Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Manly Men and Their Warrior Jesus

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Manly Men and Their Warrior Jesus

Article excerpt

Beware: The warrior Christian seems to be all the rage these days. Mark I. Pinsky, author and religion writer for The Orlando Sentinel, recently reported on the new movement toward testosterone soaked manly man Christianity. Think Jesus as warrior. Does your pastor have a set of crossed swords and other implements of destruction decorating the sanctuary walls?

Swords seem to be a unifying theme. In the article he speaks of several pastors who appear enamored of the weapons. Which reminded us that in these parts of the Midwest a pamphlet was making its way around about a conference last month on "Living a Pure Life in an Impure World." Not a bad theme, but perhaps it is noteworthy, given the manliness trend, that the brochure had the legend "Men of VALOR," with the last word in that kind of script they used on King Arthur cartoons. Beneath that was a manly man's hand wrapped around the handle of a large and ornately decorated sword.

So what's the bit with swords? None of the Gospel writers has Jesus wielding one and the time that impetuous Peter used one in the Garden of Gethsemane to lop off someone's ear, he was rebuked by Jesus, who repaired the ear.

The aim of the manly-man Christian set is to get more men to church. And those who study such things have concluded that the Jesus of most churches is a wimp and needs a makeover. So preachers wear a lot of denim and one guy reportedly wears camouflage. Some advocates of the man's church are especially opposed to the "feminization of the church." (Not a surprise, since across the board for almost all of time, women have been the overwhelming majority in churches, including the Catholic church even though they can't ... well you know all that.) One has to wonder--though Pinsky didn't cover this--what the opposition to feminization of the church would look like in Catholic circles. …

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