Way back in the 1930's (when I was a boy), the culture in America was slowly recovering from the Stock Market Crash of 1929, from the Great Depression, FDR's New Deal and his four terms in office. We kids had one pair of leather shoes we wore until they had holes in the sole--then mom would cut a cardboard insert giving us another hundred thousand miles. Socks were darned as were sweaters and our old Levi's. The clothes we wore were hand-me-downs. Lots of kids in my first grade class had only one hot meal a day as provided by a government hot lunch program. My mom invited classmates Reuben and Rachel to our house for lunch where she served soup us and crackers and a tuna fish sandwich on Wonderbread. (R&R lived with their parents n a potato cellar.)
Our dad was the high school coach pulling in a big salary--$100 a month, would you believe? Shoshone, Idaho never had more than 1500 residents but Dolph inspired his mostly-Basque players to rise to the state basketball championship in 1939. When I was seven years old we moved from our tiny rented house on a windy hill to a plush rented mansion kitty-corner from the High School. It was there my dad washable to afford my first bike. (My second bike was a Schwinn!)
My mom was a very art, and flowers and good-books person. Dad was a pheasant hunter and macho outdoor type. He'd drag me out of bed at 5 AM to go trekking with him and his dog Pat, to shoot some poor pheasants taking off from a muddy field. Our dog Pat enjoyed himself but I did not. We were not allowed to clean the birds full of bloody feathers and buckshot. (Clean them in the basement not in MY kitchen mom said).
One day my dad bought me a baseball mit and a softball, so he could teach me how to play catch. I was so intimated I let his first throw to me fall to the ground. He was angry, "Do you want to grow up to be a sissy?" I was deeply hurt and never touched the mit or the ball again. My mother was silent.
Back in the '30's sissy boys like me stood out from hero basketball players. At the time I did not realize I had experienced my first archetypal "father-wound." I had been catapulted into a life-long quest for a missing father. No Dads! Now at the tender age of 90, feeling like a spring chicken because of the indwelling, eternal life imparted to me daily by Jesus Christ, I have seen the resolution of that old father wound at last. Without a relationship with Jesus we all "act out" our conflicts and we project blame on people in our life.
Sheepherding in Idaho | My Addictive Personality | My Early Years | My Childhood Vow
This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man to bear The yoke in his youth.
Let him sit alone and keep silent,
Because God has laid it on him;
Let him put his mouth in the dust—
There may yet be hope.
Let him give his cheek to the one who strikes him,
And be full of reproach.
For the Lord will not cast off forever.
Though He causes grief,
Yet He will show compassion
According to the multitude of His mercies.
For He does not afflict willingly,
Nor grieve the children of men.
To crush under one’s feet
All the prisoners of the earth,
To turn aside the justice due a man
Before the face of the Most High,
Or subvert a man in his cause—
The Lord does not approve.
Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass,
When the Lord has not commanded it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
That woe and well-being proceed?
Why should a living man complain,
A man for the punishment of his sins?
Let us search out and examine our ways,
And turn back to the Lord;
Let us lift our hearts and hands To God in heaven.
The term sissy has historically been used among school children as a "relentlessly negative" insult implying immaturity and gender or sexual deviance. It has been identified as "sexist" in guidance issued to schools in the United Kingdom and described as "just as unacceptable as racist and homophobic language." The terms gender creative, pink boy, and tom girl have been suggested as polite alternatives. The Japanese word bishōnen (literally "beautiful youth") and the Korean word kkonminam (literally "flower boy") are also polite terms for a man or boy with gentle or feminine attributes.
The word sissy in its original meaning of "sister" entered American English around 1840-1850 and acquired its pejorative meaning around 1885–1890; the verb sissify appeared in 1900–1905. In comparison, the word tomboy is approximately three centuries older, dating to 1545–55.
