There was a Christian conference in Perth recently called Mighty Men. I don’t know much about the content of the conference, but the title bothers me. Are we called to be ‘mighty’ as disciples of Jesus? I don’t think so. I think the world wants men to be mighty warriors, but that Jesus had different values in mind. Oh for a conference attended by 2000 men called ‘Being Weak For Jesus’ or some other affront to masculine pride!
Of course, it all depends on how you define ‘mighty’ and maybe the conference defined ‘mighty’ in such a way that I could see value in it. But the problem is that on the surface it is reinforcing a patriarchal, macho masculinity.
Jesus didn’t say that the mighty are blessed. He said the meek are blessed. The mourning. The persecuted. The ones who hunger and thirst for righteousness. He kept emphasising not might but sacrifice, servanthood, being the least. (And I’m sure the conference tried to redefine ‘might’ along these lines.)
I keep hearing the idea that the church is failing men. (Funny that, it’s usually men in charge of churches.) I also keep hearing that feminism has caused men not to ‘know who they are’. (Does that mean identity is tied to being the patriarch for most men?) I don’t know the answer to either of these problems/ perceptions, but I don’t think it should be to christen traditional masculinity.
Feminism has not ‘gone too far’ as so many people are fond of saying. It hasn’t gone far enough yet. There’s still inequality in relationships, imbalanced power structures, different standards for judging women, and not nearly enough women given full opportunities to minister in churches.
So there’s a loose collection of thoughts brought on by seeing this phrase ‘mighty men’ everywhere.