November 23, 2014

“Esau” Christianity? Douglas Wilson Needs a Bible Study

Douglas Wilson has declared war on wuss worship.

Last July, Mark Driscoll, another purveyor of  what I will call from now on “Esau Christianity,” tweeted this offensive message: “So, what story do you have about the most effeminate anatomically male worship leader you’ve ever personally witnessed?” prompting Rachel Held Evans to call him out as a bully. She had her readers initiate a letter campaign to Mars Hill so that people could voice their objections to his tasteless and insulting remarks.

Douglas Wilson must have read Driscoll’s tweet and decided to collect examples over the past ten months, because now he has come out with a post of his own, listing eleven reasons your church worship service might be effeminate.

This is one of the more misguided and mean-spirited pieces I’ve read in awhile. This whole idea of “masculine Christianity” that some among the neo-Reformed and others are promoting these days is so off-base I can’t believe anyone falls for it. Most of our concepts of “masculinity” and “femininity” are time-bound social and cultural constructs and have nothing to do with being “biblical” (there is that terribly misused word again) or representing a vital and rigorous faith.

Its purveyors may be as clueless as Esau was.

Wilson objects, for example, to the church staff member who is “wearing a clerical collar and a powder pink shirt,” and the minister who wears “a robe, but the effect is not that of being robed for battle.” This, of course, is manifestly silly. I’ve never seen any minister wear a robe for the effect of being “robed for battle” — even the most severe Calvinist looks like a professor at a graduation ceremony to me. But one of the whole points of a robe is to hide the personality of the wearer, not accentuate masculinity or any other trait.

In addition, one of the liturgical traditions Wilson is poking fun at here, the Anglican Church, wears apparel that bespeaks traditions of royal protocol — kings and courts and castles and such. The Anglican liturgy itself is a study in British courtly manners. Likewise in that culture, British attorneys and judges wear powdered wigs and ruffled shirts (as, by the way, did our own Founding Fathers) out of the same traditions. Royal decorum may seem overly fancy to the Esaus of the world, but it is certainly not effeminate. It testifies to authority and regality as well as the pageantry, color, and festivity that is worthy of honoring a King.

Wilson is also critical of what he perceives to be wimpy worship music and bemoans the lack of militant music, songs that contain “references to judgment, wrath, battles, enemies, Hell, the devil, or apostasy.” He condemns musicians who are “more concerned that the choir trills their r’s correctly than that they fill the sanctuary with loud sounds of battle,” and berates worship teams who present “‘Jesus is my girlfriend’ songs, and their facial expressions while up front are those of guys in the backseats of their cars, having just gotten to second base with their actual girlfriends.” Once again, he completely misses the point.

The problem with today’s worship music has nothing to do with it being effeminate. In fact, there are plenty of contemporary songs, especially growing out of pentecostal, charismatic, and third-wave groups, that use divine warfare and battle imagery. And, on the other hand, if Wilson really knew the music of Bach (which he commends in this list), he would realize that many of the texts Bach set to music for his cantatas reflect a mystical piety that is filled with extremely intimate expressions of feeling, bordering on the erotic and “feminine.”

No, the problem is not that today’s worship music is effeminate. Much of it is shallow and sentimental, that I will grant. Many songs are marked by horrid poetry, for sure. A great deal of it is virtually unsingable and musically vacuous, yes. I too miss singing robust, content-rich hymns, but not because they reflect a “masculine” element that is missing in today’s church. Rather, it is because they express profound thoughtfulness about the meaning of the Biblical story, rich musical textures and excellent poetry that engage my mind and inspire me to think better and feel more deeply about Christ and what he has done in inaugurating God’s Kingdom through his saving work. Masculinity? No. Depth. Yes.

I also have no idea what Douglas Wilson is talking about when he includes the following in his list of “effeminate” worship: “The sermons rarely deal with sin or, if they do, they deal with sins found outside the sanctuary…” and “The church does not practice church discipline, and not because everybody in the church is behaving. They won’t practice it because the elders are misbehaving.” What does this have to do with effeminacy in worship? Dealing with sin and practicing discipline are “masculine” characteristics? Don’t tell my mom, or the nuns I know.

What is clear is that Wilson exudes a deep distrust and contempt for women in this post.  What he says sounds nothing like the way Jesus or Paul related to their sisters and partners in the Gospel. For instance, he throws out the old canard about women conspiring to form a “shadow government” behind the scenes in order to function as illicit leaders in the congregation. Believe me, after serving as a pastor for more than 25 years, I’ve had as much trouble with masculine guys as with scheming women. But Wilson would have us believe that, if only the church’s male members would “man up” and take control over the vexatious vixens among us, we would see the church functioning as it should. You might want to ask the leadership at Mars Hill or Sovereign Grace Ministries how that’s working. Better yet, ask the women in those groups.

Furthermore, he suggests that restoring “masculinity” to worship will reach men and by doing so, we will “reach the women.” Indeed, by making worship more masculine we will “include them, bring them along, and make them feel safe.” In other words, women are not worthy of our direct attention. They are followers and meant to be followers. They must be attached to a man and “brought along” by men in the church. They are vulnerable and must be made to “feel safe” because they cannot (should not) stand on their own as full and free citizens in the Kingdom of heaven. Every Eve needs an Esau to protect her.

I’m thinking that what Douglas Wilson needs is a Bible study.

And won’t he be hacked off to discover that when God wanted to found a nation, he chose Jacob, the effeminate, namby-pamby mama’s boy over Esau, his manly, rugged, outdoorsy brother? It goes against everything he apparently believes about the masculine flavor of the faith.

Think of it, at the time God had two possible choices for who would become “Israel,” the founder of his First Testament people: Esau, or Jacob. “When the boys grew up, Esau was a skilful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents. Isaac loved Esau, because he was fond of game; but Rebekah loved Jacob” (Gen. 25:27-28). In Wilson’s categories, Esau was “masculine,” Jacob “effeminate.”

  • Jacob stayed inside and cooked, while Esau went out to the field and hunted.
  • Jacob was a mama’s boy who participated in his mother’s schemes, while Esau was doing manly things on behalf of his father.
  • Jacob had to be protected from Esau by his mother and he ran away from home in fear when his older brother got mad at him.
  • Jacob went to his uncle’s house and worked for him. He was so weak and clueless that his uncle Laban took constant advantage of him and made him into his virtual slave for years.
  • Jacob was so much of a wimp that he didn’t even recognize Laban had switched women on him on his wedding night!
  • Jacob was hen-pecked by his wives Rachel and Leah and did whatever they said when they wanted children.
  • Jacob tricked his uncle to get back at him and then had to run away in fear again. Laban chased him and would have whupped up on him, but God warned him against that.
  • When Jacob returned to the land, he was shaking in his boots in fear that Esau was going to get his revenge and kill him.

