A Letter That Captures the Heart of the Methodist Conflict

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I;m Reading Corey Robin's "The Reactionary Mind"

Though the focus is on ideology and politics, his analysis of "Reaction" (that impulse which is erroneously called "conservatism" today), it offers some insights this dynamic illustrates. Ideology, especially the ideologies of reaction, are primarily concerned with the maintainence of Power and its being regained after it is lost. So it is with objections to procedures to overcome sexism in the Mainline churches today. At leat two and possibly more of Bejamin's theses concern the maintainence or reacquisition of male power in the UMC clergy.

Other similar initiatives - notably the evangelical "muscular Christianity" movement and Flora Matthews-Green's analysis of male converts to Eastern Orthodox Christianity (though with the latter I certainly admit the appeal to find beard-growing a validating process is spot on) are more of the same.

Benjamin appears mired in the myth of male headship in the nuclear family and totally blissfully unaware as to how this is either irrelevant or appalling to younger women of today. If the male leadeship asserts itself it does not follow that wives and children will dutifully follow. One is perhaps better informed thorugh a maxim in the wonderful comedy "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," to mix metaphors and note the counterintutive to Matthews-Green's wishful thinking. The daughter of a Greek Orthodox family values her culture, but seeks to marry a man who is not Greek Orthodox. Her mother backs her, noting how she will influence her father to win his support, saying, "They say the man is the head of the family, but the woman is the neck. And the neck can turn the head anywhere she wants!" (Spoiler alert) The non-Orthodox fiance, influenced by his love for his bride to be, converts to Greek Orthodoxy. While his background and culture are not fully explored, it appears he is from a nominal American Christian background and realizing that by doing so he cements his acceptability to her family. He makes the decision to do so on his own, without her or the family asking him to do it. That's the sort of thing today's women are looking for rather than a man who will lead them by the nose.

George Nixon Shuler more than 3 years ago

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