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

Friday, May 29, 2009

Two Women Who "Just Don't Get It" About This Blog

This blog has been linked to Emerson Eggerichs by a female blogger named Suzanne McCarthy as well as by one of her readers (named "Janet"). In a comment to a post by Suzanne, Janet says:
"Just to clarify, Eggerich[s] doesn't support MGTOW (acronym for "men going their own way"), but some of the guys on MGTOW sites quote from Eggerich's book to justify their ideas about all the world's ills coming from "feminists", "skanks" and generally nagging shrews who just won't submit to male authority. The Biblical Manhood site is one such blog." (emphasis mine)
For the record, I do not support Eggerichs. Eggerichs says women need love, whereas men need respect. Actually, the Bible supports the converse as much it supports Eggerichs' contention (Titus 2:4 - women are to "love their husbands"; 1 Peter 3:7 - men are to "treat" their wives with "respect", NKJV). If Janet and Suzanne had actually taken the time to read about my views on women (something I highly doubt they did), they would realize the my stance on gender issues is much more nuanced than they imply by their comments.

Regarding MGTOW, Suzanne made this ridiculous claim:
"The second question is whether the subordination of women movement among Christians is not actually a part of a wider cultural phenomenon reflected in groups like MGTOW - Men Going Their Own Way." (emphasis mine)
Then there is this quote Janet at a different blog**:
"For example, there has been a burgeoning Christian 'men’s rights' movement on this internet (aka 'MGTOW', 'MRA') that uses Eggerich’s writings to reinforce their mysogynistic stereotypes of women as shrews. In the wrong hands, Eggerich’s sweeping quotes can be very toxic stuff."
Wrong, ladies. MGTOW, by itself, is not about subordination of women. It's not even inherently religious or culturally conservative, although some MGTOWers are. The MGTOW movement is quite diverse and largely centers on a message of self-determination for men, free of society's gynocentrist and misandrist expectations of men. I suspect Suzanne and Janet have spent little or no reading after MGTOWers, much less trying to understand their concerns. Like many gynocentrists, they're trigger happy against men who dare have any opinions about gender roles that are not shaped by feminist discourse.

I've been interested in men's issues for a long time. I don't know if Suzanne and Janet would claim to be feminists, but I will say this: I have yet to meet one feminist who did not grossly misrepresent men's groups as being repressive to women, wanting to keep women under the thumb, etc. I find feminists to be largely an unethical group of people in that regard. What Suzanne and Janet engaged in is a textbook example of the shaming tactic known as the Charge of Misogyny ("Code Black"). If they are not feminists, they most certainly act like they are.

**The URL for Janet's remark is (please note it is broken on two lines for those cutting and pasting) ...


(Last accessed May 30, 2009 at 1:06 AM)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Chauvinist Pigs

For those who are old enough to remember the "Battle of the Sexes" that was waged in the sixties and seventies, consider the concerns that many women had about men. What, according to women, was the problem with men? I believe many women viewed men as the following ...

1. Boorish
2. Crass
3. Rude
4. Angry
5. Mean-spirited
6. Bullying
7. Violent
8. In love with status, power, and things
9. Shallow
9. Egotistical
10. Insensitive to others
11. Clueless when it comes to relationships
12. Sexist
13. Promiscuous
14. Unfaithful
15. Treacherous
16. Destructive

Isn't this list pretty much the take the feminists had on the stereotypical, 1950s style "male chauvinist pig"? Didn't women say that the aforementioned traits, too often found among men, were problematic for relationships, family and society? Didn't women say that men in general were complicit in allowing these behaviors to predominate? Didn't women say that even good men needed to examine themselves and see if they needed to make changes? Didn't women say that all men needed to consider how they acted even in their closest relationships with family members of the opposite sex? In other words, a man claiming that he loved his wife and mother was no defense against the charge of sexism.

Nobody balked at the feminists. Nobody told women to shut up. Society did not question these concerns. Even most conservatives today have conceded to some of these concerns. My generation was weaned and raised in the wake of trying to address these concerns. Men did adopt.

Pray tell, how do women act now? Let us repeat that list ...

