Nude Guy in the Ladies’ Room - Dress Rehearsal for Final Conflict
I’m not big on “end times” scenarios. Anglicans don’t tend to be, says I, consciously damming up or at least diverting the alleged “third stream.”
Yet things come up that resonate with the Bible’s apocalyptic books, principally the Revelation. While I’m not much into forecasting specific times and events via that book, its visionary images reflect what Jesus says about the violent sorting out of good and evil when he returns to reign forever.
In the meantime, we have experiences that seem very much like that final struggle. I’ve taken to calling them “dress rehearsals” - they are not the final conflict, but they walk us through “scenes” that will manifest when it comes.
I read Revelation 13:1-10 this morning, and later bumped into a news report that made me say, “Aha. Dress rehearsal in progress.”
In Washington State, an individual born as a male, still in possession of intact male genitalia but a declared woman (at least since 2009), is going about nude in a college women’s locker room that is shared by minor girls’ swim teams.
When girls complained to staff, the individual was asked to leave, and now complains of discrimination, “This is not 1959 Alabama. We don’t call police for drinking from the wrong water fountain.”
Others can deal with the civil rights analogy fail. Let me plug this mess into the passage from the Revelation.
And I saw a beast rising out of the sea…And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority…and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” (Revelation 13:1-4 ESV)
The forces of evil copy and mock the Trinity. The dragon is the devil, “father of lies;” the beast is an earthly incarnation of his evil; a false “Word become flesh;” and there is another beast or “false prophet” not appearing in this passage, a destructive, misguiding parody of the life-giving, illuminating Holy Spirit.
The people of the world, easily misled, worship the devil through their adoration of the beast, who does signs and wonders that entertain and please them. The beast grows formidable - none can “fight against it.”
So what’s that got to do with a transsexual in the ladies’ locker room?
The transsexual is a manifestation of what pleases the world, and they dote on him. He reflects total autonomy. He stands above God, not only in terms of “values” but in a critique of any limits in the created order. He’s campy, funny and freewheeling - no being in heaven or earth can deny him his desire.
Evidently, Washington State has a law that protects his right to display his male genitalia to minor girls. The Episcopal Church defends his way of life, orders the church to submit to it, and scoffs at any who disagree.
As in John’s vision, a momentum builds and the earthly manifestation of Satan’s agenda - rebellion against the word of God - runs over the objections of those faithful to the word.
And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear… (Revelation 13:5-9 ESV)
When the Episcopal Church turned in adoration toward the man in the ladies’ room, and defeated those who stood for God’s word, it crowed in language with eerie affinities to those verses,
“We are filled with joy for this clear affirmation that the Episcopal Church welcomes and values the ministerial gifts of transgender people, lay and ordained. We are also delighted by the strong support and broad understanding of trans issues shown by deputies representing a wide range of regions and generations in this church. As the church steps boldly into new frontiers in various facets of its light, we are proud to be part of this spirit-filled movement…willing to take the risk to continue to draw the circle wider as we work to live out our call to make God’s inclusive love known to the whole human family…”
Now, there’s some comfort in knowing that you can “lose” - get beat down pretty darn bad, in fact - and still be totally within God’s will. The particular “scene” rehearsed here has the beast gain the upper hand over the saints, while a deceived world cheers the beast and laughs at the saints. But they (we) are no less saints, they (we) are “written in the book of life.”
So we clothe ourselves in Christ and walk through our rehearsal of what will take place on a cosmic scale one day,
If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.(Revelation 13:10 ESV)
No, we are not being “slain with the sword” in our current culture mess. But “captivity” is increasingly real. Those faithful to God and His Word find themselves more and more locked out of ministries in religions like The Episcopal Church’s. Civil laws grind on toward fines and imprisonment for those who would object to a guy uncovering his junk in front of girls and unwilling women. The nude guy lurking in the ladies’ room will be cheered, defended and served as he mocks, offends, degrades and damages.
Our stage direction, in our dress rehearsals today and for the Day that is to come, is simple but not easy,
“Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.”
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