Wednesday, December 15, 2004

This was going to be a continuation of a comment on my "Sweet by Design" post, but I've decided that length dictates it be its own post...

As far as original intent goes, let me share the original intent of my post.

The second you think you understand people they go and do something or act in a manner that blows the door off your assumptions. In one of his previous posts Myles made an extremely perceptive comment that it's a sin to reduce people to verbs or adjectives.

For centuries this is what society had done, not just to individual persons but to entire genders. They defined masculinity with the adjectives strong, wild, passionate and with words such as leader, protector, provider. They defined femininity with words such as delicate, nurturing, needy.

The feminist movement, though flawed and even dangerous on so many levels, sought to recognize that you couldn't pin down femininity or masculinity with a canon of adjectives. If you have been exposed to even a small amount of the world and are honest with yourself, you have to admit that there are women who do not fit the mold you have for women and men who don't fit the mold you have for men. Once this is recognized, you have several choices.

1. You can try to convince yourself that what you've believed all along about people is right, and try to mold and stretch the characteristics of individuals to fit the categories you have for men and women. Robert did this. He took the description I gave for myself and said that, in fact, all the things I've stated DOES fit the "wild at heart" category for men. While I love Robert deeply and appreciate his kind words, I just can't agree with his assesment.

2. You can take your views and perceive a false attack on them, not address the real question at hand and seek to defend what you perceive an attack. I was not saying, nor do I believe, that complementarians treat women poorly. I think most of them probably love their wives greatly and treat them with respect. I just believe that the universal application of their views of women is unfair to individual women who do not fit their perception of femininity.


3. You can continue to defend your beliefs without dealing with the reality of real people. My post was personal for a reason. I described myself as someone who doesn't fit the mold of a traditional male and spoke of women who don't fit the mold of a traditional woman and asked the question "Where do we fit in your worldview." I wanted a personal answer to my personal question, and didn't get it, except from Robert. I want to be told what you do with people like me. If you believe I've been "tamed" or that I have shunned what God has designed me to be, then I want to be told that. I want you to tell women who pastor churches, personally, that they have misunderstood God's calling on their lives. None of this "What they do is between them and God." If you believe Julie Pennington-Russell, the woman who married our friends Jason and Christy and was ordained by my friend Luke's dad, is a sinner for pastoring a church, then I want to hear it.

Disclaimer: Please don't misunderstand my original post as me saying that I have feminine qualities or that I am in touch with my feminine side. Please don't think that women like Christy who are in egalitarian marriages or Julie who pastors a church have masculine qualities or are in touch with their masculine side. That's not what I'm saying.

What I am saying is that I'm a masculine man but that you can't narrowly define what masculinity is.

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