A blog for Christian men "going their own way."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Al Mohler Says Husbands Must Earn Sex

Boundless is proceeding with their series of reprints of older articles at their website. The current one posted is entitled "The Seduction of Pornography" by Albert Mohler. I have just got done reviewing the previous article in Boundless' series of reprints ("Physical Intimacy and the Single Man" by Matt Schmucker). You might want to read it, if you have not already done so. Like Schmucker's article, Mohler's piece turned me off when I first came across it. So, now that Boundless has chosen to reprint it, I am taking the opportunity to say my piece about it.

Mohler does a fine job of restating the obvious about the spiritual ills of pornography, but he gets derailed when he presents a feminized, Estrogelical, pseudo-Christian view of male sexuality:
Consider the fact that a woman has every right to expect that her husband will earn access to the marriage bed. As the Apostle Paul states, the husband and wife no longer own their own bodies, but each now belongs to the other. At the same time, Paul instructed men to love their wives even as Christ has loved the church. Even as wives are commanded to submit to the authority of their husbands, the husband is called to a far higher standard of Christ-like love and devotion toward the wife ...

Put most bluntly, I believe that God means for a man to be civilized, directed and stimulated toward marital faithfulness by the fact that his wife will freely give herself to him sexually only when he presents himself as worthy of her attention and desire.
Sorry, Mr. Mohler, but you are dead wrong. Yes, a man is called by God to love his wife and be emotionally attentive to her needs (not necessarily her wants, though). But that is because God expects such of men regardless of the situation (Col. 3:19). It is not because a man has to earn sex from his wife. There is no earning anything that God commands to be given freely. Consider two Scriptures that are relevant to this discussion:
The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. (1 Cor. 7:4) (NASB)

For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake,
but woman for the man’s sake. (1 Cor. 11:8-9) (NASB)
Given that a husband has authority over the woman, who was made for his sake, all this talk about earning sexual access from the woman is nonsense. Just as the man is suppose to love his wife for better or for worse, so the women is to do the same for her husband. She is to be a good wife and be attentive to his sexuality, regardless of how he acts as a husband.

At any rate, I take special interest in Mohler's description of a stereotypical man involved in pornography:
"This man lives alone, or at least in a context other than holy marriage ..."

"This man need not be concerned with his physical appearance, his personal hygiene or his moral character in the eyes of a wife. Without this structure and accountability, he is free to take his sexual pleasure without regard for his unshaved face, his slothfulness, his halitosis, his body odor and his physical appearance. He faces no requirement of personal respect, and no eyes gaze upon him in order to evaluate the seriousness and worthiness of his sexual desire."
Dear readers, I want you to think about the subtext of what Mr. Mohler is saying. You see, it sounds a lot like what Debbie Maken said a while ago:
"I have no sympathy for those pushing churches to cater to the unregenerate man as a way of drawing him in. The fact that a beer guzzling, Nascar watching, porn-viewing, minimum-wage earning loser thinks that church is not for him; well, he is right."
Don't you love the stereotypes that these pundits like to push about men caught up in the sin of pornography? Porn users are supposedly just a bunch of single loser guys that watch NASCAR, have facial hair (gasp!), halitosis, and aren't physically attractive to women. Boy, you can just feel the compassion for sinners oozing from the pens of Maken and Mohler. Heaven forbid that a porn user just might be the clean-cut guy who makes a lot of money, who is a married pastor of a big church, or is appealing to women. Obviously, an oh-so-successful guy doesn't use porn. He justs commits fornication and adultery with his female admirers. That's all.

But seriously, given that facial hair, halitosis, being single, being physically unappealing to women, etc. could just as easily describe a man faithful to God as it could a lonely porn user, I think we need to look at the implicit male-bashing in the narratives of Mohler and his ilk. I think someone people need to get one thing straight: Sexual purity for men is not about pleasing women or "saving one's self for marriage" ... it's about pleasing God (Matthew 5:8).

