Opinions on faith and life

Growing Pairs

2010-09-27

No, that’s not a typo. Yes, it’s about a common vulgar expression. No, I don’t think it’s funny. Yes, I’m about to rant and be all offended and stuff. Here’s an example of what I’m going on about today, a comment from a popular blog where some preachers apparently hang out (pun intended):

These preachers need to “grow a pair” and let the donors know how much of “God’s money” they are taking for themselves and their wives and family’s salaries... I would be more concerned about “pairless” preachers not divulging how they are siphoning off funds given “to God” for their own family and branding.
Now I agree that if a church must have a paid professional preacher, said pro should divulge the handling of finances that the people are told are for “God’s work”. But can’t even the most infantile believer find a better way to talk about courage? What ever happened to the gender-neutral word “guts”? Oh that’s right, it’s evil because it’s gender-neutral, and women can tecnhically have “guts”, so we gotta make courage a stricly male attribute by mapping it to male anatomy.

This is very common and growing (another pun intended) in popularity. Every good human quality is now described in male-centric terms. People are insulted by such expressions as “girly men”, “you throw like a girl”, “scream like a little girl”, “chickified”, “pantywaist”, “effeminate”, and “soft”, but praised in terms like “having a pair”, “man up”, “wear the pants” and so on. One expects this from secular culture, that evil thing “pairless” men bow to. But the standard for believers should be higher than that, and the standard for Christian leaders higher still.

Some of them, when confronted with this, will say among themselves, “Ok, we need to clean up our talk when the ladies are around.” How insulting! The ladies are treated like children whose tender ears must be protected from the big bad world. Instead, how about showing real courage by standing up to the potty-mouthed men and telling them YOU don’t want to hear it either? Why would any believer, but especially one claiming leadership, not mind hearing this sort of talk? It was Paul who said “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph. 4:29), and “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving” (Eph. 5:4).

When will today’s believers, and especially Christian leaders, develop the GUTS to stop “bowing to culture”? Where is the line drawn between relevance and bowing? Are we supposed to be doing the spiritual limbo (“how low can you go”), or aiming for the best and most noble? Are we descending into the sewers of the world to lift people up, or to wallow there with them?

16 Comments

Lydia

Are these the same people running around calling the pastor, God’s man? :-)

Time mag (or was it newsweek?) had an article about men and the definition of manliness today. it was interesting because all the so called "male" attributes that were so important a century ago are no longer really needed. Not even in all areas of war because of smart weapons, etc.

The fastest growing careers are considered "girly" by some such as nursing and human services. Women are outpacing men for college, medical school and are even running close for law school.

So what are the next generation of masculinists going to do? Be pastors! :-)

Lydia

BTW: The vulgar talk has been around for a long time. It was very cool and hip in the mega circles I was in. everything was feminized or chickafied or girly. It was considered the ultimate insult.

Lydia

One more thought...if you think about it...the underlying theme is that woman are sinful and maleness is good. And it is taht way because they promote an unbiblical concept called "Biblical Womahood and Biblical Manhood". There is no such thing or else I am wasting my time striving to be like my Savior: A male in the flesh.

Paula Fether

Yep. The age-old yin/yang thing. And now it’s been "churchified".

Sonnet

I remember in a sociology class, the professor had us stop and think about the impact of words like: white lies, black magic, blackmail, blackball, black sheep of the family, etc. I also remember occasionally hearing the phrase (when I lived in the South) "That’s mighty white of you" used as a compliment. I took that class over 20 years ago, and that one particular lecture stuck with me the most. Besides the "black sheep of the family" and the other racist phrase, I hadn’t really made the connection before about the other words. As I considered the impact that these words could have on others, it really bothered me. They do seem to convey that there is something evil about black. I can see how this could be hurtful and insulting.

In some ways I find the negative use of feminine word associations to be even more hurtful because while "black" can be associated with things other than just skin color, I don’t see how the attacks directly or indirectly launched against women and girls can be seen any other way. I wish they would get a clue as to just how hurtful and insulting this is. Using those types of phrases do not show honor to their sisters in Christ. And I think it greatly damages their Christian witness to a watching and listening world.

Greg Anderson

Have you ever noticed how female genitalia are almost never articulated in the sculpting or painting endeavors of even the Florentine masters of Renaissance Italy? For all their expression and celebration of the human (male) form as a repudiation of the Catholic (and Calvinistic) doctrine of original sin, they are almost nowhere to be found except in much older objects d’art.

Lydia

" I wish they would get a clue as to just how hurtful and insulting this is. "

I think that is their intention. It is meant to be "shaming".

Paula Fether

Good points, Sonnet. But of course obsession with the flesh is in the heart even when someone has the most squeaky-clean speech. If they claim Bible makes men the keepers of women, that’s no less vulgar in principle.

Paula Fether

True... the Greeks and Romans had no problems with that sort of imbalance. ;-)

Sonnet

While I knew that they were trying to shame men with these words, I just figured that they were being clueless to the effect on women. If it really is intentional, that just makes it even worse.

Sonnet

True!

Lydia

There would be no reason to use such language if a new religion of "biblical womanhood and biblical manhood" werenot so prevelant. Because it is, everyone is seeking to define it spiritually and that gets us into big trouble. It is worldly. Not spiritual.

Greg Anderson

It should also be pointed out that not all Italian art and craftmanship is male-centric and oriented towards Patriarchy. There is nothing even vaguely phallic about the violins made by the Cremonese masters Amati, Stradivari, and Guarneri. If anything, they glorify the feminine and are the exponents of mystery and romance (romance in the classical sense). Anyone who has ever heard Beethoven’s Violin Concerto played on one of these instruments will heartily agree!

Lydia

Gary, I would be happy to rethink it if I knew what you meant. Can you tell me the proper use of Biblical womanhood? What does it have to do with the indwelling Holy Spirit? Being Christlike even though Christ came in the form of a male? Can you explain it’s biblical "uses" when it comes to the things of Christ in us?

SaberTruth

Gary, I think you misunderstand Lydia, and egalitarian theology as well. How much egal literature have you read, from egal sources instead of male supremacist sources? There is nothing "Biblical" about "manhood and womanhood" since those terms are not found in scripture. And there is no denying that when a violent man uses the Bible to excuse his violence, he NEVER quotes egal. arguments because we teach that neither spouse rules over the other, regardless of the character of that rule. Male supremacist theology must step up and take responsibility for the fact that its teachings do empower men to usurp authority over their wives.

Gary Bisaga

Lydia - while I disagree with these "pastors," I also have to disagree with you. Just because the world misuses a concept, does not mean it’s not a Biblical one that has a proper use. Biblical manhood and womanhood has absolutely nothing to do with it. Look at it this way: other concepts (such as love of family and justice for evil-doers) are misused by the world, but that doesn’t make them any less Biblical. As if unbelievers are saying "Oh look, Biblical manhood and womanhood - I was going to be loving to all, but now I’ll use the opportunity to be misogynistic." No, they hate the things of God - and such pastors are acting much more like the world than they are like Bible-believing Christians. I think you need to re-think your position.