Saturday, May 05, 2012

Masculine versus Macho – real men or culture?

Posted by Hannah at 3:18 PM

macho masculineWhen I read ugly articles like the one Doug Wilson wrote about Effeminate Worship? I also tend to think about all their opinions on culture. We all know the speeches about how culture is bad, and church people are better.

Funny how they use ‘cultural’ aspects to have people agree with their point of view.

Culture and their definition of masculine

Extremes don’t represent culture in the majority, but it sure does seem to get the attention. In my opinion, only using the extremes is a sign that your points can’t be all that valid. If you can’t use an example that most can truly relate to in their real lifes, and not some imaginary most extreme model that people can come up with? You lost me, and honestly you lose others as well. People just can’t relate.

Eric M. Pazdziora has written an article called, ‘The Truth about “Effeminate Worship”’.

If we want to know the reason men are staying away from church, maybe we just found it. Maybe they see church people as bullies. When somebody tells me I’m not a real man, I don’t want to hang out with them. I had enough of that in the locker room in sixth grade, thanks. If that’s what I’ll find in church, I’ll pass—and so will every other man who doesn’t meet that narrow, culture-blinded, anti-biblical ideal of masculinity.

Enough is enough. This whole tired clichéd pointless insulting emasculating graceless sanctimonious frippery of bellicose machismo should have been laid to rest a hundred years ago.

As with most worship wars, the problem isn’t worship. The problem is lack of worship. We’re looking at culture, not at Christ. We’re preoccupied with effeminacy, not having faith. We’re teaching gender, not the Gospel. We’re talking about manliness, not the Son of Man.
It’s a wonder that preachers that preach the cultural definition of masculinity don’t realize this.  Here is Doug Wilson follow up to the criticisms.

Cultural Masculinity

Doug Wilson states: To emphasize masculinity in worship is not a practice that excludes women. Rather, it includes them, brings them along, and makes them feel safe. If you reach the men, you will reach the women.

I wouldn’t feel safe in Doug Wilson’s definition of worship. When I don’t feel safe you can count on me on NOT ‘coming along’ if you will. To me, men that speak like this seem to be insecure in their manhood. They sound like bullies, and that is not safe.

I remember in school the bullies always attacked certain boys to make them feel they are effeminate instead of macho – as the bullies felt they were (masculine/macho). As a woman I look back, and even now these bullies were not masculine in any shape or form. They were insecure bullies, and I pray they grew out of that.

I remember my father had a breakdown of sorts, and he had to find ways of relieving some stress in his life. No one questions the stressors, because we all knew they were extreme and present.

Rosie Greer NeedlepointI’m not sure how Dad got started, but he took up different crafts. Rug hooking, macramé, needlepoint was popular at the time, and I remember my grandfather (Mr. Masculinity by certain definitions) giving Dad grief about his chosen hobby that helped take his mind off things.

My brother pointed out a very ‘masculine’ football player my grandfather admired that used this needlepoint for stress relief as well. Yes, that pretty much made him hush. Dad made my grandfather pillows for his sofa in his favorite football teams logos, and my grandfather still had them when we cleaned his house out right before he died.

I have no doubt there are men that would call my father labels that refer to women as he excelled in these crafts. These crafts helped with his health issues, and as time went along he won awards – best of show, etc in competitions he participated in. He also was the type if he didn’t win – or even when he did – he would complement the works of others. It takes patience and skill with the crafts he did throughout his life.

Its more culture than fact when men participate in the arts are more effeminate than those that do not. The Arts should be appreciated by everyone. God crafted the landscapes that people have on their walls, or even the designs for hot rod cars. God gave hunters the appreciation for nature that you hear hunters speak about all the time. God was indeed an artist!

Culture places certain aspects of the arts as more masculine than others. Bullies are the ones that enforce those cultural stereotypes.

Masculine or Macho?

The Internet Monk site had another interesting take on this culturally defined way of worship.
What is clear is that Wilson exudes a deep distrust and contempt for women in this post.  What he says sounds nothing like the way Jesus or Paul related to their sisters and partners in the Gospel. For instance, he throws out the old canard about women conspiring to form a “shadow government” behind the scenes in order to function as illicit leaders in the congregation. Believe me, after serving as a pastor for more than 25 years, I’ve had as much trouble with masculine guys as with scheming women. But Wilson would have us believe that, if only the church’s male members would “man up” and take control over the vexatious vixens among us, we would see the church functioning as it should. You might want to ask the leadership at Mars Hill or Sovereign Grace Ministries how that’s working. Better yet, ask the women in those groups.

