy is going to be met with the same three accusations.   (A little preparation might help you).

·      Some “new” neurological finding or recent brain research will be offered as evidence that supposedly overrules all traditional wisdom on the topic.  (Though you can assert about anything and find some “brain research” somewhere that agrees).

       You will be accused of being “racist,”  because race and sex are now wrongly equated,  (which is an insult to African American suffering).

       And finally, you will be the most uncompassionate person ever, ever, ever.

        So five years from now, when there is a serious effort to normalize the desire to have sex with children/teenagers (pedophilia), expect to hear the same allegations.   I predict it will be the exact same three.

         A few days after my encounter with Prudence (I’m so grateful for that woman), I was reading the account in John’s gospel of Jesus in the temple.   In this physical temple, Jesus went and found these guys who were desecrating the holy.   He turned over their tables.  He poured their coins out on the ground.    No passive Jesus in these pages.

           It struck me (deeply) as I read…if this is what Jesus did in a physical structure (the Temple) that housed God’s holiness, then what kind of battle does He wage over these little temples, these boys and girls and men and women, who bear His image…male and female.   Whose souls are being polluted with the negation of their gendered being. 

           Yes, male and female He created them.   In our gender expression and our sexuality, we reflect the character and nature of God.        

           Burn me at the stake, whatever.   I am not going silent into that good night. 

A fantastic read on the confusion surrounding transgender:   Regret Isn't Rare...