Driscoll, the Chickified Male, and the Masculine Image

Driscoll.jpgThe following clip comes from an informed blog by Richard Beck, a professor of psychology at Abilene Christian University. (You might want to go to the blog to read the whole post.) He examines Mark Driscoll’s male images and … well, I’ve clipped some concluding material. 


What do you think? Are we so polarized about Driscoll that genuine conversation can’t occur? Do you see the validity in Richard Beck’s three points?

I’ve argued in Thought #1 and #2 that Driscoll should not be so easily dismissed. The question he’s raising–Why are males not more attracted to church?–is worth asking. And one of his diagnoses on this issue–Church leaders are chickified–has some merit to it. 

But the dark side of Driscoll’s ministry is its chauvinism and misogyny. And this criticism is also valid for certain impulses one finds in the Christian men’s movements. Specifically, the assertion of masculinity implies a suppression of women and a restoration of male power over women. To be a “Christian man” means “reclaiming” and “taking back” leadership roles in both the family and the church. Men use spiritual warrant to assert power over women. 

So the issue we need to raise is this: Does the assertion of masculinity in the church necessarily involve an assertion over against women? Can masculinity be asserted in an egalitarian manner?

I think it is possible to recognize gender distinctives without getting into power plays. But I’ll admit that this is rare and hard to do. Too often in the church to be male means to assert power over women. And I think Driscoll is guilty on this score.


The point is, I don’t mind Driscoll’s focus on trying to reach “real guys.” I think he’s right about this being a demographic that is being lost to most churches. Also, I’m largely in agreement with the diagnosis that chickified church leaders struggle to reach the “real guy” demographic. I say this proudly as a chickified guy who enjoys knitting and writing poetry. So I’m not offended. I see what he’s talking about.


But when “real guy” creeps into misogyny, with men asserting power over women through the euphemism of “leadership”, I’m in strong moral disagreement.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Matt

    Hunting and fishing aren’t my things, so would I be acceptable to Driscoll? I like some of his preaching. He is obviously gifted. I wonder how much of his rhetoric is a not-so-veiled shot at Rob Bell types and their image (because he doesn’t approve of their theology?)

  • http://www.virtuphill.blogspot.com phil_style

    It disappoints me that Driscoll appears to have a specific definition of how a male is supposed to beahve. Ergo, women also are supposed to behave in a certain way. To me, this smacks of nothing more than reinforcing old age gender stereotypes.
    Now I could be totally wrong about the guy, but that’s certainly how he comes accross to me.

  • Paul

    It’s good to see people trying to reach out to those who are not being reached. As with any group, there is a challenge of keeping the core of the message while contextualizing to a given situation.
    I’m not sure I like the idea of talking about things in terms of masculinity. As a “chickified” male, does this make me less of a man simply because I don’t fit into the categories of masculinity described by some around me? To speak in these terms is to create categories that are unhelpful and unfair.
    Also, I wonder what our female readers will think of this type of preaching. To use terms like “chickified” to describe a male who is “less than” is not exactly a compliment to female Christians.
    I also worry when we start to describe Christ in terms of masculinity. What does this say to a female Christian who is called to be Christ-like but also “feminine”?

  • RJS

    Paul,
    A ministry that reaches out to people – in this case a large group of men – where they are is a good thing. We need a vision for blue collar and rural America as well as Universities and educated America. But Driscoll is over the top.
    Despite being offensive in the effort to build up male Christians by pushing down female Christians (a real problem) this kind of preaching and teaching essentially calls women to “play dumb and helpless” for the good of the more important males. To be “beaten by a girl” should not be a slur – and a worse fate than being beaten by a boy.
    This is a damaging message for everyone.

  • http://www.jesustheradicalpastor.com John W Frye

    Scot,
    Thanks for making Beck’s post known to us. I watched the youtube clip and read the post. I like Beck’s analysis because it goes beneath the surface issues or stereotypical issues regarding masculinity and femininity. I’ve led groups of men through the *Wild at Heart* video series and all of the men benefited and did *not* begin oppressing their wives and daughters and sisters in the church. The whole PK and Wild at Heart movements sit in a bigger context (see IRON JOHN by Robert Bly and THE WILD MAN’S JOURNEY: REFLECTIONS ON THE MALE SPIRITUALITY by Richard Rohr, and HEALING THE MASCULINE WOUND by Gordon Dalbey). As a pastor, I think that abusive males have other serious issues that have nothing to do with action-packed, shoot ‘em up movies or liking NASCAR and football. Many *chickified* men use a twisted vision of “being head of the wife” as a license to be emotionally, verbally and sometimes physically abusive to women.

  • Joey

    That was a very insightful post. I think I have trouble at two points for Driscoll:
    1. The biblical men he names did a lot of stuff in the name of their “maleness” that they had to repent for. God wouldn’t allow David to build the temple because he had too much blood on his hands. Paul fought against his zeal and opted for, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Peter, arguably the most Driscollesque masculine figure in the NT, wrote two letters nearly denouncing his previous attitudes and was rebuked by Jesus for using a sword.
    2. Men need to be called to account for some of the ways that we have glorified activities and attitudes that stand in opposition to being conformed to the likeness of Jesus. As much as I find enjoyment in it (because it is, undoubtedly entertaining) I am uncomfortable with MMA fighting as it glorifies violence, especially for our young men. Weekly I sit in a room full of boys who think it is appropriate handle all of their problems with violence. Their fathers regularly encourage them to fight. They nearly worship their favorite MMA fighters. I’m not OK with promoting a culture of violence when we’re called to a culture of love and sacrifice. Also, we’ve subjected women to lesser roles in society for years and years simply because we don’t have male leaders reconciling our gender with issues of misogyny and chauvinism.
    We don’t need MMA fighting, cat-calling, chauvinists in the pulpit we need men. We need men who are living sacrificially, who are laying their life on the line for others sacrificially, who are taking the bullets – not dishing them out. And I think we have models for this. You show me a well respect gentle “chickified” pastor and I’ll show you somebody with the strength to deny his own lusts. You show me a gentle “chickified” pastor and I’ll show you a good father.
    Does the blue-collar culture in our society need strong leaders and models? Yes absolutely but not at the expense of true humility (which I have seen Driscoll exhibit from time to time).

  • Joey

    And, by the way, I’ve seen Driscoll stand up passionately against abuse towards women. I have to give him props for his zeal and willingness to call brothers out. I still don’t like his image of masculinity and I think some of his language could be salted with more grace but he in no way promotes abuse and does not intentionally promote oppression.

  • http://plantingjesus.blogspot.com Burly

    When the focus is “being a man” and not “becoming like Christ”, then my wife becomes an object to prove my manhood. She would not be flattered by me calling her “my smoking-hot wife” in public.* If I did, it would be for me, not for her and not for Christ. It would prove me to be a hot-blooded American man, but would not aid me in becoming Christ-like. It may be “authentic” for me to declare how “hot” she is in public, but that’s not my goal.
    *Calling her that in private may be contextually appropriate ;o) …

  • kent

    Ok take Driscoll out of the equation and you still have an issue that needs to be discussed. The whole post is well worth the read.

  • Scot McKnight

    kent, thanks for your observation.
    One issue is this: Is there really a decline of males in church attendance/partcipation?
    Second issue: Is the image of a Christian too “chickified”?
    Third issue: Is the masculinized image of some today leading toward power brokering?

  • http://unfinishedchristianity.com Virgil Vaduva

    We are missing the point here; Driscoll’s attitude is that because Jesus was a “dude” we need to be “dudes.” He said that – his own words. It will be very difficult for a woman to meet that definition, whatever dude means. To make things worse he creates an eschatological connection with Jesus being a dude that kicks ass, tattoos down his leg, sword in his hand, coming back for revenge.
    How would a woman connect with that at all, and how would she establish some sort of eschatological relevance in her own life seeing that picture of Jesus?

  • http://plantingjesus.blogspot.com Burly

    First issue: don’t know.
    Second issue: don’t know. But I think males (and females) aren’t attracted to many churches because they are irrelevant (read: not on mission). Being a church on mission is not a male/female issue.
    Third issue: clearly! (this coming from a “soft”-complementarian)

  • http://karenzach.com karen

    I have a couple of nephews who attend Driscoll’s church. Both are newly married. My hope for them is that at they grow in their relationship with Christ, they would be able to allow the issues that separate us — be it race, or gender or socio-economic status — to fall away. It seems to me that anytime we start “positioning” ourselves, we are missing the point of the Gospel. Chickfied pastors? Do we really have time for this much navel-gazing when people are hurting worldwide?

  • Rob

    Second issue: Is the image of a Christian too “chickified”?
    Good question Scot. If we look at what should define someone controlled by the spirit, we can see love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, etc. Are those “chickified”? According to Western stereotypes, yes, those are “female” qualities mostly. When we start basing how to act and live on gender stereotypes, we are treading in dangerous waters I think.

  • Joey

    Scot, to the first issue:
    If Driscoll is right and 60% of the population of the American church are female then that would be right on par with the demographics of the US. There are .97 males to every one female so we’re talking 7% difference here. I’m doubting that his proclamation is scientific. From my context – the youth ministry I am in charge of is predominantly male. We actually have trouble getting females through the door. The one’s who stay are brave. I have no idea how this happened as I would probably squeeze into the “chickified” category and the males I work with do not.
    Has Barna done any research on this topic? Is the male population under-represented in the American church?

  • Karl

    Rather than Driscoll’s bombast, I’d prefer to look at something like Leon J. Podle’s book “The Church Impotent: the Feminization of Christianity.”
    When that book first came out it struck me as kind of odd. I was at the time coming out of a Reformed context that was heavily male-dominated and the idea of an overly feminized Christianity just didn’t resonate at all. But several years in the mainline, and reflection back on some of the charismatic and nondenominational low church evangelical churches I’ve experienced in the past helped me see better the phenomenon Podles was talking about.
    http://www.amazon.com/Church-Impotent-Leon-J-Podles/dp/1890626198
    “After documenting the highly feminized state of Western Christianity, Dr. Podles identifies the masculine traits that once characterized the Christian life but are now commonly considered incompatible with it. In an original and challenging account, he traces this feminization to three contemporaneous medieval sources: the writings of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the rise of scholasticism, and the expansion of female monasticism. He contends that though masculinity has been marginalized within Christianity, it cannot be expunged from human society. If detached from Christianity, it reappears as a substitute religion, with unwholesome and even horrific consequences. The church, too, is diminished by its emasculation. Its spirituality becomes individualistic and erotic, tending toward universalism and quietism. In his concluding assessment of the future of men in the church, Dr. Podles examines three aspects of Christianity-initiation, struggle, and fraternal love-through which its virility might be restored.
    In the otherwise stale and overworked field of “gender studies,” The Church Impotent is the only book to confront the lopsidedly feminine cast of modern Christianity with a profound analysis of its historical and sociological roots. Dr. Podles presents the fruit of his meticulous scholarship in a lucid and readable style thoroughly accessible to the non-specialist.”

  • http://www.stonecall.com Samuel

    Scot,
    1. I believe there once was a decline of males in church, but there has been an increase of males in church attendance over the last few years based on studies and research (i.e. Barna)
    2. The “chickified” image has to be understood against the backdrop of how some define ‘manliness’. I would say both yes and no. The unique distinctions of male and female and how they are perceived could be the root problem here (egalitarian vs. complementarian debate)
    3. Yes, due to mis-perceptions of said ‘manliness’.

  • Richard

    “One issue is this: Is there really a decline of males in church attendance/participation?”
    Well, most the surveys I hear about suggest we’re declining in just about every demographic. So yes? I guess I would want to clarify with ‘How far back do we want to trace the decline and is it declining at a rate faster than women?’ I like Joey’s point about reading that number in proportion to overall demographics.
    Second issue: Is the image of a Christian too “chickified”?
    If meekness is “chickified,” I think we need to reexamine the meaning of that word- it’s talking about war horses under a bridle, submitting. It takes a lot of strength and surrender to take up a cross willingly.
    I really think this speaks more to our unwillingness to give up aspects of our “manhood” that conflict with the imago Dei and Christlikeness. Yeah, Christ was a “blue collar”, “one of the guys” but he was also incredibly gracious towards the weak and oppressed and he exalted the women around him and held them up as examples to the shame of the manly men around him. He was also every bit the intellectual on the law that the scribes and pharisees were. Jesus overthrew tables once in his life. Not much prizefighting going on there. And the ones who want to point to the tattoos, lightning, etc in Revelation- remember that its the slain lamb that interprets the image of the lion of Judah, not the other way around.
    Third issue: Is the masculinized image of some today leading toward power brokering?
    Yes. This should be a moot point with the same result whether you’re a complementarian or egalitarian. If you want to be the head of your family (or a leader in your family for the egalitarians) then you need to realize that it’s not about calling the shots, it’s about loving your wife the way Christ loved the church which means DYING FOR HER. It’s about submitting to one another, not making the other one submit to you.
    I’d be real interested in hearing more from the women on this blog- how does any of this come across to you?

