WHY TIME with NannyGranne

Will I Turn into a Boy, Too, Like Chrissy? (Part Four)

She helped me clear the table and carry lunch dishes into the kitchen.

“You want to wash the dishes?  I’ll dry and put them away and I can tell you more that I’ve learned about God’s dream for men and women together.”

“I like washing better than drying….thanks!”

As she dawdled with the suds and enjoyed dowsing and refilling cups, we could talk more. “Do you remember what Jesus said was God’s plan for husbands and wives?”

“Uh…..that they help each other live God’s way?”

Yes…but let me read what he told his friends when he was still living on earth. Someone had asked him if it was okay to get a divorce.” I dried my hands and pulled my phone out of my pocket, quickly finding the Easy English version of Matthew 19:4 and began to read.

‘You surely have read about this in God’s book,’ Jesus replied. ‘At the start of the world, God made men and he also made women. Because of this, a man leaves his father and his mother.  God joins him and his wife together. The man and the woman become like one person. They are not two separate people any longer. They are like one person. God has joined them together to be husband and wife.  So nobody must separate them.”

“So you can see that Jesus wanted people to live God’s way because He created us to be together and he doesn’t want families to come apart.”

“A lot of people get divorced,” she observed.  My Uncle Milo and Aunt Maya got a divorce.” She was a bright girl.  She wondered where this fit into her family.

“Yes, they do.  And people got divorces back then, too, but Jesus doesn’t want folks to have to go through that either. Divorces hurt, don’t they. Sometimes people just get stubborn and won’t try to stay on God’s path.”

She grew quiet, seeming to turn it all over in her mind. Finally she said, “Yeah. Everybody’s feelings were hurt. I miss seeing Aunt Maya and my cousins.”

“The Apostle Paul, a really wise friend of Jesus, said that even though sometimes people have really messed up their lives by just doing what they felt like doing, not trying to live God’s way, that if they want to start listening to God, Jesus will wash all that pain away and give us a new start. Then we can start over and live God’s best way. When men and women get married and treat each other the way God treats us, then that makes the world a better place. But you don’t have to get married, but if you do that’s okay with God, too.”

“I have another question:  Why does Heather have two mommies?”

“Can I talk to God about that and let’s talk some more tomorrow?  I’d love for you to help me bake some banana bread and could use your help.  Could we do that?”

Will I Turn Into a Boy, too, Like Chrissy? (Part Three)

“I’m getting hungry” my little guest declared.  We’d been coloring together as we discussed her concern about her playmate Chrissy and Chrissy’s decision to become a boy named Chris.  This sudden event had thrown her into confusion as the adults around her revealed opposing viewpoints and she’d now been forbidden to play with her friend.

“Me, too.  Want to help me finish lunch and get it on the table for us?”  As I instructed her in setting the table, filling the glasses with ice and water, and carrying items to our places, I was frantically searching my mind and heart for God’s viewpoint on the issues of gender identity, transgender, same-sex attraction, and gay marriage and lifestyle.   These points of view are and will continue to be a part of the changing world around her. How do we help our children navigate these confusing and emotion-laden waters?

Finally settling at the table, my young companion clapped her hands in glee at the heart shaped PB&J sandwich, carrot flowers and rose radishes.  She was especially excited about the coming ice-cream rose with raspberry drizzles on marshmallow cream with colorful sprinkles. We were having fun!  We then folded our hands and I thanked God for our food, and for His wisdom to understand our friends. Then we started to eat.

“Would you like for me to tell you something Jesus says about boys and girls?”

“OK,” she agreed, munching on the curly carrot.

“Well, Jesus said that God had a wonderful plan for boys and girls when they become men and women.  He said God made us male and female and that when we get married, we love and take care of each other and help each other live God’s beautiful way.  He also said we are to help our children know Jesus, too, so they can grow up living God’s way of the happiest life forever. How does that sound to you?”

“Good.”

“Jesus said something else, though.  He said that not everybody needs to get married.”

“Really?  Why?”

“Some people God made for something different.  Jesus never got married, and the Apostle Paul wasn’t married, either.  God made some people who make the world a better place just by being a very good friend to so many others.”

She contemplated her rose radish, took a nibble and put it back on her plate.  Nice to look at but not as much fun to eat! “So I don’t have to get married when I grow up?”

“No, you don’t my dear.  But if you change your mind when you’re older, that’s okay, too.  The main thing is that whatever you do, you do it God’s way.”

I handed her a second napkin for the peanut butter on her nose.  “But I have to tell you that not everyone wants to do things God’s way because they don’t like to mind anyone and they want to make up their own rules.”

