Wednesday, February 8, 2012

And some thoughts on Masculine Christianity

This is one of those weird issues that seems to come up periodically in Fundamentalist/Evangelical churches: does The Church (or Christianity in general) need to be "more masculine" or "less feminine"? A while back, Rachel Held Evans asked for responses from her male readers on the topic.

I was feeling a little bit cranky at the time, and I commented:
Masculine Christianity? Feminine Christianity? Look, I'm not a Christian, but even asking the question seems to me to be profoundly missing the point. What I'd most like to see, myself, is a humane Christianity.

Every time I hear someone start talking about how Christianity needs to be more 'manly' or 'masculine' - or, by contrast, less effeminate - it seems to come at the cost of basic politeness and human decency, of empathy and forgiveness. It's gotten to the point where I assume that anyone who says that basically just wants permission to be more of a prick than the traditional reading of the Gospels says that they should be (i.e. not at all). The more of this "manly" Christianity I see, the more I'm convinced that it's just a cover for bad behavior, motivated by a misguided longing for a certain sort of machismo that Jesus neither endorsed nor practiced.
This may not have been the most tactful way to describe what I've seen of the "Masculine Christianity" movement, but it seems to have struck a nerve: an awful lot of people liked that comment. And I figure that anything I write which gets that sort of attention probably ought to be reproduced here on the Blog o' Doom, so here you go.


  1. Well said.

    Lately I've been grumbling about certain self-professed Christian politicians appearing to embrace dogma at the expense of basic human decency... and it just kills me.

  2. Yeah. I still get that flash of "Buh-what? You could be doing so much good, and instead you're fixating on this???"

  3. What's so theologically absurd about this whole complementarian absurdity - ignoring the vast hurt it causes for a second - that the Bible specifically says, "There is neither ... male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Which means it doesn't matter! Jesus loved people for being people, not for being masculine or feminine or whatever. Argh.

  4. Yeah, and it doesn't pass the "on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" verse - what I call the smell test - either. If you can't let people be themselves, you're doing it wrong.


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