Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Masculinity without Manhood?

Heard these terms?

manimony check

It is a product of our times. Albert Mohler @ notes:
"It does not take great intellectual sophistication to see that we are in a period of widespread gender confusion. As with so many other developments of our times, our evolving language betrays more substantial shifts in the culture".

Quoting an article [warning, article includes crude language] in The Boston Globe , Mark Peters argues that the proliferation of "man" terms indicates this confusion over manhood and masculinity. Here is the most important section of his article:

"How to act like a man is a humdinger of an issue if you are one. The late Steven L. Nock, a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, said in an e-mail to me last year that it doesn't take much for women to prove that they're "real women" in the widely accepted senses, but men are in a more slippery situation, especially with the role of father/protector/provider not considered as necessary or desirable as it once was. "[M]asculinity must be continuously earned and displayed. It is never won," Nock wrote. Without a traditional role to embrace, being a man requires constantly defining yourself in opposition to all things female: "No wonder things like man-purses attract attention."

Mohler then noted the Biblical perspective:
"A man is defined in terms of who he is and what he does in obedience to God. A society that rejects or sidelines these roles and responsibilities -- that does not honor fatherhood and hold it out as expectation -- will sow seeds of disastrous confusion. The damage to our language is among the least of our problems".

"While the Bible clearly honors men who forfeit the blessings of wife and children for the sake of the Gospel (see, for example, 1 Corinthians 7:7-9, 32-28), the history of the Christian church indicates that these represent a minority. The normative expectation is that a young man will mature to take on the role of "father/protector/provider" that Peters correctly sees as "not considered as necessary or desirable as it once was" within the secular culture. Those men who are faithfully living out these responsibilities are not likely to be too concerned about finding true masculinity. They are living it".

"When this expectation is no longer normative, it should be no surprise that men struggle to define masculinity. The focus shifts from family to fashion accessories. Our language betrays our confusion, but the confusion reveals a larger betrayal. We lie to ourselves if we believe that we can hold onto a healthy masculinity without honoring true manhood".

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