  • RJS

    John (#5) and Joey (#7)
    I do think that this discussion fits in a larger context and in the hands of a wise leader the “Wild at Heart” material can be powerful and constructive. But there are many forms of “abuse” and while Driscoll is firmly against physical abuse, and overt emotional abuse I also think that this message can be abusive albeit in a gentler and more subtle way.
    It goes back to the old sitcom plot of the 40′s and 50′s (I listen to a lot of OT Radio) – even 60′s and 70′s where girls are supposed to let the boys win, and being beaten by a girl is a slur on masculinity and an ego-crusher.
    I appreciate Scot’s blog in part because it is a place where I can speak with my own voice. In the “typical church” setting – particularly reaching the kind of people Beck talks about – I can’t do that.
    It seems to me that Driscoll in his message is taking a step back and it is abusive after a fashion.

  • http://teamrose.blog.com Aaron

    I see the ‘chickified’ male slur to be often thrown around without much thought about whether it is actually true or not. If a male is more loving, more humble, more genuine than you are used to, does that mean they are ‘chickified’? Are we just looking for an excuse to be more manly (and in the way that we define manliness)?
    I also think that Driscoll is only highlighting half of the problem – I don’t think Christian males are ‘chickified’ any more than they are ‘desensitized’ or ‘de-emotionalized’ – it’s not OK to cry or express how we are feeling, but Driscoll seems to be saying it’s only OK to express how we’re feeling as long as it makes us seem tougher. To follow the path Driscoll is suggesting, I feel, only leads us to an extreme that ignores the other end of the spectrum.
    When we were part of a church that had a similar ‘masculinized image’ to which Driscoll promotes, my wife came up against a ‘wall’ trying to bring safety issues in the playground to the leaders’ attention. Several times she had pointed out that something needed to be fixed, but it never happened because ‘she needed to ask nicely’. Upon reflection we see that it was because she wasn’t acting ‘dumb and helpless’ enough.
    Often these leaders don’t realize how unapproachable they can be for women, they can come across as arrogant, and it seems to be a non-negotiable with them – men have to be the leaders. It seems to be something that is preached about/taught an inordinate amount given the very little the New Testament has to say directly on the subject. Is it for fear of change or feeling insignificant that there is this seeming wall up that stops any discussion on this topic? I wonder if that’s how the disciples felt when Mary Magdalene first proclaimed the good news of Jesus’ resurrection to them?

  • http://julieclawson.com Julie Clawson

    Seriously Scot, did it not occur to you that using terms like “chickified” is seriously insulting? If you had said “asianified” or “blackified” to discuss why the church has gone wrong you would be ripped apart (for good reason), but apparently women are so worthless that even our gender can be used as an insult. I know the crowd here scoffs at political correctness, but do you have to be hurtful?
    But insulting language aside. This conversation is only an issue if you have warped cultural conceptions of masculinity and femininity to begin with. When terms like “real men” start to be used that are only applied to a certain demographic of men, it is both men and women who get hurt. The men who don’t fit that narrow stereotype are made to feel “less than” and women are just out. Of course there can be no talk of egalitarianism when only a certain type of male (the ones that apparently don’t learn from women or value their voice) are uplifted as the way all men should be forever and ever amen.
    Sure, I’m all for encouraging people in church to be whole people. To get over themselves, to love, to give, to be strong in the Lord – but never ever at the expense of other people. If the only way to do that is to insult women and say our voice is too loud (cuz it is actually present) then there are some serious issues with the premise. I don’t care if it is Driscoll or some nicer less hateful guy – it is still imposing cruel cultural expectation onto the church and ends up hurting a lot of people in the name of getting a few guys away from football and nascar on sunday mornings.

  • Richard

    I’m also troubled by the assertion that my manhood is defined and measured by what recreational things I do rather than just because I was born a man.
    I have a friend that likes knitting, should I tell him to man up?
    I have another that doesn’t like hunting, should I call him effeminate?

  • Jon Klinepeter

    Always enjoy your posts Scot. There is some great discussion going on here. Well said by all! I think the offensiveness of language has been sufficiently addressed, so I’ll take a different approach.
    I’ve always been unsettled with the “target audience” conversation churches seem to fixate on. To me, this seems like yet another iteration of that dialogue. Focus your church on 36 year old men and everyone else will come. Just talk more masculine or tough and men will attend. Or, as churches we could stop getting in the way of the multi-generational, multi-ethnic, accessible message of Jesus and then no one would need to feel excluded. My concern for Driscoll’s focus is the same I have for any church that approaches Jesus calling with tunnel-vision. Inclusion of a “target” so easily becomes exclusion of the “other”. Who is my neighbor?

  • Stephen Mook

    The bigger issue for me is the false assumption that Jesus is “the ulttimate fighting Jesus.” That by reaching unchurched men we have to connect with them through culture. We need to teach servant leadership and embrace all men, while leading them to the full Jesus. The Jesus who turned over tables and enjoyed eating meat with the guys along with washing his disciples feet in ultimate servitude. A King who saved us through serving, rather then ruling over us like a tyrant. Men don’t mainly need other men, they need to know about the truly human Jesus who died for them. And if we all go watch football after church is besides the point.
    The problem here is false teaching. When Driscoll said in Relevant magizine that “I can’t worship a Jesus that I can beat up” and continued his caricatures in other articles about a masculine ultimate fighting Jesus, the larger church needs to push back mightily. I appreciate anyones heart to reach all the unchurched but we can’t do this through connecting with the American masculine image of the day. It’s liberialism, its deadly to the church, and we need to call it what is, false teaching. I say this because we need pastors with a heart to reach unchurched men, we just can’t distort the full gospel.

  • Ben Wheaton

    Calling Driscoll a “misogynist” will tend to shut down the debate, so, yes, I don’t think that conversation is possible at this point between Driscoll and Richard Beck (and certain people on this blog).

  • Richard

    @24 Stephen. I’ve often wondered the same thing- kind of ironic in light of how Driscoll specifically likes to call out other teachers.
    To the larger conversation, I think there are plenty of challenges that we can raise to the men in our congregation (which is what Wild At Heart boiled down to in my understanding). I’ve found plenty of men in our community that resonate with transforming the neighborhood and raising healthy homes. And these are guys that are as blue collar as it gets.

  • Joey

    Not to digress too much, but Ben so will using slurs to describe other pastors, a la “chickified”. If the conversation continues around Driscoll it needs to be raised, otherwise we should probably just stick to the issues Scot and Kent mentioned.
    Also, Julie, sorry for using language that offended. We have been putting the word “chickified” in quotes to ensure that it is Driscoll’s phrase and not our own.

  • DJ

    Oh…how do I always find myself on the other side of this discussion…LOL. Isn’t this indicative of the problem of authority in Protestantism? [I know I'm stuck on this, lately.]
    If we’re talking about degrees as the statement “creeps toward misogyny” seems to imply, then Protestantism allows for an out, doesn’t it? The people who are actually impacted and disagree/uncomfortable should go start The Second Mars Hill Church of Seattle (or Santa Fe, however the case might be). But…if we’re not talking about degrees of comfort or agreement and instead talking about sin…Christians who recognize the sin should call it what it is. The sin and false teaching should be fought against tooth and nail.
    If it’s not sin/false teaching and not right to call it such AND a “schism” isn’t right (as I don’t think it is), then the Protestant critics of the behavior have a serious problem on their hands. They must either speak of the “issue” as it is, one of disagreement and discomfort, while declaring that unity (regardless of feelings) is primary…or…they must keep quiet.
    Unfortunately, what we have today are local/regional pastors in authority over flocks being judged by national personalities with no fidelity to the pastor OR to the flock itself…only to their sense of comfort and doctrine. One might say that local/regional pastors that “play” on the national stage should expect that, be ok with it, or get out of the limelight. I disagree. I believe it’s the whole body that needs a serious correction in regards to their participation in the “culture of criticism.”
    We are either a family, brothers and sisters, and One in Christ…or we’re not. We are either criticizing false teachers, heretics, and sinners, OR we’re publicly (and for who’s real gain?) criticizing our brothers. If it’s the former, then I’m flat out scared. Who has any authority on anything in that case? If it’s the latter, then how can we ever hope to be credible. Who anywhere looks with admiration on a family that regularly and publicly (sometimes nastily) criticizes each other? Why would anyone want to be a part of that family?
    DJ|AMDG
    P.S. I listen to Driscoll’s message at least 2-3 times a month. I have for well over two years. (I listen to many messages of many different doctrinal circles each week. Not much radio or music in my life right now.) That being said, I want to make one thing very clear…Mark is a brother in Christ. He IS a humble man who knows that if ANY good has come from the ministry he’s involved in it’s only because of God. He works hard to minister in context, leverage his strengths and play to them, and work on his issues of weakness which he does confess (pride, anger, judgmentalism.) He is a Pastor/Leader/Shepherd of a Christian congregation, so when some (as they have today and elsewhere) criticize him the way they do, they are by default criticizing all the people who follow him. Every judgment heaped on him is an indirect judgment on his congregation……including all the women (and they’re are many) who call themselves part of that congregation.

  • http://theoreflec.blogspot.com Pat

    I agree with the author that there should be some way to reclaim masculinity in an egalitarian manner, but doing so is the tricky part. It does seem that we tend to go from one extreme to the other in the Church.

  • nathan

    I think there’s a huge sociological component that drives Driscoll’s stance.
    He has constantly touted himself as a “working class” kind of guy and there’s an assumption there that he has more cred to speak because he’s of the “real people”.
    (It’s the mythos of the “common man” that’s asserted in the face of a particular socio-economic class being seen as inferior. It’s a defensive rhetorical move. Fine if you personally need that for your sense of self-esteem, but get some therapy. sheeesh. Really bad if you’re doing theology.)
    Personally, i’m just incredibly offended when issues of gender are injected where they don’t obtain. I’m even more offended when a particular sub-culture elevates its own ideals to moral absolute and then co-opts God for support. Talk about re-making “Jesus into your own image”.
    Furthermore, I think this “feminization” issue is a fake issue. I think it is unredeemably offensive by its very characterization because you can’t escape its claim that that which is of “women/female” is deficient or to be avoided.
    And, RJS is right. This hurts everyone. I’ve had over the last few years to do major pastoral work with a guy who thought he was a “feminine man” because he’d been neglecting his personal bible reading. Yeah…great.

  • http://faithinireland.wordpress.com Patrick

    Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control ….
    Does this describe ‘chickified’?

  • T

    Great post by Beck. Great comments, esp. Joey 6, Kent 9 & Julie 21. Amen to those. American ‘manhood’ doesn’t = Jesus. And Jesus’ kind of humanity is the target for us all.
    I must add this post to this conversation from my friend, Brant, which is both true and hilarious: http://branthansen.typepad.com/letters_from_kamp_krusty/2007/10/rule-94—-be-a.html
    I think Beck nails some things, and so does Brant. Our church systems, especially as they center on Sunday mornings as we typically do them are perfect for people who want to be passive and listen to lectures. It’s great for theoretical types. To dove-tail with Beck’s point, our leaders are highly educated (via reading & lectures) and want to disciple the same way. The contrast b/n the way Jesus made disciples/missionaries and the way we “educate” is part of this problem. It’s especially problematic for young men who want to be hands-on. We know that young people need action and not just talk, so we try to give them action (some with missions trips or acts of service, but some with just games and X-boxes) but rarely include things that were the bread and butter of Jesus’ and the apostles’ missionary activities. We take a more modern educational approach. Good luck keeping many men/young men interested with that.
    The irony is that there are an abundance of things that need doing and require courage, initiative and real bodily involvement, like moving into the inner cities, welcoming strangers, being kind to the violent, visiting and loving those in prison, praying for the sick (in person!), mentoring young people with serious hurts, etc., etc. But we try to take men to church (for education) too often instead of taking them into mission with Jesus and his church, and let them learn in the midst of seeing and doing the mission.

  • Alison

    @ Patrick:
    Unles I’ve missed something (no coffee yet), I don’t think those traits describe “chickified” at all. They describe someone who has brought his or her life under the domain of the Spirit, as they are evidences of such surrender. To try to attach a gender to them (a la Driscoll) is arrogance and insanity. (It’s also asinine).
    I have huge issues with the whole “ultimate fighting Jesus” characterization (caricature?), since it seems like that flies in the face of who Jesus is portrayed to be in the Gospels. Jesus is not a canvas that we can paint whatever image we want to on. The Jesus in the Gospels, however, is one who held both tenderness and strength in perfect balance, not using one at the expense of the other. I fail to see how that makes Him an “ultimate fighting” Jesus. Again, no coffee yet….maybe I’ll see it this afternoon (maybe).

  • DLey

    It seems I’m the lone follower of this blog who appreciates where Driscoll is coming from. Having spent 10 years in the Middle East, I am very much attracted to the Arab view of masculinity (Don’t read Muslim or Christian, just Arab). Rarely will one find an effeminate man, and if one does, he’s usually been influenced by the West. I could see my Arab friends, looking at Richard Beck with eyebrows raised, wondering why in the world he would be knitting. Doesn’t he have something better to do, like change the world? We have lost touch to such a degree in the West that most young guys don’t really have a clue what it means to “be a man.” Despite your Western movies and televisions trying to change it, we still know what that means here.
    The Bible is a lot closer to our culture than yours in the West. I disagree with Driscoll on some points, we don’t have NASCAR, Ultimate Fighting and many of our men use gel in their hair (way too much sometimes!), but they know what it means to be a man. And our (non-western influenced) women know what it means to be a woman.
    So Driscoll is raising the right issue, even if he does it in a very poor way.

