I’ve always appreciated women.
Growing up, I watched my mom and dad interact as equals, with each other and with their friends.
I loved watching my mom’s eyes flash with intellectual fire as she discoursed with others about theology or how to define (and practice) radical obedience. I loved her sweet smile as she pondered the red geraniums outside her window, often while nursing a baby.
I loved scratching the dirt in the fall, at her direction, planting the blobs she called bulbs. And then I loved watching her eagerness as we looked for the first hint of spring: the brave but tiny crocuses, deciding that their appearance would be more surprising if they poked through a crust of snow.
I am a man, but I learned much about manhood from a woman.
And so I want to say I’m sorry.
I’m not sorry I’m a guy, but I am sorry that a bunch of my sisters have been mistreated by guys, both in the church and out of it.
A Brother’s Apology
I’m sorry that, instead of really hearing the devastating echoes of #metoo, we sat silent, sometimes scared, shuddering for all the innocent men who’ve been falsely accused. Not only was our response statistically absurd, it was also staggeringly unempathetic. I am so sorry.
I’m sorry we’ve treated you as if you were, all of you, The Great Temptress, hatching plots to take us down. I’m sorry we’ve been afraid to speak to you, afraid to have an actual friendship with you. Unless we were dating you or married to you, we were so afraid of what things would look like that we never actually looked at you. And so we missed you. We missed seeing you as the human that you are. We missed your giftings and we robbed ourselves of the opportunity to learn from you. We were mistaken.
We were so insecure, so driven by a deep Adamic fear of being controlled. We forgot the power of the Cross to roll back the curse.
In too many cases, our private objectification of women caused us to publicly object to women. It’s hard to see a woman as a person in public when you’re using her parts in private. This is a great tragedy for men, for sure, but it is so much worse than that. It is a usage and an abuse that should cut men to the core. It should drive us to our knees and loose rivers of tears from our eyes. It should shatter us into pieces of repentance that lead to holiness.
You shouldn’t have to make the case against porn. You shouldn’t have to complain about it. Men should be making this case. Men should be owning this. Men should be crying about this.
And so I am.
A man’s use of pornography is unequivocally sinful, violent, abusive, and destructive. And I am so, so sorry.
We’ve tried to control your clothes, for our purity. We became experts at using Scriptures to silence you. We called you “Jezebel,” or at least we said you had her spirit. We segregated you out into the children’s corner so we’d be safe.
After marriage, we judged your sexuality, comparing and contrasting it to ours, and then we found it lacking. We swallowed the lie that female sexuality was just like male sexuality, only less. (It’s not the same; it’s also not less.)
We’ve called your emotions crazy, we’ve told you to get a grip, we’ve coolly instructed you to be more rational. We should have learned from you how to speak “feelings.” The research backs you up; emotions carry important information, but in a different language. And in general, you’re more fluent.
Please, help us to see you. Help us to know you. And please be patient as we babble through the language of feelings that our cultures and families thought unnecessary to teach us. They were wrong.
We need the feminine strength that buttresses the walls of the global Church, and we need the feminine eye that adds warmth and wall-hangings to the inside. We need your emotions and your intellect. We need your sensitivity and your strength. We need you.
A Brother’s Encouragement
Some of you are Joan of Arc. Awesome. Let your passion blaze forth and lead us as we storm the gates of hell. Or die trying. So you, lead!
But some of you are Corrie ten Boom, much softer, much gentler, but just as crazy. So you, be crazy!
Some of you sit and drink the Bible so deeply and for so long that you can’t help but pour wisdom and grace on all you meet. So you, pour!
Some of you are casserole ladies, while some of you are iconoclasts. So you, cook or clast!
Some of you are introverts and some of you are certainly not. So you, introvert, read your books and nudge up your glasses well; or you, extrovert, raise your glass high, gathered together with all the people, and drink of the love of friends and a Father who saves.
And whatever else you are, you are my sister. And I’m so happy we’re part of the same family.
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