There are some questions that we never knew people would be asking. It is even more strange that we are now baffled to answer such simple questions like, what is a girl? But, I think we have realized that this is no longer a simple question. What IS a girl? And how do you teach the truth to a child, a teenager, or even an adult?
No doubt you have felt the stress of what to say when a little girl looks to you for answers. But even more disturbing now, is a whole generation who does not want to hear the answers that we have to give. Simple things, like girls and boys are different. Simple things, like God gave you a gender. Simple things, like God is smarter than you.
Now, I have lots of girls. Not the most, by any stretch of the matter, but five young women is enough for anyone. They grew up in the same house, and as you would expect, there were lots of conversations and fights about who they were, and who they should be. As we were in the depths of COVID, I was losing my mind with these teens and early twenties, and this question of identity came up more than I wanted it to. They had friends who were transitioning genders, who were in same-sex relationships, and they were asking tough questions of themselves. Dating and boyfriends and marriage. Many a night I woke up in fear for their future, and in fear of their identity as a woman.
I have many theories and thoughts about teaching a girl who she is, and at the same time lots of practical trial and error with all these daughters. I have spoken on this topic for years, how to teach children everything from CrossFit, to Algebra, to the historic Christian Faith. After a while I realized my philosophy has always been the same. Everything these children were doing, saying experiencing, asking, and answering was going according to plan!
So just to test my little theory on this subject, I asked my two youngest daughters, now 15 and 17 years old. “How did you learn the difference between boys and girls?”
They pondered. I braced myself for their answer. It may be one that I may not want to hear. We have a pretty great relationship, and they sometimes tell me things I’d rather not know.
After thinking for a minute, Naomi looked at her sister. “Do you remember that book?” “Oh my gosh. That book!” And then my son chimed in (who was barely listening before), “I remember THAT book! You guys used to hide it under my pillow and in my drawers.” They all cracked up, and I still didn’t know what book they were talking about.
Finally, together, they conjured up the title Why Boys and Girls are Different. And, parent fail. I really didn’t remember that particular book at all. But there was something else very interesting I realized from their conversation. This was something outside of themselves that taught them the difference between boys and girls, something that taught them about themselves. This silly little book spoke into their hearts and minds, and taught them something about their identity, just as I hoped every formative piece of literature would do. And I was right. This is the method for teaching anything. Simply because it works.
How to teach a girl who she is begins with an analysis of our philosophy of education. Don’t worry, it’s easier than it sounds.
Dorothy Sayers gave a paper in 1947 called The Lost Tools of Learning. I found it almost by accident but it has shaped how I think about and execute any educational strategy in my personal life, raising my children, and my professional life as a Kids and Teens Crossfit program designer. But I was not the only one who found this method interesting and effective. Most classical education curriculums are based on this method because it reflected a standard for the great thinkers of the world.
Mrs. Sayers argues that the ancient medieval scheme of education provided a solid foundation for teaching anything. She says:
“Is it not the great defect of our education today that although we often succeed in teaching our pupils ‘subjects’ we fail lamentably on the whole in teaching them how to think? They learn everything, except the art of learning.”
The stages of any education in the “right order,” as Mrs. Sayers so boldly claims, is broken into three parts: Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric.
The Grammar stage is exactly what it sounds like. Students learn the language of whatever you are trying to teach them. If it is a language, they learn the vocabulary words. If it is math, they learn what two means. If it is CrossFit, they learn what a squat and a burpee are. If it is theology, they learn who the Father is, they learn who Jesus is. It is definitional. It is memorization. It is hearing a story.
But also, in the grammar stage they learn how the langue fits together. For example, what does a noun do in a sentence? What is a verb? How do they work together? In math, they learn that addition puts two numbers together for a sum. They learn that multiplication compounds a number of groups to get the product. In Crossfit we teach that an AMRAP means as many rounds as possible and EMOM means every minute on the minute. There is a foundational level of knowledge that one needs to have to understand the language of any given subject.
But Sayers warns, “What the material actually is, is only of secondary importance, but it is as well that anything and everything which can usefully be committed to memory should be memorized in this period. The modern tendency is to try and force rational explanations on a child’s mind at too early an age.”
