Rescuing Christian Masculinity

In his post on ‘Top Gear’ spirituality, John H identifies a number of the things that I find most frustrating about many attempts in the Church to connect with men and with the superficial analysis that often surrounds the ‘feminization of the Church’ narrative. It is profoundly depressing to witness the tendency to respond to the Church’s failures to engage men with some puerile masculine rebranding exercise. We are told that we need MAN hymns and MAN faith, just as we need MAN crisps, or MAN chocolate bars, or MAN drinks, or MAN yoghurt (heaven forfend that we get touched by those woman cooties!).

Behind all of these things, it seems to me, there lies a deep crisis in contemporary masculinity, which in turn is a symptom of a crisis of contemporary society. Unfortunately, few people have put their finger upon this. The crisis of masculinity is in many respects prompted by economic and political factors, resulting from the combination of several developments: the movement from a production to a service-based economy, the rise of a unisex workforce and society, the triumph of the model of gender neutral companionate marriage between individuals, the movement from labour to consumers, the rise of the ‘pink police state’ (with its aversion to risk and responsibility), the valuation of ‘empowerment’ over the responsible exercise and development of our own power (moving us from a population that responsibly exercises power in self-governance and over against other agencies to one that relates to state and business more as children might do to their parent), the ascent of a therapeutic understanding of human nature, the resistance to and diminishing of the figure and authority of the father, the shrinking of the size and realm of the family, etc.

The general effect of all of these things has been to infantilize the population and to create a situation within which masculine identity will find it hard to articulate itself. Whereas in most human societies masculinity is associated with adult traits, roles, and functions involving responsibility, agency, production, authority, protection, and provision, within our society masculinity and its associated forms of homosociality tend to be associated with an adolescent irresponsibility—with such things as sports, beer, ‘banter’, computer games, casual sexism and pornography. Masculine identity starts to become focused upon the things that we consume—the movies that we watch, the clothes that we wear, the music that we listen to, the beer that we drink, the games and sports that we follow, the pornography that we jerk off to—rather than upon the things that we produce and the responsibilities that we have. Even the ‘transgressive’ modes of masculine identity in our society tend to be puerile.

It is important to see, I believe, that the malaise of masculinity is a symptom of a deeper and more profound contemporary social and existential malaise, a malaise that affects everyone. It is one of the principal effects of a maternalistic society that instructs us all to ‘enjoy!’ and to ‘play nicely and be safe!’ This society infantilizes us in many ways. It infantilizes us by seeking to nullify the reality of sexual difference, establishing a unisex order of docile and childlike consumers, persons who retain childish modes of sexual differentiation, if they are sexually differentiated at all. The child is not sexually differentiated in the way that the mature adult is. The category of ‘man’ often stands in contrast, not so much to ‘woman’ as to ‘child’. As we move away from the realm of childhood, while many of the superficial differences once established between boys and girls lose their significance, deeper and more significant differences start to develop—the differences between men and women. The reality of sexual difference becomes a fact of profounder consequence as we become adults, rather than the more superficial ‘pink’ vs. ‘blue’ mode of sexual difference that pertains to immature stages of our development (and which is perpetuated in the MAN branding that I have mentioned).

Our society infantilizes us by marginalizing and reinventing the family. Our identities as fathers and husbands, mothers and wives are privatized and sentimentalized. We are taught to relate to each other in the public realm as detached androgynous individuals, rather than as those with the adult dignity of representing familial identity and as mature members of our sex. Marriage and the family are reinvented as modes of privatized lifestyle consumption, rather than being treated as the responsible form of life that corresponds to the activity of reproduction, a form of life which commits us to realities far greater than ourselves, and which ought to be granted public recognition and allowed to exert its power. Same-sex marriage is an important example of this development, rendering the reproductive potential of the family an accidental feature and identifying the telos of marriage chiefly as one of personal fulfilment and validation.

Our society infantilizes us by denying any differences that aren’t superficial. Gender-bending identities are celebrated as they supposedly neutralize the reality of sexual difference. Sexual difference implies that there is a particular difference that matters, rather than just a myriad differences in flux, a situation in which all differences are ultimately reduced to indifference, no one difference being any more significant than any other. An impotent and purely cosmetic diversity is championed. Whether you are a Buddhist, a Muslim, an atheist, or a Christian, it doesn’t matter. It’s all good and we are all the same underneath. All that really matters is that we are nice to each other.

Our society infantilizes us by constantly assuring us that we are OK. If anything is wrong, it is someone else’s responsibility and we just need to kick up a fuss until someone else addresses it for us. We are validated and affirmed, our wills massaged by advertising, our existential hunger assuaged by consumption and a sex-saturated media, our spiritual need palliated by therapy and pharmaceuticals, any desire for transcendence and escape from the crushing immanence amply answered in the faux transgression of sexual adventures, any reflection arrested by the opiate of a ceaselessly stimulating entertainment culture.

Our society infantilizes us through its supposed neutralization of the risks and stakes of life. Society is just play: nothing has deep significance. The culture of ‘safe sex’ is a particularly important example of this (married couples don’t have ‘safe sex’, nor—according to the way that the terminology is used—are they ‘sexually active’). This culture springs from the same sources that produce the academic belief in religion whose truth and power are matters of indifference, or interpretations of texts which amount to nothing more than labile mockeries of the wills of their readers. It is a world of a numbing acedia, of listless wills, of actions shorn of consequence, a world from whose sullen slowness of love we weakly seek to arouse ourselves through fleshly pleasures. Academia, like sex—like life in general—is a fundamentally masturbatory game that we are playing. No one is dying or being damned. This is life lived with emotional and spiritual prophylactics.

Many people seem to be oblivious to the significance of our culture’s hostility to the relationship between sex and procreativity and its dogmatic normalization of non-procreative sexual relations. Procreation means that sex is never just about us: it draws us out into the world in responsible and committed action. Procreation presents us with a world with stakes, where actions have consequences. Procreation means that we must approach sex—like life, like truth, like God—from a position of commitment and responsibility to something greater than our own will and pleasure. This is why the normalization of non-procreative sex is such an important battle for those who want to resist the notion that we live in a world with high moral and existential stakes, stakes that we don’t get to choose for ourselves.

