NEWS FROM THE CENTER FRIDAY DIGEST March 4, 2022 - Manhood, Bruce Jenner, Sports and Pastors

Is it all just a matter of function? I mean, much more than generally speaking, a woman firefighter will not be able to carry people down a ladder. And that argument holds true for women's sports, where men, as a sex, are biologically stronger in so many different ways. But is that all there is?

Surely, function was and is an argument for women ministers. They can get up and speak, teach, visit, and much of the rest. Other factors are surely at work. But is it simply function, or is there something fundamentally different about us? So, back in the day Critical Theorists claimed that fatherhood and headship was all about function, based particularly on a man's physical strength and the tradition of the man bringing home the paycheck. Well, what if the man was weak, either by nature or illness? What if he were unable to work? Could the mom then become the dad? Yes, if you believe that it's all about function or certain functions. And as they were deconstructing the family, so also was the church deconstructed, as if a minister were not more than function, not a picture of Christ, God's Son, a brother carrying on the work of the Good Shepherd.

But we know that's not true. A dad remains a dad, even when weak, even when unable to work. That's the role he was born to play. Now, we might say that he could be a more macho man, whatever that means, or a more sensitive man, as you might see it, but he remains a man at his essence, and therefore capable of fatherhood, both in the act of procreation and in fulfilling the role.

If our lives are boiled down to function, then we lose the very essence of our humanity. This we see in the way we so easily dispose the helpless unborn, and disparage the elderly, whose lives are said no longer to mean anything. Perhaps, the way to understanding fatherhood would be to take a step back and consider grandfathers and grandmothers, who despite losing certain biological capacity remain forever who they are. Grandma and Grandpa are simply different, even as mom and dad are different. And it's in every drip and drop of our DNA.

So, let's stop quoting Bruce Jenner about men in women's sports. It runs much deeper. Boys need their space, as do girls, especially during puberty. The rush to intermingle them doesn't work out for either. Men and women each have roles to play. Not stereotypical roles, but roles nevertheless.

We imagine that we are creating our own identities, when we do better to discover and recognize who we truly are, as it's written into every bodily cell. So, we might ask what kind of a man or woman we wish to be, but that's a gulf that cannot be crossed, but only met in a wondrous union, a grateful appreciation born from the idea that we need one another, and that together, as man and woman, we can do things we could never do separately, meeting needs, expressing love as can only happen in the mystery of God's plan who recognized that it is not good for man to be alone. And in the church, we can lead the way by showing forth God's good creation, by celebrating the incarnation, by ordaining only men to the ministry, because that, like fatherhood, is the role that is given them.

The Rev. Dr. Peter Scaer is chairman and professor of Exegetical Theology and director of the M.A. program at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Be Informed

Dr. Steven Christie, author of “Speaking for the Unborn,” answers common pro-choice arguments in a recent Issues, Etc. podcast.

Be Equipped

Do you have a child in school? They don’t have to leave their faith at home! Alliance Defending Freedom explains what your rights as a parent as well as your child’s rights entail.

Be Encouraged

“Nothing can be restored without work, and the work of relearning our own civilization’s fundamental languages, histories, and literatures will be hard. . . . Yet we are not hopeless. The treasures of antiquity remain available to us, and a time of rebuilding must come after the many collapses of recent years and of recent centuries.” – Rev. Dr. Adam Koontz, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. 

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