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Up Front 6/8/2022

Gender Observations in Culture: Alastair Roberts

"... a code of honour, calling for the virtues of manliness, gives force to our expectation that leaders in particular be exposed to challenge and prove the strength of their positions or forfeit their status. The authority of leaders cannot easily be abstracted from their demonstration of the virtues of manliness: strength, honour, mastery, and courage. Manly authority doesn’t reside simply in offices, but arises from the public perception that a man possesses such virtues, especially when they are exercised in the service of goodness, truth, or beauty. Where a leader clearly lacks such virtues, people will not regard him as having much authority, even though he may enjoy office. Office and command without the weight of some form of the traditionally manly virtues—whether the person exercising it is male or female—can seem bossy. It is the sort of leadership that is perceived to lack the strength to underwrite its claims to people’s submission.
Women do not naturally gravitate to a manly code of honour. The social virtues that are elevated in women’s groups tend to be things like inclusion, supportiveness, empathy, care, and equality. Through his and his students’ research on the subject of ‘social justice warriors’, Jordan Peterson has identified that it refers to a real phenomenon in the world, but also suggests that it is specifically related to a maternal instinct: ‘the political landscape is being viewed through the lens of a hyper-concerned mother for her infant.’
The manly code calls us all to play to strength, whereas the maternal instinct calls us all radically to accommodate to weakness.
C.S. Lewis once observed, ‘battles are ugly when women fight.’
If we are to make progress, it will not be through submission to raw and antagonistic masculinism, but in the prudent, careful construction of societies and communities of discourse that harness both male and female social strengths, while counteracting their respective weaknesses and dangers.
An important part of this development, I believe, must be found in resistance both to complete gender integration on the one hand and to extreme gendered segregation on the other. We must recover the values of manliness: the future of a truthful and free society depends upon them. We must cultivate virtuous and honourable manliness in young men and save them from the clutches of feral masculinity. This requires the establishment and preservation of realms of male homosociality, where men are cultivated into mature masculinity, not least by members of an older generation.

Questions on Women and Head-coverings.

  1. Is the head-covering of 1 Cor 11 a literal head-covering?

  2. It was literal in Corinth and was the standard in all the churches of the New Testament. It is uncontested. 1 Cor 11:16 “If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.”

  3. The question of application however may appeal to the immediate context. In that culture, the removal of the head-covering meant something in their context that it does not mean now in our context. This does not negate the importance of the symbols, but the underlying meaning was and is the primary importance.

  4. Baptism is a symbol, and the Lord’s Supper is a symbol-even in the same area of scripture in 1 Corinthians.