So, this stage of learning tends to work well with the developmental stage of younger children. When they are small, memorization, rhymes, and repetition come easy. Laying the foundation for a lifetime of study and exploration begins with simple facts. Times tables, spelling tests, and Bible stories about God and Jesus, all contribute to building the grammar of any given subject. Just as my children pointed to their funny little book about the difference between boys and girls, there was a definition taught and agreed upon. Even though this must happen at any age (learning a foundation), children do not need the developmental capacity to argue and question at this primary stage. It is beautiful because they are built to trust.
The next stage of education is the Dialectic stage which embraces logic and disputation. Children learn how to use this language, and push the boundaries of what these previously learned building blocks can do. Usually, once they are feeling confident in the building blocks, (the grammar stage) They will attempt to use this knowledge. I like to think of this as the “gotcha” stage. Because while we are learning how to use these tools there are many trial and error mistakes about the boundaries and limits of each discipline.
For example, when a child begins to understand the Dialectic use of language, she will understand jokes and play-on-words. She will begin to catch sarcasm and push the boundaries of what she knows her words to mean. She will start to debate, everything. And the moral rules, and overarching teachings of the Christian Faith will be tested on a grander scale.
In CrossFit, compared to other disciplines, this exploration stage is tangible with immediate feedback. After years of teaching foundational movements, like a squat or an overhead press, we allow our teens to add weight to the movements with a barbell. Balance, foot position, and executing the perfect form all have to be put together. Now everything is understood in a context so that she can lift effectively. She will attempt to lift that barbell overhead. But without the properer foundation (grammar) and properly built strength, she will fail the lift.
Yet this is a frustrating stage for a teacher, as well. Because children in this stage are pushing the boundaries to see how far they can go. And those who are not familiar with the dialectic stage of education tend to freak out. Why are the children no longer listening? What happened to the sweet little kids who just believed what they were told? Well, they grew into the next stage of learning.
Especially in teaching the Faith, dialectic questions and pushbacks can be mistaken for abandoning of faith. Teenagers are beginning to question things they can’t see, and try to see how far these truths will go. Here they are pushing the boundaries to also see if you really believe what you say, and if it is worthy of their belief. This is certainly the piece of learning that we are missing in most disciplines, especially in matters of faith and identity.
Sayers says of the dialectic stage: “Attention should be focused upon the beauty and economy of a fine demonstration or a well-turned argument, lest veneration should wholly die. Criticism must not be wholly destructive; though at the same time, both teacher and pupil must be ready to detect fallacy, slipshod reasoning, ambiguity, irrelevance, and redundancy.”
We would do well to encourage creativity within reason at this stage, as it is necessary for our girls to advance into thinking and learning individuals.
The last stage of learning is the Rhetoric stage. As it sounds, this is the final expression of what the child has discovered. She has learned the foundational grammar, she has explored the boundaries of logic on the issue, and now she will put this education to use in her own context, She will express herself, elegantly and persuasively.
This can happen in personal ways, in public ways, and in evangelistic ways. But whatever the manifestation, her education will be put to good use. She will be able to speak her mind, give a reasoned argument, and analyze new information according to the framework that her Trivium education has built. And by this, she will confess her identity in this world.
For example, a child who has learned the grammar of the English language, and then learns how to use it by exposure to arguments and poetry and every boundary that the language can hold, will then be prepared to convince and create with the tools she has learned. In CrossFit, our goal is to teach them how to move their body, expose the unending limits of what their body can do when it is kept strong and healthy, as they move forward in life prepared for any sport, any activity, and any physical challenge.
The rhetoric stage of faith is critical because this is the end goal! We want our kids to confess who they are in Christ. We teach them so that they will speak truth in every situation. Trained in the grammar of faith, and allowed to explore the defense of the faith, our children will be able to maneuver questions and situations that will come up later. Their strong foundation will allow them to express the Christian Faith in their own heart, mind, and words.
The Trivium philosophy has worked very well for my own children, for the kids at our church and community, and even in the development of my education programs outside of a traditional classroom. The Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric stages have certainly proven to educate our kids.
But, if everything in life was so easy. During COVID, I had the pleasure to be locked up with five girls from the ages of 13-23. Three of them had lost their jobs during the lockdown and were wandering aimlessly around our little house, all faithfully annoying their younger brother. They were fighting constantly, as you can imagine, against each other and against my husband and me. But in the midst of everything, But, I remember one conversation vividly in our kitchen. My 19-year-old was not doing well, withdrawing from the family, and renouncing everything she had grown up with. It was the typical rebellious teenager. She said extremely hurtful things at that time, and I’ll tell you, I questioned everything about being a mother, a teacher, a believer, in the face of those times. It was hard.
