No longer dirty?
Firstly, read the whole post. It’s worth it.
Stasi and I just spent a weekend together in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where we wandered for hours through art galleries and gardens, looking for those works of art that particularly captured us. Toward the afternoon of our second day, Stasi asked me, “Have you seen one painting of a naked man?” The point was startling. After days of looking at maybe a thousand pieces of art, we had not seen one painting devoted to the beauty of the naked masculine form. Not one. (Granted, there are a few examples down through history . . . but only a few.) However, the beauty of women was celebrated everywhere, hundreds of times over in paintings and sculptures. There is a reason for this.
For one thing, men look ridiculous laying on a bed buck naked, half-covered with a sheet. It doesn’t fit the essence of masculinity. Something in you wants to say, “Get up already and get a job. Cut the grass. Get to work.” For Adam is captured best in motion, doing something. His essence is strength in action.
So much of the church has answered the call to re-validate the feminine through the adoption of the perspectives of feminism. Perspectives which essentially validate women by making them mostly like men. But, the cost has been epic as, slowly, everything became redefined: Desirability? That was just the eye candy for men. Femininity? That’s just pathetic softness. Responsiveness? That’s a symbol of male domination of women. Feminine sexuality? That’s just how she prostitutes herself.
Mix feminism with rampant moralizing plus a dash of simple fear of sex and we have the full-text recipe for modern Evangelicalism’s aggressive pursuit of a burka level dress code.
(In a way, I have to hand it to the Eldredge’s for having the courage to even go here. So much of the Church has responded with comedic horror and handwringing at the very thought that the naked human form should ever be seen. This is more than just a little can of worms and the cost has to have been immense for them…)
But, what’s the most interesting about this is how different parts of the Church are starting to rise up and refuse to see women, femininity female sexuality, female beauty/desirability and a woman’s nakedness as something defiling and dirty and are starting to see such as the foundational essence of feminity and the central core of a woman’s relational power.
It’s a validation of the foundational drive towards a multi-faceted relationship that rests at the core of the feminine and it’s the radical act of returning to women the sceptre of power that is her capacity to draw to herself on every level and bring forth relational life in all of its complexity and mystery.
The militantly defensive rage from unresolved sexual abuse which marks the pseudo-masculinizing state that is feminism pales by comparison to that sort of assured sense of innate nobility and purpose.
And it’s SO about time…