Due to a story I’ll type sometime, related to the category “Pink Sweater Jesus,” I’ve been looking into masculinity in our culture and in my faith. I came across an Christianity Today blog post criticizing John Piper for saying to an audience of men that Jesus and Christianity were masculine.
In addition to a fundamental misunderstanding of the history of the feminine “feel” of Christianity (here’s a hint: the church doesn’t feel feminine because there’s more women in the church, there’s more women in the church because it feels feminine, but more on the history of this later), the post and many comments are very strongly reactive. If Piper was telling men about being masculine, he must be insulting women!
Two commenters responded to a statement by Piper about masculinity being associated with bravery. A man responded that being told he had to be brave felt like being forced into a straight jacket. A woman commented that this must mean Piper doesn’t think women can be brave.
I haven’t read or listened to what Piper said here, but stating that masculinity is associated with something:
- does not mean every man is characterized by it and
- does not mean women or even femininity isn’t characterized by it.
“Manly men are considerate and respectful”
is not a statement to emasculate inconsiderate men, nor a statement that women are inconsiderate and disrespectful.
Much of what I’ve been reading is talk/instruction/advice to men, not to draw a contrast or even touch the subject of what women are like or ought to be like. It’s just talking to men about being men.
Yet, it seems like unsafe territory in a world when people are eager to take offense.