Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Thoughts on gender

"For a man...is the image and reflection of God."

This is an interesting passage from 1 Corinthians. It is also a heavily debate one. But my thoughts at the moment are not about whether or not this section was meant only for one church, culture, or time but rather with what it says about being a man. However you feel about this verse, one cannot escape the fact the Christ was a man and that God is often portrayed in a masculine way (*important side note- despite what some believe, God is not exclusively masculine. He is referred to as "the breasted one" in the OT; El Shadday and wisdom in Proverbs is perdonified as a women and is accepted to be the Holy Spirit by most theologians).
What struck me about this recently is the absolute lack of humility and fear that men folk have about this notion. If we are truly the image and reflection (sometimes translated as "glory") of God, then we must realize that any poor representation of men that we cause is defiling God.
Think about how a woman's view of Christ is shaped by an image of men as uncontrollably sex focused, emotionally cut off, callous, and violent among other things. Yet this is the widely accepted image of men in our society.
Unfortunately, Christian men are not left out of this stereotype and in some cases perpetuate it. Whether through prescribing to the "boys will be boys" mentality, looking at porn or media that exploits women, serial dating just for "fun," or even something as simple as neglecting to be vocal about others' mistreatment of women Christian men have neglected to take their role as a man seriously. If we are to truly reflect God's image and protect His name I think men should consider the following.
1) No matter what your personal experience tells you or what the latest scientific research has found, men need to control their sexual drives. Yes, we have a much harder time than women, yes we may be "programmed" to be more sexual aggresive. In this way we are finite, physically limited by the chemistry and biology of our bodies. But we are not slaves to this body. God has also made us free. We are self aware of our condition and, by our free will and the power of the Holy Spirit, able to control this condition. For a Christian to claim that he has no control over his state is to deny free will and God's power.
2) The objectification of women in the media and the pornography industry should not be endorsed or tolerated. It is obvious that porn is condemned by the Bible and Christian tradition, but for this point I am appealing to all men Christian or not. Unless you are a nihilist or a sadist you have no reason to support pornography. Here's a couple interesting points, it is believed that 70% of women in the porn industry are victims of sexual assult or incest. In january of 2002 there were 100,000 child porn sights and, over a six month period in 2002, there was a 345% increase in child pornography on the internet. 53% percent of teens pornography, hate, or violent material in the internet, 91% or which was found unintentionally. In one study 28 children's show characters (such as pokemon and my little pony) generated porn sights in a search engine. The porn industry fosters and supports the abuse of children and women. Even without these statistics, if you take a real objective look at pornographic material you find on the internet, do you really think that this is how women like to be treated? Do you really think that women enjoy the acts that are being performed to them? The fact is many of these women are ployed with promises of money, auditions, acting deals, and all sorts of other lies not to mention drugs and alcohol. Think of the women around you, how many of them do you think would like to go to some hotel, be used by several men and called a slut and whore on camera? If any of you know women who would, ask yourself if they were abused at some point. I can understand that some people may say that there are consenting well adjusted adults that make "classy" porn which does not objectify women. For the sake of arguement, let us assume that this is true. But should we allow pornography to go on unchecked because of these rare cases? Should we have allowed slavery to continue for the sake of a few men who treated their slaves really well? In my opinion, if all pornography were made illegal for the sake of one child that would become a victim, then let it all burn to the ground.
As far as mainstream movies are concerned, I am in no way saying not to watch any movie with sex or nudity or what have you. But I do think that, because of the abuses in some cases we must be over vigilant so to speak when it comes to such material. Maybe seeing Fast Times At Ridgmont High doesn't affect you or cause you to sin, but if women find it offensive and see you enjoying it, how does that look?
3) Women deserve better than to be a rung on your ladder to Miss Right. I have a big problem with serial dating. I can't think of a single thing that you need to date someone to find out if they are worthy of an exclusive marriage focesed relationship. If you can't find out if a women is a good and Godly women who would make a good wife by being friends, then you have problems you need to address before you even think about dating. If our marriage is supposed to be like God's relationship to His people, then we must note several important things. A) God has only one people, he didn't try out a bunch of other people to see if they were compatible. B) Just because a person wasn't in a relationship with God doesn't mean that worshipping other God's is fair game. When you come to Christ all things you worshipped before were still sins. In the same way all our past relationships are sins against the person we marry. From the time we were concieved that person is our wife.
I'm going to stop there becuase I have to go to class. More later.
Dan, 7:00 AM


I can't believe nobody has anything to say on this. *Sigh*
Blogger Miss Sara, at 12:01 PM  

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