Sunday, September 03, 2006

"Truthiness" in Masculine/Feminine Ideologies

In the past five years the Church has been rocked and shaped by the ideology of John Eldridge's thoughts on men and women. He began a movement designed to reclaim the hearts and passions of men in service of the Great Adventure that God has called them to. Eldredge's ministry is beyond huge, the number of his retreats and men's mountain hikes and forest-bonding sessions innumerable. Men are crawling out of the woodwork in response to his Braveheart-centered ideologies. They are "reclaiming manhood."

Is this good?

Eldridge's ideology holds to three basic tenants about the God-given and inherent desires of every male. Might he phrase this in his own words? An interview published on beliefnet.com:

". . . every man wants a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue." These are the "true" desires of men, what God has designed them to experience, according to Eldridge.

In keeping with ideas about the masculine soul/spirit, Eldridge and wife Staci Eldridge have just published a book for women, which outlines the purported universal desires of women and how they compliment the masculine nature.

Stasi Eldridge: " [1]Every woman wants to be romanced; [2]every woman wants to play an irreplaceable role in a heroic adventure, not just to be useful but to be irreplaceable; and [3] every woman longs to have a beauty that’s all her own to unveil, both an external beauty and an internal beauty as well. To be the beauty and to offer beauty."

In other words, the divine plan is this: The guy should rescue the woman, slaying many dragons on her behalf. At the point of rescue she will unveil her mesmerizing beauty ("internal and external") and he will be capitvated for life. She will be his roadie-bride out on the trail.

In spite of the fact that I find no Biblical basis for the conclusions the Eldridges reach, the desires of my own heart prove them wrong.

I could start refuting their claims by saying I don't want to be romanced, or to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, or to be beautiful. (So there: not every woman wants that!). But, there is some "truthiness" (thank you, Stephen Colbert) in what they are saying and I'll get to that later.

For now I'll say: I myself want an adventure to live--not to play the role of just a rescued woman. Jesus has commissioned us to do his work--to seek and rescue those who are lost. To be Jesus to the sick, the hungry, the imprisoned. This is not about men and women. It's human to be in need of rescue, and it's God's work to extend help to those who need it.

This Biblical truth does not then separate women and men into categories of men=rescuer and women=needy. Jesus did not say not tell his disciples to seek and save the lost women. Indeed, we are all in need of appropriating Jesus' ultimate Rescue on the cross to our lives. And we are all in need of smaller scale "rescues" in our lives: we need our brothers and sisters. We ought to need them.

This is why the Eldredge's ideologies about the masculine and feminine ring of truthiness. So maybe all spiritually and emotionally well-balanced men do want an adventure to live (but so might [do] all women). And maybe all women want [need] to be rescued (but so might [do] all men). And do we not all wish to be seen as "lovely," to be loved unconditionally for the creation we are. Have we not all longed to experience the Father's delight in us? Have we not all longed to experience the delight of another human being in us?

1 comment:

k dreyer said...

Well put, sister.
K