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That masculine feeling


John Piper has created a ruckus with a talk he gave at the Desiring God 2012 Conference for Pastors, titled "'The Frank and Manly Mr. Ryle' -- The Value of a Masculine Ministry."

In the course of this talk, Piper said,

God has revealed himself to us in the Bible pervasively as King, not Queen, and as Father, not Mother. The second person of the Trinity is revealed as the eternal Son. The Father and the Son created man and woman in his image, and gave them together the name of the man, Adam (Genesis 5:2). God appoints all the priests in Israel to be men. The Son of God comes into the world as a man, not a woman. He chooses twelve men to be his apostles. The apostles tell the churches that all the overseers—the pastor/elders who teach and have authority (1 Timothy 2:12)—should be men; and that in the home, the head who bears special responsibility to lead, protect, and provide should be the husband (Ephesians 5:22–33).

From all of this, I conclude that God has given Christianity a masculine feel.

I find this interesting for reasons of my own. Back in the day, when this blog was still relatively new, there were those who thought it had too much of a "feminine feel." Being in those days a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed young blogger eager to please (quit laughing, I really was), I didn't want to mess up the blog with my femininity, so I came up with an idea:

Me: If the men here could blog more, maybe that would help.
Men of the blog: Sorry, we don't have time.
Me: . . .

I never did grasp how I, as a woman, was supposed to create a "masculine feel" without help from men. So without knowing what else to do, I just had us keep doing what we were doing, and somehow things went all right.

Is there perhaps a lesson in that?

I'm not trying to be a wild-eyed man-hating radical feminist, I promise. (For 26 years, I've attended a church that believes and teaches that only men are to be pastors.) And I'm well aware that I don't have one hundredth of the theological knowledge that the Reverend Piper has. But I would humbly submit that, when we have a Bible that tells us, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28, NKJV), maybe Christianity isn't supposed to have a masculine feel or a feminine feel. Maybe it's supposed to have a balanced feel, with everyone doing his or her part to worship, glorify, follow, and obey the One whom our faith is all about.

Comments:

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Of course Christianity tells the timid to be heroic, and tells the fierce to be tender. So in a savage society it would have a feminine feel and in a decadent society it would have a masculine feel. Arguably our society is closer to the later then the former so maybe the speaker was right in that sense. However I don't think any of us have any desire for a change in our Austen-loving Sysops. And if it bugs us we can always remember that the fancy houses Austen wrote about were unwillingly subsidized by the French government.
I don't know Rolley; I have never heard of anyone using cigars to catch ducks.

As for "feathered projectile's" I suppose it could be done. Hawks were preferred before they used shot, by the rich anyway who could afford hawks. Commoners probably used bows or slings. Or just kept them in a cage like chickens. The last sounds more likly.
And, Thanks to Jason, Ducks Eat Crow, so . . .
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. . . . does that make them cannibalistic? –Rolley Haggard

Which begs the never-asked question: “canna ballistic duck’s airborne trajectory be graphed mathematically on the basis of the mass and velocity of the YOD striking it up side the head?”

Or the even less-asked question: “when the feathered projectile makes impact, is the resulting concussion the result of the duck rupturing, or the cigar exploding?”

And for extra credit: who gives a flying flip about any of this? (If you answered, “only Rolley Haggard”, go to the head of the class).

And now, folks, I think we’re about to be given opportunity to learn, empirically, the answer to questions One and Two . . . .
A Man should look for what he thinks should be as well as what is. Men eat bread, cattle just eat grass.
-Jason Taylor
All Ryled Up
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I’ve long been a fan of J.C. Ryle. Ironically, one of his best sermons (in my opinion) is titled, “The Fallibility of Ministers”. It’s based on the apostle Paul’s dramatic confrontation of the apostle Peter, recorded in Galatians 2. Now there’s a man’s man. Anyway, it’s a timeless classic, not to be missed.

It can be found in several places on the web. This site seemed appropriate; it sports an animated gif of a blooming tulip (matey): http://the-highway.com/articleSept11.html

“A man should look for what is and not for what he thinks should be.” –Albert Einstein
"The point of Dr. Piper's talk seems to be that Christianity should be bold and forceful and confrontational, so much so that manly men would want to take part in it. Chivalry shouldn't be dead, whether the one leading the charge is "St. Gina of Arc" or "St. Gregory". And I can agree with that."

Uh, Lee, Christian teaching is not a billboard. At such times when Christians should be bold, and forceful, and confrontational they should be so because it is time to, not so that manly men will want to take part in it.

And boldness, force, and confrontation are two-edged swords. Sometimes Christian speakers and writers have been known to hurt people's feelings, not for any real purpose but simply to prove to themselves how bold, forceful, and confrontational they are.
From Dr. Piper's talk: "The point is not that women can’t endure criticism, but that godly men prefer to take it for them, rather than thrust them into it."

That point is indeed quite interesting. Many times at this blog I've seen the women bloggers (Gina, Kim and Anne in particular, but others as well) post something controversial, get attacked by some male commenter, and have one or more male commenters rush to her defense. And it does seem rather ridiculous for those of us who are not full-time writers on worldview topics to be protecting those who are - I once said that me defending Anne was rather like a frantic Chihuahua defending a Great Dane - but it feels like the right thing to do.

