Picks of the Week, Nov. 12

This week’s picks are a wee bit more personal. Less, this is what’s going on in the world, and more, these are the things that touched my heart and made me think recently.

First off, Donald Miller is writing another book, and I can already tell this is going to be my favorite. The premise is basically talking about how falling in love with his wife taught him to be okay with intimacy — the real, gritty, you-know-my-crap-and-stick-around kind. I really need these words right now:

I don’t trust people to accept who I am in process. … I don’t mean to overstate what is yet unknown, but part of me believes when the story of earth is told, all that will be remembered is the truth we exchanged. The vulnerable moments. The terrifying risk of love and the care we took to cultivate it. And all the rest, the distracting noises of insecurity and the flattery and the flashbulbs will flicker out like a turned-off television.

Grace, wordsmith extraordinaire, speaks some good truth on how we use people as social leverage instead of loving selflessly without expecting anything in return. This post really resonated, and if there’s one thing out of these links you should read, it’s hers.

I love Triad City Beat, the local Greensboro paper. Louis Bekoe writes for this week’s issue on unemployment and the humor that can be found in it. As this is a place I’ve found myself recently, it feels good to laugh along with him about the beauty that can be found in slowing down.

Would you like to read a foam-at-the-mouth rabid post with nothing backing it up than a vague scent of testosterone and the frightening tone of an unleashed Mark Driscoll? Awesome. Read this thing about Christian masculinity. I think what really irks me about this blog post, other than all of it is this section, where he bullets Christian masculine things that Christian men need to be all about. Here’s my deal: read this list below and see if there is anything a woman should not be, too. I am leery of masculinizing (yeah, made-up word) virtues that women are totally responsible for, too, in the Kingdom of God such as, oh I dunno, leadership, dedication, bravery. If you think of a man when you hear those words, you might have been to one too many women’s conferences.

Men have a hunger for their work to have meaning: such a world answers this hunger. Such a world summons men to such virtues as they know that they were born for: to resolution, responsibility, strength of principle, confidence, assertiveness, determination, decisiveness, dedication, moral and intellectual seriousness, uprightness, firmness, dependability, bravery, courage, enterprise, honour, practicality, authority, dutifulness, heroism, daring, intrepidity, leadership, fortitude, perseverance, longsuffering, accountability, forthrightness, diligence, self-discipline, justice, self-controlled passion, independence, thickness of skin, self-mastery, strength of will and nerve, purposefulness, self-sacrifice, resourcefulness, loyalty, toughness of mind, grit, moral backbone, etc. Such a world calls us to become much more than we already are.

A world of CHRISTIANS, men and women, who fit this description would be beautiful indeed. Dare I offer my rebuttal to this article: there is a huuuuge difference between “the reality of sexual difference”, and gender norms that we have been socialized to believe in. There is an even huger difference between biblical gender roles lived well in our current society, and squishing men and women back into man boxes and women boxes and calling this squishing “Biblical”. My heart hurts. Time to talk about something else.

I’m suspicious of startuppy social panaceas in general, but I like the idea behind Lava Mae, an old bus with showers installed for the homeless. The people behind it have been very thoughtful, and I think it makes a lot of sense (even though my eye twitches when I read “funded by Google [overlords]” and “register with iPads [from the other overlords]”. Obvi they’re copying the Relief Bus, my favorite nonprofit in the world. And why not? It’s a good model.

Lastly, what is my friend Kevin Lai NOT doing? Well. He’s kind of the man you want to talk to if you’re a Christian, in college, and in New York. (See: The BLOCK) He’s also on staff for this new beautiful magazine (???) and starting a printing company (????). It will someday be my claim to fame to say that I knew him when he was not this cool.

Those are my picks.See you next time.

xo Jo


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Zann says:

    Believe it or not, I think the article on Christian masculinity makes some really good points. I don’t think the author was saying “these traits belong to men.” I think he was saying that these traits have been removed from men by a society that says, “Women can be this too!” and therefore misses the point: that men should be all of these things, and that patriarchy is not equivalent to dictatorship (I might be using “patriarchy” wrong haha…I mean a society in which men are called to leadership). I.E., just because a man adopts the characteristic of leadership doesn’t make the woman less of a leader. But this is a society that makes men and women equal – which, I think, ultimately leads us to things like same-sex marriage. But men and women are different: God made Adam, found something lacking, and made Eve as a helper, a compliment. With just Eve, or just Adam, perhaps we miss out on the picture of God that is formed when the two become one flesh.

    Maybe we should Skype! I have thoughts, and I bet you do too. I might be super wrong. But I feel like we’re so concerned about women and making sure we prove that we can do and be anything that a man can be, that we forget about men and who they are called to be, according to Scripture. If there’s one thing I missed in that article, it’s definitely a reference to SCRIPTURE and who God is and Genesis. It is all opinion, albeit interesting opinion.

    Love you! Hope I make some sense. Thanks for posting, I love reading your blog. And seeing your feet (I pretend they’re yours) every time I scroll to the top.


  2. Hi Jo,
    I am the author of the masculinity post that you linked above. Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns, which are important ones.

    I confess that your description of the post made me grin—’a foam-at-the-mouth rabid post with nothing backing it up than a vague scent of testosterone and the frightening tone of an unleashed Mark Driscoll.’ I am extremely far removed from the Driscoll mould of masculinity—and openly and happily so—as anyone acquainted with my blog will know (I have been known to post pictures of my current knitting projects and cake decoration). I am really not hung up on pushing some caricature of macho masculinity. In fact, much of the point of the post is to push back against precisely the sort of ‘Biblical Masculinity’ of people such as Driscoll (I argue, among other things, that a healthy masculinity will only be restored indirectly, and not by fixating on Biblical Masculinity). While I think that Driscoll was right to recognize a masculinity problem in the Church, I firmly disagree with his approach (see my comment here).

    You are absolutely right to point out that the virtues that I listed are virtues that women can and do exemplify too (even though such virtues will usually have distinct flavours and forms of expression for each sex). However, it was never my intention to deny this. I think that certain of these virtues will be more prominent in their importance in men’s lives (just as some other virtues will typically be more prominent in the lives of women), but we certain don’t have a monopoly upon them. Central to my argument in the post is the claim that men have been infantilized in contemporary society. In this context, the virtues of manhood are primarily the virtues that express the maturity of a grown man, rather than the callowness and lack of self-mastery of the youth. I think that many forget that ‘man’ is not only contrasted with ‘woman’: often the more important contrast is between ‘man’ and ‘boy’. It was the latter contrast that was the most important one in my post.

    I have dealt with broader questions of the Bible’s teaching on these subjects in very considerable depth elsewhere, so did not want to repeat myself in this post.


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