City to City Blog
13 Feb 2012 by Felipe Assis
Lately in some theological circles, the blogosphere has exploded in a war over gender roles. In my humble opinion, I think the discussion over the internet has been quite narrow in defining what it means to be masculine, and so misses the point. Here are a few observations I would like to make.
1. Gender matters.
If it didn’t, God would have created us all genderless. He could have, but he didn’t. It’s an act of worship when one seeks to live out of God’s original intent. Masculinity (or femininity for this matter) should be sought after as part of God's calling for us.
2. Objectivity is important.
To me it feels that those Christians that tend to blur the gender lines, do so most out of a genuine desire to reframe Christianity for those that have been hurt by it. That’s understandable, but you cannot do this at the expense of Scriptural truth.
On the other hand, those that tend to overemphasize it are doing so out of a genuine desire to reframe Christianity for Christians that have been infected by our culture’s broken gender expressions. Equally understandable though, it’s undeniable that they can come across as sexist.
3. Stop defining “masculinity” in terms of habits.
There are plenty of masculine guys that don’t drink alcohol, don’t hunt, don’t watch fighting sports, don’t drive pick up trucks, that are not married, and that do not have sex. The Bible is filled with examples of what I’m talking about.
Besides, that’s what religion does best, isn’t it—look at outward behavior rather than the heart? Here’s a warning: to be overly practical in this matter may lead to legalism, moralism, and the oppression of both women and “dudes” that do not necessarily conform to the current social-religious cultural norm.
4. Masculinity is best defined in terms of essence.
In other words: It’s not what I do in order to be… but, what I am in relation to what I was created to be.
“Servant-leadership” envelops the best concept of what lies at the essence of masculinity. These two words together are redemptive to each of the extremes in us, in our history, and in our cultures.
Here’s why: Each of us has a natural bent towards either “servanthood” or “leadership”, where servanthood turns into cowardliness or leadership turns into forms of dictatorship. This is due to sin, and because this is true, we cannot keep a perfect balance, I feel that both camps (currently arguing) are erring on one of the two extremes and that’s why it sounds a little off to either side when the other speaks.
I suggest we look more intently to Jesus—who was God incarnate as a male (can’t disprove this)— and whom has restored the servant-leadership balance that God had established in Adam since the beginning. At the core of masculinity, there lies the gospel in its perfect boldness and humility.