By the 1930s, "there was no more damning insult than to be called a sissy" and the word was widely used by American football coaches and sports writers to disparage rival teams and encourage ferocious player behavior. The use of the word sissy was "ubiquitous" among delinquent American youth of the 1930s; the term was used to provoke boys to join gangs, demean boys who violated group norms, force compliance with the mandates of masculinity, and justify violence (including sexual violence) against younger and weaker children. Good students were taunted as sissies and clothing styles associated with higher social classes were demeaned as sissified. Among members of a Detroit youth gang in 1938–39, sissy was "the ultimate slur" used to tease and taunt other boys, as a rationalization for violence against rivals, and as an excuse for not observing the dictums of middle-class decorum and morality.
By the late 1980s, some men began to reclaim the term sissy for themselves. The spelling variation cissy was used in British English, at least prior to the mid 1970s. In the United States, the Comedy Central television series South Park inverted its meaning in a 2014 episode titled "The Cissy," which lampooned the controversy over trans-gender students' use of school restrooms; in the episode a restroom initially designated for use by trans-gender students is later re-designated as "the cissy bathroom" for use by trans-phobic cisgender students.
Sissies are sometimes perceived as threats to masculine power. For example, in 2018, official Chinese state media derided "sissy pants" young men (who use makeup, are slender, and wear androgynous clothing) as part of a “sickly” culture that threatened the future of the nation by undermining its militaristic image. In 2021, China's Ministry of Education issued guidelines for the "cultivation of students' masculinity" to "prevent the feminization of male adolescents" through sports, physical education, and "health education" in schools
In his The "Sissy Boy Syndrome" and the Development of Homosexuality (1987), the sexologist Richard Green compared two groups of boys: one group was conventionally masculine; the other group, who Green called "feminine boys" and other children called "sissy", engaged in doll play and other behavior typical for girls. In his 15-year longitudinal study, Green looked at cross-gender behavior in boys who later turned out to be trans-gender, or homosexual as well as a control group, and analyzed such features as interest in sports, playroom toy preferences, doll-play fantasy, physical behavior ("acting like a girl" vs rough-and-tumble play), cross-dressing, and psychological behavior, using tests, questionnaires, interviews, and follow-ups. He also looked at the influence of parental relationships and reaction to atypical behavior. Later follow-ups found that 3/4 of his feminine or "sissy" boys became gay or bisexual men, whereas only one of the control group did. Analysis of the nature/nurture issue was inconclusive. In the BDSM practice of forced feminization, the male bottom undergoing cross-dressing may be called a sissy as a form of erotic humiliation, which may elicit guilt and/o sexual arousal. In paraphilic infantilism, a sissy baby is a man who likes to play the role of a baby girl. "Bi" has replaced "gay" and "str" in some circles. (Wikipedia)
by Dennis Pollock
I grew up in a typical Leave it to Beaver household. My two parents, my sister, and I made up one of the millions of middle class American post-WWII families enjoying the prosperity and relative normalcy of the fifties and early sixties. We loved the Andy Griffith Show on TV, took great pride in our “transistor radios” which (amazingly) we could carry with us wherever we went, and got up early in the morning to listen to radio reports of the launching of those first manned space flights. Keds tennis shoes were worn by all the cool kids, and Silly Putty was one of the most desirable cheap toys a kid could have. Teachers ruled with absolute authority in their classrooms and parents were well content to have it so.
I enjoyed school in my early days, but of course no self-respecting boy would admit that so I kept it a secret. I got good grades, conscientiously did my homework, and hardly ever got into trouble. Our family went to church more than most. Not only did we attend on Sunday mornings, but usually Sunday evenings, and frequently on Wednesday and Saturday evenings as well. Although I figured out that most of my school buddies’ families didn’t seem to take church as seriously as our family did, it didn’t really bother me in those days. It was the way things were and seemed natural, though a little tiresome.