  • Matt

    Does the issue of recognition have anything to do with this – mainly, why there are less men involved in the church than women. One of the things that I see throughout Scripture is that a lot of people who were following Jesus were women, the poor, sinners…..essentially those who would have been considered “the outcasts” in Jewish society. They recognized their need for someone to save them from this world and to meet their needs. Those who were “well off” tended to trust in their own self-reliance in this world…you don’t need a Savior when you have seemingly nothing that you needed saving from. This might be part of the reason why it’s hard for the rich to enter the kingdom – because they are self-reliant.
    If we look at who tends to be the most self-reliant in our culture….who does that tend to be? Males who have for so long dominated culture. If you’re in control then why would you surrender that power to anyone. I’m sure that humility isn’t big on Driscoll’s list of “masculine” attributes – and that might be why there are less men in the church.
    Who knows…just a thought that this whole debate may be more complex than just not singing songs dealing with erotic worship (the love songs to Jesus).

  • http://krusekronicle.typepad.com Michael W. Kruse

    There are pockets of Mainline Christianity where feminist critique attempts equate any quality that is traditionally associated as masculine with defective. For instance, in some contexts any attempt to suggest accountability within certain facets of the church is dismissed as male obsession with hierarchy and power. More “godly” approaches are needed.
    That said, I think that the real issue is seeing ourselves primarily in terms of gender instead of primarily in terms of being children of God. I’ve always appreciated Parker Palmer’s writing, as in “Let Your Life Speak,” where he invites us to revisit our childhood prior to becoming teens. What characterized our spontaneous uses of time and our relationships? Reflecting on our lives then often tells us much about innate qualities we bear before we were molded and constrained by others expectations.
    As we pursue sanctification and personal growth from this angle, aspects of sex and gender will naturally be incorporated but they are not the organizing principle. The problem with so much of this is that some want to make gender THE organizing principle.

  • http://faithinireland.wordpress.com Patrick

    Hi Alison
    I actually agree with you 100%.
    My point (admittedly unclear) was that the work of the Spirit reveals God’s redeeming agenda for ALL people marked by the Spirit. Paul has even said earlier that there is no male or female in Christ and ALL have received the Spirit of adoption. The Spirit’s fruit should characterise ALL Christians. That’s our guide of what a ‘man’ or ‘woman’ Christian should look like. Seems to me that throwing around words like ‘chickified’ demeans women. But it also puts some sort of made up idea of what a macho ‘Christian man’ should look like above that of the crystal clear picture of the sort of man the Spirit of God is work to produce.

  • http://www.jesustheradicalpastor.com John W Frye

    Julie (#21) and RJS,
    Please note that Scot did not create the term “chickified.” Beck used it because Driscoll used it. Any references in Scot’s post and these comments to “chickified” are because that is the term Driscoll used. Most, if not all, commentors here agree with you that it is a sexist, belittling term. No one who takes this issue seriously is intending to stereotype or offend our sisters in Christ here at Jesus Creed.

  • http://faithinireland.wordpress.com Patrick

    And I meant to add – that sort of imposed grid, it seems to me, has little room for the ‘gentle’ characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit. Not much fighting in that list.

  • Stephen Mook

    Michael,
    I agree with you. Engaging with the organizing principle problem could bring people from all stances to the table together.
    Would you also say that the problem begins with how we understand Jesus as a man? We’ve done well in speaking about Jesus as fully God, but often been silient when understanding Jesus as fully human.

  • Dave

    What if Rev. John Smith stands to preach this Sunday wearing bright red glossy lipstick?
    Now, assuming the shade of red coordinates nicely with the attire and that John isn’t a nickname for Mrs. Smith, or that red isn’t the only color of a medication for his rare labium degenerate disease, will people not have a problem with that choice?
    Why however? Continuing, I think in most cases we can expect that in the coming week, likely the elders will pursue their pastor with concerns and questions about his state of mind and heart. Yet, why will they do that? Then they will ask Rev. John to, at the very least, “go neutral” on Sundays until they’ve worked this out together. Rev. John may reply, “What’s the problem with red?” To which the elders will say, what?
    Seems to me that the church is a long way from having worked out a biblically sound doctrine of masculinity. Would not the starting point of a dialog about something begin with a definition of that something?
    For many years now, I read, we’ve all read, many articles, blogs, books, on gender. Habitually, my first respond is to locate the author’s definition of masculinity. Rarely is that included, much more likely just assumed, or implied. And when present, the definition is more intuitive than inductive. And predictably personalized or duplicating.
    In other words, a consistent, biblically endorsed definition of masculinity, broadly held in the evangelical community, continues to be elusive. That’s the take away of my reading anyhow.
    Hence, extremes such as Driscoll’s musculinity (not a typo), get traction in the Christian community because, if nothing else, they are a welcome certitude in a sea of vacillation.
    I think it help us advance a working definition of masculinity if we can agree that there are two components: created masculinity and cultural masculinity. The two overlap and interrelate. How they relate largely is a product of one’s view of Scripture I think. In my case, I believe created masculinity always trumps cultural masculinity, never the other way around. Albeit, though distinct, meaningful understanding requires both components worked out in tandem not isolation.
    There is man as God intends him. Man in a God-ordered world. And, there is created man expressing himself within a given culture.
    Perhaps George Washington didn’t wear bright red glossy lipstick. But he did wear a wig. Still, can’t imagine even Mark Driscoll accusing our first president of being a chick.
    See, if we don’t apprehend the existence and interconnectedness of both components, created and cultural, then one component will swallow the other in a way that frustrates wisdom, not enlightening us in the way of it.

  • http://repairworldpiecemeal.blogspot.com/ ahumanoid

    I don’t know if this was already mentioned, but one obvious (and possibly the main) reason that the church has more females is due to the lifespan difference between men and women. People often become more faith conscious later in life; this also happens to be the time when the gender ratio starts to become skewed due to the longer lifespan of females. I’ve seen a lot of widows in church. . . maybe Driscoll needs to take lifespan differences into account.

  • Karl

    It’s odd to me that people who have no problem suggesting certain churches or branches of Christianity have been overly dominated by the masculine, bristle so at the suggestion that it might be possible for some expressions of Christianity to be overly dominated by the femininine. If the one is true, then the other is certainly at least possible.
    I don’t agree with Driscoll, or with Podles who I mentioned above, as far as their diagnoses and prescriptions go. But while our common humanity runs far deeper than the divide between the sexes I don’t think we’re androgynous beings either, and I think it’s unhealthy for the faith to be expressed in ways that leave either large numbers of women or of men feeling like it isn’t speaking to them and like there is no way for them to express their faith in ways that are true to who they are – including sex or gender influenced traits.

  • http://www.larryshallenberger.com Larry Shallenberger

    It’s ironic to me that at the same time those like Driscoll complain about church being feminized that women complain about the patriarchal nature of it.

  • Julie

    Everything about Driscoll’s hyper-masculinity is necessarily about power: it’s about strength, it’s about violence, it’s about self-assurance, it’s about decision-making… and it’s about having strength, violence, self-assurance, and the ability to make decisions over against women. If those qualities are what makes a man a “man”, then those qualities can’t be held by women.
    It also defines “strength” and “power” in perfectly conventional ways – the typical ways we define “strength” and “power” in Western male culture. It imposes those categories on the person of Jesus (strength and power mean violence and putting people in their “place”!), rather than allowing the person of Jesus to define those categories (strength and power mean servanthood, martyrdom, and abolishing social “places”).
    Are there really fewer men coming to church services because church services aren’t bloody and sexualized enough? Or are there fewer men coming to church services because there are fewer male role models who are genuinely reflecting Christ? What if instead of bringing in the MMA videos, churches partnered with something like Donald Miller’s Mentoring Project – giving young men positive images of Christlike role models?

  • David Brush

    When i think of masculine qualities I want to pass on to my son they are as follows:
    Integrity – Stick to your word (let your yes be yes and your no be no).
    Passion – Do what you have been impassioned by God to do, and do with all of your being!
    Self Discipline – Do what you need to do when it needs to be done.
    Risk – Take steps that push you outside of your comfort zone.
    Honesty – Own up to your mistakes and then learn from them.
    Confidence – You are an adopted child of the King!
    Love – Unashamed and In all of it’s appropriate forms!
    If I have instilled these qualities then as far as I am concerned he is a man! I don’t see what his cultural and personal likes and dislikes have to do with his manhood.

  • RJS

    David,
    A great list – but how would they be any different passed on to your daughter?

  • http://davidbrush.com David Brush

    RJS@47
    Indeed they wouldn’t! I think that is my point. What Christ deals with are character issues. Cultural likes and dislikes aside. My son and daughter are both Children of God, and as such their identity is not and should not be defined as lacking because they don’t conform to a human standard or category.
    Thanks for replying.

  • Josh M

    Why, after watching this clip, do I feel like punching Mark in the face? Oh … that just means I’m a REAL dude! Nothing wrong about that! Phew! How much more Christlike can I get?

  • Your Name

    I agree that “chickified” is sexist and belittling and should be avoided. I also see that there is systemic sex and gender discrimination in our society and cultural structures, which both feeds into and is supported by Driscoll’s approach.
    That being said, gender is a cultural creation, not something that is inherent such that it can only be expressed in one form. In every culture men and women are differentially gendered, and it is important to pay attention to this both in regard to its harms and its benefits.
    It is wrong to be uncrticaly about gendering and to participate in discriminatory gendering, for example, excluding women from certain jobs based upon their sex, or paying them less for the same work, or excluding them from politics or not giving them the vote.
    Within a particular culture, however, one should participate in non-harmful gendering, both because gender distinctions are important and because the gospel is more important that opposing secondary distinctions. Every culture has male and female gender distinctives, and we should participate in those of our culture (which will be different from those in another, and a more difficult process in a multicultural setting). Hence I do not teach my boys to knit, nor would I allow it, because they can express their interest in art or in a fine motor skill or calming activity in a way that is more typically male. I engage in art (drawing, painting, poetry), but also shoot animals dead. I don’t expect that my boys have to become hunters or engage in shooting, but I do expect them to engage in activities that in our culture are masculine such as competitive team sports. Thus no lipstick or dress wearing, no playing with Barbies (unless playing with their friends who are girls).
    We should not support or participate in gender distinctions that oppress, demean or discriminate against women. But we should participate in ones that are secondary and culturally appropriate.
    Sorry, but knitting?? Seriously? I suppose it might be tolerable if one engaged in other culturally appropriate male activities.
    regards,
    #John

  • DEREK DWIGHT

    Fantastic civil debate! I think that men can be men without the miscogynistic view of several churches. I look at running a household as a team effort with both sides having strengths and weaknesses. We also live by the idea that ours is an observable life of honor and integrity in all we do. Mr Brush, your list is great. I may add selflessness and adaptability. The chickification pervades daily life (The new brawny paper towel man) and a “real” man (however defined) must stay with what he knows is right.

  • Darren King

    Okay, first of all, I still don’t get why ANYONE with any kind of credibility takes Driscoll seriously. And that’s an indictment against the state of evangelicalism in general, not Driscoll.
    Secondly, there’s a difference (a BIG difference) between trying to connect with men that enjoy certain kinds of activities, and actually saying that this one kind of male persona is the “real” or even “best” understanding of manhood; and to say its the most “Christlike” seems to me to be preposterous.
    Thirdly, growing up I was actually really good at sports, AND I could read, write and speak in multi-syllabic words. When I first became a Christian – in my later teen years – I actually ran into Christians who were shocked that I could do both. They expected, according to their own stereotypes, that one follows one path or the other; and that God gifts you with one ability or the other. I thought that was really silly. And I never really ran into it BEFORE I was in Christian circles. Hmmm…

  • http://sacramentalliving.blogspot.com/ Gina

    Was Jesus too feminine? He certainly went against the grain of what was considered masculine in his culture, by not marrying, by teaching women, by turning the other cheek.
    I often wonder if these issues are used to avoid the really difficult task of living as a child of God.

  • Jeremy

    The issue I would take with Driscoll here is that, per his Relevant interview, he is placing very specific requirements on Jesus to be worthy of worship…this seems very upside down to me. If his version of masculinity trumps the lordship of Christ and power of the Spirit to lead us away from false cultural gender requirements, we’ve got very, very serious problems. (I will, however, shy away from any more than that statement as I really don’t know enough about the nuances of his view, which I’m sure exist.)

  • Marc

    This is an emotional issue. Not surprisingly, I’m seeing a lot of personal preference and cultural arguments rather than an appeal to scripture:
    In regard to our vertical relationship to God, I see Galatians 3 stating ” 26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
    In this regard, I will disagree with some complimentarians in their view the role of women in ministry.
    However, I think the Bible remains clear on the horizontal role between men and women. While Jews/Greeks, Slaves/Owners, and Male/Female may all be one “in Christ”, they certainly maintained their roles horizontally.
    “Vertical Complimentarianism, Horizontal Egalitarianism”
    Thoughts?

