• Manhood •
January 5, 2006
December 12, 2005
December 12, 2005
In the film adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's violent novel, Fight Club, character Tyler Durden points to his generation of young men as the “middle children of history.” Played by actor Brad Pitt, Durden represents the absolute collapse of masculinity into raw violence. This character joins his friends in seeking personal release and ecstasy through violent fights that send the participants regularly to the emergency room. In a haunting comment, Durden remarks: “We are a generation of men raised by women.” Is this our future?
November 30, 2005
November 15, 2005
one of the nation’s most articulate and quotable liberal columnists,
was in Washington, DC today for a book-signing appearance at one of the
local Border’s bookstores. I was in town to deliver a public
lecture on “A Christian Vision of Beauty,” so my friend Dr. Mark Dever
and I headed for the bookstore at lunch hour in order to meet Ms. Dowd.
We couldn’t resist.
November 3, 2005
I recently picked up another volume in “The Old Testament Library” series of biblical commentaries. Leviticus: A Commentary was written by Erhard S. Gerstenberger, professor of Old Testament at Philipps-Universitat, Marburg, Germany. Translated into English by Douglas W. Stott, the volume offers over 400 pages of commentary on the text of Leviticus [see also the German edition]. I was interested to see how Professor Gerstenberger would deal with specific passages from Leviticus. His treatment of texts dealing with human sexuality is more interesting than most persons would expect.
November 3, 2005
“In the last four decades, a feminist revolution has swept the globe,” observes W. Bradford Wilcox. Indeed, a rising tide of feminist concerns has reached almost every part of the world, with ideological feminism exerting its greatest influence in Western Europe and North America. The feminist revolution Wilcox describes has brought, he acknowledges, “many beneficial changes to our world.” Nevertheless, the same movement has “brought less welcome developments to the global scene,” and one of the most unwelcome of these developments is what Wilcox describes as “the androgynous impulse.”
October 19, 2005
In today’s commentary, “The Ties That No Longer Bind? Marriage and the Virtue of Loyalty,” I look at James Q. Wilson’s article published in the current issue of In Character. Wilson makes a compelling argument for the essential link between loyalty and marriage (loyalty is the theme of the journal’s Fall 2005 issue).
October 17, 2005
Does a boy need a dad? Peggy Drexler argues that a new generation of boys is being raised by a corps of “maverick moms” who are redefining parenthood, reshaping masculinity, and proving themselves to be superior to fathers in the raising of sons.
September 27, 2005
USA Today editorialized on the new and undeniable gender imbalance on the college and university campus. For every 100 men receiving bachelor’s degrees, women receive 135. That’s a huge disparity, and USA Today describes the statistic as “ominous for every parent with a male child.”
Here’s how the paper made its argument:
While demographers and economists have a pretty good idea where the boys end up, educators are largely clueless about the causes. Some say female teachers in elementary and middle schools, where male teachers are scarce, naturally enforce a girl-friendly environment that rewards students who can sit quietly — not a strong point for many boys, who earn poor grades and fall behind. Others argue that a smart-isn’t-cool bias has seeped into boys of all racial and ethnic groups.
Solutions are just as uncertain. Hiring more male teachers would likely help, as would countering the anti-intellectual male code. But it’s not that simple. Many boys leave middle school with pronounced shortcomings in verbal skills. Those lapses contribute to the low grade and high dropout rates.
Surely, a problem that creates crime, increases unemployment and leads to hopelessness deserves attention. Where are the boys? Too often, going nowhere.
The paper’s editorial board obviously thinks that something ought to be done in order to encourage more young men to advance to college and earn degrees. Responding with an opposing view, Kim Gandy, president of the National Association for Women, said:
Every few years, a report that women are gaining ground prompts panicky articles proclaiming that “men are falling behind!” . . . Bottom line? I don’t see a few more degrees signaling the fall of patriarchy. We already know women are smart. But no matter how smart you are, it’s tough to win when the rules keep changing and you have to choose between work and family.
She didn’t actually respond in any meaningful or direct way to the problem of too many young men failing to gain a college degree. Instead, she simply repeated her organization’s constant argument that prejudice against women explains everything — even underachieving young men. Got it?
