Sep

04

2013

Megan Hill|12:01 AM CT

Prove Your Gender

My husband and I have a young son. And this son is not like his brothers. This son is emotional, empathetic. He likes a song and a story and a snuggle. He doesn't much care about winning and sometimes wanders away from the backyard ball game by the second inning. He's neither adventurous nor loud. He is still, however, a boy.

When he grows up, he's unlikely to be the next Tim Tebow. But I'd like to think he might be the next C. S. Lewis. And I hope the Christian community will still have a place for him.

In his recent biography, C. S. Lewis—A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet, Alister McGrath presents the young Lewis as a boy who wasn't very boyish. Sent to English boarding schools from the age of 10, Lewis "does not seem to have fitted into the public school culture of the Edwardian age." Instead of participating in the athletic competitions, Lewis listened to opera and read poetry.

And his differentness caused him trouble. "Boys who were not good at games," McGrath writes, "were ridiculed and bullied by their peers. Athleticism devalued intellectual and artistic achievement and turned many schools into little more than training camps for the glorification of physicality. Yet the cultivation of manliness was seen as integral to the development of character."

Boy Poet and Girl Athlete

Our world after the Supreme Court has struck down the Defense of Marriage Act seems far from those Edwardian standards of manliness on the rugby pitch. But I am concerned that a similarly narrow standard may be gaining popularity among Christians. In standing against the gender and sexuality blur that characterizes our world today, Christians may unwittingly require our young people to prove themselves men or women. And I'm afraid the conservative Christian community may no longer have room for the young people who are different, for the boy poet or the girl athlete. That would be a great loss.

Lewis, of course, went on to become one of the most influential theologians of the modern era. In June, even The New York Times acknowledged this with a column entitled "C. S. Lewis, Evangelical Rock Star," an epithet that surely would have startled Lewis's childhood classmates. From an imaginative and artistic boy, Lewis grew up to accomplish great things in God's kingdom. And there are boys and girls in our churches today who have similar potential.

The current, widespread acceptance of homosexuality complicates our position. The Christian community has to stand against the sin of homosexuality (and dozens of other sexual aberrations) with a degree of focus and energy that it has never before needed to devote to this issue. Against the backdrop of shifting cultural norms, conservative Christians must make definitive stands. The situation requires it.

But this need for definition gives rise to its own set of problems. In 2005 Anthony Esolen explained the difficulty for young people and, in particular, boys:

The prominence of male homosexuality changes the language for teenage boys. It is absurd and cruel to say that the boy can ignore it. Even if he would, his classmates will not let him. All boys need to prove that they are not failures. They need to prove that they are on the way to becoming men.

Esolen argues that a culture of homosexuality forces young people to define themselves to their peers in a conspicuous way that was unnecessary in previous generations.

That was 2005. Now, in 2013, the situation has changed somewhat. Post-DOMA, in a world where a transgender first-grader uses the girl's bathroom, the culture at large is no longer so obviously forcing people to be either one thing or another. Gender and sexuality are fluid concepts in today's world. They are a journey of personal choices and preferences, subject to change at a moment's notice. As far as the world is concerned, our young people do not have to define themselves as anything.

But in the conservative Christian community, we are still holding firm. We are pushing back against the blur by proclaiming the creation pattern, the beauty and complementarity of gender differences, and the need for young people to embrace their gender responsibilities.

Such an emphasis incurs dangers for the church like those that Esolen previously attributed to society at large. By standing against gender and sexual ambiguity, we risk over-defining and forcing our young people to prove what does not need to be proven.

Nothing to Prove

And so I come back to my sensitive son, with his preference for imaginative games over competitive ones. I wonder if he will soon find himself a misfit in the Christian community, pressured to prove himself—not by his neighborhood friends, who won't care what he is—but by other Christians, who want him to stand up for a certain kind of disappearing manliness.

In 2005, Esolen suggested that young people would find heterosexual fornication an easy option for declaring their sexual identity. We still face that danger. Sexual acts, thoughts, and desires are rightly cultivated only in a marriage (and that between a man and a woman). I don't expect to see Christians condoning fornication. But I can imagine a quasi-righteousness being attached to childhood or teenaged expressions of attraction to someone of the opposite sex. Good, we'll think, at least they aren't tempted to homosexuality.

Young people also need to learn the skills necessary to fulfill their adult responsibilities. Boys are, little by little, training to be heads of households as Christ is the head of the church (Ephesians 5:23). Girls are working toward the development of a character that will eventually take on the responsibility of "working at home. . . submissive to their own husbands" (Titus 2:5). Much of the current emphasis on this counter-cultural teaching is valuable.

But these skills, like any of our other holy duties, are harder for some individuals to learn than for others. It is unloving and unbiblical to assume that every Christian boy will naturally take on leadership roles or every Christian girl will immediately enjoy homemaking duties. Just as each one of us struggles to put on certain requirements of the Lord (say, patience and contentment) the personalities of some young people will make mastering their gender responsibilities hard work. We ought not to make easy facility in these tasks a test for true piety.

Finally, the Christian community should intentionally celebrate the amazingly diverse spectrum of personalities and talents that God created. Stand against sexual sin, we must. But let us not declare a certain kind of girl or a certain type of boy to be more godly than any other.

Christian young people—thinkers and feelers, musicians and rock-climbers, wrestlers and poets alike—have nothing to prove.

Megan Hill lives in Mississippi. She is a member of St. Paul Presbyterian Church (PCA) and writes about ministry life at Sunday Women.

Categories: Arts and Culture
  • Matt

    Well said.

    But I would challenge your statement "homosexuality is sin." No, I don't believe the Bible allows sex outside of male/female marriage. But the word "homosexuality" simply refers to someone who is ATTRACTED to their own gender regardless of whether they choose to follow that attraction or stand firm against it. Boys who are attracted to other boys are men too. And sometimes it takes a tremendous amount of moral fiber to stand against one's temptations while enduring ridicule from the world and condemnation from the Church. If any of your sons, when they hit their teens, endures this temptation I hope you will not see him as being less of a man.

    • Gabe

      Good point Matt. I agree that we have to be very careful about the words we are using when we discuss issues like this. Simply "being" homosexual, meaning having homosexual desires, is completely different than someone who engages in homosexual behavior. It is what someone does with his or her homosexual desires that determines whether or not there is sin.

      • Bill

        While I appreciate both of your points (we as Christians shouldn't look at people with homosexual compulsions as lesser Christians),I think the Bible tells us that any sort of lust in your mind is sinful, whether it be for someone of the same sex or someone of the other sex. For example, my sexual actions towards someone other than my spouse are sinful AND my lustful thoughts towards them are sinful. Is it any different with people who have homosexual compulsions?

