The Toxic War on Masculinity by Nancy Pearcey
It seems like there is a distinct division in the styling of Christian books. Those that are academic in nature tend to be polite and unoffensive while communicating a point with rich theological meaning. On the other hand those that are polemics often lack the substance needed to be taken seriously. They read like emotional rantings as opposed to moving theological treatises. There is a minority in the middle that tends toward both stronger theological substance coupled with motivating statements that would push the reader to some level of action. I think of Wm. Cavanaugh’s “The Myth of Religious Violence” that moves the reader to deal with political and educational realities.
This work of Nancy’s fits that same niche. Every conservative politician should want to read it and every half-way honest liberal/leftists ought consider what she says. This war is not without meaning, context, and history.
Are you bored with history? Do you read your Bible? If you do read your Bible you’re reading a history book. You’re reading a biography of a people and the work of God over time. And so much more, of course. But unlike in your history classes where, in the past, history was presented as a series of major events, or modern classes where history is presented as either class warfare or the simple movement of cultures, history has always moved on ideas. Ideas cause movements. (The first error of Marx’ suggestion of class struggle, rather than ideas, moving history is to ask where he got that idea. But I digress.)
What Nancy Pearcey has assembled here is a sound history of what we are facing. But she does not let history stand alone. With it she assembles some solid principles for living today and confronting the challenge.
Be aware that, as I often do, I like to take a strong point from the author and build on it. Hopefully in a fair and reasonable fashion.
If there is anything that drives a wedge between people it is the radical individualism of our times. History finds multiple sources for this, and some of them are in the church. One pages 99 and following she looks at the “social contract” of the 18th century and its net effect on both the church and society at large. This is a section one ought read several times. Why? Because even in the conservative world there is a dependence on the social contract as our foundation for civil government. And, like so many ideas, its application to self government feeds our sense of individualism that in the end separates us. (She doesn’t say all these things in this exact way, but it is an implication difficult to avoid.)
A theme that I am picking up (my perception) is that it is critical for the church to take the offensive against both the movement against men (as it is also a movement against many other things of value). We’ve been on the defensive for too long, being reactionary but without solutions. Pearcey builds toward solutions. This deserves attention.