But during one of our lively debates, I remember she yelled something out loud that struck a nerve. She screamed “Well that’s just your truth! What about mine?” And right then, I realized something. This generation of girls, my very own girls, had learned a new vocabulary. A new grammar, if you will. One that I did not teach.
We can clearly see that there has been a shift in thought in our society about gender, identity, truth, and even the love of God. The confusing distinctions between sex and gender are conversations I never thought I would have. It is possible today, because of our advancing technology, to physically and hormonally change a creature into a different creature. We have experienced a decline in church attendance and good old-fashioned morality. But the easy thing to do is stand in the kitchen and just yell back at the nonsense. Or maybe get scared and hide from the arguments. Or be the peacemaker, and just agree with whatever for the sake of arbitrary love.
But here, I propose something else. If we can observe the foundational blocks that may have taught our girls something about who they are, then we can have an impact on how to teach a girl who she is.
If our language, our vocabulary, has changed, then the foundations that we all learned in the grammar stage are different for our children. Right or wrong, the current culture is teaching and operating with a different grammar. We should be able to recognize this. Gender is no longer defined by physical body parts, but by how you feel inside. Authority and truth are not found in history or status, but are defined within the individual. And now, our girls’ identity is required to be they must create, rather than an identity to be received.
And the greatest sin of our world is to deny someone’s “authenticity,” for that is the new moral standard. The philosophy of Rousseau, Neitchze, Freud and others have realigned freedom to mean creativity and expression of the inner voice of nature. So instead of a physical restraint of freedom, like “you can’t go in there” our children now understand freedom to mean an expression of their “authentic self.”
Carl Trueman in his book, “Strange New World” observes that:
“The use of a word deemed hurtful or denigrating becomes in the world of psychological identity an assault upon the person, as real in its own way as a blow from a fist.”
“And this is where religions, especially religions such as Christianity and Judaism that hold to strict codes with regard to sex and sexuality, will end up in trouble because they are going to find themselves in a world that operates with what we might call a different grammar and syntax of identity. For example, when the Christian objects to homosexuality, he may well think he is objecting to a set of sexual desires or sexual practices. But the gay man sees those desires as part of who he is in his very essence. The old chestnut of “love the sinner, hate the sin” simply does not work in a world where the sin is the identity of the sinner and the two cannot be separated even at a conceptual level.”
“In a time when the normative notion of selfhood is psychological, then to hate the sin is to hate the sinner. Christians who fail to note this shift are going to find themselves very confused by the incomprehension of, and indeed the easy offense taken by, the world around them.”
Our modern society has allowed this realignment. We exist in a world, now, where the laws of nature and gravity and physical reality do not necessarily bind us. But then add to that the explosion of a meta-universe that celebrates and recognizes the inner self more than the external self. The COVID lockdown, forced most of us to be “social” in a foreign way, online, disconnected from a real body, Zoom meetings and FaceTime kept relationships going, even though people were worlds apart. Amazon defeats space and time with same-day shipping. A variety of photo filters help us choose what kind of morning hair we are “embarrassed” to show the world. Hormones and body parts are not as “real” as our internal thoughts.
Our children have grown up here. A world with no physical boundaries or limits to press against. And so, it has been redefined where our children determine what is “real”. Look in your heart. Feel what you feel. Find your truth. You be you. However you want to say it.
So for the Christian, there is a challenge here. It begins by a confused grammar for the teaching of a girl who she is. And the vicious cycle repeats when she uses her new vocabulary of “self-authority” in the dialectic stage. Our “real” world no longer pushes back. Technology allows the self to be unchecked in the virtual world online. Great and wonderful advances of technology in medicine in the physical world, only confirm that she is her own creator.
Neil Postman has a fascinating point about how technology will affect culture. In his paper, “Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change,” he says:
“The first idea is that all technological change is a trade-off. I like to call it a Faustian bargain. Technology giveth and technology taketh away. This means that for every advantage a new technology offers, there is always a corresponding disadvantage.
