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The Other Woman

16 April 2014

My wife and I saw yet another ad for the revenge-flick, The Other Woman. In it a woman discovers her boyfriend is cheating on her. He has another girlfriend and, as it turns out, a wife. The three become conspirators, gleefully torturing the adulterous man, usually through demeaning sexual pranks.

I told my wife that men would never be able to get away with that sort of thing, making a movie about systematically humiliating a libido-driven woman in such ways.

But I was wrong. That’s the script of most every porno ever made.

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Echoes

10 April 2014

During a little adventure in Hot Springs, SD, my fatherly influence was again confirmed.

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Manning up with Casting Crowns

28 March 2014

Casting Crowns arrived on the music scene in 1999. By a long but steady ascent, they have become one of the few Evangelical bands to move between Christian and secular radio, touting positive messages for general audiences. As such, their lyrics hold special insight into values popular among conservative American believers. Among the consolidation of virtues Casting Crowns is responsible for is a set of gender expectations for men. In particular, their code turns on concepts of moral integrity, inner piety, protection of women and children, and evangelism.

In 2011 Casting Crowns released the single “Courageous,” which accompanied the film by the same name. With a story about a police officer in the background, the song laments the loss of traditional manliness, when men “were warriors on the front lines, standing unafraid.” Now, men are “watchers on the sidelines while our families slip away.” The golden days of patriarchy have waned into the dark days of men without backbone and purpose. The refrain that Christian men are “taking back the fight” does not refer to a program to subject women. Rather, the fight is directed at the heart, turning to a life of prayer. This battle to regain the authoritative self starts with the regaining of the authentic self, “on our knees with lifted hands.” Those who “reignite the passion,” the song goes on to say, “become warriors.” Accordingly, the battle for one’s place in the family has been internalized to take place on the war-field of the heart, in which lethargy and cowardice are put to death via prayer. The song ends with the promise, “In the war of the mind I will make my stand.”

Casting Crown’s inner masculinity continues to the be the basis for external masculine honor in 2014′s “Heroes.” The woman of the song expresses her valor in financial ways, supporting her two children (notably after her breadwinning husband abandons her). The high school boy in the second verse “walks against the flow” in fairly nebulous moral ways, not following “the hopeless road” but “willing to stand alone.” His manhood comes through principally in a moralistic separation from the world (though this is somehow equated with seeing the school as “his mission field”). Again, the battle is fought in internal terms, battling for moral integrity through self-discipline and prayer.

Through both songs one hears the moralistic theme of Promise Keepers set in the militaristic language of John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart. Thus lead vocalist Mark Hall confesses his penchant for uber-manly movies like Braveheart, saying, “I think that’s my spirit in me longing to be the warrior that God created me to be.” Yet his battle-loving language is simply the key through which he sings of a longing to return to traditional values beginning with the conquest of self. Notably, this sort of Evangelicalism is still psychological and inward-facing while much of the rest of Christianity is turning toward the social sciences and political action.

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Just a Little Idea for a Valentine’s Day Man-Gift

14 February 2014

heartsteak

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The Work of King: A Panel in Sioux Falls

20 January 2014

If you’re local, please attend!

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The Work of Martin Luther King, Jr.

King’s politics had real depth, driven by a keen awareness of socio-economics, theology, and the human condition. Please join Sioux Falls Seminary as it celebrates the legacy of the great civil rights leader through a panel of esteemed commentators:

Mark Blackburn, Augustana College
Ceca Cooper, University of Sioux Falls
Robin Duncan, Sioux Falls Psychological Services
Christina Hitchcock, University of Sioux Falls
Gary Strickland, Sioux Falls Seminary

WHEN: Thursday, January 23, 7:30pm
WHERE: Sioux Falls Seminary, 2100 S. Summit Ave., Sioux Falls, SD

Refreshments will be served.

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Move over, Chuck Norris…

5 January 2014

In the field of New Testament studies, N.T. Wright is practically omnipresent. Somehow he seemed to take over every relevant theological conversation while baptizing babies and curing poverty and wisecracking on The Colbert Report. Accordingly, Url Scaramanga’s post on the new Chuck Norris cannot not be shared.

Here’s a teaser: “N. T. Wright doesn’t parse nouns. They decline themselves before him.”

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My Grandfather, the Engineer

12 December 2013

He’s 87 years old and going strong. This month Progressive Engineer features John Ebbinghaus as the inventor of a line of electrically conductive pastes that could affect a number of industries. See more about my impressive grandfather here.

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