The Biblical Challenge of Being a Strong Woman in a Weak Man’s World

The following article is quite long but worth every bit of the read. I think it truly explains a lot of what is happening and if I could get our men to read this and step up it would be a tremendous blessing. God wants to use you. Quit ye like men!

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Here is the short bio on the author. Click on the source to read it where I copied it from and then click to learn more about Pastor Bixby.

Bob Bixby is the pastor of Morning Star Baptist Church (Rockford, IL). He and his wife, Jennie, ministered for ten years in France and Belgium as Baptist missionaries. God has blessed Bob and Jennie with two children. Visit Bob’s blog.

The all-too-normal American woman lives in a world of boys—men with a pathological immaturity that has emasculated them and shriveled them into moral and spiritual wimps. The home of the average American woman is unmanned.

The Christian Woman’s Dilemma

The problem for Christian women is that in many cases their scenarios are no different than those of their unbelieving sisters. The men in their lives are also weak, and often these women also find themselves in the position of being stronger than their male counterparts—spiritually, socially, economically, intellectually, and morally. The Christian woman in this situation faces a conundrum that is not resolved by the woman-empowerment agenda of the feminists. Masculine weakness is not an option that is acceptable to her, but unless she is strong, she will not survive.

She also realizes that in the church of Jesus Christ, God has called her to follow male leadership. And if married she must submit and respect male headship in the home. Compounding her difficulty is the reality that she may have grown up in a Christian culture that frowns upon women taking advanced degrees, working outside the home, or studying any field besides the approved “female occupations” tradition permits for her sex. While society preaches a message of empowerment, she is confused and wonders if the message for her is “Be weak.”

She repudiates the unbiblical tenets of radical feminism even while she wrestles with the unbiblical restraints of traditionalism. She rejects the feminists’ rebellion against biblical authority and embraces the Christian woman’s role of submission, wifehood, and motherhood. She is willing to respect the men in her life, only she silently cries out for a respectable man. Little by little the average Christian woman is coming to the conclusion that the men in her life are, in the main, boys in grownup bodies. And boys cannot be trusted with grownup matters.

Consensus among Thinkers

Our Christian woman is not alone in her analysis. Sociologists, philosophers, theologians, and pastors are all saying the same thing: we live in a day of weak men—adolescent men—who refuse to grow up.

In her 2007 book, Diana West makes this observation:

About a hundred years ago, Booth Tarkington wrote Seventeen, probably the first novel about adolescence. Set in small-town America, the plot hinges on seventeen-year-old William Baxter’s ability to borrow, on the sly, his father’s dinner jacket, which the teenager wants to wear to impress the new girl in town. In other words, it’s not the pierced tongue or a tattoo that wins the babe: it’s a tuxedo. William dons the ceremonial guise of adulthood to stand out—favorably—from the other boys.

That was then. These days, of course, father and son dress more or less alike, from message-emblazoned T-shirts to chunky athletic shoes, both equally at ease in the baggy rumple of eternal summer camp. In the mature male, these trappings of adolescence have become more than a matter of comfort or style; they reveal a state of mind, a reflection of a personality that hasn’t fully developed, and doesn’t want to—or worse, doesn’t know how.

By now, the ubiquity of the mind-set provides cover, making it unremarkable, indeed, the norm. (Diana West, The Death of the Grown-up: How America’s Arrested Development is Bringing Down Western Civilization. St. Martin’s Press, 2007, p. 2)

Liberal and Feminist Analysis

West is conservative. But in 2006 the politically liberal In These Times featured Lakshmi Chaudhry’s “Men Growing Up to be Boys” with the subtitle, “Madison Avenue cultivates a Peter Pan version of masculinity.” Chaudhry went on to lament the rise of TV shows that arose from “lad-lit,” a genre “popularized by the likes of Nick Hornby, whose novels inevitably featured a confused, neurotic, discontented man-boy being dragged kicking and screaming into adulthood, usually by his girlfriend.” Chaudhry then gives an unsparing critique of this man-less entertainment.

Where “lad lit” authors disguise the dumbing-down of adult masculinity with witty prose, advertising executives are less subtle. Commercials for cell phones, fast food, beer and deodorants offer up an infantilized version of masculinity that has become ubiquitous since the rise of “lad” culture in the ’90s. These grown men act like boys—and are richly rewarded for it. A recent cell phone ad, for example, features a guy who responds to being dumped by his girlfriend—because “you’re never going to grow up”—by playing, on his cell phone, an ’80s pop song that tells her to get lost. Of course, this immediately earns him the attention of a younger, prettier woman walking by. While these ads pretend to mirror a male fantasy—say, of walking down the wedding aisle armed with a six-pack of Bud Light—they in fact reflect a corporate executive’s dream customer: a man-boy who is more likely to remain faithful to their product than to his wife.