  • Marc

    CORRECTION:
    “Vertical Egalitarianism, Horizontal Complimentarianism” (Need more coffee) ;)

  • nathan

    @ Josh M:
    I just about spit out my latte from laughing so hard.

  • ted

    Not a major Driscoll fan but this post does serve to highlight how many on here have formed solid opinions with so little accurate information.
    1. Driscoll does not advocate that guys must be a certain way. He has REPEATEDLY taught/preached that biblical masculinity is not about who can bench press the most weight, have the biggest truck, or punch the hardest. Rather he is instead referring to the mandate men have to take responsibility and serve their families and churches, and not live as if the goal is to avoid all duty and responsibility like what has become so popular in our culture.
    2. Driscoll does not “attack” women or in any way advocate their suppression. Rather he teaches that husbands and men are to practice chivalry and service for their wives and women in the church. Does this mean he differs on women as elders than some on this blog? Yes. But it does not follow that he thinks women are an enemy to masculinity as some of the comments on here state.
    I think in order for this conversation to actually move forward some on this comment thread should spend more time actually understanding Driscoll’s view in a way that would be recognizable to him. Of course you are free to agree or disagree but making a caricature only makes you narrow minded and unable to truly understand those that you disagree with.

  • Travis Greene

    Julie brings up Donald Miller’s mentoring project, which reminds me of my favorite line of his.
    A real man has a penis.
    More to the topic at hand: Mark Driscoll is addressing what is a real problem in some segments of the church. But I’m not sure his cure is better than the disease.

  • nathan

    @ Marc,
    but aren’t “roles” culturally defined?

  • pds

    I stopped reading when he called Driscoll a “misogynist.” Does Driscoll really hate women? Is calling someone a hater without a good basis “hate speech”? It is certainly unloving and a conversation stopper.

  • nathan

    @ted,
    and yet he DOES say things like a stay-at-home dad would probably need to receive church discipline.
    and he DOES articulate that serving a family looks a certain way or that if a man doesn’t do certain spiritual practices consistently that means he’s becoming feminized.
    so the caveats from him aren’t born out in his actual on the ground teaching.
    he’s hardly offering the benign generalized complementarianism I grew up with.
    he’s clearly celebrating a particular form of masculinity as normative/ideal.

  • Egidia

    I find it interesting that these comments are all by men. My husband and I attended Mark Driscoll’s Song of Solomon conference in St. Paul, MN and we thought it was really excellent. Mark Driscoll makes it clear that men and women are equals. We walk side by side with men, not behind or in front of them. We were created by God to be man’s companion and helper, just as the Holy Spirit is sent by God to be our helper on earth. Even though He helps us, the Holy Spirit is Divine and not in any way inferior to us–in the same way women are not in any way inferior to men.
    Mark wants men to be the men the bible tells them to be and to be spiritual leaders in the home. Men are supposed to love their wives and treat them well and women are supposed to respect their husbands. Mark loves his wife, Gracie, deeply and I found myself wishing over and over that my husband showed me that kind of love and was as thoughtful and considerate to me. I also found myself wishing that he would take charge spiritually and lead us in daily prayer, devotionals, and reading the bible out loud, instead of me having to do it. Men have an innate need to feel like they are in charge (although they think they are, whether or not they actually are is a different story) and a man who doesn’t wear the pants in the family is pitied by all and considered weak. Women have an innate need to feel really loved and secure. A man who is deeply loving and considerate to his wife will be respected by his wife and his desire to feel in charge will be accepted, because she loves him back and understands his God-given need to feel manly and protective, just as she understands her little boy’s need to act like a boy. That doesn’t mean that a women roles over and plays dead. She is his equal and his companion and she is part of the decision-making process. Have no doubt she will make a stand when her husband is in the wrong. A good woman, through prayer and love, will help her man become a great man of God. And, a good man, through love, respect, care and kindness, will help his wife become the strong, confident, loving, nurturing woman of God she was meant to be. Marriage sands down the rough edges and makes both men and women better people. We weren’t created by God to be two androgynous beings united in marriage. With this modern thinking, no wonder the divorce rate is so high! We were created separately, man and woman, and each brings unique abilities, skills, talents, and needs to complement each other in marriage, not compete with each other. Understanding this leads to convenant marriages that are happy, that enjoy great sex, that last a lifetime. Read the bible, and learn from it. It is the only guide you need.

  • Alan K

    Are masculinity and femininity theological words? Cultures across the globe and throughout time have defined those words in quite different ways. Hopefully at Jesus Creed we ask the question: does God say those words? If so, how?
    If this conversation begins with culture it will never ever make its way back to God. Let us begin by talking theologically (not biologically or psychologically or culturally) about who we are as men and women.

  • Rob

    @63 – Men have an innate need to feel like they are in charge (although they think they are, whether or not they actually are is a different story) and a man who doesn’t wear the pants in the family is pitied by all and considered weak. Women have an innate need to feel really loved and secure.
    Do you really believe these stereotypes are “innate”? I have no desire to “be in charge”, and I need to feel loved. Does that make me less of a male? What you (and if that is what Mark said, then Mark too) find innate, most sociologist and psychologists call culturally conditioned. Most people don’t fit in to nice neat packages of charateristics.

  • Stephen Mook

    Richard, as you picked up on, many will call out the liberalism In others while preaching that they can’t worship a Jesus they can beat up and advocating for a Jesus that looks more American then the Jesus of scripture.
    I dont’t have an issue with pastors having beliefs towards specific gender roles in the church and at home. The bigger issue that I hope people can focus on is the ways in which we preach Jesus, specifically to men. Driscoll and others make these comments towards more “femine” men because he believes that they have been given a femine Jesus. I understand some of his critque but i’m troubled when I see him and many of his converts take Jesus to the opposite extreme.

  • Egidia

    Genesis 2:18-25
    18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
    19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.
    But for Adam [a] no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs [b] and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib [c] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
    23 The man said,
    “This is now bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
    she shall be called ‘woman, [d] ‘
    for she was taken out of man.”
    24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
    25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
    Deuteronomy 22:5 (New International Version)
    5 A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this.
    Proverbs 31: 10-12, 25-31
    10 A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
    11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
    12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
    25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
    26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
    27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
    28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
    29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
    30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
    31 Give her the reward she has earned,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

  • http://krusekronicle.typepad.com Michael W. Kruse

    Wow! Make a comment, take a phone call, return to make another comment … there are 30 more comments! :-)
    #40 Stephen
    I don’t think that it is so much a problem of seeing Jesus as a man as it is in seeing Jesus as human. Too often our images are “Jesus weak and mild” from childrens story Bibles … the Jesus of a Thomas Kinkadesque Christmas card.
    From a sociological view, power is largely about getting others to conform to your will even against their will. Authority is about behaving in such a way that are others see you consistently seeking what’s best and choosing to follow. Limited use of power is necessary in human systems but the undergirding theme of the Kingdom of God is leading with authority.
    Much of the cultural vision of masculine is about exercising power. Much of the feminist movement is about women becoming more masculine in this regard. Jesus vision is men and women leading with authority. Exercising power over others is often the wimpy way of leadership … it tries to bypass the hard work of developing inner-character and self-restraint, as your seek and pray for the transformation of the world. Leading with authority isn’t for wimps.

  • kent

    Okay, is there a place for a NASCAR loving – see the deer shoot the deer, and what you don’t eat you sutff and mount on the living room wall – loving his Chevy truck kinda guy in the church? Yeah I know that many women love NASCAR as well. My office administrator a very nice woman 2tawjqis a big fan of the left turn league. But the question still remains how do you speak to this type of person in the church?

  • Egidia

    @65 Rob
    Hi, yes, I really do feel those are innate traits, although I do allow that there no doubt are some exceptions to the rule. Boys and girls are different right from birth. I would say that you have been culturally conditioned against those innate traits. Perhaps if you were in a situation where you felt like a woman wasn’t respecting your desires, opinions or authority, you would understand it. Yes, of course you and all men want to be loved. I should have mentioned that as well.
    1 Corinthians 13:13
    13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

  • Paul

    RJS #4
    Thanks for your thoughts! I definitely agree with you.
    I have a question… Can anyone help me to define what masculinity and femininity would look like in an egalitarian manner? Specifically what would the differences between the two be? My friends and I have this discussion a lot as we are all raising small children (boys and girls) and we sometimes struggle to find ways in which we should treat the children differently when it comes to gender. Thoughts?

  • Karl

    When we are told that humans were “created in God’s image” it’s clear that both women and men are equally image bearers of God. And I don’t see any grounds for saying that the list of spiritual gifts doesn’t apply equally across the board to women as well as men, without distinction.
    At the same time we are told “male and female God created them.” Are there really no (non-culturally conditioned) differences between the two, other than genitalia? Is that all this verse is referring to – that there are biologically two types of otherwise completely interchangeable humans? If so – if they are really identical with no difference between them other than the way their bodies are shaped – then why does it matter if a church is run by all men? Nothing would really be changed by the addition of a woman’s voice, would it? On the other hand, if there are some real differences between the two in addition to the many important commonalities, then maybe those differences might make it important for voices of women as well as voices of men to be heard.
    I can see someone saying “but women have been subjugated by men and therefore their voices are valuable as the voices of those who have been subjugated – they have a story to tell and a uniuque perspective.” I get that, and agree. But if a community arrives over the course of a few generations at a place where subjugation iof women is no more, stereotypes are defeated and all humans are treated equally, would you then say that there is no reason to make sure women’s voices are included any more? That nothing would really be gained by it because they bring nothing different, new or additional to the table than men? I doubt it – I sure think it would still be important. And if it’s important for women’s voices to be heard and not overbalanced by the male, then it’s equally important the other way.

  • Egidia

    69 Kent
    Yes, there absolutely is a place for that kind of man in the church. My husband is a big hunter who drives a truck, but he loves God and loves church. Read my earlier comments about marriage–maybe 63? (not sure).

  • Rob

    @70 – The sex difference of males and females “right from birth” have nothing to do with gender, which is culturally shaped.
    Perhaps if you were in a situation where you felt like a woman wasn’t respecting your desires, opinions or authority, you would understand it.
    You again are equating desires with a sex. The desire to have your opinions and desires respected goes across the sexes. Authority is totally different. I don’t see that my wife has to “respect my authoritee!” because I’m her husband. I don’t have such authority that you speak of, neither does she. Here’s an awesome concept that we practice in our marriage…mutual submission/respect for each other under the authority of Christ.

  • http://krusekronicle.typepad.com Michael W. Kruse

    How curious that several have declared knitting anathema to maleness. Have we already forgotten Rosey Grier, star lineman of the Fearsome Foursome on the L. A. Rams back in the sixties? Rosey is big time into knitting and macramé. (See”>http://www.tikaro.com/2007/12/nerdlepoint-pillow-got-boingbo.html”>See here.) I ate lunch with him and three other guys about fifteen years ago. He knitted through half the meal and then took of his jean jacket to show the giant rose (for roesy) he had stitched on to the back of it. You want to tell Rosey he isn’t masculine?
    I was also intrigued by a story about little boys wanting kitchen sets for Christmas. Turns out these little guys have been watching episodes of Emeril Lagasse on the Food Network with their folks. BAM … they want to be like Emeril.
    Gender roles are a bit slippery don’t you think?

  • Joey

    Egidia,
    Not trying to be condescending, but just quoting scripture is not exactly constructive or helpful. Maybe if you explain why you feel that scripture is pertinent to any point you’re making it would help further the conversation (by the way, I’m all for people using scripture). I welcome your voice but please don’t pretend that you are the only one who understands what the Bible says.
    Also, not all of the comments are from men. Check out RJS’s comments. I think there are one or two other women commenting as well.
    Peace

  • http://krusekronicle.typepad.com Michael W. Kruse

    Messed up my link in #75:
    See here.
    I’ll also add this story a woman pastor friend told me a few years ago. Her two young boys were playing church with the neighbor kids. They wanted her son to be the preacher. His response? “I don’t want to be the preacher. That’s women’s work! The only pastor he had seen was his Mom. :-)

  • Peggy

    Michael, thanks for making the Rosey Grier comment so I don’t have to. My nine year old son asked me to teach him to crochet a couple of months back. It was a lesson in perseverance and coordination and concentration … and he was incredibly proud when he got the hang of it. But don’t get in this boy’s way on the soccer field, or wonder whether he can hold his own with two older brothers.
    I’ve been blogging a bit about a book in the pipes by my ministry mentor about how Jesus and Paul set about to undermine ancient patriarchy. Particularly important was Jesus’ call to give up power in order to serve, so that God’s power shines through. Paul continue this when he says that being weak in the eyes of men is not a problem for those who depend on the strength of God.
    The weakness Paul is talking about is when men turn their backs on their culture’s expectations concerning domination and power and violence as the road to success. Jesus calls us to lay down human power and pick up a servant’s towel. Paul said when he is seen as weak in human terms, then he is actually strong in the Lord.
    The Image of God is compound — male and female. Christ has asked us to embrace the value of father and mother, sister and brother, husband and wife … and asks us to lay down issues of power and control and truly lead by loving and serving and encouraging and equipping each and every person to follow Jesus to the best of their ability … so that our Father is glorified by our restraint (as counter-cultural ambassadors for the Kingdom of God) of human power in order to share extravagantly the love of God and the fruit of the Spirit.
    Just as our children look to their fathers and mothers for clues in how to act, we are to look to our heavenly Father and our elder brother, Jesus, for this same thing … and submit to the prompting and leading of the Holy Spirit when it come to training our hearts and our bodies for that most challenging process of growing up.

