Tag Archives: sexism

Driscoll: Who Would Jesus Dehumanize?

driscollI can’t remember if I’ve blogged about Driscoll before, and with our internet running at a snail pace I can’t look it up. I’ll just recap Driscoll from what I know.

Mark Driscoll is a pastor of a growing church in Seattle called Mars Hill. He’s a super trendy, cool dude (not to be confused with the other super cool, trendy dude from Mars Hill in Grand Rapids, Rob Bell) who is the new face of the conservative calvinist church movement. If I were to take a guess, I’d say the old face was and has been John Piper, Minneapolis based pastor, whose sermons and books have been quite formative in my faith and theology.

Though as I’ve journeyed along in my faith I’ve come to find some of my views are in stark contrast to Pipers, he’s still very much a ‘mentor’ of mine and someone I respect deeply. That said, you’d think I’d feel similarly about Driscoll. Not the case.

Sometime last year Driscoll said some absolutely ridiculous things (apparently he says this sort of thing frequently, but this time it was youtubed [p.s. This video is terribly offensive, viewers beware]) and it stirred up quite the controversy in the blogosphere. Here’s my basic summary: Driscoll has a habit of trumping up the masculinity of Christ and demeaning women at the same time, people complained, a protest was planned for a coming Sunday, both sides agreed to meet on a Thursday and Driscoll both apologized and agreed to meet with someone who would ‘counsel’ him on why some of his language is inappropriate.

Needless to say, I was impressed by this move on Driscoll’s part and hoped to see some good come of it. Fast forward to this past week. I saw a link to a New York Times article on Driscoll, Who Would Jesus Smack Down? I clicked over and gave it a read, and through the first page I was quite impressed. I appreciate Driscoll’s candidness on issues, and I even dig his commitment to his theology. But, I was sadly disappointed when I started reading the same sort of language he’d been rebuked on coming up, and the remaining four pages had not a word about any change that he’s made. Now, it could be the author simply missed this, but you’d have to admit it’d be a hard change to miss.

Driscoll constantly rails against what he calls the “feminization” of Christ, continually using feminine and many other ‘female’ oriented terms in a negative way. He describes Protestant culture as “chicks and some chickified dudes with limp wrists,” clearly not intended as a compliment.

Who does Driscoll think he is? With both a wife and five kids, how does he think it’s in any way appropriate to refer to women in such a condescending way? It absolutely blows me away. And what’s even more distrubing to me is that pastors like John Piper, who I truly admire and respect, seem to be silent or even supportive of Driscoll. I even found a video on a semi-related note by John Piper on why he invited Mark Driscoll to the Desiring God conference back in June of 2008.

Piper, someone who is brilliant and extremely intentional with his choice of language, seems to have blinders on to the dehumanizing and sexist attitude and choice of words that Driscoll seems to promote. It breaks my heart that Piper hasn’t spoke up on this (Piper, if your out there listening, I’d love to hear you speak up on this).

Mindy recommended an illustration to help the inappropriateness of Driscoll’s choice of language really sink in. Replace any other oppressed group title into the above quote and the offensiveness becomes quite clear. How would you feel if you heard a pastor saying this:
“The church is full of black people and black-acting dudes with limp wrists.”

I don’t think you need to go much further then that to see how obviously inappropriate Driscoll’s language is. I’m very open to Driscoll making a case for Jesus being a more hard-lined, Calvinist theology-like savior (not that I agree with him, but I’m fine with him saying it). But to do that at the expense of half our population? To promote a theology that calls for female submission in the church and at the same time degrades and dehumanizes our mothers, sisters and daughters; That’s not just un-Christ-like, it’s inhumane.

How do you perceive the Bible?

(also originally written some months ago)
Warning: Potentially untheological and possibly heretical thoughts to follow.

I don’t think what I am about to share with you will be heretical in any way, but just so that I feel at ease to speak freely I figured I should start with that disclaimer. I should also say that most of what I am about to share with you is not my theological foundation that I would bank on and argue for, it’s just some of the thoughts that have come to mind over the years. If you do not agree with what I share then please discuss, do not argue with me.

When I started to form my beliefs (heavily influenced by my involvement in a church youth group in high school), I was from the beginning a strong believer in the inerrancy of scripture (“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”). If you doubt or call into question the reliability of the Bible then you could call into question the things recorded in the Bible, and then we’d have all kinds of problems. There is plenty of good arguments and evidence to put forth here, but I won’t bother you with that, if your interested you can find plenty elsewhere.

