Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The masculine world of the Church

The General Synod of the Church of England is debating this week about whether or not women should be allowed to become bishops. Sigh.  And much of the debate is about how to keep the people who don't want women bishops happy.  Deep sigh.  Don't they know by now that they're not going to be happy as long as there are any women bishops?

Meanwhile, here is the U.S. of A., someone named John Piper (I didn't know who that was) said something at some conference recently about how "God's intention for Christianity is for it to have a 'masculine feel.'" This would be more convincing if the goalposts for "masculinity" didn't seem to move whenever women stand on the field.

A couple of examples leap to mind.

Let's start with the color pink (also a newsmaker these days, is it not?). According to an article in the Smithsonian,
a June 1918 article from the trade publication Earnshaw's Infants' Department said, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”

Take, also, the flute, which until the last century was a man's instrument. The late Frances Blaisdell, who played with the New York Philharmonic, told the Flutist Quarterly, “I had lots of opportunities because I was sort of a freak, and people couldn’t imagine a girl flutist."

Yeah, so let's have Christianity with a more masculine feel: lots of flute music and pink banners everywhere.

Seems to me that the problem is not that Christianity is becoming feminine, but that men still think standing side by side with a woman makes them less than a man.  Maybe someday they'll get a grip. Or are they afeard someone's going to steal their purse.

1 comment:

Songs of a Soul Journey said...

If one considers that Trinity could have had an origin as Father, Mother, Child, then it is clear that this was subverted later on during more paternal times. Class consciousness began with gender the gender division. Men probably first worshipped the image of motherhood as the divine seat of life, but somewhere along the line that became girly-man. The unfortunate thing is that all religions tend to patronize class- and gender-consciousness, and support it, rather than do what Jesus and other exemplars did, which was to recognize all beings as holy, each with a unique place and function within the realm of sacred life. It really bites that we cannot even expect our own denomination to build itself on that foundation.