1. Boorish
2. Crass
3. Rude
4. Angry
5. Mean-spirited
6. Bullying
7. Violent [yup, I said that]
8. In love with status, power, and things
9. Shallow
9. Egotistical
10. Insensitive to others
11. Clueless when it comes to relationships
12. Sexist
13. Promiscuous
14. Unfaithful
15. Treacherous
16. Destructive

This is how women are glorified in our media. This is how they are allowed to act in our culture at large. Aren't the aforementioned traits, too often found among women, problematic for relationships, family and society? Aren't women in general complicit in allowing these behaviors to predominate? Don't even good women need to examine themselves and see if they need to make changes? Don't all women need to consider how they act even in their closest relationships with family members of the opposite sex? In other words, is a woman claiming that she loves her boyfriend, husband, or father a valid defense against the charge of sexism?

You say that I sound just like a feminist? Well, I sound just like what society has said for the last thirty to forty years about men. Do you want to go back to a time when men were allowed to treat women as inferiors in the home, the classroom, the workplace, before the law, and in culture at large? No? Then we need to drop the bomb on women who treat men as inferiors in the home, the classroom, the workplace, before the law, and in culture at large. Just as feminists were not ashamed to point out the failures of men, I will not be ashamed to point out the failures of women. Don't accuse me of "misogyny" when I point out the truth about women. That is a shaming tactic, and I won't listen to you when you hurl that charge against me. I don't endeavor to spread hatred for women, but neither will I be silent when the Exulted Empress wears no cotton-pickin' clothes. What's good for the gander is good for the goose. It's time to give women a dose of the medicine they forced men to take. Without apology, I say, "Chug-a-lug, ladies."

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Finding Manhood (Part 3: Resolution)

[This is the final planned installment of a series on understanding biblical manhood. Those who agree with what is written are permitted and encouraged to reproduce it. No credit or attribution is necessary. Click here for the first installment and here for the second.]

It goes without saying that there are plenty of unsatisfactory paradigms and false metrics of manhood afloat in our social discourse. Many of these have been previously addressed and summarily debunked. What approach, then, should we take to the issue of biblical manhood? In answering this question, the following is not meant as an authoritative creed, but it is meant as a roadmap to help men in their quest for self-understanding.

Rejection of Functionalism

In critiquing the pro-choice position on abortion, the Catholic apologist Peter Kreeft has rightfully drawn attention to the problem of "functionalism" as a pervasive belief system in our culture. Consider what he has to say about its deleterious effect:
"Functionalism is not only theoretically weak, it is also practically destructive. Modern man is increasingly reducing his being to functions. We no longer ask, 'Who is he?' but, 'What does he do?' We think of a man as a fireman, not as a man fighting fires; of a woman as a teacher, not as a woman teaching.

"Functionalism arises with the modern erosion of the family. Our civilization is dying primarily because the family is dying. Half of our families commit suicide, for divorce is the family committing suicide qua family. But the family is the place where you learn that you are loved not because of what you do, your function, but because of who you are. What is replacing the family, where we are valued for our being? The workplace, where we are valued for our functioning."
We can see the destructive influence of functionalism with regard to the personhood of a fetus, a comatose patient, the elderly, or the permanence of the marital bond, yet we blindly ignore the destructive influence of functionalism in conceptualizing manhood. Religious conservatives, who ought to know better, fall into this trap. Consider what Albert Mohler has declared: "In a biblical perspective, manhood is defined in these roles and responsibilities [father/protector/provider]. A man is defined in terms of who he is and what he does in obedience to God" (emphasis original). Mr. Mohler's speech betrays him. He has simply taken the worldly philosophy of functionalism and dressed it up in religious garb.

In reality, the essence of manhood does not lie in embracing a role, that is, performing a function. Manhood is the birthright of every adult, male human being, whether we respect that man or not. Biblical manhood is rooted in a relationship with God. This relationship is effected through the atoning work of Christ, not through performing duties and rituals (Eph. 2:8). Biblical manhood is a male state of being, which manifests itself in good works as God gives ability and opportunity to a man. In the absence of ability and opportunity, however, a man can still be as God wants him to be. The elderly, unmarried, childless paralytic can thus glorify God just as much as the young married preacher of a megachurch, if not more so.

