This Ruthless World

Adventures in absurdity

Teabagging Jesus

Pieter Bruegel, "The Ass at School" (c. 1570)Per RightWingWatch, Family Research Counsel Executive Vice President Jerry Boykin gave an exhilarating speech about the meaning of “Biblical Manhood”. It’s pure comedy gold. According to Boykin, Jesus was a “man’s man” and a “tough guy”, who “smelled bad” and had huge biceps and bulging veins from all the carpentry he was doing. Boykin laments the “feminized Jesus” that the church presents, that provides no inspiration to modern Real American Men, men communicate by grunts, shoot unarmed “urban” teenagers for freedom and have more neck tattoos than teeth.

It’s a pity though Boykin didn’t also mention that Jesus, like a true man’s man, was in the habit of telling random chicks he’d like to suck on their tits, because that’s what a real man is required by nature to do, hating gays, shooting guns (at people, exotic animals and occasionally printers, should they get all uppity) and embracing a kind of ruthless capitalism unshackled by any sense of responsibility to one’s fellow man. It’s right there in the Bible, isn’t it? Well, if it isn’t, it damned well should be, and Jerry Boykin, with his Family Research Counsel, will see to that.

This is, of course, damage control in the wake of American conservatives’ increasing diversion, in their discourse and actions, from what Jesus actually said (assuming the Gospels are inerrant) — and Boykin skirts pretty close to claiming that the Gospels have been polluted by socialist agenda and should be cleansed of all passages that attempt to “feminize” Jesus. Like, for example, Matthew 5:39, the passage that rejects the principle of “an eye for an eye” and exhorts Christians to “turn the other cheek” when struck. I have a hard time imagining Boykin’s Manly Jesus doing that in a manly way. Or all those passages in which Jesus treats chicks as if they were people worthy of respect, which, of course, only gay, feminized, un-Christian men like Cory Booker do. Every God-fearing, bad-smelling Real American with bulging biceps knows chicks exist exclusively to be sneered at, have their tits sucked on, pushing out babies and cooking, so what is all this nonsense about Jesus supposedly acting like a friend towards some vagina-havers? I’m sure it wasn’t in the original.

But hey, let’s have some fun with this.

He smelled bad. Why, because he sweated he worked. You think I’m sacrilegious because I said Jesus smelled bad, no. He was a man. He was a man’s man.

Newsflash, boycheck: pretty much everyone smelled bad in antiquity. Women too. Not to get all persnickety on you there, O Insecure Right-Wing Uberhypermasculine (and possibly latently gay) Man-Children of America, but the reason people smelled bad in ancient times is because they didn’t have deodorant or modern cleaning products like we do. They also didn’t have AC or running water.

Carpenters’ wives didn’t exactly sit in air-conditioned homes operating space-age washing machines, because Jesus didn’t live in the 1950’s. For a sampling of what working-class wives in ancient Judea did, may I direct our good friend Jerry Boykin to Proverbs 31, a verse that deals explicitly with that subject. (I would never direct Mr. Boykin to an actual history book, as I am sure he doesn’t trust anything written by academics, who are all liberals, and therefore are always lying. But the Bible can be trusted for 100% truth, right?) Point being, women in Jesus’ time did a FUCKTON of manual labor in searing heat, so Jesus’ mom would have smelled bad also. So how was smelling bad a manly endeavor? Is that one of those impossible rules of Real Womanhood, where a “Biblical Woman” is supposed to look made-up without makeup, be perfectly coiffed without spending more than 3 minutes a day on her hair, always look no older than 23, maintain the figure of an adolescent boy despite going through a dozen pregnancies and never dieting, because only tree-hugging librul hippies eat arugula, never shit, reap and thrash crops in 120-degree heat without breaking a sweat or smelling unpleasant, and just generally make it look effortless? Thanks, boychek. Thanks for admitting that you stink in more ways than one. But just so you know — now that you haven’t been in a combat zone for years, and (presumably) don’t live in abject poverty, your penis doesn’t excuse your offensive body odor. And no one finds it a turn-on. Your BO is birth control, asshole. Go buy an Arrid, fergodssakes. And having done that, please treat us to the next one, about how all real men are supposed to have halitosis.

He had big old callouses all over his hands. I imagine he probably lost a nail or two…he maybe hit it with a hammer or something, I don’t know. I imagine he lost some nails. Think about it, yeah, he was the son of God, but think about what he looked like. He had bone, muscle and sinew in his arms. You think his biceps weren’t big, bulging biceps?