So to defend Ellen from Gregory, I'll try to change the subject by pointing back to the original topic. ;-)

The point of Dr. Piper's talk seems to be that Christianity should be bold and forceful and confrontational, so much so that manly men would want to take part in it. Chivalry shouldn't be dead, whether the one leading the charge is "St. Gina of Arc" or "St. Gregory". And I can agree with that.

But the striking thing about the "man after God's own heart" was that he not only was a warrior fierce enough to take on a giant who had four gigantic brothers, but who also played guitar (or the equivalent thereof for the times) and wrote deeply thoughtful poetry.

So I'd say that Dr. Piper did indeed emphasize something that requires emphasis. But he ignores the balance that Gina mentions.

But I'll add (Why is it called "groupTHINK" when there's so little thinking involved?), Gina, that to me the word "balance" implies "moderation," but in contrast, King David did everything with full-on immoderate passion. The book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" has an excellent passage on the Greek word "arete", which gets so poorly translated in 2 Peter 1:5 as "moral excellence" or "virtue" or "goodness". In fact, the word really means striving for perfection in everything you do by having passionate zeal, irrespective of whether or not the activity is said to be "manly" as in war, or "girly" as in writing poems. (I can't recall any of Rolley's poems I would call "girly"; quite the opposite for all of them.) So I'd humbly suggest that "balance" might leave the wrong impression in the minds of readers.

This blog has been a work characterized by "arete" because that's an attribute of its editor. And that "arete" includes the strident worldview articles, the humor, the art, the unashamed weeping for those who hurt, the worship, and the bond of friendship of all the culture warriors who find their battlefield camaraderie here.
Anyway, I proved this thread wasn't a group-think when I stated that I found Gregory's comment offensive. Gina had already stated, "My comment about civility and thoughtfulness stands!" So, obviously my statement is at odds with hers.

The derogatory comment about this thread being a "groupthink" was aimed at all involved as such a thought phenomenon involves the entire group. The comments made by Gregory surprised me - and literally made my jaw drop - as Gina has never hinted that civility equals agreeing with her and the commenters here are anything but a bunch of "nodding dogs" that simply nod their heads at any stimulus. One thread doesn't suddenly negate the discussion and debate that occurs here as a whole.
In any case aren't us mastodon hunters supposed to be "offensive"? We can't catch any food for our wimminfolk unless we go out and do offensive things with our spears, now can we?
In any case, Gina was perfectly polite about the fear that Breakpoint had an "overly feminine feel". None of us men seemed to think so. Though of course perhaps we were to busy hunting mastodons to worry about it.
'and I get called "offensive"'

Naw, Shane; Ellen called *your comment* "offensive", not *you*.

"and am subjected to demands for an apology."

Naw times two; she said she thought you owed us one. That's different from demanding you do so, because it leaves open the question of whether or not Ellen might be persuaded otherwise. In my experience dealing with many people, including hostile ones, contrition for any unintentional offensiveness seems to be effective.

"Do I really need to say anything else?"

Hmmm - not sure you *need* to, but if you could fill in the rest of "whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, [...]" for us, it might help.

And bravo for introducing some disagreement into this thread. ;-)

...except, oops, now we're all united in groupthink around the "Shane's wrong" idea, of course. :-/

----

Oh, and once again Mr. Haggard was correct; we could say that the foolishness of doubting him is "getting trapped in 'Rolley folly'":
http://oxforddictionaries.com/words/what-is-the-female-equivalent-of-brethren
In any case, it feels somewhat phony and has a whiff of overcompensation. Jon Sobieski, Charlemagne, and Belisarius did not go out of their way to worry about whether Christianity has a masculine feel.
Gregory, that is a self-fulfilling prophecy. When the first comment you make accuses us of being a police state, it is natural that we be mildly vexed.

One can say "the tranquility comes from agreement" without using a word like "groupthink" which, taken literally, is a snarky reference to the works of a certain grouchy British intellectual who shall remain nameless.
Gina, I Disagree ;-)
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Groupthink can be active or passive.
Ellen...I posit universal agreement as the cause of the tranquility Gina noted, and I get called "offensive" and am subjected to demands for an apology.

Do I really need to say anything else?
I may be mistaken, but I thought the groupthink comment was directed at me, not at the rest of you. A comment thread full of people who agreed might not necessarily be groupthink, but it's more likely to be if the original poster was acting as a puppetmaster trying to ensure that everyone agreed.

However, as I said, I could be wrong. I don't want to put words in Shane's mouth.
...and I think you owe us all an apology.
No, Gregory, it wouldn't.

If brother becomes brethren, then sister would become sistren. Or sostren? Sestren? But not siren!

I find your comment that Gina perhaps likes the tone of this thread simply because no one disagreed with her to be offensive because you have based your hasty statement on too little evidence. Having been of a conservative mindset swimming in a liberal group-think atmosphere, this Breakpoint blog is certainly not a group-think. A group-think would not be found in just one thread alone; if this blog were truly a group-think, such blind agreement would be found throughout all of the threads Gina initiates. Therefore, Gregory, I disagree with your accusation that there is a group-think underway here.
Rolley, sistern is a misspelling of "well".
It is to be regretted, to be sure that "manly" is traditionally more of a compliment to a male then "feminine" is to a female. "Feminine" certainly is not traditionally a compliment to males; when used in such a context it would generally mean "effeminate".
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