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

Vision of Restoration

Written by: on January 27, 2023

In this book, The Genesis of Gender, Dr. Abigail Favale presents her current Christian position on the question of gender by bringing her personal experiences and professional expertise in a theological framework that is written in a style of using and weaving many personal stories together. Favale writes to tell many real stories of different perspectives and experiences that impact so many today because of the complexity of modern-day gender issues. The book is written into nine chapters, and she concludes her present and ongoing search of sociological and theological beliefs on gender by introducing the view that gender is a gift from God. She asserts that much in life is given without control, but “yet there is one thing we can freely choose…we can choose to receive all these things as a gift.”[1]

In the last century, it isn’t just the “understanding of sex and gender that has undergone a monumental shift.”[2] The rapid and significant changes in the industrial revolution and globally spread capitalism have brought forth many new changes in the cultural norms globally. These days, I see complexity and the search for human personhood expressed through the voices of cultural norms and social media. These platforms of the search for identity fused with social media platforms gave rise to a flooding of voices and philosophies for explaining human personhood. Some express it as too many choices or flooding of expression, but to me, it makes total sense because our identity is rooted in the uniqueness of the creation. I hear it and recognize it as a cry in the wilderness – the norm of a sinful state where a soul is born into a place of emptiness and void. I loved how Dr. Abigail mentioned this search for the good as “one of the most beautiful elements of Christianity is its acceptance of desire as good, unlike Buddhism, say which sees desire as fundamentally a source of suffering. There’s a holy side to every longing”[3] In many cases, the politics and media of our generation portray gender issues as black-and-white freedom issues. The Christian theological dilemmas and social-political dilemmas tend to divide up people’s opinions into large categories of two. When it comes to human identity and personhood issues, we can’t simply categorize things into two or three categories because the design of humans is diverse and unique.

My projection is that many more confused teenagers and adults like “Daisy”[4] will be on the rise in the next future ahead of us. And many, including ourselves, our church congregation, and Christian NextGen, will be influenced by popular trans influencers. We have to be very careful in listening to so-called quick and final answers to these complicated gender and identity issues. We have to watch out because whatever becomes popular in media may be rooted in the evilness of greed. As I read through the story of Daisy, I wondered how many of those doctors and clinics were caring for the wholeness of Daisy’s future and well-being. Were they really performing these operations and treatments in the wish of Daisy’s well-being, or were they just simply hired to perform for profits? I pray and hope that Christ’s grace of “rediscovery, not a repudiation of identity, but an unveiling”[5] will come upon those who are searching for wholeness and redemption of who they are in God. Instead of being blinded by the skewed vision of freedom and identity, the searching ones will be led to the opening of their spiritual eyes to make the right decision that will protect and preserve their created identity in God.

[1] Abigail Favale, The Genesis of Gender: A Christian Theory (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2022), 239.

[2] Ibid, 142.

[3] Ibid, 201.

[4] Ibid, 219.

[5] Ibid, 224.

About the Author


Jonathan Lee

President of Streamside Ministry Lead Pastor of EM @ San Jose Korean Presbyterian Church in Sunnyvale, CA

6 responses to “Vision of Restoration”

  1. Kayli Hillebrand says:

    Jonathan: I’m interested to know if you are aware of any specific perspectives on gender from a purely cultural lens as a Korean or Korean-American.

    • mm Jonathan Lee says:

      Hi Kayli,

      I would say Korean and Korean Americans are mostly on the conservative perspective when it comes to gender. Culturally and theological standpoints of Asian Americans was mostly on the conservative side, but there is a rise in LGBQT+ community coming out in the recent years.

  2. mm Troy Rappold says:

    JL: I thought Favale did a great job of navigating all the historical and cultural shifts that have happened and are happening with the issues she discusses. Her book is nuanced and intelligent and I think it will prove to be helpful to many who are trying to understand a Christian view for Feminism and the gender paradigm debates.

  3. mm Eric Basye says:

    Thank you, Jonathan. I might’ve your work with you, this will, especially if something to be mindful of. How do you see this playing out among Asian Americans that are teens? Is it any different?

    • mm Jonathan Lee says:

      Hi Eric,

      I see this topic of gender being asked by teens more and more these days. There is a definite change in the public school system and many Christian youths are confused and asking to know more on how to think about and deal with many different positions in gender topic.

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