I’ve not been doing much of my own blog writing lately. But I had to share this article with you entitled “Who determines what masculinity and femininity are?”. It is a balanced perspective from a evangelical Christian and I deeply appreciate his thoughts. Here is a brief excerpt but I hope you’ll read the article in its entirety:
I just listened to a very well known pastor, who had posted on Twitter something like “Tell me about your experience with effeminate church leaders…” This was following an online video where he said he believed that “all the original church leaders, like Paul, John the Baptist, Elijah, and David, were real men, dudes, not these chick-i-fied church boys with…sweater-vests…effeminate men….” – I was blown away. His intent was to address how he believed that most churches do not reach out to more overtly masculine men, calling them “real men”. I’m sure his intent was not to cause harm, but he and others using words like these essentially curse boys or men that do not fit their predetermined views of masculinity.
Are we judging or looking down upon men or women that do not fit our idols of masculinity or femininity? Have we turned these stereotypes into gods by which to judge all others?
Graciously, he doesn’t refer to this “well known” Pastor by name. (Hint – he is a Neo-Reformed pastor from Washington state. Seattle area. Ahem.) As I have mentioned before in blog posts, the Neo-Reformed seem obsessed with “biblical manhood” and “biblical womanhood”. They are simply obsessed with “roles”. They put men and women in very small boxes, and there is no room for anyone to be even slightly outside the box or to just be in a bigger box! Where does this leave men and women who do NOT fit their strictly defined roles and expectations??
Why am I so concerned with this issue? (Perhaps you think I am obsessed!) I think that the Neo-Reformed, in their approach, are creating the very problems that they are trying to solve! When you tell someone that they must be exactly a certain way, and that is not the way they are…you may make them feel inferior or deficient or defective. You may make them squander their God-given gifts because they don’t match the stereotype for their sex. You may alienate them and drive them away from the faith or church. Or you could very well drive them full-steam ahead into the behavior that you wanted them to avoid to begin with.
I do believe there are God-ordained differences between the sexes. Males and females reflect the image of God differently. Yet, every male and female is not going to reflect their Creator in the exact same way. As the article further states:
Scripture does not outline for us what traits are masculine or feminine. We know generally that men are known for their strength and logic, while women are generally known for their nurture and emotions. However, men are not all strength and logic, and women are not all nurture and emotion. We all have some measure of both sets. If the church is going to be the church, it has to be made up of all types of men and women, boys and girls, with different levels of strength, logic, nurture and emotion.
Also, the Neo-Reformed pastor referred to seems rather selective in the biblical figures he chose to mention! What about Jeremiah, who was a male prophet that seemed to cry a lot and was rather emotional?? Or what about Deborah, a female who was a bold prophet and warrior?? Uh-oh. Biblical figures who don’t fit in the box!
King David was a warrior but he also had a very tender friendship with his friend Jonathon – more typical of how we’d think of friendship between two women. Uh-oh.
Jesus wept when his friend Lazarus died. Uh-oh. Weeping isn’t masculine. Maybe a tear or two would be okay, but weeping?
Or ever notice that the New Testament couple Priscilla and Aquila – they are referred to in that order more often than the opposite. Priscilla first! Even today, in our modern and non-patriarchal culture, the male is usually mentioned first. It is “Bob and Laura”, not “Laura and Bob”. The point?? It would seem that Priscilla was the predominate force in this relationship. Uh-oh.
I just feel a burden for those who have been driven away from the faith and church because of the strictly defined roles and characteristics that some Christians seem insistent on “enforcing” but that don’t even seem biblical.
How many “Jeremiahs” and “Deborahs” have we driven away that could be having a powerful influence for the kingdom of God?
-Thanks for listening.
Here are some related posts:
A more feminine men’s ministry? The top attributes a woman needs to become a godly man? (Evangelicals and Gender Distinctions)
The evangelical gender divide. Must men and women be in parallel universes?
Men cooking? Women with business income? Gender roles in the Bible.