The feminization of Christianity

Coastal posted the follow-up link that Art of Manliness did on the feminization of Christianity.

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2016/08/22/the-feminization-of-christianity/

It’s a good read overall.

Mainly, their contention is that it’s traceable back to the Romanticization of the relationship between Jesus and His bride (which leads to the “Jesus is my boyfriend” culture). This originated in the Catholic Church somewhere around 1000-1300 or so, and spread to Protestant Christianity as well. In particular,

  • The notion that (agape) love is a feeling.
  • The impression that (eros) love should be applied to the relationship of Jesus and His bride.

I think they did a good job tracing the overall roots, but they didn’t go exhaustive as they could’ve. The Renaissance period definitely had a large effect on the romanticization of not just religion but also culture.

Generally, what we know is that the culture invades the Church. Even the Catholic Church which has all male priesthood has issues with invasion of the culture. It’s not necessarily a symptom of “our” culture or rich cultures, which I had previously thought. The feminization is merely a symptom of allowing (any) cultural aspects to deter us from adhering to sound doctrine.

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20 Responses to The feminization of Christianity

  1. Pingback: The feminization of Christianity – Manosphere.org

  2. Neguy says:

    The post read to me like a précis of Leod Podles and David Murrow. Both of those books, The Church Impotent and Why Men Hate Going to Church, are short and worth reading in their own right.

  3. SnapperTrx says:

    Quite an interesting read! It is very unfortunate that sharing this with other men of the church would likely result in much scoffing and, possibly, being booted from the group. I have no idea why modern Christian men feel like being a Christian means acting like a woman. A strong man can be meek, kind-hearted, and loving, yet still retain the aura of strength, dignity and danger. These last three traits, however, are distinctly masculine and are capable of being understood by a mere handful of women, while the rest reject them, fear them or downright despise them. I would be awesome to see a church pop up that was overwhelmingly masculine, within reason, of course. No one wants to see a caricature of a “man cave” church, but a truly masculine space with a truly masculine pastor. I wonder if it would last?

  4. @ SnapperTrx

    The funny thing is that it was Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church that was considered “masculine.”

    All of the detractors had a field day when it imploded, and it was touted as an example of how masculinity is bad. For example,

    https://newrepublic.com/article/121138/mark-driscoll-and-macho-christianity

    Of course, we know that Driscoll’s was off the mark altogether, but the implosion has negatively colored masculinity for a lot of Christians in America.

    Oh the irony.

  5. SnapperTrx says:

    Right. A perfect example, perhaps, of a masculine caricature? I mean, I’m not super familiar with the guy, but from what I have seen he appeared to have been all hot air and a lot of “look at me, I’m the manliest man evar!”. Not really a prime example, but certainly fodder for those who rail against “toxic masculinity”. I’m sure it could be done better and with more wisdom than all that.

  6. Looking Glass says:

    Structure. It’s all about where the Structure, whether in systems or ideas, that lead people to logical places. When your assumptions or structure are faulty (or you don’t know the pitfalls associated with them), you end up in places you never intended.

    The major issue with Institutional Christianity is that the Vanity of the preacher normally wins out. There is a reason the Church seems to “work better” when it’s being actively oppressed. When your Vanity will get you killed, you generally work to keep it in check.

  7. donalgraeme says:

    Yes, culture definitely played the dominant role. And it was Western Culture in particular. Despite sharing very, very similar theology (including about Mary, for example), the Eastern Church has not experienced the same kind of feminization that the Western Church has.

  8. OKRickety says:

    “The impression that (eros) love should be applied to the relationship of Jesus and His bride.”

    Having heard for years about the Greek words for love, I was astounded recently to find that (eros) love is never mentioned in the New Testament. The article specifically states “the term ‘personal relationship with Jesus’ never appears in the Scriptures”, but, as often as I’ve heard it over the years, you would think it was.

    The love found in the New Testament is primarily (agape) love – doing what is best for the other even when it is difficult, inconvenient, or even dangerous. This is the love that is more likely to motivate men. And, apparently, this is the love that women lack when they choose to frivorce.

  9. @ OKRickety

    Well stated.

    I think the closest you get to “personal relationship” is from John 15;

    12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. 17 This I command you, that you love one another.

    The “relationship” that we acquire with Jesus is one of mission: that we do what He commands. Sure, there are feelings, but they are not the main point.

    Songs of Songs in particular seems to be widely taken out of context. Its content seems to be mainly about sexual love, and applying it towards more agape love relationships (God-Israel, Christ-Church) can be dubious. This is especially so when you apply ‘romantic’ / eros love on God-Israel and Christ-Church where there is no other Scripture that corroborates that conclusion.

  10. feeriker says:

    SnapperTrx on August 24, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Donning my tinfoil hat here, I wonder if it’s possible that Driscoll deliberately cultivated ostentatious pseudo-masculinity, with all of the attendant ridiculous bluster, with the intent of discrediting the Red Pill Christian outlook and preventing its spread within the church? Or am I given Driscoll too much credit?

