************************ This is a soapbox post. ****************************
Why must we claim Christian virtues and ascribe it to either manliness or femininity? Why do we divide the character traits by gender?
Why do women get the corner on nurture, empathy and beauty? Why is manliness measured by protection, provision and courage? Is apologizing a mark of manliness, or is it a mark of Christ-likeness? What if a woman shows more “character” traits of man-like virtues? Does that mean she isn’t a woman? Or does that mean she is a poor Christian? Do we mark a man as metro-sexual if he naturally displays a soft heart? And do we judge him for acting like a girl? Do we wonder if he knows Jesus wore a dress because it was his culture, not because he was a wuss? Do we pressure him to MAN-UP?
Come one, folks! Did Jesus come so that we could act as culture says our gender should act? Or did he come to conform us into HIS image? An image marked by not manliness, but by God-like-ness. An image men and women can display equally.
And while I’m on Jesus as a man…
Preachers and teachers, do you know how disheartening it is to hear sermons expounding on how Jesus acts like a man? You’ve just alienated half your audience. Because us women can NEVER become that. Does that mean we can never fully be like Jesus because of our lack of testosterone? Are we relegated to always being like the bride, never the bridegroom? Because last I checked, both genders are the bride. What does that mean to the masculinity movement?
I know, I know. You say the manliness movement was birthed as a backlash to the feminine church. Things were getting too ruffly and touch-feely. Jesus was being portrayed too soft, too womanly. Who cares what gender He acts like? We’ve missed the point. He acts like God!
A dirty secret
I enjoy manliness. One of my favorite blogs is The Art of Manliness. I love the character it is trying to teach today’s men. I love men. I’m not against toughing up men. I am also not against toughing up women! The great character traits detailed for manliness don’t just make for better men, they make for better women! Why? Because virtue is sexless.
Why must we divide the goods between the genders? Let the Holy Spirit be fruitful regardless of gender stereotypes.