Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Today's Confession: Christian Men

Dear Men;

More specifically, Dear Christian Men;

Particularly, Dear Men in Leadership in the Church;

I heard one of you say today, "Women are much more complicated than men. Men are simple: S-E-X simple."  I thought that it summarized your point very succinctly.  Allow me to reflect back to you what I heard you say:

"Men are nothing but a penis; a giant walking penis."

Now, I can imagine that is not entirely what you meant to say.  But if you tried to nuance your message any more, well, then I suppose you wouldn't be "simple" anymore.  And if you were't simple anymore, then I suppose that would mean you aren't a man - by your own definition.

But I must also entertain the possibility that this is exactly what you meant to say, directly or indirectly, particularly as this is not an altogether new message.  I have grown up with a cacophony of voices pitching in their various forms of agreement.  "Men are from Mars" they say.  "Men are waffles." At least the infamous Dr. Laura expanded on your message in her book The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by saying that men are a penis AND a stomach.

"Men are nothing more than the sum of their parts" is the moral that comes through regardless - LOUD AND CLEAR. And I can't just blame pop culture for this notion.  You, Christian male role model, have intimated things like, "Don't expect us to communicate.  Don't expect us to have emotions, for God's sake, except anger and lust.  Whatever you do, don't expect us to be faithful, to control our bodies, our eyes, our minds.  It's not the way we're designed.  We're just not wired that way."

In fact, you also said today, "If you ask a woman to describe her ideal man, she will describe another woman."  Now, I have to wonder where you get your data, but I also have to confess ... if men are nothing more than a penis and a stomach, simpletons otherwise lacking in any complex thought or human emotion, then you do make a rather compelling case for becoming a Lesbian.

How's that for a thesis?  Christian Men: A Compelling Argument for Lesbianism.

Did you know that men and women are more alike than they are different?  Biologically?  Emotionally?  If you do any kind of research into human bonding you find that human beings have the same basic needs regardless of race, sex, culture:  If we are not touched, we die.  If we do not bond to another human being we become ill; we become sociopaths (Karen, 1998).  Even persons diagnosed with attachment hindrances such as Autism and Asperger Syndrome will wither and regress without human contact, love, and inclusion - though these may be the very things inhibited by their symptoms.

Did you know that sex is not a basic need?  In fact, the notion that it is a need is documented as one of the four distorted beliefs of sexual addiction (Carnes, 2001).  Recovery is only possible when an addict realizes that

"Sex is but one expression of my need and care for others" 

(p 168, emphasis mine).  "[B]oth men and women are fundamentally intensely sexual ... each has to take responsibility for his or her own sexual feelings" (p 159).

Taking responsibility for our sexuality is not easy.  It's not cut and dried, black and white.  As much as we may want it to be, S-E-X is anything BUT simple.

Christian Male Role Model, the world and the church need men who are ready to 'put away childish things' and to look at and talk about their sexuality with humility and honesty, as adults taking responsibility for themselves and seeking to walk in self control.  We need men who are willing to wrestle with the issues of sexuality in a way that is edifying to all human beings, and to face the epidemic of sexual addiction and exploitation that has shaped and is influencing us all.

What the world and the church does NOT need is you, making yourself and other men out to be a joke, dehumanizing yourselves, alienating women, and preaching an addicted culture's definition of sexuality as if it were the gospel.    

Choose this day whom you will serve, but as for me and my sex, I will serve the Lord.

Carnes, P. Out of the Shadows, Hazelden  2001.
Karen, R. Becoming Attached, Oxford University Press  1998.
Schlessinger, L. The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, Harper Perennial  2006.

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

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