Furthermore, he suggests that restoring “masculinity” to worship will reach men and by doing so, we will “reach the women.” Indeed, by making worship more masculine we will “include them, bring them along, and make them feel safe.” In other words, women are not worthy of our direct attention. They are followers and meant to be followers. They must be attached to a man and “brought along” by men in the church. They are vulnerable and must be made to “feel safe” because they cannot (should not) stand on their own as full and free citizens in the Kingdom of heaven. Every Eve needs an Esau to protect her.
Yes, this type of junk encourages ‘man haters’ or ‘woman haters’, and Jesus doesn’t encourage hate at all. HATE and PREJUDICE are cultural.

I think we all know there are women that ‘follow’, but that leaves out many that don’t do life as encouraged by the macho leaders. Lets face facts there are many ‘people’ that will follow or not follow. Macho feels threatened by those that don’t follow as they are told, and ‘macho’ is cultural more than anything.

Insecurity or Strength of Character?

The Wartburg Watch has an article called, 'Masculine Christianity - On Display In All Its Glory'

The Blog quotes Sean Harris:

So your little son starts acting a little girlish when he's four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, ‘Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch cause that's what boys do,’ you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed!  Can I make it any clearer?  Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist!  Man up.  Give him a good punch.  OK?  You're not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you're gonna be a male.

Okay Then. This is perfect example of macho versus masculine.  Here is the audio explanation of how he was ‘misquoted’.

Children at times do these things because they don’t have the cultural imprint yet, and do things out of innocence. A macho man sees this as a threat, and masculine man sees it for what it is. Children can do things that go against the social grain, and get away with it because they don’t know any better. A Masculine man can smile at the child’s innocence. A Macho man is so uncomfortable by innocence that he almost wets his pants due to the anxiety.

We have a family picture of my brother when he was a toddler, and it was Easter Sunday. I couldn’t wait to get home, and throw off the Easter hat, gloves, and purse. My brother couldn’t wait to try them on. It had nothing to do with fantasies, and at that age he truly wasn’t into the cultural definitions of how this is unacceptable for macho men. He is a God fearing man, husband and father as of today.

People giggled at children’s innocence at times, and don’t place kids in a cultural box of some man’s insecure nature towards a warped vision of masculine.

My son had a large ‘poop’ day as a baby, and he went through all of his clothes. I had the washer running to get them clean, but I just couldn’t keep up that day. I remember taking out one of my daughter’s sleepers, because it was too cold for him to go without anything. There were some men present, and they started to giggle. I told them don’t worry the pink sleepers won’t cause his penis to fall off! We all giggled at that point.

I’m going to leave you with a humorous video on Macho Christianity.

The true macho Christianity is not masculine. Look at the culture and tell me they don’t remind you those bullies in school calling others: girly, fag, wimp, etc.

Could be why church is not all that attractive to masculine men. They grew up, and bullies …. well they didn’t it seems.  This is a form of spiritual abuse, and lets it right its not masculine – its macho!  BIG difference! 

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Anonymous said...

"Macho" is not the same as "masculine" -- excellent point.


Kristen on 3:25 PM said...

Women used to be excluded from the arts in earlier times. Shakespeare's theatre had only male actors, many of them playing women's roles. In Michaelangelo's day, a woman who painted was persecuted and condemned. Even cooking was something women were excluded from, except at home. It used to be only men could be chefs. A thing was "woman's work" if it was done at home, in private. If money or prestige could be obtained from it, she was excluded.

You're absolutely right, Hannah. This is not about being "real men." This is about power. That's all it's ever been about.

Waneta Dawn on 7:18 PM said...

David Murrow in his 2003 book "Why Men Hate Going to church" also advocates making worship more masculine. Wilson's statements mostly agree with Murrow's. Murrow claims churches that become more masculine increase male attendance, and that women are ok either way. I disagree. I have noticed that I can relate intellectually to what male preachers say, but it rarely reaches my heart/emotions. They are only reaching 24%-50% of me. furthermore, the masculine churches around here are also the male/husband authority ones. Those men are coming because they believe it is the male's right to control his wife. In other words, they are raising up male bullies and female adult babies. Hannah, the hateful things Wilson says about women would make me feel very unsafe in his church. I am not talking about the points of calling sin sin. I am talking about the hateful points against women. When a pastor dispises women, as Wilson's points suggest he does, no woman should feel safe. He is insighting husbands against their wives, men against women. It sounds like the who idea of being masculine is because they feel contempt toward women and feminine.

Also, Wilson refers to Jael using a tent peg and mallet to kill an enemy. The things he says against women would drive such a woman from his church. Jael did not get her husband's permission to kill Sisera, nor to invite him into her tent. According to what these complementarians say about today's women, Jael took on the masculine role and she should be disciplined. She should have waited for her husband to come home and deal with the enemy.

Eric on 10:19 AM said...

Thanks for the link (and for spelling my name correctly!). Glad to see this is striking a chord.

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