I am sure the torture discussion will continue. But now, something completely different. On Les' blog he has been discussing a rather interesting issue. There appears to be some angst within evangelical ciricles that perhaps the church has "feminized" the gospel to the point that men no longer feel welcome in the church.
I objected to this immediately, since this is one of the oldest refrains in American church history. This exact discussion about masculinity could come from the time of Teddy Roosevelt or earlier, when Christians battled over how to understand Jesus.
But my bigger beef is the terminology contained in the discussion. Without being mean spirited, I wonder if this isn't part of the problem between people who accept innerency and those who don't--because the issue of definition has yet to be resolved. Les read Dictionary definitions of feminism and masculinity, including this incredibly unhelpful definition of masculinize: "masculinize - "To give a masculine appearance or character to." Yeah, that helps.
But these questions are real ones, and I am afraid, ones that the conservative evangelical church is not likely to ask. What does it mean to be masculine? Feminine? As I posed on his blog, when I am nurturing and caring and take the time to listen to my fellow human beings, does that make me more feminine? What if my wife is brusque with someone? Is she exhibiting "masculine" tendencies?
As stupid as those questions sound, it appears to me foundational to even asking the questions about the portrayal of Christ or the male role in a church setting.
In a way, this conversation may be related to the previous post. My other SBC critic seemed only willing to take Bush at his literal words. As long as he said he didn't torture, no further questions were needed. Same, I suspect, when Bush claimed that Jesus was his favorite philosopher, and we found out that he liked to read Oswald Chambers. No need to inquire further.