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

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lauren Winner on Men

Well, dear readers, I've been very busy the last couple of weeks. I find myself somewhat annoyed, feeling the duty to address the anti-male nonsense that passes for religious journalism, and yet feeling too tired and preoccupied to hose the sheer volume of it off the sidewalk. A week or so ago, I read an article by Lauren Winner at Boundless.org which addresses the contemporary problem of men not being achievers like women are. You can read her article here and the reactions Boundless readers had to it here.

Now for some fiskin' ...

Lauren says ...
But when we talk about gender and leadership, we may have been leaving out one crucial fact of contemporary life: Regardless of what we say we think about women and leadership, when it comes to college-aged and 20-somethings, women are leading in all sorts of areas.

Let me offer two examples — one anecdotal and one backed up by hard research.
With all due respect, we've had more than enough of the anecdotal from women who write about the sexes, but anyway ...
The anecdotal example comes from just about every church I've visited in the last year. Ask church staff, especially staff in charge of young adult ministries, who steps up to the plate when something needs doing, and you are likely to get the answer, "women." ...

"What's going on here," one of my friends tells me, "is not just volunteering or service, but real lay leadership. I'm thrilled to have so many active, vibrant women working with me, but I do wonder why the guys are so slack — why men who regularly attend Sunday worship and come to all our single's group social events can never be counted on to help out with anything. And I probably perpetuate things, because now, when I really need something done, I often don't even think to ask any guys. I go to the women who I know can get things done."
No, I'll tell you "what's going here." A lot of churches in the Anglosphere are nothing more than social clubs for blue-haired ladies and their richer donors. There is no spiritual depth. The men who have a stake in institutionalized Christianity usually grew up in it. The men who haven't are probably not going to go for it, or if they do, they might find down the road that they have been taken for a ride. Here's what institutionalized Christianity thinks about socially marginalized men ...
"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." -- Debbie Maken
Just substitute a few words with the phrases "tax collectors" and "sinners," and you'll understand my ire. But, hey, at least Debbie Maken is honest. Why would Joe Six-Pack darken the door of any place that treats him like a recovering child-molester, a useful idiot that pays and obeys, or scandalized object of pity (such as someone dying of AIDS). This is why books are being written by fellows like David Murrow and Paul Coughlin. 21st century Christendom in the West, liberal or conservative, is about as relevant as 1st century Judaism, Sudducean or Pharisaic.

Continuing on with Ms. Winner ...
"It's not just in the ranks of church volunteers that women are outshining men. According to a recent cover story in The Chronicle of Higher Education, women are outpacing men on college campuses, too. More women than men are attending college, and once they get there, women get better grades and devote more time to civic activities and serving in leadership positions in campus organizations. At graduation time, women also bring home more awards and honors than men.

"What are the guys doing while women are studying, running the sorority charity drive, leading a Bible study and heading up the school debate team? Playing Lost Planet and The Legend of Zelda. Seriously. According to the Chronicle article, that's one area in which male students do significantly best women: Men devote far more time than women to playing computer games. Men also exercise more and watch more TV, and are more likely to oversleep and miss class."
What's the problem, madam? Isn't this what you girls wanted? Higher education has been the hotbed of misandry and gynocentrism for the longest time. Women have had all sorts of entitlements and handouts from various social, educational, and legal institutions to engage them. Men haven't. Why would a man want to go into debt in the first place, just so he can sit in some English class and listen to some middle-age woman drone on about Margaret Atwood's book The Handmaid's Tale? When I was in college, I sat at the feet of "those oppressive white men" who were Ivy League-trained and read works written by "those oppressive white men." A lot has changed now and a college degree has, in many respects, become a joke. Young men know this.
Experts have been scratching their heads about this trend, but no one seems to have any solutions. Should colleges accept male students with lower GPAs, with the aim of having a student body that is roughly half men and half women? Should classroom standards be radically retooled and made more "boy friendly"? For example, should teachers accommodate students' differing learning styles by no longer asking them to sit still?

(Again, I'm not making this up. As strange as it may sound, a colleague recently suggested to me, in all seriousness, that the real problems begin in the fourth and fifth grade when boys were forced to "act like girls" by sitting still to learn.)
Sorry, Lauren, but I caught you. Nice rhetorical move on your part, but you've been outed. You are attempting to marginalize the concerns that others have about anti-male discrimination by characterizing these concerns as being "strange" etc.