A New Wind Blowing
In the latter part of the sixties America began to experience some pretty radical changes, and so did I. I was entering puberty about the time America was entering that revolutionary period of her history marked by protests, long hair, drugs, and rebellion. The Greatest Generation was being confronted with the Restless Generation. As the simplicity of my elementary school days morphed into the complexity of my teen years, I soon began to drift with the current that was sweeping America’s youth toward dangerous new frontiers of attitudes and lifestyles.
I found I could get passing grades in school without studying. Of course they were no longer A’s but that really didn’t matter. I found more and more reasons to skip church and by my late teens had limited my church attendance to the obligatory Christmas and Easter services. I began to question not only the church but the very nature of God. The idea of a holy God looking upon my carnal and selfish life with disapproval wasn’t particularly appealing, and it was much more convenient to doubt that such a God existed at all.
Both my teachers and the scientists on television were telling me that the creation story of the Bible was a myth, and that evolution, not creation, was how all things came to be. Like most youth I had decided my parents were old-fashioned and unsophisticated, and I surely must look elsewhere for the answers to my questions about life’s meaning and origin. I don’t know just when but somewhere in my late teens I became an agnostic. I had enough sense to know I could not definitely disprove the reality of God, but I felt I had no reason to believe in Him and it seemed simpler and a whole lot more liberating to live as a skeptic.
When I entered college my life spiraled further downhill. I was quickly caught up in the beer parties and had my first taste of marijuana. Soon, other harder drugs followed. I let my hair grow long and plunged into the counter-culture. As in high school I hardly studied and was content to get C’s in my classes. My dad, when coming to see me on parents’ day, went home and wrote me a letter. He chided me for my lifestyle (though he didn’t know the half of it) and quoted an adage I have never forgotten: “The path of least resistance makes men and rivers crooked.” Defensively I wrote back and attempted to justify myself, but of course in truth he was dead-on. Pleasure had become my god, and how to get it, my religion.
Somewhere in the midst of all of this I had come across a book about the life of Edgar Cayce, one of America’s most prominent psychics of the early twentieth century. Cayce had the remarkable ability to lay down and go into a trance, in which he could give people “readings” – a personal and detailed diagnosis of their medical conditions and ailments. He would then go on to “prescribe” home remedies which would invariably bring about a cure. As Cayce’s accuracy and success became known he became a popular phenomenon, and was sought out by people from all over the nation, seeking healing. After limiting himself to comments about the physical body in the early years, Cayce later began to branch out and speak on metaphysical concepts, especially concerning reincarnation. While he professed to respect the Bible, his views on reincarnation and his teachings about God (the uncaused cause), which strongly resembled pantheism, strayed completely from orthodox Christian doctrine.
As I read of Cayce’s interpretation of how God created the earth by means of evolution, I was instantly hooked. Here was a religious view that combined science with religion, and seemed a whole lot cooler than the fundamentalist views of God and the Bible I had learned as a child. Lying on my bed and reading Cayce, I could hardly contain my excitement. Now I knew the secrets of the universe! What made Cayce especially believable was that he even used the Bible to justify his concepts, frequently quoting the Scriptures during his “readings.”
My life did not change. I still used drugs, chased the girls, and lived for self. But now I had a philosophy that made me feel infinitely superior to the Christians who clung to the archaic, primitive religion of their parents and grandparents.
Somehow it wasn’t enough. Although my mind embraced Cayce and his new age views fully, my spirit was still restless. I read other popular far-out books that professed to offer explanations to the questions of life. One of the books was titled “Chariots of the Gods” which suggested that life on earth and its great civilizations and religions were originated and influenced by ancient space travelers. One of the evidences given comes out of the book of Ezekiel where Ezekiel sees a vision of God and reports seeing a “wheel within a wheel,” which according to the author was part of the spacecraft these cosmic travelers arrived in.
