Cucked by Courtly Love.

Cuckoo’s are diabolical parasites.  The video below shows what happens after a cuckoo egg is laid in a Warbler’s nest.

The cuckoo chick ejects the real offspring so it can take their place.  The truly disturbing part is that the parents care for the cuckoo as if it were their own.  They have no idea the real chicks were pushed out by the fake, no matter how absurd it looks at the end of the video as the small warblers continue to feed the giant cuckoo as if it were a warbler chick.

The same thing has happened to huge numbers of Christians.  We adopted the philosophy of courtly love, which is ironically itself a celebration of adultery, as if it were from God.  How many even remember what was there before the parasite pushed out the real thing? As C.S. Lewis explains in The Allegory of Love:

French poets, in the eleventh century, discovered or invented, or were the first to express, that romantic species of passion which English poets were still writing about in the nineteenth. They effected a change which has left no corner of our ethics, our imagination, or our daily life untouched, and they erected impassable barriers between us and the classical past or the Oriental present. Compared with this revolution the Renaissance is a mere ripple on the surface of literature.

This is why we have Christians teaching that romance sanctifies sex, and speaking of God honoring romance.  You can see the same thing in the three part series on 50SOG at the Stepping Up® blog, with the implicit assumption that women’s sexuality is inherently pure and focused on “romance”.

It also shows up in the comments to the second post of the series.  A 16 year old boy replies that unlike young men of the world he knows what God has taught Christian men to do;  Christian men are to practice chivalry by opening doors for women, as God commands (emphasis mine):

As a 16 year old teen. I am often faced with choices that effect the kind of man i will be. At times my friends can persecute me for setting such high standards. I have made it my goal to respect and honor women for the true creation that they are as Gods daughters. Not just objects of my desire. In this age of time women have learned that men have fallen weak. To many women have to open their own doors. To many women have to raise their own kids. To many women disrespect themselves. It is our job as men to teach them to respect themselves. You should see the faces of the women i open doors for. We can make a big difference. As a 16 year old teen i am often assumed to be a disrespectful brat. But i have shown people that is not the case with me. Despite what this world will do i will follow Jesus in the way he would want me to follow him. I will treat women as God would want me to. If i a 16 year old teen can do this so can any man. Thank you guys for what you do praying for you.

The blog host replied (emphasis mine):

Keep stepping up, Kyle. And keep being a godly example for your friends and all us guys.

Posted in Chivalry, Courtly Love, FamilyLife, Illegitimacy, Stepping Up®, Traditional Conservatives, Wife worship | 88 Comments

Real Men Step Up to Fifty Shades of Rationalization.

There is a blog companion to FamilyLife/Dennis Rainey’s Stepping Up® book and video program, and it has a three part series by Scott Williams on Fifty Shades of Grey (50SOG).  With the titles alone, you can’t make this stuff up:

  1. What’s a real man do with Fifty Shades?
  2. Man up to Christian Grey, Fifty Shades
  3. Real manhood: Black & white, not Fifty Shades of Grey

The denial is comical, starting with the refusal to accept that women’s reaction 50SOG is driven by sexual desire, the desire to be objectified by a powerful dominant man:

In case you’re not familiar, Fifty Shades of Grey is based on one of the best selling books of all time. The movie bills itself as a romance between powerfully-attractive young billionaire Christian Grey and a naïve, not-so-self-assured college senior, Anastasia Steele. Without meaning to, she catches his attention when she’s interviewing him for the school newspaper, and he begins to do everything in his power (and he has a lot of it) to make her the object of his desires…

…Ana repeatedly tells Mr. Grey (after each time he does his thing with her) that she doesn’t appreciate it. She’s constantly in tears about it. She tries to leave him, only to have him stalk her and emotionally manipulate her into staying. He demands control of her life to the point of prescribing her exercise and diet, choosing her wardrobe, and having a doctor examine her and put her on the pill.

Here we have a fantasy written by a woman, and consumed by women, and all Williams can see is a fictional man making women sin.  This is truly fantastic, because 50SOG came into existence by women going around the standard publishing process.  50SOG started as Twilight fan fiction, and women loved it so much eventually the book and movie industries showed up to give women what they were demanding. As Williams notes, Christian women are just as enthralled with 50SOG as non Christian women are:

What is surprising is who is viewing the film and reading the book—and why in the world they even would. Many refer to the book as “mommy porn” because of its wild popularity among adult women. And ticket sales are briskest in the typically-conservative deep south…

…it’s also reaching our young daughters. According to IMDB (Internet Movie Database), the movie drew the highest reviews by far from girls under 18.