Let me quote from the Catalog of Anti-Male Shaming Tactics:
Charge of Fanaticism (Code Brown) - The Brown Shirts Charge

Discussion: The target is accused of subscribing to an intolerant, extremist ideology or of being devoted to an ignorant viewpoint. Examples:

* "You're one of those right-wing wackos."
* "You're an extremist"
* "You sound like the KKK."
* "... more anti-feminist zaniness"

Response: One should remember that the truth is not decided by the number of people subscribing to it. Whether or not certain ideas are "out of the mainstream" is besides the point. A correct conclusion is also not necessarily reached by embracing some middle ground between two opposing viewpoints (i.e., the logical fallacy of "False Compromise").
Anyway, moving right along, Lauren says ...
I was discussing the college gender gap with a group of honors college students at a Christian college a few weeks ago (and, notably, this honors class had far more female students than males). The students agreed that student leaders on campus tended to be women, and that women applied themselves more enthusiastically to their studies.

"You know what's really lousy about this?" said one gal. "There's no one to date. I mean, I want to date someone who is my equal, who challenges me, and who likes to spend his time doing some of the same things I do. I want to date someone who values the same things I value."
Well, sweetheart, maybe the guys think you and your hobbies are boring, or maybe they think you are a bit of a control freak. I dunno. Why is "the problem" always with the men? Get over yourself, ladies. If you want to marry up and have a knight in shining armor, then "get back in the kitchen." Men want to marry women who are attractive and have a great personality. They don't necessarily need a rocket scientist, or even a liberal arts professor. They want a helpmeet, not a competitor that reminds them of their boss and every other unpleasant authority figure they've known in their lives ...
So maybe that's the way to get men to take their studies more seriously — by pointing out that if they don't, they'll have a hard time catching the eye of an accomplished and interesting woman.
I'm so scared. Pass me the game controller, dude.
Are the two trends — the slack computer-gaming of male college students, and the seeming dearth of male volunteer leaders at churches — related?

I'm guessing they are. After all, college is a formative period, and (as your parents are endlessly telling you) "the habits you establish now will be with you for a lifetime."
Yes, because we are all now weekend statisticians that confusion correlation with causality. You know, folks, articles like this are all too predictable. If men are disengaged, well, it must be their own fault. They must be, like um, playing too many video games or looking at porn, or something like that, don't cha know. They need to grow up, man up, and be "Real Men(tm)!"
What should the church's response to this be? Well, I hope it's two-fold: First, women should get some applause for the wise way they're stewarding time and all the contributions they make to church and civic life. At the same time, we all need to encourage even young boys to devote more time to civic engagement and less to computer gaming.
I've asked before. I'll ask it again: Why should men care about a society that doesn't care about them? Pass the game controller, dude.
What we should not do is buy into a discourse that pits men against women, takes competition for granted, and tacitly assumes that only one group — men or women, but never both — can excel in college or take responsibility in church life.

All too often, discussions of any kind of "gender gap" polarize conversation. That is, people respond to the news that women outnumber men in college classrooms with panic and decide they need to devote all their attention to helping men out.
Whistling past the graveyard, aren't we, Lauren? Now boys and girls, Ms. Winner has instructed us to not say anything about the 300-pound gorilla in room that's urinating on the carpet. Mind your manners, now. But seriously, she might as well tell us to not think about pink elephants. Lauren needs to stop trying dictate the terms of the debate. Her suggestion comes off naive at best and condescending at worst.

The discussion was polarized from the start!! The polarization started when some ideologues decided the "personal" was the "political." It has been the feminists and their lackeys in government, academia, media, etc. who have elevated women by keeping men down. Young men have no positive mentors in their lives because their fathers are removed by homewrecking mothers or Nanny State functionaries. Education has become a "hostile and intimidating environment" for male student and male teacher alike at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary level. Women must take their share of the blame for this mess.

I believe Lauren Winner doesn't know any better. She has grown up in the wake of feminism and has spent her life in elite institutions where one can expect her gender to be coddled and pampered. She now teaches at one of those elite institutions. That doesn't make her a bad person (and I don't want to diminish her accomplishments), but I do believe her background poses some potential barriers to having a better understanding of the issues men face today. A lot of educated women have make their bed with the entitlements. Now they have to lie in it.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

now THAT is "speaking truth to power"

after so many decades of self-serving, smooth lies, it was a rare pleasure to read this

ray

Elusive Wapiti said...

