Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Religion With God the Father Not Manly Enough

Apparently, some Christian men don't think Christianity is manly enough.

Thus, via shakesville, a growing number of Christian churches are using mixed martial arts- "a sport with a reputation for violence and blood that combines kickboxing, wrestling and other fighting styles"- as a recruitment strategy aimed at young men.

Despite the fact that many Christians worship a male god, use the Adam/Eve myth to justify the subordination of women, oppose reproductive choice for women, and oppose female ordination, some ministers "fear that their churches have become too feminized, promoting kindness and compassion at the expense of strength and responsibility."

In her book The Chalice and the Blade, Riane Eisler notes that we live in a dominator society wherein "the blade"- a constructed, aggressive masculinity- dominates. The problem is not men, but rather, the way that masculinity is defined as and equated with the act of conquest and domination over others. Within a dominator culture, male violence is glorified, idealized, and celebrated, while women are marginal figures, existing to be ruled over by men. Those who are privileged within this culture, are also those who tend to resist challenges to the culture.

Indeed, as women have progressed in society, this latest injection of "masculinity" into Christianity appears to be an anxious backlash on the part of men who fear losing their privileged and over-valued position in their religion, families, and society. Observe, Focus on the Family James Dobson's son James, a pastor and fan of mixed martial arts, telling us what this new recruitment strategy is really about:

"The man should be the overall leader of the household. We’ve raised a generation of little boys."

Kudos to Dobson for revealing a truth. That, behind all those professed "concerns" that institutions aren't male-friendly enough, lurks that dominator reality that the institutions really exist primarily for the dominator class, men.

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