Saturday, November 25, 2017

Power Dynamics in the Bedroom

Power Dynamics in the Bedroom
There's been lots (and lots!) of commentary on explosions of accusations of sexual abuse/assault by men with relative power. Some argue "this is just the beginning" of such revelations, others that we're creating a hysterical Stalinesque atmosphere. Most commentary assumes a simple narrative of men-with-power-abusing-weak-women. I think feminist matriarch Camille Paglia's Salon interview of a couple of years ago deserves rereading right now:
… male sexuality is extremely complicated, and the formation of male identity is very tentative and sensitive—but feminist rhetoric doesn't allow for it. This is why women are having so much trouble dealing with men in the feminist era. They don't understand men, and they demonize men. They accord to men far more power than men actually have in sex. Women control the sexual world in ways that most feminists simply don't understand. Professional women today don't want to think about this or deal with it.
The erasure of motherhood from feminist rhetoric has led us to this current politicization of sex talk, which doesn't allow women to recognize their immense power vis-à-vis men. When motherhood was more at the center of culture, you had mothers who understood the fragility of boys and the boy's need for nurturance and for confidence to overcome his weaknesses.
More insights follow. One doesn't have to agree with all of Paglia's judgments to see she's on to something. This is not to excuse men's outrageous behavior nor to encourage seeing men as victims. It is to suggest that the power dynamics between men and women are much more psychologically complex than we tend to allow.
C. S. Lewis on Politics
He didn't talk about it much, as he "held many politicians in disdain and was indeed pessimistic about the potential for political solutions to live up to their advertising." But when he did write about politics, he offered (as usual for Lewis) much wisdom.
Bad News from China
For years I've been an optimist regarding religious freedom in China, arguing that the government is more and more open to letting Christians, even those in illegal house churches, practice their faith in relative freedom. I may have to eat my words if trends like this continue:
Thousands of Christian villagers in China have been told to take down displays of Jesus, crosses, and gospel passages from their homes as part of a government propaganda effort to "transform believers in religion into believers in the party."
'We Need to Clean Up Some Unforced Errors'
Fans of comic John Crist will enjoy this brief video of a pastor's press conference about Sunday's worship service, in the style of a football coach's postgame analysis.
Grace and peace,
 
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor in Chief, Christianity Today

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