        • Matt

          Actually, this is not quite correct. The Greek construction in Matthew 5:28 "pro to" + the infinitive is used consistently throughout Matthew to indicate an intentional action. What Christ condemns is not the mere presence of attraction but intention looking in order to lust (the ESV translates this very well). To teach temptation as sin is very dangerous as it separates the individual from the application of Hebrew 4:15 "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin." If, indeed we point to any kind of temptation and say "the presence of this temptation is sin in and of itself," then the homosexually tempted Christian, for instance, is forced to ask, "if God does not include me under the 'every' of Hebrews 4, then how can I know that I am non excluded when the pastor says Christ died for 'every' sinner?"

          • Bill

            Interesting points Matt, so in Matt 5:28 are you differentiating between attraction and "lustful intent"? And I am not claiming that temptation itself is sin, I don't think the Bible says that anywhere. I was claiming that to lust in one's mind is sin, whether it be homosexual attractions or heterosexual attractions. But I guess what you and others are saying is that the mere attraction in itself is not sinful, just acting on it, whether that be in the mind or physically, is that correct?

            Thanks.

        • Gabe

          Good point Bill. I think the ultimate goal is to have perfect unfettered fellowship with God. It's our own sin that keeps us from being able to do that. While I think that the mature Christian will seek to have a pure heart and mind, it is still very important to make these distinctions. For example if we are speaking politically, then as Christians we are not particularly concerned with what someone's desires are, as long was we are not forced to condone their actions. If we are dealing with a new or potentially new Christian, then we would want them to know that they don't have to live that lifestyle just becausee they have those desires. Then as the Christian matures they would want to replace those things that cause separation from God, with things that draw them closer to God. So I would say that it's not so much the fact that someone has sinful desires, but are they working to set their mind towards righteousness or are they dwelling on those desires. Like I said before it's what you do with those desires that is important.

    • Tony

      Since I've been cited in the essay -- and thank you for your kind attention, and God bless you for your standing firm in the faith -- I thought I might comment upon a couple of the points.

      The crisis for boys is all the more acute now than eight years ago, because, although many of them will say in public all day long that they "support" the transgender kid, don't you believe it for a moment. Adam was not deceived, and I daresay that most boys are not deceived about this madness. Corrupted by it, infuriated by it, yes, but not entirely deceived.

      I've known plenty of boys who were not athletic and who were, in their way, perfectly boyish -- as was C. S. Lewis! The trouble with us is not that we overemphasize the differences between the sexes (we don't), but that we're so blind to the great range and quality and sheer quantity of the differences between the sexes, we tend to overrate the one or two we still recognize. This was already true when I was a boy, but not so true as it is now.

      On "homosexuality" not being sinful: yes and no. A temptation is not, of itself, sinful. But there's a difference between a temptation to do something that is good by its nature but wrong by attendant circumstances, and a temptation to do something that is evil by its nature, and can never be made good. If a boy is kissing a girl and fantasizes about more, he'd better stop it right there. But what he's dreaming about is not in itself wrong; what's wrong is that he's not married to the girl and so is not in a position to act upon his desires. But the person who is sexually aroused by someone of the same sex is in a different category. It's as if he were aroused by, let's say, a small child; we wouldn't shrug and say, "The orientation toward small children is morally neutral; and hey, aren't you a good egg for refraining from acting upon it!" We would say, "You are experiencing a severe moral and psychological disorder."

      By the way, there's also a difference between arousal that suggests action, and merely appreciating the beauty of another human being, including someone of the same sex. Call it another of the casualties of all-gay all-day propaganda that that too falls under the category of "homosexual."

      • Matt

        "On "homosexuality" not being sinful: yes and no. A temptation is not, of itself, sinful. But there's a difference between a temptation to do something that is good by its nature but wrong by attendant circumstances, and a temptation to do something that is evil by its nature, and can never be made good. If a boy is kissing a girl and fantasizes about more, he'd better stop it right there. But what he's dreaming about is not in itself wrong; what's wrong is that he's not married to the girl and so is not in a position to act upon his desires. But the person who is sexually aroused by someone of the same sex is in a different category."

        This is sort of a Red Herring. We, today divide sexuality into two categories, homosexual and heterosexual. And then we mentally place "marriage" as a subset of "heterosexual." It is very difficult for us to break out of that mindset.

        As we look at the Bible, it is obvious that the categories used by the Scriptural authors are more along the lines of "appropriate sexuality" (this would be sex properly used within marriage - and, yes, a marriage between a man and a women) and "inappropriate sexuality" which would be all temptation and sin outside of correct sexuality. Scripturaly speaking there is no distinction between homosexual behavior and adultery/fornication and, in fact, they are paired every time homosexual behavior is mentioned. This includes Romans 1:26-27, by the way. About half of the ancient Church Fathers saw verse 26 as speaking of prostitution or "non-vaginal intercourse" rather than lesbianism and, thus, saw a parallel between inappropriate heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior.

    • Ephirius

      Suppose you encountered someone who lied all of the time. They were predisposed to it from their biology and their upbringing, and their choices in life.

      One day, this person decides to stop lying because he sees the damage it does. He retains the predisposition to lie, but he chooses not to. Years later, this person has still not told a single lie.

      Would you call this person a liar?

      I agree that we must be careful in our word choice. Do you see why statements like "But I would challenge your statement 'homosexuality is a sin'" might confuse people instead of making things more clear?

      • http://www.intelligenceisnotasin,net Chancellor Roberts

        We are all predisposed to sin from our biology - a predisposition we inherited from Adam - and, yes, that makes us sinners. It is our nature to sin. Whether we stop sinning at a particular moment (though we know that isn't going to happen) doesn't change our sin nature, our predisposition to sin. Of course, the only difference between a Christian and a non-Christian is Christ and what He is doing in the Christian by way of the Holy Spirit, which includes forming His nature within us. The Apostle Paul referred to himself as the chief of sinners long after his conversion.

        Certainly, homosexual attraction is contrary to God's created design for male and female. Is it something someone is born with? I don't think so (but I don't think anyone is born heterosexual either); I think sexual attraction develops during childhood and "kicks in" sometime around the onset of puberty. Is the attraction itself sin or is it more along the lines of maldevelopment in the area of gender? (The attraction itself is gender-based and males aren't supposed to be sexually/romantically attracted to their own gender; females aren't supposed to be sexually/romantically attracted to their own gender. Clearly some wires in the brain got crossed somewhere or some connections got shorted out or however you want to explain it).