Here's EW's $.02 on why there are no dudes in church...it's because it's effete. Effete music, effete symbology, and unbalanced preaching of the Lamb with no Lion in sight. Mars Hill in Seattle, from what I've viewed on YouTube, does it the best I think I've seen thus far, but Driscoll still skews a bit toward the female for me.

Do you have a link to that Maken quote? Other than the pr0n viewing, I was thinking to myself...what's wrong with guys who make low wages and watch NASCAR? I could just as easily say that I look down on minimum-wage women who watch Dancing With The Stars...but I don't because a woman's job means little to me. But it appears to me that a man's job--the amount of $$ he makes--means a lot to her.

Maken needs to take a stroll through Obadiah and learn a thing or two about pride.

Re: higher ed, in addition to the points you cite, I'd also like to add that college grades and a sheepskin on the wall are not reliable indicators of intelligence or success. How many of these women are getting useful degrees in the hard sciences, medicine, or law? And how many of these women, after they graduate from college, are looking to hitch their wagon to a man and get him to support her and pay off her mountain of debt? No wonder the guys are working and not participating in extra-curriculars!

Re: elementary ed. It comes as no surprise to me that boys switch off in school, when they are completely surrounded by women who boss them around all day and give them busy work to do. And you're right about the dearth of men in school...they're unwanted, and school is just unsafe for them.

Here's an anecdotal story: last year, I visited my kids in their school outside their mother's home. I went out on the playground during recess. I was mobbed by attention-starved boys who wanted nothing more than to play ball with me. The female teacher/monitors were standing by the door BSing with each other.

You could say that left an impression upon me.

"....want to date someone who is my equal, who challenges me,"
Implicit in this statement is that the female utterer hasn't found a man who is her equal. Which suggests to me that she's more interested in comparing the size of her penis to that possessed by her dates than in find a man who will accept her as his helpmeet.

"Why should men care about a society that doesn't care about them?"
An excellent rhetorical question, Anakin. Why indeed, when society seems to want nothing more from them than their obedience and their money.

Amir Larijani said...

I completely missed that article at Boundless.

Someone needs to read up on what constitutes "outpacing men on college campuses". If you include all degree programs--which includes the fluffy bullcrap majors like women's studies--then that would be correct. On the other hand, all degrees are not equal.

An English major, as a general rule, is not going to be as productive in the workforce as an engineering major.

Talk to any engineering department chairman about the boy/girl ratio. Inquire about how this stacks up in the hard sciences--physics and chemistry--as well. At graduate schools, the ratio becomes even more lopsided. In favor of the men that is.

My undergrad degree was in aeronautical engineering. The boy/girl ratio was about 10:1 among those who graduated in my class. That is not uncommon within engineering. Chemical engineering tends to attract more women than other engineering fields, but--as a general rule--women tend to eschew engineering and the hard sciences.

Even when you look at medical schools--where women tend to fare better--it's a political game, as (a) medical schools are paid by government to cap the number of physicians they train, (b) getting into medical school is often a political campaign, and (c) medical schools often make admission decisions based on race, gender, and other "diversity" considerations rather than merit.

Now let's talk about achievement, especially in light of what we are facing economically.

Most of the job losses are occurring in fields--such as construction and manufacturing--that actually produce products for the economy. Those fields are dominated by men, and men are absorbing the bulk of the hits. (Those fields are also the ones that tend to attract no small number of engineers.)

Those job losses are not due to workers not producing, but rather the result of terrible monetary and fiscal policies in government.

The larger issue, however, has less to do with gender but rather where we are heading as a society, given the economic forces that are in motion.

Fewer Americans are pursuing engineering and the hard sciences. And why should they?

An engineering major will bust his ass--in calculus, differential equations, physics, chemistry, statics, dynamics--while the business majors are partying. And yet the engineering graduate will make 80% of his top salary when he graduates. If he's really good, he might move up into management and get away from engineering. After all, management is where the money is.

With hard sciences, the outlook is even worse.

The dirty little secret is that engineering and the hard sciences--due to the decline in manufacturing in the U.S.--doesn't really pay well. The days are gone where you could get a degree in electrical engineering, get a job as a controls engineer at GM or Ford, work 40 years, make a nice living, and retire comfortably.

As for me? When I started college in 1985, Reagan was President, the Cold War was on, defense spending was very high, and there were more aerospace engineering jobs than there were aerospace engineering grads.

When I graduated in 1990, Bush was President, the Berlin Wall was down, the Cold War was over, defense spending was headed south, and there were very scarce engineering jobs for aerospace engineering grads.

