Gender, Home Economies, and the Church, Ctd.

There are three separate strands I want to pick up from yesterday’s post.

Being Fair to the Complementarians

First, I asked in the post that people would correct me if I was misrepresenting CBMW. Shane Anderson on Twitter obliged by pointing me toward this post from 2015 that is addressing the “what about wives who make more than their husbands?” question. (So, thank you Shane. :) )

Here are a few other posts at CBMW addressing some of the questions I was raising yesterday: Continue reading

The Evangelical Gender Crack-Up

Though it (rightly) hasn’t been discussed as much as the actual trinitarian issues themselves, the current trinitarian debate does suggest some interesting things about how evangelicals are beginning to approach questions of gender. The consensus that has existed amongst most conservative evangelicals for some time is beginning to fracture—and in more than one direction. Continue reading

“Trials are Precious”

Going to interrupt our Trump coverage for a moment to share this video.

On December 8, my dad suffered a traumatic brain injury due to a drug complication to treat some blood clots in his lungs. He had emergency brain surgery the morning of the 8th. After that, he was in a medically induced coma until December 23. Since that time he has been in the hospital going through therapy to try and help him recover as much as he can from the brain injury. Continue reading

What Does Cooking Mean for Singles if “Sex Begins in the Kitchen”?

Contrary to the imagination of the average teenage evangelical, a good marriage consists of more than just sex. A husband and wife create a life together and a home economy out of the entirety of their lives. Their sexual natures that join together as part of this economy are not like a KitchenAid stand mixer that gets unwrapped at the bridal shower and used only after the wedding. Rather, the sexual natures of men and women color many aspects of our lives and our relationships regardless of marital status. Even if you’re the rare Christian who never “struggles” with sexual sin or longs for intercourse, there are still longings for intimacy that are, to one degree or another, often inescapably sexual in nature. If these aspects of our being, given to us by God as part of being created male or female, precede marriage and find fulfillment in things other than intercourse, how should we think about these affections for celibate singles within the Church? Continue reading

Evangelicals are not modern gnostics. We’re materialists.

There’s a scene in HBO’s John Adams miniseries that remains one of the most succinct summaries of today’s defining cultural battle. The scene features the two guiding stars of the American founding, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. The two friends are attending the launch of a hot air balloon in France where they are attempting to negotiate a treaty between France and the revolting American colonies.

As the balloon rises up into the sky, Jefferson sings “So our umbilical cord to mother Earth has been severed for the first time in history. Mankind floats upon a limitless plain of air.”

Typically unimpressed, Adams replies “hot air” as the two friends exchange a playful glance. Continue reading

The Strength of the Hills Is Not Ours–Our Modern Identity Crisis

Tolkien once remarked to me that the feeling about home must have been quite different in the days when the family had fed on the produce of the same few miles of country for six generations, and that perhaps this was why they saw nymphs in the fountains and dryads in the wood – they were not mistaken for there was in a sense a real (not metaphorical) connection between them and the countryside. What had been earth and air & later corn, and later still bread, really was in them. We of course who live on a standardised international diet (you may have had Canadian flour, English meat, Scotch oatmeal, African oranges, & Australian wine to day) are really artificial beings and have no connection (save in sentiment) with any place on earth. We are synthetic men, uprooted. The strength of the hills is not ours.
~CS Lewis

Wesley Morris has a fine essay on our obsession with identity over at the New York Times. Morris ties together a number of major news stories from the past year to highlight how they all relate in one way or another to a widely shared obsession with identity: What makes a person who they are? How much control does a person have over their own identity? How fluid can an identity be? And why is race, in contrast to gender, so much harder to redefine or shift?

In a piece that ranges from Anne Hathaway’s new movie to Barack Obama to Mr. Robot to Amazon’s popular show “Transparent,” Morris attempts to answer those questions. Continue reading

Neglecting the Body and Ignoring Nature–Thoughts on Complementarianism

In A Severe Mercy Sheldon Vanauken tells the story of his conversion from the High Paganism of his youth, a paganism defined by fidelity to beauty, honour (which he always spelled in the British fashion), and one’s people to orthodox Christianity. Instrumental to that conversion was his relationship with CS Lewis. Though (because?) he was a child of the old south, Vanauken struggled against what he saw as the smallness of Christianity as he had seen it practiced and taught.

For him the world was shining with glory and beauty and Christianity simply wasn’t big enough to speak about it all. Vanauken writes movingly of how bare branches against the night sky remained for his entire life a symbol of beauty and how he and his wife Davy resolved from early in their relationship to give themselves wholly to the goodness of the world. Continue reading

Anthony Kennedy was *Almost* Right: Post-Obergefell Thoughts on Where We Go Now

Anthony Kennedy was almost right. While his inventive reading of the Constitution in Obergefell vs. Hodges has been widely and panned by both liberals and conservatives, his transcendentalizing of marriage is precisely the kind of understanding to which defenders of traditional marriage can and should offer a hearty and enthusiastic ‘yes.’ When it comes to constitutional reasoning, Obergefell is a disaster. But when it comes to our nation’s culture of marriage, Obergefell provides traditional Christians the best opportunity we have had in fifty years to make a more persuasive case for why marriage still matters.

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“Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations.”  As Wesley Hill and others pointed out immediately after the ruling came down, such rhetoric makes it seem like those who opt not to marry are somehow missing out on a form of life that is essential to satisfy their needs and deepest desires. Such language doesn’t quite create a ‘dignitary wound’ toward those who are unmarried, since they are not in the precise sense denied marriage. But it certainly extends our current atmosphere where marriage is the only form of deep personal fulfillment we can imagine. Continue reading

The Inevitability of Same-Sex Marriage

There can be no meaning apart from roots. –Walter Brueggemann

For astute cultural observers, nothing about the recent SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage should be surprising. Though there was widespread popular opposition to redefining marriage as recently as 10 years ago and though 30 states voted on and passed constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage, there was still an inevitability to what happened in 2014. This was no triumph of big government or judicial activism going against the popular opinion of the people. As the Onion noted, the question wasn’t whether marriage would be redefined in the USA, but merely when.

In the aftermath of this decision conservatives should focus less on the question of same-sex marriage itself and more around the issue of how something considered a categorical impossibility for much of human history has come to seem not only possible, but an essential part of a just society for most of our peers. Continue reading