Do you know Greg Laurie? Pastor of Harvest church in Riverside, CA, he is one of my favorite pastors to listen to online. I am subscribed to his podcast and I often listen to it while driving out of town. He’s pretty straight forward, teaches the bible line by line, verse by verse, and is a pretty good entertainer as well, often throwing in goofy impersonations, Beatles references and personal stories into his sermons. They are fun, but not distracting from the overall lesson. Above all he is a guy who loves Jesus, and it shows. Having come from the Jesus movement of the 60’s, he is always a good pastor to listen to.
That being said, I do have one problem with his teaching style: He is very self-denigrating towards himself and men. It’s doesn’t come off as mean-spirited, like some other pastors who have recently fallen from grace, but is often light hearted and humorous. Sometimes making joking statements like “men are brain damaged from birth because our brains are bathed in testosterone”, I really don’t think he means anything negative by it, it’s just part of his “act”. In fact, if I hadn’t found the manosphere it might not have even bothered me, but therein lies the problem. Much like listening to music or watching movies, the things we don’t readily pay a lot of attention to can still greatly affect us and our thinking.
Recently my wife and I started watching a show on Netflix, a BBC drama called The Fall. Overall it’s a good show about an officer named Stella, played by Gillian Anderson (of X-files fame) who is on the hunt for a sexual-deviant killer in Belfast, Ireland. It’s well written, well acted and, though it moves somewhat slowly, is quite gripping. Stella is not your typically “ball-busting” feminist, but she is very much a feminist, which is to be expected from modern TV where every woman is either a victim, a whore or an empowered feminist.
I had some issues with the show when Stella started talking about how great the matriarchal societies of South America were, and how they had no crime and the women were empowered to sleep with men as they pleased, no strings attached (which we come to find seems her mindset on sexual relations, at great cost to others). I also had some issues when I started to notice that every man in the show was either a killer, a wuss or awful in some way (one victims husband seems to be having an affair, one is a wife-beater, one has already slept with Stella in the past, etc.). Though I rolled my eyes through most of it my jaw dropped during the following exchange.
The scene takes place after Stella has come back to her hotel room from the hotel restaurant. As she is getting undressed someone knocks at her door. It is her superior from the police force, John. A man she has previously slept with (married, btw), after a bit of harried discussion about the situation he is in, he drunkenly begs her to sleep with him, to which, after some protest, she promptly breaks his nose. From there the two move to the bathroom where we see Stella cleaning up his bloody face while he talks a little about the murder case and the prime suspect, who a history of going in and out of boys homes in his youth. John admits that he is familiar with one of the homes (apparently having been in that same home in his youth) and laments the fact that the home leader, a priest, was in the habit of molesting the boys. From this point the following conversation takes place:
John: “Why are women emotionally and spiritually so much stronger than men?”
Stella: “Because the basic human form is female. Maleness is…a kind of birth defect.”
Yes, you read that right. This line, this one single line, sums up societies view of men. A birth defect. Doesn’t matter if your a feminist or not, this is what we have been trained to believe, and it’s disgusting.
I don’t dislike Greg Laurie, in fact, I like him a lot. My family has a bit of a direct tie with the guy – he is the pastor who married my parents. Unfortunately, however, his jokes about men being damaged from birth fall right in line with horrible, feminist thinking. I don’t believe he says anything with ill intent, but jokes like that, to a captive congregation, along with feminist anti-male sentiment from the world, makes a deadly combination. And Greg Laurie is not the only one who speaks like this. Pastors all over crack the same jokes and hold the same sentiment, often praising women for their innate goodness and holiness, while denigrating men as being out of touch with God and making statements that make men seem unfit to lead or unworthy of their wives.
Where is a young, Christian man supposed to go when both the church and the world seem hostile toward him? Or, even worse, where is the unsaved man supposed to go when he hits rock bottom and is looking for a savior in Jesus, and the church and the world both tell him he is damaged from birth, just for being a man? How do young women, seeking a husband or being sought after by a man as a wife, view her suitors when she is told that men are damaged goods, incapable of rational thought and Neanderthals capable of nothing more than grunts and groans?
And we wonder why men are leaving the church in droves?