We are being challenged to learn a whole new vocabulary: Is she cis-gender or gender fluid?  Is “ze” really a pronoun?  

I was born and raised in New Jersey.  Childhood vacations were almost always at the Jersey shore.  It was close and my Grandfather had a shore house, so it was an easy and affordable destination.  As a teen and young adult, it was the place to go for group adventures and dates.  When I went to college in the mid-west, I was surprised that there were many students who had never been to the ocean at all. They were missing something special.

My family loved the beach and ocean.  From playing at the shoreline with buckets and shovels, mounding up endless sand castles and decorating them with shells, we graduated to bouncing in deeper water.  The trick was to look at the incoming waves and to judge their size soon enough to get back in before getting clobbered.  The braver and stronger ones went further out, doggy paddling and riding the swells before they broke.  Some used buggy boards and experienced the thrill of riding all the way into the sand – or not!

As I contemplate the rest of 2017, I am looking ahead to see what the incoming waves signal. There are cultural changes moving along at a surprising rate, threatening to reconfigure the landscape, carving new patterns in the sand and wiping out the dunes. 

National Geographic devoted the entire January 2017 issue to “The Gender Revolution.”  We are challenged to learn a whole new vocabulary before we can even blink and think about what is happening. Is she cis-gender or gender fluid?  What pronoun should I use to address him?  

Perhaps one of the most pressing challenges for pregnancy center personnel is preparing to wade into the water and learn how to effectively serve clients who are caught up in this swift revolution.  Where are we standing in our knowledge of the Word of God?  What is God saying about our witness and care of all people?  The undertow is amazingly strong sometimes, and we can be swept yards down the beach before we are aware of it.  

Consider Jesus:

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. – Ephesians 4:11-20 (NIV)

We need to pray first, read the Word, seek out good teaching, and pray some more.  Let this be a topic of in-service trainings and sensitive discussions.  

Nothing is outside of His control and His plans are secure.  We have been touching the lives of confused and hurting men and women for many years.  It is not time to run away from the waves, but to learn how to ride them with confidence.



This post is adapted from an article originally appearing on Care Net’s private affiliate  website.

Joan Boydell is a Center Service Specialist who started as a center director in 1989.  She is delighted to see how the Care Net ministry has grown and matured over the years, consistently adding resources and setting high standards for centers throughout North America.  She lives with her husband in Lancaster County, PA and works as a Licensed Professional Counselor.