A man’s strength is his weakness. That is something that the Manly Men movement has not learned. Just as the artificial use of steroids is bad for the body, so is the building up of male headship bad for society and for our churches. The movie “Courageous” was borne from the extreme patriarchal views of Vision Forum and this movie might be the equivalent of the church using artificial steroids to build up men.
There is a danger when women speak of the negatives of being men. I have no envy, and I have never desired to be anything other than what I am. Neither my sons nor my husband fit the stereotype that I am speaking of. I do not want to paint a picture of men that is all bad, because I know that this picture does not fit all men. I rejoice in the strengths of men. But I also know the dangers of artificially building up men to be something that God did not intend them to be.
A man’s physical body can lift, pull and shove, and gives men an advantage over women whose bodies are made differently. This strength that men have has led to bullying, abusive behavior, aggressiveness, excessive competitiveness, and had led to wars because of an inflated ego. Their physical strength goes to their brain, and allows them to use this power to hurt and to harm. Women and children are often the victims of this abuse of power.
There is no doubt that we are in the middle of the Manly Men movement. Society has bought into ‘what has happened to the men’ and we know that the church is trying to bring back an ideal that was never ideal. It was never ideal because women were always the losers in this and they will be this time, too. When men are told they are fully responsible for everything and everyone in their home, they have three choices: Dominate, Equate, or Vacate. Few will equate.
The movie ‘Courageous’ promotes something called the Resolution that men are asked to sign. When you go on their website and read some of this resolution, you will find that it is all about male headship. The women can also sign a woman’s resolution that is about being what complementarian restrictionists have decided is the biblical role of a woman.
While the manly men campaign seeks to restore men to some idealized person, they are actually destroying the men. Read what Michelle wrote in the comment section of The Mighty vs the Courageous:
All men will be stronger once they recognize the equality of the person who is challenging them. Who happens to be female. Once they recognize her equality, they must at least consider taking her seriously, and what she is saying seriously, and develop some relational skills (which, as we were made in the image of God, most of
us do have–both sexes).
If hierarchical complementarian men can just ignore the opinions of their mom, and then their wife, how do they ever develop a spine? If they’re never challenged in their own home? Or don’t recognize the challenges, since a woman is not their equal. It amounts to the same thing and leads to the same outcome. It makes these men weaker, and all the books and all the pledges and all the support groups men can create (e.g., Promise Keepers, Wellspring Group) cannot take care of this problem: This problem is why Christ died. Not the only reason, but certainly it is sin.
Their strength is their weakness.
Will you join me in promoting strong men whose strength will be in allowing their wives to be equal in the home and also in their churches? Will you speak up for men who are pushed into this manly man ideal that will result in unhappy homes as men seek to conquer their wife and children.