Why “Family Values” Defined Conservative Christianity (and Why “Religious Liberty” has Replaced It) – by E C Miller

Why “Family Values” Defined Conservative Christianity (and Why “Religious Liberty” has Replaced It) – by E C Miller

I am right wing, somewhat Christian, and believe that many Christians and secular conservatives have made the nuclear family and marriage into idols, which is wrong.

I am not opposed out-right to the traditional family, marriage, or to motherhood, and so forth, in and of themselves, but I am in disagreement at how so many right wingers and Christians elevate all those things to the point that they end up marginalizing anyone who does not fit the mould of “married with children.”

Anyone who is infertile, child free, divorced, never married, widowed, and what have you, is excluded or treated shabbily by the majority of “family values” obsessed right wingers and Christians, which again, in my view, is terribly wrong and unfair.

Here is an article explaining how and why the religious right elevated “the family” in their rhetoric:

(Link): Why “Family Values” Defined Conservative Christianity (and Why Religious Liberty has Replaced It) by E C Miller

Excerpts:

  • From about 1970 until about 2000, American politics was largely driven by concern about the nuclear family. As established social hierarchies came under fire from the civil rights movement, the gay rights movement, second-wave feminism, and others, conservative advocacy groups and their political allies demanded a return to the idealized family of the past. “Family values” became the rallying cry of a countermovement bent on holding the traditional line.
  • Seth Dowland is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at Pacific Lutheran University. His book, Family Values and the Rise of the Christian Right, charts the influence of Christian “family values” advocacy across three decades and a variety of issues.
  • RD’s Eric C. Miller spoke with Dowland about the project, the politics, and the significance of family in the United States.
  • You introduce “family values” as the key term of the Christian Right in the late twentieth-century United States. Why was this term so influential for this group in this place and time? 
  • Many of the political reforms enacted from the 1930s through the 1960s—particularly the expansion of the welfare state and the passage of civil rights legislation—attempted to expand equal rights to all people.
  • Political liberals celebrated these developments, while conservatives looked around the nation at the beginning of the 1970s and saw economic stagnation, riots, sexual revolution, a decline in patriotism, and an increase in crime and drug use. Ministers and political conservatives argued that America was in decline. They believed that decline happened because of the demise of the “traditional family.”

Continue reading “Why “Family Values” Defined Conservative Christianity (and Why “Religious Liberty” has Replaced It) – by E C Miller”

Discipling Healthy Male/Female Relationships in the Church Part 1 by Wendy Alsup

Discipling Healthy Male/Female Relationships in the Church Part 1 by W. Alsup

I am fairly certain that the woman who wrote this is a gender complementarian.

I myself am a former (note: FORMER) gender complementarian. I believe that Ms. Alsup might be a “soft” complementarian. If I am mistaken about that, I am sorry.

I’m only somewhat familiar with Ms. Alsup’s writings and views, and if I am remembering correctly, she is not terribly extreme in her gender role views and sometimes writes blog posts criticizing aspects of gender comp, such as the one that follows, though I believe she may support beliefs that women are not to be preachers in churches and so on.

As I’ve noted on my own blog time and again, Christians, especially gender complementarian ones, tend to sexualize any and all persons and relationships.

Of course, secular culture and left wing Christians can also be very bad about sexualizing anything and everything, though, hypocritically, the progressives profess to feeling “icked out” by Christian sponsored “Daddy Daughter” balls and date.

The progressives who find “Daddy Daughter” dates to be patriarchal and incestuous in undertone are often the same ones who sexualize hetero male-female relationships, or male-male relationships.

Progressive Christians or ex Christians tend to operate in the school of “it’s impossible for men and women to be platonic friends.” You can view an example of that here, in left leaning SCCL’s facebook thread about (link): Daddy Daughter dates.

To a degree, I share some of their (their =  SCCL or liberal) reservations or concerns about “Daddy Daughter” dates, but then, I’m also not running around acting as though men and women are incapable of being buddies.  I am not insisting that any and all male-female relationships are sexual, or have sexual undertones, or the potential to be sexual.

One very unfortunate result of conservative Christians, especially the gender complementarians, sexualizing everyone and anything, is that unmarried, adult women are treated like suspected harlots and are consequently shunned or excluded from social events, church functions, or friendships with married persons.

Married persons are coached in Christian sermons, marriage blogs, and TV programs, to steer clear of single women. This practice of shunning single women is sometimes referred to as the “Billy Graham Rule.” (Please see the bottom of this post, under the “Related Posts” section, for links to more information about that.)

(Link): Discipling Healthy Male/Female Relationships in the Church Part 1 by Wendy Alsup

Excerpts:

  • … What was God’s purpose in creating two genders to work together to image Him out into His kingdom? For a time, conservative evangelicals simplistically set up marriage as the ultimate purpose for the creation of two genders, particularly around Genesis 2:18.

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

  • However, if you embrace Jesus as the key to understanding all of Scripture, then Jesus’ words on marriage in eternity give us necessary clarification on the purpose of the creation of two genders in Genesis 1 and 2.
  • God’s purposes for interactions between the two genders in this first sinless perfection in Eden is informed by glimpses of the second.
  • In Luke 20, the Sadducees ask Jesus a question about whose wife in heaven a woman would be if she had multiple husbands on earth. In His answer, Jesus is clear that in heaven we do not marry. (Actually, we do marry, but Jesus is the groom.) Jesus teaches us that the ultimate goal in perfection for men and women is not human marriage to each other.
  • But then, what is left for perfect male/female relationships if not human marriage? Well, a TON is left. But we are warped as a society away from valuing the vast wealth of human male/female relationships that don’t involve sex. 

