This is actually part 2 of the last post, “Jesus the Wuss.”
While I have heard a thousand times that men need to start “having some balls” (a statement I have never fully understood) I have never heard of a woman being admonished to “have some ovaries.” Wouldn’t that make equal sense?
Here is an actual sentence I heard from a Christian leader in a previous church where I worked: “She has more balls than most of you men in this room.”
Translation: She has courage, and as a female that is peculiar; but as men it should come naturally to you. Shame on you for having a woman show more courage than you.”
I once spoke at a Promise Keepers (PK) event with 10,000 men in attendance. In fairness, my friend, who PK really wanted to hear from, was unable to speak so he asked me to fill in for him.
The event traumatized me. This is my summary of it:
- Because you have a penis, you are special.
- God has a special mission for you–go find some ovaries and get them to see how special you are.
- Be nice to the ovaries, but remember they want you to “lead them” because ovaries apparently get lost easily.
My last post generated some strong reactions, online and offline, alike. The crux of the disagreement over my take on Jesus and masculinity has to do with the perception by some that the church is attempting to emasculate men. I have heard that claim for the past 20 years.
The response to the emasculation of men in the church usually goes something like this — men are supposed to “reject passivity” and develop the following characteristics:
- a strong backbone–a sense of moral conviction,
- courage in the face of opposition,
- the ability to lead by setting a strong example of moral purity and devotion to Christ,
- taking the initiative in matters of faith
- a servant’s heart (do “her” job- dishes, cleaning, child-care)
- a desire to rescue women
REMIND ME, WHY ARE THESE MALE QUALITIES?
They are exactly the same qualities I see in my wife, April, the most important woman in my life. April has on numerous occasions saved my ass. She has swooped in, and with courage, backbone and the ability to rescue has shown me a better way. I would hope that I could return the favor.
I also co-pastor with my friend Kathy Escobar, and on numerous occasions I have seen her face opposition with amazing courage and resolve. I hope I do the same.
I have learned to be sober, chaste and caring by learning from both men and women. If I only learned those things from other men, I would only be half the man I am.
I read, in a very popular book of the last decade, that men are made to be wild and they need a battle to fight, an adventure to live and a beauty to rescue. But don’t women want to overcome, live adventurously, and find someone to love? And about the whole rescuer/rescuee thing, shouldn’t a man at least ask permission before he assumes a woman wants to be rescued? And what happens when a man finds himself in deep doo-doo? Can’t a woman help a brother out?
I never worry about whether I am man enough. It never crosses my mind. I am a man. That is enough for me. The only common trait I have found among all men is that they all have a penis. Because most men have a certain trait, does not make that trait desirable, exclusive of women or a prerequisite to being a man.
I have never heard my wife complain that I wasn’t manly, only that I was acting like a butthole. In my experience, that condition is common to both sexes.