Archive for August, 2010

The Gentleman vs. The Thug (Or The Pulpit As Boxing Ring)

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

From Doug Wilson’s Blog and Mablog, August 7, 2010, something that wonderfully illustrates the absurdity and depth of the “fear of the feminine” held by today’s patriarchs:

“At the same time, because of sentimentalism and pietism, the definitions of piety have become increasingly feminized. The definition of what constitutes devout piety has drifted into feminine territory, and ministers have labored to keep up with the shifting expectations. The sweetest and gentlest boy in the church is the one who is told repeatedly while growing up that he really ought to consider seminary. The boy who garnered seventeen black eyes and three broken arms while growing up is never told that by anybody” (Why Ministers Must Be Men, p. 42, Douglas Wilson, excerpted August 7, 2010, Blog and Mablog).

So the black-eyed adolescent brawler is never encouraged to seek out seminary, and this is held up as just another example of the failings of today’s evangelical churches — a mystery, if not a mallady. Huh. Well, OK — I’ll bite.

Could it be that the pastorate isn’t recommended for a young man like this because he’s what’s commonly referred today as a thug? And could it be that an attitude of combativeness, belligerence, and hot-headedness that earns 17 black eyes throughout a boy’s adolescence could indicate a temperament unsuitable for pastoral leadership? Might it be — and perhaps I’m going out on a limb here — that a kid like this needs to be pastored and not to be, himself, a pastor? A a fight-ready, battle-hungry guy disqualifies himself for the ministry. This is what the Bible says, although it’s seen as a fairly malleable standard, reinterpreted and drenched in machismo at some churches in Moscow. Like, maybe, the one that’s held boxing matches for its little boys . . .

I’m pretty sure that’s it. But could it be instead that strong, manly patriarchs are so terrified of women’s gifts and leadership that anyone not possessing a uterus is deemed more suitable for the pastorate than anyone who does possess one — even if the not-female is found to be demonstrably not-Godly? That would be a shame, and any patriarch who suggests not only that gentle young men are somehow suspect, but also hints that the thuggish among us could do a good job of ridding the Church of its apparent and unbridled femininity, is someone who either ought to be ashamed, or simply has no shame.

I’m a generous sort, so take your pick. Because what Wilson says here is shameful, and he really ought to be ashamed. That he’s not is tragic. And, by the way, it’s him who posted the excerpt from his book, not me, so no fair crying out that a greater context is lacking — the offended reader who would take me to task for reading too much into his words needs to look for another defense. There is none, but one thing I’ve found true of staunch patriarchs is that the more shaky a theology, the more shameful a practice, and the more indefensible a tradition, the more energy is expended in rallying to its defense.

So have at it, boys. Just remember that your disagreeing with me on this one means that you embrace — and consider Godly — the notion of brawlers and belligerents in the pulpit. May God in his mercy never permit you what you seem hell-bent on defending.

A Perfect Storm . . .

Friday, August 13th, 2010

An unplanned trip out of town, a long-anticipated houseguest, illness, and another trip scheduled for this weekend have all combined to keep from posting for nearly two weeks, meaning that my arguments for full participation in the Church for women and for service to the Body determined not by gender but by gifting, has stalled.

But not for lack of energy, and certainly not for lack of evidence. I will resume my discussion on the 17th with a look at Genesis 1 and 2 and claims of God-ordained “headship” between Adam and Eve prior to the Fall, and then I’ll wrap up with what I first mentioned at the beginning of this series: My dismay over Tim Bayly’s assertion that the Church shows contempt for women when it lets them serve in positions of leadership. While I hope, always, to speak with gentleness, I won’t just “go easy” on such a patently ludicrous statement . . . or one those who feign concern for women while defending the Biblically indefensible, given that I’ve not heard much from them on the myriad actual displays of contempt women suffer daily.

So . . . stay tuned!