And just in case you’re wondering, a Barna survey found that women who identify themselves as Christians are reading the books at the same rate as the general public. It’s captivating women everywhere.

That should concern any self-respecting man.

Williams can’t blame the Christian women shamelessly consuming the porn;  they are being tricked into trying to “rescue a broken man”.  There has to be a man to blame, so Williams blames the fictional character E. L. James invented (and E.L. James for inventing him).  He’s the one to blame, for not being a real man:

Christian Grey is no real man in any sense of the word.  A real man respects and honors a woman’s body and emotions; he doesn’t abuse and manipulate her. But author E.L. James has somehow made Grey the desire of 100 million women. She cleverly plays to women’s innate longings to be sought after, to live a more fulfilling existence and to rescue a broken man. In doing so, she gets women to excuse abusive behavior and to ignore countless warning signs on a fool’s road to romance.

Reading through two very lengthy, very detailed synopses of the first book (I refuse to read the book itself), I was continually struck by how much Mr. Grey’s behavior was the very picture of everything we tell women to run away from to avoid abuse. How many times have we listened incredulously to real-world horror stories of women who endure years of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse from boyfriends and husbands, yet can’t bring themselves to leave. Yet here we are with a book series and movie that draws women into that same warped, powerless thinking—“I’m not worth it. He can’t help it. What will happen to him if I leave?”

While a fictional man is to blame, real men need to step up and solve the problem.  Real men do this not by confronting women’s sin and refusing to allow women to deny the nature of their temptations.  Real men do this by treating women better and improving their self esteem.  This is especially important for daughters.  If daughters have enough self esteem, they won’t be tempted to go after sexy badboys:

A young girl needs to know that she’s loved—by her Heavenly father and her earthly father. We daddies need to remind our daughters of their intrinsic worth to us, and especially their value to the God who created them, who knows them intimately, and who loves them unconditionally. The more they accept this, the more likely they will be to look for a man who recognizes and respects their value.

According to Williams, Wives need self more esteem too.  But they also need more beta comfort to prevent them from pining for alpha attraction:

Your wife should be the object of your desire. She longs to see in your words and actions that you are always seeking the best for her. Rather than expecting her to sign a contract listing your demands, remind her that you have made a covenant to cherish and care for her, and to love her as much as you love your own body (Ephesians 5:29).

He advises men to get their wives sexual juices flowing with some modern Christian seduction, straight from the Book of Oprah.  According to Williams, the key to getting your wife hot is lots and lots of talking about your feelings:

There is a much healthier way to jump-start romance and intimacy in your marriage. It’s called communication. Open, honest conversations about intimacy and sexual fulfillment keep romance and passion alive through years of marriage.

Talk honestly about how each of you assess your love life, frequency, likes, dislikes and wishes. Maybe you can start with some simple questions that you answer together.

  • On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate our intimacy?

  • What things that I do make you feel most wanted and fulfilled?

  • What would you change about our love life?

Lastly, Williams closes the three part series with a warning to husbands not to respond to their wife craving to submit to a man by reminding her that she should be submitting to her own husband (emphasis mine):

The Bible teaches women to submit to the God-given leadership of their husbands in the same way that Christ submitted to the will of God the Father. But here’s a reminder, guys: God doesn’t command a husband to remind his wife to submit. Instead He calls the husband to unconditionally love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave his entire life for her.

This is of course not true.  Husbands are to lead their wives spiritually, and wash them in the water of the word;  there is no exception for biblical instruction on marriage.  If a wife isn’t submitting, her husband has an obligation to remind his wife what Scripture says on the topic.

Related: 

Posted in 50 Shades of Grey, Book of Oprah, Complementarian, Denial, Dennis Rainey, FamilyLife, Feral Females, Game, Headship, Manliness, Romantic Love, Servant Leader, Stepping Up®, Submission, Traditional Conservatives, Turning a blind eye, Ugly Feminists, You can't make this stuff up | 152 Comments

Their husbands forced them to do it.