It wasn’t till later, after having taken Greek (more vested interest in believing in inerrancy), and spent a bit of time in some Bible classes, that I began to have some questions. Why all the male-centered, male-dominance of Scripture if it was God inspired? Why these letters and not others from the Early Church? And primarily, why so much time debating, expounding, and extrapolating on every dot and letter? I mean there is a lot of things in there that are pretty straight forward and clear.

First, the male-dominance of the Scriptures has come to bother me. It wasn’t always this way, I being a male did not have a difficult time seeing the Scriptures as meaningful and personal, but I have come to realize my sisters in Christ do not always have the same comfort.

How do you reconcile what you can see as inherent injustice of a patriarchal society with a book of “God Breathed” scripture? I’m not exactly sure.

What I’ve come to settle on, more then argue for or against, or spend time reading long theological academic journals, is that there are a number of things in the scripture that are clear as day to me. Jesus was real and the Sermon on the Mount is one of the most revolutionary texts I’ve ever encountered. I’m compelled to follow this leader. I could and probably will spend my whole life trying to put into practice the teachings of Christ in Matthew 5, 6, and 7, and I still won’t quite know how I perceive the Bible as a whole.

Why I would have voted for Ford

Let me start by saying briefly that I did not vote for Ford or Corker in the Tennessee Senate race. I think the bi-partisan government is horrible for the people of this country and given the opportunity I’ve decided not to vote for Republicans or Democrats.

I don’t watch TV so I didn’t see much of the smear campaign that occured back and forth between Ford and Corker before the election. From what I’ve heard though, both the gentleman seem like pretty poor candidates. But if I had to choose between the two, I would have voted Ford. And here’s why: Because he is black.*

“But, what if he’s not as good of a candidate? Race shouldn’t matter anymore! Isn’t that reverse discrimination?”
Those are just some of the things you might be thinking in response, and you might be right (I haven’t totally settled my mind on this).
The reality is media, I’m beginning to realize, is ten times more powerful then our government and senators. The reality is that even if Ford wasn’t the best candidate, A hundred more young black youth will rise up behind him with aspirations to be a senator. One reason I believe there are so many great athelete’s of color, is that sports was one of the first places young children saw heroes that looked like them.
With Nancy Pelosi becoming the first female speaker of the house, thousands more young girls will grow up with aspirations to be politicians, and they’ll be darn good ones too.

If 2008 brings us a President that is not a white male, I think it will be one of the best steps in our history. And if they don’t do the best job in the whole world (can you do much worse?), so what? The impact it would have on the youth of this country would change our world. I truly believe that.

*Harold Ford, Jr. is actually mixed race, but for the purposes of this discussion, I’m going with the word that most people, including the youth that I am concerned about will describe him as: black.

A reading review

By way of the suggestions of Lynette, I thought it wise to take a concious look at my blog reader, and see what ethnicity and sex the authors of the blogs I subscribe to are.
I figured I would be sadly disappointed to find it dominated by white males, but it’s actually 50-50 in both sex and white/not-white.

That didn’t include my friends blogs (people I know personally) but after further research, those are split about 50-50 too.

I think it would be wise to lean a little more heavily away from white male dominated influences, so I’m going to try and still think through that a little.

I think I’m going to take a few picks from Lynette’s great list of female bloggers

Killing Us Softly: A look at Sexist Media (a MUST watch)

Note: This is a 35 minute video about the media’s portrayal of women. It’s a very important and interesting film that you should take the time to watch. I don’t think it needs much further commenting, only that I would strongly recommend that you watch it.
Note: Keep in mind that this is about the dehumanizing and objectifying way the media portrays women, so it shows plenty of examples of that, proceed with caution.

Update: Media Education Foundation is now on youtube
I still found the full video on Google Videos.

An explanation of that magazine’s name

Because I was sure it would inevitably be mentioned, here is the explanation from the website about that magazine’s name:

For as long as we’ve been publishing B****, there’s one question that gets asked over and over. And over. “Why did you choose that word as the name of your magazine?” While we’re aware that our title is off-putting to some people, we think it’s worth it. And here’s why.

When it’s being used as an insult, “b****” is most often hurled at women who speak their minds, who have opinions and don’t shy away from expressing them. If being an outspoken woman means being a b****, we’ll take that as a compliment, thanks.

Furthermore, if we take it as a compliment, it loses its power to hurt us. And if we can get people thinking about what they’re saying when they use the word, that’s even better.

And, last but certainly not least, “b****” describes all at once who we are when we speak up, what it is we’re too worked up over to be quiet about, and the act of making ourselves heard.

