/ Christian living / Mark Loughridge

No U-turns allowed

We live in a plastic world—I’m not referring to the avalanche of plastic which fills our bins, or litters our beaches. I’m thinking of the idea that we can be what we want, change who we are, make and remake ourselves at will—in many ways we have become plastic people.

All of the old forms are being torn down, or made fluid: marriage between a man and a woman, between one man and one woman, your gender, your sexuality, your pregnancy, your species are all up for grabs.

Self-determination, self-creation is what life is all about. The pop slogan of talent shows and positive thinking “You can be anything you want to be” has morphed into a mantra for all of life. You are free to choose your own course, your own identity, free to be whatever you want to be.


Have you noticed that freedom only runs in one direction? You are free to move away from the previously established norms, but woe betide anyone who chooses to move back towards them.

The transgendered person who was cheered on as they chose their own gender is vilified when they do the same thing again, and choose to revert to their original gender.

The heterosexual who now identifies as gay or lesbian is cheered, but the person who has lived a life in same sex relationships and moves away from that to a heterosexual relationship is seen as a traitor to the cause, rather than simply an individual whose journey is developing.

Some might say that the same vitriol happens if someone switches allegience to football teams, and that is so. But this is more than simply the problem of changing sides. Here the issue of change is of the very essence of the debate; the proposition advanced is that we are meant to be free to choose who we want to be.

Not only is the coercive bullying of this approach utterly abhorrent, but the whole position is blatantly hypocritical. It is clear that you are not free to be who you choose to be, but only free to be whom the group chooses you to be.

I’ve been noting this tendency for some time, but another couple of items came across my path in the last week.

A woman with a career chose to have children (whilst maintaining her career) and wrote about it on Mother’s Day no less, in the New York Times, and found herself set upon by scores of feminists. It seems she is letting the side down by doing something that woman can do which men can’t. Apparently you are only a real woman if you do the things men do.

A couple of doctors have recently been reprimanded or suspended in the UK for prescribing abortion reversal pills to women who regretted taking the first of the two abortion pills. These doctors didn’t force anyone to take the medication, but were sought out by women who regretted their decision. The women were immensely grateful for the lives of their babies being saved. But what happened? Pro-abortion groups and agencies found out and reported the doctors. It seems a doctor’s Hippocratic Oath to save life doesn’t apply when a regret-filled mum knocks at your door. You can be pro-choice, except if you choose to change your choice.

Why the outrage? Incidents like these challenge the dogmatic assertions of those who see themselves as the shapers of society. They don’t fit their storyline. But it goes deeper than that. These are not simply decisions, but decisions with an echo of Genesis about them. These creational, creator chords set off a resonant frequency in our hearts, and for some people that resonant frequency is one they are desperately trying to avoid.

Mankind’s agenda is to keep God out of the picture. You are to be true to yourself, as long as the self you are being true to resembles nothing like the self which God designed men and women to be.

Yet the path to finding our true selves is found in the God we are so desperately trying to avoid.

Mark Loughridge

Mark Loughridge

Mark pastors 2 churches in the Republic of Ireland. He is married with three daughters. Before entering the ministry he studied architecture. He enjoys open water swimming, design, and watching rugby.

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