        • Ephirius

          Maybe you could answer my central question. Would you call the guy I described a "liar" or not?

          • http://www,intelligenceisnotasin.net Chancellor Roberts

            Only if he actually stopped lying and no longer had the lying nature within him - just as we can stop calling ourselves sinners when we finally stop sinning and no longer have the sinful nature within us (when we go home to be with Christ).

            • Ephirius

              You said: "Only if he actually stopped lying and no longer had the lying nature within him"

              So, to not be a liar, he needs to both:
              1. Not lie
              2. Not have the temptation to lie

              I'm looking for clarification. Would this mean he is a liar if he does not lie, but is tempted to lie? Would you call him a liar?

              This is still related to the original comment; I think we should be careful in our wording. What would you call a person who does not lie, despite the temptation to do so?

            • Ephirius

              For the record, we may completely agree on this issue from all other perspectives. I am reducing any disagreement down to the use of the term "homosexual", and I think a brief look at the term "liar" can shed some light on how we should use it.

            • http://www,intelligenceisnotasin.net Chancellor Roberts

              Ephirius, we're sinners not because we sin, but because it is our nature inherited from Adam. Likewise, the liar in your scenario is a liar not because he lies, but because it is his nature.

            • Ephirius

              You never did answer my question, which was and is very simple:

              What would you call a person who does not lie, despite the temptation to do so? Would this person be a liar?

              But now I have further questions:

              If this person is a liar even though he doesn't lie, what is the purpose of the word "liar" in the first place, if it doesn't have anything to do with the act of lying itself?

      • Coby

        "In the name of Sin, the inexorable, the irresistible..." CR, I think you've set up a false god called Original Sin. My reading of the plain sense of Scripture is that God holds us accountable for our own actions, not for those of Adam. "The fathers shall not be put to death for the children..." and "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge." It is true that we are mortal since the fall, and "weak through the flesh." But a predisposition to sin, or an inherited curse that would automatically damn us to hell, are not explicitly spelled out in any verse that I can think of. You have exalted the traditions of men over God's word. You have set up a philosophical proposition that requires magic for a cure; paedobaptism, and an Immaculate Conception, if you will. Sorry, that irks me. It's part of a sense of false guilt, the Devil trying to get us to own the temptation. "You wanted to do it. You know you did." Sin is plenty bad enough without claiming that it is transmissible through our DNA. Let's get our focus back on Jesus.

        • http://www,intelligenceisnotasin.net Chancellor Roberts

          Coby, I most certainly do believe in original sin and that, according to Romans 5:12-21, Adam's sin in the Garden of Eden was imputed to the whole of humanity. Thus, we are sinners from the moment of conception and deserving of eternity in the Lake of Fire. We are, as the scripture says, "dead in trespasses and sins." Yes, we sin because we want to sin, but that desire to sin is part of our "genetic code" if you will; it was transmitted to us as a consequence of Adam's sin. Maybe if you actually knew what the doctrines of original sin and total depravity were, you'd have a much greater appreciation of Christ's propitiatory work, His penal substitution on the cross, as well as a greater appreciation for the grace and mercy of God in providing it.

          A list of articles on the imputation of Adam's sin for your consideration: http://www.monergism.com/directory/link_category/Original-Sin/The-Imputation-of-Adams-Sin/

      • http://www,intelligenceisnotasin.net Chancellor Roberts

        You asked (but I couldn't directly reply to it) "You never did answer my question, which was and is very simple:

        What would you call a person who does not lie, despite the temptation to do so? Would this person be a liar?

        But now I have further questions:

        If this person is a liar even though he doesn't lie, what is the purpose of the word "liar" in the first place, if it doesn't have anything to do with the act of lying itself?"

        I did answer it: "Only if he actually stopped lying and no longer had the lying nature within him - just as we can stop calling ourselves sinners when we finally stop sinning and no longer have the sinful nature within us (when we go home to be with Christ)" and "Ephirius, we're sinners not because we sin, but because it is our nature inherited from Adam. Likewise, the liar in your scenario is a liar not because he lies, but because it is his nature." A person is a liar both because of the act and because it is his nature to lie. So, no, it isn't that the word "liar" has nothing to do with the act of lying, it's that the act of lying is just an outward expression of the inward nature. We're sinners because it is our nature to sin (the nature inherited from Adam) and because we (in effect) sinned in Adam (based on Romans 5:12-21, which also teaches the guilt of Adam's sin is imputed, charged to, the whole of humanity), not merely because we sin.

    • Garrett

      Matt--Do you have a blog or anywhere I could read more of your thoughts?

  • David

    I completely agree! What a fantastic article. I truly hope your son finds the Christian community to be a welcoming one that celebrates him as a child of God.

  • Kathryn

    Thank you for this article! While my 17 year old son is athletic and fits the typical conservative Christian description of a "manly man" quite well, my husband spends all of his spare time reading and working on learning new languages. In every church we've belonged to, the only activities organized for men have consisted of sporting events or handyman activities. He has no interest in sports (and in fact finds all sports talk a painful reminder of his childhood inability to play sports well in sports-obsessed Mississippi), and he has no experience with fixing things around the house (or house painting, gardening, etc.). He's an amazing linguist, though, as well as a talented pianist. I, too, hope that as Christians speak out against the cultural embrace of homosexuality we don't mistakenly insist on narrow definitions of manhood and womanhood that primarily emphasize athleticism for boys and things like home decorating for girls.

  • Michael

    From a Christian who fights homosexual temptation in his own life, if you look long enough, you and your son will find Christians who don't require anyone to prove themselves. I've found that in my community at my university and city. Thoughtful article. Lord bless and strengthen us all.

  • Dean P

    Excellent article Megan. In relation to your son I too was un-athletic and more artistically inclined. In an unrelated area to the homosexual marriage issue (but still vaguely connected to male gender roles) I see one avenue of potential problems for him that could present some major obstacles for many non-athletic/aggressive/competitive boys in their future, which is their potential career and vocational endeavors. Since I was neither athletically, mechanically, or mathematically inclined many of my options for a career were narrowed down to an artistic or academic nature, which in an ever increasingly overly specialized and professional oriented job market doesn’t bode very well today. For me not having a set of specific "real world" vocational skills left me in a perpetual vocational limbo. I am not the only one with this dilemma, many other men who tended to be more academic and artistically inclined and may even have two or three academic degrees are still nevertheless struggling to barely make ends meet these days.(retail, food service, human services have become standard operating procedure for many men who are artists or may even have multiple degrees) It has been this recent occurrence that has caused many of these type of men to seem to be less than adequate marriage material for the more conservative young Christian woman who are looking for the type of man who can provide a certain expected standard of living that will allow the young woman to stay at home with the kids. Now since the recession of 2008 we are seeing the rise of the professional millennial career driven woman and we are seeing how the vocationally oriented gender roles starting to become more fluid and adaptable (much in some of the ways you described in your article)You can see this now with the rise of the Christian stay at home father. Something that many complimentarian Christians like to either condemn or sweep under the rug. Anyway, my point Megan is that yes encourage your more sensitively and bookish inclined son to be comfortable in his own skin, but at the same time recognize the need to be proactive with his individual gifts when it comes to a potential career and his own vocational aspirations. Take it from me it is tough out there right now for those of us who are like him.