    Joseph's Coat brought to Jacob, Ferrari

  • Jacob became “Israel” when he lost a wrestling match with a stranger. Clinging and crippled, he prevailed!
  • Jacob was a weak father. He showed favoritism to one of his sons, Joseph, made him his own special robe (that really sounds effeminate, doesn’t it?), and protected him at home while his brothers were out doing the men’s work of tending flocks.
  • Jacob’s own sons knew their father was weak, and so they tricked him into thinking Joseph had been killed, driving Jacob into grief and depression.
  • In place of Joseph, Jacob then became overly protective of his youngest son, Benjamin, clinging to the boy lest he lose him too.
  • At the end of his life, Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons, crossing his hands and pronouncing the blessing on the younger son, to signify that God does not favor the firstborn or the strong, but chooses the unlikely.

Jacob the wimp, the mama’s boy, the effeminate one, the scaredy-cat, weak and insecure and ineffective — that’s who God chose to become Israel, the father of his old covenant people. Esau, the man’s man, the outdoorsman, the man of strength and muscle, the warrior who was unafraid of hard work or a fight didn’t make the cut. The very name of God’s chosen community is bound up with the story of an effeminate weakling!

In fact, when I think about it, I can’t think of too many men who are held up before us as “masculine” heroes in the First Testament. Abraham fought when his idiot nephew Lot needed to be rescued, but he was man of peace who had woman and family problems, including being willing to give up his own wife to another man twice rather than protect her. Caleb and Joshua led the conquest of Canaan, but it’s hard for me to think God was glorifying their manliness or military skills when the whole point of the Book of Joshua is that the Lord fought for them and they only did the clean up. The Book of Judges, of course, is filled with adventure stories of “sheriffs” who ruled Israel in their “Wild West” days. But the big message of the book is that every single one of them was deeply flawed and therefore unqualified to lead all Israel. I’d hate to think those promoting “masculine Christianity” would look to the days of Judges as exemplary! Of those who lived back then, who would you want as a male role model, Samson who was known for his strength or Boaz who was known for his hesed (kindness and love)?

Probably the one character who might be held up as a “masculine” model is David. However, the Samuel narratives (especially in light of the Psalms) encourage us to think of him on balance more as the suffering king than the conquering king. And even David’s conquering — his participation in “judgment, wrath, battles, enemies;” his conflicts with “Hell, the devil, [and] apostasy,” to use Wilson’s terms, disqualified him from building the Lord’s Temple in Jerusalem. God said that was to be done by a man of peace, not a warrior.

Let’s turn to the New Testament and discuss the Founder of the Church, the new covenant community whose worship Wilson writes about. You know Who I’m talking about:

  • The One who was also a “Mama’s boy.” Scripture tells us he had an honorable, strong earthly father, but it gives little indication that Joseph was in Jesus’ life after age twelve.
  • The One who never married or raised a family, countering the overwhelming expectations about masculinity in his culture and religion.
  • The One who found his identity in being “meek and humble of heart.”
  • The One who would “not break a bruised reed or quench a smouldering wick” to win the victory.
  • The One who shattered all the expectations of his culture regarding women by speaking to them, including them among his followers, deeming them learners and disciples on an equal level with men, and treating them as individuals not merely as appendages attached to males. Indeed, he let women provide for him during his ministry.
  • The One who taught his followers not to fight or even resist their enemies, but instead to turn the other cheek and go the extra mile, to return love for enmity, prayer for unjust treatment.
  • The One who said leadership in God’s Kingdom does not mirror the “masculine,” militant character of leadership in the world, where power over others is the operative method.
  • The One who wept over those who rejected him and likened himself to a mother hen lamenting that she could not gather her chicks under her wings.
  • The One who himself did not resist his opponents, but “When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly…”
  • The One who served to save us, who died to deliver us, who laid down his life as our model of leadership.

Proponents of “masculine” Christianity like to counter these points by evoking images of Jesus’ Second Coming in Revelation and elsewhere. Jesus may have shown humility and forbearance in his earthly ministry, they say, but he will come again with a sword to wreak wrath and vengeance on his enemies as a great Warrior King.

These are powerful images, and there is a place for them in our Christian imagination and worship. However, it seems to me that Wilson and those like him miss the whole issue of genre when it comes to reading these texts. Much of this holy war and spiritual conflict imagery appears in apocalyptic literature, which uses mythological and symbolic representations that are highly dramatized and sensationalistic. Or, it may show up in Psalms or prophetic oracles that use heightened poetic language for dramatic effect.

When we read these texts, we are being called to participate imaginatively in fantastic, mind-blowing visions of transformative events that have not yet come to pass and which no one can begin to comprehend. But when we study the stories of Jacob or Jesus, we are reading historical narratives and can be sure the authors intend us to learn at ground level from the characters that inhabit them. If we take these stories seriously, we find no indication that God has some “masculine” standard for men or “feminine” standard for women. The Story of the Bible is not about that! Whatever clues we get about the historical periods and cultures behind these narratives, Scripture never prescribes their ancient expectations for “masculinity” or “femininity” as norms for our lives. In fact, as I’ve attempted to show in my brief overview from the lives of a few prominent characters, the Bible often highlights those who shattered the cultural expectations of identity and behavior in their own places and times.

So, I’m sorry Douglas Wilson, but “Esau Christianity” simply will not fly.

There is room for all types of men and women in the Body of Christ, its worship and its mission. No standard of “masculinity” or “femininity” needs to be upheld or promoted.

Each person may have his or her own preferences and likes and dislikes, of course, and that’s where we should learn to appreciate our differences on these manifestly non-essential matters, and not act like bullies or snobs toward one another.

 

Comments

  1. http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3120&t=KJV

    The question so unfortunately addressed as effeminate versus Esau, is a valid question. Bullying aside, we have to deal with the scriptures. Romans 1:26 and 27 has me leaning in favor of Driscoll inspite of any pride and /or foolishness in his approach to the matter. here is J.B. Phillips translation:

    Romans 1
    The fearful consequence of deliberate atheism
    25-27 These men deliberately forfeited the truth of God and accepted a lie, paying homage and giving service to the creature instead of to the Creator, who alone is worthy to be worshipped for ever and ever, amen. God therefore handed them over to disgraceful passions. Their women exchanged the normal practices of sexual intercourse for something which is abnormal and unnatural. Similarly the men, turning from natural intercourse with women, were swept into lustful passions for one another. Men with men performed these shameful horrors, receiving, of course, in their own personalities the consequences of sexual perversity.

    • Seriously, what does this passage have to do with anything being discussed here today? Masculinity and homosexuality aren’t exactly opposites of each other. Actually, it’s not unheard of for some “manly” men who turn out to be closeted homosexuals.

