Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Masculinity" Doesn't Equal "Biblical" (A Response)

My friend, Matt Boyd, recently wrote a post entitled, "Feminized Men, Man up" where he essentially says that the church is full of feminine men who need to "man up" and become "real"/"Biblical" men.

Let me make it clear that I respect Matt, and I actually contacted him before responding to his post to make sure he knew I am not attacking him or trying to disrespect him. Matt and I have actually become good friends through disagreeing with each other over the Internet, so this is kinda what we do.

Having said that, I very much disagree with Matt here for many reasons and this kind of stuff really gets to me.

Here are some excerpts from the post.

...rather our purpose was to get away (referring to a men's retreat) from the normal mundane day to day life and search the Scripture to discover how the Bible describes men and masculinity, which I believe that the church has stripped in many ways by creating a culture of feminized men.  We see this displayed in churches all over that are painted with pastel colors, have pictures of Jesus painted like a woman on the wall, and are full of nice feminine guys. No wonder so many men do not even want to walk inside many of our church buildings. 

To be clear, this is not how men and masculinity are portrayed in the Bible. Rather we see that there are key biblical truths about men and their calling that describe men as warriors who put on the full armor of God (Eph. 6:10-17, Rev. 19):

First of all, Who gets to define what a masculine man is? If it's what is described above (a warrior who slays people) then count me out. I guess I'm not masculine. For eI know nothing about cars nor do I care, there is a hole in my wall from 5 years ago because i don't know how to patch it up, i don't watch sports, and i have never hit anyone in my life, let alone been in a fight.

Yes, a lot of the men in the Bible were "warriors", but hopefully we have progressed as a species since the days of proving your man hood by how many people one slaughters. And Yes, both of the scriptures used above describe use imagery such as "Armor" and Jesus coming back to kick ass, however, both scriptures above are also obviously metaphorical. The "armor of God" is contrasting real armor (Paul is writing to a militant city) with spiritual armor (because remember we don't fight with the weapons of this world), and the text from revelation, well it is a text from revelation, the sword Jesus uses to slay people came from his mouth for goodness sakes (probable a double edged sword), and the blood on his robe is his own, not his victims (you know from when Jesus turned himself in to the roman army to be killed rather than resorted to fighting and using violence?).

I believe when there is talk like this and lines drawn in the sand discerning who is masculine enough to follow Jesus and who isn't... A lot of people are left out and ostracized. I know plenty of men who wouldn't be standing in line to watch Mark Driscoll's next cage match, but who boldly follow Jesus. And I know plenty of guys who would get the crap beat out of them if they ever got into a fight, i believe one of them was Jesus.

I have too many Friends who would not fit into the masculine/biblical man category that is so often described by people like Mark Driscoll (watch video here where Driscoll describes what i real man is)and the Neo Reformed movement, and these men still love Jesus and are strong leaders in their communities and churches... no matter what color they decide to paint the church walls.

So, to answer a question first posed by Mark Driscoll himself when he said, "I could never worship a God I can beat up."

Well, I already do.


Yendra said...

Richard Rohr would say that it is due to our failure to intiate boys into men. That is, in essence, having experiences that are bigger than them and their own conscienceless; an encounter with the Spirit. Nothing to do with the color of the walls of churches.

Mr. Hop said...