A Brother’s Letter {The Grove: Brothers}

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.

Teach us.

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.

Your brother,

Jonathan

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We invite you to share in The Grove. You can link up your blog post, or share your practices, ponderings, wisdom, questions, ideas, and creative expressions with us in the comments below.

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26 Comments

  1. Esther February 21, 2019

    This is so beautiful! This message is so healing, I wish we could hear this more often.

    1. Jonathan Trotter February 22, 2019

      I’m so happy to hear that, Esther! And I wish you could hear this much more often too…

  2. K February 22, 2019

    Having been treated the way you described for the entirety of my life, this message was healing and life-giving and deeply hope-filled. Thank you.

    1. Jonathan Trotter February 22, 2019

      Ah, I’m so sorry (and angry!) that this has been your story. That being said, I’m glad that these little thoughts could perhaps be part of your journey onward. May you walk in the Father’s love, the Son’s embrace, and the Spirit’s everlasting presence.

  3. Dana February 22, 2019

    So healing to read. I forwarded this to my sister!

    1. Jonathan Trotter February 22, 2019

      Hey there, Dana. Thanks so much for stopping by, and thanks for sharing! Have a fantastic weekend!

  4. Liz February 22, 2019

    Wow, great read! Thanks for the insight and transparency!

    1. Jonathan Trotter February 22, 2019

      Thanks, Liz! I’m glad it was encouraging!

        1. Jonathan Trotter March 13, 2019

          Thank you so much! I’ve already received some feedback from a lady who read the French version!

  5. Tennille February 22, 2019

    Thank you from here to eternity for saying this. Thank God there is at least one man out there mature enough to listen and stand up for us.

    1. Jonathan Trotter February 23, 2019

      You’re so very welcome, Tennille. And if it’s any consolation, I’m finding more and more men who are willing to stand up for women AND listen. We’re here, and we’re not going anywhere…

  6. Amy Young February 22, 2019

    Jonathan, I join you in hoping, praying for, and working towards healthy, mutually sharpening, and fun relationships between men and women :)!!

    1. Jonathan Trotter February 23, 2019

      Yay! Sounds like fun! Thanks for the encouragement, Amy.

  7. Riet February 22, 2019

    Thank you! This is powerful! I grew up with 6 brothers and it is so easy for me to relate to men, but so often misunderstood.

    1. Jonathan Trotter February 23, 2019

      Hello there! I’m so glad this article helped you to feel maybe a little bit understood. And six brothers?! Wow! I have six sisters… : )

  8. Ruth February 23, 2019

    I’m crying. Tears of healing and of longing; healing to hear these things from a man, and longing for mass revelation.
    Thank you, brother.

    1. Jonathan Trotter February 23, 2019

      Thanks so much for the comment, Ruth. I’m glad the tears were tears of healing! And yeah, I’ll totally join you in the longing…

  9. Barbara Gossett February 23, 2019

    Jonathan, Your words are uplifting to me. Thank you for expressing my deepest feelings eloquently and sincerely

    1. Jonathan Trotter February 24, 2019

      Hey there, Barbara! So good to hear from you! I’m glad these words were a blessing…

  10. Laura February 24, 2019

    I think that the best thing about what you’ve shared is that you seem to really LIVE these words. Thank you for that, brother. I don’t know what your journey has looked like— how you came to these conclusions and live them out as you seem to do I don’t know. But I praise God for your authenticity and growth in Christ. Thank you.

    1. Jonathan Trotter February 24, 2019

      I’m so glad this was an encouragement to you, Laura. I’ve been blessed to know many strong, courageous, godly women; they have been my teachers, and I remain grateful for their example. I wrote about some of them here: https://velvetashes.com/a-letter-to-singles/

  11. Karen Huber February 26, 2019

    I’m sure I speak for most women serving in ministry – at home or overseas – when I say how rare it is to hear an apology, a simple “I”m sorry” from a male colleague. Thank you for your words here, for sharing them widely, and clearly living what you teach.

    1. Jonathan Trotter March 7, 2019

      Thank you for your encouragement and for your work here at Velvet Ashes!

  12. Stephen Langley March 1, 2019

    Really excellent, Jonathan. Thanks for this.

    1. Jonathan Trotter March 7, 2019

      Hey, man! Thanks for the encouragement; glad it was a blessing!

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