      • “There is room for all types of men and women in the Body of Christ, its worship and its mission. No standard of “masculinity” or “femininity” needs to be upheld or promoted.”

        This is the conclusion of the article being discussed.

        My point is this: One of the consequences of homosexuality is that men take on perverse feminine affects and women perverse masculine affects. To say that there is no standard of “masculinity” or “femininity” to be promoted or upheld seems so fair and reasonable. But there is a standard of sexual morality and behavior that we must promote and uphold.

        1 Corinthians 6
        9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
        10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

        Clearly the sexually immoral are condemned and excluded from eternal life. The fact that a masculine man may be a homosexual or that a man with a strong feminine affect is straight says nothing about the standards we are to promote as moral believers in God.

        • “My point is this: One of the consequences of homosexuality is that men take on perverse feminine affects and women perverse masculine affects.”

          “The fact that a masculine man may be a homosexual or that a man with a strong feminine affect is straight says nothing about the standards we are to promote as moral believers in God.”

          You’ve contradicted yourself in the space of one post. You’ve also shown that you see this discussion as nothing more than an excuse to trot out your favorite hobby-horse. Cool.

          • Dear dd, I am very sure that you are wrong about me contradicting myself, but I would like to hear you more than say I do. Will you explain how these statements are contradictory? And may I say that I post in hopes that the truth I believe might be persuasive to someone that they abandon all lies and the deceptions so widely held in this world. I don’t need an excuse to post. What motive have you to post your words? Is it your hobby to dethrone the truth?

        • David, what exactly are the “masculine” and “feminine” standards we are to “promote as moral believers in God”?

        • Just strikes me as ironic… this used to be Ted Haggard’s meme

        • I don’t know man. Have you seen gay bears? Those guys eptimomize manliness.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Maniless or Hypermanliness?

            (And then there’s the leather boyz epitomizing Driscoll-type “I Can Hurt You!” manliness…)

        • David:

          First, it is the “unrighteous” who shall not inherit the kingdom of God, but not because they practice unrighteousness. As with all sinners, it is because they have not been made righteous a la Christ’s saving grace. The sins do not make them unrighteous—their unrighteousness makes them sin. This is why Paul identifies them as various brands of sinners, rather than people who commit sins—these are their identities, not merely their practices. And it’s a good thing, too—else which of us could claim to have never been guilty of theft, greed, verbal abuse, or swindling? No, these are people who would identify themselves as such, having no interest or experience in the righteousness that can only be had by right relationship with God. Our only distinction from the rest of the sinners is literally, there but for the grace of God go we.

          Second, these verses are in the context of the 8 preceding verses, which are all about how shameful it is that Christians should get into legal disputes with each other. Rather, Paul says it is far better to simply accept being wronged and cheated (6:7) rather than shame the name of Christ before a watching world. The point of vv. 8-11 then is that Paul is assuring us not to worry—God will make right all wrongs. Those who practice according to their sinful, fallen nature (unregenerate as they must be) cannot be part of God’s kingdom . . . a far worse outcome than any judicial remedy could hope to accomplish.

          Your translation misrepresents as “effeminate” the original Greek, of which we do not have full and complete understanding in this particular case, as we are so removed from the cultural context. It is a reference to a particular scenario in their history, invoking “catamites” who were “in a passive same-sex relationship” (BDAG 613). Certainly Paul and his audience would have understood this allusion, but we undoubtedly don’t get it fully today. It’s far too simplistic to even summarily make this about simple homosexuality, let alone somehow having to do with men who have personality traits that differ from fleshly and worldly standards of normality.

          Again, this is proof-texting—taking God’s inspired Word and twisting it’s meaning to fit cultural (worldly) and biological (fleshly) assumptions.

          And what kind of theology could have the God of grace assigning people to hell because of personality traits. (Unless a misguided arch-Calvinist wants to argue God make them so, in order to predestine them to hell . . . to which Calvin himself would rightly object, once he could finally pause from spinning in his grave.)

          Nothing that you want to call “straight” or normal in terms of gender “affectation” has anything to do with God’s morality, and it certainly is not prescribed in the Bible, nor is it particularly or absolutely prescribed for Christ’s kingdom.

          And we shouldn’t be trying to make it out to be otherwise.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Masculinity and homosexuality aren’t exactly opposites of each other. Actually, it’s not unheard of for some “manly” men who turn out to be closeted homosexuals.

        I can make a case that a hypermasculine male-supremacist culture actually is predisposed towards MALE homoerotica. If women are nothing more than two-legged livestock, how else could a man have sex with another PERSON? As one pre-Christian source put it, “Women for breeding stock, Men for love, Boys for pleasure.”

        (When I posted that on one of the threads at Wartburg Watch, I got a response about American servicemen observing widespread homosexuality and pedophilia in Afghanistan/Talibanistan. And you can’t get more hypermasculine than the Talibani.)

    • David:

      I don’t believe your application of Romans 1 is at all relevant to Mike’s excellent argument.

      First, per Romans 1: this is a classic example of proof-texting–with a presupposed agenda, we trot out a few obscure passages, out of context, and presumed to force-fit them to argue for broad-sweeping and irrelevant doctrines. Whatever else its anachronistically vague language (for us moderns) may be referencing, certainly this passage has nothing whatsoever to do with gender roles. The only way one might argue as much is if one held the myopic and fleshly (sinful) perspective that culture’s gender roles are all about sex.

      Any given culture’s supposed gender roles are defined far more by that culture (i.e., what the Bible so affectionately refers to as “the ways of this World”) than biology (i.e., what the Bible just as affectionately refers to as “the flesh”); and they certainly have no bearing on what the Bible characterizes as righteousness and truth. Seriously, how could it possibly be in the least reasonable to argue what is deemed “normal” by a fallen culture’s or fallen biology’s standards as having anything to do with righteousness?

      You want to insist that “one of the consequences of homosexuality is that men take on perverse feminine affects and women perverse masculine affects,” but that of course is not at all what the passage describes. The “shameful horrors” into which these were swept, Paul vaguely describes as “something” or other that constituted “lustful passions” . . . not your affectations. You apparently want to make it out that the “consequences of sexual perversity” upon “their own personalities” had something to do with gender roles. But that is not even remotely implied, let alone described. And regardless, the consequences to their personalities (whatever they may be) is not the subject that Paul is describing as shameful.

      If Paul intended gender roles to be indicated, he would have been as specific as he was about the real list of shame, following this passing illustration, in verses 29-32. (I’m always struck by how fond we can be of ignoring the much more explicit and much more disturbingly applicable list of unrighteousness warranting death [per v. 32] . . . gossiping included).

