What is the essence of human gender? Right now this is a question at the forefront in our culture. Turns out it’s not so easy to give a solid answer. Just as Diogenes pointed out to Plato that man cannot be defined as a “featherless biped” when he plunked a plucked chicken down in front of his teacher—tongue in cheek for sure!—so also the vexing question of “what is human gender” is tying folks in intellectual knots nowadays. Sometimes it’s enough to just say, “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.” But when activists and ideologues begin wounding people with rhetoric and pushy agendas, it’s time to take the question seriously.
Pastor and author Sam Andreades has written an influential book that has moved the gender conversation forward in a unique way. In enGendered: God’s Gift of Gender Difference in Relationship, the author proposes that people discover the beauty and distinctiveness of human gender in asymmetrical (i.e., male-female) relationship. Through his pastoral interaction with people involved in the homosexual lifestyle (some in long-term relationships) in Greenwich Village in New York City, Andreades came to realize that folks who came out of gay relationships and entered as Christians into male-female marriages were in a unique position to provide information on whether relational asymmetrical sex differences make a significant difference. Later the author wrote a doctoral thesis based on his DSM (“Does She Matter?”) Study that simply asked former homosexual men whether “she” matters, and if yes, how so. But his book enGendered is more than a compilation of the findings derived from that study. He also does much biblical, theological, sociological, and worldview thinking to situate his sociological data in a thesis that asserts men and women can only find genuine expression of the masculine and feminine genders to the degree they are intimately engaged in asymmetrical relationship with one another. To summarize the testimonies of the DSM men, “Yes, she most definitely matters!” Continue reading