“You mean like wanting to change into a boy?”

“Yes, that’s one thing.  Do you see how trying to do things not God’s way causes confusion and fussing and sadness?  Chrissy’s uncomfortable about what bathroom to use. Her friends are confused about how to treat her.  Grownups worry about what to do. And teachers are trying to keep everyone happy.”

“Oh.  Then Chrissy didn’t choose God’s way.  So is God mad at Chrissy?”

“No, God knows Chrissy doesn’t understand.  He wants so badly for Chrissy to have what He dreamed for her to have.  But you know, maybe nobody’s told her about God’s best way and I think that makes God sad.   But you and I get to choose the way we follow. I have seen God’s way and it always works if we really listen to Him.  I’m going to follow Jesus’ plan for me. He made us and He knows best. And He’s the greatest of anyone, anywhere and He loves me so much!   And part of God’s way is to be kind to everyone, even if they don’t understand, right?”

“Yeah. They don’t understand,” she mused.  Then as if she’d finally found her answer, she said, “I’m going to be nice to Chrissy, but I know she’s still a girl and just doesn’t know how much God likes her just as the girl she is.”

“Honey, I think that’s very wise of you.  You’ll always be glad you chose God’s dream for you.  There are some other ways people miss out on God’s dream for them?  You may already know some of them.”

She looked up at me, taking a sip of her pineapple-banana juice. “What things?” she asked.

“Some of them are sad,” I offered. “But God gave us the answers so we can understand the best way.”

“Okay,” she answered.  “Can we have dessert first?”

We’d go on from there.  She was curious. Now was the time to show her the Creator’s design, giving her the magnificent vision of beauty and love meant for her.

(To be continued)

Will I Turn Into a Boy, Too, Like Chrissy? (Part Two)

As we sat together, I tried to imagine this child’s confusion as she wrestled with her playmate’s morphing from a girl to a boy…and worrying, could it happen to her?

“How can we tell if we’re girls, do you think?”  I continued coloring the chameleon on the page thinking of the irony. “How can we tell baby boys from baby girls?”

She ducked her head and giggled, unwilling to say the words.

“Are girls and boys made differently on the outside?”

Relieved, she returned to her coloring and said, “Yeah.”  Not daring to say more.  I didn’t want to make this harder on her than it already was.

“Yes, boy people and girl people are made differently, boy cows and girl cows, boy dogs and girl dogs. Also girl dogs have puppies and not boy dogs.”

“Yeah!  My dog Molly is going to have pups soon!” She was relieved to be on benign territory again.

“Did you know there is another way to tell if someone is a boy or a girl?”

Stopping mid stroke, she turned to me surprised, “Really!  How?”

“Scientists and doctors can take cells from our bones or our skin and look very closely at the tiny parts of them and they are actually different.  You’ll hear about DNA…”

“I know about DNA! They talk about it in my science books at school!” she interrupted.

“Good!  Then you know that our DNA tells us all about our bodies.  In fact, our DNA always tells us whether we’re girls or boys.  And that doesn’t change in our bodies.”

“Then how did Chrissy change into a boy?”  She realized the inconsistency between thought and scientific fact.   She was beginning to see the reason for the confusion.

“I have a picture of a lady who decided she’s a cat.  She acts like a cat, meows like a cat, and wants to do what cats do.  Do you think she’s changed into a cat?”

She giggled and said, “No….but she looks funny.”

“Sometimes girls like to do things boys do, like play ball, climb trees, wear boots, or collect bugs. But they can still be girls and grow up and go to the Olympics, or be scientists or game rangers or mommies.  Sometimes boys like to cook or sew or play music or read rather than get dirty or wrestle.  But they can still be boys who grow up to be chefs or tailors, teachers or orchestra conductors or maybe even artists or authors.”

“Have you heard the story of Jacob and Esau in the Bible?” I asked.

“Is he the one with the coat with many colors?”

“Well, that was Joseph. Jacob was his daddy and Esau was his uncle.”  As I explained, she bobbed her head up and down, proud she was in the ballpark at least. “Esau liked to hunt and be outside and even go off on camping trips.  But guess what!”

She stopped coloring and faced me.  “What?!”

“His brother didn’t.  In fact, Jacob–who gave Joseph that beautiful coat–didn’t like to hunt at all.  He stayed inside and was a good cook.  In fact, the Bible says Jacob was his mother’s favorite and Esau was his daddy’s favorite.  Some people would say Jacob must have been gay.  But he wasn’t anythingbad.  He was just the way God made him.  A boy doesn’t have to hunt or be tough or be afraid to sew or cook if that’s what he’s good at.  Do you see what I’m saying?”

