Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Making Feminists Cringe. Oh Well. -2-

Men, Men, Men, Men, Part 2


Remember this tagline? Er, for those of you who live in Hardees states, otherwise they might be known as Carl Jr.'s. The TV commercial featuring this tagline shows a man in a grocery store staring up a wall of bread, paralyzed by the choices and unable to pick a loaf to avoid starvation. Thank goodness for Hardees, the commercial flaunts. Although amusing, this commercial betrays something about men that we find typical in American life, that men are often inept to care for themselves or anyone else in a basic area such as food, unless food is prepackaged and ready to eat and served to one's face. Women fear that children, left to the care of men, will eat nothing but fries, chips, and ice cream forever. We also fear for our men's own health. Although this might seem an exaggeration, experienced wives like myself know that this is indeed a reality. The wiser among us will also know that this state of being has serious repercussions for society.

So now I continue my previous discussion on feminism, beginning with the things men need to face. Wanted or not, here are my suggestions for men:

1. Get yourself under control before anything else. If you have unhealthy, immoral obsessions and habits that you are making excuses for, no woman in her right mind would want to put up with you; you will always end up ruining any relationship as long as you're out of control. This also goes for men who want to remain single. If you are a Christian, you can't expect to be an effective in church or in life if your sin is producing a double life for you.

2. Get some ed. Formally or informally, men should know about life, the home, women, and kids.
Life - many men only do two things: work and recreate; seek to do more than gaming, sports, hobbies or work (for some men, their work is hobby). Pay attention to your views of life and faith--are you even conscious of them? Socrates said "The unexamined life is not worth living." How much of your own life do you examine? More importantly, what are the ramifications of your own thoughts and actions, for your future, for others?

The home - Find out how to live like a family man, even if you're single (most men have their own families, right?). Many men will keep their sports equipment or cars lovin' fresh to the neglect of everything else. Pick up some life skills: learn how a mortgage works, keep a bathroom clean, pick up a couple plumbing know-hows. Can you cook anything, or do you only reheat?

Women - Learn how to treat the opposite sex properly. Ask a woman to help you--she'll probably tell you more than you wanted to know! Hang around mature married couples and find out what husbands have learned about how to relate to their wives. For men who want to be married one day, you need this.

Kids - It's not enough to know how to make 'em. Men suffer a huge social disconnect when they don't know how to relate to children, and it's usually the kids to do the suffering for it. The number of kids who do not have the benefit of a good father figure has been high for decades and is still rising. Even if you don't have kids of your own, learn how to be a father figure to someone who needs one.

3. Find a dad. If your own dad isn't a good choice for whatever reason, then find a dad--a mentor. Most guys need the voice of wisdom, yet actively seek to avoid it, choosing the comfort of ignorance . More importantly, most guys need male accountability. Yo mama simply won't do.

4. Be honest with yourself and with others. Most people in general think of themselves more highly than they deserve. Women know that most men parade themselves about with exaggerated opinions of their own abilities as well as display false humility to maintain their flimsy but idolized egos. We can see through that. We really can.

5. Be a leader. I don't mean running for prez. I mean seek responsibility instead of avoiding it altogether. A leader considers how his actions will affect himself and others later on and takes steps to steer away from foolish decisions. If men took more of a stand for longer-range thinking and stood by wiser actions, they might well pull a whole community to live wiser as well, and some people might even have respect for them. How about that?

6. Find a vision for yourself. Where do you see yourself, and what are you doing in five years? In 10? More importantly, what will your attitudes and understanding of yourself be then? I have male friends who have no vision. They are in their 30's and still live with their parents playing video games like perpetual teenagers. Such men are squandering away their youth on trivial pursuits, simply getting older and never having accomplished anything respectable.

In other words, grow up. A couple of years ago, I heard that sociologists are lamenting the ever lengthening period of adolescence in young men, lasting into the mid twenties (and perhaps beyond). If you are at least 20 years old, our communities and families need men, not boys.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Summary of Francis A. Schaeffer Lecture Series -2-

The Emerging Church: Discerning a Missional Milieu
Covenant Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri
Friday and Saturday, October 19-20, 2007

Short Summary

I attended the series beginning Friday evening. In the History and Streams of the Emerging Church, Pas. Patrick first recounted his personal story of conversion and call to ministry. He then outlined the key leaders in the Emerging Church Movement, highlighting a timeline that began in the mid-1990's. Most of these key players were back then a number of mostly youth pastors and seminary students.