This shift in the dominant image of manhood is most evident in the evolution of the so-called “Family Man.” The benevolent patriarch of the ’50s has been replaced by an adult teenager who spends his time sneaking off to hang out with the boys, eying the hot chick over his wife’s shoulder, or buying cool new toys. Like a fourteen-year-old, this guy can’t be trusted with the simplest of domestic tasks, be it cooking dinner for the kids or shopping for groceries. (Lakshmi Chaudhry, “Men Growing Up to be Boys,” In These Times website http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/2526/)

American TV persistently conveys an emasculated version of manhood, especially in the sitcoms that entertain millions night after night. (Think Everybody Loves Raymond and According to Jim, for example.) The one notable exception is now history. The Cosby Show featured a father who was definitely in charge, definitely respected by his wife and children, and definitely mature. But this makes sense: Bill Cosby had (and has) the firm conviction that the greatest need among American blacks is a new generation of mature men and faithful fathers. Portraying a strong father through his medium of acting fit his agenda.

In a recent edition of the Acton Commentary, Anthony Bradley, black American professor of apologetics at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, submitted an article titled, “Bill Cosby Is Right, Again,” in which he, a conservative Christian, celebrates Bill Cosby’s statement of what should be obvious.

Cosby and Poussaint open with the $64,000 question: “What’s Going On With Black Men?” Without strong black men, they argue, the black community will continue to decompose. In 1950, five out of every six black children were born into a two-parent family and today that number is less than two out of six. Irresponsible men and fatherlessness have destroyed for many of us any hope of achieving Dr. King’s dream. White people do not make black men father children outside of marriage. (Anthony B. Bradley, “Bill Cosby Is Right, Again,” Action Institute website, http://www.acton.org/commentary/commentary410.php)

The Contribution of Feminism

This reluctance to grow up is epidemic in the West, but more importantly to our focus in these articles it is essential to realize that this delayed maturity is endemic to societies that have bowed the knee to radical feminism. And, ironically, it is women—feminists—who are most disgruntled with the product of their philosophy. Women who sought so long to be freed from men are now finding that there are no men from whom to be liberated! Perhaps one of the most enlightening statements from Chaudhry’s article is this:

Domesticity may have always been a feminine realm, but marriage and children were once defined as integral to the traditional gender roles of both men and women. Today it’s the woman who is cast in the role of caveman, eager to club some unsuspecting, reluctant male on his head and drag him to the altar. While progressives and feminists have rightly championed a woman’s right to reject marriage and motherhood, they rarely address the consequences of living in a culture where pair-bonding and parenting—the basic processes that form the foundation of all societies—are constructed as the antithesis of masculinity. (Chaudhry, “Men Growing Up to be Boys,” In These Times website http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/2526/)

I object to Chaudhry’s use of the term “pair-bonding” (a godless substitution for the plan of God in the marriage of a man and woman) as well as her assertion that women have the right to reject motherhood and marriage. But her statement shows how feminists reveal their dissatisfaction with the loss of masculinity. They find themselves living in an emasculated culture, and suddenly they wonder if they are strong enough to live in it.

In a remarkably transparent article that appeared recently on the web, Lori Gottleib made this confession (the rare honesty here is worth the length of the quote):

About six months after my son was born, he and I were sitting on a blanket at the park with a close friend and her daughter. It was a sunny summer weekend, and other parents and their kids picnicked nearby—mothers munching berries and lounging on the grass, fathers tossing balls with their giddy toddlers. My friend and I, who, in fits of self-empowerment, had conceived our babies with donor sperm because we hadn’t met Mr. Right yet, surveyed the idyllic scene.

“Ah, this is the dream,” I said, and we nodded in silence for a minute, then burst out laughing. In some ways, I meant it: we’d both dreamed of motherhood, and here we were, picnicking in the park with our children. But it was also decidedly not the dream. The dream, like that of our mothers and their mothers from time immemorial, was to fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after. Of course, we’d be loath to admit it in this day and age, but ask any soul-baring 40-year-old single heterosexual woman what she most longs for in life, and she probably won’t tell you it’s a better career or a smaller waistline or a bigger apartment. Most likely, she’ll say that what she really wants is a husband (and, by extension, a child).

To the outside world, of course, we still call ourselves feminists and insist—vehemently, even—that we’re independent and self-sufficient and don’t believe in any of that damsel-in-distress stuff, but in reality, we aren’t fish who can do without a bicycle, we’re women who want a traditional family.