  • Stephen Mook

    #68 Michael
    I agree. Your approach and perspective is helpful. I can easily spend to
    much energy critiquing Driscoll and others for teaching on a false and American version of Jesus (which needs to be done) because I believe it’s heretical and unhelpful. Yet, I often forget to engage with the questions that they’re confronting. Questions that need to lead to bigger questions of Jesus true humanity and a more robust understanding of what true authority looks like. All for the benifit of men and women leading at church, at home, and in the marketplace.
    I think there is a book that needs to be devolped from your comments…

  • http://julieclawson.com Julie Clawson

    - John #38 – passing the buck to say “he did it first” doesn’t really help. If a term is offensive, call it out and say it is offensive, don’t use it because it is convenient and was used in the conversation by others.
    - It would be great to get some anthropologists on here to help people understand how culturally created gender is. When you start studying other cultures and see that what in our culture is labeled feminine is strongly masculine in other cultures. That even in western european culture certain roles have shifted from one gender to the other in just the past couple hundred years, it is really hard to cling tight to the belief that gender roles are universals. I think a lot of the pain and misunderstanding in this discussion comes from people making that false assumption. There is no such thing as a biblical definition of masculinity and femininity – trying to create one only hurts the people who don’t match whatever definition of the week is being offered.
    And, seriously – mocking guys who knit? Are we that shallow here? If they were making chainmaille (which is a lot like knitting) would they be mocked for not being real men too? Was Ghandi not a real man for weaving his own clothing? Are the First Nations textile weavers not real men? If this is the definition of masculinity we have and people still don’t get that it is culturally conditioned, then there is no help for us.
    And to all those who say that a discussion like this is just like the discussions against patriarchy, I think you missing the point. If there is ever a period when women hold all the power in the church and culture, then perhaps asking if the church is too feminized might be a valid concern. But to ask it in reaction to women gaining a smidgen of power and respect in the church is hurtful. We start to have a voice, and we get told that our presence is ruining the church and that men won’t condescend to learning from women. That’s hurtful no matter how you spin it. And to know that church leaders care more about making sure that those men are comfortable and don’t have to face there fears than they do about hurting and silencing all women is just sad in my opinion.
    And as for those who notice how few women are commenting here. I’ve heard from woman after women that they really have no desire to participate in the discussions here anymore because of the low opinion of women most of the men have here. They see no need to willingly be exposed to abusing hurtful language. They see avoid the community here as a way to have some self-respect and be healthy. Just saying.

  • Rick

    Stephen #79-
    “I can easily spend to much energy critiquing Driscoll and others for teaching on a false and American version of Jesus (which needs to be done) because I believe it’s heretical and unhelpful.”
    Say what you will about Driscoll’s position on this topic (men in church), but calling his teaching “heretical” is a very big charge.
    What part of his teaching is in opposition to historic orthodoxy?

  • RJS

    Julie,
    Get real – a poor opinion of women? Avoid the community to have some-self respect? Well, since I participate and blog here rather regularly and am certainly a female – wife and mother as well as scholar and professional – I take some umbrage at this comment.
    Stand up for yourself and get in the discussion. Don’t run away because Scot allows everyone to be heard as long as they present their opinions and views civilly.

  • http://krusekronicle.typepad.com Michael W. Kruse

    I’ll add that I think there are disproportionate numbers of women in church. From what I’ve read it is more pronounced in Mainline congregations than in Evangelical settings. I don’t know what the story is for RC of Orthodox. Here is one thought I’ve had.
    Whether by nature or nurture, I think men in our culture generally have less holistic identities than women do. A significant majority of women have careers, and their work is important to them, but not in ways it often is to men. Men are more inclined to have their identities thoroughly warped up in their work.
    At church, women often find networks and support systems for some aspects of their lives they deem important. Men generally do not, or at least not to the same degree. For men, the world of church is a parallel universe separate from their Mon through Sat daily lives. Instead of being God’s servants sent into the world, the church functions more as a diversion from everyday life. Our big satisfaction comes in the form of engaging a social justice cause, building a Habitat house, or going on a mission trip … not that any of these are wrong … but they frequently work as escapism from daily life, which is perceived to have little redeeming value.
    Research I read awhile back reported that around 90% of Mainline congregants can’t recall a sermon by their pastor that addressed the marketplace and business as a calling. And here I mean the work itself as a calling … not the workplace as a staging ground for evangelism or social justice efforts. When issues of the marketplace or business are raised in the Mainline church it is usually at best ambivalent and often openly critical.
    I think Evangelical churches may have churches that lift up business people but they are frequently execs and other shinning stars that most in the pew can not identify with. The congregants are still left without a healthy model of service in the work world.
    Sacred vs Secular dualities and obliviousness … if not hostility … toward various aspects of the cultural mandate make the church irrelevant to our daily lives. At one level we need to learn that our work does not define who we are but at another level learn that our work … and I don’t just mean the “helping” professions but sales clerks, accountants, pipe fitters, database managers, etc. … is a high calling, our service to God. I suspect the absence of this holistic view of life and ministry has a disproportionately alienating effect on men in our culture.

  • Sarah

    @ Julie,
    I am convinced that no matter what Driscoll ever did with the rest of his life you could not conjure up one nice thing to ever say about him. Your comments are always ideological and predictable. Maybe this would be a good time for you to practice loving your enemies and let them speak for themselves instead of making them into the villians you assume them to be

  • Richard

    @ 80 Julie, that was a very broad brush stroke in your final paragraph. Not saying there haven’t been people hurt on this message board, just like any other on the internet with limited communication, but it’s not real helpful or honest to lump the whole community in with that assessment.

  • http://julieclawson.com Julie Clawson

    RJS – it might sound offensive, but it is the truth as I’ve been told by women. These are actually people who feel abused if they participate here and so have removed themselves from this conversation. It might be uncomfortable, but it is reality.
    Sarah – I’m sorry if ideology is offensive. But I won’t back down, shut-up, or run-away when people are being hurt and sinned against. I’m glad it’s predictable that I take a stand for women. Thank you.

  • Peggy

    When it come to cross-cultural evangelism, it’s not just for different races or language groups. It’s for every group where there are barriers to receiving the Gospel based on cultural differences between the one sharing and the one receiving.
    Listening to a video of Alan Hirsch yesterday, talking about cultural distance, is fresh in my mind. He points out the need for those missionary folks (that’s everyone, by the way — we are a sent people) going to others to observe and listen to the story of the people and the places where they are struggling without thinking, in advance, that you already understand their story and their need.
    This call to see and listen in humility is foundational if we are to hear the Spirit’s voice concerning how Jesus is already at work in their stories and struggles … so that we can get out our little mirrors and shine a ray of God’s light on them.
    The love of God, as lived out in Jesus, is big enough and diverse enough and pervasive enough to be recognized everywhere. The problem is that we tend to recognize it only when it is familiar to us.
    The counter-cultural call of Christ is for all humans, in all their various cultural contexts, to put down what they were taught by their fathers and mothers in order to pick up what Father, Son and Holy Spirit want to teach about being strong and faithful and obedient children on the Kingdom. This will take all the beautiful qualities of each human and bring them to the table, where all will benefit from the great wisdom to be found all around … if one is willing to look.

  • reJoyce

    #80 Julie said:
    “I’ve heard from woman after women that they really have no desire to participate in the discussions here anymore because of the low opinion of women most of the men have here.”
    I’ve been reading Scot’s blog for a long time in part because he does not have a low opinion of women, so I’m finding you comment confusing. Do you mean on this particular blog or on Beliefnet in general?

  • Karl

    I’m still wondering if those emphasizing how culturally conditioned gender roles are (I agree for the most part), would say that women bring anything unique to the table other than their victim status?
    I happen to think that even aside from women’s victim status, they bring things to a conversation, simply by virtue of being female rather than male, that the conversation would be poorer without. I believe that a church made up equally of men and women all treating each other with complete respect and equality would look and function and worship differently than a church made up exclusively of women, or exclusively of men, treating each other with complete respect and equality. I can’t tell that others here (the most strident anti-gender roles folks) would agree.

  • AHH

    I’d second ahumanoid #42 that different life expectancy must account for some of the difference in numbers. But it does seem that most Christian churches (at least in the US) have more “missing men” than life expectancy alone would explain. And it is certainly worth asking why this is and how the church could better reach these men, even if one does not like Driscoll’s analysis. I like the thoughts of Michael #83 on that question.
    I have two main problems with the Driscoll-like approach:
    1) The use of female descriptors as derogatory terms for men and churches sends the message (even if not intended) that to be female is an inferior state.
    2) The association of certain traits with “real men”, “Godly men”, etc. marginalizes those of us men who are more reflective, gentle, etc. If the process of making the church more welcoming for extroverted men who like NASCAR and hunting and MMA and mountain biking makes it less welcoming for introverted men who like reading and intimate conversation and nature walks (or knitting!), you have just traded one problem for another.
    I think the traits that really matter for both men and women are not these personality and culture things, but those David #46 mentioned and the Fruit of the Spirit.

  • Scot McKnight

    I avoided responding to the critique of using “chickified” because I thought we all understood it to be connected to how Mark Driscoll talks, and that Beck in the article and in the quote I gave, used it in quotes for what Driscoll said. At least that was my intent, too: to use his words to draw us into an examination of what I think is a good article.

  • RJS

    Julie,
    I repeat – stand up for yourself and join in, not as a reactionary but as a rational intelligent adult.
    As a 50 year old woman in a male dominated field and an evangelical to boot – there isn’t much you can tell me about the painfulness of some attitudes by some people. But “run away and hide” isn’t actually a very effective way to either grow up or make a difference. Neither is it very productive to hide oneself in a bath of affirmation.

  • http://julieclawson.com Julie Clawson

    Richard & reJoyce – I did not say that Scot or the entire community held such an opinion, but that it is common enough here in the comments that certain women did not feel safe. Two – three years ago there where a lot more women participating here. I don’t know why every single one of them has left, but I have received comments from a good number of them saying that they could no longer participate here. It wasn’t running-away necessarily, but that they needed time to heal from the wounds of patriarchy the church had inflicted on them and that to do so they needed to protect themselves from continuing to hear those degrading messages for awhile. For some women holding our own in conversations like these is no problem, but for other women to have people debating around you if you are a sinner for following God’s call or if you are the reason the church is failing is too oppressive and soul-scarring.

  • NDMB

    I actually go to Mars Hill Church, sit under Pastor Mark’s preaching every week, and interact with women at the church.
    Only a few weeks ago one of the girls I serve alongside said, “Why would I not want to be at a church where the men are told to read their Bibles, get jobs, and take care of their wives?”
    Doesn’t sound misogynistic to me. In fact, in my time here I haven’t found a single woman feels differently from that.
    Additionally, since this article is talking about men and women’s roles in church, why doesn’t it actually use scripture for the argument?

  • RJS

    NDMB,
    Being told to read Bibles, get jobs, and take care of their wives isn’t the problem.
    Terminology that defines positive human character as “masculine” and uses expressions like “chickified” as a slur is a problem.
    Using “feminine” as an adjective to degrade other pastors and ministries – this is a problem (both the desire to degrade others and the intrinsic degradation of women inherent in the “insult”).
    Telling women that debts for education are wrong – if they get married and have children they are robbing their husbands for their own selfish desires – this is a problem.
    Claiming that men who are “stay-at-home” dads should probably be brought up for church discipline – this is a problem.

  • faith

    I think that there is one good point that I read in “Why Men Hate Church.” We have focused too much on intimacy with God and not enough on the Kingdom of God, justice type actions.
    I also think that too much emphasis on pastoral care has resulted in creating a dynamic in which people expect to find lots of TLC at church and from a pastor–he appears “chickified”. (even though I hate that word as it is an insult to women.)
    We could use more challenge to mature in our pastoral care. I would like to see men “become their own man” and “women find their voices.” (which is really the same thing). And be able to speak forth-rightly and assertively in community with one another when needed.
    The movement toward a more missional church is refreshing and may help guys connect more.
    One thing i believe is really negative is that guys don’t like to study. That is a stereotype that must be challenged… we need an informed people of God for these times and should not create a situation in which it is considered feminine to be studious.(something I have heard from this movement.)

  • Peggy

    Just an encouragement for those of you who have not read the subject post, please do read Dr. Beck’s post!
    And RJS and Julie: I can relate to both of your experiences. I can speak up for myself (and frequently do). I also weary of what often feels like an exercise of throwing pearls before swine: they trample what is precious to me under their feet and then turn to attack.
    I participate less here than in the “old days” (when I was considered “a sheriff” over at the One T Saloon) because the platform is so difficult to interact with … and I am weary with raising three godly young sons. ;^) And because it so often seems like there is a never-ending line of men who just don’t get it … I sometimes grow weary in well-doing, as it were.
    Thanks, Scot, for your support of the sisters and for keeping the subject in front of the brothers. You (and so many of the faithful Jesus Creed family) can never be too much of an encourager to those who are still working through the long healing process….