So I took the IT route instead.

Kevin in Manila said...

I remember reading this in Boundless and wondering why you had not responded :)

I'm still not quite sure I understand Winner's point with this article.

Anakin Niceguy said...

Do you have a link to that Maken quote?It's in one of the comments she left under her blog post "The Feminists Made Me Do It"

Gerv said...

It has been the feminists and their lackeys in government, academia, media, etc. who have elevated women by keeping men down. Young men have no positive mentors in their lives because their fathers are removed by homewrecking mothers or Nanny State functionaries. Education has become a "hostile and intimidating environment" for male student and male teacher alike at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary level.And your solution is "Pass the game controller, dude?"

Why should men care about a society that doesn't care about them?WWJD?

Amir Larijani said...

EW says: Do you have a link to that Maken quote? Other than the pr0n viewing, I was thinking to myself...what's wrong with guys who make low wages and watch NASCAR?Full disclosure: I'm not into porn or NASCAR (nothing wrong with the latter), but tend to knock back an average of two Guinness--Extra Stout--per month. I don't watch television, nor am I a minimum wage worker. I'm also a hardcore fitness fanatic. (I say the latter to point out that I am anything but a couch-potato.)

Ergo, Maken is hardly stepping on my toes.

When I read that tidbit by Maken, I had to read it several times. Has she lost her remaining marbles?

Jesus came to save sinners.

He hung out with tax collectors, who were the lowlifes of society. (Some might suggest that they still are.)

He hung around with "sinners". He associated with questionable women in public. (Back then, it was taboo for a man to even speak with a woman in public.) He even healed the son of a Syrophoenician woman (with whom Jews would have had nothing to do).

He even acknowledged the tax collectors and prostitutes who believed Him. (Matthew 21:31-32)

Notice how He said, "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you n in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him."Oh, and in that context, He was ripping the religious authorities.

Maken obviously needs to read her Bible a little more.

A church that does not reach out to such people, is not much of a church.

Elusive Wapiti said...

Thanks for the link, Anakin.

Amir, when I read that Maken quote, I had this image of this haughty over-educated woman looking down on just mere men.

When the median (average? I can't recall) income before taxes for men in the States is around 45,000, that's not a whole lotta money. It works out to about $21/hr.

I'm blessed to make well over that number, have two masters degrees, and don't have a telly, so Maken's not really talking about me either. But if she's representative of how Christian women really think deep down about their men, then perhaps it is best that there are "no Christian men" available for her and her sisters to date. Can you imagine having to live under that perform-or-else pressure all the time? More importantly, how much more difficult will it be for said women to yield to the leadership of a husband that by their own admission is inferior to them?

The more I read, the more disappointed I become about the quantity of marriage-worthy women, even in the Church.

Elusive Wapiti said...

Thought about this topic some more.

Maken's right insofar as men (and I say a proper reading of Prov 31 sez women too) have the Scriptural obligation to work to support themselves and their families. Thus slacker dudes aren't great marriage material. On this point she is correct to criticize.

But I hope that she turns those powers of perception toward members of her own sex and thinks critically about the kind of wives those women are able to become if they hold such frankly arrogant attitudes toward men that they are supposed to submit to.

Honestly, at this point I'm failing to see much significant long-term difference between the college educated feminist and the college educated Christian woman. And what difference I do see is a matter of degree, not type.

Amir Larijani said...

EW says: Honestly, at this point I'm failing to see much significant long-term difference between the college educated feminist and the college educated Christian woman. And what difference I do see is a matter of degree, not type.Sadly, this has much to do with the quality of the education. A Christian (male or female) who takes on a college major--such as education, or any of the humanities or soft sciences--will be exposed to the dogmas inherent in those fields of study, just as the non-Christian will be.

It is very hard to take on such a flagrant indoctrination--and that is what goes on in such fields--without being adversely affected. Combined with the terrible quality of youth and young adult education in the churches, and you have the perfect storm.

Contrast the ideological outlooks--as a group--for the Christian women who had hard science/engineering backgrounds with those who came from a soft-science/humanities/women studies/other bullcrap major background, and the difference is night and day.

The best Christian wives I know are sisters. One majored in chemical engineering and then went to medical school. (She got married while in med school.) The other majored in electrical engineering and then went to law school (and got married while in law school), specializing in patent law. The latter became a SAHM who does patent law part-time. The former now practices medicine part-time and homeschools.

Their father was good and firm with them, while their mom was a very rough perfectionist disciplinarian. The dad had a hard sciences background (a double major in chemistry and physics).

