Wednesday, July 28, 2010

False Masculinity

...Thanks to Matthew for posting this video on his blog...

This video from the infamous Mark Driscoll is a bit out dated but it's worth discussing anyway... not so we can bash Driscoll (although that may be tempting) but so that we can understand our society a little better. This is actually a good example of something tragic that has taken place in our society. We’ve become ideological about “what men are supposed to do” and this false sense of masculinity has excluded folks who, for example, actually like to finger paint about their feelings into subcultures and identity confusion. The sort of hierarchical struggle that Driscoll describes in this video as being so essential to what it means to be "a man" has corroded our sense of shared identity (such as is necessary if we're ever going to understand the term, "Body of Christ") and it is much more a product of culture than it is a anthropological reality.

Indeed, Driscoll's statement echoes our culture and is a product of the rigid individualism which has captivated the American imagination (this has helped glorify/justify violence, war, and even murder). The reality is that there are plenty of men who would rather "finger paint," read poetry, and do all sorts of other "feminine" things than fight in a cage for superiority. These men, by having rejected the notion of superiority are actually much more in tune with their humanity--the kind we find in Christ--than someone who has bought into the struggle for power. And yet, power struggles and superiority notions have dominated our cultural vision (women get into it too... it just looks different because they're on the underside of the struggle) even to the point where if someone doesn't "fit in," if they don't want to fight in a cage, then they're excluded from dominant society and are forced to survive by means of subcultural identity.

Now, although I don't want to discuss the ethics of homosexuality here, I believe that the identity of being gay has become one if not the only real option for someone who has been rejected by the dominant notions of masculinity. If I like to finger paint about my feelings then I must be gay. And if this idea is pressed upon someone enough, they might in fact be inclined to embrace it... at least they'll fit in. This is not the case with all homosexual males but it might be for many and I realize that few would describe their experience as such. Nevertheless, what's ironic about this is that at least in some cases, the very culture that rejects homosexuality (mark Driscoll surely being included therein) perpetuates it.

Now, nothings wrong with fighting in a cage for fun. I actually tend to agree with Driscoll about the need to create positive outlets such as Mixed Martial Arts and sports like football and rugby (Lord knows I love me some football and rugby) as long as it doesn't become ideological and as long as it doesn't perpetuate individualistic power struggles. Part of accepting the crucified Christ as Lord is rejecting our ambitions of superiority. It means having the freedom to become nothing (Philippians 2:7) and to become least. It means identifying with the weak, the lowly, the wicked, and even the dead and seeing Christ in the least of these. It means rejecting individualism and embracing the other in interdependence. It means remembering that the God of the universe made himself nothing and found victory not in a cage fight but on a cross.


Torey said...

"The reality is that there are plenty of men who would rather "finger paint," read poetry, and do all sorts of other "feminine" things than fight in a cage for superiority. "I can totally relate to that in every imaginable way.

Simon said...

What's he going on about - do they have some sort of UFC-style cage set up in their foyer to allow guys to get their aggression out before worship??

Mas, some Christians made me soooo mad - especially ones on TV a lot who should know better!!

Simon said...

"Mas" should be "Man" - I have no idea who "Mas" is - although I'm sure he or she would be a lovely person - sorry, my bda tpynig!!