One final matter. I find Mr. Mohler's rhetoric to be downright corny and counterproductive. For instance this paragraph is over the top:
Pornography is a slander against the goodness of God's creation and a corruption of this good gift God has given his creatures out of his own self-giving love. To abuse this gift is to weaken, not only the institution of marriage, but the fabric of civilization itself. To choose lust over love is to debase humanity and to worship the false god Priapus in the most brazen form of modern idolatry.
Hoo-boy! How many of you opened up another tab to look up Priapus in Wikipedia? I thought disbelief, bigotry, greed, materialism, violence, pride, hatred, lust for power, adultery, envy, lying, stealing, drunkenness, slander, and murder were real bad but "porn use" is the biggie of the all!! The fabric of civilization is unraveling because of Pamela Anderson! Give me a break. The grandstanding by so many religious conservatives about sexual sins only serves to make other sins look less destructive than they really are.

Moreoever, while Mohler and company wax eloquent about the scourge of pornography, the real 300-pound gorilla in the room goes undiscussed. I've touched on it before: Sexual sin in men is connected with the idolatry of the feminine in this society. If men want to be free from sexual sin, then they have to place intimacy with women in proper context. It's not the most important thing or even a necessary thing. But I doubt Mohler will ever say that. After all, he has sided with Maken in adopting Marriage Mandate theology. He believes most men cannot do without women and that they have a duty to marry (a position that contradicts plain teachings of the Bible such as 1 Cor. 7:17-38). So I have to wonder: Do religious pundits get mad because sexual sin represents an affront to God ... or because it just represents an affront to the sex cartel that society places over men?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Defrauding Women and Other Doozies

Boundless has recently reprinted some articles that, in the minds of the Editor(s), represent some of the best writing that the website has to offer. What is the basic theme of the recent crop of offerings? Sex. Not surprising to me. If there is anything that the prude and the lewd have in common, it is their obsession with sex. The current article featured at Boundless, "Physical Intimacy and the Single Man" (by Matt Schmucker), is no exception in this regard. I came across this article before on the Boundless website. I had a low opinion of it at the time that I first read it and have a low opinion of it now, but I am glad it has been reprinted if only to give me the opportunity to expose it for what it is.

I grant that the article contains some relevant Biblical truths about purity. Men should avoid sexual behavior with women outside the marriage bond. They need to also get away from any compromising situations and guard their minds against impure thoughts. However, I must ask a question: How much rat poison would you accept in a bag of corn meal? A half cup? A tablespoon? A teaspoon? A dash? I ask this, because what makes Mr. Schmucker's article so destructive is that it is Biblical teaching laced with Phariseeism and misandry.

For starters, the article opens with questions. Loaded questions, that is:
  • Do you think it would be acceptable or unacceptable for me, a married man, to have sex with a woman who is not my wife?
  • Do you think it would be acceptable or unacceptable for me to kiss, caress, and fondle a woman who is not my wife (something short of intercourse)?
  • Do you think it would be acceptable or unacceptable for me to have a meal with a woman not my wife and engage in extended conversation about each other's lives (likes/dislikes/struggles/pasts)?

If you answered "unacceptable" to three out of the three, or even two out of the three questions — "yes, it would be unacceptable for you as a married man to do those things" — I want to suggest that a double standard may exist in your mind. Many people who answer "unacceptable" with regard to me, as a married man, would not say "unacceptable" for the single man.

I have a few questions for Mr. Schmucker:

1) What if the woman you are having an extended conversation with happens to be a female relative? Why should we necessarily view all female-male relationships through the sexual lens?

2) If a single man has an extended conversation with a single woman, is he engaging in something dishonorable as you seem to suggest? If he cannot do this, is he supposed to be basically in the dark about any woman that comes into his life up until the time he marries?

3) Or if a single man can have a extended conversation with a woman that he has the intention of marrying, can he also have sex with her under these circumstances? If not, then why put extended conversations in the same boat as sexual behavior?

3) Would it be acceptable for you as a married man to pursue any kind of an amorous relationship with a woman not your wife? Could you, a married man, pursue courtship Josh Harris style or Candice Watters style with someone not your wife? If a single man's case is truly parallel to yours, isn't everything off limits?