Uhm, boychek? Although Jesus was trained as a carpenter, the Gospels suggest that he did very, very little carpentering. Mostly, he was on the road all the time, living off donations. Between all the preaching and the traveling and the sermons and giving free medical care to Lazy Poors, when would Jesus have found the time for woodwork? Even if he did, as you say, have bulging muscles, consider being realistic in other respects as well.

No.

No.

Jesus was Semitic, not Northern European. Mind you, this was before the Diaspora, before 2000 years of fearsome natural selection resulted in some Ashkenazi Jews looking like they might be related to Leif Ericson. Jesus almost certainly had olive complexion, almond-shaped eyes, raven hair, and features that would have made any Real American reach for his Jesus-approved gun (for freedom) while muttering something about “Messicans” and “creeping Sharia”. Incidentally, this is how Jesus has been traditionally represented in the Eastern Christian tradition:

Furthermore, the average height for men in the Mediterranean region during this time was only about 5’6”. And, given that Jesus grew up in a fairly impoverished environment, he would have had poor nutrition during his formative years, and would very likely have been shorter than average.

In sum, assuming for argument’s sake that Jesus existed, he was in all likelihood a short (by modern standards), scrawny, swarthy man. And I don’t know about him missing nails, but by his thirties, he would almost certainly be missing a few teeth.

It’s a good bet he didn’t have long hair, either. Although the sources on whether ancient Hebrews wore their hair long are vague, we know that the general custom of the Romans, who ruled Judea, was for men to crop their hair short, and most residents in occupied territories followed it. Besides, traveling in antiquity was grueling, and having long hair would only have added to the discomfort (not the least of which is that the hair would have been a perfect breeding ground for fleas).

As for Boykin, I would suggest that he look into the history of Judaism and early Christianity, which may lead him to realize that his paganization of Jesus isn’t entirely, uhm, Christian. Of course, I’m assuming that some part of Boykin’s brain isn’t completely desiccated, and that may be overly optimistic of me — what, given his claim that men may identify, or not identify, with Jesus based purely on looks, because who the fuck cares about the message? It’s socialist propaganda, anyway.

P.S.: Because I am totally vain and too invested in appearances, I usually couple the lede with color artwork (typically, a reproduction of a medieval or Renaissance painting that conveys the same theme as the entry). However, Pieter Bruegel’s black-and-white sketch “The Ass at School” fits in so nicely with what I wrote, I decided to include it despite its lack of colorfulness.

P.S.S. This:

You think his biceps weren’t big, bulging biceps? Big ole’ veins popping out of his arms, thin waist, strong shoulders from lifting.

You know, it’s not uncommon to hear fundies proclaim such intense love for Jesus, it almost sounds like they want to do Jesus. Hell, Gustave Flaubert, that no-good feminized Frenchie who believed chicks should be educated as well as men (mangina! white knight!) scandalized the hell out of polite society back in the 19th century when he described Madame Bovary’s decidedly sensual yearnings for the Son of her Creator. Still, I always have to wonder about the wisdom of proud homophobes who can think of no better way to demonstrate their hetero bona fides than by drooling all over a member of the same sex. Homoeroticism is decidedly strongest among those who obsess over other people’s sexual orientation. At least that’s how it seems to me.

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29 thoughts on “Teabagging Jesus

  1. uglicoyote on said:

    Reblogged this on The Road.

  2. frasersherman on said:

    This is actually an old tradition in American Christianity–Boykin’s borrowing heavily from Billy Sunday, a preacher of about 80 years past. The perception men find church to cozy and loving and not manly and dynamic enough has been with us at least that long.
    Not that it makes Boykin any less full of crap.

  3. I looked at Boykin on that video, and thought- is that a single earring? Alas, no, it is his microphone.

  4. I think your blog is beautifully done and very well-written, yet I wonder why you are so intolerant of other people’s views. To waste your talent trashing the latest fashionable thing to hate(Christianity) seems beneath your talents. Just like liberals, conservatives come in lots of different colors and styles. For someone professing liberalism, I’m surprised at the impulse to attack so violently and to assume that because someone disagrees with you that they probably haven’t read the right books (and who decides which books those are?). I respect your right to be an angry person, but regret how proudly you wear your elitism.

