If Rip Woke Up Today

a landscape with trees and hills

Washington Irving published his fanciful tale, Rip Van Winkle in 1819. The story is set in late 18th century America. Rip was squirrel hunting in the Catskill Mountains, dulled by drink he lays down for a nap. Deep sleep doesn’t explain the half of it. He wakes up 20 years later thinking it was the next day.

He should have noted his beard was now a foot long, his dog was gone, and his rifle was covered in rust. When he enters his village, he barely recognizes it. There were buildings that weren’t there before. His clothing looked old-fashioned. He declared his allegiance to King George not realizing America had since won its independence. He was out of place and didn’t know why. Can you identify?

Last week USA Today announced its “Women of the Year.” One of their choices was Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, Richard Levine. He goes by Rachel. He was born a man. He’s still a man though he “identifies” as a woman. The wig, makeup, and dress can’t hide the fact he’s very much a dude. If you saw him on the street and were confused, you’d think, “That is one ugly woman.” You’d be right about the ugly and wrong about the woman. And if I was on Twitter, I just got canceled.

This week the judge nominated by President Joe Biden to the Supreme Court (ironically because she is a black woman) could not define the word “woman”. Really. Here was the question from a senator at Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing, “Can you provide a definition for the word ‘woman’?” “No, I can’t,” Jackson said after confirming the question. She said she was unable to because “I’m not a biologist.” When asked again, she responded, “I’m not a biologist. I’m a judge.” And we want her making judgments about what is constitutional and what is not? Biology is binary. It’s 50/50. If you can’t get that one right, how is she going to handle the nuances of the law?

I have not read Carl Trueman’s, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution. I am familiar with his arguments from book reviews. Tim Challies is one reviewer I trust. He writes:

It [Truman’s book] examines the triumph of the erotic through surrealism, pop culture and pornography; it examines the triumph of the therapeutic through Ivy League schools and Supreme Court rulings; it examines the triumph of the T (Transgenderism) as a near-complete overthrow of all traditional understandings of sex, sexuality, and even humanity.

I was curious so I googled. Where was Levine and Jackson educated? I bet Ivy League. Yep. Both of them, Harvard. Of course.

A quote from Trueman’s book:

Transgenderism is a symptom, not a cause. It is not the reason why gender categories are now so confused; it is rather a function of a world in which the collapse of metaphysics and of stable discourse has created such chaos that not even the most basic of binaries, that between male and female, can any longer lay claim to meaningful objective status. And the roots of this pathology lie deep within the intellectual traditions of the West.

What we are watching is the downward trajectory foretold by Romans 1, “He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done” and Ephesians 4, “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity”.

Moral imperatives are no longer based on anything sacred. There is nothing and no one above oneself. What we are watching is people justifying themselves and their actions on the basis of themselves. “Go be you,” says the institutions of the day. And so, they have.

So, if Rip wakes up today from his 20-year snooze and comes rapping at our door, saying, “I just saw a man high up in the government parading as a woman. And worse, he thinks he’s one. And I just heard a smart woman interviewing for the highest court in the land say the dumbest thing—that she doesn’t know what a woman is. What happened while I was asleep?”

I might say something like, “They went to Harvard. They don’t believe the Bible. God gave them up. Their ideas command the culture. And unless God sends reformation and revival, what you saw is just the beginning.”

Pastor Rich Hamlin
March 24, 2022

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