In short, Mr. Schmucker's logic is downright asinine. Affirming that God's expectations for single men are different from those for married men is not a double-standard, friends. It's reality. Anyway, Mr. Schmucker continues:
Now to the male reader who says, "Lying with a prostitute is a black-and-white issue, and of course I would never do that," allow me to reply: You are missing the point. Being bought at a price by God should compel you to honor him with everything you have and with everything you are, including your body.
That's a good principle. But here's another principle:
If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.
That comes from Col. 2:20-23 (NASB). That applies just as much to the man-made casuistic theology of modern religious pundits as it did the Judaizers of Jesus' and Paul's time. Anyway, Mr. Schmucker goes on in his article to talk about men defrauding women. What is is his proof-text? 1 Thess. 4:3-6 ...
It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him.
Ok, what am I missing here? Because I don't see anything in that passage about women. I'm pretty certain it refers to sleeping with another man's wife! And what pray tell, is the point that Mr. Schmucker attempts to make? Well, he says:
What do I mean by defrauding in this context? Simply put, a man defrauds a woman when, by his words or actions, he promises the benefits of marriage to a woman he either has no intention of marrying or if he does, has no way of finally knowing that he will ...

What may be considered innocent — holding hands, putting an arm around her in the pew, some "light" kissing, long talks over Starbucks coffee — all send the message to a sister that reads, "You're mine." Single men must be careful here.
This presents me with an opportunity to torpedo yet another lousy idea being floated by self-canonized relationship experts in the Evangelical blogosphere. Somehow we are to believe that if a man gets too cozy with a woman, he is essentially promising marriage to her. Such is the idea behind the charge that men are "defrauding" women. Nice theory ... if it weren't so full of baloney.

Too many times in this culture, we have panderers that validate the feelings of women over the facts. The fact is that if a man has not promised something to a woman, her reading her own wishful thinking into his behavior does not change his "no" into a "yes". People, we would not tolerate this nonsense if the roles were reversed. If a man said, "She lead me on," we would shriek at him, "No means no! Jerk!" But somehow verbal communication doesn't mean anything when ladies get their precious little hearts broken. Give. Me. A. Break. If a woman is too stupid to have open communication with her male significant other about what behavior is appropriate and what that behavior implies, she doesn't deserve to get married. If she reads more into a man's behavior than what he has promised, then the only fraud that has been committed is that of her own self-deception. Heartbreaks are a fact of life for either sex, so let's stop automatically blaming men when relationships go sour.

Another concern comes to mind as I read Mr. Schmucker's remarks: Does anyone really expect me, as an educated Christian man, to believe that holding hands sends the same instrinsic message as heavy petting? I haven't seen too many married folks on Sunday morning engaging in heavy petting in pews, but I have seen them holding hands or throwing arms around the backs of each other. Maybe the elders at Mr. Schmucker's church should come out strong against married people showing such inordinate displays of public affection!

I will finish my review of Mr. Schmucker's with this quote of his:

We do not want a brother standing at the altar on his wedding day looking at his beautiful bride only to imagine behind her the boys and men who took advantage of her and robbed her of the trust and confidence that she now needs for her husband. We do not want a sister standing at the altar on her wedding day looking at her handsome groom only to imagine behind him a string of relationships with girls and women he failed to honor, and knowing that images in his head from pornography use and past flings may stick with him for a long time.

Ah yes, it's the man who commits the sexual sin in both cases, isn't it? Did you pick up on that? I did, and I'm getting tired of the insinuation that men are wolves and women are Little Red Riding Hoods. Okay, boys and girls, repeat after me ... slowly now ... It. Takes. Two. To. Tango. Tell our fine Christian ladies to stop chasing pretty boy thugs and keep their pants zipped if they don't want to get "defrauded" (boo-hoo).

P.S. Somebody should inform the person in charge of graphics at Boundless that having a picture of a well-muscled man with his shirt wide open in an article about purity is in extremely poor taste.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The New Gender Deal

It's time for men to give women the ultimatum. I know that such language doesn't sound conciliatory, but given how men have been treated in our culture, desperate times call for desperate measures. I submit for your approval the New Gender Deal. It is addressed to women. They have to right to accept or reject it. They have the right to seek out men who don't agree with it. However, women should not be surprised if many men champion the sentiments of the New Gender Deal. It ultimately does not matter how the New Gender Deal is received by women, or even by men. The New Gender Deal need only stand on its own merit, not popular acceptance.