What can men do for society? What can men do for women? These are the wrong questions to ask. Men do not need to make an apology for their existence. They have worth as those who bear the image of God (Gen. 1:26). That others may have no use for men is immaterial. Men can find fulfillment through Christ (John 4:13-14; 10:10) without needing the affirmation of others (Luke 6:22-23).

Regulative Principle of Manhood

Some may be familiar with the concept of the Regulative Principle of Worship. It is an approach to biblical interpretation, embraced by some faith traditions and applied to the practices of corporate worship in a church setting. According to this principle, whatever is not specifically enjoined by the Scriptures through command, example, or necessary inference is rejected as an unauthorized addition to worship.

A similar approach can be taken to the issue of masculinity. The Regulative Principle of Manhood is rooted in the concept of sola scriptura. That is, the Word of God is the sole authority for determining the spiritual requirements of manhood (1 Pet. 4:11; 2 Tim. 3:16). Yet, even in this, the Word must be rightly divided (2 Tim. 2:15). Man is no more bound by incidental passages in the Bible relating to a culture of a pre-Christian age than he is to the particular elements of temple worship in the Old Testament. Acknowledging this truth provides a sound mooring for defining biblical manhood, even as many religious pundits go astray in this regard (whether it be pushing arbitrary courtship rules or other antiquated ideas about how men should behave, etc.).

Men must look to the New Covenant, as laid forth by Christ and his apostles, as the rule of faith (Hebrews 8:1-13). This rule of faith is the standard by which biblical manhood is defined, not religious leaders, not the latest volumes stocked in "family bookstores," not one's church, not custom, not tradition, not speculations about what is "natural," and not popular notions of what is right. Biblical manhood is simply manifested according to the following parameters:

1. The general commandments by God given to humanity (Eccl. 12:13).

2. Specific commands given to men in specific capacities regarding the church and the family (e.g., Col. 3:19; 1 Pet. 3:17; Eph. 6:4).

3. The rejection of all false metrics and false paradigms of masculinity as unacceptable distortions of biblical manhood (Mark 7:7; Prov. 30:5-6).

4. Charity and the willingness to extend liberty and tolerance to men in areas not addressed by the previous parameters (Romans 14).

Ultimately, the Regulative Principle of Manhood grants men considerable freedom in defining their masculinity. It also serves as a check against legalism and the social tyranny perpetuated against men by academics, popular culture, traditionalists, and the such like. One finds that in Christ, the dividing wall of hostility is broken down between the truck driver and the poet. In fact, the truck driver and the poet can be the same man.

The Principle of Societal Covenant (The "Nebuchadnezzar Principle")

The Bible tells of the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. The books of Jeremiah and Lamentations, in particular, portray this event as a divine judgment against the Jewish people. Because the Jews were not faithful to God, God removed his protection from them and allowed their kingdom to be conquered. In discussing biblical manhood, there is a principle to be carried away from this historical event.

Men have an unconditional obligation to love God and they have an unconditional obligation to love fellow human beings (Mark 8:29-31). They do not have an unconditional obligation to a visible institution, a set of customs, or a given culture. Visible institutions, customs, and cultures govern transactions between people. They ebb and flow with the tide of history, and their legitimacy is dependent upon their agreement with the Holy Writ. Whatever obligation they would impose upon men must be offset by some meaningful benefit to men.

The reason for this is as follows: God is one who interacts with humanity by means of covenant. Humanity's obedience to God is rewarded with blessings from God. Disobedience is rewarded with punishment (2 Cor. 5:10) (as was the case with the kingdom of Judah). Humanity is created in the image of God and interactions between people are governed by God's moral law (Matt. 7:12). Thus, the idea of covenant is central to the function of a healthy society. "Covenant breakers" are judged harshly by God's word (Rom. 1:31, ASV).

When society breaks its covenant with men, it condemns itself. Men do not have an obligation to promote a system of human interactions or an institution that is morally corrupt (Revelation 18:2-5). Men have the right to turn their backs on such. From the Reformation to the Montgomery Bus Boycott to the fall of Communism, this maxim has held true. The moment society declared that the "personal" was "the political" was the moment men could no longer trust in the stability of the most basic social institution of all--marriage. Since men have no scriptural obligation to personally embrace this institution, their personal rejection of marriage is their inalienable right (1 Cor. 7:32; 35-38). More generally, men do not have obligation to protect and support a culture that belittles and devalues them. They are, in this respect, justified in "going their own way." A culture that does not cherish men is accursed. Barrenness is the death sentence. Such a culture must repent of its stance towards men before it is too late.