The question, ‘What will a new technology do?’ is no more important than the question, ‘What will a new technology undo?’
Idea Number One, then, is that culture always pays a price for technology.”
As you can guess, if we have a shaky foundation in the grammar and dialectic of a language, then the expression of that language will be confused. Our starting points make a huge difference when it comes to building upon a foundation.
Luckily for us, this is nothing new. People have been struggling with understanding the language of God vs. the language of their own hearts since ancient times. In the Bible, St. Paul begins his letter to the Romans with a history of God’s creations moving from the grammar stage to the dialectic stage, forgetting the truth. From a distance, we can recognize their struggles and learn from the folly in their exploration of identity.
Consider the similarities in St. Paul’s letter to the Romans:
“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason, God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” (Romans 1: 20-32)
God has given us a language about what is real. His creation, His divine attributes, His Son made flesh. So, this story in Romans is where truth and lies meet the boundaries of God. But before we get into the obvious, what a girl is. Even more foundationally we need to talk about where truth is found.
St. Paul assessed that the culture did not recognize God. So who was their creator? God gave them up, to themselves. Although He was and is in control of the creation, God allowed them to be their own truth. Likewise in the garden of Eden, the woman saw that the fruit was good to eat, and she desired it, not just to eat but to make her wise and to be like God. God allowed the woman to believe her own truth. The age-old battle between the God of the Universe and the god of “self” Is nothing new. St Paul in Romans uses the grammar of faith: God is the Father and Creator. The “self” is a foolish, darkened, sinner in need of a Savior.
So, if we teach that God’s Word is truth, then we must also teach that we all have something to learn. God created creatures in a physical and spiritual way. He built man and woman from dirt and breath. But He is the Creator, the one who makes the definitions, and authority is not found in our ever-shifting, authentic “self.”
However, Christians can explore these boundaries of definitions in a faithful way. How far can we push the boundaries of truth? Do man and woman really exist or is it just as fluid as the next avatar I can create in my mind? These are healthy, good, and normal questions for the dialectic stage. But scary, no doubt.
Exploring the boundaries of our language of self, man, woman, should be done. Yet kept in the realm of God’s truth and reality at the same time. It is confusing when our technology has advanced us beyond our created physical reality. We are faced with a battle we did not anticipate, because we are still God’s creatures. If we do not answer the foundational question of truth, then we will be stuck in the never-ending cycle of exploring a new language, new truths, new technology. Who is God? Is He the Creator of me? Or am I the creator of me? If we do not know the language we intend to speak, then we will continue to argue nonsense while misunderstanding all the languages around us.
When we consider the questions of how to teach a girl who she is, ultimately we are talking about teaching a girl about her identity. But it is not curated in the grammar stage, whatever we teach is definitely rebelled against and tested in the dialectic stage. But rather her identity is ultimately a product of her whole education. After all of this, the rhetoric stage is how a girl will express herself in life and who she understands herself to be.
How To Teach a Girl Who She Is
But this is not just doom and gloom with no answer. I actually think there is much more hope and direction than we realize. There is a solid and rational way, that has been practiced for years in several disciplines, to teach a girl who she is.
We will use the Trivium model: the grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric stages to help us define, explore, and express to a girl who she is.
If you remember, this stage is purely definitional, and the structure of the “language” whatever that may be. For our purposes and incur context here I will be teaching from the perspective of the Historical Christian Faith. This is one of the finer points of our argument. When teaching anything the teacher must choose a language. If you want your child to speak Spanish, you will teach her Spanish words and Spanish grammar. You will not teach them Hebrew words, obviously. It sounds simple, I know, but consider the language that we are teaching our children, from the grammar stage.
So the language that I assume we are trying to teach will be based on the Christian faith, starting with the Word of God, and confessed by the ancient Christian Creeds. Our definitions, then, are filled out by the explanations in Luther’s small catechism, and other confessions of our church. Now, I didn’t come up with any of these foundational things, This is the grammar of the faith we confess to hold. So, if this is where we disagree, then it must be a different conversation about what language you want to teach to your girls.
So let’s consider the grammar: what we mean when we say “girl.” According to God, man and woman are creatures. He created them on the sixth day. There was an outside authority that physically formed a man, and built a woman. He also created the heavens and the earth, the trees and birds. Teaching the basics of the creation Bible story is simple grammar. It defines everything that we see and experience as a creation under the authority of God.