To the woman in question:

You have a choice, but your choice must be consistent, not hypocritical. Hypocrisy is unethical. The choice is between two options. They are as follows:

1. The traditional choice: If you look to a man to abide by traditional understandings of masculinity, then you must abide by traditional understandings of femininity. Special obligations imposed on men necessitate special obligations imposed on women. Gracious displays of chivalry from traditionalist men must be rewarded with gracious displays of subordination from traditionalist women. If a man pays for the dinner date on Friday night, then a woman should fix his lunch on Sunday afternoon.

Women in previous generations understood that their role was to serve their husbands. The husband's ambitions and dreams took precedence over that of their wives. Remember the saying, "Behind every great man is a great woman"? Women of yesteryear achieved their self-fulfillment vicariously through their husbands' successes. The price of asking a man to be the "breadwinner", etc. is that you must be subordinate to him in the direction of the relationship. You have the duty of deferring to his opinions before he has any duty of hearing yours. If you have eschewed the responsibility that comes with headship, you must eschew all benefits that come with it as well.

2. The egalitarian choice: If you want more say in your relationships with men, then you must accept more responsibility. If you want fathers to be more involved with domestic duties, then mothers need to be more involved with paying the bills. If you want to earn more money than the men around you, then be prepared to earn more money than your husband. If you want power and influence, then you must use it to help those who don't have it (including men).


What are these options about? Real trade-offs. Real parity. Real justice. That's what men deserve from women. None of the immoral showing of partiality where a select caste of human beings have the best of all choices because they were born female. In addition to making one of these choices, you must also abide by the following code of ethics:

1. You must eschew the cultural trend of demeaning and insulting men. You must acknowledge that conduct commonly regarded as inappropriate, demeaning, and dehumanizing does not suddenly become justifiable for women in how they treat men. Case in point, if it is tasteless to joke about harming women, then it is tasteless to joke about harming men. If it is wrong for men to play the field and jerk women around in the dating game, then it is wrong for women to do the same to men. If it is wrong for men to judge women primarily or solely on external attributes (looks or money), then it is wrong for women to judge men in the same way. If it's wrong for women to be blamed for the stupid choices men make, then it's wrong for men to be blamed for the stupid choices women make (no headship psychobabble please). This is not about affirming that the sexes are identical. It is about affirming the equal worth of both men and women.

2. A man's worth is not defined by how lucky he is with the opposite sex. Hollywood can't define it by how many women he beds. Churches can't define it by how successfully he convinces a woman to take his last name. Men do not need to you to be "real men." They can have happiness and self-worth apart from having an intimate relationship with you or any other woman. Any insistence to the contrary cannot be dignified.

If you reject these terms of engagement, then a man has a right to reject any personal relationship with you. He has a right to question your desirability as a mate. He has a right to disregard your opinions about gender relations. Your protestations in this case will be for naught. Men do not have to listen to women who do not respect them. Men can go their own their way in this matter. The choice is yours. Choose wisely.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Neo-Chivalry Part 2 (Honoring All Women?)

The Bible clearly teaches reciprocity in the relationship between husband and wife (Eph. 5:33). So, at the very least, there must be some reciprocity in any modern-day demands for chivalry. The lack of real reciprocity in any paradigm for gender relations makes it unscriptural. One might like to think I'm just being self-centered in advancing my own personal agenda as a male. Not really. This is not just some personal slight I feel. There is the larger picture of how other men are affected. The kind of nonsense being promoted by neo-chivalrous commentators violates a visceral sense of justice in my psyche. It also violates the Word of God. But neo-chivalry can not only be unfair to good men, it can be unfair to good women.

If you are a woman, consider this: Suppose you are in a college class taking your favorite subject. All throughout the semester, you go the extra mile. You take copious notes, always contribute in the class discussions, always start on your research papers early in order to have the best sources and best synthesis of material, and always study at least two evenings before an exam. However, there are other women in the class that are not so industrious as you are. You notice that they always chatter to each other, always look disinterested, and always giggle when someone is trying to say something important. You personally know some of these women and their study habits, and you are certain that they are not going to do half as well as you.

So the end of the semester comes. The professor announces that some people have done a lousy job in the class. But, he reminds everyone, "I am a Christian man and Christ commands me to love all people, so I am going to give everyone A's in spite of their effort, or lack thereof." Your jaw hits the floor. What? "This is not agape," you think to yourself, "this is caving in to total lazy-minded stupidity!"

