Chickified or Macho Man?

A blog by Dr. Richard Beck, Associate Professor at Abilene Christian University, offers a thought provoking response to Mark Driscoll’s campaign to masculinize the church.

Thoughts on Mark Driscoll… while I’m knitting

Dr. Beck raises important points. Do we not have a responsibility to sift thru the rhetoric—throw out the bathwater, so to speak—and get to the underlying problem that causes many (though clearly not all) men to feel marginalized by the church? Surely this is not a problem we can or should ignore. Having said that, is it possible to address this problem without swinging the pendulum too far and creating a similar problem (not to mention a frightening environment) for others?

What are your thoughts?

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7 Responses to Chickified or Macho Man?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I personally find the very thought of making church a yet more masculine environment frightening. “Chickified” men are still men, and insist on their male perogatives. By all means let's fix the “churches don't welcome Joe Sixpack” problem–right after we finish making theologically conservative churches an environment where women are equally valued, have an equal voice, and are treated with equal respect.

    Gotta post this one anonymously. Which is sad.


  2. Nicole Unice says:

    I found this a very thought-provoking article, and appreciate the clarification of education schisms in the church. I thought the question of “Does the assertion of masculinity in the church necessarily involve an assertion over against women? Can masculinity be asserted in an egalitarian manner?” was spot-on.

    How do we, as the church, help women AND men embrace their unique gender identity (as in, they are actually different), while still embracing that difference doesn't set up a power differential? Interesting conversations, for sure!


  3. Stacey L. says:

    I don't think there's anything inherently masculine about men using a position of authority in the church as an excuse to be aggressive towards women. Having said that, I have observed women in leadership being equally guilty of asserting power, or control in an ungodly way. I do think that men and women tend to do this in different ways, for the most part.
    If the attitudes in question are really about fear, (as in what is underlying these issues), then why not provide a place within the church for men to deal with issues of shame that are quite often really at the heart of what it means to be masculine?
    Christlike behavior should be the standard for all of us, regardless of gender. That doesn't necessarily mean feminine; He was a carpenter. Did He knit? Who knows??! Most of what we think of as masculine or feminine is cultural. Can a man be strong, assertive, compassionate and tender? I don't think a 'masculine' church is anything to be afraid of- it's the misuse of power and authority that should be a concern.
    I think the educational differences are significant; I attend a church where education is highly valued (for everybody) and we tend to marginalize those who are poor, uneducated, or-God forbid- emotionally unhealthy! (Who decides this, I don't know.) Oh, and single.
    I for one would love to find a man who reads, and thinks deeply; who isn't afraid to give his life in service to others, who is moved by injustice and grace, and is able to provide protection as well as conversation that stimulates growth for those God places in his care.
    I'm not crazy about the Wild at Heart books simply because having been too hurt in the past, I'm not comfortable with the whole romantic notion of God.
    I believe we meet God at our place of greatest need, and when I became a Christian, I needed God as a father. I don't think of God in feminine terms simply because as a young adolescent, I needed God to fill that place of loving, protective father, and that is still how I see him. Scripture is full of imagery depicting God as loving, gracious, tender and gentle, but is equally clear that He will come with thunder from heaven to save and protect his own.The imagery is for our benefit, not God's, and is limited only by our cultural understanding of what it means to be masculine, or feminine.


  4. Susan Isaacs says:

    Carolyn, thanks so much for posting this. A great piece by Beck: balanced and thought provoking. I sympathize with guys, I do think the church has become a bit too feminine in the last 40 years: the worship can be very feminine, and the whole service can be too much on the receiving end: watching worship, listening to a sermon. Men need tasks. But it feels like Driscoll has swung too far in the opposite direction. I hope that he finds a way to be masculine without being a bully.

    A friend of mine visited a church that had a larger percentage of men than he was used to seeing. The pastor told him afterward that they transposed the worship songs half an octave lower so men could sing them comfortably. I'm sure they did other things.

    Looking forward to seeing you this weekend!


  5. Wendy says:

    You ask, “is it possible to address this problem without swinging the pendulum too far and creating a similar problem …?”

    It IS possible. It's just harder and takes more thought and less rhetoric. Thanks for this post.


  6. Meredith says:

    I don't like Driscoll, and as a woman, I especially don't appreciate his use of profanity or his overtly macho message. However, that said, masculinity is under attack in America in ways women cannot seem to see, and people with a siege mentality are always going to be more dangerous than people who are respected and appreciated. I really think your 'blessed alliance' metaphor is the best one going, Caroly!


  7. Anonymous says:

    I've been pondering about this alot… It does lead to other issues…


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