“When it pleased God…”
After reading of these attempts to support their various theories with Scripture I made a life-transforming decision (although I didn’t realize it at the time). I decided to read the Bible for myself and see what it had to say. Of course Christians had tried to witness to me at school but I was much too proud and stubborn to listen to anything they had to say. In my mind the Bible-believing Christians were losers who had so little going on in their lives they turned to religion.
When I returned to college after Christmas break in my sophomore year, I took with me the little black Bible my dad had given me when I was around twelve years old. I had sat down and read ten or twelve chapters the first day I had it. Then it was put down and I don’t think I had read it since. Now at nineteen it was with me in my dorm room. I had no idea how powerful that little, black, King James Bible would prove to be.
Though I had gone to church as a child I was almost completely ignorant of the Bible. I started in the New Testament and read through the gospel of Matthew. I was impressed with Jesus. It was hard to find fault with this Man who healed the sick, blessed the children, and died on our behalf. When I got to Mark I was surprised to find that it was a retelling of the life of Jesus, using many of the same stories I had read in Matthew.
There was no one to argue with in my little dorm room, no Bible-believing Christians to despise, and with my guard down a bit, I found, almost in spite of myself, that I was starting to admire Jesus. I wondered what I would find in Luke, and to my surprise it was yet another retelling of the life of Jesus, and once again with many of the same stories I had been reading in the first two books. With John’s gospel most of the stories were different, but it was still all about Jesus. By the time I had finished the twenty-first chapter of John I had a pretty good idea of who Jesus was and what He was like. I found myself mysteriously drawn toward Him. I had no idea at that time that there was in fact Someone in my room who was doing the drawing – the Holy Spirit of whom Jesus said, “He will testify of Me.”
As I read through the rest of the New Testament I found myself actually enjoying it. I had decided to read five chapters each day, but I could hardly keep to the schedule. I would finish five and find I wasn’t willing to stop and had to read at least another five chapters. It began to dawn on me that there might be far more to this evangelical Christianity than I had supposed, and that the God of the Bible just might be real after all. For the first time in years I began to pray little, tentative prayers to this God I wasn’t sure existed. These were definitely not prayers of faith. They were more like trial balloons sent up just to see if there might be a loving Deity to respond. Amazingly some of these prayers received speedy and definite answers.
From Skeptic to Believer
The Scriptures tell us that faith comes by hearing God’s word, and faith was definitely coming. I had started the New Testament as a total skeptic and before I got to Revelation I was submitting my life to Christ to do with me as He chose. I continued to try to hold onto the doctrine of reincarnation for a season, trying to somehow reconcile an evangelical Christian walk with Jesus with a new age theology. But my days as a new-ager were numbered. As I grew closer to Jesus and read more of the Scriptures I began to see what a huge gulf existed between the two perspectives.
When I first gave up reincarnation it was for pragmatic reasons. I reasoned that if the new-agers were right and the evangelicals were wrong, the evangelicals were still in good shape. By living morally and following Jesus’ command to love even their enemies, they were surely racking up lots of good karma for the next go-around. But if the evangelicals were right and the new-agers were wrong, the new-agers were in big trouble. By focusing upon trying to do good, but refusing to believe in the new birth they were on their way to hell. I finally concluded it was a lot safer to throw in my lot with the evangelicals, and burned all my Cayce books. Somehow the act of burning those books seemed to have a spiritual effect and clear up my fuzzy thinking. In just a few weeks I saw clearly the truth of the evangelical perspective and the error of the new-agers. I came to recognize that “it is given to man once to die, and after that, the judgment.” The one thing Cayce and the other new-agers couldn’t say much about was the cross. If reincarnation is the truth, then the cross was pointless. We can all just work our way, through many successive lives, to perfection.
The Bible does not proclaim justification by reincarnation. It proclaims justification by faith in Jesus and His finished work at Calvary. Jesus’ death on the cross is the only means God has given for the forgiveness of our sins. And His resurrection was for our justification – no future lives required!