    • Elle

      It's not exactly about a standard of living.

      To start, I don't understand why it is apparently so hard for all these guys to be holding down full time jobs for any amount of time. They get hired. But somehow it's just not possible for them to stay hired. Why? I've had the same job for seven years. And yes, it's artistic.

      Usually these guys do not have multiple degrees. They have a partial degree. Between that and the job, I wonder if they're able to commit to anything - including me. Clearly that's not an issue you're contending with, because I assume you have the multiple degrees you're talking about - but most of these guys don't even have one.

      And it's not *fun* to date those guys. They can't afford groceries so they need you to pick up milk and bread before there can be a dinner. They can't afford gas to go anywhere and you can't come to their place because mom and dad are home.

      I'm a responsible grown-up and I want to marry a responsible grown-up too!

      • Dean P

        Elle: Yes I understand and you do have a point. I do wonder if some of what I was saying in my top post is more specific to my generational demographic (I am an early Gen Xer) and the situations that you seem to be describing to me sounds more indicative of the Millennial generation and the later Xers. Also to be fair I have struggled with a particular learning/sensory disability in addition to being more sensitive and artistic which has had a lot to do with my checkered vocational history.

        • Elle

          Ah, yes, I'm an early Millennial so there's a fair gap between our experiences.

  • Jason

    Megan,
    Lets hope not because if athletic prowess a love of hunting are prerequisites for manhood, then most of our pastors would not pass the test. Myself included.

  • http://www.kamillaludwig.com Kamilla

    Megan,

    I'm so glad to see you use Tony's essay. I've long thought it one of his best.

    You wrote: "In 2005, Esolen suggested that young people would find heterosexual fornication an easy option for declaring their sexual identity. We still face that danger. Sexual acts, thoughts, and desires are rightly cultivated only in a marriage (and that between a man and a woman). I don't expect to see Christians condoning fornication."

    While many churches do not openly condone fornication, they do so in many ways that are not so obvious. During my years in singles ministry leadership, it was a constant battle to get most of the pastors to say *anything* direct and concrete other than, "just say no". Couples were openly living together with nothing being said. And, when one couple decided to not come home with the short term mission team, instead taking a side trip together -- it was the rest of the team that was criticized for gossip and having gone to the church's leadership, asking for some discipline to take place.

    So, while churches may not be openly condoning it, many are enabling it.

  • Susan C.

    It's a good point. In one of our past churches (we've lived in several states), I felt rather out of things because I didn't really fit the local image of femininity. (No, I'm not athletic or career-minded; I just didn't fit.)

  • http://www.intelligenceisnotasin.net Chancellor Roberts

    What's that old song from the 1920s? "Masculine women, feminine men: which is the rooster, which is the hen? It's hard to tell 'em apart today..."

    Paul, in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, writes about effeminacy (perhaps males behaving in a feminine manner or having feminine characteristics or mannerisms) as a sin (among a list of other sins). Because the only correct interpretation of any written text is the author's interpretation, we don't get to decide that this means something different for us than it meant for Paul. Of course, one could raise valid questions about whether malakos should have been translated "effeminate," but if the translation is correct then we really need to look at that issue carefully. Is effeminacy, along with masculinity and femininity, culturally defined or is there a universal standard? Since, for Christians, OUR culture is that of the kingdom of God and NOT those of this present wicked world in which we are but "strangers and exiles," how does God define these things?

    • Ryan

      Very few translations include "effeminate" in 1 Cor 6:9-10 - including the ESV, which is what you linked to. Indeed, it seems to be referring explicitly to men playing the role of the woman in homosexual acts - in other words, it is saying that the consensual sodomizee is no less at fault than the sodomizer simply because he is on the receiving end, so to speak. In fact, if we look at the surrounding culture of the time, the most prevailing use of effeminate was, according to John J. Winkler's seminal research, a man who exhibited a love for being sexually penetrated by other men.

      While it is theoretically possible that Paul intended to use malakos to deal with effeminate behavior in general, such a usage would contradict both the vernacular of the time and the prevailing consensus of contemporary Biblical scholarship, and as a result, the burden of proof is upon you; the burden to demonstrate that Paul is speaking of a general effeminate nature. Until you successfully do so, I think we can safely assume that there is nothing sinful or dishonouring about men who are passionate about things that are generally thought of as being within the realm of women.

      • http://www.intelligenceisnotasin,net Chancellor Roberts

        Ryan, I didn't make the hyperlink, scripture references are automatically hyperlinked here. If you'll notice, I did question whether malakos should be translated "effeminate" ("Of course, one could raise valid questions about whether malakos should have been translated 'effeminate') as it is in some translations. Could malakos ("soft") be referring to the "bottom" (in homosexual parlance) or the person on the receiving end of anal sex? Maybe (it would be consistent with the teen boy in the pederast relationship; pederasty was common in the first century, though the boys didn't really have a choice in the matter when it came to the sex). However, it could refer to more than that - even to people who live opulent, ostentatious, luxurious lifestyles). The other word Paul used, arsenokoites, seems to be one he may have coined from male (arsen) and a euphemism for sexual cohabitation (koite). The latter word, which could be translated "men who sexually cohabit," is why I question malakos as a reference to a single aspect of homosexual or pederastic sex. Could the two words together be referring to the practice of pederasty that was common in the Gentile world of the first century? Possibly.

        As for "the prevailing consensus of Biblical scholarship," that kind of language doesn't convince me. Supposedly "global warming" or "anthropogenic climate change" is the "prevailing consensus" of climate science. That doesn't make anthropogenic climate change a fact. Likewise, the "prevailing consensus" of psychology/psychiatry is that homosexuality is a normal variant of human sexuality - that doesn't make it so.

