Kristie Vosper has some comments and reflections about gender roles and masculinity after her visit to Mark Driscoll’s church. It’s a good post by Kristie and I think an honest reflection, where she both enjoyed the church, agreed with a lot of the teaching, but struggled with some of the ways masculinity is defined.
Here is her key paragraph, which I think is helpful:
I liked what I learned of Mark Driscoll as I sat in the 2nd row of this Warehouse Hip church, Mars Hill. I flinched though, wishing he would express a broader definition of masculinity and not create such a narrow space for men to live in.
I find myself reacting in a protection of men who do not like sports, who don’t have an interest in Ultimate Fighting and who may not ever desire to watch an episode of Jack Ass. As a girl raised by a man who is an Eagle Scout, Scuba Diver, Backpacker, ER Technician, Elder in the church, Youth group volunteer, Off pitch hymn singer, Science enthusiast, lover of all things nature…I have a significant understanding that masculinity is not defined as narrowly as some would like.
Kristie, I agree. The way that a lot of Christianity defines masculinity and what it means to be a Christian man is way too limiting and narrowly defined.
Scot McKnight continues his series on Women in Ministry, specifically reflecting on the issue of manhood.
Here’s an excellent excerpt from his blog as he reflects upon and interacts with Sarah Sumner’s book, Men and Women in the Church: Building Consensus on Christian Leadership.
Here’s the question: What does it mean to be a Christian man/husband?
Men (and women) are wondering what it means to be a man. Sumner begins with manhood in “worldly” terms–where it basically means “to be above,” to be higher. She states that “be a man!” is a powerful challenge (and a fear if the challenge isn’t met) for males.
She next turns to John Piper’s view: “a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for and protect women” and “to affirm, receive, and nurture the strength and leadership of worthy men” is the design of God for women (85–from Grudem/Piper, Recoving Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, pp. 36-52). Sumner says this about it: first, it’s a definition, but not from the Bible. “Nowhere does the Bible say that God designed men to be the leaders, providers and protectors of women” (85). She questions whether the Bible teaches women to discern the worthiness of a man’s strength and leadership.
Sumner suggests the Bible is more open than this; that this is OK and it is good; but that there are other themes possible for men and women.
She doesn’t think the Bible teaches men to be masculine or for women to be feminine. The Bible calls us to be like Christ.
Piper, Sumner argues, is not calling men to be macho; he’s calling them to be responsible. His view of manhood fails women and men because it teaches men to assess themselves over against women (90). It teaches men to identify themselves by a feeling (91).