Now for my quick two-cents: I’m not sure whether I necessarily agree full-heartedly that these sorts of negative words can be redeemed, but I have to agree the words seem to lose “its power to hurt us.” Maybe that’s not the case at all though, maybe it’s a sign that the agressor wins. The “N” word is another example, and there is heated disagreement about it between the younger and older generation. Is there a fully right answer one way or the other? I’m not sure.

I do know as a male, I’m not sure I’m really at liberty to enter my opinion into the conversation. If these women choose to use B**** as an empowering term, I’m not one to argue. Nor do I think that gives me any excuse not to listen.

Journal of Christian Nursing II: Male biases off the deep end

UPDATE: My good friend Zach pointed out that this critique was overly harsh, and after reviewing it I agree with him. I still think most of the points I make are valid (there are still many biases and subtle sexism throughout the article), but my tone was very out of line. I probably should not have just taken a small chunk and picked at it. There are things in the article I agree with, I realize men have some obstacles to overcome in the nursing profession. I’ll leave the original text up for everyone to read and critique and continue to interact with, but know from the start I realize it is harsher then it should be.

Two days ago we talked over a short quote by the editor of the Journal of Christian Nursing and critiquing some of the implications of that brief quote. Today, we are going to look at a longer passage (from an article applying Wild at Heart to nursing), along with my running commentary, and hopefully we’ll learn some important lessons.

From the Journal of Christian Nursing, “Men in Nursing: Hard-Wired for Adventure” page 15:

The way men are wired greatly directs the areas of nursing in which we find ourselves.

Gender exclusive statements like this always bother me a little. It always seems to imply a hint of “unlike women,” as if the way women are wired doesn’t necessarily direct nursing. You might find this being a little too critical, but what if it said: The way black guys are built really impacts the way they play basketball… or The way Muslim’s handle the Christian-Muslim tension is really commendable. Those two statements are a little more awkward (and racist).

Nurse anesthetists, for example, have a male population approaching 50 percent, despite the six percent total of nurses who are men nationally. Emergency rooms, intensive care units, circulating nurses in the operating room and nurse managers in all areas have higher rates of men than are reflected in the nursing population as a whole. Note that these areas have some similarities.

Let me jump in with my notable similarities (thanks Mindy). These positions are more prestigious and also pay more. Similar to management positions which also are dominated by males. Before we start seeing this as commendable, we should recognize that the affect of sexism and oppression has played a role and still plays a role in any place where men (particularly us white ones) are in positions of power and prestige over women. It’s changing, but it’s not their yet.

There are distinct battles that can be fought every day (an operation, an emergency situation, a critically ill patient or a bottom line to meet). Also, the battles have a clear outcome, a reflection of a man’s input into the battle.

Again, the implications here seem to belittle the more “female” nursing areas, as if they aren’t battles as well. I realize this “battle” terminology is important to Wild at Heart, but I read this and I ask, “What’s your point?”

It is not uncommon to hear men in the break room talk about the struggle involved with a particularly difficult case, and how hard it was to overcome those struggles.

Now this one is really bothersome. What in the world do you think women sit around the break room talking about? Their nails? (according to the author, Richard Haas, women, unlike these men, spend their time “gossiping.”). And in a hugely female dominated field I would think the majority of the time the “men” are usually talking to “women” about these cases, unless they are still keeping to their elitist male circles (and that would be a problem).

Some of these battles provide a background for an adventure, an exotic case or a patient whose condition is extremely tenuous.

“Exotic case”? Are you kidding me? You can go hike through an exotic jungle or go on an exotic vacation, but I highly doubt any patient would like to be referred to as an “exotic case.” Listen carefully to that sentence, it’s very self-oriented. I want the adventure for me. “Battle, Adventure, Exotic, Extremely Tenuous,” all these things make me more excited about the mountain I’m conquering. That’s not what nursing is about.
Nursing is about being a patient advocate. It’s not about the nurse and her prestige or exotic adventures, it’s about her patient and their well being. It’s about speaking up for the patients rights when a bunch of doctors walk-in and talk about this “exotic case” as if the patient wasn’t laying their dying of the disease the doctor’s are calling their latest “adventure.” Nurses love with a selfless love.

Further, some of these areas provide greater financial rewards, important to men who are primary wage earners for their families. –

Once again, the implications of gender exclusive language are disturbing. Let it be known that “Greater financial rewards” are important to WOMEN who are the primary wage earners for their families. But maybe “greater financial rewards” isn’t the point. Maybe women aren’t worried about that, they’ve probably got their priorities straight, it’s about helping people.

