Signs in the Culture
I have been a sci-fi fan for longer than I can remember and well recall watching the original Star Trek series on TV with mum and dad. Whilst this genre is certainly a great form of escapism, it potently reflects changes in popular culture.
The shift from Star Trek to Star Trek: The Next Generation heralded boldly going “where no man has gone before” to “where no one has gone before”. In the original a half Vulcan (Spock) who saw his cold logic as superior to that of humans imaged a certain scientific worldview.
By The Next Generation an android (Data) longing to be human by experiencing humour, emotion, and dreaming reflected a far more affective judgement on the way of the future. With many more aliens species and races with intuitive powers (Counsellor Troi) the universe was expending outside a world dominated by males, human beings and a closed scientific worldview.
Aliens are imaginary but the drift away from patriarchal paradigms of Western thinking continues apace.
The Prophetic Doctor
It is impossible to ignore the continuing clamour for women on boards and for fair pay for all. But when the DC comic hero Wonder Woman was appointed by the UN as an honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls it was plain something weird, but influential, was taking place. (As it happened she only lasted two months being dumped as a white sex object.
But a blockbuster film soon followed.) For grassroots folk like me a more powerful portent appeared when the last Doctor Who’s assistant was openly lesbian; then it was necessarily the case that after his next regeneration the Time “Lord” would become a woman. The feminist social momentum was just too great for the BBC to resist. Where does an epic social movement like this leave men?
The Forgotten Gender
95% of workplace deaths are men, 2/3rds of homicide victims are male, 75% of suicides are men. Male mortality is simply accepted as a fact of life. Men are suffering, but society doesn’t want to hear their pain and seems to value female life more than we value male life.
A friend came home one day to find the house empty of everything, including wife and kids, and the bank account cleaned out. Accused of affairs, homosexual orgies, sexually abusing the children etc, all proven baseless, the woman still has custody of the children. Ideological convictions, such a radical feminism, are really idols that harden the hearts of their advocates (Psalm 115 verse 8).
The world is divided into two, good and evil, and the traditional male is evil. What is missing?
Compassion with Power
What is missing in our imbalanced society is what has always been missing, compassion with power. Which is another way of talking about JESUS. Christ has always had a reputation of doing miraculous deeds of power (Luke chapter 6 verse 19). Less noticeably, the emotion which is most recorded about Jesus is “compassion” (Mark chapter 6 verse 34 etc.).
Whilst it is true that for most of history the masculine image has not projected compassion the final truth of maleness is found in Christ alone.
Nothing beyond the Cross
The final revelation of male identity is the Lord’s suffering for us. This was the most powerful act of his heart, soul, mind and strength; it was absolute love for God and humanity (Matthew chapter 22 verses 37-39). The infinite sensitivity of the Son of God to heal the aching human condition is displayed in love’s sacrifice. Love is the great omission in feminism. Historically disempowered women cry out for justice, but when powerful they become loveless; “if I...have not love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 2).
In the social contortions of our day when men are often cowed into passivity or default into old patterns of insensitive blokeyness Jesus is calling into being men in his own image. This “new kind of man” is man as he was always intended to be, a man in whom compassion and power come together in perfect unity.
These are the men through whose intercessions and sacrifices the future of this nation depends. Men, will pray to be such a man? Women will you pray that God raise up such men?
The Rev. Dr John Yates is an Anglican minister in Perth and has 5 children and 7 grandchildren. He spends time in praying, mentoring and writing.
John’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/john-yates.html