But also in this story, we learn about the self. Eve chooses her own heart and desires over the word of God, and Adam also chooses his desire for his wife over the Word of God. This is the wrong choice. God is God, and creatures are destined to the world of curses.
But most importantly, we learn that there is a savior from the beginning! God loves His people, and He will save them. All of our characters are defined. God = Creator and truth. Man = Loved and sinful. Savior = a hope that will set everything right again.
But, I think people try to make this too complicated too early. For children, for new Christians, and for anyone who is learning this language for the first time, it is essential to just tell the story from Genesis to Revelation. It’s a pretty good one. It is the foundation for every other stage that comes after this. And simply “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the words of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)
In fact, I’ve actually done this with my own girls. Five, remember? This has been a passion of mine ever since my girls were babies, that they would be hearing a different story of whom they were meant to be. So I just told them. At the beginning of their life, what a gift God gave them, to be made a girl. A few years back I wrote a small booklet for my young daughter, Naomi, just telling her the story. Daughter: Our Story Remembered.
But more than that, I also knew that women of every age had struggled to hear the simplicity of the story, the foundational definitions of God’s creation. However, the simplicity of childhood has grown into more complicated questions. So another book was born, Woman: The Forgotten Story. This was definitely age appropriate for more grown-up girls because it does two things, one defines the meaning of God, woman, and a savior, but it also begins to address the challenges we meet beyond the definitions, pushing the boundaries in the dialectic stage.
Once our definitions are laid in the foundation, the next stage in learning is questioning, exploration and logic. Does this really make sense? And how do I use this language now? Now is the opportunity to look at the world around us and test out the limits of our understanding. How does our language hold up to the world around us?
Remember, this is the stage that can get out of control. But it doesn’t have to be if you have established a common grammar. For example, I’ve had the conversation about: “I don’t feel like a girl.” Ok yes, I get that. Let’s talk about the things inside that tell us the truth, or the things inside that lead us astray. What do we know about humankind? We are poor miserable sinners. That’s right! We say that together every Sunday at church. We also remember that story in the Garden of Eden when man and woman wanted the fruit. They didn’t feel like listening to God. Is that normal? Unfortunately, yes. But, what do we know about God? He created you, no matter how you feel. God loves you, no matter how you feel. God sent His Son Jesus for your salvation, no matter how you feel. We also know that this life feels unfair, a lot. However, we all believe in the resurrection and life everlasting, where these feelings no longer annoy us.
What’s great about a conversation like this, is that a girl who knows the definition of God, creation, sin, curse, and savior, can answer these questions for herself! She already knows (with a little guidance) how to use the language that she’s been given.
This stage is meant for building confidence in the truth already taught. It can be a little more intimidating than just reciting Bible stories. But don’t give children problems they don’t already have. This exploration is not to exhaust every corner of possibility. And just be honest! You will definitely come up against a question or a problem that you cannot answer. But it is important that kids also know not everything is simply answered.
This is also a great time to introduce Apologetics to young exploring minds. There are rational and logical ways to give a defense for the faith that we believe. The child is developmentally ready to ask questions about things like why we should trust the Bible, the problem of evil, and other complex ideas that challenge the simple truths of the previous grammar stage.
When you are confident about the grammar, you can have fun with the exploration! I’ve done a podcast with kids, teens and adults for years called “Family Style Theology.” And honestly, this is all I do. We take the world around us, ask some crazy questions, and then go back to the simple grammar of our faith. It is fascinating how complicated subjects become quite simple when you put it in context. The reason I started this podcast years ago with my own children, is because I realized many parents and teachers were a little nervous “to have the conversations that really matter”, as we say. We don’t always have the answers. And that’s ok. Because the conversation (the exploration) matters. In fact, that’s one of the kids’ most comforting realizations in the dialectic stage. Honesty, in what we do know and what we do not.
Now, I know what you must be thinking. What about the girl who doesn’t have the foundational grammar that we speak? Can we teach her who she is? Absolutely. I’ve seen it happen in my own home.