  • Joey

    NDMB,
    the scriptural arguments were assumed by the author. His intent wasn’t to do exegesis but to depend upon the good work of exegesis already done to have a different conversation. If you’re looking for Biblical engagement to this you can find it but that wasn’t what the article was written for.
    For good engagement try the blog Women in Ministry http://strivetoenter.com/wim/
    The issue, as RJS has pointed out, isn’t that Driscoll is telling folks to read their Bible, get a job, and take care of their family it is that he is espousing a very particular, and I would argue sub-biblical, version of what those three “encouragements” mean.

  • Joey

    Peggy,
    “I also weary of what often feels like an exercise of throwing pearls before swine: they trample what is precious to me under their feet and then turn to attack.”
    I like the imagery.

  • http://www.purescum.wordpress.com Nick Mackison

    “they needed time to heal from the wounds of patriarchy the church had inflicted on them”
    Julie, with all due respect, does the veracity of biblical truth hinge upon whether it hurts our feelings or not? Does the fact that some folk have been offended by forthright discussion mean that this blog is a bad place and that we need to repent? If people have been gratuitously offended then that is wrong, but offense in the name of rhobust debate is a fact of life.
    For instance, some complementarians may find your above statement idealogically biased and offensive but you have a right to say it and it shouldn’t stop such people coming back here. It works both ways.

  • Alan K

    “We need a muscular Christian. Someone to make people stand up and take notice.”
    This was, hands down, the very worst line from “Chariots of Fire.” It suggested that somehow God’s work in the world required a certain kind of man. This was looking at culture and trying to draw a line from it to God. I think at times Driscoll is guilty of this.
    “I believe God made me for a purpose, for China. But he also made me fast, and when I run I feel his pleasure.”
    This was, hands down, the very best line from “Chariots of Fire.” This was the drawing of a line from God to Eric Liddel and to the world. In the same way, let us draw lines from God for the sake of having an anthropology that is theological instead of cultural.

  • Peggy

    Hey, Nick…
    Not that Julie can’t stand up for herself, but I’ll whip out my Deputy Sheriff badge and pull you over for a chat on the porch for a moment.
    We’re not talking about forthright discussions being hurtful here. We’re talking about women who have systematically been undermined by men in the name of God for so long and so deeply that their spirits have been truly injured. Once burned, twice shy comes to mind. Some of us have been burned badly enough that our tender skin cannot stand even a normal “touch” … so we are asking for kindness and grace and mercy in our circumstance.
    If you need help understanding the scriptural mandate to be loving, I would be happy to help you … but I’m pretty sure you catch my drift.
    As you were. ;^)

  • nathan

    @RJS in #95:
    Hear, hear! :)
    I remember when my dad lost his ministry job because of the fallout of a church split. We would have lost our house if my mom hadn’t been a professional with a solid career while he looked for another job.
    @NDMB:
    I would add too that there is a problem with (1) telling people to read their bibles as a condition of demonstrating Godly manhood
    OR
    (2) getting a job as a sign of manhood rather than a feature of responsible adult life and demanding that that job must NEVER be domestic in the home
    OR
    (3) defining the “taking care of wives” as something uniquely masculine rather than just a baseline feature of Christlike behavior.
    All 3 have had the issue of “gender” injected where it doesn’t obtain.
    So it’s clearly not as simple as “grow spiritually, be responsible, and be respectful, kind and loving”.

  • Peggy

    …and for those of you who are new, this is the post I have been referring to lately:
    http://blog.beliefnet.com/jesuscreed/2008/04/the-parable-of-the-jesus-creed.html

  • Stephen Mook

    Rick #81
    Thanks for the pushback. I don’t believe that everything that he teaches is heretical. I was refering to what I view as false teaching (which I believe is outside of historical orthodoxy) in regards to his portrayal of Jesus (which is connected with his critique of some men in church). This is why Shane Claiborne called Driscoll out in his book Jesus for President for Driscoll saying that he couldn’t worship a Jesus that he could beat up, while advocating for a Ultimate Fighting Jesus. Claiborne rightly quoted the apostle Paul “I preach Christ crucified.”
    While at seminary, I’ve run into to many men and women who are apart of his Acts 29 church plant that have an encouraging missional heart for the unchurched, while really trying to be faithful to scripture and the Great Tradition. I also appreciate his strong emphasis of Jesus’ divinity, confronting questions of women in ministry (even when I at
    times disagree), and being bold in regards to calling men to sexual purity (to name a few).
    I hope this clarification helps. A false teaching (in my view) doesn’t always translate into a completly false teacher. And hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to raise my concerns with him, as I have with others who have held to similar portrayals of Jesus. As with this blog, charitable conversation over important issues can lead to respect and understanding, even if disagreement still exists.

  • Richard

    @105 Stephen, thanks for clarifying. I was hoping that was what you were referring to. I appreciate your added distinction between a “false teaching” and “false teacher” as well.

  • Vaughn Treco

    “Assertion: a positive statement or declaration, often without support or reason: a mere assertion; an unwarranted assertion.” (see dictionary.com)
    Given the above definition, probably not. However, I am not convinced that this is what Mr. Driscoll is really after.

  • Darren King

    Knowing that I am more progressive than many who populate around Scot’s blog here, I know that I can also sometimes find the comments disturbing and/or archaic. But, that said, I also know that often the only way to get someone to move from a position I find untenable, is to afford them a forum for honest debate. We cannot let political correctness prevent such honest, open debate from taking place. If we do that then people will only retreat further into their own corners to hear more echo from the in-house feedback loop.
    So, in this instance, while I am certainly aware of, and very supportive of, Julie and others’ desire to see certain terminology and theology fade into yesteryear, I think we have to be careful not to create a barrier for some who would otherwise enter the debate.
    Perhaps “chickified” could have been placed in quotes, like I just did, to make it clear that this term is being borrowed from another context. But to insist that it never appear at all, in my mind, in this kind of circumstance, goes too far.

  • Egidia

    @74 Rob
    Hi Rob,
    We will just have to agree to disagree on the innate differences between men and women. I believe that God made us to be different (not only physically) so that we complement and help each other. I don’t believe men and women are exactly the same, except in different bodies. I think that is why there are so many books and jokes out there on the differences between men and women and on why they can’t seem to understand each other. I believe that we are two equal, but different people that become truly one through a God-filled marriage.
    I think you are misunderstanding authority in this sense. It isn’t a man saying, “I am King and you will do what I say!” It is all about loving each other and celebrating your God-given differences. I am very glad that you and your wife practice mutual submission/respect for each other under the authority of Christ and I think Mark Driscoll would agree. We should all do that in general. Ephesians 5:21 says “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” The next section in Ephesians is more specific on Husbands & Wives and the emphasis is on a man loving his wife as much as he loves himself and on her respecting him.

  • Egidia

    @76 Joey
    Hi Joey,
    If you were referring to 67, I was trying to show some scriptures in response to the masculine/feminine request, although there are no scriptures that mention those specific words.
    Blessings

  • Rob

    We will just have to agree to disagree on the innate differences between men and women. I believe that God made us to be different (not only physically) so that we complement and help each other. I don’t believe men and women are exactly the same, except in different bodies.
    You really think that is what I’m saying?? That the only difference is the physical body? I’m not saying that.
    Plus, we need to be careful about using the Ppaterfamilia roles in Ephesians as a transcultural application of husband/wife roles.

  • RJS

    Peggy (#97),
    I agree – and there have been times when I have pulled back from a particular thread, even sent Scot an e-mail to the effect that I couldn’t participate in the discussion – it was too personal. But occasionally backing off is different from a blanket position in what is really a good overall discussion here.
    Bear with the beliefnet forum – it can be a pain, I know. But your voice and perspective adds an important component to the mix – it is missed when you step away for too long.

  • Becki Nelson

    Here’s a tangent…I was surprised Dr Beck lumped Wild at Heart into the same category as PK or Driscoll. As a woman deeply wounded by misogyny early in life, I certainly have not experienced Eldredge as misogynistic in any way. Read Wild at Heart in the context of other Eldredge writings, such as Journey of Desire, Captivating, or Walking with God and you will see that Wild at Heart is less about “macho” and more about men coming to terms with wounds of the past for healing, and accepting their gender tendencies as good gifts to be received, enjoyed, and deployed in mutually submissive relationships, all in union with Jesus. The gender tendencies discussed are broader than “Joe Six Pack’s”. Eldredge himself is highly educated, loves poetry, great books, movies, scholarship, dance, art, and theater as well as hunting, fly fishing and rock climbing. He worked as an actor and in theater before his career as an author. It’s hard for me to see a parallel between him and PK or Driscoll as described in Dr Beck’s post.

  • Alan K

    Egidia,
    I think one of the issues that people are struggling with in this matter is this: does God envisage an economic subordination of women to men? Is there an ontology of gender that results in men having authority in church communities? Or would we still be alright if every single bishop and pastor in the world was a woman? The revelation of Jesus Christ makes me think the latter.

  • Peggy

    Thanks for your encouragement, RJS….
    I really find that I have to be “nudged” by the Spirit to engage posts here. Lots going on in my neck of the woods….

  • RJS

    Becki (#113)
    I’ve read Beck’s post carefully and I don’t think that he is linking Driscoll and Eldredge’s Wild at Heart. In fact he seems to be saying that there is a real place and need for the latter – but not for Driscoll’s rather derogatory language and approach. Many would agree with John (all the way at the top) who found it a good study.
    I however found the husband/wife effort by Stasi and John Eldredge (Captivating: unveiling the mystery of a woman’s soul) to be totally unsatisfying and unrelated to my life, expectations, and mode of thinking. This may get to Beck’s point that education and personality are bigger divides that gender alone.

  • http://www.purescum.wordpress.com Nick Mackison

    Peggy, I catch your drift ;)
    Sorry to hear that you’ve had a tough time in the past. That’s what’s so good about a forum like this; we can listen to one another, enjoy some rhobust conversation and hopefully learn a wee bit about how others feel.

  • http://www.jesustheradicalpastor.com John W Frye

    Peggy (#102 and #104),
    Sister, it’s great to have you back and policing the saloon! I am sorry that you and other sisters have felt wounded or treated insensitively here at the Creed (in the past). We truly need you, however, in the mix so to speak, along with RJS, Julie, and any other sisters who help make us all better humans for Jesus’ sake.

  • Peggy

    I knew you would, Nick! ;^)
    Yes, Scot provides a wonderful forum … which is especially helpful when folks come remembering they have two ears for twice as much listening as talking … although having 10 fingers for typing sometimes translates into not really listening. Especially when it becomes a place to vent or preach or react rather than truly converse and gain a better understanding. And folks don’t read the links or the comments. Sigh….
    And, by the way, the only reason I don’t have as tough a time in the present is because I have spent 30 years in deep study on my own and have been encouraged by many godly and brilliant brothers (and sisters) who helped me come to a place of peace concerning what I believe God intends for all his children as they interact and serve in his Kingdom. There are plenty around, and even on this blog, who would want my voice stilled, my gifts reassigned, and my life relegated to a box that does not fit who God has created and gifted me to be … solely because I am a woman.
    That doesn’t ever feel good. But I deal with it because, well, I am not a wimp or a whiner. It takes a lot of guts to be a woman deputy here … and it is a volunteer job … because you couldn’t pay me to take the pot shots — I do it purely out of love for the church and appreciation for Scot and the Jesus Creeders (you know who you are!).
    Peace….

  • Scot McKnight

    Peggy, there may be a nudge from the Holy Spirit and there’s also a relief sound all over the place, saying, “Welcome back. Where ya been?”

  • http://bramboniusinenglish.wordpress.com brambonius

    Wow…
    I never feel like a man by american ‘be a godly man’ standards… I don’t care for sports, violence, cars,… (I do like punkrock and heavy metal from time to time though…) And I couldn’t read on in ‘wild at heart’ from the moment he implied that Mother Teresa could not be a role model for men. Her Christlikeness is way more inspiring than all william wallaces of the world! I didn’t recognise myself much when reading venus/mars either, sometimes I recognised the man, sometimes, the woman, and sometimes I seemed to come from Jupiter or Sedna…
    I don’t believe all this ‘men have to be X, women have to be Y’ nonsense. every person and relationship is different. My marriage is purely democratic. I have not the slightest desire to dominate or take the lead (in any situation, the idea of being a top leader would scare the hell out of me) and she is not wanting for me to take the lead or whatever. We’re just friends together, hierarchy would feel unnatural and even blasfemous in a way.
    There may be differences between the sexes, but the difference between 2 persons of the samen sex can be bigger than the difference between 2 people of opposite sexes; I have female friends that are much more like me and that I do understand a lot more than some males I’ve met… And whatever you want to write about the differences, do it decriptive, and not prescriptive please…
    So I, as a belgian non-’dude’ and possibly ‘chickified’ male don’t have the slightest point of interest in Driscoll and his ‘dude’ christianity. (though some working class men I’ve known might be like the men he wants to reach) and I don’t feel the Jesus I know would find much place in it either… Christus Victor is the ultimate power-in-weakness! Becoming like Jesus is dying to self and the flesh, including our inner caveman!
    peace
    Bram

  • Peggy

    Well, Deputy John #118, thank you kindly … and it’s not Jesus Creeders that do much wounding, you know. And when someone points out that they’ve erred, Jesus Creeders are quick to make amends without a deputy lifting a finger.
    It’s folks who stop in and start shoving without so much as a “how do you do” that are steppin’ on toes and knockin’ over drinks and the like.
    …yikes…my young ‘uns will be home soon. Gotta git!

