Monday, November 19, 2012

Manosphere Theology

A couple months ago I started reading a few Manosphere blogs.  Four of them are intriguing.

As far as I know, none of these authors are religious.  But they readily ascribe to some basic scriptural theology.

First, we are more broken than we realize.  In our natural state we do things we do not want to do, often without realizing it.  We often think we want things we do not really want, or we not realize the deep desires at the root of our superficial wants.  Although we like to consider our behavior as rational our actions are often better explained by natural inclinations and desires.

(Scripture would add that this broken "old self" can be replaced by a fixed "new self" infused with God's own spirit.)

Second, we focus too much about what others think of us.  We put on acts to impress people.  We monitor ourselves in an attempt to see ourselves as others do.  We say things we do not mean to smooth things over with people.  We dwell on trying to figure out what others want, even though this is often doomed because (as mentioned above) people often do not really know what they want.

(Scripture would add that we should instead focus on what pleases God.  This is more important because God is eternal and in charge.  It is easier because God really does know what he wants, and for the important issues had told us.)

Third, we think about ourselves more that we like to admit.  We assume events near us are about us.  We attribute meaning to impersonal things.  We hear about acts far from us and assume they will effect us.  Even when we are generous and sacrificing we still often think about how our deeds cost us and change us.

(Scripture would add that we can escape thinking about ourselves by keeping our focus on God as we channel his goodness and generosity.  Then our actions are about what God is doing, other people's reactions say something about God instead of about us, and we have no worries about running out of resources, time, or energy.)

Therefore, despite my disagreement with many things these authors write, we have some deep foundational agreement.

Some of their posts prompt a response in me, "Thank goodness I have a 'new self' and need not worry about that any more."  A few posts even help me notice areas in my life where I am neglecting my new self and letting the old self emerge again.

Some of their posts prompt me to consider issues of fatherhood or marriage that are worth thinking about.  What will I teach my sons about masculinity and being a gentleman?  Can I do a little about my physical fitness and dress to be more pleasing to my wife?  Etc.

Some of the posts are just interesting psychology, even if irrelevant to my life.  A few might be relevant to my math teaching, but I am not sure about that.

And a lot of posts I just read and forget.  But even those posts were usually interesting due to seeing that largely scriptural understanding of people filtered through a very secular combination of world-view and application.

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