Their family was quite wealthy--dad worked his way up the career ladder the old-fashioned way--but made the girls work.

Even then, they understood their priorities. Like I said, both would become SAHMs.

Anakin Niceguy said...

I wrote: Why should men care about a society that doesn't care about them?

Gerv writes: WWJD?

Utterly destroy the people who rejected and dealt treacherously with him (judgment on Israel in OT and prophecy of AD 70)?

Gerv said...

If we're looking for examples of how Jesus would react in particular societal situations, I suggest his life is the place from which the easiest parallels can be drawn.

Two wrongs don't make a right. If US Christian society is marginalizing men, the solution is not to pick up the game controller.

I can't help feeling that the attitude of this blog to things it doesn't like is to stand in the corner, arms folded, with a cross look on its face, occasionally making sarcastic whispered comments to its neighbour, and waiting for the world to fix itself, whereupon it will deign to re-enter it.

Anonymous said...

Gerv: The issues boil down to (a) what items need fixing; (b) what is required to fix it; (c) which parties need to fix it; (d) how do we get them all working on the same page to get it done.

On this blog, you have a plethora of regular respondents. I do not know Anakin personally, so I cannot answer for what he does within his area of influence.

As for me, I am very active within my church, and have served in a number of teaching roles over the years spanning children to youth to adults. Currently, I work with children on Wednesdays and adults on Sundays.

Other bloggers--such as Adam/PC--have a sphere of work that they do. He is an Biblical exegete. Can't say I always agree with him, but he's got a niche and he's usually on-base.

Kevin also has his own pastoral roles that he takes seriously.

It would be folly to suggest that we all sit on the sidelines. Are there some here who do? Probably. They can answer for themselves.

Amir Larijani said...

I am Anonymous April 26, 2009 5:53 PM. I fat-fingered a key...

Amir Larijani said...

Reading Winner's article, it seems she is trying to conflate several things:

(a) the lack of male volunteerism among young men in the church; i.e., the women are always stepping forward to volunteer to do things whereas it is harder to get men to step up to the plate.

(b) academic performance and college attendance of women compared to men in general

(c) academic performance of men in Christian colleges.

Not sure that she does an effective job at integrating these, as there are way too many statistical particulars that get in the way of any attempt to conflate one anecdotal account, one aggregate study, and another anecdotal account.

As someone who lead a few singles/young adult classes, I can't help but make the follwing observation: that someone is always stepping forward to volunteer does not necessarily make that person an asset.

(1) Most of the gals who volunteered all the time were also attempting to undermine the teacher. (I was not the only teacher in that class.)

(2) While we often did have to ask the guys to volunteer, there was never a problem with them saying yes. In many cases, they were glad to be asked, and were glad that we valued their input. In at least one case, a guy told us he felt that the gals in the class were hijacking the projects and trying to run the class.

As for academic performance, speaking of it in aggregation does not tell me much, as it would not be fair to compare a gal with a 4.0 GPA in elementary education with a guy carring a 2.8 GPA in electrical engineering or physics.

(I'm not saying elementary education isn't important, but rather that one major is an order of magnitude more difficult than the other. Women are overwhelmingly absent in engineering degree programs.)

While I am not into gaming myself, I know a few who are. I would not knock them: if he parlays that into a career such as game design or even integrates that into instructional systems design, that can make for an excellent career path.

Moreover, Winner had a perfect opportunity to make headway with the academic performance issue, but seemed to sarcastically dismiss or minimize it:

Experts have been scratching their heads about this trend, but no one seems to have any solutions. Should colleges accept male students with lower GPAs, with the aim of having a student body that is roughly half men and half women? Should classroom standards be radically retooled and made more "boy friendly"? For example, should teachers accommodate students' differing learning styles by no longer asking them to sit still?

(Again, I'm not making this up. As strange as it may sound, a colleague recently suggested to me, in all seriousness, that the real problems begin in the fourth and fifth grade when boys were forced to "act like girls" by sitting still to learn.)
Actually, there is a difference between the way boys learn and the way girls learn. We are also penalizing boys for acting like boys.

Fact is, if you can teach boys by developing an activity, you will make serious headway.

In grade school, almost all of what I learned about math and science, I learned at home.

Through the middle of 4th grade, my academic performance was abysmal. My stepmom, realizing that this might just be due to my attention deficit issues, made a few adjustments:

(a) she bought me a microscope and a chemistry set for Christmas when I was in 4th grade. Within weeks, I was kicking ass in science class.

