Tuesday, August 11, 2015


When something is characterized with the phrase "that's a given" or "it's a given" it means that whatever the something is, it's so "obvious" that no one really needs to point it out. It's already "accepted as fact."

I'm going to mention over the next few posts some things that are "a given" for me personally. Let's see if you agree!

It's a given for me that there is a difference between "discrimination" and "differentiation."

To differentiate between male and female, for example, as to public restrooms with certain products and equipment [I'm sure you understand what I mean here] would NOT be a diminishing of one or the other at all. Thus, no discrimination is involved. [Assuming the restrooms of both are equal in NEEDED facilities and necessities.] THAT is just recognizing differences.

There ARE differences between a male person and a female person after all. 

I AM glad, I might add, that diaper changing stations having been added to men's facilities in our present day, since we are fathers to our children and need to know how to do our share of parenting to them, is a welcome thing. [Every dad needs to know how to change his kid's dirty.] I'm even glad birthing rooms in hospitals now permit fathers [if they can handle it] to be present and wish it had been so in our day. It wasn't!

That said, as an aside here, to make ARTIFICIAL differences between men and women with statements like "a women shops but a man hunts when in a department store," is to make a general statement that may not be true at all. Another stated difference often made as an absolute is "Men are logical and women are emotional." It is, frankly, the opposite with Mary [my wife for those who don't know] and me. As to the first, I'm the shopper while she's the hunter. As to the second, I'm more emotional while she's more logical. [Though she is quite emotional at times and I'm even logical at times..but we're both a little bit surprised and are likely to call attention to it when either happens. :)] 

But I'll stop there before someone thinks she's Paul and I'm Mary. 

So there certainly are basic differences, particularly biological, between men and women, but to teach in marriage seminars that in some artificial way things are "always" this way or that way may do a great disservice to some couples and their marriages. 

But that's DIFFERENTIATION and, while acknowledging the biological differences, it would be helpful for artificial ones to NOT to be pressed as absolutes.

However, DISCRIMINATION is a horse of a different color entirely. THAT is more of a judgment made on the bases of some difference that produces the demeaning of someone BECAUSE of those differences and would be robbing them of some of their value as a human being because of that judgment. That, my friend, is discrimination.

[I'm not addressing the legal aspect of discrimination that is regulated by law of Supreme Court decisions which is a post for another day.] 

Racial and gender discrimination are the two classic examples. Others could be mentioned such as age, ethnic origin or even social and economic discrimination as well. [James mentions giving the preferred seat to one of wealth as opposed to the poor as a no-no.] But it is in the first two areas that such discrimination is blatantly unchristian and anti-scriptural to the core. Jesus certainly refuted and laid to rest ANY such discrimination as this in His life and ministry where men as well as women, bond as well as free followed and served with Him. It was even stated in Acts that the New Kingdom would find "Jews and Gentiles" and "sons and daughters" sharing equally in Kingdom stuff.

I'm thinking that when taking our relationship to Christ seriously, it's a given that to be discriminatory as to race, gender or even social status wouldn't be permitted. In other words, all those differences about which we tend to be so discriminatory in our culture just wouldn't matter when we properly understand the grace that brings us into the Kingdom.

Paul B.


Aussie John said...


You are so right: Grace doesn't discriminate, or, differentiate.

But you've got me worried. There is no doubt that my wife is a SHOPPER, but, what am I? I don't think I'm a hunter. When I need something from a shop, I know what I want, and go to where that item is,pick it up and straight to the checkout.

So,Dr.Paul. What is your diagnosis? What the heck am I?

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

That's easy. You're a "getter." Some "shop!" Some "hunt!" You "get" what's needed. That simplifies life I'm thinking. Good for you. ;).