Apologize for Making "Hurtful" Remarks? No Way!

April 2002

It’s a great irony that while Christianity is unmistakably a patriarchal religion, most of its adherents consist of women (plus an overrepresentation of wimpy men). Given the current outcry that Christianity is unfair to women, how odd that they are its most devoted followers. In Christianity today, it’s the manly man who is the endangered species. Leon Podles, a groundbreaking thinker, has written much about this, pointing out that because Christianity tends to be seen by many virile men as “a refuge for weaklings,” they’re inclined to flee from it.

Have we forgotten that a Mighty Fortress is our God? Men want to be challenged by hearing about the risky exploits and courageous deeds of biblical figures and Christians throughout the ages, but too often the milieu of Christianity is saturated with sappy sentiments about being sweet and sensitive, and with psychiatric slop about finding some kind of Zen serenity (you know, the serenity of a pond, stagnant and slimy). It’s as if the severe fidelity of the heroes of our faith — the prophets, saints, and martyrs — never existed.

But Christianity still produces gritty men. Case in point: The General Synod of the trendy Anglican Church of Australia invites observers from other Churches to attend and offer cheery ecumenical remarks. According to New Directions (Dec. 2001), one such guest at the latest Synod was Bishop Suriel of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Now, the Synod had been discussing the issues of women bishops and homosexuality, and the Bishop announced to the Synod that women bishops are contrary to Scripture and tradition, and that homosexual activity is a sinful abomination for which homosexuals must repent. Much of his audience was aghast. His comments were greeted with hostility, and he was even hissed.

The next day the Primate (i.e., presiding bishop) of the Anglican Church of Australia announced to the Synod that Bishop Suriel was sorry for what he said, for he realized that his remarks were (so said the Primate) “hurtful.”


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New Oxford Notes: April 2002

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