(b) she bought me a calculator. I spent hours playing with it. I learned how numbers worked by playing with the addition and multiplication functions. Taught myself percentages using it. Within weeks, I was kicking ass in math.

(c) When I was in 5th grade, she bought me a model for the human anatomy, and a model for the human brain. Wanna guess who got the high scores in life science?

(d) When I was in 6th grade, she bought me one of those electronics experimentation kits from Radio Shack. Wanna guess who kicked ass in physical science class?

What was funny: when I got into 7th grade, we were covering stuff I already knew from playing with those kits and the calculator. I went from being a near-flunkie to being a persistent honor roll student.

Oh, and when I got to high school, I absolutely blitzed chemistry and physics. Even took AP Chemistry and enjoyed it.

As for reading, I had initial problems in first grade. At that point, stepmom taught me phonics on her own. At the end of the year, I was the best reader in the class, and the best speller.

As I talk with guys who progressed to high academic achievement--engineering school, hard sciences, military academies--they all seem to have a common thread: most of what they learned in school, they didn't learn in school.

So, to address Winner, I'd suggest that there is probably a very strong case for addressing the way boys learn versus the way girls learn. That may do more to close that gap than flogging male adults.

Anakin Niceguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anakin Niceguy said...

Two wrongs don't make a right. If US Christian society is marginalizing men, the solution is not to pick up the game controller.Nor is it kissing up to the status quo in lieu of picking up the game controller.

What would Jesus do? Well, he didn't seek a position with the Sanhedrin, did he? Instead he said that one can't put new wine into old wineskins. Men are not going to make things better by simply doing what the status quo has always wanted them to do all along.

It's one thing for a man to be charitable and an active Christian; it's quite another to ask him to be a social bee, a success object, and to kiss up to institutionalized Christianity (which is what Lauren Winner's article seems to be all about).

Triton said...

Two wrongs don't make a right. If US Christian society is marginalizing men, the solution is not to pick up the game controller.

I can't help feeling that the attitude of this blog to things it doesn't like is to stand in the corner, arms folded, with a cross look on its face, occasionally making sarcastic whispered comments to its neighbour, and waiting for the world to fix itself, whereupon it will deign to re-enter it.
Sometimes people just refuse to listen. When that is the case, we are to knock the dust from our sandals and move on (Matt. 10:14). "Picking up the game controller" is just a modern variation on that.

But it appears to me that a man's job--the amount of $$ he makes--means a lot to her.Wapiti, that's an understatement.

For old times' sake, here's a reprint of Maken's infamous "many luxury vacations" comment:

Just an FYI, my husband and I both changed each other for the better. He was quite the metrosexual, well read, well schooled, geo-politically inclined businessman when I met him, and some of his bourgeois tendencies rubbed off on me. It was I who changed on the social adeptness front, and I am so glad everytime we go to the Naples Ritz Carlton for weekend trips and take all of our many luxury vacations. And yes, if I could recommend to women elsewhere to follow my path and land a wonderful Indian Christian like my husband, I would gladly do it. Because guess what, my husband because of Indianness (which you think is synonymous with socially awkward behaviour), is actually brilliant enough to make money in very creative ways, so that I can be a stay at home mom in one of the most expensive zip codes in the country. (Figured out yet why jobs are floating away to India???; there are some major clues in here for you-- grow up, quit blaming others, get a real education with real earning potential, have a vision for success that is outside of the box of what either the church sells you (in its excuse of mediocrity for false piety) or what Wall Street/government sells you, get married and have children, so that the population increases and so does trade). Just remember, there is going to be another name for the socially awkward boy-- "boss."

Marriage and achieving it isn't supposed to be a fairy tale. (Yet another faulty assumption, you intellectual buffoon). It is a serious venture for those who have the maturity and internal fortitude to weather its storm and labor to make the "sweet honey of life." My road may not be the one traveled by many in the West, but it is one that actually achieves marriage to an "equally yoked" partner. I tried your serendipitous fairy tale route, and it got me redneck wannabes, poor men justifying their professions with spirituality, men with legitimate degress that didn't want to succeed in real careers but flirt with serial temporary employment, men with serious debt and money mismangement issues, men who were well below the par. So, anon, men have changed greatly in the last forty years. But I am sure that the Feminists and their inroads into churches made them all such unaccountable, unanchored, socially boring, late blooming bachelors.
What a gal...

Gerv said...