  11. @ feeriker

    He seemed to begin his “meltdown” after he found out that his wife had sex at some camp. From his book “Real Marriage: The Truth about sex, friendship, and life together”

    “One night, as we approached the birth of our first child, Ashley, and the launch of our church, I had a dream in which I saw some things that shook me to my core. I saw in painful detail Grace sinning sexually during a senior trip she took after high school when we had just started dating. It was so clear it was like watching a film — something I cannot really explain but the kind of revelation I sometimes receive. I awoke, threw up, and spent the rest of the night sitting on our couch, praying, hoping it was untrue, and waiting for her to wake up so I could ask her. I asked her if it was true, fearing the answer. Yes, she confessed, it was. Grace started weeping and trying to apologize for lying to me, but I honestly don’t remember the details of the conversation, as I was shell-shocked. Had I known about this sin, I would not have married her. But God told me to marry Grace, I loved her, I had married her as a Christian, we were pregnant, and I was a pastor with a church plant filled with young people who were depending on me.” (p. 11-12)

    Also, she admittedly withheld sex from him and was frigid after marrying him. He also finds out from her later that she was the victim of sexual abuse [when younger].

    Now, what happens when you take power + traumatizing sexual experiences + typical churchian men = bad, women = good and throw it all together? You get Driscoll’s “How dare you!” video rants.

    I don’t find it particularly to be a surprise that Driscoll went the white knight route off of this. It’s the same as the typical married husband claiming if only he had been better that his wife wouldn’t have divorced him.

  12. Looking Glass says:

    @feeriker:

    CBMW that Dalrock keeps taking apart operated the same way. They put up a front about “this is what X really means”, when they’re just as wrong as the people they were claiming to be against. Frankly, it’s a classic Intelligence Services trick, but I think the Driscoll’s of the world honestly believe they have the answer. They don’t, but their failure muddies the water of the Truth, which is the reason they can get so big. They’re actually serving against the Lord, in this regard.

    The Newsboys, during their best period, had a late album song called “Lost the Plot”.

    I bring it up because it’s one of Steve Taylor is the man wholly responsible for any Christian Music being actually about God for the last 30 years. This bit of lyrics gets the entire point across:

    “Lies.
    Let’s be blunt.
    We’re a little unfaithful.
    What do You want?

    Are You still listening?
    ‘Cause we’re obviously not.
    We’ve forgotten our first love.
    We have lost the plot.

    And why are You still calling?
    You forgave, we forgot.
    We’re such experts at stalling
    That we lost the plot.
    Lost the plot.”

  13. OKRickety says:

    DS,

    “The “relationship” that we acquire with Jesus is one of mission: that we do what He commands. Sure, there are feelings, but they are not the main point.”

    [Gal. 4:7 NASB] 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

    The relationship between a son and father is personal, but certainly not eros love. I think your description above describes it well. Unfortunately, many sons have little or negative interaction with their fathers, so they don’t understand this well. Women may also suffer from little or negative interaction with their fathers. But, even in the ideal situation, I don’t think they relate the same as sons to their fathers. They see the father as loving by protecting, providing, even indulging. Consequently, I think women see God as a different kind of father, and respond differently to His commands, perhaps even supposing that God, just like their earthly father, will not punish them for their sins.

    Digressing, I earlier commented that women lack agape love when they choose to frivorce. I neglected to state this is also true for men who frivorce (women are not the only ones guilty of this egregious action).

  14. Robin Munn says:

    Deep Strength –

    This is especially so when you apply ‘romantic’ / eros love on God-Israel and Christ-Church where there is no other Scripture that corroborates that conclusion.

    You’re usually excellent, but you’re wrong here. Hosea explicitly uses eros as the symbol of God’s relationship to Israel, and portrays Israel’s worship of other gods as adultery. Ezekiel 23 is even more explicit in its sexual imagery: God is deliberately offensive in that passage in order to show us, viscerally, just how disgusting He finds idolatry. And as for Christ and the Church, there’s Ephesians 5:31-32: ” ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”

    The marriage metaphor is found throughout the Bible, in relation to God and his chosen people, collectively. The mistake is taking this idea and applying it to us individually. In passages like John 17:23, when Jesus is praying for those who will believe in Him through His disciples’ word (i.e., for us), He says “… so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” There, where He’s referring to us as individuals, the word “love” is agape.

  15. @ Robin

    Good points. Thanks for the correction!

  16. Coastal says:

    I thought it was interesting that they outright measured the testosterone levels of clergymen as opposed to men in other fields. Those of us in this corner of the web have known this already, but having tests back this up is pretty eye-opening.

    At this point, I’m left wondering where we go from here. Obviously, all of us can lead by example as godly, masculine men, however, this epidemic does have some pretty deep roots.

  17. Looking Glass says:

    @Coastal:

    The answer to most issues involving the Church: what has the Lord asked of you? Because the Lord can & will, eventually, burn away the detritus. Our job is to make sure we’re not the ones that are being removed from the vine.

  18. Pingback: The same ole feminization of Christianity bluster | Christianity and masculinity

  19. servechrist says:

    It goes back way farther.Many of the early church fathers viewed sex as a necessary evil, to be avoided were it not for the need to procreate. So the views on the sexes were messed up in the first or second century. Probably first, considering how much Paul had to speak on the matter as compared to Christ.

  20. Pingback: On divorce Part 4 | Christianity and masculinity

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