        • Ryan

          That's all very well and good, but you are primarily asserting that we are uncertain how to properly translate malakos. I certainly would not disagree with this, however I would disagree with the fact that you then use this uncertainty to leap to malakos describing generally effeminate character in men. Even if malakos is not used in a sense to connotate homosexual behaviour here, as far as I am aware there is nothing in its usage as a Greek word, at any point, to suggest that it is descriptive of effeminate behaviour in general, rather it would pertain to either crossdressing or cowardice. Either way, there is nothing in Scripture condemning boys who might find hair styling and the culinary arts more invigorating than sports and competitions.

          Arsenokoites is, of course, one of the single most difficult words to translate in the Bible, because as you said, it had no prior existence and seems to be a word that Paul completely made up. It is possible that as Paul was not particularly fluent in Greek that perhaps this was a synthesis of words found in the Septuagint that he and his scribe may have used without entirely understanding. Arsenos koiten seems to have been used in the Levitical law to refer to homosexual acts, so perhaps this was an either confused or deliberate attempt to impart that meaning to this text.

          Finally, I did not appeal to the prevailing consensus in order to cow you into agreeing with me. I'm not so crass as to so readily give out such a fallacious argument. Rather I was asserting that because the current consensus seems to be malakos as the recipient of sexual penetration and arsenokoites as the giver of it, the burden of proof lies heavy upon alternate interpretations. I daresay that you have yet to offer any conclusive evidence that Paul was referring to generally effeminate behaviour, therefore while we cannot rule it out as a possibility, it would seem foolish to condemn effeminate behaviour in men based on such an uncertain interpretation.

          • Ephirius

            "I'm not so crass as to so readily give out such a fallacious argument. Rather I was asserting that because the current consensus seems to be malakos as the recipient of sexual penetration and arsenokoites as the giver of it, the burden of proof lies heavy upon alternate interpretations."

            This is incorrect. The burden of proof always lies on the person making a claim. Since you also made a claim, you also have the burden of proof.

            • Ryan

              Yes the burden of proof lies on both sides, however my point was that because the one position is so broadly held, it has already been argued and proof for it has already been given in places that are readily available and by men and women who are more learned and articulate than I. In other words, I assumed - and based on what he has said, I believe it is a fair assumption - that Roberts is already familiar with those arguments, and as such belabouring them would seem redundant. The view that 1 Cor 6:9-10 refers to generally effeminate behaviour, however, is not quite so common, and as a result I think it would be fruitful to hash it out in full.

  • Dean P

    Also Megan I can't recommend enough the book "Quiet:The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain. This book really tackles what it is like to be a sensitive and more artistically inclined introvert better than anything else that I have read. Also the last chapter is an excellent section on raising an introverted child.

    http://www.amazon.com/Quiet-Power-Introverts-World-Talking/dp/0307352153/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1378316582&sr=8-1&keywords=quiet+the+power+of+introverts+in+a+world+that+can%27t+stop+talking

  • Lori

    "Girls are working toward the development of a character that will eventually take on the responsibility of "working at home. . . submissive to their own husbands" (Titus 2:5). Much of the current emphasis on this counter-cultural teaching is valuable."

    Would like for you to read this...http://aspire2.blogspot.com/2013/09/seriously-jesus-traveled-with-women.html

    • http://www.intelligenceisnotasin.net Chancellor Roberts

      Utter nonsense! The women who traveled with Jesus were not His wives. So, to try to use the argument that because women financially supported Jesus married women can be the breadwinners in their families bears false witness against the word of God! Other scriptures (that do relate to the role of women in a marriage) don't paint the picture of women working outside the home financially supporting their families while their husbands stay at home or are also working outside the home (and, no, it is not "necessary" for both parents to work outside the home, they just need to accept a lower standard of living).

      • Dean P

        "don't paint the picture of women working outside the home financially supporting their families while their husbands stay at home or are also working outside the home (and, no, it is not "necessary" for both parents to work outside the home, they just need to accept a lower standard of living)."

        Chancellor Roberts: I wasn't trying to use Jesus being supported by women as a basis for women being domestic bread winner, I think that was another commenter. That said I hear you but there are certain things that have occurred in our culture that makes one income families a lot more difficult than what you realize. From insurance to cell phone bills and there are so many factors. Take the town I live in in NC, the average income of a two person income combined is 45k here but the standard of living is the highest in the state. So be careful, my wife and I own our own business in this town because it is more stable and lucrative to own one here than to actually work for someone. This is why we have not had kids yet.We also are both very frugal with our money . Also we own a business that is in her specific professional field so there is no way possible that if we had a kid that my wife could stop working. It also doesn't help that I individually have a learning/sensory disability that has been instrumental for why I have not being able to hold a specialized/professional job for an extended time period, so my wife has to be the primary breadwinner, and you might say that I may be the exception to the rule, but more and more research and data is coming out about the proliferation of undiagnosed learning/sensory disabilities in children. Also I say all of this to say we try to follow Biblical prescriptions, but depending on the context sometimes it can be like fitting a square peg in a round hole, but yet God is still sovergion.

      • http://aspire2.com Sandra Glahn

        I think the woman in Proverbs 31 was pretty godly, and she bought a field w/ her own income, as well as selling belts and sashes...while her husband sat at the gate. Priscilla was a co-laborer w/ Aquila in the tent-making business. When Paul told women to be home-workers, he was not talking to people tempted to work in factories or on Wall Street. The emphasis was on working hard, as in BUSY at home, rather than lazy. Even upper-class women like the one depicted in P-31 contributed to the economics of the family. In that sense there were two wage-earners, as is true of most godly wives in the developing world. The Industrial Revolution removed both the husbands and the wives from the home. And the effect on the family was devastating. If we are going to say the ideal is for the wife to be working from home, we might need to consider that the ideal is actually BOTH husband and wife working from home. In such contexts, father and mother partner in work and in parenting.

  • Dean P

    Chancellor Roberts: Based on what Megan has written about in this article there doesn't seem to be any indication that to think that her son or that the qualities that she is discussing in this article are a form of some type of effeminacy. There are plenty of sensitive, bookish, and un-athletic boys and men who do not display any outward signs of effeminacy. There are plenty of young boys and adult men for that matter who are neither athletic nor effiminate.

    • http://www.intelligenceisnotasin.net Chancellor Roberts

      Yeah, Dean, I read the article. I'm simply raising questions based on what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6 and all the gender fluidity in Western society today. (I've even read where some shrinks have said there is no male or female, but that gender is a fluid spectrum and people fall along various places on the spectrum, sometimes even different places at different times in their lives). I'm questioning whether we should be looking at masculinity and femininity as culturally-based or as something universal that is defined for us in God's word. I'm just asking questions!

