It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything so I thought it was time for a brief update.
It’s been an exciting and challenging month in many ways. I’m starting to settle in to the change of lifestyle a little more since going down to part-time work to free time up for our mission dreams. This in itself has been a challenge, to begin with my energy levels were a bit all over the place spending half of my week very emotionally and mentally draining and the other half very physically draining working construction. I’m getting used to it now though just in time for another change, but more on that later… Continue reading Roadside Update – Laying Foundations→
This is my attempt to make some sense of a struggle at work in my mind and in the wider Church. For the sake of argument I will be generalising and using stereotypes, so forgive me…
So let’s start with some background. Sometimes I fear that my present situation will result in some kind of theological personality disorder (and don’t you dare say schizophrenia, it’s a totally different thing). I attend a reformed evangelical church, with a very strong emphasis on Bible teaching. My own theological position has strong Reformed and Calvinist leanings, and I have generally held to the old war cry of the reformers ‘Sola Scriptura, tota scriptura’ – ‘Only the Bible, all of the Bible’ for the basis of my ‘theology’ – (for the purpose of this exercise I’m treating theology as an umbrella term for interpretation of the Bible, understanding of God and a ‘Christian outlook’ on life). Beyond this I have even been influenced by the (what some would call extreme fundamentalist and right wing) Christian Reconstruction movement. Broadly speaking my theological position could be described as a ‘systematic theology’. Bearing this in mind, most of my life and ministry is spent among emergents, charismatics, fans of liberation theology, left-wing, and generally non-‘sola scriptura’ type people. So basically I have feet deep in both the liberal and conservative camps, and yet I don’t fit into either of them. And I’m not alone.
In 1997 Paula Cole sang, “Where have all the cowboys gone?”. The meaning of the song has been taken in different ways but it seems that Cole was expressing something of the tension of the 90’s man. My teenage years took place in England during the 90’s, and I too felt something of this tension. The term ‘metro-sexual’ hadn’t yet been coined and there was still the expectation of men to be tough, strong and physically capable. This came with a shift in the emotional and domestic expectations on men. “I’m a man of the 90’s” would come dancing off the lips of guys who started paying more attention to learning to cook than how to change a spark plug. Gender stereotypes were being challenged, it began to be socially acceptable for men to moisturise and discuss hair products. (I’m a cocoa butter man myself)
As a casual observer what seems to have followed is a challenging time of testing gender stereotypes and roles, people (especially men) seem to have built their self-understanding on shifting sands. Self-assured men and boys seem to be polarised between flamboyant eye-liner-wearing metro’s and misogynistic-chauvinist bully-boys. Left in the middle clambering for a foothold are the rest of us, with few strong male role models left in the home, the big screen and especially in spheres of leadership. “Where is my John Wayne?” asked Cole, but today the John Wayne’s of this world don’t measure up to the expectations of men to be as adapt at expressing their emotions as fixing a leaky tap. (N.B. I am not saying this in support of strict gender stereotypes, just as an observation of the shift in western culture). Continue reading The Warrior Poet – King David and Beyond→