    I just happened to read this today and as someone who’s been on both sides of the fence it made sense to me:”They are the different visions of human nature that underlie left-wing and right-wing ideologies. The distinction comes from the economist Thomas Sowell in his wonderful book “A Conflict of Visions.” According to the Tragic Vision, humans are inherently limited in virtue, wisdom, and knowledge, and social arrangements must acknowledge those limits. According to the Utopian vision, these limits are “products” of our social arrangements, and we should strive to overcome them in a better society of the future. Out of this distinction come many right-left contrasts that would otherwise have no common denominator. Rightists tend to like tradition (because human nature does not change), small government (because no leader is wise enough to plan society), a strong police and military (because people will always be tempted by crime and conquest), and free markets (because they convert individual selfishness into collective wealth). Leftists believe that these positions are defeatist and cynical, because if we change parenting, education, the media, and social expectations, people could become wiser, nicer, and more peaceable and generous.” isteve.com

    I think if we see that there are just two different visions of the world maybe we can begin to have compassion for every man and woman’s search for meaning.

    Peace,
    Adrienne

    • Thank you for your positive comment on my writing ability, Adrienne. I don’t normally engage in the comments, but heck, I’m procrastinating here and I might as well reply to some of the points you’ve raised.

      To waste your talent trashing the latest fashionable thing to hate(Christianity) seems beneath your talents.

      Here is the thing, Adrienne. I will not delve into the long argument over whether God exists, as ultimately, it is a matter of people believing what they want to believe. (Although I must confess that intellectually, I find the prevailing American Evangelical conception of Buddy Christ laughable — and, if I were devout, I think I’d find it quite sacrilegious, too.) However, what I really don’t like about Christianity as it exists in 21st-century America is the fundamentalists’ use of religion as a proxy to fight culture wars and promote big business. I have no respect for this “Christianity” whose followers can’t be bothered to read the Scripture, and I mean really read it; who espouse “religious” ideas that are in stark contrast to what Jesus said explicitly; who use the cloying language of faith to promote intolerance, oppression and exploitation; who take a buffet-style approach to religion, shirking any obligation that might put them outside their comfort zone (such as, you know, abstaining from pork or observing the Sabbath), while invoking faith as a justification for indulging their hatreds; who claim they are “oppressed” and “persecuted” despite having a virtual lock on public office; and who exercise an influence over politics that is wildly out of proportion to their numbers in the actual population. Perhaps this doesn’t describe all American Christians, or conservative Christians, but it certainly describes the segment that dominates the discourse on the subject. But, how much easier it is for you to claim that I criticize Christianity because it’s “fashionable”. I tell you, there is nothing like being accused of acting dismissive by someone who is being dismissive herself.

      For someone professing liberalism, I’m surprised at the impulse to attack so violently and to assume that because someone disagrees with you that they probably haven’t read the right books (and who decides which books those are?).

      Ahh, my favorite trope: “You aren’t a liberal unless you tolerate all points of view, including ones that are utterly repugnant.” I’m sorry, Adrienne, “liberal” doesn’t mean what you seem to think it means. I can handle disagreement, but I have no respect for opinions that are uninformed, irrational and ill-considered. If you think that is tantamount to “hate”, I am fine with that. Some things in this world are worthy of that sentiment. I am intolerant of intolerance — guilty as charged. I hate it. I also hate stupidity, proud ignorance, incuriosity and intellectual dishonesty. If that means I’m not “liberal”, so what? I assure you, I can live without the label — and I certainly don’t strive for conservatives’ endorsement.

      Rightists tend to like tradition (because human nature does not change), small government (because no leader is wise enough to plan society), a strong police and military (because people will always be tempted by crime and conquest), and free markets (because they convert individual selfishness into collective wealth). Leftists believe that these positions are defeatist and cynical, because if we change parenting, education, the media, and social expectations, people could become wiser, nicer, and more peaceable and generous.