    • http://www,intelligenceisnotasin.net Chancellor Roberts

      Yes, Dean, I read the article. Based on the content of the article and on the fluidity of gender in Western society today, I raised the question of effeminacy from the standpoint of Paul's reference to it in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. That issue does need to be examined when we're talking about gender and what constitutes "masculinity" or "femininity." Ultimately, we need to find out what the Bible says about masculinity and femininity and follow that instead of the wickedness of trying to conform the Church to the ungodly cultures of the world.

      • Ryan

        And as I told you, until you successfully demonstrate that 1 Cor is referencing effeminate behaviour - an uphill battle by anyone's standards - the question you raised is not one we ought to take seriously. If you can establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Paul was, in fact, talking about gender norms rather than sexual deviancy, then we'll talk.

  • http://www.steadyonband.com Jeff S

    I'm not sure what homosexuality has to do with proving gender in children. I don't see homosexual men as being confused about whether they are women. They are men who have sex with other men. This just doesn't seem relevant to non-sexually active children.

    What I'm saying is, if my son started playing with little pink ponies, I don't think that makes him in any more danger of wanting to have sex with men when he's older than playing with cars would.

    To be honest, I guess I don't really see the value in "proving gender". I'd prefer for my son to grow up naturally investing in the activities he feels are a good fit for him rather than trying to enforce an external standard on him that has nothing to do with morality.

    If he grows up and tells me he is attracted to me, then we are going to have to have a difficult conversation, but I won't think it was because I allowed him to play with the wrong kinds of toys.

    • http://www.intelligenceisnotasin,net Chancellor Roberts

      Jeff, have you ever heard a bunch of homosexual men referring to each other in the feminine - addressing each other as "girlfriend" or by female names? Have you ever heard homosexual men, when there's a discussion about a glamorous woman, saying "I want to be her"? I'm sure that isn't the case with all homosexual men, but there does seem to be a significant number for whom "gender identity" seems to be somewhat of an issue.

      The homosexuals themselves claim that homosexuality is more than just having sex with someone of the same gender, that it's an identity that goes to the very core of their being - an identity that develops during childhood (though they would say it's an identity they were born with).

      What does any of this have to do with the discussion in the article? Well, here's the thing: the homosexual rights movement is largely responsible for the more recent developments in how we understand gender. Whether it makes it easier for people to accept homosexuals if we accept that gender is this sort of fluid spectrum and that people just fall at different places on the spectrum, I'm not sure; but certainly the homosexuals and the so-called "transgendered" would like it to be that way. It's all part of taking disordered thinking (which is what homosexuality and being transgendered are to a large extent) and trying to make it a "normal variation" of human experience. Erasing even the very notion of male and female makes it easier for homosexuals and the transgendered to accept themselves and to be accepted by society.

      God created male and female. He created them different and distinct. He didn't create some fluid spectrum where people fall on different places (sometimes even a different times in their lives) with perhaps there being a "male" and "female" at the very extreme ends of the spectrum or male and female just being labels for the opposite poles (like North Pole and South Pole or positive and negative). To some extent, perhaps what it means to be male or female (in how it is expressed in practice) is culturally determined (e.g. the thing about how girls are "sugar and spice and everything nice" and boys are "snips and snails and puppy dog tails"). However, for the Christian, OUR culture is that of the kingdom of God and we must conform to that culture - including in how gender is expressed. What that looks like, I'm not entirely sure, but we do get some idea from scripture. Males are supposed to be raised up to be able to take on the leadership of the home (should they choose to marry). Leadership in the Church is male leadership (and before anyone tries to bring up women deacons in the first century, deacons are not church leaders, they're servants). The teaching roles in the Church are male roles (other than where Paul said that older women were to teach younger women how to be good wives). Whether males are to be athletic or artistic, hunters or gardeners, mechanics or scholars, etc., those are largely culture-based (and even economic-based) ideals regarding gender. Regardless, it's a parent's job to train up a child in the way that he should go - and that includes how to be male or female.

      • http://www.steadyonband.com Jeff S

        CR,
        After I posted, I realized I really don't know much about how homosexuals develop. I do remember when I was younger I had many friends that were girls and my mother made me stop playing with them. I don't think if she'd continued to allow it that it would have affected my sexual identity, but I know that was her concern. I guess I just don't think that if a boy enjoys a culturally female thing, that makes him more susceptible to homosexual activity when he is older.

        I agree there isn't a "spectrum" of maleness and femaleness, but to me that's exactly what this idea of "proving gender" does. I don't care about sports and I'm not into fixing stuff around the house and manual labor, but I don't think I'm any lesser of a man for those things. I'm not somewhere on the spectrum- I am a male.

        I think we have to be careful about allowing the culture to define our ideas of male and female, though I don't know that it's necessarily wrong to be guided by it. It's when we make it an issue that I think we go too far. I'll admit I have my son watch "Diego" rather than "Dora". But I wouldn't think a little boy who enjoys "Dora" is necessarily confused.

        And stuff like the color "pink" being for girls- as I understood it it used to be associated with males. That's completely cultural.

        Finally, we need to be careful about "leadership" being a male quality. It isn't. There are some fantastic female leaders in the world today, and there were great female leaders in scripture. I'm not arguing about leadership in the home or in church, but clearly it would not be wrong to develop a woman's leadership skills on the basis that it's a "male quality".

        • http://www,intelligenceisnotasin.net Chancellor Roberts

          Part of my point was to raise the question of how much this whole idea of what constitutes male and female is culturally-based, and to assert that since the Christian's "culture" is that of the kingdom of God our idea of what constitutes male and female must be based on the culture of God's kingdom and not based on worldly cultures (where, by the way, we are but "strangers and exiles"). Further, God's word teaches us that leadership in the home and in the Church (which are actually mirrors of each other) is male. What this wicked world does in that regard has nothing to do with what we do as Christians.

          • http://steadyonband.com Jeff S

            I did not contest your assertion that leadership in the home and in the church is male. However, the scripture does contain women who are leaders. I'm thinking specifically of Deborah, who seems to lead at the direct call of God. Given that, "leadership" is not a quality unique to males.

            I did not appeal to the "wicked world" except to say there are women who do well leading. The point is, women can have the ability to lead well, as evidenced by experience, and they are given the role to lead, as evidenced by scripture.

            So when we differentiate between male and female in the kingdom of God (which I am keen on doing), we cannot do so on the basis of "leadership". I believe that "leadership" is a skill, whereas "in the church and home" is an arena in which it is exercised.