Militancy (The Conclusion of the Matter)

Men who would enjoy the fruits of the aforementioned principles have the obligation to defend them. For too long, men have been too apathetic and too accommodating towards others. The laudable tendency of men to protect others, to be self-reliant, to refuse to complain, etc. has been turned against them by powerful interest groups. Some might declare that men should move beyond their anger in order to be more "spiritual." But godly anger in the face of injustice and sin is no vice (Mark 3:5; 2 Cor. 11:29; Eph. 4:26).

Men should not stand idly by. If they choose the route of being agreeable, then the most outrageous and despicable ideas about men will be mainstreamed--even in our faith communities. Men will truly suffer, then. Men need to speak out, if need be, in classrooms, in workplaces, in church buildings, against politicians, on the internet, on talk radio, to family and friends, whenever, wherever. Silence may be necessary in some venues in order to avoid undue attention and persecution, but silence borne out of apathy and indifference is never excusable. In short, men can embrace biblical manhood by first embracing the truth. The choice is theirs to make; one can only hope that they choose wisely.

Cited Sources:

Albert Mohler, "Masculinity without Manhood?," March 5, 2008. Available at www.albertmohler.com.

Peter Kreeft, "Human Personhood Begins at Conception," n.d. Available at www.peterkreeft.com.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lifeboat Feminism

Elusive Wapiti has a post on "lifeboat feminism" that's worth reading, and I'm sure some of you have already seen it. I've got my own two cents to add to this story. When a woman says she is "not a feminist," I suspect she means something along the lines of the following ...

* she shaves her armpits
* she likes to wear make-up and high heels
* she is not a lesbian
* she's not adverse to getting married and having sex with men
* she likes the idea of the man taking initiative in many ways
* she's not angry at men as a whole
* she might go to church
* she probably doesn't support various leftist causes
* (maybe ...) she doesn't like the welfare state
* she doesn't want a unisex society
* she opposes abortion

But that's largely where the rejection of feminism ends. In many other ways, I say most women in our society today embrace "lifeboat feminism" to some degree or another. I think a large percentage of men do, too (if not a majority of them). Lifeboat feminism is the predominant paradigm for gender relations, just as statism is the predominant political philosophy. Both the cultural left and the cultural right have their own particular permutations of lifeboat feminism, just as they do with respect to statism. Among the religious, I daresay lifeboat feminism represents the largest group of believers. The second largest group are the patriarchalists, a group that wants women home-schooled, married through courtship, confined to the house, and pregnant. Then there is the last group that just wants the hypocrisy to end, that is, a handful of pugnacious male bloggers that will go unnamed. Anyway, both lifeboat feminism and statism result in the same thing: innocent people getting the shaft.

Later, folks.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Does Marriage Make Men Happier and Healthier?

You've seen all the statistics on how married men are happier than single men. You might think that marriage is the cure for the single man's depression. And you would be wrong. As this linked article points out, marriage does not have much of an affect on the state of mind that you already had. So what are we to make of all those unhappy single men out there? I suspect a lot of those studies about unhappy single men demonstrate a self-selection bias. Single men tell themselves they can't have a life without a woman and therefore they believe their own tale. Q.E.D. What tale are you going to tell yourselves, gentlemen?

As for marriage making men healthier, I've covered that matter before. However, I found another piece on this matter that was worth a read. The last part of the article suffers from a bit of kneejerk leftism (the part about accepting the lifestyles of gay and lesbian friends), but other than that, it serves as a good sledgehammer against the stereotype that single men are creepy, porn-addicted losers with anti-social proclivities.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Condolences for MLV

Many of you know "MLV" (the blogger behind Many Luxury Vacations). I've always liked reading MLV's posts on how men get shafted by the church and religious women. Recently, he posted an announcement that he is in "the final stages of inoperable cancer." I left a note on his blog offering my condolences and I offer them here again. If you haven't done so already, you might want to drop by his blog and leave him a note.

Thanks folks.