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.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.
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.
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?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:
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.
"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.