“But Chrissy wants to be a boy!” she argued.

“Maybe Chrissy thought because she would rather play outside and climb trees and run races than play with dolls or fix her hair like the other girls, that she had to change into a boy so she could do what she liked.”

Now my little friend’s coloring intensified.  I could tell she was wishing all this wasn’t so complicated.

“And maybe Chrissy feels that way because somebody told her she had to act like they wanted her to instead of being just who God made her.”

She continued coloring, lowering her head a little, contemplating whether to speak.  “I liked racing with Chrissy. Her daddy built her a tree-house and I like that, too.”  She whispered, looking at me as though she was revealing a long-kept secret.

I whispered in return, “I think that sounds like fun.”  She stopped for a second and looked up at me smiling.  Then, continuing my story, I wanted to tell her more about God’s people who didn’t fit our Western mold of manhood or womanhood. “There is a story of the most wonderful woman in the Bible.”  Then I found Proverbs 31 on my smart phone and pointed to verses 16-17.  “It says right here that she bought a field and planted a vineyard and she worked hardoutside.  It said she had strong arms, too.  She also sewed and cooked and dressed pretty.  But working outside and being strong was a good thing.”

“Yeah!” Again nodding her head.  We both returned to our project.

“I’m sad that some people have made Chrissy think that being a girl wasn’t as good as being a boy. And I’m sorry that some people have told her that.  And I’m sorry that other people are mad at her and being mean to her.  I wish she could know that God made her and likes her just like she is.  And I bet she’d really like to hear the stories about God’s women who liked being outside and became judges and travelled with Jesus and camped out and cooked fish!  I think that would be really cool”

We’d both finished our coloring, mine a chameleon and hers a kitten.  She turned to me then with a look of resolve and said words that surprised me and challenged me as well.  She said simply, “I’ll tell her.”

There was still more to consider.  But for now, time to eat.

Will I Turn Into a Boy, Too, Like Chrissy? (Part One)

“Will I turn into a boy, too, like Chrissy?”

The question just burst into the air.  She was coloring at the kitchen table while I made lunch.  Suddenly, involuntarily, the question swam in my brain!  A question that had never occurred to me or any of my friends as a child.  How would her parents answer?  Why had she asked me?  Did she sense that I could be the one who welcomes her questions?  Was I a safe adult in her life?  This was an important moment.  I prayed for wisdom.

“How do you think Chrissy turned into a boy?” I asked.

“I don’t know. She says her name is Chris now and she wears boy’s clothes and cuts her hair short.”

She continued coloring, unwilling to see my expression.

I matched her distractedness by mixing peanut butter and grape jelly.  “That must have been strange to think your friend has changed this way.” I wanted her to know that her feelings were safe with me.

“Yeah. Some of the kids don’t like her any more.  Some of them called her ‘gay,’ too.”

“Do you think that calling her ‘gay’ was a good thing or a bad thing? And what do they mean, ‘gay,'” I encouraged

“I don’t know,” she said.  “The teachers don’t care and tell all of us that Chrissy wants to be a boy and so now she is. But Grandpa and Daddy are mad and don’t want me to play with Chrissy anymore.”  Her wide eyes now searched my face for answers and I saw they were filling with tears. She was so torn.

I set aside my meal preparation and, sitting down next to her, I picked up the crayons and joined her in her coloring, grateful for the relaxing connection.  “Well, Jesus does say to treat people the way we’d want to be treated,” I continued.  “Do you think Chrissy really turned into a boy or do you think she just wants to look like and be treated like a boy instead of a girl?”

“I don’t know,” she repeated.  “She still has to use the girls’ restroom at school because she doesn’t like going to the boys’ bathroom because ….” she stopped then, afraid she was wading into questionable waters.

“Is it because boys go to the bathroom differently from girls, do you think?”

We needed to refocus. I could see she was genuinely confused by the implications of Chrissy’s choice and how she was expected to respond.   The adults in her life were making opposite statements and holding her to opposing expectations.  She was terrified that something out of her control might alienate her from the adults she loved.  There was more to this than her eye could meet…or her young mind embrace.  For her, this was a no-win situation.  What was she to do?

(to be continued)

The Need for the “Zoey” Series

(This week’s guest article is from apologetic author, Dick Sztanyo.)