And there’s more:

Before I got pregnant, though, I also read single-mom books such as Choosing Single Motherhood: The Thinking Woman’s Guide, whose chapter titles “Can I Afford It?” and “Dealing With the Stress” seemed like realistic antidotes to the faux-empowering man-hunting manual headings like “A Little Lingerie Can Go a Long Way.” But the book’s author, Mikki Morrissette, held out a tantalizing carrot. In her introduction, she describes having a daughter on her own; then, she writes, a few years later and five months pregnant with her son, “I met a guy I fell in love with. He and my daughter were in the delivery room when my son was born in January 2004.” Each time I read about single women having babies on their own and thriving instead of settling for Mr. Wrong and hiring a divorce lawyer, I felt all jazzed and ready to go. At the time, I truly believed, “I can have it all—a baby now, my soul mate later!”

Well . . . ha! Hahahaha. And ha.

Just as the relationship books fail to mention what happens after you triumphantly land a husband (you actually have to live with each other), these single-mom books fail to mention that once you have a baby alone, not only do you age about 10 years in the first 10 months, but if you don’t have time to shower, eat, urinate in a timely manner, or even leave the house except for work, where you spend every waking moment that your child is at day care, there’s very little chance that a man—much less The One—is going to knock on your door and join that party. (Lori Gottlieb, “Marry Him! The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough,” The Atlantic website, http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200803/single-marry)

What Even Feminists Truly Desire

Note that Gottlieb is not confessing to immorality or repenting of her rebellion against the norms of creation as ordained by God. She is not submitting to the authority of Holy Scripture. She is simply stating the obvious: women yearn for men and traditional families.

It seems that women are realizing that they too have refused to grow up! Diana West described the youth culture as “licentious boys (sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll) and petulant girls (women’s lib)” (West, The Death of the Grown-Up, p. 188). Since the rise of the youth culture, those “petulant girls” determined to fantasize a world where they could be empowered to have all the rights, privileges, authority, and power of men and still hope to have the dashing strong men of their dreams come galloping into their world to sweep them off their feet and carry them off to a land of blissful love. It was a daydream. And daydreams are for the immature.

When they finally realize that they want the blessings of grown-up people, they have to admit with Gottlieb, “Now, though, I realize that if I don’t want to be alone for the rest of my life, I’m at the age where I’ll likely need to settle for someone who is settling for me” (Gottlieb, “Marry Him!”). They are what Dawn Eden, author of The Thrill of the Chaste, called herself and those like her: “the dissatisfied daughters of the sexual revolution” (http://catholiceducation.org/articles/sexuality/se0143.htm).

This epiphany among contemporary feminists and their subconscious linking of immaturity (male or female) to the breakdown of the family (i.e.. morality) is not an emotional, femnine non sequitur. This is not apples and oranges. It’s apples and apples!

The Christian Woman’s Response

So what is a Christian woman—a strong woman—supposed to do in this culture of weak men? Our concerns are not merely sociological, but spiritual. Our warfare is not merely cultural, but cosmic. Our battles are not merely culturally consequential, but Christologically consequential. The gospel of Jesus Christ is radically affected if women get it wrong and usurp roles God did not grant to them. The gospel is also radically affected if they are not strong.

2 thoughts on “The Biblical Challenge of Being a Strong Woman in a Weak Man’s World”

  1. First; in my opinion the reason why Men are boys. Is BAD Theology or no Theology. Boys from a young age are taught a very soft view of Jesus; the birth of Jesus, Mary, Jesus as a baby in a maneger. NOTHING about character or The Cross; this need to be started at a young age; I wish they would separate young boys and girls when teaching scripture in Sunday school. But most churches don’t so boys get a soft view of Jesus and the whole Bible. Boys should be taught from the Old Testament and point it all to Jesus. Second grown men need to know Scriptures “The whole Council of God” as Paul calls it.
    Or the “Total Witness” as Luther called it. And need other men who just like them self’s for accountability to know that Humility and Meekness is a quality of true manhood and confessing sins.. You can’t teach boys what you think will be healthy for them. TEACH the Whole BIBLE. Yes even about the conquest of Canaan and tech them how this points to Jesus. Boys want Justice I did even at age 7; I needed to be taught Grace and true Zeal. The Biggest miss teaching in churches is the doctrine of Justification. Boys are smart enough to understand teach them Romans ASAP! ALL of us are weak ” I’m weak but Christ I’m strong” Paul said this. Teach Them Calvins “Total depravity” Knowing that my life is total dependent on Christ not mommy ; only then can I start to grow up!

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