This brave new world poses particular problems for masculine identity, just as traditional masculine identity poses particular problems for this brave new world. Despite the far greater social pressures and expectations that can accompany the latter, masculinity is almost always more fragile than femininity. While womanliness is more of a concrete reality expressed in the form and processes of women’s bodies (e.g. the possession of a womb and breasts and the experience of a menstrual cycle), manliness has less certain of a bodily grounding and consequently involves a more pressing existential need to be demonstrated in action, requiring a realm within which men’s mettle can be proved. Women naturally have the bodily capacity to bear and nurse a child, establishing and representing the most primal human bonds. By contrast, beyond the act of insemination—which could quite easily be done without him—the man plays little bodily part in the process of reproduction. Having hardly any share in the reproductive labour through which women typically demonstrate a unique and immediate importance of their own, the man must establish the significance of his existence otherwise. The reproductive significance and dignity of motherhood has a bodily immediacy and rootedness that is not so easily effaced. While our awareness of them has been dulled, the reality and significance of the inner bonds of society that women are particularly capable of forging and representing haven’t disappeared from view.

In contrast to women, men’s sexual and reproductive function belongs chiefly to the realm of external action and is of short duration, rather than being long-lasting reproductive labour that occurs within their own bodies. As men’s bodies lack the reproductive significance and power that women’s bodies possess within themselves, the value of men and their bodies must rest far more heavily upon external action and production (this is not to deny women’s identities are also implicated in this realm, but to state that women as a group have much less existential weight riding upon their achievement within it). Men are driven beyond themselves to produce meaning.

Men’s identity is more directly contingent upon, has thrived against the backdrop of, and is more fitted to symbolize an external realm of risk, danger, and meaning, a world with high spiritual stakes, of meaningful action and production, a world where differences and oppositions exist and matter, a world of authority and duty, a world that stands over against us, with its own moral order that we must uphold and advance, a world where claims are pressed upon us and which demands our loyalty and commitment. Men have a hunger for their work to have meaning: such a world answers this hunger. Such a world summons men to such virtues as they know that they were born for: to resolution, responsibility, strength of principle, confidence, assertiveness, determination, decisiveness, dedication, moral and intellectual seriousness, uprightness, firmness, dependability, bravery, courage, enterprise, honour, practicality, authority, dutifulness, heroism, daring, intrepidity, leadership, fortitude, perseverance, longsuffering, accountability, forthrightness, diligence, self-discipline, justice, self-controlled passion, independence, thickness of skin, self-mastery, strength of will and nerve, purposefulness, self-sacrifice, resourcefulness, loyalty, toughness of mind, grit, moral backbone, etc. Such a world calls us to become much more than we already are.

Strong masculinity depends heavily upon the existence of such a world and it also brings such a world to light, much as femininity has a unique capacity for bringing the world of society’s inner bonds and communion to light (this world has faced many assaults of its own, assaults that merit their own treatment, infantilizing women in different ways). Robust masculinity can reveal a world with differences, oppositions, and struggles that matter, with high spiritual stakes, with truths and authorities that demand our loyalties, with an existence that must be lived from a position of dangerous commitment, and with life and death decisions that must be made. In order to establish the new social order of indifferent difference, of playing nicely and enjoying safely, this masculinity must be stifled.

Genuine masculinity is thus a threat to the contemporary social order of nice and safe enjoyment, a sanitized social order predicated upon the denial of such a world. In order to sustain this social order, masculinity must be domesticated and infantilized. A neutralized masculinity will be socially and politically quiescent. Men must become preoccupied with such things as trivial differences between sports teams, and rendered less concerned about any differences that the truth might produce. Any masculine urge for world-engaging and world-changing action must be expended in the ersatz realities of sports, entertainment, games, and porn, thereby reduced to impotence.

The dynamics of this wider social order are also found in the Church. The Church often no longer represents a forceful presence in our society, as we become more preoccupied with petty differences amongst ourselves. We expend litres of ink commenting on trivialities of our entertainment culture while bemoaning the rudeness of anyone who might directly challenge heresy: they aren’t playing the game of theology nicely! A serious faith is exchanged for one that is entertaining, diverting, or otherwise appealing. As our sense of the life and death character of the spiritual stakes and consequence of our actions is dulled, our understanding of the faith becomes more therapeutic in character. Our sense of divine authority is weakened, especially as it is exercised in Scripture. The transcendence of God is gradually occluded.

This spiritual malaise in the Church, just as in the wider cultural order, depends in large measure upon the emasculation and domestication of men. As I have argued in the past, a strong male—and masculine—pastorate can have the salutary effect of bringing to light spiritual realities that the modern order seeks to exclude from our vision. Unfortunately, a preoccupation with a laddish Christianity—with the superficiality of MAN faith—merely perpetuates the problem. In our concern to recover a lost masculinity, we easily forget that masculinity will only ever be recovered indirectly—as we recover the reality that masculinity was about. The recovery of Christian masculinity will only occur as we commit ourselves to the restoration of biblical Christianity and the recovery of the weight and stakes of its moral universe. It is only within this moral universe that a healthy Christian masculinity—far from the macho posturing of many contemporary parodies—will thrive.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in Christian Experience, Controversies, Culture, Ethics, Sex and Sexuality, Society, The Church, Theological. Bookmark the permalink.

85 Responses to Rescuing Christian Masculinity

  1. T. says:

    Agree with your post. I have noticed many men resort to far-right politics or religion as a means to escape from the feminist culture. Rather than your stereotypical skinhead or brute, most of them are just your average middle-class pasty dude who is unhappy with the world as it is today. They want to look alpha or reactionary but they do it wrongly.

    Real men are out there conquering the world… climbing up the ladder, getting fit, making influential friends, meeting their own goals, getting laid and seducing as many hot women as possible.

    I think in society today. Christian men have all odds stacked against them. The church, even most conservative ones, have basically conceded to the world. Church discipline are now rarely if ever practiced. It is very hard to succeed whether in work, socially, or with women if you wish to adhere to God’s Word. Why? It means no unethical conduct at work. It means you must abstain from some social activities because they are sin or they make you stay up late and miss church next day. It means no sex out of wedlock. And so on and so on. And you get no help from church, because most of them are huddled up and speak to middle-age or 30s married couples. It is frustrating to hear older brothers say I can’t help you, I don’t know your situation to be a mentor, or something like that. It too is frustrating to see even your fellow church-going brethren living double lives!

    I guess the only way for us is to work our way up the ladder. Once up there, everyone will respect you. The Egyptians didn’t honor Old Testament Joseph because he was a believer but because he was a hardworking and shrewd housekeeper, he offered much wisdom to the Pharaoh etc. And amidst all these – we must keep ourselves in God’s Word. To “fear, love, and trust God in all things” as Luther said in the Small Catechism.

