Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Engaging in the Strange New World

Written by: on April 14, 2024

In less than a generation, Western culture’s view of human gender identity and sexual preference has dramatically changed. In his 2022 book titled Strange New World, Professor Carl R. Trueman attempts to explain how and why this shift occurred through a philosophical, theological and historical lens. He also proposes a way for Christians to respond.[1] In this blog I share my key takeaways from the book and describe how the issues Trueman discusses pose a potential challenge to my doctoral project.

Key Takeaways

What I appreciated most about this book was that Trueman was direct about his stance on the issue—he is a social conservative, yet he communicates his perspective in a compassionate manner that acknowledges the  humanity, value and pain of the people on the other side. Trueman proposes that the LGBTQ+ movements resulted not from political agendas, but from an overall shift of societal consciousness or what he terms “social imaginary”. In a podcast interview with Solas Associate, David Nixon, Trueman describes the shift from the institutional influence of the past to individuals’ influence of the present.[2] Basically, the way we view “selves” today is a completely different mental model than that existed even 30 years ago. In the book, Trueman states that “the modern self is one where authenticity is achieved by acting outwardly in accordance with one’s inward feelings.”[3] Because feelings are fickle and individual, the self can choose its identity in a way that did not seem possible when the body and biology were the core of a person’s identity.

Trueman’s suggestion for traditional (likely older) Christians who believe that God made male and females for a reason and that identity comes from God, not from ourselves, is to NOT try to argue the point using judgement or malice, rather to employ heart-centered, God-centered approach. Benjamin Storie summarizes that:

“Trueman encourages the Christians who are the primary audience of his book to offer the young “another culture,” a “loving community” rooted in “a true vision of what it means to be a human being made in the image of God.” For all his intellectual espionage, Trueman knows that the best weapon in the culture war is not a weapon at all, but true Christian charity. To win our culture’s battles is not to own the libs, but to touch hearts, change minds, and save souls.” [4]

Relevance to Doctoral Project

My doctoral project is a four hour in-person workshop that tween girls attend with their mothers (or primary female influencer) to build resilience skills. With a project solely focused on females, I know the issue will eventually arise where a male who identifies as female wants to attend either as a tween or as the adult. This issue has been in the back of mind for a while, but reading Strange New World has forced me to think about how I will respond. The “easy” answer is to fall back on biology and have a policy that only biological girls and women can attend, however I fear the question of “why?” In the video scenarios I present, there is one that focuses on a crush the young girl has on a boy in her class. Will lesbian attendees take offense?

It is a quandary because it is many of the people who most need protective resilience skills like the ones I teach in the workshop are people these in these very groups. The Trevor Project’s 2023 U.S. National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People found that 41% of LGBTQ+ young people seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including roughly half of transgender and nonbinary youth.[5] I want to love them all well and help them learn the skills they need for positive emotional and mental health, while also acknowledging the very real biological and hormonal differences that occur during this key adolescent time of development. It truly is a strange new world we operate in where these questions must be considered. There are no easy answers and in some cases, lives may depend on the answer.

[1] Carl R. Trueman and Ryan T. Anderson, Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2022).

[2] Strange New World – an Interview with Carl Trueman, 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wD-Bn2mMxc.

[3] Trueman and Anderson, Strange New World, 23.

[4] Benjamin Storey, “The Art of Intellectual Espionage,” National Review 74, no. 8 (2022): 35-.

[5] “Facts About Suicide Among LGBTQ+ Young People,” The Trevor Project, January 1, 2024, https://live-trevor-web.pantheonsite.io/resources/article/facts-about-lgbtq-youth-suicide/.

About the Author


Laura Fleetwood

Laura Fleetwood is a Christian creative, certified Enneagram Coach, doctoral student at Portland Seminary and Creative Director at her home church, Messiah St. Charles. As a published author, national faith speaker, podcaster and self-described anxiety warrior, Laura uses storytelling to teach you how to seek the S T I L L in the midst of your chaotic life. Find Laura at www.seekingthestill.com

11 responses to “Engaging in the Strange New World”

  1. mm Becca Hald says:

    Laura, I love how you tied this book into your project. Yes, it is a difficult and strange new world. I have often thought about this in my own context of ministry. As a pastor in an area known as a mecca for this community, how do I approach this topic? One specific question I have had is about marriage – as a pastor, where do I draw the line for performing marriages? I had a pastor friend in a similar community comment to me that he just does not perform any marriages. He said he does not see it in the Bible where the pastor performs the marriage. I find this a great solution. If I say I do not perform marriages at all, I am saying no to everyone and therefore not put in any situation where it could cause a problem. This is not a solution that would work for your context. I wonder if you could hold separate workshops or develop a curriculum that would meet the unique needs of this community in a way that does not compromise your values?

    • Becca – Thank you for your insights and observations. I think I will wait to see what questions/issues arise and take it one step at a time. I definitely want to serve the people God puts in my path and I trust He will help know the best way!

  2. Jenny Steinbrenner Hale says:

    Laura, Great post! Thank you for thinking out loud with us regarding the relevance to your project and challenges you may face in the near future. Some of the high school youth that we serve with housing in our program have been asked to leave their family setting because of their self-selected gender and their identification with the LGBTQ+ community. It is heart breaking on so many levels. These are challenging conversations. It would be so nice to have Jesus here in person to model these conversations for us.

  3. Laura, brilliant as usual! I appreciate how you wrestle with the topic in relation to your work on reliance. The need for our youth is real.
    I also appreciated how you brought out the understanding that “Trueman proposes that the LGBTQ+ movements resulted not from political agendas, but from an overall shift of societal consciousness or what he terms “social imaginary”.” This seems to be not the typical beielve on the streets and is definitely worth exploring.

    • Yes, it was enlightening to see how he traced the evolution of these issues! I suspect things are going to get more complicated before they get clearer, but we will keep trying to love people well when and where we can.

  4. mm Daron George says:


    I really enjoy how you relate Trueman’s insights to her own doctoral project while you consider the potential challenges that may arise regarding gender identity and inclusivity. The fact that you grapple with how to navigate the inclusion of individuals who identify differently from their biological sex while maintaining the integrity of your workshop focused on resilience skills for tween girls and their female influencers expresses to me that you care deeply.

  5. Alana Hayes says:

    You are right! He was very direct! Its always honorable to watch people stay true to their views, even if they differ from yours.

    You are going to do great things! I am exited for TWIRL!

  6. mm Shonell Dillon says:

    The Lord will lead you to do what is right.
    God Bless

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