I have a daughter, who’s not really my daughter, but about 6 years ago, I found her sleeping on my couch more than she was sleeping in her home. It is a long story with many twists and turns, but my husband come to find out she is not a Christian, has never been baptized and was completely suspicious of anything that had to do with the church. Which ended up being hilarious, because she loved our family dearly, but we are always at church. During that time, in my mind, she was my littlest daughter, even though twenty at the time. But because she was new to it all in my mind she was learning the grammar of faith, just like a five-year-old. My girls read the books together, we had conversations together, it was about four years of definitions and Bible stories, and most of all forgiveness. But it was not easy. Because of her age, cognitively she wanted to push back and question everything, as she should. Blending the grammar stage and the dialectic stage of a language almost works against each other, learning a new grammar of faith on top of her already functioning skeptical foundation created tension, no doubt. But we just spoke that way, and she kept hearing it. It has been a long road for her. Not ideal, but she has learned the grammar. Even though she still has questions to explore.
The last stage is the most rewarding. Because it is here a girl knows who she is, and she can speak confidently about her identity. The rhetoric stage is where she will express this reality on her own. So what is it that we have been teaching our girls about themselves the whole time?
She is a unique creation by God. She will experience sin, and she needs a savior. Jesus came to earth, died and rose, so that she will rise up to eternal life. That is who she is.
And as we explored the boundaries in the previous stage, fighting the little battles of gender and pronouns, the identity question still looms. It would be shallow and elementary to keep a girl’s identity on the level of cold definitions. That is for children, the milk of the faith. This is the battle that our world is struggling with, remember? What is a girl? Is it feelings or body parts? Is truth from God or is truth in yourself? The grammar and dialectic stage should lead us to this final conclusion of identity: She is God’s creation, Sinful in her own thought word and deed, but completely freed by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
How do you teach a girl who she is? You teach her God’s Word, laying the foundation for whom she will always know herself to be. So yes, at the beginning it includes simple definitions of man and woman, sin and death, law and gospel, God and Jesus. But then it is layered with how this story fits together in real life. So again and again, a girl is learning and exploring what her identity, a woman in this world, forgiven by Christ, feels like.
But no matter what boundary she presses, you have been teaching her the language that she belongs to Christ. As she explored the boundaries of her faith, she found that every problem is forgiven. Every sin is paid for. Every wrong decision she makes in her mind, or in her body, Christ died for that too. How do you teach a girl who she is? You ultimately and always give her Jesus.
And I know, this is not the conversation you wanted it to be, it never is. You wanted me to tell you how to change those sinful little kids into obedient followers of the law. You wanted me to rightfully condemn the unbelieving world and show you how to fix the ones you love. You wanted me to tell you how to battle the institutions and create a utopian Christian society where righteousness is in control. But by teaching the language of Christ, she will learn that she is NOT the answer. She isn’t the righteous one, and neither are you.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24)
Here is the center of our identity and the identity of our children. That ALL have sinned and ALL fall short. And most importantly ALL are justified by Christ, alone.
In the battle for identity our culture, our education system, our own sinful desires want us to look directly inside ourselves for the answers. To trust our feeling and our “authentic self”. But as we have learned this is not the language of Christ. Rather, the Word of God says identity is a gift given from outside. A gift of identity is in Christ Jesus.
The Gospel redefines the identity of everyone. Poor miserable sinners are loved and forgiven children of God. Broken both in body and soul are healed by the gifts of Christ. But faith comes by the hearing and the speaking of the Word of Christ. They can only learn it when you say it to them. Just say it out loud.
So what once was a narrow understanding of the definition of girls and boys, opens into a whole story of sin, forgiveness, and hope in Christ. The love of God is not confined to those who can speak the language, but to those who trust in His Son, Jesus.
My own daughters have been all over the map with their questions, with their pushbacks, and their explorations. And one by one, their time comes to confess their identity to the world. They have the language on sin and salvation. They have a place of forgiveness to be wrong in thought, word, and deed. All of my daughters, even the one who had a late start hearing the truth of her story, come regularly to the rail to taste, feel and hear that they are redeemed by the blood of Christ. What more could any of us ask for? That our girls, no matter what they do or where they end up, our girls know they are beloved for eternity.
Presentation at Best Practices Ministry 2023
The Lost Tools of Learning, by Dorothy Sayers
Strange New World, by Carl R. Trueman
Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change, by Neil Postman
Woman: The Forgotten Story, by Cindy Koch
Daughter: Our Story Remembered, by Cindy Koch