Later you go to the professor's office and cry aloud, "Sir, I don't think it's fair that the other ladies in the class are getting the same grade as I am!"

But he counters, "Calm down. What do you want me to do? I count myself a gentleman who treats all women with honor."

"You are not treating me with honor," you snap as you storm out of his office.

You know what? You would be right. The professor was out of line. He was confusing charity with merit. Yes, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves and help those who are genuinely in need (Luke 10:25-37), but the same Bible that commands charity is the same one that demands that laziness not be rewarded (2 Thess. 3:10). The Bible also says, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" (Isa. 5:20).

I do not give the same respect to sinners as I do to faithful Christians. I do not give the same respect to hussies and scolds as I do to godly women. So, it it is with some concern that I read statements like this:
I think that the point here is not women's suffrage or whether or not the men had a right to seats in the lifeboats (of course they did). The point is that those men who gave their lives were gentlemen in the truest sense of the word. And a gentleman will always be a gentleman whether the women around him chose to be ladies or not. [emphasis mine]

If Christian men chose not to be gentlemen, it says more about them as individuals than it does the women around them. That would be the equivalent of me choosing not to behave like a lady because the men I'm surrounded by don't treat me as one.
I believe other writers have said something similiar. What is meant by the statement that a "gentleman will always be a gentleman"? Granted, a man should stick to his principles and treat all people fairly and compassionately, but I do not believe that he owes any preferential treatment to women who clamor for equality. The preferential treatment that men bestowed on women in the past was rightfully predicated on women taking a submissive and subordinate position to men. If women refuse to be subordinate to men, then they forfeit all claims to any special treatment that traditionally comes with such subordination.

Let me reiterate something I have said in the past:
Men have not been in a habit of asking themselves what they want from a relationship. They have not always been encouraged to articulate their feelings about this matter; instead, they have been mostly trained to put the needs of others before themselves. Whether out of some notion of "chivalry" or a need to address the "past wrongs" of a "patriarchal culture," men have found themselves deferring to women in defining what a male-female relationship should look like. But the noble inclinations of men to be selfless and respectful of women are not always appropriate. Justice, decency, and propriety demand a limit to what women can rightfully ask of men. In fact, Christian men do a disservice to godly women when they declare all women to be worthy of the same treatment. The honor we give to good women has no meaning unless we can boldly expose the deeds of those women who are dishonorable. We need more men like Elijah to stand up against the Jezebels of our day and against the spineless Ahabs that do their bidding (even those in our churches).
What's the bottom line? The woman that clamors for indiscriminate chivalry asks for something unfair to other women. Indeed, she calls into question her own character by making such a demand. Social pressure must be brought to bear on amoral and hypocritical women to reform themselves if there ever going to be any hope of repairing relations between the genders. Yes, let a man show consideration and courtesy to all people. Yes, let's be concerned for all women. But let's stop rewarding bad behavior.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Over at the Boundless blog, there is a post by Heather Koerner in which she discusses the notion that men are supposed to protect women. I have no problem with men protecting women if women are indeed in need of men's protection. But I think that's not exactly what Heather had in mind, nor do I think it's what other contemporary Evangelical writers have in mind either. In other words, I think the idea that's being pushed by these individuals is not the idea of loving ones' neighbor or being a "good Samaritan", per se. No, I think they are pushing what I call "neo-chivalry." The idea behind this concept is that women should be equal to men in many spheres of society, whereas men should be bound to more traditional obligations of protecting women and being preferential to them in other ways. I daresay it's women "having their cake and eating it, too."

In Heather's post, she links to an article of hers ("Nurturing Protection") on Boundless' main website. I think it reveals an attitude about "chivalry" that I have discussed before (viz., in my post about the false metrics of biblical manhood). As I have said:
It's time women learn that with privilege comes responsibility. If they are in positions of influence, then they need to look to the concerns of the weak and vulnerable of both sexes, and stop focusing so much on themselves. When Jesus spoke of the needy as being the "least of these" his "brethren" (Matt. 25:31-46), he surely was not referring to women and children only. Therefore, that idea that men are required to shower preferential treatment on a woman, not on the basis of a legitimate need or a woman's demonstrated submission, but merely on the basis of her sex is showing partiality and is therefore sinful (James 2:9). Men are not lesser human beings than women that they should play the part of doormats. Women "can't have it both ways" in demanding power and protection at the same time, and no one should dare to expect a man to oblige himself to such an ungodly double-standard.
Sadly, however, Ms. Koerner seems to adamantly reject what I consider to axiomatic. So, I like to examine some of the claims put forth by Heather in her article. For starters, she writes:
Those men should have helped that woman, I thought then, because we are all humans and we protect each other.

