On Making People Think

Ultimately, it’s not just Tertullian I wish to challenge. Instead, I want to challenge, well, you. And me. All of us. In my last post, I talked about how the situation is changing, however slowly. I see Challenging Tertullian as my effort to help that change come more quickly.

The other day my parents were putting out Thanksgiving decorations. That’s right, Thanksgiving decorations. And in the box they found the pilgrim couple that every year makes a holiday appearance. This year, the spot where this couple would set up shop was a small end table which was already home to a short stack of books. So my mom set up the scene, putting the male figure on top of the books and the female figure (a “pilgrimmette” perhaps?) next to him on the table top.

At this point, I need to let you know that my father grew up in an era where male privilege went basically unchallenged. And after 70ish years of operating one way, it can be tough to think differently. You know, old dogs and new tricks and whatnot.

So with this as background, you’ll appreciate this little gem of a comment: “Jeez, way to put the man on a pedestal. Isn’t that male privilege?!?”

Way to go Dad!

Thusfar on the blog I’ve tried to throw a bunch of examples your way. My goal has been to demonstrate that male privilege is real and that it has teeth. From the political world to the economic world to day-in, day-out interactions between people, male privilege is an influential and destructive reality in our society. I like the label that my professor offered in an early comment, when he called male privilege a “social malady.” Indeed.

I want to give you a sense of what’s coming next. First, I’m going to take a look at male privilege in the church. How does this “systemic advantage based on being male” shape how we do church in this country?

Next, I’m going to start to offer some solutions. If you’ve been reading this blog wondering how we might loosen the powerful grip of male privilege, stay tuned. Your time is coming.

Along the way, I’ll keep offering more examples, more awful quotes from otherwise amazing theologians and more from Mr. Tertullian himself.

It’s been a fantastic 2 months. Thanks to each of you for joining me on this challenging journey.

What about you? Have have you been challenged?

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One response to “On Making People Think”

  1. Caroline Reid says :

    Every time my church hires a pastor or a youth leader or a children’s leader, I think about this issue? Will we have a lady pastor? How would I react to having a lady pastor? What if the best candidate for children’s director were a man, would he be hired? I should say that I haven’t completely answered all these questions and I’m not really sure WHAT I think about having a lady pastor, especially senior pastor.

    Another issue to ponder is the dynamic of privilege and responsibility; where privilege is granted, responsibility is expected. Do we (men and women) fully recognize and accept the responsibilities that go along with privilege granted? and if we are shifting the blessing of privilege, are we also shifting the expectation of privilege?

    It’s good to have a place to work these things out! Bravo, Rob for addressing it!

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