Bitter for Sweet

Many years ago I coached a women’s athletic team.

During that time there was much ado about Title IX, the federal law requiring female athletes be afforded the same opportunities as their male counterparts. For many university programs, coming into compliance with Title IX meant some men’s sports were downsized in order to expand women’s scholarships, facilities, and funding. But the new-ish law of the land was clear: All athletic departments would be accountable for creating and maintaining a level playing-field for female athletes, or face serious sanctions, fines, or law-suits. It was a big deal.

I wonder what the original champions for Title IX think when they see biological males dominating women’s sports today? How do they reconcile the blatant and egregious inequality? What do they feel as they watch the subjugation of women in sport, again? I know how I feel: Shame. Shame mixed with anger and disbelief. Woe to us. What have we become?

Claiming to be wise, they became fools.

This week I saw a photo of three athletes standing on an award podium after an ‘inclusive’ cycling competition. At the top spot, holding the first place trophy, was a biological male who identifies as a female. The photo shows the winner leaning over to kiss the second-place finisher, also a biological male, while below them both, low to the ground and eye-level to the camera, stood the athlete in third place, a woman with a small child in her arms. It was jarring.

It’s likely we’ve all seen similar images depicting elite female athletes ‘losing’ badly to trans-women in women’s sports. Collegiate swimming. Olympic powerlifting. High school Track and Field. To witness biological males winning women’s competitions has become ubiquitous in sport and society. Why does anyone tolerate the intellectual and biological dishonesty? How did female athletes get here?

Woe to those who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

Female athletes suffering from this current lunacy are casualties of those who – claiming to be wise – have become fools. “That a man can be a woman” is a morsel from the pit of hell – relished only by those who’ve lost any palate for bitter and sweet. It’s a perversion that denigrates both male and female in the end, but dishonors women in an especially shameful way.

I was a fast runner in the fifth-grade and would race anyone who’d accept the challenge. I could never outrun the fastest boys, try as I might, and this was before testosterone coursed through their muscles at puberty. Even as a competitive and athletic tomboy, it was evident to me that 12-year-old boys and girls were physically ‘not the same’, despite a percentage of both sexes possessing a highly competitive nature and athletic body.

Woe to those who put darkness for light and light for darkness.

That said, those who insist that post-puberty men and women can ‘be the same’ physically, in sport or otherwise, are blind. They trust in their own wisdom and follow their own counsel – even if it defies science, reason, honesty, and harms women. Darkness for light. Bitter for sweet. Pride for honor.

As a coach I would occasionally invite male athletes to come practice against my women’s team. I did so because the boys could jump higher, hit harder, and cover more court better than the girls could. The men’s physical advantage challenged our skill, which was the point. Naturally, the male athletes loved getting an invitation to attend the women’s practice. Why? Because our net was six-inches shorter than theirs! Who wouldn’t want to add six inches to their vertical jump? Practicing together was fun for both sexes for different reasons. But imagine the frustration and resentment – the unfairness – if my team had been required to compete against those males, on the women’s net, for a title, prize, scholarship, or endorsement?

So what’s the remedy, Kim?

The fool trusts his own mind, but the wise walk according to the full counsel of God.

The remedy is not to wring our hands or clutch our pearls. The remedy is to be an anchored, free, and joyful people who walk according to the full counsel of God. A people who are willing to walk in-step with God’s Spirit wherever it takes them.

Foolish people are loud and proud, wreaking human carnage and chaos in their wake. The means that what seems best to fools leads to destructive ends. The wise understand that it’s only in returning to God, and resting in him, that anyone can be saved from the currrent that drifts unmoored vessels, unaware, towards the shoals of death.

“For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling. (Isaiah 30:15)

Shalom to you and yours as you walk – anchored, free, and with great joy – in the whole counsel of God.

Kim

8 responses to Bitter for Sweet

  1. Karla Brubaker says:

    Thank you for butting into words how I feel about this issue!

  2. Suzanne says:

    “Claiming to be wise, they became fools.”

  3. Robyn says:

    Well said! I especially appreciated your remedy, this is much needed in today’s world.

  4. Denise says:

    Sometimes it is easy for disciples to forget what “lost” looks like and what life with a dead spirit can do to any human being. There are times for righteous anger, and there are times for looking at the blind, deaf, and crippled with the heart of compassion from Jesus’ cross.

  5. Janet White says:

    Thank you, Kim. You’ve spoken powerful truth.

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