So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
While this blog is focused first and foremost on masculine matters, I devote plenty of time to discussing women as well. There are a number of reasons for this, but the most important is the simple fact that the fates of men and women are intertwined. One can only change men so much before further developments are impossible without affecting women as well.
Sometimes this can be forgotten, both by men outside of this neck of the woods, and by those within. Here is an example of the former. A quote:
In our culture today fathers are becoming less and less a part of our children’s lives and the absence of fathers has led directly to the downfall of Christian culture in America. Currently, 40 percent of American children do not grow up with their biological father.
That number is on the rise as more and more couples choose the lifestyle of cohabitation and decide not to get married at all. Since the men in those relationships are not bound by any marriage vows, they feel less responsibility to stick around, especially if the marriage or childrearing starts to get tough. What are the results of fatherless homes? Let’s take a look at the statistics:
The author goes on from there to talk about the perils of fatherless families. He is absolutely right in this, of course. But at the same time, he missed the huge elephant in the room: divorce. Now Dalrock has covered this blind spot plenty, and I don’t feel it necessary to repeat his many, many posts on the subject. However, this blind spot is not unique. There are others.
To get an idea of one, lets look at what this author talks about next:
Now this absences of fathers in everyday does not only apply to the demise of domestic life. In fact, what we are also experiencing in our culture is the absence of fathers in the spiritual life of the home, even when the father is present in the family. As pointed out by Doug Barry in his “Battle Ready Rally,” we typically praise our grandmas for passing on the faith in our family. We almost never hear about fathers or grandfathers passing on the faith to their children. Typically, “church” or “religion” is viewed as something reserved for women.
These Polish men failed to see that their primary responsibility as head of the household was to fight the spiritual battle for the lives of their family. As Saint Paul says in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.” It is our duty as fathers to fight that battle and to be a firm foundation for our family. If we don’t do it, our society will continue to crumble around us.
All well and good. I don’t disagree with his general argument- Christian men do need to lead the spiritual life of their families. But as I indicated earlier, the author here is missing something important, something essential. What is missing?
Well, leadership, of course. He mourns the loss of spiritual leadership. But if a man is not a leader in other ways in his family, how can he flourish as (much less be encouraged to be) a spiritual leader. And where does this take us? Why, authority in the family, naturally.
22 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the church; 33 however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Men cannot fulfill their role as spiritual leaders in their family if the rest of their leadership is cut off at the knees. How effective will a man be if the children see his wife, their mother, constantly rebel against his leadership? I think we all know the answer to that.
Ultimately, the real blind spot here is to the way that the Church treats men, husbands/fathers in particular. The lack of respect, the lack of support for a husband’s authority, all of these undermine any desire or efforts for men to be the spiritual leaders of their families.
As Deep Strength and others have pointed out, men (like women) respond to Incentives. this applies to actions within marriage, as well as before or without. Now, does that excuse men who don’t try to carry out their duties? Of course not. But the blame is not only theirs to share.
5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
7 “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the man by whom the temptation comes!
If we want more men to act as spiritual leaders in their families, the Church needs to stop treating men like trash. It needs to encourage and admonish, yes, but also respect and acknowledge. Further, women need to be taught to encourage and aide their husbands in being leaders, rather than be taught to belittle them and usurp their authority.
Male and female He created us. The behaviors of both need to be addressed if we want to see positive change. Ignore one sex entirely, and you will never get very far at all.