September 25, 2005
Some claim that Charles Spurgeon was the most voluminous writer in the history of the English language. Given the fact that his writings — often based on his preaching — were a publishing phenomenon of Victorian times and remain a publishing phenomenon even now.
Some of Spurgeon’s sharpest words and clearest thoughts are found in the pages of his magazine, Sword and Trowel. In “Advanced Thinkers,” published in the November 1871 edition of the magazine, Spurgeon considered the rise of an intellectual elite devoted to doctrinal compromise. His words are as prophetic today as when they were first written. An excerpt:
Manliness and moral courage are the attributes in which they consider themselves to excel, and they are constantly asserting that hundreds of ministers see with them, but dare not enunciate their views, and so continue to preach one thing and believe another. It may be so here and there, and the more is the cause for sorrow; but we are not sure of the statement, for the accusers themselves may, after all, fancy that they see in others what is really in themselves. The glass in their own houses should forbid their throwing stones. If they were straightforward themselves, they might call others to account; but, in too many cases, their own policy savors of the serpent in a very high degree. The charge could not be fairly brought against all, but it can be proven against many, that they have fought the battles of liberality, not with the broad sword of honest men, but with the cloak and dagger of assassins. They have occupied positions which could not be reconciled with their beliefs, and have clung to them with all the tenacity with which limpets adhere to rocks. Their testimony has, in some cases, been rendered evidently worthless, from the fact that with all their outcry against orthodoxy, they did their best to eat the bread of the orthodox, and would still have continued to profess, and yet to assail, orthodox opinions had they been permitted to do so. Whether this is honest is doubtful: that it is not manly is certain.
These gentlemen of culture have certainly adopted peculiar tactics. The misbelievers and unbelievers of former ages withdrew themselves from churches as soon as they found out they could not honestly endorse their fundamental articles; but these abide by the stuff, and great is their indignation at the creeds which render their position morally dubious. Churches have no right to believe anything; comprehensiveness is the only virtue of a denomination; precise definitions are a sin, and fundamental doctrines are a myth: this is the notion of “our foremost men.” For earnest people to band themselves together to propagate what they hold to be the very truth of God, is in their eyes the miserable endeavor of bigots to stem the torrent of modern thought; for zealous Christians to contribute of their substance for the erection of a house, in which only the truths most surely believed among them shall be inculcated, is a treason against liberality; while the attempt to secure our pulpits against downright error, is a mischievous piece of persecution to be resented by all “intellectual” men. The proper course, according to their “broad views,” would be to leave doctrines for the dunces who care for them. Truths there are none, but only opinions; and, therefore, cultivated ministers should be left free to trample on the most cherished beliefs, to insult convictions, no matter how long experience may have matured them, and to teach anything, everything, or nothing, as their own culture, or the current of enlightened thought may direct them. If certain old fogies object to this, let them turn out of the buildings they have erected, or subside into silence under a due sense of their inferiority.
It appears to be, now-a-days, a doubtful question whether Christian men have a right to be quite sure of anything. The Jesuit argument that some learned doctor or other has taught a certain doctrine, and that, therefore, it has some probability, is now practically prevalent. He who teaches an extravagant error is a fine, generous spirit: and, therefore, to condemn his teaching is perilous, and will certainly produce an outcry against your bigotry. Where the atonement is virtually denied, it is said that a preacher is a very clever man, and exceedingly good; and, therefore, even to whisper that he is unsound is libelous: we are assured that it would be far better to honor him for his courage in scorning to be hampered by conventional expressions. Besides, it is only his way of putting it, and the radical idea is discoverable by cultured minds. As to other doctrines, they are regarded as too trivial to be worthy of controversy, the most of them being superseded by the advancement of science and other forms of progressive enlightenment.
We are endebted to Phillip R. Johnson and The Spurgeon Archive for making this material available on the Internet.
September 17, 2005
Here’s a bit of common sense verified by science and modern medicine. Delaying marriage often leads to a delay in having babies. Now, BBC News reports that women delaying children until after age 35 are risking both health and heartbreak.
Over the last 20 years pregnancies in women over 35 have risen markedly and the average age of mothers has gone up. Writing in the British Medical Journal, the London-based fertility specialists say they are “saddened” by the number of women they see who have problems. They say the best age for pregnancy remains 20 to 35. Over the last 20 years the average age for a woman to have their first baby has risen from 26 to 29.