Partially, that is right. We do have a responsibility to love our neighbors as ourselves. But now I understand that they, as men, had a unique responsibility to her, as a woman.
Unique responsibility? What obligation is that? Heather goes on to talk about how women are different from men in so many ways. True, but that misses the point. Men are indeed stronger than women many times, but that is not proof of some special obligation to women, per se. Let me illustrate my point by flipping things around for you, dear readers. What if a young woman sees an elderly man trying to hobble across the street? Should she assist him and give him some protection? The logical end of neo-chivalry is that the elderly man should fend for himself, and indeed, society seems to inculcate this very idea in men and women alike. The woman in question can either refuse to help the man, or more likely, the man will feel obliged to shun help from the very one that can give it to him. In the latter regard, men are often prone to turn down assistance from women. And we wonder why men are not open about their hurts, feelings, etc. to wives? We wonder why men reject the expressions of good will from women in their lives? We want to chalk it all up to the "male ego" but I ask where did the attitude come from? Let's be honest here. Neo-chivalry leads to pathological self-abasement in men.

Elsewhere, Heather writes, "The world's masculinity either demands to be served or refuses to be bothered." Not so fast, Ms. Koerner. Right before the Apostle Paul says that husbands are to love their wives as "Christ also loved the church," he says that wives are to submit to their husbands "as to the Lord." It sounds like the Holy Spirit demands that you serve your husband, Ms. Koerner. Unfortunately, this kind of obligation doesn't seem to be talked about very much when a discussion of biblical womanhood comes up; indeed, Heather does not make any mention of it in her article.

Anyway, Heather furnishes a quote from John Piper:
Mature masculinity senses a natural, God- given responsibility to step forward and put himself between the assailant and the woman. In doing this he becomes her servant. He is willing to suffer for her safety. He bestows honor on her. His inner sense is one of responsibility to protect her because he is a man and she is a woman.
A servant, eh? Is that how we view men? The servants of women? If that's what Mr. Piper is implying, then someone should remind this celebrated theologian of what the Apostle Paul said: "Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man" (1 Cor. 11:9). Chew on that.

Ms. Koerner writes that God "has given men the great responsibility to lay down their lives just as Christ laid down His life for the church. They are to be the protectors." Is Ms. Koerner talking about Eph. 5:22-33? Actually, God has given husbands the great responsibility of loving their wives as they love their own bodies (v. 33). Let's keep it in context, folks. Why do we broaden the application of Eph. 5:22-33 with regard to men's responsibilities, but don't do so for women's responsibilities? Why all this talk about men in general indiscriminately sacrificing themselves for women, but no talk of women generally submitting to men across the board? If I am automatically deemed the protector of some female stranger just because I am a man, does she become obligated to obey me and have sex with me? Let's stop misapplying the Scriptures that are obviously talking about marriage relationships, not about gender relations in general.

Finally, Ms. Koerner gets around to discussing her end of the bargain as a woman:
But if it's a Christian man's role to protect, what is my role?

Here's where I have to make a decision and I have to be honest. My decision: Will I follow the world's model of womanhood or the Word's? My honesty: If I follow the Word, I'm going to be mocked.

