Jesus: The Man-Idol
There is an article from the latest Christianity Today you really should check out. It’s called Jesus for Real Men, and it is a critique of the new masculinity movement in Christianity. The article draws out some very accurate and biting critiques, which I won’t delve into here, you can check out the article for that. There’s one that the author doesn’t develop that I want to bring out though, and that is this movement’s idolatrous tendencies. We all have a tendency toward idolatry because we like to define Jesus in the terms and with the characteristics that suit us (usually the ones that are like us). But seldom have I seen such stark idolatry for pragmatic concerns.
The article begins with some quotations from leaders in this movement, which they propose lead to the need to re-masculinize Jesus and the church. See if you pick up on the reasons why they believe this is important.
David Murrow says that the church “offers little to stir the masculine heart, so men find it dull and irrelevant.” It’s this church that according to Mark Driscoll has produced “a bunch of nice, soft, tender, chickified church boys. … Sixty percent of Christians are chicks,” he explains, “and the forty percent that are dudes are still sort of chicks.”
An aside…skip the italics if you don’t want to hear it. Where does he get off using language that intentionally debases women? Chick is nowhere near being a term of reverence or even playful affection. Using the word chick fairly clearly communicates that women are a lesser species who should know their place and not get involved in anything of substance. It’s like saying someone is “just a kid” when they’re trying to offer an opinion or participate in an activity. Since they’re just a kid they don’t have the right to do what they’re trying to do, or at least they shouldn’t be taken seriously. Chick is the same thing. You don’t take a chick seriously, she’s some kind of airhead who isn’t capable of anything of too much substance. It’s terribly offensive that someone would USE Jesus and the Bible to support that kind of thinking which is so anti-Christian.
So if the church has made Jesus effeminate then the solution would be to have a shameless committment to Scripture and the Jesus portrayed there, right? Well…maybe not. Here’s Driscoll’s solution. “Real men” avoid the church because it projects a “Richard Simmons, hippie, queer Christ” that “is no one to live for [and] is no one to die for.” Driscoll explains, “Jesus was not a long-haired … effeminate-looking dude”; rather, he had “callused hands and big biceps.” Big biceps, right. That is the key piece of Christology we’ve all been missing. If we can just recapture Jesus muscle girth we will be faithful to him once again.
Now we come to the crux of the problem. Driscoll goes on to say that men are drawn to(emphasis mine) the “Ultimate Fighting Jesus.” A Jesus who is a “dude: heterosexual, win-a-fight, punch-you-in-the-nose dude.” Paul Coughlin adds that the problem with the wimpy Jesus of the popular imagination is that “a meek and mild Jesus eventually is a bore. He doesn’t inspire us.” So what matters is what inspires us, what we want out of Jesus? What a horrible heresy!! This is a clear case of recreating Jesus based on our desires, not an attempt to truly know Jesus and live in his footsteps. I’m not saying this is the only movement that makes an idol of their own conception of Jesus, just one of the most clearly so I’ve seen in a while.