      Well, I appreciate the distinction you related, but I hope you can see how, for example, having a small government on the one hand and a strong police and military on the other are mutually exclusive goals. Contrary to popular conservative beliefs, various “nice” social programs, such as SNAP and education, are dwarfed by expenditures on law enforcement and the military. This is the root of what I believe the chief differences are between the Right and the Left, at least in this country. The way I see it, both right-wing and left-wing people are perfectly happy with having a government big enough to implement the policies they favor, even if doing so is very, very expensive and labor-intensive. I know, I know, “small government” is one of the alleged planks of the conservative platform — but it is an illusion for most and an outright lie for some. Trust me, any politician who wants to investigate every miscarriage as a potential homicide, or who wants to invade Iran while also continuing hostilities in two prior theaters is definitely NOT a believer in small government — he’s a believer in shifting power and funds from some things to others, that’s all. And when he tells you he just wants “small government”, he’s lying to you — and believes you are stupid. Anyway, the chief difference between the Right and the Left, as I see it, is this. The Right wants the government to regulate personal non-violent behavior, especially public expression and consensual sexual activity, while not regulating economic activity. The Left wants just the opposite: to have the government regulate economic activity, while leaving personal non-violent behavior alone. (And then, of course, you have the Libertarians, whose whole thing is creating a power vacuum, which will result in private organizations stepping into the governmental role — the end result being that we’ll have a huge, expensive and likely very oppressive government, we just won’t call it “government” and we won’t have ANY say in the governance, no matter how small; that’s the Libertarian utopia for you). And although I think an excess of anything is bad, if forced to choose between the lesser of two evils, I think society has far less to fear from an excess of liberalism than from an excess of conservatism.

      Lastly, while I applaud you for trying to present a balanced view, I think describing liberals as trying in vain to make people “nicer” is a tad trivializing and dismissive. It may very well be that it’s in people’s nature to rape, murder, abuse children, enslave human beings and demonize “outsiders”, be they immigrants or women — but it doesn’t logically follow that society should promote those “values” or ignore such attitudes just because they are “natural”. I want to live in a true meritocracy, one where talented people aren’t handicapped by their background, race or gender; I want to live in a humane society, whose able-bodied members take care of those who cannot take care of themselves: children, the elderly and the disabled; I want to live in a society where poverty is not self-perpetuating like it is, sadly, in present-day America, because poverty is ultimately the root of most social evils, from academic underachievement to violent crime. You may call that pie-in-the-sky idealism, but ultimately, I don’t care about making bad people “nicer”; what I want, is for society to restrict their ability to wreck other people’s lives. That would include economic regulation, too.

      As for whether it’s possible to make humanity wiser and more peaceful — there is every indication that a good system of public education is a big step towards that. Certainly, societies that are tribal and have high levels of illiteracy are known to be mired in perpetual conflict, while societies that are educated tend to be more peaceful and prosperous. I realize certain possessive parents are scared to lose that kung fu grip on their children’s thinking, but that’s a small price to pay for making the world a slightly better place.

      • I actually agree 100% with your take on the hypocrisy of small government politicians. They want to keep their jobs and use Christianity as a cloak to do evil things. My point is only that we’ve had higher education for some people throughout time and it’s never made for more peace and justice. Germany had many educated people amongst its citizenry and it made no difference. In fact the educated elite of the late 19th and early 20th century who favored a modernist view of the world were strongly in favor of eugenic plans for population control. I think this is pretty evil.
        I also hate the buddy Jesus thing. The buddy Jesus, misrepresents the Jesus who said sin no more and died on the cross. Non-Christians are dismissive of a bizarre belief in the miracles of Christianity. I just think humans haven’t proven capable of any miracles. Hypocrisy runs rampant through the left and the right. I just wish people didn’t have to trash entire religions, express hate for the less educated, kill children and animals etc. Probably the same things you wish for.
        I apologize for acting dismissively, but I feel in your anger you did the very same thing by painting all “Fundies” as you call them, as bigoted, sucking on tit morons.
        I usually don’t debate religion and politics because of the depths we’ve let these kinds of discussions sink into. Where’s the civility here?
        Sincerely I hope the best for you. Our differences are based on only one thing. I trust God to in the end make things right and you choose people. Only time will tell.
        Thanks for your response.

    • frasersherman on said:

      None of the characteristics you list for conservatives actually relates to Boykin’s views of manly Jesus, or to gender issues on the right. Those aren’t the result of a belief in small government or free markets.