So glad that Heather wants to reject the worldly ideas of womanhood and own up to her responsibilities as a woman ... or does she? What does she say that her "role" is? She says it is to "affirm, receive, and nurture." What?! Okay, let's skip past the first two for a moment and focus on the "nurture" aspect. Maybe there is something palpable about that last word. What does Ms. Koerner's article say? Well, she quotes Piper again:
"Nurture" means that a mature woman senses a responsibility not merely to receive, but to nurture and strengthen the resources of masculinity. She is to be his partner and assistant. She joins in the act of strength and shares in the process of leadership. She is, as Genesis 2:18 says, "a helper suitable for him."
Wait. What did I just read? Did Mr. Piper say, "... shares in the process of leadership"? Friends, if someone shares in the process of leadership, they have to share in the accountability of that leadership as well. As it is, godly men are not called to "share" their leadership with their wives any more than Christ shares his leadership with mortals. Let's hope that I am misunderstanding Piper because if he is saying what I think he might be saying, then he is not the complementarian that he makes himself out to be. Well, actually, inasmuch as anyone pushes neo-chivalry, they cannot be complementarians. Quasi-complementarians, perhaps, but not the real McCoy.

Anyway, what was left off the list of things a woman should give a man in return for protection? Yes, that dreaded "s" word--SUBMISSION. Let me say that a very astute poster commented on Heather's blog entry. I suggest that you read his remarks because he points out that the sacrifices men made in the past for women were conditioned on the societal expectation that a woman's station in life would be beneath that of man's. Protection = submission. It's not a hard equation to grasp, boys and girls.

Ms. Koerner's list of pseudo-obligations for women amounts to little more than saying "Good job! I'm rootin' for ya. Be ye warmed and well-fed" to the man doing the grunt work. Nah. I'm not buying it. Stop insulting my intelligence. Heather and other ladies are asking something for nothing. That's not how life works. Like I said, you can't have it both ways, gals (whether it be men protecting you, initiating relationships with you, paying for the dates, or similiar stuff). It is, generally speaking, "boats or votes." There will be real men in shining armor when there are real ladies in distress.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Civilian Casualities in the Gender Wars

I have had some instructive exchanges with some ladies at Amir's blog (see here and here). One of them, Christina, has expressed some frustration at her own blog about what men and women say about each other (see here and here). I read Christina's posts and reflect on what some other religious women have said in a similar vein. Admittedly, the feelings of these women are understandable.

Such are the Gender Wars. I am find myself looking at these women as a soldier looks at civilians in an enemy country. I am going house to house. There is the awkward exchange: "No, ma'am I am not here to wreck your house. I am looking for Male-Bashing Brown Shirts. We have reports they are stationed in the vicinity. Have you seen any suspicious activ ... calm down, ma'am, I need information ..." Sometimes an interpreter is needed to translate my male language into something the female civilians can understand. My combat training is geared towards seeking out and neutralizing the enemy. Wait. I just heard a board creak. I wheel around with my M4. Nothing here. Okay, now the lady in the house is panicking. "Calm down, ma'am." My skills in diplomacy are something I have to learn on the job. They don't teach you this stuff in boot camp.

One hopes that there will be minimal feelings of ill-will among the innocent bystanders and refugees caught up in this mess. One hopes for minimal collateral damage, but things are awkward. Terrible mistakes get made. Innocents get shot at. War is a terrible business, especially among the sexes.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Light Goes On at Boundless (Well, Kinda')

Hmmm. Nobody informed me of a lunar eclipse. No news on a comet, either. A strange turn of events has come to pass, nonetheless. After beating my bruised head against a thick wall of denial in the Evangelical blogosphere for more than two years, somebody at Boundless finally acknowledges the proverbial 300-pound gorilla in the room, a verity that many of us men have affirmed for some time. Could this be the start of some honest soul-searching by religious leaders, Christian women, and other appropriate parties regarding the challenges men face in a society that does not respect them? Don't hold your breath. Suzanne Hadley says:
If it's true that men are so afraid of bad marriages that they'd rather be lifelong bachelors, I'm glad there's a voice reminding them of God's values: that He desires to give them fulfillment and joy through good marriages. That, in fact, they will live out some of their greatest moments as men, leaders and spiritual warriors within this context.
What if God desires us to make our own choices about the matter, Suzanne? If he is that interested in our choices regarding our marital status, is he interested enough to make "soul mates" for each and every one of us? How far do we want to go with our presuppositions about what the sovereignty of God implies? As far as full-blown fatalism? I am keenly interested in what our obligations are under God's New Covenant with men as delineated by the teachings of Christ and his Apostles. Where in the New Covenant does the Holy Spirit decree that most men should get married? Where is this ordinance clearly spelled out? Do I have to wait another two years before I get an answer to this question and any counterarguments I might raise?