A bit to read here, and I have to rush right now, but a quick clarification/apology: when I said "this blog", I didn't mean all the commenters. I recognise there are a variety of opinions.

Ken said...

"I could just as easily say that I look down on minimum-wage women who watch Dancing With The Stars"

Very good point.

I'm getting to the point where it is hard for me to tak any ministry seriously if it is always harping on "men and p0rn" and never, or almost never, addresses the envious and greedy materialism promoted in media targeted towards women, and the problem women have with accumulating debt.

Coveting material things you don't need and can't afford is immoral. Accumulating debt buying such things without a reasonable ability or intention to pay it off is immoral.

Ah, but advertisers are needed. It is much harder to speak out against something being encouraged by advertisters than the "p0rn" men turn to when rejected by a withholding wife.

Anonymous said...

Men don't volunteer for things outta the gate because they're leaving themselves open for better opportunities. This is true for our church, whether you're talking about signing up for service positions or signing up for church camp. They do sign up at the last minute but by then it's too late. The women who've gotten an early start have it all organized. At that point a guy can't exactly just walk in and expect to take the lead. He or she who pays the piper calls the tune.

Anonymous said...

what about college women who are studies communications/rhetoric as a major? I am studying classical rhetoric and argumentation, which is much harder than than the typical soft sciences like sociology and psychology. Advocating ideas and oratory is not for the everyone.

TMink said...

Amir wrote: "but tend to knock back an average of two Guinness--Extra Stout--per month."

May I recommend that you try Left Hand Brewery Milk Stout? I feel deeply in my soul that it is on tap in heaven.

Seriously, I am new to the blog and will come back. The posts are good and the comments are great too.

Amir, you are a thoughtful and articulate fellow. Keep it up.

Trey

TMink said...

You know, I do not volunteer much at church. I go there to be fed. I work as a psychologist taking care of God's children. My ministry is at my job. I love my church and my Lord, but I also know when I need to listen and learn and when I need to lead. And right now, I am learning and growing from my church time. And I do not feel in the least bit guilty about that.

Trey

Ana Baptist said...

Forget about these young church nitwits and their mind games and look for a cougar who is content with her life and doesn't blame men for everything.

Novaseeker said...

Two wrongs don't make a right. If US Christian society is marginalizing men, the solution is not to pick up the game controller.

I can't help feeling that the attitude of this blog to things it doesn't like is to stand in the corner, arms folded, with a cross look on its face, occasionally making sarcastic whispered comments to its neighbour, and waiting for the world to fix itself, whereupon it will deign to re-enter it.
The *only* thing that will change these trends is reversing family law. Men are not excelling because there is no reason for them to excel. Men are motivated, mainly, by becoming fathers and husbands. Both of those roles were fatally undermined by introducing no-fault divorce -- the result of that has been that fathers now can only act as fathers at the whim of mothers. Mothers who can, at any time and for no reason, simply pick up and leave, severely limit his access to his kids, and make him pay for them (and her) from afar. That is no recipe at all for male motivation, and it is the primary reason men are lagging behind.

It's very true as well that boys' education needs to be addressed. Having generations of undereducated men will only make matters worse. But even if we fix the education gap, without fixing fatherhood we will not see men acting very differently, because a weak, mother-dependent fatherhood is simply not enough of a motivation for men to achieve. It isn't.

So what to do? Not much can be done actively. Any attempt to change the marriage laws back will be resisted tooth and nail by women --including Christian women -- precisely because easy divorce was such a huge "win" for women.

Under these kinds of circumstances, sometimes the best approach is to help bring the system towards a total crisis, because only a total crisis will change the minds of women about these issues, and put the teeth back into monogamous marriage. What do I mean by that? More men should avoid marriage, simply put. Men should not be playing video games, but should be caucusing with other men in places like this, instructing younger men on the perils of family law and in general getting the word out among men that marriage is bad for men at the moment. Less men marry, the beast gets starved, the crisis comes, and only then do we have a chance for women to start being reasonable about family law again.

Amir Larijani said...

Novaseeker:

That strikes me as way too passive, although I could see a secular case for that approach.

I'm the Christian realm, I'd say there are more equitable approaches:

1. Men need to get off their blessed ASSurance and take the churches back. That means having the balls to get in the faces of pastors and deacons who suppress masculinity and promote the "gentle Jesus meek and mild" heresy.