  2. William Fehringer says:

    If those MAN crisps are even half as good as they sound, I’ll buy a crate of them!

    But seriously, thanks for this post.

  3. quinnjones2 says:

    Hi Alastair,
    You have made many good points and it will take me a while to assimilate them all. I couldn’t agree more about what I think of as ‘the nanny state’ – there are too many people too full of their ‘rights’. We needed the emancipation of women – but I think the pendulum has now swung too far in that direction. We needed the 1988 Children Act, but again, the pendulum has swung too far and many teenagers are far too concerned about their ‘rights’ and not very interested in self-control. The advent of safe birth-control, easy abortions, ‘test-tube’ babies and so on has made it easier for many people to dissociate sex from procreation and to ignore what a wise colleague of mine taught her pupils in a sex-education class – that sex is for grown-ups and that being a grown-up means shouldering responsibilities. Teachers really seem to have their hands tied now with regard to what they may or may not say in sex education lessons…and in R.E. lessons. I’m retired now, but I still bristle when I hear about some of the constraints placed on teachers.
    By the way, your list of masculine virtues actually describes both my son and my son-in-law rather well. They both have three children – and they are both non-Christians. I don’t know quite what to make of that at the moment!

  4. quinnjones2 says:

    Take 3! – 1989 Children Act

  5. Paul Kingman says:

    A very interesting piece. I’d be interested to know just what it means to restore Biblical Christianity: many evangelical pastors and churches would claim to be aiming for or doing just that. What are the blind spots – areas not addressed? one of your previous respondents suggested that when at the top of the corporate ladder we would have respect and influence. I rather disagree, as I think Daniel (OT!) suggests Christian integrity from prior to a ‘career’ is vital – the old adage “as now, so then”. This is true for both ecclesiastical and civil life. Integrity of faith and action is what matters.

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  7. chubbic says:

    This was refreshing to read. You hit the nail on the head. As a minority conservative academic in wider secular circles–I find it painful and frustrating to watch the well-intentioned dismantle the foundations of the very things that would fix the situation. And then sexism keeps getting worse because of that, but they keep attacking the cure. Thank you for writing this.

  8. I’ve thought about this a lot for some time. I grew up around real men. My father was a combat veteran of WWII, but he didn’t swagger around, making himself a parody of manhood. He was just an ordinary man, who married and had children, loved his family, took care of his parents, paid his bills, and made a life for us, without drawing any attention to himself or feeling compelled to do manly things, like some bull in heat, to show off to other men. Same with my grandfathers. Sure, my maternal grandfather hunted and fished, but he didn’t have to to get the latest camo from Cabela’s before heading to the woods or the latest fishing gear from Bass Pro before heading to the lake. He was just a man hunting and fishing for sport and to put food on the table. He was just being a man, not trying to be one. That’s a huge difference.

    The “manly” church is often a parody of real manhood and an over reaction to the feminization of church and society. If we just had a health society of men and women, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, we could dispense with the parody.

    • Thanks for the comment, Gregory.

      The focus on Masculinity can be profoundly unhelpful and encourages all sorts of macho stereotypes and masculinity-shaming, bullying, and adolescent domineering. This is why I think that it is so crucial to recognize that true masculinity will only be recovered indirectly. We are not about masculinity, but about following Jesus Christ. However, when we are serious about following Christ as males, we will become men as we do so.

    • I should have added that my father held offices in the small country church we attended when I was growing up for as long as I can remember until shortly before his death. My maternal grandfather was a Baptist minister, and my paternal grandfather was a member and every Sunday attender of church for as long as I can remember. The were all just ordinary men. I’ve always been suspicious of men who feel they have to prove their manhood. You should grow out of that by the time your in your early 20s. Chest thumping is for adolescents, not for men.

      As to Mark Driscoll, I don’t know him personally, but after reading one of his books, I developed a dislike. He impressed me in that book as a chest thumper.

  9. The Man Who Was . . . says:

    It is interesting how someone like Mark Driscoll straddled both your and the ‘Top Gear’ perspectives. He really did focus on giving men real responsibility and purpose, but there was also a lot of crass bro attitude. I think it would immensely benefit the church to look both at his genuine successes and his obvious failures.

    • Reposting a comment that I wrote elsewhere:

      “There is a sort of reactive culture of masculinity in certain Christian circles that sets up ‘heterosexual, win-a-fight, punch-you-in-the-nose dudes’ (so Driscoll) as the great model of Christian masculinity. The exemplary Christian man is supposedly a macho ‘alpha male’. This ‘big man’ then goes around masculinity-shaming, asserting a sort of dominance over against other men, making them feel less masculine because they don’t have the strength, female attention, dominance, charisma, etc. that he has. ‘Christian masculinity’ then starts to fuel the stupid games that men can play among themselves to prove who is top dog. While this masculinity can cast itself as a matter of service, it is bullying and domineering, perhaps especially over ‘weaker’ men (and I think that the whole Driscoll debacle is well worth attending to here). This big man can go on his testosterone kick, often using the cause of women as his excuse (getting young men to shape up for the sake of his daughters or championing the cause of women whose men aren’t ‘man enough’). While he may be addressing real sins and weaknesses, there is a dominance culture at work here that has some really ugly and poisonous dynamics. We need to move far away from this. There is a gentleness and kindness that should characterize the mature Christian man that seems to be quite lacking here. When Biblical Masculinity becomes our focus—rather than serving Christ faithfully as the Christian men that we are where we are—we can easily establish macho caricatures of masculinity as the model that we seek to attain.”

      I think that Driscoll was speaking to genuine problems in many respects, which is one reason why his message resonated with many. While I have been sharply critical of Driscoll’s approach to masculinity on many occasions over the years, at least he recognized an issue that has been ignored by many of his critics.

      • chadinkc says:

        “When Biblical Masculinity becomes our focus—rather than serving Christ faithfully as the Christian men that we are where we are—we can easily establish macho caricatures of masculinity as the model that we seek to attain.”

        My wife and I were discussing this topic the other day as it pertains to women. You could almost reduce your statement above to a formula that diagnoses much of what seems to ail the way evangelicalism approaches the lived Christian life: “When Biblical X becomes our focus–rather than serving Christ faithfully as the Y that we are where we are…&c.” Particularly notable examples of ‘X’ in my experience have been masculinity, femininity, leadership [shudders], stewardship, sexuality, and marriage/family life. This seems to result in a lot of hand-wringing over cultural contingencies and behavioral tics and a lot of missing the forest for the trees. WHY it functions that way, I haven’t the slightest, but it’s enough that hearing the term “Biblical” deployed like that usually sends my guard up.