      Romans 1 has nothing relevant to say about gender roles and the heresy of God’s supposed masculinity standards (the God who, by the way, is not a man, is not biological, and therefore is not even masculine; angels aren’t either, by the way, per Jesus).

  2. Maybe Driscoll, Wilson, et al, should reinstitute dunking, but not limit it to women. That’s the way to ferret out those feminine creatures (of any gender) and be done with them.

  3. Isn’t this history (and human nature) repeating itself?
    The men wanted control of the church and, POOF!, Mary Magdelene became a whore, the office of deaconess is totally ignored, women holding church services (Lydia), all were quietly swept behind the propaganda.

    The “Masculine Church” sounds like “The Aggressive Christianity Missions Training Corps”, a known cult.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      The ACMTC? They’re still around? I first heard of them some 15-20 years ago — in the pages of KOOKS Magazine and at the old Kooks Museum website.

  4. I think a case could be made that both sides are based upon emotionalism and a man-centered gospel.

  5. So very well said, thank you!

  6. Leaving aside cultural distinctives, there ought to be a difference between men and women expressed by each that reflects the differences innate in their anatomies and personalities, differences that God has made in them which reflect His image and likeness. Anything that leads toward what moderns have called “unisex” cannot be of God, for He made two sexes, not one. The presence of homosexual activism in this world does not mean that beleivers must permit every distortion of form to have a place in their home, or their church. One part of this discussion will have to be the influence of demons in perverting what is normal sexual behavior.

    But more important in many instances is the question of faith. Do we believe in the inspiration of scripture and the infallibility of scripture? The scriptures have been with us for many centuries and unchanged for all that time. Do we now dare to change them? or to redact them? Do we dare remove and deny the virgin birth and the deity of Jesus, His resurrection and second coming? Many have done this. If you are one who does, I will not at all be able to think you competent in anway to comment on anything God has made such as man and woman.

    Hebrews 11:6
    But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

    • The “Old Creation” paid attention to “male and female.” In the New Creation, there is not “male and female” but all are one in Christ. From now on we no longer recognize anyone according to the flesh. If indeed we have known Christ according to the flesh, now we no longer know Christ that way. So, then, if anyone is in Christ, it’s a New Creation.

      That is why the old patriarchal hierarchicalism that so many want to retain in the church is at odds with the New Covenant and the New Human, who is Christ and Christ’s Body. The Holy Spirit has been poured out on all flesh, male and female, without distinction. The giftings and empowerings of the Spirit are not gender-restricted or gender-determined.

    • I occasionally use my wife’s conditioner in the shower… Is that an abomination?

    • Are you sure your Bible hasn’t changed or redacted Galatians 3:28?

    • So right, important to remember that man was created in the image and glory of God. Woman is the glory of man – but not his image. Eve was last in creation, first in transgression. This hasn’t changed from the beginning either. So the daughters of Eve are easily led astray by deception, and consequently, they must be controlled for fear it will lead to false faith. Tu es diaboli ianua wrote Tertullian – you are the gateway for the Devil

      • This vexatious vixen says ‘amen’ to your post Ichabod. ‘The Devil’s gateway’ is such a poetic way of putting it.:)

        This whole ‘feminised’ thing is built on the idea that women approve of all the things listed: Jesus is my boyfriend music; over emotionalism; touchy feeliness; lopsided preaching, and so on. Many women think the church is insipid, mediocre and wonder just who that culture actually appeals to. I don’t really care if it’s labelled masculine or feminine, how about we just go for good music, good preaching, a balanced mature way of doing things…and so on.

        This discussion makes me tired. Let’s just be us, the redeemed, in all our human variety.

        • +1

          To blame this evangelical garbage on women is insulting. Blame it on the vast evangelical complex which follows like lemmings every word of the marketing think tanks. It’s like fast food: is there really a market demand for this stuff, or do people consume it because there are no real alternatives available? Even if people really want insipid spirituality, church leaders should resist the temptation and serve the meat of God’s word as commanded. Judgement still begins with the house of God, right? Man, we sure aren’t acting like judgement is coming. Someone is going to have to stand in account for turning the gospel into spiritual “red slime”.

      • Who was created first depends on which part of Genesis you are reading….doesn’t take long for the bible to start contradicting itself. (Which is why sola scriptura doesn’t work…)

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          “The Bible has all these contradictions so if somebody goes off on a tangent with one of them, you can throw the opposing one in front of him to trip him up before he can do too much damage.”
          — My old Dungeonmaster on the subject, many-many years ago

    • Christopher says:

      What do you mean by “unchanged”? Have you read the original Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek? Forget that, even just compare the English translations you’re probably familiar with, even something extremely simple such as KJ versus NIV. They are obviously different, and thus, simply, the Bible has changed over all those years. No two ways about it.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Maybe he means unchanged since God dictated it word-for-word from Heaven in Kynge Jaymes Englyshe?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      The presence of homosexual activism in this world does not mean that beleivers must permit every distortion of form to have a place in their home, or their church.

      Funny… the closest thing I’ve seen to a textbook Homosexual Activist (TM) approached his Homosexuality with all the Righteousness of the Truly Reformed and his Activism with all the zeal of a Calvary Chapelite witnessing with a bullhorn. He either converted from straight to hyper-gay or uncloseted with what was in all but name a Damascus Road Conversion Experience; I referred to it as “He accepted homosexuality as his personal Lord and Savior and has been Witnessing ever since.” That is the only way you can describe it. It’s like homosexuality punched the same buttons and triggered the same Faith and Witnessing behavior as an Altar Call Conversion in an extreme Evangelical environment. No exaggeration to say that for him, homosexuality became a Fundamentalist religion. Bad Craziness.

  7. What a great post! Thank you! I even shared it on my blog.

  8. wow incredible stuff! We need to focus on the false doctrine in the church regarding the preaching of powerless gospels, pride-filled leadership, and unbiblical and constricting aristocratics within the church

  9. Thanks for a thoughtful response to a thoughtless (and manner-less) piece.

    Wilson is entitled to his opinions, but has lost what little of my respect he had previously held through the snark and complete lack of Christlike humility in this piece. He does need a bible study.

    What’s more, I think that he needs to spend some time in confession, seeking the forgiveness and restoration of his brothers and sisters at the table of Jesus.

  10. Markus Watson says:

    Great post! Really well thought out and well-stated!

  11. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    I find it interesting that when Lauren Faust rebooted My Little Pony into its current form, she used six main characters who are six vastly different archetypes of the feminine, from a take-charge plain-speaking farmgirl to a cultured and glamorous city-girl artist, from a brash competitive tomboy to a shy and timid nurturer; from a scholar to a goofy free spirit.

    And yet Driscoll and Wilson, allegedly speaking for God Almighty, can present only one archetype of the masculine: “I CAN BEAT YOU UP!”

