Emasculating Men

Over the past couple years I’ve heard more about how the church is emasculating men than on any other church topic. It comes primarily from the blogosphere, or various conversations. Partially I think Mark Driscoll is to blame for the constant talk about it, though that stupid Wild at Heart book also deserves some of my ire. I’ve even heard it in some youth ministry circles. How as youth ministers we need to defend teenage guys from their mothers. We need to teach them, I assume, to belch, laugh at others’ pain, and defend themselves through physical violence. I find such things to border on genuine insanity.

However, my friend Art has recently posted an excellent critique of an article that basically rehashes the same things I’ve been hearing for two years, only the article throws in some horrid exegesis about Jacob and Esau.

I really can’t say things better than Art has, so I will let things rest by reiterating something I’ve said many times before. I have more hair on my body than any “manly man” you’re likely to find, yet I take the Scriptures’ exhortations to love, kindness, gentleness and self-control very seriously. These “feminine” qualities seem to be deeply a part of who Jesus was, and I’ll stick with those, you can keep the trucks and cheap bear.


4 thoughts on “Emasculating Men

  1. I’ll take both sides, self-controlled Jesus and being able to kick arse. And trucks. I want a truck. But cheap bear? I don’t want bears either.

    Honestly though, as with most things I think our gender role issues are an problem with balance. Bradley’s article was goofy, and Art did a great critique. However, I think there is something to be said for men being masculine (even if that is somewhat dictated by culture) and women being feminine. There are extremes on both sides, but the key is to find equilibrium between the two.

    As a (serious) example, you are a well trained practitioner of one or more of the martial arts. You could beat me up. This is a masculine trait, in our culture. You are also a passionate follower of Christ, who wouldn’t beat me up unless you needed to actually do so. That’s self-control, something you said was “feminine” (and I note the quotes), but is really just Christ-like.

    I just got done watching The Bourne Ultimatum immediately before posting this. And I’m dying for some new Jack Bauer action… But as much as I get a kick out of “guy stuff” not everything has to be so polarized. I dig me some chick flicks too. 🙂

  2. Well said. I agree completely, especially about how the culture of “manliness” (beer, boobs, ultimate fighting, etc.) runs completely contrary to the culture of discipleship.

    Thanks for putting this out there.


  3. Not to put too fine a point on it, I think much of this concern over reasserting our masculinity is a function of heterosexism and the homophobia that is part and parcel of much Christian rhetoric. It also smells of anti-feminism. There is an implication here that men would not want to display feminine qualities because those qualities are inherently inferior to masculine qualities.

  4. Brian, I’ve wondered if that may be part of it. I think it must, but I don’t want to, as you put it, “put to fine a point on it,” since I think there are several other factors that play in as well. Still though, I think that homophobia does play a huge part in this.

    Len, I like the idea of balance. But I just get a little nervous because I think our conceptions of things are mostly, if not totally, culturally decided. As such I’d rather we just let people be who they are. I know several girls who could beat you up too…and I know several guys who wouldn’t be able to hurt a fly, or hold their beer. But I don’t think any of that is sin…or “not the way it needs to be” or anything like that. Making sense?

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