All of us as parents or grandparents (or those who support their efforts) recognize the responsibility of proper spiritual training for our children.  Schools focus primarily on the “3 R’s” which are “Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic.”  What I believe that Scripture teaches so plainly is the priority of the “4th R,” namely, “Righteousness.”  Ephesians 6:4 says:  “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

This reading is from the New American Standard Bible (used throughout, unless otherwise indicated).  The King James Version reads “the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Proverbs 22:6, well known to most parents states:  “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”   Even though neither passage is a guarantee that youngsters will never freely choose to abandon their Lord, the importance of both cannot be overemphasized.  No one will fail to understand the necessity of teaching children from these texts.  Our Bible school programs in the local churches and our Christian schools, at the University and College level as well as below even to the beginning of a child’s education, are not designed to replace the training of the home, but instead, to support it!

The need for such training should be obvious. Flavil Yeakley, church statistician, informed us that fully 40% of young people affiliated with churches of Christ, leave the Lord’s church by the time they leave home.  20% of these join other religious organizations, while 20% become irreligious.  Half of this last 20% become atheists.  Such information as this makes it clear that it is never too early to begin to train our children to know that God exists, that the Bible is His word, and that Jesus the Christ is His divine Son.  I am thankful for authors like my friend David Roper, who is able to communicate well with small children.  I have been working in the field of apologetics for some 40 years, but I readily confess that I am not equipped to effectively teach younger children.  So, I am grateful for people like David who can do what some of us cannot do.  All of us are needed to do this important work.  I direct my efforts to those who are older, and sometimes very well educated.

Zoey likes to ask questions.  She wants to know how things come to be at all.  Actually, one of the most penetrating philosophical questions is simply, “Why does anything exist?”  This question has intrigued philosophers for decades upon decades.  The first “Zoey” book seeks the very simple answer to that question.  Of course, there will be other books to follow with Zoey’s additional questions.  Perhaps David will even branch out from preschoolers to also include elementary children within the scope of his work.  Maybe other talented individuals will contribute their abilities toward expanding this significant work.  In any case, we all need to thank God for the incredible curiosity of young children, and we need to make sure that we don’t ignore the need, but instead, that we work hard to help our children discover God, learn to love God, and finally, commit themselves to God through their relationship with Jesus Christ and His church.  I am thankful that something is being done to address this vital question at such an early age.

(Dick Sztanyo is the author of various apologetic publications, including the textbook Graceful Reason: Studies in Christian Apologetics. If you are interested in a serious study of apologetics, we recommend this book. It is available on Amazon.)

Does God Know About Dinosaurs? (Part Three)

The party continued with a dinosaur scavenger hunt among the pews in the auditorium.  The kids were sugared up and ready to run.

My table companion was the older brother of the birthday boy and had been encouraged to hang back so the preschoolers could have their fun.  It was a perfect time to continue our conversation. He’d asked earlier when God made the dinosaurs and why there weren’t any on the Ark.

“I’m going to be honest.  Scientists have been arguing about when the dinosaurs lived and died for a couple hundred years. The first guy to call them dinosaurs was in 1842…less than 180 years ago.   Some say dinosaurs lived and died millions of years before humans existed.  Others have done tests that they believe show dinosaurs were still living 50,000 years ago and that cavemen drew pictures of them on stones and in caves.  Still other folks are convinced the earth is only 6000 years old.  So, to be truthful, it’s hard to know when God made them. Some things God just didn’t tell us and He lets us look at the earth itself and try to figure it out.  But you know what?  I’m just glad I don’t have to understand all about that to be in His family. I just know God made them…and everything else…in just the right way, at just the right time.

He lowered his eyes in thought, then looked up at me again.  “Then were there dinosaurs on the Ark?  Weren’t they too big?”

“If they really were extinct before Adam and Eve, then no.  But if there were dinosaurs still alive during the flood, Noah could have taken very young dinosaurs who made the journey.  We just don’t know for certain.  Besides, there are other animals the Bible never talks about.”

“Really?  Which ones?”

“Well, cats for one.”

“Cats?!?” He was gobsmacked!

“Yep, cats…and certainly God knows all about them, too.  There are some things that are interesting, but don’t change God’s story.  So, do you feel like you have some answers now?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

“Good.  Just remember that we do know that everything had a beginning and God has the only answer for when that was.”

He lowered his head.  I couldn’t tell if it was in thought or disappointment.

“Can I show you one more thing?”

“Sure.”

We again peered into my phone screen.  I pulled up Wikipedia and typed in “List of Christians in Science and Tech.”  He was amazed at the hundreds of scientists living today who believe in the Bible, and the fact that over 65% of Nobel Prize winners in the 20th Century were believers in the God of the Bible.