    Either Lauren Faust is more creative than God Almighty or Driscoll/Wilson/et al are getting their signals seriously crossed.

    • I CAN BEAT YOU UP – That’s some funny stuff.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Not that funny if you’re on the receiving end.

        Think about it: “I Can Beat You Up!” is a Threat Display, a strong animal forcing Submission on another, weaker animal. Animal Forced Dominance Display. ANIMAL.

    • HUG-

      Well, Lauren Faust *IS* an alicorn, so….. ;)

      But you are correct- if there are many sides to femininity, why can it not be the same for masculinity?

      • Very true! I want to see something which explores more sides of male identity than just “Bargh. I eat meat!”

        For a period of time I was thinking about minoring in Gender Studies, specifically in Male Gender Studies. That’s actually a growing field and there’s some pretty interesting stuff thats starting to get cooked up. Perhaps in 10 years we’ll have some young animator or movie maker doing the same.

  12. “One of the ministerial staff has taken to wearing a clerical collar and a powder pink shirt, and no one on the session has the courage to tell him that he looks like a thirteen-year-old boy with rosy cheeks, as painted by Norman Rockwell”

    Well, precisely! Pink is only the liturgical colour for Laetare Sunday (in Lent) and Gaudete Sunday (in Advent) and it should be rose, properly speaking (that is, shading towards a purplish hue rather than the bright pink of an indigestion remedy – then again, are you going to tell the Pope he’s too soft on doctrine?)

    Okay, the best sense I can make out of the point that ‘effeminate’ churches don’t preach on sin and don’t condemn sin because the elders are all doing it is the notion that women prefer consensus and getting along and not making a fuss, whereas men can handle conflict. Therefore, the avoidance of discussing sin is “feminine” (and when indulged in by men is effeminate) and a really “masculine” church wouldn’t be bothered about hurting anyone’s feelings by calling them out on their wrong-doing.

    Mm-hm. Trouble is, there’s a fine line between challenging the status quo and being a jerk.

    • Men do just tend to compartmentalize far better than women. I doubt egalitarians would dispute that. This ability comes with both advantages and drawbacks. Unfortunately, sensitivity is not one of the advantages, as Wilson so aptly demonstrates.

      • Miguel – oh but I would dispute that!
        SOME men and SOME women compartmentalize better than other men and other women. This is not a trait peculiar simply to one gender.

        • I think he’s talking on a statistical basis. The thing about statistics is that it’s dealing with broad demographics while we should be dealing with individuals. I think we can gain some insight from stats but we should be very wary of how we apply it to people. God sees all people as individuals who he created, not merely as data on a sheet.

        • What you are saying IS true, but what I was saying was NOT that women are completely unable to compartmentalize, merely that men tend to be stronger at it more often. It’s only a tendency, and not a rule, as confirmed to me by the vast majority of women I know. Not that I haven’t met women that could outdo me in this regard. I’ve also met some highly nurturing men, but generally we are a bit more brutish and insensitive than women. Generally speaking only, with plenty of room for exceptions, and no room at all for building a theology around it.

          • Thank you for clarifying that. From my own observations – I’m a daughter, a wife, a mother and I have lots of male friends – all the men in my life are generally incapable of compartmentalizing work off from the rest of their lives with a few rare exceptions. I also see women who try hard not to allow this aspect to dominate their family lives so make more of an attempt to keep these parts of their lives separate. This is one reason I am remain unconvinced that is a particular gender trait to compartmentalize. It could be that men and women tend to compartmentalize different things as a rule but I haven’t seen any studies that examine that aspect. The trouble with statistics it’s not always clear how they are being measured.
            I agree that you can’t build a theology around it – as people like Wilson are trying to do.

  13. Just to float an idea:

    I messaged my husband to ask, “Do you think men–or you in particular–perceive churches as too feminine? Is it a reason men don’t go to church?”

    His response:

    “The problem is that men are lazy. You work all week and then you just want the weekend to yourself.”

    Thoughts? If his thesis has merit, I suppose one might ask why women don’t also all stay home on Sunday. Perhaps church plays a larger social role for more women? Women are more likely to network at church, whereas for men its more likely to function as an interruption?

    • Is your husband a chronic non-attender?

      • Danielle says:

        No, we are at church together almost every week. But he generally has a harder time liking church than me. On any given Sunday, he’s more likely to go because he ought to go, than because he’s enthusiastic about it.

        I’m always curious what the difference in intensity between us comes from. It could be gender, as some assert. It is simply the case that almost universally, people assume that religion, along with children and family life, are more the woman’s responsibility than the man’s. (My husband does not hold that view, but I suppose it could be in the air, so to speak.) Or it could be the fact that I am a teenage/adult convert, so for me church always been a choice, and a definitional one. My husband grew up in a very religious family and always felt pressured to be at church multiple times per week. He also experienced all the crazy stuff early and learned to put up some barriers.

        Or maybe its something else. Neither of us is certain.

        • And of course, that something else may also be the interruption… We’re both pretty low key, but he is more likely to want to keep weekends unstructured.

        • Half the time I go is simply because I’ll feel guilty if I don’t and particularly now I have children. Before children neither my husband and I were that regular at church. I used to skip across the road without waiting for the green light as well before children – now I patiently wait for the go ahead – it’s all about setting a good example!

      • If it was me, my reasons would be identical to your husband. I’m tired, leave me be.
        I have no dog in this fight, but do wonder why men often switch off.

    • Lukas db says:

      Hm. He has an interesting thought, you have a decent counterargument. I don’t think we need to interpret his thesis as proposing that men work harder than women, as you’ve already intuited. The question this brings to my mind is: Is church a rejuevenative experience for women in a way it isn’t for men (in general)? Or is it more that church is more of an obstacle to relaxation for men?

      It doesn’t seem ridiculous to me to think so. Whether it be culture, genes, whatever, a lot of men react to stress by wanting to be left alone, while a lot of women react by wanting to socialize. Socializing is something men do when they’re happy, not when they’re sad or tired.

      Or maybe that’s just midwestern culture, I’m not sure.

    • Danielle, speaking of Norman Rockwell in this post, I think he agreed with your husband:
      “The problem is that men are lazy. You work all week and then you just want the weekend to yourself.”

      http://spinoza1111.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/norman-rockwell-sunday-morning.jpg

    • ““The problem is that men are lazy. You work all week and then you just want the weekend to yourself.”

      Why is that lazy? Especially if you attend a church that you really don’t like. I know a lot of people who would call themselves lazy rather than admit that they think church sucks. i spent many years not attending church because I found the beach or sex with my wife a far more profitable endeavor than going to some church that I hate.

