Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Piper's Pip of a Quip About the "Masculine Feel"

I generally don't follow John Piper at all since I pointed out his problematic teachings concerning women, but I respond to requests that people make of me to address certain aspect of their teachings from time to time. Having gleaned a great deal from those critics of The New Calvinism, I believe that I've learned why I have not found his style and material all that compelling, even apart from his teachings on gender. Most of what he says sounds so esoteric to me, and considering that I'm concrete and pragmatic for the most part, I assumed that we just had major stylistic differences that didn't match to my own style of learning and communication. It appears that the reasons for the disconnect prove to be ideological/theological and relate to fundamental differences between our beliefs about what exactly takes place when a person puts their faith in Christ and the manner in which the resultant transformation and perseverance in the faith progresses.

But here's a bit of levity. 

I've been contacted by quite a few people concerning Piper's recent claim that “God gave Christianity a masculine feel. Had I not received so many emails from so many people pertaining to this latest bizarre quote, I would not have known anything about it. Several people have written fine critiques concerning the matter including Cheryl Schatz and Rachel Held Evans, and I will refer you to them to glean more about the discussion and responses to Piper's latest.

I've debated whether it is appropriate to note my own response initial response to this statement as well as my husband's because it is a bit silly, even though it represents such a weighty matter concerning how complementarians scapegoat women and the troubling consequences that follow from the belief system. I make note of it here with the blessing of many trusted friends and with my husband's permission.

When I first read the single sound-byte, I could not help but react to the strange nature of the way the statement was parsed. I said, “I'm sorry, but this has all the makings for several really bad jokes and sounds like one without even adding much to it.” 

After some initial laughter, even more ensued after my husband made this very silly statement himself. I wish I had him on film, capturing his near incredulous response, complete with his sense of exasperation and what was sounded like an honest expression of serious concern. It was not only humorous, but I felt like it hallmarked the ridiculous depravity of the extraordinary overfocus on gender which often achieves something quite the opposite of complementarianism's formally stated and desired intent. My husband offered this very honest reaction which bordered on humor and disgust.
“Maybe God did give Christianity a masculine feel. I don't really want to hear their worthless arguments about how they can justify the statement. I just want to make sure that I don't give Piper or any of the rest of them any opportunity to give me a masculine feel.”
I believe that these men have placed so much focus on their fears that they often resemble that which they detest and fear the most. In the process of scrambling to defend their positions concerning their man-made doctrine, I believe that they've lost all perspective about what they're actually communicating and how it comes across to reasonable people. It's really quite sad, but I appreciate this opportunity to laugh as opposed to weeping.