            Can you suggest how to develop a young man's ability to "lead in the church and home" in a different way from a young woman's ability to lead in other areas?

            • http://www,intelligenceisnotasin.net Chancellor Roberts

              Jeff,

              Don't take something that happened in Judges and try to apply it to the Church. That God used Deborah as a prophetess and judge to drive the leader of Israel to get off his sorry butt and do something about Israel's enemies has nothing to do with the leadership that God has established in the Church. Deborah was an anomaly, an exception: we can't use her (or, for that matter, Esther or the very few other examples in the Old Testament) to try to make women in leadership (in the Church and the home) normative.

              As for Priscilla, we don't know exactly what her role was in that tent-making business. You're making an assumption that she was equal to her husband in every way. Regardless, that doesn't make her a leader in the home or in the Church and it bears false witness against the word of God to use these kinds of examples to contradict the very clear teaching in the New Testament that the leadership in the home and in the Church is exclusively male.

              God has established different roles for male and female within the home and within the Church. These are roles, not qualities or characteristics.

              Male and female are equally sinners. Male and female equally receive the salvation that God has granted to His elect. However, God has given different roles to male and female within the home and within the Church. That doesn't make one superior or lesser to the other, just different.

              As for developing boys so that they can become leaders in the home and in the Church, I will defer to what Paul commanded older men to do with regard to younger men and would probably recommend avoiding Mark Driscoll's push for such things as MMA in the Church. John Piper has some good stuff, though (like this: http://www.christianpost.com/news/john-piper-god-gave-christianity-a-masculine-feel-68385/) and Gene Getz wrote an excellent book in The Measure of a Man.

            • http://www.steadyonband.com Jeff S

              I am not applying anything to the church. I am talking about "leadership" in general, not "leadership within the church". I agree that there is not a direct line between what God called a woman to do in OT Israel and what he calls women to do in the NT church.

              What I think IS clear, however, is that God called Deborah to be a leader. That is, Deborah had the qualities of a leader while still being feminine. If Deborah can be called by God to lead, that means leadership outside the church cannot be a male-only skill.

              I am not arguing Ecclesiology, but merely what differentiates male from female and that "leadership" is not unique to men in the blueprint of God. Or to say it differently, if I see an eight year girl displaying leadership qualities, I would not say that she is behaving in a gender confused way. Likewise, a young boy behaving as a leader is not in anyway proving his maleness. Now, if someone takes that eight year old girl and tries to make her an elder in a church or a leader of her home, well then we have an entirely different discussion on our hands.

              You talk about different roles, and here I think we are in agreement. Leading a family or a church is a "role". Having a skill to lead is not a role. Thus, as we help a young girl grow into a woman, teaching her to lead others is not equipping her for a "role", but developing a gender neutral skill.

              You accuse me of bearing false witness against the Word of God for making a case for women leadership in the NT church. I have not so anywhere in this thread. That is very strong language to use against someone who may understand the scripture differently than you. I would not agree that it is a fair charge to us against me were I arguing for female leadership in the church; however, even if it was I have not done so. It is an uncharitable and unsustainable charge.

    • Melody

      Jeff, I've noticed that sometimes there are blurred lines as to the gender of homosexuals. I don't quite understand that, because as you say that actual thing that makes them homosexuals is having sex with other men, but it seems to go with the territory.

      I do wish there was less of a push for people to prove their gender. I have seen young men who weren't into sports and did not have deep voices be bullied into believing they must be gay even though those things have nothing to do with anything.

  • seb

    Good points and important too. but it may be helpful to know that most gay men are not effeminate and also play sports and act manly, this kind of makes a massive assumption on gay people's lifestyles. if gay people are not always effeminate what value is there in trying to be manly?

  • Aaron

    You write, "We are pushing back against the blur by proclaiming the creation pattern, the beauty and complementarity of gender differences, and the need for young people to embrace their gender responsibilities." But, the Bible does not prescribe gender roles, responsibilities, or differences. One can argue reasonably well from the Bible that there are roles for the man and woman in the context of marriage. But, this is the only context in which sex roles are prescribed. To extrapolate (without even acknowledging it) from these imperatives, which apply in a limited social-legal context, to argue that men and women have an obligation to act differently and cultivate different habits because of their sex seems dubious and at least unsupported, in regards to theological evidence, exegetical evidence, etc.

  • Big Ben

    Man is for the woman made,
    And the woman made for man;
    As the spur is for the jade,
    As the scabbard for the blade,
    As for digging is the spade,
    As for liquor is the can,
    So man is for the woman made,
    And the woman made for man.

    As the scepter to be sway'd,
    As for night's the serenade,
    As for pudding is the pan,
    And to cool us is the fan,
    So man is for the woman made,
    And the woman made for man.

    Be she widow, wife or maid,
    Be she wanton, be she stayed,
    Be she well or ill array'd,
    Whore, bawd or harridan,
    Yet man is for the woman made,
    And the woman made for man.

  • Big Ben

    these are lyrics to an old song. prehaps much of the gender confusion can be reduced when we see that it is really one that defines the other in an interdependant sort of way.

    regardless of whether one is going to get married. he is still that man for a woman.

  • Nina

    I was with you right up until you described a woman's place as in the home. There are many Godly women with careers outside the home, simply because they are using their God given talents. To suggest that being a stay at home wife is the end all be all for *all* women (I have no problem with a woman choosing this for her life of she desires), when Proverbs 31 itself doesn't even describe a virtuous woman that way, completely turned me off to your article. I'd be just as offended at an article that said all married women should work no matter what. People aren't cut out for the same lives, even when they're born the same gender. Is have gone nuts of I'd had to stay at home the entire time my kids were growing up. It's not how God created me. My husband would have loved to stay home though. Wish I had made enough!

    • Dean P

      Yes Nina I agree, that comment bothered me as well. However let's be honest Titus 2:5 is a sticky wicket to wrestle through, and so is 1st Timothy 5:8 for men. Although that one has a little more contextual fluidity to it.

    • http://www,intelligenceisnotasin.net Chancellor Roberts

      Beware, Nina, that you don't find yourself fighting against God in your insistence that the standard God's word sets forth for women doesn't apply to you. The "Proverbs 31 woman" applies to wives under the Law of Moses. What Paul wrote about wives in Ephesians and the pastoral epistles (as well as what Peter wrote about wives) is what applies to Christian wives. Don't presume to think that God didn't create you to conform to His word - that you are somehow an exception to God's rule. (And I am only referring to what scripture teaches, not to how it might be interpreted in Western Christianity as something akin to the wives on 1950s-1960s sitcoms like Father Knows Best or Leave it to Beaver).