“I did not know that!”  He was thrilled!

“I know!  Isn’t that cool?  You see, you can listen to folks and what they think, but don’t just take somebody’s word for things that matter.  You can find out for yourself what’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”  He smiled when I said that.  “And trust God to help you find out everything you really need to know.  The rest, you can ask Him later.”

“Yeah!” he grinned, raising his hand for a good old high five. “It’s time for cake.  You ready?”

He is a great kid, with a kind heart and an honest mind.  I had a feeling he’d keep asking questions and looking for the truth.  He’d be the guy to answer his baby brother’s questions when he asks someday, “Does God know about the dinosaurs?”

“Does God Know About the Dinosaurs?” (Part Two)

As we watched his little brother and preschool friends color the bills of their dinosaur hats, I realized my young friend was probably confused by his classroom schooling in evolution. Change (evolution) is an obvious reality in biological and archaeological science, but it is confusing when the lessons go beyond scientific fact and claim to be the mechanism for the origin of all species.  True science, because of DNA and mathematics, has debunked the theory of life’s origin beginning with a single primordial cell. But academia always lags behind in teaching the latest scientific advances. Thus, a child might think that, if the existence of dinosaurs proves evolution, then teachers might be right about our ancestors being rat-like creatures scurrying around the feet of the dinosaurs.

So, in answer to his opening question “When did God make dinosaurs?” I said to him, “God made the dinosaurs before He made us, that’s for sure.”

“Then why did He make the dinosaurs and then just kill them all?”  He’d been thinking about these things for a while.  He needed to be heard and taken seriously.

“You ask an important question.  I can tell you’ve thought about this quite a bit.”

He nodded soberly, never taking his eyes away from my own.

“You’ve thought about this, so tell me how you think God killed all the dinosaurs.”

“The scientists think a huge asteroid crashed in Mexico and killed them all.”  He was well versed in the school-book rhetoric.  He’d passed the tests.

“Yes, they think a huge asteroid did crash into Mexico and wiped out about 70% of all the creatures on the earth.  But some scientists think the dinosaurs were beginning to starve out already and others think there were dinosaurs left on the other side of the earth from where the asteroid landed.  They argue all the time over what happened because it’s really hard to know for sure—it’s been so long ago.”

I wanted him to think about where the blame lay for the loss of dinosaurs.  “But I’m wondering if God is the one who killed them off.” He raised his eyebrows, then nodded. He wanted to hear what I had to say. “If a bunch of nuclear bombs or a weird disease killed almost everyone on earth, would that be God’s fault?”

“I don’t know.” He was guarded, not sure where this was leading.

“If the wiring in your house wore out and caused a fire that burned your house down, would that be God’s doing?”

“No, it would be an accident,” he corrected himself.

“When anything bad happens, whose idea is it according to the Bible?”

“The devil’s?” He also remembered what he had been taught in Bible class.

“I want to show you something.  Is that OK?”

“Sure.”

I grabbed my phone and pulled up my favorite Bible app, selecting an easy-to-read version for his sake. “Do you remember the story of Adam and Eve and how they listened to Satan and did the one thing God had asked them not to do?”  He nodded “Yes.”  “That’s where all the bad began.  Before that, God said everything was good.” I added with a smile, “Except that Adam needed help.”  We both laughed.

After reading God’s response to the fall in Genesis 3:14-19, I explained, “After Adam and Eve got into trouble–and Satan, too–God sentenced Satan to a miserable existence and doom to come.  Then he sentenced Adam and Eve to pain and hardship and physical death.  But God also indicated that One Day He would make things right again for those who wanted to be friends with Him again.”

I stopped and faced him and, putting my hand on his shoulder, continued.  “But there’s more to the story.  Did you know that the earth suffered, too, from Satan getting involved and poisoning everything he touched.”   Turning to Romans 8:21-22 we read, “…the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children.  For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers together until now.  Not only this, but we ourselves also…groan inwardly as we eagerly await our adoption, making our bodies free.”

He looked at me, somewhat confused but also intrigued.

“So you see, God didn’t kill all the dinosaurs. The whole universe was broken by Satan. But just for now.”  Turning to Revelation 21:1-5, I showed him where God promises to make all things new..not just our bodies, but an entirely new world with Him.

He sat for a moment, mulling over all this new information.  But he had more questions.  And since we were on a roll, he continued.  “But when did He make them and why weren’t there any on the Ark?”

That question will be answered in Part III.  Meet me there next week.