Pas. Patrick then moved to talking about the influential entities of Emerging that exist today, represented by Acts 29 and Emergent Village. He clarified that there are three underlying categories of any Emerging-style church: Emerging Conversational, Emerging Attractional, and Emerging Incarnational. Each catetory has its leaders who challenge evangelical Christianity in their own way.

Lastly, Pas. Patrick explored some often used vocabulary of Emerging churches, including "missional," "authenticity," and "narrative." He followed these terms by showing a series of Pomotivator posters that brought a level of amusement to the audience.

The evening sessions ended with formal Q & A.

Summary of Francis A. Schaeffer Lecture Series -1-

The Emerging Church: Discerning a Missional Milieu
Covenant Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri
Friday and Saturday, October 19-20, 2007

Since Covenant students could attend this lecture for credit, I have included relevant portions of the syllabus and schedule of the lectures.

Schedule for Friday
10:00am -- Chapel - An Interview with Darrin Patrick
7:00 - 9:45pm -- The History and Streams of the Emerging Church; Popular Terms of The Emerging Church (featuring TeamPyro's Emergent-see Pomotivators); Q & A with Darrin Patrick

Schedule for Saturday
8:30am -- An Emerging Church worship experience
10:30am -- Emerging Church: The Ugly, the Bad, and the Good
12:00pm -- Lecture Series concludes for general public
12:15pm -- Lunch and Q & A session with Darrin Patrick (limited only to students taking course for academic credit)

Required readings:
Listening to the Beliefs of the Emerging Churches (Robert Webber)
Velvet Elvis (Rob Bell)

Recommended reading:
Sex God (Rob Bell)
Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures (Gibbs and Bolger)

In addition to attending the lectures, students are required to complete a four-part project which includes the following:
1. Attend a worship service at The Journey and complete evaluation questions.
2. Evaluate the two books required for this course.
3. Complete lecture evaluations.
4. Make suggestions about how the emerging church conversation could contribute to local church/denomination to be more missional.

Friday, October 19, 2007

5 Lies the Church Tells Women

Thanks to Sarah Flashing who has linked up the following on her blog . I thought it was well-worth reading. It is an article written by Sue Bohlin titled 5 Lies the Church Tells Women.

In a nutshell, here they are:

Lie #1: God Created Women as Inferior Beings, Destined to Serve Their Husbands.
Lie #2: A Man Needs to "Cover" a Woman in Her Ministry Activities.

Lie #3: Women Can't be Fulfilled or Spiritually Effective Without a Husband or Children.

Lie #4: Women Should Never Work Outside the Home.

Lie #5: Women Must Obediently Submit to Their Husbands in All Situations.

I find the last one the most problematic for a couple of reasons.

First, the wording that women must obediently submit is curious. The word "obediently" is either reduntant or meant to change the word "submission" to mean something that it does not. Bohlin doesn't adress this, but the phraseology of this sentence, if accurate, belies a misunderstanding of submission in our churches on the whole. In scripture, submission is a call to respectful and humble unity, before other connotations. In light of Paul's directive in 1 Peter 5:5 (Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility.--NKJV), 'to submit' does not mean 'to do whatever your husband says,' which is basically what Lie #5 advocates.

The second point springboards from the first. Lie #5 adds "in all situations" pointing to when wives should do what their husbands say, which, in this case, is all the time. Clearly, this is unscriptural. The Bible commands women to sumbit to their husbands, as to the Lord (Eph. 5:22). One can interpret this verse in different ways, though I would clarify wifely submission to apply as long as her husband is behaving as the Lord. No woman should accept demands from her husband that lead to sin, which include demands that serve no leadership or edifying purpose in the kingdom of God (other than to indulge the husband in some sinful stroke of the ego or something related). To submit in this way would clearly violate a woman's first submission to God, and the woman is not obliged to accept his demands.

Having said all that, I would follow it with the caution that if a husband is acting in accordance with the scriptures and asks his wife to submit in some necessary action either in will or deed (or both), God has not given her the option to refuse.

Of course, I am completely aware that Lie #5 may be phrased in exaggeration, in which case I'd like to add "Whether Waking or Sleeping" to the end. Exactly to how many churches or individuals does this really apply, I wonder?