As I’ve been pointing out, the conservative Christian response to feminism has been to pretend that feminists aren’t really in the final mopping up stages in the culture war and assert instead that what we are experiencing is a sudden and mysterious change in men.  There is no feminist rebellion, just weak men screwing feminism up.

As yet one more example, here is a quote of Pastor Tony Evans* from 1994.  W. Bradford Wilcox explains** that Evans gave versions of this speech to Promise Keepers events around the country (emphasis mine):

The primary cause of this national crisis, that is the decline of the family, is the feminization of the American male. The first thing you need to do is sit down with your wife and say something like this: “Honey, I’ve made a terrible mistake. I’ve given you my role. I gave up leading this family, and I forced you to take my place. Now I must reclaim that role. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying here. I’m not suggesting that you ask to be given your role back. I’m urging you to take it back.”

If you simply ask for it, your wife is likely to say: “Look, the last ten years I’ve had to raise these kids, look after the house and pay the bills. I’ve had to do my job and yours. You think I’m just going to turn everything back over to you?”
Your wife’s concerns might be justified. Unfortunately, however, there can be no compromise here. Treat the lady gently and lovingly, but lead. To you ladies who may be reading this, give it back. For the sake of your family and the survival of our culture, let your man be a man if he’s willing.

Evans is unusual in that he is telling men to take back the leadership.  But his simultaneous complete denial of the feminist rebellion is breathtaking. Here he is chastising men to show courage when he is too afraid to say what is actually going on.

As Jennifer A Marshal explains in the same piece, feminists were protesting Promise Keepers as a threat to the new model they had worked so hard to achieve:

This gathering alarmed feminists at groups like the National Organization for Women. Patricia Ireland, who was the president of that group at that time, accused Promise Keepers of being promoters of “a feel-good forum of male supremacy intent on keeping women in the back seat.” Some feminist activists even gathered outside of Union Station to heckle the men arriving at the rally. They taunted, jeered, and even threatened to disrobe themselves.

The attendees passed a throng of feminists eager to guard their hard fought progress to get into the event.  Many of the men went because their wives ordered them to go.  But once inside everyone pretended that there was no feminist revolution, men just somehow became passive, and this forced the poor wives to grasp for power.  To think otherwise was too terrifying.  This is nonsense on stilts, akin to the fantasy land claim that cowardly men are forcing women to reluctantly elbow their way into combat roles– while feminists publicly celebrate their victory.

*Many of my readers will recognize Pastor Evans’ daughter Priscilla Shirer, the women’s preacher and star of the movie War Room.

**H/T Daniel

Posted in Complementarian, Priscilla Shirer, Rebellion, Traditional Conservatives, Turning a blind eye, War Room, Weak men screwing feminism up | 113 Comments

The cost of going with the crowd.

You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. 2 You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice

–Exodus 23:1-2 ESV

In After Patriarchy, What? Why Egalitarians Are Winning the Evangelical Gender Debate Dr. Russell Moore takes secular commenters to task for bearing false witness against conservative evangelical men:

One of the most important pieces of sociological data in recent years comes from the University of Virginia’s W. Bradford Wilcox in his landmark book, Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands

[Wilcox] brings forth the demographic statistics and survey results on issues ranging from paternal hugging of children to paternal yelling, from female responses about marital happiness to the divisions of household labor. In virtually every category, the most conservative and evangelical households were also the “softest” in terms of familial harmony, relational happiness, and emotional health.

Unlike many secular university researchers, Wilcox actually studies real live evangelicals, rather than simply speculating on how such “misogynist throwbacks” must live. He has read what evangelicals read, listened to evangelical radio programs, and otherwise immersed himself in an evangelical subculture that few academics seem to understand. Wilcox demonstrates that his results are not an anomaly. It is not akin to discovering that nineteenth century slaveholders had less racist attitudes than northern abolitionists. Instead he shows that the “softness” of evangelical fathers is a result of patriarchy…

This raises the question, why do secular academics believe that conservative Christian men are selfish monsters who are forever abusing their wives, when the truth is quite easily observed?  One obvious answer is the secular academics are merely listening to what conservative Christian leaders have to say about Christian husbands.  If you read the conservative Christian press, there is no more vile group in our society than married Christian fathers.  Articles like Ditch Your Delusions of Grandeur and Love Your Child are fan favorites over at CBMW.

