Malestrom: An Interview With Carolyn Custis James

Who gets to define what it means to be a man? Pop culture? Church culture? Jesus? Evangelical thinker and author Carolyn Custis James has spent the last two years examining these questions, and she’s now calling Christians to the urgent task of recapturing God’s vision for men. The title of her new book, Malestrom: Manhood Swept into the Current of a Changing World (Zondervan, June 2015), alludes to the dangers of whirlpools in the open seas, maelstroms. She chose this powerful title to help readers grasp the destructive and disorienting forces that took root as humans turned away from God’s original vision for men.

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The Estrogen Dilemma in Christianity

I'm intrigued by a study David Murrow did (found here, archives of the Winter 2008 issue) that examined a possible hypothesis regarding the vast percentage difference between the genders when it comes to church attendance. It's about 60/40 in our church, and this is common. This imbalance is unique to Christianity, as Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, and Hindus all display a remarkable gender balance in their faith practices.
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Hip Hop Daddies Pt. 2

This is an ongoing conversation. To read the first parts, click here.

As I’ve been processing this “manhood” deal within the Hip Hop context, I’m left wondering, who does this generation look up to? In a knee-jerk reactionary statement one might say, “These rappers.” But is that the whole scene? Let’s break this down a little more. When a young boy is growing up, he receives many different messages about manhood. Manhood, for him, doesn’t start at 18, it starts the moment he comes out of the womb.

For many urban boys, manhood messages come in the form of people telling you to “get up and take it like a man” after you’ve just fallen off a bike at age 3. Manhood message come in the form of your family pulling back on the physical and emotional support that is so needed around the age of 4-5 because they fear it will make him too “girly” and not into a man enough “man.” Manhood messages come in the form of your friends telling you to “suck it up” when something bad happens to you—like the death of a relative. Manhood messages come in the form of “firm handshakes” instead of hugs. Manhood messages come in the form of being told the only sports for “real men” are football and or basketball. Manhood messages come in the form of older men—a lot of times uncles and or fathers—giving you hard alcohol at a young age to “teach you” how to be a “man.” Manhood messages come in the form of friends and certain family members telling you that in order to “be a man sexually” you have to have multiple sex partners and “don’t love them ho’s.” Manhood message start when you see men in the media using the gun as symbol of manhood and a sign of respect. Manhood messages come in the form of love being expressed to you, typically around the age of 3, as distant, alone, remote, internalizing, and “sissy” if expressed to openly.
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Gender Roles - are you kidding me?

Preface: I'm mindful that any discussion about gender roles is certain to evoke strong responses. This is because the issue has been saturated with wrong notions, resulting in an abusive patriarchy to which none of us should ever want to return. However, in our justifiable efforts to free ourselves from destructive notions, I wonder if we've tossed an important baby out with the bath water? I wonder if there can be a liberating way to view genders in the marriage relationship, a way that leads us to Christ, liberates us with a sense of calling, and guides us to something that's neither reprissive and regressive, nor simply politically correct. Bear with me. Here we go...
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