I came across this article this afternoon: What (Not All ) Women Want. About the ‘finicky femininity of Captivating’ by John and Stasi Eldredge. I was quite delighted with it to be honest. Sure there were bits of the book that were extremely helpful to me at the time I read it, much of it rang true but when I look back now – there was/is something a little bit missing.
I’m not exactly a very stereotypical female. If you know me, if you’ve read this blog for any decent time or read OOCQ where the ‘bagging out’ (I think it’s friendly) of my ‘half male’ brain, you might be able to put a finger or five on that.
Sentimentality doesn’t do a lot for me. I’m much more thrilled to have a brain engaging conversation than be told mass of ‘sweet nothings’ or compliments – however “nice. Again that’s generalising a lot. I am by no means the only female of the kind around -thank goodness. I like being complicated and I like who I am.
I probably don’t define submission quite the way it’s traditionally thought of. I probably don’t think I need to ever lose reason to love someone. I don’t like the infatuation concept. I like books over jewelery. I understand the clothes are usually very intentional in conveying a message or meeting a ‘warmth’/’fit-in/fashion’ need than just the ‘girly thing to obsess over’. I don’t really giggle or shriek, in fact I probably more often snort and roll my eyes. I don’t have any idea where this blog is going but I know I want to say something (maybe because I’m having fun). I don’t always know what to say but then I don’t always sit quiet to get it just right – for it to be sweet and perfect and nice. I’d rather be bluntly truthful than softly recommending. I’d rather sleep the extra 10 minutes than spend it on my hair. I’d rather watch a movie that makes me think than one that tells me the same old ‘boy meets girl, boy gets girl, all ends happily’ deal. I don’t as a general rule bother with make-up, oh look, I don’t think I even really own any. I don’t think cooking and cleaning and keeping a place looking nice is a very large part of my purpose. I don’t think I could manage if I ever hit a point where I wasn’t allowed or couldn’t learn.
I don’t know if the soft feminine side is an outdated concept that we still plug away at just because? Shards definitely remain in the minds of plenty of people although it’s probably not half as relevant an argument as it was years ago.
I don’t particularly like being called ‘unfemale’ – becuase I can assure you I very much am. I like being female! I’m probably a little fed up with the half-male brain comments, however funny. So you narrow-minded (in the nicest way possible) boys who keep pulling them out: *cough John/Paul/Jas/Tony…* . If you could do me a favor and define femininity for me in short essay form (or post size, I don’t think you could get it down to one sentence) post it as a comment or send it too me in an email – this being femininity and not just ‘Bec style’. I would be grateful.
I’m not cranky, I’m just interested.
What is femininity really?
And a slight shift…
Boys will be… wait, where’d they all go? references an article on men in church. Although that I think that the point does need to be put across, that perhaps the ‘everyone fall in love with Jesus/Jesus is your boyfriend’ business is definitely offputting to males, it’d be nice to acknowledge that it isn’t the worlds most thrilling idea to a lot of females.
It is true that females are supposedly wired ‘more relationally’ and I am not trying to equate the genders but we are all relational beings. I can’t help but wondering if church is how it is, then maybe it’s almost more a byproduct of a culture that really wants experience and is lacking significantly relationally – having appropriate relationships. We then over-concentrate this good (best) relationship that’s on offer and shroud it and drown it in sentimental ‘femininity’ to try keep our hold on it. The predominant view of relationships on offer through television, music and movies (which sadly seem to be the primary forms of communication around) is just that – I see you, I like what I see, I am infatuated, I will do anything for you… and more blahish crap. Frankly I think we just misunderstand and misconvey a lot of what Jesus is on about.
“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” – Deut 6:5
Is that really all that soft?
When I look at God’s love for his people in the Bible, I don’t see a cushy sentimental love. I see a hard love, a true love, a good love.
Male or female. As part of the church, as an insider I think I can make the observation that perhaps we’ve really gotten a lot of how we do things simply wrong.
Does anyone really relate to the short lived emotional highs that might come with the appeal that intends to ‘tug the heart’ to gain a response. We experience it as an experience only.
“Murrow suggests that men value being/feeling competent (we don’t stop and ask for directions cos we want to be competent navigators) and we don’t feel that competent in a church environment which values qualities of expressing feelings, understanding emotions and singing songs.” (10 male fears about church)
If men so like to drive the compass/steer the ship, why did it slant toward the ‘very female’ angled way we do church in the first place? Is it just the physical extrapolation of misunderstanding around what is love and loving God and church structure and non-structure? I’m also curious, the advocation for ‘song’, for music is definitely not just a female thing. Music isn’t at all gender specific, you hardly need to look very far at all to see that.
“I’m a man and I really value church but I find myself agreeing that I am not very engaged by it. The most engaging thing about church this morning for me was arranging to go out on friday to drink Guinness and talk theology with another man.” (10 male fears about church)
I am a woman and I really value church, but I find myself agreeing that I am often not very engaged by it. The most engaging thing about church for me is to know I have Wednesday night to drink coffee and talk theology and life with those around me.
So, what about that emotional/relational pit that we’re inaccurately trying to fill at church? Because it is there. It’s glaring from every corner and written all over the faces of those that show up where there are others, even if they ‘don’t particularly like how things are done’. That’s something extends well beyond just church on Sunday.
No one wants the temporary. The love lust that’s so transient it makes a memory that we are ready to replace as soon as the next option comes along. We want the real deal. The thing that shows us up, that meets us face to face regardless of whether we are male or female.
That’s Jesus right?
So what should church look like?