Walking the narrow path is hard, and this issue is about as narrow and hard as it gets.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Weekend Lecture on the Emerging Church Movement

The Emerging Church: Discerning a Missional Milieu
Francis Schaeffer Institute Lecture Series at Covenant Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri
October 19-20, 2007

This coming Friday and Saturday, my pastor, Darrin Patrick, will be the keynote speaker at Covenant Seminary on the topic of the Emerging Church. The event fee is $25 and is open to Covenant students and the public. Pastor Darrin is lead pastor at The Journey church in St. Louis, MO and also Vice President of the Acts 29 Network.

The past couple of years has seen a sharp interest in the Emergent Church Movement, many times also called the Emerging Church Movement. Questions about the rise of Emergent/Emerging church types center around orthodox beliefs and attitudes toward cultural and societal norms and trends. In this weekend seminar, Pastor Darrin will speak about the nature of the movement and many particulars within churches that exist within it.

I have it from his own mouth that he will be using some of TeamPyro's Emergent-see Pomotivator posters as a part of his presentations. Congratulations, TeamPyro, for going cross-country.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Food On the Nude (Yes, ON)

Talk about losing one's appetite...

The movie Kill Bill introduced me to "naked sushi" for the first time. I naively thought, "well, they sure were creative to think of that for the movie, however nauseating it is. Barf." That is, I didn't realize that they actually do this naked sushi thing in Japanese sushi restaurants. Now, some sushi bars on the west coast are featuring naked sushi as well. Mercy.

I cannot think of a finer example of the objectifying of women than to use them as plates.

Making Feminists Cringe. Oh Well. -1-

Men, Men, Men, Men, Part 1

I'll start off by stating that I'm not a feminist. But, I don't wear a *bonnet either, and I don't believe that the only stick a woman should drive is a broom or a butter churn.

With that out of the way, I'd like to thank Mark Driscoll for his stance on what men should be and how they should behave, especially when it concerns the Church, marriage, and family. In what some feminists see as an affront, I react with "Dang! That's good stuff!" See what I mean:
(it's a long clip, but well worth it to get the context)

As far as character goes, I agree with Driscoll--men have become wimps in society. I'm not talking about the macho ego that many men throw around as a substitute for real manliness; I'm talking about the selfish withdrawal from upholding order and morality in civilization that has occurred over the past couple of generations. Men have, on the whole, become qualitatively (and physically in many cases) weak, flabby, self-focused amoebas who want to retain arrogance and the right to feel sexually fulfilled. Yeah, jerks.

K-Fed, anyone?

What about the other side? Many men complain that women berate them incessantly about their shortcomings and simply want them to step off. It's true--women do that. But for women to step off, men must first step up.

*disclaimer: this statement is not meant to offend or malign anyone who wears a bonnet.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Making Feminists Cringe. Oh Well. (Intro)

I just love the idea of making this category a running series. I find feminism an intriguing topic, badly in need of critique and pushback as much as understanding.

This series is aimed at recovering womanhood, specifically Biblical Womanhood, first in the mind and will, and then into practice. I join the many voices out in the blogosphere already discussing this topic, I know. And the term "Biblical Womanhood" almost seems cliche. I am convinced, though, that unless we increase the volume of discussion everywhere, the stream of access, and thus, importance of Biblical Womanhood will remain narrow and confined, leaving it an issue visited only by those who are really looking for thoughtfulness on this subject and not by the Christian populace at large.

In these three-plus decades since women's lib, feminism has taken the modern and postmodern American society by storm (in waves, as it is officially called). Extreme feminism characterizes a big chunk of feminism in general (the man-hating, pro-abortion, double standard, raunchy, lesbianism promoting feminism). It's fair to say that conservative women like myself pass on donning the cloak of feminism due to the prominent extremism.

There is a woman in nearly every household (many more than men). Of those, every Christian woman desires how to live and love according to God's will, whether she is a feminist or not.

I'd like to do several things with this series. Oddly enough, it doesn't start with women. I'd like to discuss men's roles in our culture, church, and family; I'd like to discuss women in dating and marriage relationships; I'd like to tread on the ground of being, so to speak, where women find the wholeness that seems to elude us; I'd like to challenge feminist ideals (good and bad) and bring their ramifications to light. It'll be fun.

I want people to realize that this topic doesn't concern only women. Much to feminists' chagrin, women need the involvement of men to achieve biblical womanhood. Likewise, men need women to achieve biblical manhood as well (more about that later!). So, I need thoughtful men to share their comments and personal struggles with this issue, in keeping with good netiquette, and no trolling. Welcome to another thing!