A rather mixed bag this week – as many pieces which I find very troubling or objectionable as those I’d like to recommend! Reasons given below. As ever, do leave your own work or things you think are worth a read in the comments.
Gender, Nature, Culture – Mike Higton responds to the Church of England’s Faith and Order Commission’s Report, Men and Women in Marriage, with some searching questions about the assumptions about biology, history and reasoning which underlie that report and its conclusions. Measured and far more damaging to the report than simply disagreeing with its conclusion.
How Sad Young Douchebags Took Over Modern Britain – Vice commissioned an article on the crisis in masculinity, and got much more than they’d bargained for. Clive Martin’s piece demonstrates that crisis more in the writer than in the topic: a fascinating jumble of the fear of “effeminacy”, institutional breakdown (getting tattoos and dyeing one’s hair apparently is a symptom of no longer ruling the empire or going into politics), and no longer being allowed to define manhood make this article strongly redolent of the Victorian era.
Should We Be Teaching Feminism in Primary Schools? – Glosswitch’s discussion of the question points up a basic issue which is too often overlooked: education involves ideology and a particular vision of the world, no matter what that might be. A “neutral” pedagogical environment is impossible, since values which always embedded in the process.
Confessions of a Slacker Dad: why being a 50/50 parents is overrated – Another one which sets out to diagnose modern masculinity and ends up revealing more about the author. Alex Bilmes provides an intriguing glimpse into his fears of becoming a “Wet Wipe” (his name for men who are somehow emasculated by caring too much about their children), his admission that he doesn’t really want to share the housework and childcare work which need to be done, and his desire to justify this by sweeping statements about what it’s like being a man. (And how it was mysteriously better in a previous generation when men were manly and women just naturally did stuff the men didn’t want to because it was their job.)
Teaching Note: On Confronting Violence Against Women in the Christian Tradition – E Lawrence writes about how she deals with teaching Augustine’s Confessions to students, and their reactions to the account of violence against women in Augustine’s family life. A practical and interesting piece about how students tend to deal with such topics, and what she feels it necessary to point out.
The Dangers of Pick’n’mixianity – Caleb Woodbridge’s piece in response to Steve Chalke’s discussion of how the modern church must read the Bible, prompted by Chalke’s very public U-turn on same sex relationships. Included because it provides a remarkable example of how fundamentalism still treats religion as a “falsifiable hypothesis” in a way which most of the recent research suggests stopped with the “turn to experience”. Woodbridge’s account of inerrancy seems oddly close to Hodge and Warfield in the 1880s, and gives a reminder that fundamentalism is still part of the mainstream of Christian thought in the UK.