“Mere Sexuality” is the title of a book by Todd Wilson. His aim is to rediscover the Christian vision of sexuality. Mere sexuality refers “to the themes that have characterized the Christian vision of sexuality down through the ages….what most Christians at most times in most places have believed about human sexuality – in other words, the historic consensus.” For me this implies subscribing to historic orthodox Christianity.
Being created male and female is our identity, a gift from a personal, relational, loving God. “Contrast this with our culture’s messaging,” notes Wilson, “which tells us that we are who we desire sexually – turning sexual desire into an idol that has power to name us in a way that should be left to God.” Feminist Camila Paglia has observed, “There is something fundamentally constant in gender that is grounded in concrete facts.” God did not create solitary individuals, but a complementary pair to reflect his image.
The #EvolveTheDefintion movement is an attempt to legitimize our ability to label our sexual identity. How will the definition evolve? Is there a model or guide? Will there ever be a consensus on what is masculine? I have tried in my blogs to define masculinity from a biblical perspective as a follower of Jesus. My contention is that Christian men need to do their own soul work together, hearing the voices and stories of other men to be able to embrace their masculine souls..
The #EvolveTheDefintion movement is a good example of an attempt to redefine what it means to be a man. My concern is for men who become confused, threatened or uncertain regarding their unique masculine identity. While this movement has good intention in wanting to help men with their male identity, there is the danger of being influenced by “pervasive interpretive pluralism,” with no consensus on what the Bible teaches on matters of sexuality. Listed below are some of the assumptions made by this movement that are questionable to anyone who subscribes to “mere sexuality.”
First, masculinity is a acquired identity. The differences between the sexes is not a matter of “constructs,”‘ but rather a “given” reality, going back to the orders of creation in Genesis. We dare not impose our will and choice on what God has created. Personality type, spiritual gifting, family background, training, etc. will all help shape a man. But each man’s uniqueness is found in being addressed by his heavenly Father
Secondly, the need to expand the meaning of masculinity. I agree that cultural norms and sensitivities change. For example being “tough and tender” rather then exhibiting a macho image is much more winsome in the MeToo era. But beware of the influence of the “peevish, grudging rancor against men” ( Paglia).
Thirdly, the need to be more inclusive. I get nervous when ever the world “inclusive” is used. What characteristics should be included and who is making the list. I acknowledge being nurturing and sensitive is necessary for men. But these are compliments to their essential masculinity.
Fourthly, there is no one way of being a man and there never has been one. I agree. Each man is unique. But beware since – “Leaving sex to the feminist is like letting your dog vacation at the taxidermist’s” (Paglia).
Fifthly, concern for the narrow definition of masculinity. Beware if this assumption being based on the mantra that “men are aggresors, women are victim, and patriarchy is to blame.” The natural strengths of the masculine cannot not be discarded without damaging the relationship with the feminine.. “If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts” ( Paglia).