". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


I Am Non-Man, Hear Me Roar

June 14, 2023

There’s an old proverb that says there are two kinds of people in the world: men, and non-men.

Except there’s no such proverb. Such thinking can only come from the academic crème de la crème at one of America’s elite universities. Enter Johns Hopkins University’s “LGBTQ Glossary.” The glossary purported to be, “an introduction to the community, and […] not the definitive answer as to how everyone understands these terms.” Did you get that? It’s a list of definitions that are not definitive. Welcome to college, folks — where hell hath no fury as a non-man scorned.

Controversy ensued when this definition was highlighted by critics on Twitter:

Lesbian [sexual orientation]: A non-man attracted to non-men. While past definitions refer to ‘lesbian’ as a woman who is emotionally, romantically, and/or sexually attracted to other women, this updated definition includes non-binary people who may also identify with the label.

If you’re scratching your head a bit, you’re not alone. As “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling keenly observed:

“Man: no definition needed.

Non-man (formerly known as woman): a being definable only by reference to the male. An absence, a vacuum where there’s no man-ness.”

While it’s true that men the world over have difficulty understanding women, defining them only in the context of men might not be the best approach. As often happens when gaffes get too much attention, Johns Hopkins — at the time of this writing — must be rethinking things. They took down the entire glossary, and replaced it with this statement:

“Upon becoming aware of the language in question, we have begun working to determine the origin and context of the glossary’s definitions. We have removed the page from our website while we gather more information.”

Oops. In other words, they apparently had no idea where these non-definitive definitions came from — they simply posted them on their website. To Johns Hopkins’s credit, they didn’t double-down on absurdity — at least not yet. A day later, they revised the page yet again, saying:

“While the glossary is a resource posted on the website of the Johns Hopkins University Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI); the definitions were not reviewed or approved by ODI leadership and the language in question has been removed pending review.”

Someone (if they ever find who did this!) is likely to get re-educated in a bad way. However the university’s diversity and inclusion episode eventually rewrites the glossary, it’s clear that what was briefly a cultural battle over pronouns has abandoned the “pro” and now moved squarely to the nouns. Are verbs next on the chopping block?

Absurdities like this could easily be overlooked but for the fact that really educated people are really thinking that the best way to describe a woman is a “non-man.” Never mind that it’s a term that could encompass almost anything. Would a serpent qualify as a non-man? Check. Would a forbidden fruit qualify? You bet.

Man’s first recorded words in the Bible are of appreciation for the woman God had made:

“Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’” (Gen 2:23, ESV)

The woman was certainly “not him,” but that was far from a defining characteristic. While Supreme Court justices may have difficulty defining women, the Bible’s unfolding definition paints a picture of a being created in God’s image and a display of his glory. Contrast that with Hopkins’s definition that’s merely a breath away from calling women “nonpersons.”

There’s a long history of dehumanization in the world, and it never turns out well. This clumsy glossary dehumanizes and erases women, but those of us who are “non-women” should be just as concerned. The never-ending redefinition of terms and relabeling of people ultimately devours even those who are doing the redefining. To be sure, no one is man enough or non-man enough to withstand the all-consuming nature of this lie.

For those of us who know the truth, we have an opportunity to counter the madness with the stark simplicity of the biblical worldview. God created us in his image. Male and female he created us. It’s simple, it’s true, and it reflects the reality of God’s order. And a God who orders things deserves to be listened to. And thankfully, he has spoken to us in his word through his son, who was born of a woman and grew up a man (nothing non- about either of them).

A step toward the man Jesus offers us the hope of new creation for both man and woman. “Behold, I am making all things new.” To be defined by him is our only hope. His is the only glossary in which we will find humanity, both man and woman. Non-men need not apply.

Jared Bridges is editor-in-chief of The Washington Stand.