With A Scholarly Ribbon In My Hair…

…or, why we’re hearing so much about “masculine” Christianity.

Billy Sunday, grandpappy of 'muscular' Christianity...

I have a post up at Christianity Today’s blog for women, her.meneutics, responding to John Piper’s comments of last week (or so) that “God has given Christianity a masculine feel.”

Here is some of what I said:

“…masculinity and femininity are not fixed and eternal sets of attributes, but are by and large culturally defined, and always changing. For example, blue was once more closely associated with “feminine” while pink was associated with “masculine.” In parts of Europe, it’s still not unusual for men to greet one another with kisses; in India, you might see two male friends walking arm in arm. And we have many examples of renaissance poetry—essentially love poetry—written by and for non-homosexual males who were close friends. By looking to other times and other places, we can see that masculinity is a way of behaving culturally that looks different in different times and places.”

And here are some things that other people have been saying:

  • “you seem uninformed”
  • “There’s a reason that throughout human history and in any cultural context patriarchy was THE norm–feminist thinking will go the way of the dodo. It’s only a matter of time.”
  • “CT tries to tie a scholarly ribbon in [her] hair” (that one’s from Douglas Wilson. BTW, Mr. Wilson, I don’t claim to be a scholar. I just claim the covenant covering of my husband’s Ph.D. We’re one flesh and he is my Head, after all.)
  • “Rachel is promoting is a damnable heresy that will bring many women (and men), including herself to everlasting perdition in hell! “
  • “put down your donuts and pick up a Bible.”

(I happened to mention that bit at the dinner table, and my 6 year old son said, “Anybody who says ‘put down your donuts and pick up a Bible’ is a bully.” Out of the mouths of babes.)

A commenter named Scott Allen also said:

  • “Women use church as a hammer to make men […] fit their norms. They substitute Precious Moments thoughts for actual Biblical teaching.”

Scott Allen, this one is for you–

But there are other comments, too, like this one, which has given me the very best kind of encouragement a writer could hope for (thanks, Natalie!)–

“It’s articles like this that shed light on something I’ve begun to notice on my own: there is an emphasis on masculinity in the Reformed tradition that alienates women (and disabled men like my husband who has progressive MS). For the first time in months, I was encouraged by what you wrote in your post on this matter. Thank you so much for giving me a beacon of light in the foggy world of my strange circumstances.”

Bet you can’t wait to read it! The whole thing is here.

7 thoughts on “With A Scholarly Ribbon In My Hair…

  1. Hey Rachel, You have been a big part of the conversation in our home over these last few days (I’m Jon B’s wife). I think that you and I had a class at PBU (Oliff’s gospels or Isaiah class I believe?). I was ridiculously quiet at the time, also a very uncertain Christian–nothing like marrying Jon to stretch that out of me, so I don’t expect you to remember…

    Anyway, your most recent writings have clearly hit a nerve, and they have hit one here in our home as well. It can be so easy for me to feel isolated in my thoughts, to feel seperate in our own church body (which holds my dearest friends at this time). Thank you for your writing. It has been encouraging. Please don’t stop (although I don’t feel like you will).

  2. Oh my word, Rachel, that Precious Moments pic is a Hoot! And your son’s observation is a HOOT-AND-A-HALF!

    And as for this critic who said “Rachel is promoting is a damnable heresy that will bring many women (and men), including herself to everlasting perdition in hell!”, has he never read John 10:28-29 – “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”? Christ’s people are never in danger of “everlasting perdition in hell.” No sense taking that kind of criticism seriously when the doctrine behind it is so problematic.

    Cheers,
    Tim

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