Born and raised in Indiana as the son of a doctor who was gifted in writing, Roger devoted most of his talents in the field of music as composser, arranger, and producer of both live and recorded music since the 70’s. He currently lives in Florida and continues to create music (and various music-and-sound-related productions) for OCN and others; and, having converted to the Orthodox Faith in 2010, he enjoys writing the blog series “Musings of a Grateful Convert” for The Sounding.
This is not a diatribe against homosexuality, women’s rights, or any other cause that somehow finds a conflict with maleness. Neither is it a subtle “vote” for my own gender in a shrouded macho venting. It is, in fact, a statement for something which is integral to our very existence as humans and Christians on planet Earth.
With all due respect (or at least as much respect as I can scrape up at the moment) for those in the “liberal” wing of Christianity who have felt a need to revise the wording of the Bible to eliminate any “sexist” references to God, Jesus, and perhaps others (but not Mary, I guess), I would posit that the revision of historical texts to suit contemporary mores is both unethical and theologically unsound.
To state it as Yoda would, unethical such revision is. I don’t know anyone in our present time who would say it was a good thing for the Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union back in the 30’s to revise histories of Russia, even to the redacting of photographs to excise undesirable individuals who had “betrayed the State”. If you revise biblical texts to refer to God as anything other than the male gender, you have abandoned all moorings to history, culture, and sanity in general.
The theological angle is even more cogent. Our Faith is inextricably bound, or better said, “shot through”, with maleness. Genesis records the creation of man as being represented by two genders, but when God is referenced throughout the Old Testament, the male gender is preferred, such as bara (“he created” in Genesis) and Elohim (Ibid.).
Jesus apparently had a firm idea of God’s gender when he constantly referred to him as Father, which of course harmonizes with the Psalms and other references.
In Latin, both homo and vir mean “man”. The difference between these two appellations lies in their nuances: homo indicates the biological or sexual identity of the person, and vir implies a level of behavior concomitant with the gender identity.
The best way to illustrate these differences can be found in two Latin derivatives used in the English language:
- This describes a relationship between two parties of the same sex (biologically); and
- This describes a behavior or even a level of integrity that seems to go along with the word prototype (vir).
In our faith, the use of the masculine gender is not just window dressing or a side issue–it exists at the root of our existence as Christians. It is in the second sense (vir) that Sts. Paul and James used the Greek ἀνήρ for “man”. Note that St. Paul calls on the Corinthian believers to “act like men” (I Cor. 16:10). Of course, this does not inveigh upon women to wear pantsuits and strive to become corporate heads or army sergeants (although these vocations are nowhere prohibited to women). It is however, exhorting all of us to be virtuous in our behavior, exhibiting the character of God in all our endeavors, however “male” that might appear.
Please note that we in contemporary Western Civilization are already reaping the consequences of abandoning all gender moorings. For example, in my viewing of the first season of Grey’s Anatomy back in 2005, I soon noted that the women in the cast of aspiring medical residents were apt to be decision-makers using cool, calculated logic, while the male counterparts were more inclined to “fly off the handle”, often acting on emotion alone and unsure of their convictions.
For Heaven’s sake, let’s all act like men, shall we?
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