      • Thanks for the comment.

        I think that this is typically true. In addition to what you have said, this attempt to construct a Christian society piecemeal, rather than as a single integral reality, tends to encourage a legalistic posture on all sorts of issues (‘biblical masculinity’ and ‘biblical femininity’ being two great examples). As soon as such aspects of life are detached from the centre of Christian life and become independent foci, the result so often is the command that we live up to a caricature.

      • The Man Who Was . . . says:

        I think Driscoll did a bit more than identify certain problems. He identified practices, such as giving young men responsibility, something to do, that are essential if the church is to attract men, particularly working class men. Which is why his church, for a while, thrived.

    • Joe says:

      Driscoll – although peddling a puerile MAN faith – did draw in those working class guys who otherwise don’t stick around after the initial (genuine) welcome.

      Evangelical churches in the UK are solidly middle-class and it’s difficult not to see that one of the reasons for this is that some aspects of contemporary evangelicalism are a form of “privatized lifestyle consumption” which only appeals to the middle-classes.

      • quinnjones2 says:

        ‘Evangelical churches in the UK are solidly middle class’ – ours isn’t🙂 We have a good cross-section of the community and someone compared us to ‘Licorice Allsorts’!

      • That is definitely encouraging. Most of the churches that I have attended in the UK have been predominantly middle or upper middle class, which is disappointing to me.

      • Joe says:

        Personal gripe time😉 I’m live in a city with (presumably) greater choice than most and I see conservative evangelical = middle-class and that (the social expectations that go with it) remains the main reason I consider giving up on church.

      • The Man Who Was . . . says:

        IIRC, Alastair has mentioned that, in the UK, Evangelicalism tends to be working class. He may want to speak to that himself.

      • Evangelicalism tends to be middle-class. However, evangelicalism—especially Pentecostalism—engages the working classes far better than most other groups in the UK. The working classes—and especially when you exclude immigrants—are quite alienated from the church here.

      • quinnjones2 says:

        Hi Joe,
        Thank you for your reply. If I were in your position, I might feel pretty fed up with church, too. I hope you find a church that you can get ‘knitted into’.🙂

      • Thanks for the comment, Joe.

        Your point about class is an extremely important aspect of this, which really should be brought into the picture (this post by Peter Leithart might shed an interesting light on this issue). Within the resistance towards Driscoll and the mode of masculinity that he represents is often an implicit insistence upon more middle class modes of masculinity, modes of masculinity that will alienate many in the working classes. I think that it would be valuable to hear working class men discuss how all of this looks like from their perspective. I suspect that many of them feel like fish out of water in the average church, which may help to explain why so few attend.

        I think that Christianity in the UK tends to be ‘solidly middle-class’. Very few denominations have effectively engaged with the working class. Evangelicals, and perhaps more particularly Pentecostals, have done better than most other groups, though. It seems to me that the accommodation of Christianity to middle class sensibilities has probably resulted in a severe attenuation of several dimensions of Christian faith and that successful re-engagement with the working classes, perhaps especially working class men, would enrich the Church in surprising ways.

  10. Alasdair

    Very lucid and thorough analysis.

    The crisis of masculinity is not a problem for Mormons, and this is another area where (in a rational world!) conservative Protestants would be studying the CJCLDS in detail to find out ‘how they do it’.

    Many of the LDS church structures could – in principle – be emulated – The male Priesthood ‘mirrored’ by women’s Relief Society, the multi-level single sex youth organizations, modesty and dress rules, the practices related to ‘dating’ (explicitly encouraged by church leaders) to help find a marriage partner, singles churches for young adults of marriageable age, and so on.

    In essence, the path is not to focus on men as such, but to set up dual, sex-appropriate structures (with the important ‘side effect’ of generating multiple church leadership roles for women – something lacking among conservative Protestants).

    • The Man Who Was . . . says:

      Actually, Fortress Mormon is starting to show cracks, and it is among the men that these are first showing up. I posted a link at the Orthosphere blog to data showing Mormon men leaving the church. I will try and retrieve it.

      Nonetheless, the Mormons held on for longer than most, so we should certainly look at what they’ve done right.

      • The Man Who Was . . . says:

        The link is here.

        Quote:

        In fact, additional studies by Cragun and Phillips show that retention rates of young people (young men especially) raised Mormon have dropped substantially in the last decade: from 92.6% in the 1970s–2000s to 64.4% from 2000–2010. Rising rates of disaffiliation go a long way towards explaining the gap between LDS Church records and the ARIS population estimates.

    • Thanks for the comment, Bruce.

      I suspect that we definitely could benefit from looking at groups such as the Mormons in these areas and identifying particular strengths in their approach to emulate.

      I imagine that some might be surprised at the picture at the top of this post—John Herbert’s painting of the Westminster Assembly of Divines. I spent a while looking for a picture that presented an image of one expression (among the many that exist) of the sort of masculinity that Christian faith evokes. While we typically think of masculinity in terms of the individual man, I wanted an image of shared masculinity. I also wanted to steer clear of the images that we more typically associate with masculinity, for an image that isn’t really about masculinity, but within which a form of masculinity comes to light.

      Herbert’s painting, for me, is one such image. It is an image that depicts men engaged in intense theological discourse, recognizing the proper understanding of Christian truth as a matter of deep spiritual and national import (Cromwell’s presence at the centre of the painting is significant). While few would usually look at the painting from this perspective, I thought that it would be good to get people to notice that all of the figures in the painting are men. Knowing more about the moment depicted in the painting and the broader historical context, we can sense the charged atmosphere and the significance of the matters and differences under discussion. I think that we can also sense that the atmosphere is powerfully coloured by the fact that the persons involved are all male. Their activity—an activity of churchmanship and politics—is one of a shared masculinity, a masculinity that is serious in mind, devoted to study, prepared to contend for the truth, which treats Christian theology and the constitution of the Church as matters with high stakes.

      I bring all of this up because, when I was looking for an image that captured this on Google, it was surprisingly difficult to find one. The images that most captured the sense that I was looking for were more commonly not of Protestant Christians at all (the images of Protestant Christians tended to be of individual men, rather than of male groups committing themselves to the service of Christ). Jews were especially highly represented. It occurred to me that, if we are looking for faithful patterns of shared masculinity of a male homosociality of faith, we might need to look beyond the confines of our immediate tradition and learn from others.

