Their strength is their weakness

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.

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About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
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9 Responses to Their strength is their weakness

  1. Anne says:

    Giving 100% of the power to 50% of the population, without the voice of the other half to keep them in balance, is a recipe for disaster and a shining open door for Genesis 3:16 (bear in mind the comps believe that this verse is not only the ideal but it is their duty to carry it out). It also creates a terrible battle within the men themselves, the good guys at least. In one ear they have a pastors voice saying “With your power you must treat your wives with respect and put her needs before yours as a servant leader. Be considerate, but still lead.” In the other ear, they have temptation and Satan saying “She has to do whatever you want. She was created to serve and support you, she’s inferior in authority and function. So do what YOU think is best, and she has no choice but to obey without question! Go on, milk it! Enjoy your power!”

    What the comps don’t realise is that despite their teachings, men are NOT Christ and never can be. Their idea that Eve caused the fall of man has blinded them to the fact that men are just as prone to sin as women. They don’t seem to even consider that men might fail in the loving part of loving leadership, and when they do, the wife is blamed for not being submissive enough. To put so much power in the hands of a few, without strict boundaries, challenge or restraint, will NOT teach them to be real men at all. Plus, for the good guys that don’t want to make a mess of such responsibility, it’ll make them feel very stressed. They really love their wives and don’t want to dominate, yet under that doctrine they feel they’re expected to overlook everything and get it right. You’re correct, there are two avenues in that position. 1) Become a dictator or 2) Escape the pressure. Becoming passive or egalitarian will be seen as weakness or sin. Even if they disagree with the teaching that women are inferior in rank, they still have to deal with trying to direct an entire household in a Godly way, while holding down a full time job in the process. If that were me I think my head would explode.

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    • Excellent. It is not fair to the men. And we know it is not fair for women.

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      • Anne says:

        It’s not fair to the good men, but a golden ticket for the bad boys at heart. Even if they start out as good men and then fall to megalomania through twisted teachings, doctrines such as Danvers plant dangerous, dangerous seeds. What did Jesus say about things that cause a person to sin? Oh yeah. CUT IT OFF.

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  2. Anne says:

    For the record I believe that most men are good men at heart. My point is that patriarchal teachings provide too much temptation for any human to bear, whether male or female. Christians are urged to run from temptation, and power tends to corrupt. Men who try to avoid corruption, and I’m sure they’re out there in the comp community, have the stresses I mentioned above.

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    • Michelle says:

      Absolutely. I think that most people who practice, or try to practice, hierarchical complementarianism believe that it’s a biblical practice. They believe it is what is required by God and what is best for God’s creation.

      It is difficult to remain humble when it’s drummed into your head over and over that God created you to be in charge. One way or another, I can see how it could break someone.

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    • Kristen says:

      Absolutely, Anne! And as I said elsewhere, telling anyone that other people are their sole responsibility is to bring dysfunction into the family lock, stock and barrel. The children will not be raised with the goal of teaching them to take responsibility for themselves, but rather to be unquestioningly obedient. And the wives will be stripped of their responsibility for themselves as full adults. As an adult child of alcoholics, the first thing I had to learn towards my own healing was to take responsibility for myself and myself alone!

      A healthy family can be turned into a dysfunctional family simply by embracing this Resolution.

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  3. Bigotry. Equality is not a virtue. May God judge this week between your teachings and mine, and may God keep our pride from seeing our error.

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    • Anne says:

      Yes. Equality isn’t a virtue, it’s a human right. To be treated by others as they would treat themselves (ring a bell?). To live life with no man-made restrictions other than those of personal incapability or those of civil law and morality.

      We may sound bigoted but our point is quite clear: telling someone that they have absolute authority over their family is a gateway for pride and sin. It would be the same in a matriarchy as well as a patriarchy and we’re not disputing that in any way. However the comps are placing all the power in the hands of men, which is why we’re focusing on what men might do.

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    • Why would equality be a virture? A virture is something you attain or strive for, not something you are born with.

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