      • Based on our chat yesterday, I think my husband might playfully contend that it’s part actual laziness, and that the cause of skipping college English class at 8am and skipping church are roughly the same. Yes, the English professor will get a couple more kids out of bed by developing more charisma: but lots of people are still going to sleep in, for reasons having noting do with the a pedantic lecturer. The professor and the university can only do so much to create motivation; it’s widespread presence or absence is there (or missing) for more systemic reasons.

        He would agree with you, though, that he certainly gets more out of some services than others & that this effects motivation. No doubt some of his reserve stems from the fact that evangelicalism never quite “worked” for him, for a variety of reasons. (For example, He’s never liked the contemporary worship music his parents, who came of age in the 1960s, thrive upon.) But, significantly, all of evangelicalism’s attempts to attract men don’t really appeal to him either. He certainly doesn’t identify with Driscoll’s brand of masculinity. And I think the worst thing I could ever do to him would be to give him a birthday gift of tickets to a men’s retreat.

        He might like to go to a science fiction convention, but can you imagine how terrible that would be after someone got done trying to make it “Christian”? (Well, it might work out if HUG organized it and we gave poor directions to all the reps from Zondervan.)

        • We tend to dance around and hold up all the exceptions instead of the rule – seek out the individual instead of the group think… so I am going to say it… church is a learned behavior for men. We would rather be sleeping/fixing something/building something/watching footbal/making love to our wives than be at church. Now I actually really enjoy church and liturgy – but it wasn’t a natural thing where I had this desire from the beginning. It started as an obligation. And guess what… that’s OK!

          By the way folks, men are different than women no matter how much you try to make them the same… and thank God for that….

    • Laziness might be an incomplete picture. If there is any laziness, it’s over the decidedly greater effort males tend to need to marshal to relate and coimmunicate. With the caveat that this is a vague generalization, what is second nature to women (to excess, as far as many men are concerned) is a good deal harder work for men. The problem then is that many want to stereotype relationship and communication as being particularly feminine, when in fact those attributes are what make us persons, rather than mere stimulus-response animals.

      Problem is, faith is all about relationship and (necessarily) communication. So faith and religion get lumped in with the stereotypes of communication and relationship, and the church (all too) naturally is perceived as feminine.

      What makes a man arguably lazy about faith is the same thing that can make him lazy about a communicative relationship with his wife. We’re kind of disabled this way–it tends to be much more work for most of us to listen well and to share our thoughts, particularly in a relevant dialogue. It also takes a great deal more work for us to retain in memory words received by way of auditory. I believe there is good evidence to show that there’s much about this “disability” that is hard-wired into our brains.

      So we experience women expressing, listening, sharing, and relating with such facility, and our logical inclination is to think that the facility is feminine since women tend to do it so well . . . and so MUCH.

      So the laziness is kind of an unfair comparison. It’s like comparing a sprinter to a long-distance runner: what comes naturally for many women takes a lot more work for men, especially when the men haven’t trained or practiced much in the art . . . and especially when they don’t see the value of doing so. (Why does the long-distance runner want to win a sprint, after all?)

      The problem is . . . spirituality is (bottom line) all about relationship, and relationship requires communication. So when you resign relationship and its requisite practice of dialogue to a feminine thing, you make the thing that matters most in life–the very reason we exist, why God made us–a feminine thing.

      It’s no wonder that male-led evangelical theology tends to be suspicious and marginalizing of the very thing that Jesus insisted was the core truth and meaning of all theology and law: love for God and love for neighbors. Effectively, we say, “Just let the women take care of that.”

      Problem is . . . God’s Word is clear that EVERYTHING else is meaningless without love (recall particularly 1 Cor. 13, or 1 John). So if faith is really about love, men have to work a lot harder at faith as well. And naturally, we tend to make faith less about relationshiop than about trusting when you don’t have all of the answers (as if faith were a default backup rather than a foundation of love, as in . . . when all else fails, love doesn’t).

  14. I should also add that the Salvation Army has had complete participation of women in all areas of ministry and governance since the 1860s.

  15. Let me first say that I do follow Driscoll’s sermons on a fairly regular basis. I think that when the guy preaches The Gospel, the guy PREACHES The Gospel. Without knowing him or Mars Hill, I can’t speak against him or the work that God appears to be doing through that ministry. Do I agree with every theing he says? No. But then, I don’t agree with everything a lot of Pastors say.

    With that said, I am a HUGE proponent of men being men (making no mistake that I KNOW women hold equal position among God’s Kingdom and play a vital role in the advancement of that Kingdom). But for me it’s not about machismo or effeminacy. It’s fully about filling the role God desires us to. I think for too long men have abdicated that leadership role to pursue their own desires. It’s about leading with OBEDIENCE, humility, kindness, honor, integrity, purity and responsibility. Jesus portrayed all of these character traits and we trumpet the importance of becoming like Him. To say an effeminate man or woman cannot lead is ludicrous. If that’s the case, I know a lot of men that would fit in that category and woman who need to be told “Stop doing the work of Christ, because you’re not allowed. It’s biblical.” I’ve seen God do amazing things through these people, so it seems no one has told God either.

    Regardless, men being men is about loving and serving (see Jesus) others. Whether married or single, there is a flock you’re called to shepherd (whether it is small or large) and your responsibility to follow Christ as they follow you. Our goal should be to reveal Him to them, so ultimately they become like Him and are able to shepherd well.

  16. Gotta disagree with you about Joshua; he took the whip hand, ready to take Canaan by force when others hung back. Church discipline (1:18), yes! The Lord gave them Jericho, but it was Joshua who ordered the slaughter (6:17). I think Joshua is the outstanding candidate for OT Manly Man.

    Someday I hope somebody can explain to me why Esau gets to be such a bad guy, whereas he seems to be just a bumpkin, always getting had. His father blessed him to be a blessing to his brother and it reads to me like he tried his best, but a devious man can’t trust even an honest one. At least he didn’t get murdered. Anyway I think it’s time to let Esau off the hook.

  17. The message of the Magnificat is repeated throughout scripture:

    “He has shown strength with His arm:
    He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
    He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
    and exalted those of low degree.
    He has filled the hungry with good things;
    and the rich He has sent empty away.”

    That should put the fear of God into the these macho bullies; God could care less about what they call “strength”. Jesus destroyed death by going to the grave, not by unleashing the legions of heaven against the devil. What God calls strength man calls weak, or as Luther stated in thesis 21 of the Heidelberg Disputation, “A theology of glory calls evil good and good evil. A theology of the cross calls the thing what it actually is.”