  • http://arbevere.blogspot.com Allan R. Bevere

    Wow! 119 comments so far. There is no neutral ground when it comes to Mark Driscoll!

  • Peggy

    …and I saw you slip in on my way up the stairs, One T.
    2009 was a hard year on the end of a hard decade for this wee Purple Abbess / Deputy. One year ago today I took a fall on the way to the mailbox that almost sent me on Home. It has been a long way back … and I’m not 100% yet.
    But I still got enough sand in me to make some rounds at the Saloon! ;^)

  • http://krusekronicle.typepad.com Michael W. Kruse

    I’ll add that I think Driscoll has identified a problem that is especially pronounced in urban core settings like where I live. Many young men are raised in environments that socialize them to find every way they can to shirk responsibility for their choices and exploit others for their own ends. So his call to young men to stand up and take responsibility for their lives is good.
    Middle class white models of maleness may not be helpful in such environments. Alternative visions may be needed. Ironically, what many of these young men need is a way to resolve life issues without the excessive macho posturing … which is what I hear Driscoll advocating.
    It is the entanglement of his message with, IMO, bizarre rigid gender role caricatures that is the most off putting.

  • http://krusekronicle.typepad.com Michael W. Kruse

    … and a heartfelt appreciation for the presence of the Abbess from the Kronicler as well. :-)

  • http://brokenpeople.org Brenda Branson

    It seems to me that the Bible teaches Jesus’ style of leadership–giving rather than taking. Instead of “taking” over in the home, why not assume the leadership position with an attitude of humility and self-sacrifice?

  • tim

    Any folks out there use the Revised Common Lectionary? In Luke 13, Jesus was the Hen and Jerusalem was the brood unwilling to be gathered under “his “wings”. What’s up with that!

  • Egidia

    @114 Alan
    Hi Alan,
    That is a hotly debated question, but I will give you my thoughts on it. The first part of it–I definitely don’t believe that God intends for women to be economically subordinate to men. We can look to the bible for examples of powerful, wealthy women. In Job 42:14-15 only Job’s 3 daughters are named and we are not told the names of his sons. We are also told that the daughters were given an inheritance along with their brothers. It was very unusual in that time for women to own property, yet these three were quite wealthy and mentioned by name while their brothers were not.
    In Esther 5:3, King Xerxes offered to give Queen Esther half of his kingdom. In Esther 7, the evil Haman begged her for his life, but she did not grant it to him. And in chapter 8, when he was killed, Esther was given his entire estate, and he was very wealthy. Esther was a poor Jewish orphan who was destined to become one of the greatest women in the old testament. King Xerxes was a bit of a loose cannon, but through her intelligence, feminine wiles, and Godliness, Esther was able to save her people (the Jews) from complete annihilation. She had beauty, power, wisdom, and wealth.
    The women in the church question is a more difficult one. I will start it out by saying that women are most definitely called into ministry just as men are and have a very important part to play in these times. The question comes into what type of ministry is that? God assigns different roles to men and women. In 1 Timothy 2:11-14 it says that a woman should not teach or have spiritual authority over a man because Eve was deceived and brought sin into the world. Go to http://www.gotquestions.org/women-pastors.html for a discussion of this. I quote from it here, “The Bible nowhere restricts women from exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12). Women, just as much as men, are called to minister to others, to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and to proclaim the gospel to the lost (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15).” It indicates that the only thing women are restricted from doing is teaching men or having spiritual authority over them. I know many people will react negatively to that, but that is what the bible says.
    I, myself, am feeling called to ministry. And, I don’t have a problem with the above quotes. I think there is a huge amount of ministry work that women can do without being the one who gives the sermon on Sunday morning. There are women pastors in my church and I think they do good work. I am only considering this now, but it appears that their roles are more in ministering, not teaching. It is rare for them to give a sermon on Sunday. If I had a sensitive issue to discuss or a question, I might feel more comfortable approaching one of the women pastors. And, in many small parishes there is only a women pastor. I know they do good work, but if one defines church roles according to the bible (which should be our guide for everything) then ideally women should minister in every way except teaching or having spiritual authority over men. While this may seem wrong to modern sensibilities, to quote Luke 22:42, “…not my will, but Yours be done, Lord.” God has defined roles for men and women in the church and I think we should be obedient to His Word. Women have a huge role in the church and God wants all of us to go out and proclaim the gospel and minister to the world.
    God bless you!

  • Egidia

    @127 I agree!

  • Egidia

    @114 Alan
    Hi Alan,
    That is a hotly debated question, but I will give you my thoughts on it. The first part of it–I definitely don’t believe that God intends for women to be economically subordinate to men. We can look to the bible for examples of powerful, wealthy women. In Job 42:14-15 only Job’s 3 daughters are named and we are not told the names of his sons. We are also told that the daughters were given an inheritance along with their brothers. It was very unusual in that time for women to own property, yet these three were quite wealthy and mentioned by name while their brothers were not.
    In Esther 5:3, King Xerxes offered to give Queen Esther half of his kingdom. In Esther 7, the evil Haman begged her for his life, but she did not grant it to him. And in chapter 8, when he was killed, Esther was given his entire estate, and he was very wealthy. Esther was a poor Jewish orphan who was destined to become one of the greatest women in the old testament. King Xerxes was a bit of a loose cannon, but through her intelligence, feminine wiles, and Godliness, Esther was able to save her people (the Jews) from complete annihilation. She had beauty, power, wisdom, and wealth.
    The women in the church question is a more difficult one. I will start it out by saying that women are most definitely called into ministry just as men are and have a very important part to play in these times. The question comes into what type of ministry is that? God assigns different roles to men and women. In 1 Timothy 2:11-14 it says that a woman should not teach or have spiritual authority over a man because Eve was deceived and brought sin into the world. Go to http://www.gotquestions.org/women-pastors.html for a discussion of this. I quote from it here, “The Bible nowhere restricts women from exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12). Women, just as much as men, are called to minister to others, to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and to proclaim the gospel to the lost (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15).” It indicates that the only thing women are restricted from doing is teaching men or having spiritual authority over them. I know many people will react negatively to that, but that is what the bible says.
    I, myself, am feeling called to ministry. And, I don’t have a problem with the above quotes. I think there is a huge amount of ministry work that women can do without being the one who gives the sermon on Sunday morning. There are women pastors in my church and I think they do good work. I am only considering this now, but it appears that their roles are more in ministering, not teaching. It is rare for them to give a sermon on Sunday. If I had a sensitive issue to discuss or a question, I might feel more comfortable approaching one of the women pastors. And, in many small parishes there is only a women pastor. I know they do good work, but if one defines church roles according to the bible (which should be our guide for everything) then ideally women should minister in every way except teaching or having spiritual authority over men. While this may seem wrong to modern sensibilities, to quote Luke 22:42, “…not my will, but Yours be done, Lord.” God has defined roles for men and women in the church and I think we should be obedient to His Word. Women have a huge role in the church and God wants all of us to go out and proclaim the gospel and minister to the world.

  • Your Name

    #94
    You said that you are a male member of MH Church and that all the women you have met there are happy.
    I was a memebr there too. I’m a married woman, and a mother. It’s a different story when you have just women together. No one is exactly admitting to being unhappy, but every married/mother I met there would say something like: We have to let the men think they’re in charge, or else they wouldn’t come to church, but we all know who is really in charge – the man may be the head, but the woman is the neck.
    That sentiment runs deep underground at MH church.

  • EricG

    Rodney Stark’s book (which Scot reviewed very recently) has a chapter on gender differences. It argues persuasively — based on (a) historical research and (b) surveys — that differences in the rate at which men and women practice their faith are fairly constant throughout Christian history and throughout different countries/cultures (he mentions surveys from 50+ countries). This suggests that Driscoll’s assumption — i.e., that men are turned off to faith based on our current “feminine” American Christian culture –is wrong as a factual matter. (I also echo all the comments above that say that Driscoll’s treatement of the issue is offensive and sexist, in addition to being wrong).
    Interestingly, Stark says that the data suggests that the reason for the difference between men and women is that men take more risks than women. When men and women with similar risk-preferences are compared, the data suggests that men and women have the same levels of religious practices. If we want to encourage more men to get involved in church, maybe the place to start is to better understand this issue, rather than, for example, re-making Jesus in the American male’s image.

  • Scot McKnight

    EricG, you are right. I had forgotten the Stark chp, but I wrote today to a good sociologist and he said the numbers of male church attendance and participation is on a slight incline since the 80s. I may be publishing some of his stuff on this blog soon.

  • Phil

    I’ve followed some of the comments through the day, and have had some of my own struggles and study with the position of gender roles and egalitarian/complementarian positions. I grew up in a egalitarian denomination, went to an egalitarian college, then found a “Bible believing” church in a neutral denomination where each congregation was autonomous on the position, although the denomination ordains women. On staff, I have had to toe a soft-complementarian line, until know it is getting harder, and my convictions are swinging to an egalitarian position greater than before. All this to say that I’ve listen to Marc D. over the years, and found somethings helpful, and others down right rude or off base. This is one of those things.
    I disagree that men don’t go to church because of effeminate pastors or too many women. I don’t think the stay away or outside of leadership because the feel too masculine, I believe that it’s primarily because they don’t handle conflict well and can’t handle the pecking order that develops in any environment, even the church.
    We have men in our church, pretty even between the genders, but for the most part the men want to be trustee’s or a few bible teachers (rightly dividing the word of truth), and that’s about it. There are very few men willing to be real leaders, and the women are afraid to step on their toes. IMO this comes down to issues of submission to one another, accountability, working towards goals, etc. Too many men are not willing to risk the emotional energy required for group leadership, nor have they been shown the true Kingdom of God work that requires all of our efforts (male and female). There is far more that needs attention that the lights in the mens washroom.
    I don’t think the goal is too get manly men to come to church and be manly, its for men and women to both become like and do the work of the kingdom, which is like a fellowship of the Rings, not a potluck. Until men and women are asked to work towards some kingdom goals, die to self and communicate with one another we will all keep worrying about the colour of the carpet in the nursery, and what the pastor was wearing on Sunday.
    I’m pretty tired, I hope this was coherent.

  • Rick

    Stephen #105-
    Thanks for the response and good thoughts.
    While I don’t know if I will go as far as you do in regards to calling specific teachings of Driscoll “heretical”, I do agree that some could be potentially problematic in regards to theology/doctrine.

  • Joey

    Egidia,
    Do you find it curious that when Paul is writing in 1 Timothy 2 that he changes between the plural and the singular? It is interesting that you use the plural of women here:
    “It indicates that the only thing women are restricted from doing is teaching men or having spiritual authority over them.”
    I think we should note that Paul says “a woman” which is significant in the context:
    1 Timothy 2:9-15
    9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, 10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. 11 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.
    Notice the switch from “women” to “a woman” and then back to “women”. What if Paul was being vague about a particular woman, whom the Ephesians would know. In Timothy Paul explicitly calls out folks who intentionally deceive others but he is much more gentle on those who are in the wrong but not maliciously. What if Paul, when speaking about women, goes on a short tangent about a specific woman. The text doesn’t necessitate that but it doesn’t necessitate that he is speaking in general about women either. Paul rarely used his language flagrantly and I find it profound that he switched tenses.
    Also, are you saved through child bearing? What of women who are barren? Can they be saved? Of course, I ask this with more than a hint of sarcasm. The phrase “bearing of children” is actually a noun and not a verb, which is also very interesting. Paul may have been drawing a connection between Eve and Mary. Through one woman, all women have died, through the birth of a child all women will find salvation.
    I think we have to at least consider the possibility that Paul is not speaking in general about women, but is calling out a particular Ephesian woman and doing so gently.
    I’m happy you feel called to ministry. Pursue what God has placed on your heart, sister!

  • Rick in Texas

    I am so not impressed with the argument of “chickified” males – in fact I find it really offensive. It’s “you’re only right if you agree with me” thinking.

  • http://communityofjesus.wordpress.com/ Ted M. Gossard

    Who sets the standards for what’s masculine? I guess I’m not in these circles enough to know what in the world they’re saying. Seems like such thinking easily circumvents or takes the place of the Spirit and is worldly.

  • RJS

    Phil (#135)
    Good comments – I am particularly struck by this one “There are very few men willing to be real leaders, and the women are afraid to step on their toes.” The church I am in now is on the egalitarian side of the spectrum, although not entirely – and certainly not uniformly in the congregation. Still the socialization and the caution about stepping on toes is always in the back of my mind – no doubt influencing how I react, and probably not for the good of kingdom goals.

  • http://krusekronicle.typepad.com Michael W. Kruse

    eric #133 scot #134
    I assume “What Americans Really Believe” is the Stark book you are referring to? I haven’t made it to that one yet but I’ve been reading Stark for thirty years. I’ve always loved his work except that he has an annoying habit of deconstructing my perceptions with facts. :-)

  • Scot McKnight

    Michael, yes that book by Stark. I mentioned it Sunday.