Continue reading “Discipling Healthy Male/Female Relationships in the Church Part 1 by Wendy Alsup”

Baptizing “Masculinity”: The Real Reason Men are Leaving the Church by Luke T. Harrington

Baptizing “Masculinity”: The Real Reason Men are Leaving the Church

The link to the page by Luke T. Harrington is farther down the page.

Churches sure do invest a lot of time investigating why men are supposedly fed up with church and churches then bend themselves into pretzels trying to cater to men to retain them.

If churches cared as much about women and appealing to them, perhaps more and more women would not be abandoning churches or the faith (I’ve seen studies come out the last few years saying more and more Christian women are either leaving churches, or leaving the faith itself, because they are not being welcomed due to their gender).

Churches need to be just as concerned they may be offending or excluding women as they are men, but they don’t. Most of them remain stubbornly fixated on soothing the egos of injured males, but don’t care how they are hurting or alienating women.

Hyping “masculinity” to appeal to men alienates a lot of women.

One way in which this occurs is that churches think the way to build up the masculine is to mock anything and everything feminine, so by extension, Christian women, who are taught to express so-called (stereotypical) feminine traits in the extreme (be nurturing, passive, quiet, sweet, etc) end up feeling even more like trash.

The very characteristics Christian women are told by pastors to possess (such as be passive, gentle, meek) are the very same ones that the churches denigrate week in and week out, and that they try to stamp out in churches, and at that, in order to attract men.

This is not a winning strategy for keeping women active and involved in a church.

It also turns off “normal” men, the ones who are maybe Non-Christian, secure in their manhood, who find the super “cave man,” manly man antics of some churches totally bizarre and irrelevant.

(Link): Baptizing “Masculinity”: The Real Reason Men are Leaving the Church by Luke T. Harrington

Excerpts:

  • …The dominant narrative at the moment is that, while church attendance is down across the board, men in particular are staying home on Sunday mornings ( (Link): some stats here). And while there has been much hand-wringing over this reality, there has, to my knowledge, been very little serious introspection over it.

Continue reading “Baptizing “Masculinity”: The Real Reason Men are Leaving the Church by Luke T. Harrington”

48 Things Men / Women Hear in a Lifetime (That Are Bad For Everyone)

48 Things Men / Women Hear in a Lifetime (That Are Bad For Everyone)

(Link): 48 Things Men Hear In A Lifetime (That Are Bad For Everyone) 

  • Watch 70 years of “be a real man” in under two minutes.

(Link):  48 Things Women Hear In A Lifetime (That Men Just Don’t)

  • Watch 80 years of subtle sexism in under two minutes.
  • Don’t be a slut, but definitely don’t be too prude. Don’t be so emotional, but don’t be a cold-hearted bitch. Prioritize your family over your career, but are you sure you want to be a stay-at-home mom?

Continue reading “48 Things Men / Women Hear in a Lifetime (That Are Bad For Everyone)”

“We Make Too Much of Gender… Manhood is Not Something to Be Proved or Achieved” Book Review by B. Lea of “Man Enough” by N. Pyle

“We Make Too Much of Gender… Manhood is Not Something to Be Proved or Achieved” Book Review by B. Lea of “Man Enough” by N. Pyle 

(Link):  How the Other Half Reads: What I Learned from a Book on Manhood by B. Lea

Excerpts:

  • And so, once Nate Pyle’s new book, Man Enough: How Jesus Redefines Manhood, arrived on my doorstep, it went straight to the top of the teetering “to-read” pile on my nightstand.
  • The Indiana pastor addresses the current conception of masculinity in our church and culture, which expect men to prove themselves with strength, productivity, athleticism, and coolness.
  • Pyle identifies the deep feelings of unworthiness that these standards produce in men, often seen in an aggressive competitiveness borne out of their fears of being seen as a “not-man.” Who can live up to our cultural idols of masculinity: the suave appeal of James Bond, the athletic prowess of NBA all-stars?
  • … Manhood, then, is not something to be proved or achieved: it is something to be affirmed as men pursue the example of Jesus, the perfect man.
  • …While Pyle honors gender distinctions, he attributes much of our polarization over gender roles to social norms adopted in post-industrial 20th-century America. Both believe that we have made too much of gender. In Richard Rohr’s words: “The category of human is deeper than any cultural definitions of male or female or gender…..
  • …For if our theology is properly Christocentric, then our exhortations and encouragements should be true and helpful to men and women alike.

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Related Posts:

(Link): Three Ways Christian Patriarchy Harms Men – 1. Defines Men By Their Sexuality

(Link): On Biblical Manhood: A Q&A with Author Carolyn Custis James author of MaleStorm (how gender complementarianism and Christian patriarchy harm men too, not just women)

(Link):  The Masculinity Myth: The Real Reason Men Don’t Go to Church by the Evangelical Pulpit

(Link):   The “Feminization” of the Church by K R Wordgazer