Sunday, November 10, 2013

A watered-down cure

It never ceases to intrigue me how modern society attempts to pick through the social wreckage of the last couple generations and seek answers.  Often the prescriptions sound vaguely scriptural.  Too often they are Man's fallible pontifications that seek after wisdom while excluding reference to the Wise One.  A friend recently linked to this writing:
Over the last 100 or more years, women have understandably lost their trust in men in general. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Fragile-ego’d, self-seeking, solely cock-driven, permanently adolescent men have abused the planet on every level. The air, water, and soil are polluted, the animals violently killed, the children uneducated and the old people uncared for.
And it may sound radical to say this, but there has emerged a masculine edge in women, which has crept in during the past half a century. It is an edge that has, I believe, been born of a lack of trust in the males to deliver leadership and protection through service and wisdom. Women have been over-masculinising like mad to compensate for the essence of true maleness that’s so badly lacking in at least the last two generations of men, who have been addicted to profit and status.

Yes, the last century has seen a decline in the expectations of men (as so often demonstrated by their portrayal as idiots on the idiot box).  Yes, women have increasingly stepped into 'masculine roles,' sometimes as compensation for male failure to be responsible, and sometimes out of sheer rebellion against their own roles and responsibilities.  The writer of the excerpt above goes on to talk about how "awakening the feminine role in men" has only gone so far; that there needs to be a "deeper awakening of the male-within-the male."  I've never liked the whole "men and women both have masculine and feminine sides" paradigm.  Frankly, I believe that school has contributed to the rampant gender confusion that exists today.  But in that latter part, about the 'deeper awakening,' there is a whiff of sense. 

Consider these words, written two thousand years ago:
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

So many outside the church look at this as religious subjugation of women to some self-ordained patriarchy.  Far from it!  Not only did the Christian Church elevate the status of women in the First Century, A.D., it continued to elevate status for everyone, with the understanding that all bear the Imagio Dei.   The verses above aren't a license to rule... they're a charge to keep!  Any woman who submits to the leadership of her husband as she does to the Lord is promoting harmony within a household that is implicitly supposed to be run in a Christ-like manner for the good of all.  Any man who loves his wife in the sacrificial way Christ loved the church (reminder: He DIED for it...), is not going to abuse the responsibility he has been given to protect and provide for his family as it navigates through a shattered, fallen world. 

The article says women are looking for men who are 'trustworthy, loyal, devoted, dependable.'   I say that's merely a recognition (without saying so) that when men follow after Christ, women usually don't mind following after them.  When men provide the one thing women seek most -- unconditional, sacrificial love -- the men find in return that the woman in their life is far more likely to provide the one thing men seek most: respect.  And men who find that respect from their families are far less likely to feel the need to seek it through grasping, selfish behavior that so often has such destructive consequences.

Our society has never been perfect, but it once did a better job of seeking its meaning in Christ.  Would that we did so again!

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