jonathan stone's blog

. . . posts on faith and life

who’s castrating who?

Over on Out of Ur there has been an interesting discussion on certain elements of what we might call a men’s movement in evangelical Christendom. The discussion was sparked by a posted response to an article written by Brandon O’Brien over on ChristianityToday.com. O’Brien notes a song that has been popularized at GodMen conferences. One line of the song sings, “Grab a sword, don’t be scared. Be a man, grow a pair!” Yes, I’m serious. O’Brien also spends substantial time discussing some of Mark Driscoll’s pointed remarks. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Mark Driscoll, pastor of Seattle’s Mars Hill Church, desires greater testosterone in contemporary Christianity. In Driscoll’s opinion, the church has produced “a bunch of nice, soft, tender, chickified church boys. … Sixty percent of Christians are chicks,” he explains, “and the forty percent that are dudes are still sort of chicks.”

The aspect of church that men find least appealing is its conception of Jesus. Driscoll put this bluntly in his sermon “Death by Love” at the 2006 Resurgence theology conference (available at TheResurgence.com). According to Driscoll, “real men” avoid the church because it projects a “Richard Simmons, hippie, queer Christ” that “is no one to live for [and] is no one to die for.” Driscoll explains, “Jesus was not a long-haired … effeminate-looking dude”; rather, he had “callused hands and big biceps.” This is the sort of Christ men are drawn to—what Driscoll calls “Ultimate Fighting Jesus.”

I understand that there’s a certain group of men who feel like they ‘don’t fit’ in church. And I understand that people like Driscoll are making some of these men feel like there’s a church for them out here. Personally I have little desire to go into the woods on a men’s retreat where we will “kick the devil’s @$$ and then go bow-hunting for elk!” Nor can I imagine EVER being willing to sing the words “grow a pair” in church. Nor can can I imagine wanting to go to a church where my pastor says stuff like, “Richard Simmons, hippie, queer Christ.” Nonetheless, I am honestly happy that these types of men are finding a place in church.

But here’s my beef (I thought beef would make me sound more manly). Why can’t the talking heads of these men’s ministries acknowledge that they are making room for certain men, in a certain culture, with certain personalities and temperaments? I wonder if the leaders of GodMen conferences make room for the participants to spend time allowing other men to lay their head tenderly on their breast? I mean, that’s what this “Ultimate Fighting Christ” did! These guys say they’re defending a Christ emasculated by our culture. Actually, despite what they say, their real aim is not defending Christ, but taking issue with the Church. I can respect that in as much as it is creating room for others where there was none. I just wish they would wake up to their own hypocrisy when they turn around and emasculate the rest of us by so narrowly defining masculinity.

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This entry was posted on April 23, 2008 by in issues.
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