The secular academics would get the same impression from reading Dr. Moore as well.  Moore is constantly berating Christian husbands as wife abusers.  In articles like The Church and Violence Against Women, Moore warns against the barbarian horde of hateful Christian married fathers with their selfish materialism, their libidinal fantasies, and wrathful temper tantrums:

We must teach from our pulpits, our Sunday school classes, and our Vacation Bible Schools that women are to be cherished, honored, and protected by men. This means we teach men to reject American playboy consumerism in light of a Judgment Seat at which they will give account for their care for their families. It means we explicitly tell the women in our congregations, “A man who hits you has surrendered his headship, and that is the business both of the civil state in enacting public justice and of this church in enacting church discipline.”

Church discipline against wife-beaters must be clear and consistent. We must stand with women against predatory men in all areas of abandonment, divorce, and neglect. We must train up men, through godly mentoring as well as through biblical instruction, who will know that the model of a husband is a man who crucifies his selfish materialism, his libidinal fantasies, and his wrathful temper tantrums in order to care lovingly for a wife. We must also remind these young men that every idle word, and every hateful act, will be laid out in judgment before the eyes of the One to whom we must give an answer.

Note that Moore knows the men he is maligning are, as a group, the softest in our society.  It is truly baffling that Moore would on the one hand bemoan the fact that evangelical Christian husbands and fathers are wildly mis-characterized by secular academics, only to make it a practice to do the same.  My only guess is that he and the others doing the same are assuming they aren’t doing real damage.  It feels good, after all, and what can it hurt?  Given that the charge is being made against millions of conservative Christian husbands, certainly it is bound to be true for at least a few of them.  Perhaps a small percentage of this handful of men will become convicted after seeing all conservative Christian husbands painted in this way.

But this is profoundly destructive in multiple ways.  The first is the obvious problem Moore complains about in the link above;  he is reinforcing the same false stereotypes which are being used to sell feminist Christianity.  The next problem is the marital strife these wild accusations inflame.  Our feminist culture is telling Christian wives that they are being oppressed.  Having Christian leaders constantly reinforcing this message is a sure fire prescription for at the very least marital strife, and in many cases this constant provocation will lead to divorce.  Even if you don’t care about what you are doing to men and women, surely some thought should be given to the harm this is causing millions of children.

Lastly, there is the impact this constant maligning of married fathers has on young men.  The message is clear:  Married fathers are contemptible.  This is true even for the young men who know, like Moore does, that in reality evangelical husbands are the very softest in our society.  Young men don’t have to believe the outlandish charges to receive the very clear message that the married father is an object of deep contempt.  Since respect is a primary motivator for men, how long can conservative Christian leaders keep this up before we start seeing a real impact on how young men see marriage and fatherhood?  If good husbands and fathers aren’t respected, and if in fact marrying and becoming a father are reasons to lose respect for a man, why should a young Christian man want to pursue marriage and fatherhood?

Posted in Attacking headship, Complementarian, Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Disrespecting Respectability, Dr. Russell Moore, Fatherhood, The only real man in the room, The Real Feminists, Traditional Conservatives, Turning a blind eye, W. Bradford Wilcox, Weak men screwing feminism up | 123 Comments

Rainey understands his target audience.

When Dennis Rainey wants men to watch his man up videos, he turns to the complementarian head of the household, the wife.  It is true that unlike their rivals (egalitarians), complementarians practice headship and submission;  they have merely reversed the biblical roles.

As none other than Dr. Russell D. Moore explains in After Patriarchy, What? Why Egalitarians Are Winning the Evangelical Gender Debate (emphasis mine):

…Gallagher shows specifically how this dynamic plays itself out in millions of homes, often by citing interviews that almost read like self-parodies. One 35-year-old home-schooling evangelical mother in Minnesota says of the Promise Keepers movement: “I had Mike go this year. I kind of sent him…. I said, ‘I’m not sending you to get fixed in any area. I just want you to be encouraged because there are other Christian men out there who are your age, who want to be good dads and good husbands.”7 This “complementarian” woman doesn’t seem to recognize that she is “sending” her husband off to be with those his own age, as though she were a mother “sending” her grade-school son off to summer youth camp. Not surprisingly, this evangelical woman says she doesn’t remember when—or whether—her pastor has ever preached on the subject of male headship.

Posted in Complementarian, Dennis Rainey, Disrespecting Respectability, Dr. Russell Moore, Headship, Servant Leader, Stepping Up®, Submission | 49 Comments