It’s a good thing Novaseeker came in from the wilderness to post a characteristically rational, temperate post on the recent dust-up between traditionalist Christians and men who are struggling with state-sponsored dispossession and feminist assaults. Given my own circumstances and experiences, I certainly wouldn’t have been so charitable. The talk of “honor” and “duty” comes off as nothing more than a slap in the face to man who has sacrificed a great deal to be able to do his duty in a legal and political climate that punishes him for even trying to live by the code traditionalists espouse. Attempting to be a father and exercise some patriarchal influence is punishable by policy, and arguably by the law, although they don’t go so far as to be especially explicit on that count. No, caring about your children and trying to have some say over their upbringing is simply called “abusive” and part of the “control wheel” or somesuch other feminist contrivance. Real decisions are made in real courts every single day taking this policy into account, and only the willfully blind can ignore them at this point.
So, I’m glad I took some time to cool off before responding, because I personally don’t have an issue with traditionalists, and I don’t think we need to be at each other’s throats. Novaseeker explained the issues in a clear way, and in doing so gave cooler heads the opportunity to prevail.
Although I rarely make an issue out of it here at The Spearhead (obviously it is not the right place), I am a Christian, and live my life more or less according to that, i.e. I’m not perfect, but at least I make a genuine effort to follow the Commandments and the general philosophy behind the faith. As Novaseeker pointed out, however, the men’s movement is not distinctly Christian, but rather a broader political movement that encompasses men in general. This doesn’t mean it is anti-Christian by any means — traditional religions, including Christianity, have a lot to gain by fighting the state takeover of the family. Christian Americans generally supported the American Revolution despite the fact that many revolutionaries were clearly not Christian by strict definitions and some, like Jefferson, were deeply sympathetic to the arguably anti-Christian French Revolution and outright rejected much of Christianity. They did so because freedom for American men was understood as freedom of conscience and faith, which is necessarily a good thing for those of faith, because the state will always at some point try to manipulate religion to its own advantage.
So it seems that there should be a natural alliance between men who want to eject the state from our families and men of faith. There’s nothing that undermines traditional notions of the family in a real way like legions of social workers and attorneys getting involved in domestic issues, not to mention the insertion of police into the home on the slightest pretext. Even the most innocent, devout Christian, Jew or Muslim – despite his excellent relationship with God – has no guarantee that a decidedly ungodly state will not throw him to the lions for whatever reason. And those who think feminism does not demand these sacrifices are not performing their due diligence — the feminists do call for attacks on religious men all the time. Take Mary Daly for example:
Women who are Pirates in a phallocentric society are involved in a complex operation. First, it is necessary to Plunder — that is, righteously rip off — gems of knowledge that the patriarchs have stolen from us. Second, we must Smuggle back to other women our Plundered treasures. In order to invert strategies that will be big and bold enough for the next millennium, it is crucial that women share our experiences: the chances we have taken and the choices that have kept us alive. They are my Pirate’s battle cry and wake-up call for women who I want to hear.
Given that when it comes to the most important matters our interests converge very well, what could it be that is causing this trouble between traditionalist Christians and the wider MRM?
When we get to the root of it, it’s an old problem, and one that a very important Christian leader addressed in the early days of the church. St. Paul, who devoted his life to building and fostering Christianity when it was only decades old, foresaw that the church needed a set of guidelines to avoid the kind of infighting and discord that could kill it in its infancy.
One of the rules that he promulgated concerned women and their role in the church. He recognized that if given free rein, women would begin to place themselves in positions of authority, where they would inevitably cause trouble for the early Christians. Therefore, he made himself very clear about their role, taking special care to prevent them from teaching and preaching to men.
1 Timothy 2:
7Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
8I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
9In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
10But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
11Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
12But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
13For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
15Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
This may not be a pleasant or comfortable passage for the modern Western woman, but there it is.
Unfortunately, a number of women calling themselves “Christian” have taken it on themselves to teach and preach to men. It is quite common these days, having become almost normative, and the results should have been predictable.
Take Katherine Jefferts Schori for example. Currently the head of the Episcopalian Church in the US, she has all but run that institution into the ground. Some may argue that this is because she is liberal, but I’m not sure that’s the case. St. Paul made no distinctions based on politics, but rather sex.
Certain conservative women have also taken it upon themselves to ignore Paul and start preaching in all but name themselves. They certainly don’t shy away from presuming to teach men when it comes to spiritual matters, which is also clearly proscribed by Paul.
So why is this a problem? Later in the epistle, Paul gives us some insight concerning women with too much time on their hands:
1 Timothy 5:
13And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
14I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
He was writing about the issue of widows who had not yet reached old age, who at that time had little to do because their children were weaned and there was no man in the house to keep them occupied. I think today another cause of this behavior might be housewives whose husbands are away at work and children at school every day.
With little to do, these women go around gossiping and provoking people, and taking on inappropriate roles. They might pit men against each other for some little thrill, or simply as a consequence of getting involved in what rightly ought to be worked out amongst men. When the inevitable spat develops, men’s instinct to come to the defense of women is triggered, and next thing you know guys are raising their voices and balling up their fists. This is almost guaranteed to happen, and it proves Paul’s wisdom in his epistle to Timothy.
Fortunately, we had Novaseeker to throw some water on the fire, and now we find that the solution to the recent rancor between traditionalist Christians and the MRM already exists within Christianity itself. Perhaps for those of us who are both Christian and concerned about men’s issues, this can provide us with a greater appreciation of both.