  11. quinnjones2 says:

    I realize that I have commented on class without really being able to define the classes very well – with the exception of the aristocracy! I tend to think of the middle class as meaning professionals such as doctors, lawyers, teachers, clergy and so on. We have a school caretaker at our church and I think of him as working class for that reason, but he is also very articulate and well-read…
    We have a big parish church and a small sister church and the folk at the sister church seem to think the folk ‘in the parish’ are a bit ‘posh.’ One deciding factor seems to be the matter of dunking biscuits🙂 When I joined in the dunking at the sister church, one man said to me, ‘I bet they don’t dunk in the parish, do they?’ There seem to be many factors that constitute class. We also have two unemployed men at church who live on disability benefits – I don’t really know what class they are in.We have a few self-employed men. One is a chef. I suppose that’s middle class, but I don’t really know.
    As you said, Alistair, working class men can enrich the church in surprising ways. We have a young man who has learning difficulties and he earns a living as a labourer. He is disarmingly outspoken and says things that many of us would love to say, but don’t – he is such a gift to our church.

    • Joe says:

      In a sense we live in a classless society – which is why ‘class’ is now marked by lifestyle choices (obviously some people are born into families or are gifted with skills that make the higher end choices more attainable) This consumerist framework affects everyone.

      I read this article with mixed feelings. I agree with it but it singles out the consumer choices that working class men are more likely opt for – sports, beer, ‘banter’, computer games, casual sexism and pornography.- without pointing out that wealthier men (and women) also build a social identity around “stuff” (not necessarily physical items).

  12. Chris E says:

    Perhaps I’ll post more on this later. I don’t think that there is a crisis though – or at least to the extent that there is a crisis it’s largely self generated by overdone levels of introspection coupled with something else (more below)

    Years ago I was listening to Mark Driscoll rant about masculinity. I started to think of some of the responsible older men I knew – none of which behaved in the ways prescribed – yet all of whom were responsible adults who displayed many of the positive traits mentioned above, all of whom had had impacts beyond their family. As Driscoll continued to rant on about men who didn’t display the particular stereotypes he associated with masculinity, I reflected that it would have occured to none of them – however ‘bookish’ – to question whether they were men or not.

    If you want to be a man – you have a choice – go out and be a man and stop complaining about the flow of culture. Do you honestly think it was any easier living out life as a Christian man in 1st century Phillipi ? To live as a christian *anything* has always been counter-cultural to varying extents – oh, and the church has *always* attracted more women than men.

    Finally, It’s somewhat ironic that a post complaining about ‘Top Gear Spirituality’ should contain comments complaints about the ‘nanny state’ that are very much along the lines of something by Jeremy Clarkson. The pendulum has swung too far? Exactly which bits of ‘feminism’ should be reversed then? Surely the first step towards being ‘manly’ should consist of taking responsibility for our own actions, rather than put the blame on some political movement that we happen to be opposed to.

    • Thanks for the comment, Chris. Unfortunately, reading it, I am not sure how and if to engage, as you seem to be addressing something other than my position.

      • Chris E says:

        The final paragraph was directed at the first comment. As to the rest, I don’t really think there is a crisis in contemporary masculinity. There are big social changes that are being triggered by late stage capitalism, but these to me seem to much broader in their impact – for example the trend towards infantilization affects women as much as men. A lot of the changes actually being a reversion away from immediate post-war society.

        In Christian circles a lot of the talk about the ‘crisis of christian masculinity’ seems to more about the day to day issues that map to things Christians everywhere have always faced, hence the comparison to Phillipi.

      • Matt Petersen says:

        Chris

        “There are big social changes that are being triggered by late stage capitalism, but these to me seem to much broader in their impact – for example the trend towards infantilization affects women as much as men.”

        If I understand him correctly, this is Alastair’s point. He’s focusing on the impact on men, but that doesn’t mean he thinks it’s exclusive to men. And he explicitly criticizes the sort of manly man response you (and I) are also critical of.

    • I agree, Chris. I grow weary of men blaming women for their problems. Man up.

      And I agree about Driscoll. He appears to have some pretty serious problems with understanding what a man really is. Maybe he didn’t have a good father growing up. Men, real men, aren’t chest thumpers. They are your ordinary neighbors, working ordinary jobs, loving their wife and children, putting food on the table, clothes on the body, and a roof over the head, and a warm place to sleep. They don’t have to drive massive SUVs or four-wheel-drive pickups, smoke stogies, and drink whiskey straight to feel like men. They don’t have to pump it up at the gym to get the perfect body. And they most certainly don’t have to lord it over others.

      Driscoll has no more idea what real manhood looks like than the feminists do. The two are mirror images of each other. That he taught his version of “manhood” as the Christian ideal shows that he has a bad theology. The ideal Man is Christ and he doesn’t fit the Driscoll model.

      • quinnjones2 says:

        Hi Gregory,
        ‘The ideal man’ doesn’t exist – nor does ‘the ideal woman’.
        One of my favourite men in the scriptures is Simon Peter: a ‘rough and ready’ fisherman who was the first to see that Jesus was the Christ; a man who impetuously cut off another man’s ear to protect his leader and did not understand at the time why Jesus gently told him to put his sword back into its sheath; a man who was ready to die for his leader, and then wept bitterly when he failed to live up to his own good intentions;a man called by God to be the Rock of the church , who, empowered by the Holy Spirit, stepped straight into that position at Pentecost, giving a divinely-inspired speech of breathtaking eloquence.
        What more can any of us long for than to become, in the power of the Holy Spirit, the man, the woman, the person God created us to be?

      • Of course the ideal Man exists; He is Jesus Christ. And He is the only ideal Man.

    • infowarrior1 says:

      I think this story illustrates the nature of real masculinity:
      http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/hollywoodmacho.html

    • WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

      If there is a crisis of masculinity in contemporary Western cultures I would suggest it is as much (or more) economic than ideological. At least as Roy Baumeister sees masculinity, one of the defining traits of a man is his disposability. He is important to the forward progress of a culture because he can be sacrificed, or sacrifice himself, in a high-risk venture with a high-risk payoff.