Let me finish by saying this: I’m not saying men can’t have their adventures and fight their battles. I am saying when we start elevating men’s motives and activities in such a way that it implies the exclusion or the belittling of what women are and do, we have a problem. Men and women are different, I fully agree. We are wired differently, I can agree with that too. What I can’t agree with is when people (Christian’s especially) lean on these “differences” to support sexism and discrimination.

Journal of Christian Nursing: reeking of sexism

Mindy recently received the spring issue of Christian Journal of Nursing (the subscription, a gift from Wheaton College). The particular theme was about issues men face in the field of nursing. It seemed like it had potential for some interesting discussion, but a lot of what we read disgusted us both. I’ve decided to take two sections from the magazine (one today, one later) and post them along with my commentary. There was a lot more we could address, but I’ll just start with these.

Men [in nursing] report they have to be careful in their conversations and action with female colleagues because they don’t want to appear paternalistic or sexist. –Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner from “Reverse Discrimination?”

I find it fairly disturbing that a women would feel this is worth noting. I personally (regardless of my field of study or audience) NEED to be careful to not BE sexist or paternalistic. Let me explain. One, whether a man is in nursing or in the locker room should not be a factor in the statement above. Two, this statement shouldn’t even be exclusive to men; women also should not be sexist nor paternalistic. Three, isn’t it much more important that we not BE sexist than simply not “appear” sexist? You can “appear” as unsexist as you please, but if you really aren’t sexist, then the need to “be careful in their conversation,” should not be a problem at all. Is it just me or does that statement above reek of sexism?

Obviously, if I am going to critique that statement, I should make an attempt at providing an alternative that addresses the issue. The paragraph is hinting at the idea that there are biases held against males and that has made it difficult for those males in the nursing field. Yet, the reason those biases are there is because there is and has been a lot of validity to them. I think it’s important to acknowledge that first. Then it seems appropriate to note that many well meaning and very forward-thinking guys may have been perceived a certain way because of the biases in nursing. Finally, it’s important for those males to recognize that this is just a teeny tiny taste of what so many women had to go through and still go through in our society and that it is a small price to pay for their opportunity to join, grow and learn from these amazing women.

Here’s my quote:

Though there is still sexism and paternalistic tendencies in health care and in our society that reinforce our biases and stereotypes; some of the most well-meaning men have felt misunderstood and wrongly judged based on these biases. Fortunately, many of the males in the nursing field realize this is only a glimpse of what their female colleagues and predecessors have faced in sexism and they are more then willing to work through it and learn and grow from their experiences. I, especially with my women’s liberation tendencies, need to be more open to the fact that some men share my views, rather than misinterpreting and judging them.

Stay Tuned for part II

Relevant removes it’s incriminating Radiant Ad

Okay, so the title here is a little harsh, but you’ve got to wonder. I’m listening to the Radiant Podcast to say if they say anything about it. From what I can see they decided to remove the ad with “It’s Our Turn Now” across the top. I’d like to think it has something to do with the discussion that was started here regarding the sexist implications of that statement.
Radiant's new Ad
I emailed Cara and asked what she thought about my thoughts on it, but it doesn’t seem like she responded at all. It could be purely coincidence that the Ad has been changed, but that’s just a little suspicious. Oh well, I think it will remain a mystery.

UPDATE: Though I never got a direct response on the ad change, Cameron (Prez over at Relevant) did reply with some thoughtful comments on my Message Board post.

It’s not just an article in Popular Science

One might say, “It’s just an article in Popular Science, not a statment on gender roles in all of society.” The truth is everything we say and do, and read and consume is a statement (and usually it has something to say one way or another about gender roles as well).

Basically, Ted Kehoe made some colorful bubbles that disappear, thus leaving no stains on furniture and carpets. So Popular Science did an article on it. The article (and this is nothing unique it happens a lot more then it gets pointed out) makes a LOT of gender role assumptions and inferences.

I’ll let A.Z. at the (S)hitlist tell you more:

“So Kehoe pulled out the old pots and powders and set about destroying [wife] Sherri’s new marble countertops.” Now, I thought when people buy a home together, the structural components are collectively owned. Sherri Kehoe must either be really selfish to claim those countertops as her own, or maybe she—like all women, of course!—lives in the kitchen and dreams of marble countertops at night. Clearly, Haney thought it relevant to his topic to communicate that Sherri is the sole owner of the marble countertops, right?

[Read the rest of the commentary]
[read the article]