John Piper seems to think so, this week claiming that God intentionally gave Christianity a “Masculine Feel”. You can read some of Piper’s comments from the Desiring God conference here. You can also read some critical responses from Rachel Held Evans, Christian Piatt, and Kristina Robb-Dover (hat tip to Rod Benson for the links). How do you think the prophets understood God? Was their understanding as unflinchingly masculine as Piper claims?
I say, let’s let scripture speak for itself: “Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors?” (Numbers 11:12)
I think I hear Deborah sharpening some tent pegs.
9 thoughts on “Does God favours testicles over ovaries?”
Joel Willits and (Aussie) Mike Bird had some worthwhile reflections on this controversy too:
Some great reflections there Tamie. The first one was particularly enlightening and thought provoking.
Stackhouse offers an interesting reflection as well:
“…it is a logical mistake to say that God’s depicting Godself in masculine terms entails that the religion of Christianity ought to be masculine. For Christianity is not God, but is the way we human beings live in response to God. So if God is masculine in this picture, then the way we ought to respond to God would be (as C. S. Lewis notoriously suggested) feminine. And both Testaments image the people of God in those terms: bride of Yhwh, bride of Christ.”
I thought I’d share a bit of humor as suggested by one of my favorite bloggers:
(P.S. Piper wants the church to have more of a “masculine feel.” The Bible says that the church is “the bride of Christ.” Can we conclude, then, that Piper has reversed his opposition to same-sex marriage?)
“Hath the rain a father? Or who hath begotten the drops of dew? Out of whose womb came the ice? Or the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?” Job 38:28-29.
Good one, Jarred, ROFL!
A few things come to mind…the current “pay out the Piper” conversations provide opportunity to wrestle with some really basic issues affecting our world today… sex and violence. Unresolved issues, lack of harmony/wholeness deep within an individua’s being affect the way one thinks and acts, and can have enormous outcomes if the person’s influence is far-reaching . Both biological sex (nature) and gender socialisation (nurture) shape the person. There is more of a variety of lifestyle and views in public discussion these days than for many centuries. However, there doesn’t seem to be any less violence in our societies… self-harm, suicide, domestic violence, racial violence, national violence, international violence – statistical evidence points to the rising tide.
“For Christianity is not God, but is the way we human beings live in response to God”. Very true.
Our response is flawed, idolatrous, and too often, results in oppression of the weak and degeneration into violence – the very issues the OT prophets addressed (and genuine contemporary ones, too).
Extrapolate flawed theology and reap violence to some degree. Jesus’ life and teachings go to the heart of the matters… looks at the relationship between hate and murder, for example. As I wrote elsewhere,
ultimately, the whole idea of “gendering” or “biologically sexualising or neutering” God smacks of power play which human beings seem to perfect, and then either project or transfer onto God their own delusions/illusions, depending on whether we are comfortable or uncomfortable with ourselves and/or others. Historically, females (women) have fared worse in the sexualisation/gender “wars” than males (men).
BTW, Matt, are you insinuating that Deborah supplied Jael the murder weapon, LOL? That song of Deborah is pretty confronting, exemplifying that overall, the time of the Book of Judges in the OT was a very violent era with too many people doing “what was right in their own eyes”.
Perhaps the Piper discussions are helping us all to journey further on the pathway to enlightenment about some important issues… and I do firmly believe that the Light of the World is Jesus and that The Way is the ultimate path to healing, wholeness, and that our participation in it will lead us to peace both within one’s being and in the world beyond our own skin, whomsoever and howsoever, we are. Shalom!
No, I wasn’t suggesting Deborah and Jael were in direct cahoots. Nor, given our post-resurrection perspective, am I celebrating their actions. I merely thought it apt to reference some of the “strong women” of the Bible in the face of Piper’s supposedly “Biblical” gender polarizations. Neither Deborah nor Jael were wilting flowers. Indeed, the closest modern parallel I can think of to Jael is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Where, I ask, does (1) a prophetess who led Israel and commanded ten thousand warriors and (2) a XX chromosome bearing general-slayer who liberated Israel from its oppressor fit into Piper’s understanding of God and Godly sexuality? His theology seems to have a lot of loose threads.
NO, Matt, not Buffy! Definitely Evelyn Salt! A man’s job to save the world can’t be done without her… but, truly, I don’t condone violence. Just standing strong in intercession when I am required and enabled to do so…