Today I'm writing a paper on "Gender in Light of Creation" which is at present about 10 pages too long, so, needless to say I am slicing and dicing. The following is an exerpt that doesn't quite fit but which I could not bear to throw in the trash. It is basically a review of a book review.
This guy in "The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood" (which I think can be a somewhat helpful but mostly invigorating publication) was reviewing Donald Miller's book To Own A Dragon, and adding to what I think Tony Campolo refers to as "Great Adventures in Missing the Point". So here's my two cents on the issue. I could probably say more, but as mentioned, I have some editing to do. Maybe a few of you want to check up on this and tell me what you think. I find this issue quite interesting and important.
It is not uncommon for people to joke about what it means to be a "real man" or "woman", but for many today there seem to be genuine questions behind the jokes. In his book about growing up as a boy without a father, Donald Miller reflects on the alienation he felt at various evangelical men’s conferences which played upon stereotypical male identities in order to promote healthy manhood. In spite of these well-intentioned conferences, he writes, "I spent a lot of time believing I wasn’t a man because I didn’t like football analogies, or because I didn’t want to put a cheesy bumper sticker on my car."
This is why when he was given the opportunity to speak to 900 college men he decided to cut through the confusion with some affirmation and clarity, by telling them that biblically the one thing it takes to be a real man is a penis.
This prompted one reviewer to write: "Is Miller really approaching a biblical definition of manhood when he distinguishes between what a man does and what a man is? Does the Bible not speak of manhood specifically in the terms some of these students provide (Matt 7:9-11; Eph 6:4; 1 Tim 5:8)?"
Upon inspection, these passages do call men to certain ideals, but when one looks at the creation account to see how exactly the Bible defines manhood, like Miller says, there is a surprising lack of specifics. It is interesting that a journal for biblical manhood could miss the point of what Miller was saying. In an age of gender-confusion, boys and girls need to be affirmed in their manhood or womanhood and not sown seeds of doubt in every area where they don’t measure up or don’t match the stereotypes.