      Advising young men to man up and take risks will only be persuasive if those young men have a reasonable expectation that success is likely. What if the crisis of masculinity we’ve seen people talking about could be summed up this way?– young men have figured out how truly disposable they are in contemporary post-industrial Western society, and would rather opt out than contribute to a social system where they know they are ultimately superfluous. In the “manosphere” this has been explained as society creating so many economic disincentives for men to marry and raise children that men are not opting out of male responsibility in itself so much as rejecting the low reward for high risk of taking up marriage in the current social climate. My own reticence about marriage has been because of decades of dead end jobs and an increasing skepticism about people in America marrying for what looks to me to be the narcissistic sentimentality of erotic attachment. And for someone like Driscoll there has never been any room for a man who doesn’t marry and raise children. His practical applications always revolved around nuclear families while casting the unmarried as selfish.

      • Chris E says:

        Yes – I’d agree with you that to the extent that there is a crisis the issue is an economic rather than sociological one. The fact is that the church in general is rather more comfortable with taking on the sociological adversaries (liberals etc) rather than the economic ones.

        Which is why I think Matt’s comment misses the point slightly. Yes, there is a useful argument to be made on the sociological level that would consist of putting forward healthier models of masculinity as a corrective to Driscoll’s stereotypes. However, the economic level can only be dealt with by confronting the attitudes that many in conservative evangelical circles hold fairly unthinkingly – especially (and this is perhaps slightly more the case across the pond) their attachments particular embodiments of the family model that were largely historically contingent.

  13. quinnjones2 says:

    Hi Chris E. I’ve just read your post and will respond to your final paragraph because you referred to two comments I made here in an earlier response to Alastair’s blog.
    My comment about ‘the nanny state’ was rooted in my personal experience as a school teacher. This was a personal response to Alastair’s comments beginning: ‘Our society infantilizes us…’ What Alastair wrote resonated with me. I did not comment on Alastair’s opening paragraph about ‘Top Gear Spirituality’ because I know very little about it. The most I know about Jeremy Clarkson is that my grandson is a great fan of his and asked me to buy him two Clarkson DVD’s last Christmas. My grandson’s interest is vocational in addition to being recreational. He is doing what we used to call ‘a sandwich course’ – combined apprenticeship and training. He is studying vehicle technology.
    ‘Which bit of feminism has gone too far?’ One example is the advent of the freezing of ova so that women can artificially attempt to postpone procreation for most of their childbearing years in order to follow a career, while preserving their ‘younger’ ova.This seems to suggest that children are commodities, to be ‘acquired’ at our convenience. As one of my friends once said, having a baby is never ‘convenient’ – it is a major upheaval, which entails devoting much of our time and energy to caring for another human being. Yes it can be hugely rewarding – but at the heart of it is self-giving rather than self-interest.
    Finally in your last sentence you mentioned ‘blame’. I think Alastair’s blog is about explaining, not about blaming.

    • quinnjones2 says:

      PS I forgot to mention my name – I am Christine

    • Chris E says:

      ” One example is the advent of the freezing of ova so that women can artificially attempt to postpone procreation for most of their childbearing years in order to follow a career, while preserving their ‘younger’ ova.”

      It seems to me that this owes much more to a particular expression of capitalism than feminism per se – and generally the church has found it easier to speak about the latter than the former.

      We live in an era in which all experiences tend towards commodification, in which people are treated as individual economic units and in which the work one does defines ones worth (both in terms of fulfilment and in terms of survival itself).

      To what extent is freezing ova (which is a relatively small scale phenomena at the present), just an extension of the way in which middle class parents generally seek to bring up children? After all it seems an extension of a general trend where women (and couples!) postpone children into late in their child bearing years for reasons that may seem admirable on the surface (getting to a certain stage in their career, so they can afford the right house in the right area to put their children into the right school). So why condemn one and not the other? Why attribute more selfishness to one than the other?

  14. quinnjones2 says:

    Gi Chris E. Yes freezing ova is one ‘symptom’ of a deep, pervasive dynamic.
    I don’t want to ‘condemn’ anyone – I lament rather than condemn. I’m sorry if what I wrote came over as condemnation
    Christine

    • Chris E says:

      Hi Christine –

      My point was that perhaps these things are symptoms of trends which have already been baptised by the church and are seen as part of a ‘normal life’ (see also Joe’s point above). When seen in such a way they are much harder to critique, because they differ in degree rather than kind.

      • quinnjones2 says:

        Hi Chris, I’m not sure that I know what you mean here – I’m still pondering about the subject of baptism so I won;t engae in any discussion about it at this stage.

      • Chris E says:

        Hi Christine –

        I think it’s easier to get some in the church to take a stand against an issue because of ‘feminism’ than if it is seen to challenge some tenet of the middle class conception of the Good Life. The pervasive dynamic is very much part of an particular type of economic thinking that the church has accepted.

        [So for instance: There may be very good reasons to oppose a particular technology, but the impulses behind delayed procreation can be the same regardless of whether or not technology was involved, even if one way is more socially acceptable within the church than the other.]

  15. quinnjones2 says:

    ‘Hi’, not ‘Gi’ !

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  17. quinnjones2 says:

    Hi Chris, I’m not sure what to say for the best. ‘The church’ is a very broad term. In our church I’ve heard no talk about ‘the Good Life’ but there is a strong focus on the centrality of the cross, whilst also celebrating Pentecost and the spiritual gifts, given to build up the Body of Christ. I don’t think I’d last very long in a church that was centred on ‘a middle-class conception of the Good Life’!

    • Chris E says:

      Hi Christine –

      I cannot speak to particular churches that I haven’t observed, however it is of necessity going to be a lot more subtle – consisting of base level assumptions in the ways in which things are done.

      I would differ somewhat with Cal (below) but he highlights ways in which a particular middle class socioeconomic model is essentially seen as – at worst – value neutral. (How does the church think that a middle class Christian should differ from a middle class non-Christian? Usually the answer is phrased solely in terms of sexual ethics).

      Going back to your example, I know a lot of middle class christian couples who appear – for whatever reason – to have postponed having children until the woman is in her early 40s. Presumably at least some of the times some of their motives would be economic ones. Yet they wouldn’t necessarily be challenged on this – though obviously someone who froze their ova with many of the same motives in mind would well be.

