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Guest Column: Uncommon gender sense

July 1, 1993

Guest Column: Uncommon gender sense

By Dr. Robert R. Kopp

My wife is a much better mother than I could ever be.

I am a much better father than she could ever be.

Just like no woman will ever break Hank Aaron’s homerun record, no man will ever sing like Celine Dion.

It’s gender sense.

Women and men are different.

Being a trifle bigoted about it from the male side—I was thinking about hawking “Save the Males” buttons at the next Title IX meeting!—I’ll almost stop there.

But it doesn’t take much sense to see the physical differences.

And, periodically, women and men betray emotional distances.

It’s been that way since the beginning: “male and female God created them” (Genesis 1:26-27).

That’s why I refuse to divorce women and men from their genders with silly designations such as chairperson, firefighter, clergyperson, waterperson, mailcarrier, policewhatever, and so on.

I say, give ‘em their sex!

For example, I prefer chairwoman or chairman and clergywoman or clergyman; unless, of course, we’re referring to Sinead or Michael, which makes it a lot tougher.

Only a very small minority in our world object to gender diversity; echoing the distant refrain, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:18-25).

All things being equal apart from functional gender distinctives, the overwhelming majority in our world appreciate, affirm, and applaud how each complements the other: “So we belong to each other, and each needs all the others” (Romans 12:1ff.).

As I consider the mess at Augusta National Golf Course, site of the annual Masters Tournament, I lament how gender sense is increasingly uncommon.

If you haven’t heard, some babe (Oops!) from one of those hyper-feminist groups with fever members than the Barry Bonds Fan Club has gone apoplectic about the club’s continued exclusion of women from membership. She threatened to pressure corporate sponsors to withhold funds for the event (Gee, sounds like mainline churches!). In response, the good old green-jacketed boys told her to butt out of their business. Hootie Johnson (Don’t you love that name?), big dog of the crackers, declared they don’t need anybody’s money to run their show. So as it stands, we get to watch the 2003 edition of the Masters without commercial interruption.

As Rick Telander wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times in “Masterful Job So Far by Hootie: Augusta So Appealing Because It’s Not for Sale” (2 September 2002), “You go, boy!”

Nevertheless, I’ll bet women get in before the next Solheim or Ryder Cups. If whoever really makes the rules down there can renege on lifetime exemptions for past champions, they can’t hide behind tradition for excluding women. Besides, there’s only so much bantering and moaning anyone can endure.

There is one question begging to be asked: “Should they admit women into membership?”

Boy, I mean, uh, y’all, this has caused some real soul-searching for me; because I play golf the old way—no mulligans, improved lies, or do-overs. I embrace the game’s great traditions. I flirt with the G-O-L-F acronym.

But I’ve wondered if all-male or all-female clubs are true to you know who.

Actually, I started thinking about that years ago when I was a member of an all-white country club in the South.

After a black charismatic preacher friend declined my invitation to lunch at the club with a stern rebuke about my membership in a club exercising racial exclusion while I preached about Jesus’ love ethic on Sundays, I called the club’s president and asked why there were no blacks or Jews or yellows or non-honkies in the club.

He said he’d get back to me.

He didn’t; but I did get a call from the chairman of the board of one of the South’s largest banks who also happened to be a club member. He scolded, “Dr. Kopp, you and your family have been extended the privileges of our club like your predecessors. You have not been invited to question our policies.”

So I quit; but not before burning some bridges by saying, “You boys may be used to owning people down here, but I’m trying to be faithful to Jesus. So take my name off the rolls and go to…”

Looking back, I didn’t handle that too well. I turned a deaf ear to Him who also asks the arrogant, “What’s that I see in your eye?” (check out Matthew 7:1-5).

Fortunately, that incident incessantly nags me whenever I hear about any kind of secular or ecclesiastical exclusion.

I can’t get His word out of my mind: “As you do it for them, you do it for me” (Matthew 25:31ff.).

So, Hootie, don’t show any class about this one. Show some faith and let ‘em in.

In a world on increasing exclusions, it’s time to follow the Leader.

Dr. Robert Kopp is the pastor of Bethany Presbyterian Church, Loves Park.

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