  • Dean P

    Elle: Yes I understand and you have a point. I do wonder if some of what I was saying in my top post is more specific to my generational demographic (I am an early Gen Xer) and that what you are describing with me is something more indicative of Millinials. And to be fair I have struggled with a particular learning disability in addition to being more sensitive/artistic which has had a lot to do with my checkered vocational history.

  • Dean P

    "don't paint the picture of women working outside the home financially supporting their families while their husbands stay at home or are also working outside the home (and, no, it is not "necessary" for both parents to work outside the home, they just need to accept a lower standard of living)."

    Chancellor Roberts: I wasn't trying to use Jesus being supported by women as a basis for women being domestic bread winner, I think that was another commenter. That said I hear you but there are certain things that have occurred in our culture that makes one income families a lot more difficult than what you realize. From insurance to cell phone bills and there are so many factors. Take the town I live in in NC, the average income of a two person income combined is 45k here but the standard of living is the highest in the state. So be careful, my wife and I own our own business in this town because it is more stable and lucrative to own one here than to actually work for someone. This is why we have not had kids yet.We also are both very frugal with our money . Also we own a business that is in her specific professional field so there is no way possible that if we had a kid that my wife could stop working. It also doesn't help that I individually have a learning/sensory disability that has been instrumental for why I have not being able to hold a specialized/professional job for an extended time period, so my wife has to be the primary breadwinner, and you might say that I may be the exception to the rule, but more and more research and data is coming out about the proliferation of undiagnosed learning/sensory disabilities in children. Also I say all of this to say we try to follow Biblical prescriptions, but depending on the context sometimes it can be like fitting a square peg in a round hole, but yet God is still sovergion.

    • http://www,intelligenceisnotasin.net Chancellor Roberts

      Dean, I was actually responding to the article that was linked and to Lori who posted it. I consider the article itself utter nonsense.

      As for the rest of your post, I have a difficult time accepting the idea that any of us are somehow exempt from the standard that God has set forth in His word. However, the specifics of your situation are between you, your pastor and God. Let us be careful, however, that we don't fall into the trap that because we live in America (well, you do; I don't) we have to maintain a certain standard of living.

      • Dean P

        CR: You are correct it is between my wife, me, God and my pastor. Incidentally my pastor has no problem at all with the possibility of me being a stay-at-home father and my wife being the primary if not sole breadwinner. In fact he was a stay at home father while he was in seminary. As far as your standard of living comment goes I get that, but there is standard of living and then there is making ends meet, which was the point of my last comment. It's very easy to sit back and assume we know what a person's/family should do and not do when it comes to financial decisions and sacrifices and then to assume that they are operating within a certain standard of living when as you mentioned in your last comment one standard of living can be relative from place on place to another, which is why I mentioned the uniqueness of town that we live in. What might appear to be too high of a standard of living on one end could actually be just trying to make ends meet on the other end. If I were to sell my business and go out and get a entry level job at say Target (which because of my learning issues is really the only kind of work I have ever been able to sustain in the past which is around 8 or 9 bucks an hour) and then my wife got pregnant and stopped working we would have to sell our home (it was a foreclosure BTW) and move in with my elderly retired parents so they can spend the rest of their retirement money helping subsidizing us. Or we could go on welfare and put our kid in daycare, but that automatically makes us terrible parents in the eyes of most evangelicals. I just get really tired of armchair /screen theologians/pastors who assume what people who's financial status they don't even know love to pronounce judgements of "spoiled" lazy" or "entitlement" but yet have no clue about the actual situation.

  • Dean P

    Yes Nina I agree, that comment bothered me as well. However let's be honest Titus 2:5 is a sticky wicket to wrestle through, and so is 1st Timothy 5:8 for men. Although that one has a little more contextual fluidity to it.

  • Chadley

    I can relate to the contemporary pressure for boys to prove their masculinity. As a freshman in high school (just 8ish years ago), I remember, very uncharacteristically of me, pointing a girl out to my parents and saying, "She's hot." I wasn't very athletic, and I had never had a girlfriend up until that point, so I was worried that that might add up to "gay" for them--and so that was my way of showing them that I wasn't gay (which I never wanted them to suspect). I can attest to this pressure of declaring sexual identity in my own life--however, I can't say that I ever consider fornication as a way of alleviating myself of it. It's just too foreign of an idea for a devout Christian, even a teenage boy, to find sex as the easiest answer. Based upon my own (albeit limited) experience, worrying about Christian boys/girls seeing fornication as the answer doesn't seem likely.

  • Blake

    Yes. Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes.

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  • Giles Beynon

    Good topice.

    Lots of great points made on this article. I would say though and it sounds obvious that Christ is the example/image we are all called to be. Also a lot of what we experiencing with this issue comes from a worldly perspective. The word of God is truly the answer. I'm not claiming that 1st century role models are to be adhered to but the essence of they stays true. Paul the apostle in his letters gave thanks to female helpers in the work of the gospel. The first person who the risen christ spoke to after the resurrection was a woman. So the idea of men leading is essential especially in the church and at home. Famaliarity with the word and having a understanding are essential. This is not to say women are not talented at such things but men must lead. Not very athletic that heh? The bible has books of poetry and Solomon was a man who wrote some of it. Admittley he was obviously a lover women but still he wasn't fighter like his father or other OT characters. The apostle John reclined on Jesus and was the one who he loved. Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. We are asked to kiss each other as a welcome, I live in the UK, can you imagine how that would go down? Now some of this could be put down to culture. But culture is a only a expression of what you believe. When you hear about freindships between men years ago there was a lot of affection if it was deep and genuine. Today such talk is seen a homo sexual. Maybe sex is so much on everybodies minds that any kind of love (which sex is to the world) is seen as the prep for jumping into bed. Jesus never had sex or dated but loved. The characters around him give examples of the roles we play. Head of the church men but that doesn't women shouldn't work. He was supported by such women and he never raised a issue. Men love your wives and as christ loves the church. As men we are to serve are famailies and yes by teaching the things of God we are doing that. Women respect your hubands, the ladies have to come under us. But as with all christian service the higher up you are the more of the servant you are or by women looking to us for leadership we serve them in the things we do. The whole image thing stinks and I hope people get back to basics, i know guys at church who are really quiet and do techie jobs. Love to bits just as much as the sporty extravert or guitar player. We are different parts of the body. Love Jesus, love each other as we have been commanded.

  • Giles Beynon

    Really sorry about my typing for the above. It's awful!!!!

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  • Denver Todd

    Wonderful essay, but it would have been even better if it had been written by the father.

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