Posted by George Morrison

Personal Pronouns                    Word on the Week          7th October 2023.

Perhaps one of my most satisfactory joys of leaving childhood was to put behind me what I learned about pronouns.    In some ways I was glad I was not a Frenchman with their attributing either masculine or feminine gender to words.   One less thing to remember!

If you live long enough it seems like things come round again and pronouns have become important!    It appears that personal pronouns have become fluid.  No more are they to be anchored to biology!   This new use of pronouns was introduced at the South East Technological University this week where one lecturer raised an objection to its compulsory nature.

However, the Taoiseach adopted a conciliatory tone and said “everyone should try to use people’s preferred pronouns and try not to take offence if people make mistakes.”  When he was asked if refusal to call a person by their preferred pronoun was an example of unlawful discrimination he commented that we need to be a little more relaxed about these things.

Perhaps he felt he was encroaching on the Enoch Burke case where Burke was imprisoned for disobeying a court order not to attend the school premises.  Burke on the other hand believes he is in prison because he refused to use the pupil’s preferred pronoun but rather stay with the biology.

In any event the Taoiseach added if someone uses the wrong pronoun deliberately to offend then the law would act.   So we had better watch how we use our personal pronouns in future!   

Let’s go back to the beginning.   We were created male and female in God’s image.   The start was good but then along came the first test which we sadly failed and brought about the fall (Genesis 1 verse 27 & 2 verse 17).

Names are important in the Bible.  They often describe the person’s character. In the case of God, He reveals Himself to Moses, first by reference to his forebears then by calling Himself “I am” (Exodus 3 verse 14).

When Jesus walked the earth He was consistent in how he wished to identify Himself.   He continued the “I am” identity which made him one with the Father, a fact recognised by the Jews who tried to stone Him rather than recognise Him (St John 8 verses 28/9).

Names are important in a fallen world.   Your identity is part of who you are.   You may not always be pleased with your identity (or the colour of your eyes) but it soon becomes part of you.   To fight against the body you have been given is like the pot calling the shots against the Almighty (Isaiah 45 verse 9).

The remedy is to take up Jesus’s invitation to come to Him for rest for the soul (St Matthew 11 verses 28 to 30).