Decades have come and gone since those tumultuous days of the Viet Nam War, the hippies, the Beatles, and bell-bottom pants. I can say along with John Newton, “Through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come. Twas grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home!”
In the early days of the Internet and email, there were very few web sites by Christians out there. Many of us earlier web surfers knew one another (by email)/. One day an email came to me from a teenager of high school age in Romania. His question was about religion and knowing God. He had visited both the local Catholic church and the country's state church, an Eastern Orthodox community. Alex had seen that I was an Evangelical and had questions.
A lot of water has gone over the dam in Alex's life since. He moved to France, learned the language and graduated from college. After moving to England he completed medical college as a nurse. Next thing you know, he got married. I was happy for him since I had also "met" his wife by email.
A year later they divorced because he simply could not "get it on" with his wife. Every effort to consummate the marriage sexually had failed.
We started "talking" back and forth in depth via email--of course. He admitted he could not get over his SSA which he had not talked to me about before. He found a support group teaching Joseph Nicolosi's then-popular Reparative Therapy which helped many ambivalent young men come out of the closet and discover their latent heterosexuality. I had written Nicolosi (a Roman Catholic) but he was very negative about my evangelical talk about knowing Jesus personally. A huge uproar followed from the gay community. "We were born this way and can't change."
At any rate Alex found the support of a "gay Christian" group in England and he subsequently "married" another man. Alex knows Jesus, his partner does not, so I hope to see emerging wholeness in both of them in the come. Never give up on a friend until he quits breathing! Two decades later Alex and I are "best friends." Amazing how things sometimes work out in Cyberspace! The love of Jesus transcends time and space and the generation gap. I am twice as old as my brother so I do feel a bit fatherly towards him in a good way.
It is interesting, as someone has pointed out, that every single religion known to man is a religion of works -- except the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Hinduism tells us that if we renounce the world and relate ourselves to the "spirit of the universe," we will at last find our way to peace. Buddhism sets before us eight principles by which man is to walk and thus find himself on the way to salvation. Judaism says we must keep the Law absolutely and inflexibly and then we will be saved. Islam says that a man must pray five times a day and give alms and fast on the month of Ramadan and obey the commands of Allah. All are ways of works. Unitarianism says that man is saved by having good character. Modern humanism says salvation is by service to mankind. But in every case salvation is said to be achieved by something we have to do. But the good news of the Gospel is that Christ has done it! He alone has done what no man can do for himself and thus has set us free...Christianity is not merely going to heaven when you die. It is also living now, in this present life. It is being set free from the controlling bondage to the world and its ways, it evil and wickedness, in our life now. It is to be delivered from this present evil age right now. This too is by the gift of Jesus Christ...
I have been crucified with Christ; It Is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 RSV)
The old self-centered "I" has been crucified with Christ so that it no longer has any right to live, and your task and my task is to see that it doesn't live, that it is repudiated, that it is put aside, along with its determination to express what Paul calls "the works of the flesh."
"Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, 2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, (nepios, minors) were in bondage under the elements (stoicheion) of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth (exapostéllō) His Son, born (ginomai) of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. 8 But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. 9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements (asthenēs kai ptōchos, to which you desire again to be in bondage? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain. 12 Brethren, I urge you to become like me, for I became like you. You have not injured me at all. 13 You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first. 14 And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. 15 What then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth? 17 They zealously court you, but for no good; yes, they want to exclude you, that you may be zealous for them. 18 But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always, and not only when I am present with you.
19 My little children, (teknon) for whom I labor in birth (odino) again until Christ is formed (morphoō) in you,
20 I would like to be present with you now and to change my tone; for I have doubts about you.
21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?
22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman.
23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise,
24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar—
25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children—
26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.
27 For it is written:
“Rejoice, O barren,
You who do not bear!
Break forth and shout,
You who are not in labor!
For the desolate has many more children
Than she who has a husband.
28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29 But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” (paidiskē eleutheros) 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free." (Galatians 4)