2. Sticking up for people who are being wronged.

3. Teach the Jesus of Scripture, and demand church leaders do the same.

4. Discourage passivity among men.

5. Teach children and teens from a whole Bible prespective, giving lots of attention to Proverbs. Especially where it deals with Mate selection and women to avoid.

6. Don't accept every sob story about divorce. 9 times out of 10, both are at fault. Of the remaining 10%, you have men who self-destruct and women who do the same.

7. Encourage the exercise of Biblical liberties, even as we promote the sanctity of the marital covenant.

8. Promote more awareness of the consequences of feminism, and purge that cancer from the Church.

We can't afford to put our hope in legal or political promises, but we can demand sound doctrine I'm our churches.

Christian men have no excuse to tolerate this in the church, even if we are powerless to stop it in our workplaces.

Gerv said...

I agree with Amir - being proactive is necessary. "Picking up the game controller" is not a modern variant on "knock[ing] the dust from our sandals and mov[ing] on", it's a modern variant on sitting down disconsolately in the dust and staring at our navels. Moving on to the next village was an active thing. They didn't stop evangelizing.

Novaseeker said...

You might be able to make some type of progress in local churches, but the underlying issue about men won't go away until marriage is fixed. The main issue in our culture is the terrible weakness of fatherhood. This spills over into church life as well. Unless you fix the underlying problem, you're not going to be able to get rid of the symptoms.

Amir Larijani said...

Novaseeker: I agree with you about the laws. Those need to change. In the larger culture--which includes both the religious and the secular--we need reform in family law. We need those reforms yesterday.

Still, there is no excuse to tolerate crappy doctrine or outright heresy. A hell of a lot of men have bought into the "gentle Jesus meek and mild" heresy, and it has led to disaster.

Jesus was not a sit-on-your-ass-while-bad-teaching-is-going-on type. He confronted lousy teachings and stupid traditions and "leaders" who foisted them on others.

Instead, men ought to look at those vigilant Bereans--who had the audacity to not simply take Paul at his word--as role models.

Men: if a teacher or preacher is putting out crap, then call him on it. It's your job!

Men: if a woman is throwing her weight around and usurping authority that is not Biblically hers, and you let it keep going on, then the guilt is on you for having handed her your balls.

If the Church decides they'd rather teach unsound doctrine, then get out of there and either (a) find a church that teaches sound doctrine or (b) get with some like-minded men and women and start a church that does!

But sitting back in the pews, letting the scandals go uncontested, and letting false doctrine reign, is unacceptable. That has no Biblical precedence.

We can't change the laws--at least not overnight--but we have a responsibility to ensure that sound doctrine is preached.

TMink said...

Nova and Amir, we agree about the laws, but I think that the laws will follow the change in Christian Culture. And we will achieve that by supporting and exhorting each other in our churches and on places like this.

For the record, you guys here rock. I am excited about what God will do with and through us.

Trey

Anonymous said...

hmmm... yep. this tastes bitter, alright.

Rose said...

I like you. Keep talking.

Anonymous said...

While some points from both sides of this argument are valid, many of you should truly choose your words more wisely. Would Christ say some of the nasty words that are flung around throughout this post and these comments? Would he debate another with the intention of causing them pain? The answer in both cases is, of course, no. Whether or not we agree on everything, all Christians are the Body of Christ in our world, and we should love one another (just as Jesus loves us) rather than letting our anger get the best of us.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating article! It hit me while reading why so many men play video games. Most video games are devoted to one thing:conquest!

Men are built for overcoming and if there is no outlet to do that he finds a substitute.

Many "churches" like a commenter pointed out are effete. I think many men shutdown because they feel they have nowhere to go.

It's also no wonder how combat vets with horrible wounds want to go back to the hell of war. They want to be with MEN who are what? Fighting & conquering. They go to the civilian world and are surrounded by a pathetic, effete culture that doesn't even begin to understand and dares tell them to "turn it off you're a civilian now." I tell you I feel as if a massive weight has been lifted from my mind and body. Thank you!!

Melissa. said...

This is not a fair represention of Winner. This is a boy flexing his muscles and NOT being a gentleman about any of this. I pray that you do not say these things to actual women. I am a woman. I go to Bible College and one of the most prestigious conservative schools in the nation, and I believe that you are not representing "Biblical Manhood." I know Biblical Manhood. You, my friend, are showing off something to be ashamed of. May you learn to actually engage with people instead of copy/pasting bits of argument to make yourself look good. All this article reveals is a boy having a conversation with a Lauren Winner who doesn't exist. Have some respect.

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