I spend time daily on the internet, reading news sources and Christian blog sites to make some sense out of our world. I also am on the look out for articles regarding masculinity, to help me better articulate a healthy male perspective for men and their walk with Jesus.
Every once in a while, I find a new source to help me to write helpful blog for men. A recent find has been Alastair Roberts, who blog at Alastair’s Adversaria. He is worth following. In one of his blog he reflected on the no win situation men find themselves with the feminist view of patriarchy.
For the feminist, the problem for men is toxic masculinity and the dismantling of patriarchy. “Feminists believe,” maintains Roberts, “if men could deal with their weakness, shame, and vulnerability….we could do away with patriarchy.” They believe men are shaped by damaging messages for their past.
But for many men the feminist demands are emasculating. Men many express openness about their weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and yet face hostility for “developing genuine strength.” Male strength can be a threat. “Male cultures that celebrate and accentuate male strength are a direct threat to women’s advancement.”
Men are realizing that focusing on their faults and weaknesses, “comes at the cost of both alienation from and pathologizing of their own manly strength of agency.” Men can easily develop a poor image of themselves as a man.
Women are portrayed as passive victims of patriarchy. “This enables them to hold men accountable,” notes Roberts, “to lay blame for problems at their door, and to expect then to turn everything around.” The responsibility for men can seem negative, since men are the ones that assume blame and are expected to bring about a new paradigm of relationships between men and women
I appreciate the argument Roberts makes for men having to assume both guilt and responsibility for the unhealthy patriarch of the past. The following in my opinion is very insightful: “Responsibility always comes attached to blame, as a law that sets up it recipient for condemnation and failure. The result is a shame and guilt-inflected vision of masculinity, one in which men are always being held capable, yet have relatively little ways in which they can enjoy the dignity of a positive responsibility.”
I have three comments regarding shame and responsibility. First, I am committed to helping men to walk comfortably with the Lord, in the midst of our contemporary “gender wars.” I am simply a voice crying in the wilderness, for men to come in from the darkness of shame and self-loathing, to bask in the light of our Heavenly Father saying to men, “You are my beloved.” Be affirmed in your god-given masculine self, period. Receive this as your inheritance in the Lord. He will help you stand with other brothers.
Secondly, Robert’s word are convicting to me. I repent and ask for forgiveness if I have in any way shamed a man into making attempts to be anything other than who God has created him to be. You are unique and have your assignment from the Lord. Don’t let me or anyone else tell you how you are to celebrate your god-given masculinity.
Thirdly, this is a cry to men to stand tall in their unique masculinity and be responsible. We get our marching order from the Lord himself, and not from the feminist agenda for men. We are to give it all up for Jesus. “Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who despise their life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25).