  • http://restoringsoul.blogspot.com Ann

    Beck wrote, “Does the assertion of masculinity in the church necessarily involve an assertion over against women? Can masculinity be asserted in an egalitarian manner?” and “…Too often in the church to be male means to assert power over women.”
    I actually think these should be a broader questions: “Does the assertion of masculinity in the church necessarily involve an assertion over against men and women? Can masculinity be asserted in an egalitarian manner?” and “Too often … to be male means to assert power over everyone and everything in every venue.”
    My observation from years of working in male-dominated fields, and watching my husband lead in business in godly ways, is that many men perceive dominance as a “proof” of masculinity, whatever the playing field. Cooperation, integrity, hard work, responsibility for one’s actions (and mistakes!) and teamwork have frequently been relegated to the “feminine.” “Being one” sounds, to the contemporary masculine stereotype, a feminine abstract. Lording it over others is a truly masculine victory to many (women win these “victories”, too, at times). Power plays, in and of themselves, defy the ministry of God-in-Christ, whose power is evidenced in self-emptying and serving. Bringing that competitive, dominating mentality from the workplaces and ball fields into church destroys churches. Competition is not negative, if done to sharpen one another to the glory of God, to spur one another on to love and good works; however, as with all good things, sin warps it, too.
    However, unity in Christ, reconciliation with one another, and to the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the increasing presence of spiritual fruit are evidence of God-with-us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, worship, righteousness, grace and truth. Defining the outworking in community of those fruits in masculine and feminine terms undermines Paul’s words that “there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

  • http://www.rethinkingfaith.com Dave Leigh

    Real men empower their women to glorify God with all their gifts and splendor.

  • Sharon

    As a female lurker on this blog, I would like to say thanks to the women who are willing to wade in on these painful and loaded topics. Personally, I have to take frequent breaks from the whole topic or I will have a pretty bitter root growing inside of me. I was recently visiting my daughter’s church at college and they announced a video series by Mark Driscoll on relationships. She is so pleased to have found a church that challenges her spiritually, has a high view of scripture and a sense of mission to the community, I didn’t have it in me to reveal my fears of an insidious message that she might be absorbing about who she is as a woman. The tension for me is that there is so much right about Driscoll and those who align with him but so much distasteful about his hypermasculine approach and offensive ways of speaking about women. I pray for Jesus to protect my daughter from the enemy’s lies and for the truth to grow deep in her. I assume Mark Driscoll and brothers like him are being as faithful as they can, but I worry they have not allowed much room for listening or correction in their ministry to occur. I see Scot and this blog as a place where slowly, slowly the lies about women and the church are getting discussed and rooted out. I appreciate those who can engage non-emotionally on this topic, but just typing this has the tears pouring down my cheeks once more. As a side note, it is extremely annoying when a new commenter implies that people just need to read their Bible and it would all be clear. AAAAAGH.

  • Becki Nelson

    RJS #116
    Thanks for the response re: Eldredge and Beck. I agree Captivating is a little harder to follow, less obvious on the surface. But parts of it certainly spoke to my deep heart is some pretty broken places that needed – had me in tears several times. Maybe in this way the book exemplifies the “mystery” ascribed to femininity – it’s very hard to define characteristics of essence or being, like “allure” or “beauty”, or articulate how they “work”.

  • Becki Nelson

    a “general” response to…
    “Chickified Male” – vs Jesus. Jesus the hen; Jesus the healer of the broken and sick; Jesus – like a mother – the obdurate opponent of spiritual and physical (apparently not socio-political) oppression; Jesus the compassionate who rides on a donkey colt; Jesus the crucified who rather than resisting capture, submitted to it. If Jesus is “chickified”, then perhaps “chickified” is not such a bad thing.
    The Masculine is part of the image of God. So is the Feminine. Neither takes precedence over the other. Throughout history we see God reveal himself through masculine and feminine imagery, but in the OT, the masculine — forging a people and a nation, setting, holding and enforcing boundaries — appears more forcefully. His feminine aspects seem more passive – nurture (Ps 23); longing (song of songs); inviting, pleading with his people to return for decades, even centuries, before He brings judgment to bear; in the “feminine” quest to restore relationship with us.
    In Christ, the center and climax of history, we see God in male human form exemplify both the masculine and the feminine, but primarily what humankind sees as feminine characteristics, bearing with human sin, extending grace, lifting up the wounded and dying, caring for the oppressed, submitting to the Father and even to physical death, in the “masculine” pursuit of rescuing His beloved sons and daughters.

  • Rob

    @131 – In 1 Timothy 2:11-14 it says that a woman should not teach or have spiritual authority over a man because Eve was deceived and brought sin into the world. Go to http://www.gotquestions.org/women-pastors.html for a discussion of this. I quote from it here, “The Bible nowhere restricts women from exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12). Women, just as much as men, are called to minister to others, to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and to proclaim the gospel to the lost (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15).” It indicates that the only thing women are restricted from doing is teaching men or having spiritual authority over them. I know many people will react negatively to that, but that is what the bible says.
    My first thought is that the Bible “says” nothing. We interpret the Bible. We do so through particular lenses. That aside though, let’s take your argument here to it’s next step. I believe what you are saying is that Paul (in this case, probably someone in his name, not Paul himself) says that because Even sinned, ALL women everywhere can never teach any man because women are more easily deceived. Is that what you’re asserting? I don’t agree that this is what the author is intending, but we’ll go with it for the sake of discussion.
    In churches that practice this restriction for the reasons of “easily deceived women”, it is interesting to me that women are allowed to teach other women and children. So…we are going to allow our “most easily deceived” church members (women, according to the argument) to teach other “easily deceived” members (other women), and worse yet we’ll allow them to teach our most vulnerable…children. Does that make sense to you? Is that what “Paul” is really advocating? Of course, this opens a can of worms about one’s view of the letters…is Paul laying down transcultural “principles” (which many don’t believe he is), or his he dealing with specific cultural and historical circumstances in this local church body?

  • Phil

    Rob, 148, very very good point, I’ve never thought about it from that angle before. Why have the weak teach the weak?
    RJS, 140, thank you for the kind comments.
    Here’s the problem at soft-compl. church…We don’t let women hold authority, ei. elders. We were allowing them to teach, we once saw that under the authority of elders. Now that is being questioned. It’s difficult to get men to sit on the board, solution, more women board members, maybe even chair, it’s not “spiritual” authority. They don’t want to step on toes in that leadership position…
    Now what?

  • #John1453

    There is a cultural myth or story that men are naturally better leaders. However, there is no evidence to support that, rather, the evidence is that both men and women can be equally effective as leaders though they tend (tend) to lead in different ways.
    Caliper, a Princeton, New Jersey-based management consulting firm, conducted a year long study in 2005 of women leadership. The title of the final paper is “The Qualities That Distinguish Women Leaders”.
    The Caliper paper described its methodology as follows: “while much research has been published comparing the leadership styles of women and men, this study specifically focused on the personality qualities and motivational factors which are at the core of the underlying gender differences. This study included a valid and reliable personality assessment, the Caliper Profile, as well as a demographic analysis and in-depth interviews with 59 women leaders from some of the top companies in the United Kingdom and the United States . . . These women came from 19 different business sectors; . . . For comparison purposes, the women leaders in this study were matched to a representative sample of male leaders drawn from Caliper’s database, representing similar job titles.”
    The study came to the following conclusions: “Women leaders are more assertive and persuasive, have a stronger need to get things done and are more willing to take risks than male leaders . . . Women leaders also were found to be more empathic and flexible, as well as stronger in interpersonal skills than their male counterparts. Commenting on the study, Herb Greenberg, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Caliper, stated “These qualities combine to create a leadership style that is inclusive, open, consensus building, collaborative and collegial . . . We should emphasize that the male leaders in this study were also exceptional in these areas. But the women leaders set a new standard.”
    The study also found that women “genuinely understand and care about where others are coming from. This allows them to come at a subject from their audience’s perspective, so that the people they are leading feel more understood, supported and valued.”
    We should not expect women to lead like men, nor expect all men to lead alike, or all women to lead alike either. However, we can and should expect both men and women to step into leadership roles.
    regards,
    #John

  • Peggy

    Rob #148 … bringing flashbacks, bro!
    When I was 17, I lived in Hawaii with my father’s brother for my senior year in high school. I attended a church (right next to Pearl Harbor, most families were Navy) with this perspective. The high school youth group was in desperate need of leadership … and I said I would be glad to facilitate/host a study/fellowship group. I was told that this was impossible because there were boys older than 13 in the group. I was totally shocked….
    I called a meeting with the elders (apparently not realizing that something like that had never been done by a young woman), and asked them is that was. in fact. their stance.
    They said yes.
    So, in my not as restrained as I am now manner, this is what I said (I can still see their faces, 35 years later!):
    “Fine. You let me teach your young boys until they are 13 years old and you can spend the rest of your lives trying to undo it.”
    I left the office … and we held the group “unsanctioned” off church property. And we made a difference in the lives of those young people … and especially for one particular young man.
    …oh, and this was the year that I won the competition for “Miss Future Business Leader” for the State of Hawaii. LOL!

  • JoanieD

    #35 Matt wrote, “If we look at who tends to be the most self-reliant in our culture….who does that tend to be? Males who have for so long dominated culture. If you’re in control then why would you surrender that power to anyone. I’m sure that humility isn’t big on Driscoll’s list of “masculine” attributes – and that might be why there are less men in the church.” Great point, Matt.
    #41 Dave wrote, “they are a welcome certitude in a sea of vacillation.” Great choice of words there.
    #75 Michael Kruse wrote, “I was also intrigued by a story about little boys wanting kitchen sets for Christmas. Turns out these little guys have been watching episodes of Emeril Lagasse on the Food Network with their folks. BAM … they want to be like Emeril.” I love that, Michael! And Emeril would be a good guy for them to emulate. I love the way he is so responsive to his audience.
    #78 Peggy wrote, “Just as our children look to their fathers and mothers for clues in how to act, we are to look to our heavenly Father and our elder brother, Jesus, for this same thing … and submit to the prompting and leading of the Holy Spirit when it come to training our hearts and our bodies for that most challenging process of growing up.” Wonderful, Peggy, and true.
    #0 AHH wrote, “I have two main problems with the Driscoll-like approach:
    1) The use of female descriptors as derogatory terms for men and churches sends the message (even if not intended) that to be female is an inferior state.
    2) The association of certain traits with “real men”, “Godly men”, etc. marginalizes those of us men who are more reflective, gentle, etc. If the process of making the church more welcoming for extroverted men who like NASCAR and hunting and MMA and mountain biking makes it less welcoming for introverted men who like reading and intimate conversation and nature walks (or knitting!), you have just traded one problem for another.” Excellent, AHH. I agree.
    #97 Peggy wrote, “Thanks, Scot, for your support of the sisters and for keeping the subject in front of the brothers.” And I certainly agree! Thanks, Scot.
    Wow, it took so long getting through these comments. Interesting discussions though. Thanks, all.
    I have listened to a few of Driscoll’s videos and read some interviews done with him online. He likely has helped out a lot of people in his ministry, but I, too, find his choice of words to be demeaning at times and the fact that he thinks a stay-at-home-dad may need to be subject to church discipline is very concerning. I am an egalitarian so if he also believes that women need to be under the authority of a man if they are in ministry to the church, then I disagree with him. And we can throw Biblical passages at one another to prove our points, but I won’t. I will let more well-learned men like N.T. Wright inform the likes of Driscoll and others.
    And I do appreciate hearing the voices of some women hear too.

  • Randy

    I’ll stay out of the 21st-century discussion, but suggest something from the 18th.
    In grad school we were given an assignment of choosing a denomination or church and analyzing 10 years of sermons or periodicals. In my odd sort of way I chose to read 10 sermons on the Masons in the 1770s. Although I suspect that the origins in Europe were different, the admittedly limited sample I read strongly presented the Masons as a tacitly Christian male response to the feminization of the church in the Great Awakening of 1740-1760.
    Peace,
    Randy G.

  • kpd

    So Randy, what exactly are you saying? That the Holy Spirit got it wrong in the Great Awakening? That if women step up in churches (even in new denominations) that this causes male involvement in cult groups? I think you need to clarify your point.

  • JoanieD

    to John1453 in #150: that Caliper paper sounds interesting. It would be interesting if someone took a bunch of sermons written by women and a bunch by men and kept the writers’ names off the sermons. Then distribute them to a thousand people, male and female, and see if they could “guess” if it was a man or woman who wrote the sermon. Then, have them rate the sermons they thought were best-written or most encouraging, etc. You may ask me, “Why do this?” I would answer, “Just because I am curious as to how it would come out.”

  • Dana Ames

    kpd,
    I think all Randy is saying is that this is not a new concern in the church, by drawing attention to the similar reasonings employed in the sermons.
    Dana

  • http://abisomeone.blogspot.com Peggy

    Do any of you remember that test we did a couple of years ago where you could cut and paste something you had written and the program would tell you whether the author was male or female?
    Many of my women blogger friends (and myself) came up as male…. We laughed and wondered about the programming parameters….


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