Another Easter has passed in a flurry of eggs and bunnies, brightly colored new dresses, visions of crosses and empty tombs, families and friends around the table sharing ham or lamb dinners. The Easter celebration comes at a time when though snow and cold persist, the darkness of winter is giving way to more hours of light and it gives us hope for brighter days ahead.
For Christians, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the crux of our faith, the hope that we too will one day rise again to eternal life. For some it may seem like a fairy tale, unbelievable. Such was the case with Lee Strobel, an atheist and journalist for the Chicago Tribune, who set out to disprove the resurrection.
He was a skeptic who was surprised to find there was historical evidence for the resurrection. From ancient history, one report of the event came within months of the resurrection. According to Strobel, that is like a news flash. He goes on to say that much of what we know from ancient history is derived from one or two sources, but when it comes to the resurrection there are at least nine ancient sources, both inside and outside the New Testament. After much research, he was filled with reason and accepted the resurrection as true.
If the God/man lived, died and rose again, I have to believe his recorded teachings are true, otherwise the whole thing would be like a “house of cards.” In a world where right and wrong are increasingly based on what feels right, it is refreshing to know that based on what Jesus spoke there is a standard for right and wrong.
All of this to say that I was dismayed by an article I read recently about George, written by Alex Gino, a book placed on a list in Oregon for a competition called “Battle of the Books” for children ages 8-11. Schools and libraries engage in the competition which culminates in a once a year game show format where teams answer trivia questions about the books. Sounds like a good way to encourage children to read.
George is the story of a boy who is convinced he is a girl, and within the book there are discussions of genitalia, taking hormones, sexual orientation and sex change surgeries. People can write and publish what they want, I get that, but is this really an appropriate selection for ages 8-11? From the article, “Doctors across the spectrum agree that the vast majority of children diagnosed with gender dysphoria later indentify with their biological sex.” Some may believe a book such as this will promote understanding, but I think it could result in unnecessary confusion and misunderstanding in impressionable children.
Again, I believe Christ’s standard would beg the question, “Why would we expose anyone to that line of thinking?” But I think it is particularly egregious to encourage young children to encounter in their reading such graphic information. Thankfully, this is just in Oregon, and most local chapters across the country come up with their own list, though there is a suggested national list.
Some might say my thoughts drip with intolerance. Christ’s love for all people, no matter their gender persuasion, and particularly children, sent him to a cruel death on behalf of all mankind, and the belief in His resurrection challenges us to live according to what he laid out for life. We, like Him, are to love people as we love ourselves. If we are hungry or hurting or fearful of harm, we take steps to care for ourselves. I believe He instructs us to love our children enough to protect them from harm and offer hope for the future.