"After documenting the highly feminized state of Western Christianity, Dr. Podles identifies the masculine traits that once characterized the Christian life but are now commonly considered incompatible with it. In an original and challenging account, he traces this feminization to three contemporaneous medieval sources: the writings of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (interesting that Dr. Podles traces the feminization of Christianity to the writings of a man), the rise of scholasticism (someone tell me how many women were influential scholastics), and the expansion of female monasticism (okay, look, we've got some women in here!). He contends that though masculinity has been marginalized within Christianity, it cannot be expunged from human society. If detached from Christianity, it reappears as a substitute religion, with unwholesome and even horrific consequences. The church, too, is diminished by its emasculation. Its spirituality becomes individualistic and erotic (huh? I thought men were the sex-obsessed ones ;), tending toward universalism and quietism. In his concluding assessment of the future of men in the church, Dr. Podles examines three aspects of Christianity-initiation, struggle, and fraternal love-through which its virility might be restored. (And Jesus said unto them, "Go and make disciples of all nations...and, by golly, make sure you do it in a masculine, virile way!")"I am interested in reading this book, if only to be able to say that I didn't dismiss it out of hand, but Dr. Podles isn't my real concern at the moment, one of the reviewers of the book is. The reviewer identifies him or herself simply as "a reader" and entitled the following "review" Can A Feminist Be A Christian? (Again, I've added some of my own thoughts in parentheses.)
"The long march through the institutions has resulted in a feminization of all the Christian orders. A simple reading of Genesis will remind these feminists that a woman is meant to be submissive to her husband as part of the penalty for misbehavior in the Garden of Eden. (So, to whom is a 25-year old single woman, living on her own, supposed to be submissive? Maybe I'm not a woman because I don't have a husband. Maybe I'll avoid getting married so as to avoid this punishment that God is meting out to half the human race for the misbehavior of both Adam and Eve. I wonder if this reader provides for his family "by the sweat of his brow" in order to gracefully bear his half of the punishment or if he's sitting at a cushy desk in an air-conditioned office.) Feminists call this historical, and want to right it, but in doing so deny the timeless nature of God. (Reader, next time we visit together, I'm going to count the ways in which your household doesn't correspond to Scriptural injunctions.) In doing this, they deny God (So God cannot be thought of in any way other than as male?) (in many Protestant faiths it is much worse than here stated in that to even refer to the Deity with a masculine pronoun means that one can be dismissed from the seminary). (Which seminary? Where?)
"What feminism has done is arrogate to itself the right to determine who and what God is, or in other words, deify their own will. (Every human who believes there is a God has come to a conclusion about "who and what God is." That conclusion may be right or wrong, but is always, in the final analysis, still only their own determination.) Their will is thus no longer subject to God, but is rather the determiner of God, the maker of God, and thus there is no belief at all in God within feminism, but only in their own will.
"Feminism is thus self-idolatry.
"This book lays out the situation within Catholicism. Within all the mainline Protestant orders the situation is even worse. (I get the feeling that reader is a Catholic who has rarely, if ever, set foot in a Protestant church, except possibly for spectating at particularly "crazy" or "liberal" churches in order to find things about which he or she can make broad generalizations . Of course, I could be wrong.)
"Feminist women are completely berserk, using the churches to justify their self-righteousness, their demand not only to be equal to but superior to men (Wasn't the Bible used to justify slavery, in which one race is superior to another? Haven't people used the Bible to support the supposed inferiority of women for centuries?), to murder unwanted children, to have equal pay without equal productivity (Equal pay without equal productivity would not be equal pay at all and I don't want it.), and to self-deification. Already there are Protestant churches in which I've heard feminist pastors dare to invoke the gnostic goddess Sophia in the church of Our Lord. (I'm sure this has happened, dear reader, but it's certainly not the norm, even among feminists.)
Such pastors have no right to call themselves Christian. This is not to say that they aren't religious, but they are practicing the religion that St. Paul threw over in Ephesus -- the worship of Diana -- or in other words -- witchcraft. That it is happening all over the western world is apparent. Podles' text is not nearly violent enough. He is a gentleman, where Christ was a tiger, in throwing imposters out of the church. (The only people I remember Christ throwing out of anywhere were the moneychangers in the Temple...While I am not of the school that believes Jesus was merely meek and mild, I don't see anything in the Scripture that supports the view that he was a "tiger.")"
Generally, I get quietly worked up about things like this and share my feelings with a few people, but, hey, now I have a blog and can be snarky for the whole world to see. :) Snarkiness aside, though, things like this really get my back up because they demonstrate what seems like a purposely limited knowledge of what feminism/egalitarianism actually is.
I don't want to be superior, I want to be equal, there is a difference. I don't want to construct a God based on my own ego because that would be one seriously flawed God, but I also know that parts of me are always going to be mixed in with what I think of God. Not all feminists want to indiscrimately destroy unborn babies, quite a few of us want babies of our own. Once again, a critic has seen extreme pieces of a movement and rather than learning more has decided that the extreme represents the whole. Feminism isn't perfect, but "masculinism" is an equally flawed solution.