  18. Donegal Misfortune says:

    This reminds me of an old, old post on the Claremont Institute website many years ago from 2003 about the state of men in America with the option of two choices..wimp or barbarian. What has become an epidemic in society at large is, what I believe, trying to be remedied by certain veins withing American Christianity. The question is, what do other countries have that is more along the line of how the Church ought to be that tilts neither too far one way or the other? Here is the old article…

    http://www.claremont.org/publications/crb/id.1192/article_detail.asp

    • This is very good. I think there does seem to be a false choice between the two. Many churches are trying to improve their gender imbalances with laughable men’s retreats that seem to think the only qualifying aspect of a male believer is that he likes football and eating lots of meat. I think those kinds of desperate attempts are the feeling out of people slowly waking up to a problem but without the mental tools to fix it. Hopefully more nuanced understandings can work there way through the Church. I know theres been some books and online communities working on these ideas and hopefully coming up with better answers.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        …laughable men’s retreats that seem to think the only qualifying aspect of a male believer is that he likes football and eating lots of meat.

        Football or Hockey?

        I was the Omega Male of my high school. My face got very familiar with the boots of those Alpha Males who “like football and eating lots of meat”.

  19. Wilson does deserve a “+1″ for this one:

    “The sermons rarely deal with sin or, if they do, they deal with sins found outside the sanctuary, preferably those of secularists in Hollywood somewhere”.

    • But it is hypocritical, too. The whole article criticizes those outside his little macho man support circle.

  20. This is the first new post I’ve read on this site that made me do a double-take and wonder if the iMonk didn’t write it himself. Well done (even though I’m not sure you’ve got Wison’s position correct)!

  21. Appealing to the worldly machismo ethic will ultimately bring disdain from the world. That serves the flesh. Church is not a macho affair. It never will be. It shouldn’t be. Bowing down, worshipping, adoring, submitting – not macho. I am reminded of Sgt. Hulka’s line in Stripes (Search You Tube -‘psyco-lighten up’) on this occasion. Lighten up Douglas.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Appealing to the worldly machismo ethic will ultimately bring disdain from the world. That serves the flesh

      And in any case, when it comes to “appealing to the worldly machismo ethic”, Islam (especially X-treme Islam) will always be able to outdo us.

  22. This article is unmitigated bull, to put it nicely. Scripture plainly differenetiates between men and women and while there are some differences that are strictly “cultural”, that does not diminish the fact that God made us male and female. God, furthermore, made men the Head of family and church, not women. Nothing in the New Testament changes that.
    The otion that a manly Christian is an “Esau” is ludicrous, and the author’s characterization of Jacob is insulting and innaccurate. JAcob may not have been as aggressive or as proficient a hunter as Esau, but to claim he was a namby=pamby Mam’s boy is beyond the pale of reality. Moreover, God established Israel through JAcob, not because he was, as the author says, “a wimp” or because God abhorred Esau’s masculine characteristics, but because Jacob was the Godly brother, and Esau the infidel. Jacob, admittedly, was not perfect, nor perfectly masculine, in all situations, but that does not justify the contention that masculinity is not important. Forget not King David, Samson, Moses, and countless great warriors and manly men that God did great things through in history.
    Nor forget David’s advice to Solomon “Be strong and show thyself a man.”
    Wislon and others are right in at least one thing: too many churches are seeing a trend of feminization in the sense that men are not exercising their God-given authority, but are giving undue place to female influence. I don’t deny the role of women in church, nor their importance, but nowhere does God give permission for women to usurp authority over men(St. PAUL SPECIFICALLY FORBIDS SUCH BEHAVIOR ON THE PART OF WOMEN). Men, of course, must exercise their authority in family and church wisely and in a Godly manner–it seems more than likely that men’s failure to do that in many situations has led to the tendency of women to try to “step in and take over”.

    • Wow John, welcome to the 21st century. You might want to check your Bible interpretation too. Strongly disagree here.

      • I don’t agree with him Mike, but I don’t think ad hominem attacks furthers this discussion. If you disagree with a person, its much better to say why, and say so in love. Dismissing a brother when he is wrong won’t help him.

        • There is no ad hominem here, David….John is seriously wrong about scripture, and is overlaying an ancient male dominence worldview on his misplaced theology.

          …There is no Greek or Jew, male or female…..

          AND Christ Himself is the evidence of what a man should look like…..serving and loving His Bride, not Lording over her (and He alone would be the only “man” who had any right to speak with total authority over the lives of others, which He did NOT do).

          A “Y” chromosome does not impart any spiritual power…sorry, Bud.

          • John, you are absolutely right. The NT is very clear that the husband is the head of the wife. Pattie, you’ve quoted Gal. 3:28, where Paul is making the point that IN CHRIST we are all the same: we all have equal access to God through Christ Jesus. But this one verse does not dismiss the many more verses where Paul, Christ, and others delineate Gid’s design in marriage. This is not an “ancient male dominence worldview.” This is God’s design for the family, so that there is order and harmony. See Eph. 5:22-24; Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5; and 1 Peter 3:1-7, for starters.

            On the other hand, Paul does specifically say that, in the church, he does not permit a woman to have authority over men. However, I think the extra-Pauline support for this position is scant. It’s certainly not a slam-dunk that we should carry Paul’s view across cultural lines. God put women in charge of Israel in the book of Judges, and women were very active in the early church. So I think there’s room for some latitude there. But, I agree with John that this article is specious, and the mischaracterization of Jacob as feminine is pure bunk. I also agree with David’s reproof of Chaplain Mike, that his response to John was not done in brotherly love.

          • *GOD’S design in marriage. Sorry about that!

          • I never said having a Y chromosome meant anything or imparted spiritual power.

            My point was how we treat each other and avoiding logical fallacies.

            “Welcome to the 21st century” is an implied attack on the sophistication of a person. Its the same thing as saying they’re a backwards or old fashion. I don’t agree with him, but I think it’s better if we keep those kinds of jabs out.

  23. When I read the list I hear the author saying that as far as the church is concerned two values apply:
    1) Men = good; 2) Women = bad. Obviously, the author would sputter and admit that all are equal in the sight of God. Nonetheless, the point has been made. There is nothing of Christ in this. Nothing of the Lamb who humbled himself to the point of death. Nothing of the Jesus who wept upon hearing of a friend’s passing. Nothing of the Jesus who suffered. If I want the kind of worship apparently favored in the list, I’ll resurrect the cult of Mars/Aries.

  24. I would say I agree fundamentally with what you’re saying. Driscoll’s statements were pretty thoughtless and unfounded.

    However, I do think there is a problem going on here and a lot of us are approaching this from a false dichotomy. There is a problem with male identity in the church. Only 1/3rd of regular church goers are male. The same problem is cropping up in higher education. Being religious or educated is seen as “womanly” or wimpish. These gender norms are merely cultural. However,we also have to realize that cultural norms are part of being human too. (as anthropologist will tell you “Culture is the OS of human cognition”) We should not be shackled to them, but I think the desire for a completely neutral cultural medium is unrealistic for how humans function. Therefore, as in all earthly things, I think our purpose is to redeem these cultural norms.