      What about participation in buy-to-let, is that always neutral? How about moving away from a more economically diverse area, is that value neutral? How about the participation in the ratcheting up house prices around ‘good’ schools? These all have knock on effects on the less well off, yet I know of plenty of churches which are very orthodox in doctrine who would never dream of mentioning such things/

      • quinnjones2 says:

        Hi Chris – thank you for your interesting post. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t even begin to discuss socioeconomic matters with any authority. I am retired and living on a low fixed income. I actually get a lot of joy from finding creative ways of using my time, energy and money as fruitfully as possible and I love being given ‘tips’ by other people who are in a similar position. What some people regard as essential, I have learnt to live without, and happily so. I suppose both wealth and poverty have their share of temptations, frustrations and blessings.One of my daily prayers is the ‘Serenity’ prayer🙂

  18. quinnjones2 says:

    Hi Gregory,
    ‘Of course the ideal Man exists; He is Jesus Christ. And He is the only ideal Man.’
    It depends on which definition of ‘ideal’ you have in mind.
    When I wrote my earlier comment, I had in mind Merrium-Webster’s second definition:
    ‘ ideal /adjective 2. not real and existing only in the imagination ‘
    It sounds as though you have in mind Merrium-Webster’s third definition:
    ‘being entirely without fault or flaw’
    If so, I do, of course, agree with you🙂
    Jesus is perfect…. and divine.

  19. Indeed, I meant the latter. Or one of the following:

    1: a standard of perfection, beauty, or excellence
    2: one regarded as exemplifying an ideal and often taken as a model for imitation
    3: an ultimate object or aim of endeavor :

  20. Jim says:

    “Such a world summons men to such virtues as they know that they were born for: to resolution, responsibility […] grit, moral backbone, etc.”

    How many of these are specifically “masculine” virtues though? At least the majority are things that should be equally cultivated by women. We can’t entirely divorce the question “what does it mean to be a Christian man?” from “what does it mean to be a Christian person?”, but it seems to me that discussions specific to masculinity should focus on the ways in which men ought to differ from women.

    • Thanks for the comment, Jim.

      I think that you are making a mistaken assumption here: that I believe that the virtues listed are somehow exclusive to men. I don’t and they aren’t. Nor do I believe that these are virtues that men need to develop in order to differentiate themselves from women. A few clarifying remarks:

      1. Being a man is not just about being different from a woman, but about being different from a boy. The latter difference is fairly central to my argument, which is about resisting the infantilization of men.

      2. The human person is always a man or a woman. The constellation of virtues will always have a somewhat distinct shape for each sex, even when the constitutive virtues themselves are shared. Some virtues are more prominently expressed in one sex than in the other, even though the virtues may all be shared (not because one sex is more or less virtuous than the other, but because what it means for each sex to be virtuous differs in various subtle ways). What it means for me to be a virtuous person will always be conditioned by the fact that I am a man. The passage from boyhood to manhood is different from the passage from girlhood to womanhood.

  21. Cal says:

    I appreciate this and the other posts pertaining to masculinity that you’ve written. As one, who is also adrift in this sea of gnostic society, what you point out is true. The Gospel, through the Spirit, creates communities where men are supposed to be men, and women be women, though this is deeper than any ‘laddishness’ would allow. It’s more than the more sophisticated types of 1950’s America sexism, or the hunter fetish, now corporatized with Cabellas. Or even the extreme fitness cult, though that has a pull for both sexes, and more gnostic.

    But in the list you provided, I’d argue that self-sacrifice has to be the umbrella that hold any concept of grit, backbone, decisiveness, etc. together. A man is to love a woman as Christ loved the Church. If we are called to be ‘under-shepherds’ of God’s people, and elders of our particular ecclesial community, we’re to imitate the Good Shepherd who laid His life down.

    And all of this defining, and being infused with, love. There have been plenty of men who have most of the characteristics you list, but they looked like dour, duty-bound Prussians. There’s also an uprorious joy in being a man, that doesn’t necessarily manifest as a ‘bro’ (perhaps, with qualifications, the American instantiation of laddishness).

    I say this, not that you would disagree, but that it would be highlighted. All of what you’ve written is so necessary for an urban context, and has been a topic of genuine need. In the middle-class suburbia, city-center, type of context, this sterilization means little and a semblance (though empty) may rumble on.

    But in the poor, without self-sacrifice, a serious understanding of one’s manness, the machismo manifests not as a bad night on the town and time wasted in the pub (or on the pitch), but joining gangs or the military ( for purpose and direction. Lack of responsibility means lots of babies with no dads. The problem is not poverty, but people coming to know the Lord and be who, in resurrection, they were meant to be.

    Cal

    • Thanks for the helpful comment, Cal. I strongly agree with a lot that you have written here.

      The one thing that I would be more cautious about is overplaying the ‘lack of responsibility’ hand when speaking about the poor. A crucial question that must be addressed here is whether men in the lower classes actually have the means by which to be responsible. For instance, is their role in the lives of their children socially and legally honoured and protected? Does marriage have strength in their society, or fatherhood have dignity? Do they have employment, or are they rendered dependent? Do they have agency in the running of their communities? Are they enabled to provide for others, or does the state and other parties usurp that role? How is their dignity recognized, protected, and advanced?

      • Cal says:

        Speaking as someone with little wealth (Westernly speaking, though not globally), I don’t mean to say ‘lack of responsibility’ as a Thatcherite or Foxs News commentator would. There are means to be responsible with little, despite what society may say. The Church has certainly failed, in many respects, to be a fount of promoting this. Instead, a white middle-class culture has been taken for granted (in the best cases), or enforced.

        There is responsibility, though it doesn’t look the same. The Church ought to work in the midst of that, independent of any government. One could receive welfare from the government and not ‘work’ (though the definition many use is insufficient), and yet provide love and security for a wife and children, and still work.

        Of course, we need support in standing up in the flood. Society says that raising kids is inglorious and foolish, when not done in the contours of a Stepford household (as seen in department store commercials). Society says that unless you cut a good paycheck, then you’re useless. So the flipside of pride in these foolish things is despair, and turning to other means. The Church needs to work to create an alternate than merely flowing with the ‘conservative’ social narrative.

        Marriage is an example of this. The Church, too often, embraces financially wealthy depictions as standard. Thus, the poor cannot afford these models, and choose to live this out in different means. Common law marriage has become defacto in many places. So instead of entering into this reality, perhaps forcefully recognizing and calling to discipleship, the Church, working from bad suppositions, says they’re living in sin and hand-waves them. Perhaps so, but is it because they refuse to provide or because they are living out of wedlock? What is wedlock? Must it come with an ‘I-Do’ and a ceremony?

        All of this is to say, manhood is necessary, biblically defined, full of love and coming as self-sacrifice. Just that the umbrella covers more than the more comfortable, economically speaking, might allow.