    The Church should not enforce people into specific gender roles but I do think there is a crisis of male identity for many young males that isn’t being served.

    • And I said very pointedly in one of the comments, the church should be reaching men. The place for doing so is outside the church. If they are not “attracted” to church, then we should not be pursuing “attractional” ministries but meeting them where they are, relating to them honestly, and showing them Christ.

  25. Excellent post.

  26. I’m going to have to agree with Nate and say that iMonk seems to not have Wilson’s position correct. Some like to use, “… nor is there male and female…”. Context please. Make sure the bullet fits the gun before trying to fire it. I think this analogy applies to the article here as well.

    Read Wilson’s response linked by David above.

  27. Danielle says:

    Hmmm. Maybe I am just tired, but I don’t think the Wilson’s response clears up very much.

    My two cents:

    So, Wilson says a little bit about the church’s corporate identity being feminine, but this claim is not really that consequential to the points being discussed here.

    How little does it matter? Well, I guess it points out he’s not afraid of the idea of being “feminine,” in a corporate sense. But then comes the clincher: he moves to define the church’s femininity as “submission to Christ” and then argues that this submission should include conformity to a set of trans-historial gender norms. According to these norms, an effeminate man or a manly woman is “grotesque.” And it world be quite dreadful for anyone to mistake the feminine corporate identity for their individual spiritual identity. What do you get in such a case? Ah, right: monsters. More precisely: monstrous worship leaders.

    But have no fear: Wilson is willing to assure us that he thinks women are great. He only dislikes women who are monsters. And men who are monsters. Especially when they write music. But that’s just because God doesn’t like monsters, either; Wilson is just being a good bride.

    So, even though he says his target is effiminancy, not femininity, the content worried over by the comments above is still pretty much on target.

    As to Jacob and Esau, the discussion of false-masculinity (Esau) and real-masculinity (Jacob) is interesting I guess. But in his attempt to actually use Jacob and Esau as trans-historical gender types falls a bit flat when he merely says Jacob is masculine because he was tending to the family business! Okay, fine, but the whole point of the Jacob-Esau tale isn’t that Jacob is more deserving, so that God picks him. The point is that God picks the younger over the older; the trickster over the meritorious son; the undeserving over the deserving. Men wrestle with angels and climb stairways to heaven. Chaplain Mike’s comments come closer to reflecting on the significance of this larger narrative point. If you even try to read the story as a lesson in being a Godly man, your missing the intent of the story.

  28. What I find most frustrating about Wilson’s pronouncements is his tendency of dropping these bombs (pun intended) on his blog and elsewhere and then not sticking around to deal with the fallout. To wit, following the original “Effeminate” post, I attempted to get him to clarify his nebulous assertions that masculine worship is necessary in order to make women feel “safe” and “protected.” Naturally, I was curious as to the precise nature of the implied threat to female worshippers–from which they required protection–and why men were presumably immune to this same threat. So I asked him about it in the blog thread. No response. Asked again. No response. I give credit to a couple of readers who threw some comments my way, ostensibly in an attempt to help me clarify matters, but those responses were not particularly helpful, and, more importantly, I directed my questions to Rev. Wilson, who declined to respond to me, but who nevertheless had time to crank out another five blog posts in the 48 hours following my entreaties.

    In the interest of full disclosure, though, I should mention the possibility that Wilson’s failure to respond to my comments may have been linked to his being the subject of a fake interview at our satirical blog (Federal Vision Was All a Big Joke). But come on! It’s not like he wrote a book on Christian satire or anything!

  29. Just remember, it was when David, the former runt, soft guy chosen by God, girded up his loins and decided to exert his “manliness” (errrrr. Bathsheba) that the Kingdom began to fold up. It was when David girded up his loins and decided to exert his “manliness” and “dance” into Jerusalem maybe almost naked that his bride called him out and they never slept together again. If you pay very close attention to the story line on King Dave you recognize when he does his “manhood” thing that he gets himself and a lot of others in trouble. Oh, and wasn’t it brother Paul doing his manly thing breathing threats and jumping on his white horse, wasn’t it Paul who got kicked into the dirt and dust by, oh yes, the Risen One? I know I can hear everyone saying it wasn’t the “manly” thing that was the problem it was their motives and intent. It is funny that the “manly” thing is almost always linked with the wrong thing in these narratives. One other zinger. I am reminded of Elijah’s great depression brought on, I believe, by his act of manliness, slaying and draining the blood of all those prophets of Baal. I’m not convinced that God asked him to do that, just show who was boss/God which the wet wood inferno showed. It’s interesting that Jezebel says to him, I paraphrase, “you’re not a whole lot different than me” doing the manly thing with the sword. That sends Elijah into a depression that will have God say to him, find a replacement. I’m sensing a lot of the “manly men” need find a replacement in the church. It is no accident that more women followed Jesus than men. It is no different today. Why 12 disciples (men only). My answer, they were the only “men” Jesus could find to follow him. Women got it.

  30. Cynthia Gee says:

    If you look at the Bible, God isn’t keen on big burly he-men – the idea that super-macho men and ultra feminine women are superior to the average Joe and the average Jane is WORLDLY, PAGAN thinking, and it is straight out of Sodom and Gomorrah – in Lot’s day, there were few “homosexuals” as we would think of them today – just as now, most men were heterosexual and naturally preferred women, but “alpha males” also engaged in forced copulation with other men in order to dominate them and show superiority, as the great apes and other animals do today .

    Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his older brothers, Jesus and Barabbas – in each case, the man of God is the LESS overtly macho of the two, and I think that it was no accident that God established CIRCUMCISION as the ritual of His covenant with His chosen people.

  31. Michael says:

    Cynthia you are the first person I have heard to make a comment other than my self in regard to the “rite” of circumcision. It is absolutely NO accident that this strange rite and “marker” happens right after the incident of Abe and Sarah attempting to manage/control promised “outcomes.” The placement is crucial in the text, I believe. Abraham and those who follow will be reminded when they “mark their organ” that leading requires a different point of reference than THAT.

  32. Wow, thanks for going all biblical on us. It’s nice to see someone who actually read their Bible.

    Amen brother!

  33. Marcus Johnson says:

    Look at Cynthia, dropping it like it’s hot!

    Yeah, so much of our ideas about what makes someone “masculine” or “feminine” are not only rooted in cultural trends, they are also based in our personal insecurities that we refuse to get resolved. Can’t we just leave all that nonsense at the cross and accept that our individual role in fulfilling the will of God has to do with what’s between our ears, not what’s between our legs?