  22. Matt Bingham says:

    Hello Alastair,

    I am a first-time visitor to your blog and very impressed with the breadth and depth of your posts. I particularly appreciated your remarks here in the comment section in which you explain why you chose the painting of the Westminster divines as a header. I actually had that painting framed and hanging on my study wall for some time and, though I thought about it often, I never once considered the way in which it portrays corporate, Christian masculinity. As you note, it’s also a bit depressing that your search for such an image had to reach all the way back into the seventeenth century!

    Speaking of Christian men, I came to hear about your blog through your father, whom I met last week at a conference near Manchester; very good to talk to him and now to read your reflections as well.

    Best regards,
    Matt Bingham

    • Thanks for commenting, Matt, and for taking the time to visit! Good to hear that you know my dad too. He has always exemplified for me a man who dedicates himself wholeheartedly to the serious study of God’s truth.

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  25. amanhiswife says:

    Alastair,
    First time at your blog. Really enjoyed the depth of the post. I think you nailed the superficiality of what we are peddling as masculinity and was impressed with the analysis elsewhere. Thank you.
    In Christ- Robert

  26. infowarrior1 says:

    Have you read the church impotent?
    http://podles.org/church-impotent.htm

    It appears that the sex imbalance in the church as well as the phenomenon of men with weak masculinity in the church have gone on for 8 centuries.

  27. Kathleen says:

    Alistair,

    Thank you for your insightful writing. I just read Goodbye, Good Men: How Liberals Brought Corruption into the Catholic Church by Michael S. Rose. Rose documents how Vatican II and subsequent changes to the liturgy and seminary training have diminished the value of masculine virtues and the honor that is due to good priests and good men in general.

  28. hughpearson1 says:

    Hi Alastair,
    Thanks for your post, I really appreciated it! I have been thinking a bit about Christian masculinity lately and am interested in pursuing the topic further. I was wondering if you could point me to some of your other posts or some books that have shaped your thinking on the subject? It’s hard to say specifically what I am looking for but something less “a man should do this” and more a vision for what living out the image of God as a man in the light of the resurrection looks like? That is probably too specific, so anything will be helpful!
    Hugh

    • Perhaps, rather than reading a book about masculinity in general, it would be better to read a range of Christian biographies and find some specific male role models to emulate.

      • hughpearson1 says:

        Any particular biographies you have found helpful and challenging?

      • I threw the question out to an email discussion list that I am a member of. The following were some of the recommendations: Peter Brown on Augustine; THL Parker on Calvin; MacCullough on Cranmer; Daniell on Tyndale; Perry Miller on Edwards; Morley on Gladstone; Kidd on Whitefield; Murray on Lloyd-Jones; Dallimore on Whitefield; Gordon on Calvin; Antonia Fraser on Cromwell; Gaines on Bach; Hague on Wilberforce; Moynahan on Tyndale; Metaxas’ 7 Men.

      • hughpearson1 says:

        Thanks Alistair, I really appreciate the effort!

  29. whitefrozen says:

    Alister McGrath’s recent bio on C.S. Lewis is outstanding.

  30. RobD says:

    It looks like I’m a bit late to the show. I’ve been thinking about these things for a while.

    I agree that the normative model of “masculinity” that prevailed during much of the 20th Century (i.e., patriarchal masculinity) has faded. But is that a crisis? That model seemed to rest on the Freudian notion that the sex binary (of male and female) necessarily implied a gender binary (of masculinity and femininity). I don’t really mourn the passing of the regime, where men faced social pressure to perform a social role that often didn’t fit with the way that God made them. But its passing has created a variety of responses.

    In the cognitive elite circles, these changes are largely welcome, and most men seem to be happy to have the luxury to experiment with social roles and figure out what fits. Also, in most instances, members of this class benefit from a variety of social cues that help them choose wisely. It’s no accident therefore that same-sex marriage is fairly uncommon among this class, even though members of this class are overwhelmingly supportive of gay rights and same-sex marriage. (In fact, at a recent post-work happy hour, the majority of those present agreed that the categories of “gay” and “straight” were unhelpful and too constrictive.)

    These changes create certain difficulties in more hierarchical white-collar circles and in blue-collar circles (which are the social circles from where evangelicalism draws most of its members). In these circles, patriarchal gender roles still largely prevail in practice, even though it’s clear that this situation can’t last. So, men seem to fall into three categories. Some rigidly defend the old order and constantly bemoan its passing. Others hate the old order and are doing everything in their power to make it go away. Others simply withdraw into perpetual adolescence. The original post seems to be describing what is happening in these spheres where patriarchy is still a force to be reckoned with.

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  33. 19152051891519 says:

    How is it possible to tackle the threat to masculinity, if indeed the very symbol of masculinity is in decline. I´m talking about the male phallus, which is at the root of masculinity. If woman have to turn to artificial aids to satisfy themselves because men can no longer perform this job adequately, then what does it tell you about the state of the human race. The root of masculinity is no longer a symbol to be proud of and that affects all men. Only a limited number of caucasian men have what it takes to satisfy women. Asian masculinity has all but been eroded. Only black men have a strong sense of masculine identity. The root of racism is not skin colour differences, but a lack of equipment that satisfies. This could be the breeding ground of envy and resentment between racial groups.

    All the desire for materiality and the covetousness of things are rooted in a desire that can never be satisfied. Male desire is not satisfied psychologically because sex is fundamentally unsatisfying if your wife cannot be satisfied. What will a male turn to in order to provide a coping mechanism for this insufficiency? Very likely a desire for money and the power which comes as a result of being able to control people financially, because they are sexually unfulfilled. Give a man what he considers a real asset and something which makes him consider himself to be truely wealthy and you eliminate the desire to earn, but and spend money on useless things which don´t satisfy.

    Also you have a religion which espouses sexual fidelity and forces people to be together long after desire has passed. You have laws, which when transgressed, enable Satan to spiritually defile the male phallus which degrades male sexual performance still further. In the end you have a sexually sterile society where women have the upper hand and where male sexuality is constantly frustrated with each successive generation.

    The truely wealthy, prosperous and fulfilling societies have an open-minded attitude to sexual relations and men can engage with women who don´t suffer public shame and stigmatism for their sexual permissiveness. Men who can´t afford wives because of sexual dysfunction or shame or who remain unemployed because of ill health, migrate to these other countries because they cannot afford to keep wives in their own countries. Their sexual needs are catered for in countries where women perform their roles in accordance with the biblical model – as helpmates for men.

  34. quinnjones2 says:

    I had not thought of the phallus as a symbol of masculinity – it is normally not visible in everyday life. When I encounter men I see their faces and their actions and I hear their words…

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