      • I was reacting more to the anger of the piece than any specific theory on free markets or the manliness of Jesus. Righteous anger is a good thing, I guess, but after a long day I felt that the piece crossed the line into just plain old ordinary ranting by a very smart person. I wonder if yelling about some guy’s take on Jesus’ masculinity will ever really unite compassionate people who see the world through different world views. I wonder if putting your faith in people versus putting that faith in God has changed society for the better. My personal feeling is that life is a morality play that repeats itself in different forms. We look like we’re making progress in one area only for the problem to pop up someplace else. I don’t think this gives us the right to throw our hands up and just wait for God to fix things. It’s obvious to anyone who’s read the Bible that we are commanded to love our ENEMIES. That’s a hard task that I believe can’t be accomplished without some higher power. Spending a lot of energy on some guy talking about if Jesus had muscles seems a waste of time. I’ve ranted over things many times in my life and it’s never gotten me one step closer to making a difference in another’s life so I understand the impulse but I think it’s counterproductive.

        Peace.

      • frasersherman on said:

        Oh, I don’t think it is, Middlemay. The religious right’s devotion to fixed, rigid gender roles with women on the bottom is a big part of its agenda. Boykin’s fixation on Jesus as a Big Strong Man seems like part of that. He’s not just one guy, he’s a symptom of something deeper.
        And having lived in the Bible Belt most of my life, I feel safe in saying the only way there will ever be unity with the religious right is by agreeing with them on everything. They have an absolute faith that God picked them as his chosen people and nobody else and that applies to their politics too (the degree to which Christianity and the Republican party platform have become aligned for many people is horrified). This does not incline them to compromise at all.

      • I’ve spent most of my life as a liberal living and working with the cultural elite who in their own ways have the same levels of militancy and intolerance for the people they deem inferior or different. The level of hatred expressed for people opposed to their core beliefs eventually exposed their hypocrisy (and my own). How can you talk about peace and justice when all you do is hate your easy target enemies?

        Feminism is a mixed bag anyway.Feminists fought for equality while demeaning some things that are naturally feminine. How can we be for a naturalistic sense of the world while trying to obliterate the differences between the sexes found in most animals? Some of it is absurd.

        At the university or in the media, the extremes are presented as the rule of thought creating no room for calmer voices to enter the fray. Conflict sells on both sides of the political spectrum.

      • frasersherman on said:

        Middlemay, if religious conservatives really worried about being “natural” they’d stop all those unnatural abstinence-only classes. Because nothing is less natural for teenagers than not having sex. Heck, the Catholic Church talks about male and female nature but it advocates for a celibacy that’s anything but natural. “Natural” only matters when it fits with what someone wants anyway.
        We’re not animals. We can do things animals rarely or never do. Self-sacrifice for total strangers. Abstinence. Exercise reason over gut reaction. As witness women have done countless things that people insisted weren’t “natural” for them—run a company, run nations, work in science, work in higher math, be the breadwinner—and astonishingly enough they don’t keel over dead at violating cosmic law. Go figure.
        I try not to hate people but I do indeed hate their beliefs. And justice commands that I oppose injustice when I can. And anyone who asserts “women belong in this box, doing this thing, and it’s wrong if they get out of it” is imposing injustice (it applies to other groups in other boxes, but women’s rights is one I feel particularly strongly about it).
        Now, while I will certainly agree liberals can be intolerant toward people they look down on, militancy? Back in the 1960s and 1970s we certainly had plenty of radical leftist terrorist attacks, but in recent years militancy has been overwhelmingly a right-wing thing.

      • I was speaking of a militancy of thought actually. Physical violence comes with the territory of being human, sadly. I don’t believe any one group has a monopoly on it.

        Saying Jesus was a strong man doesn’t automatically mean women are less than or weak. It also doesn’t mean that men have a right to abuse or control women. I think historically in America women have been more equal partners with men. (I’m not saying in the law). I’m talking about the average man and woman living as homesteaders, for instance, had different roles each being equally important. We may have eliminated some of those roles but there still is a strong tendency amongst some of my feminist friends to look down upon other women who choose more traditional roles. Anyway, that’s a debate for another time.
        My main point is that anger and a knee-jerk name calling response to someone with different views does nothing to bring about the peace we all say we crave. I’m not above doing this. In fact my first response to this piece was laced with some anger. It takes someone with a little more patience to sit back and offer a truly respectful response to someone you disagree with who is lashing out in anger.
        I get that shocking titles like “Teabagging Jesus” draw in people who already share the same worldview, but question the need to sure up the ranks.
        I wasn’t saying that Christians all believe in naturalism (though some do). I was saying our culture believes in it as a new (not that new) theology. I can’t speak for all churches, but naturalism is something to rise above in the Bible. The idea of abstinence says that humans can and should control themselves in all things–throw off the natural man–for a higher and better purpose. You may disagree with this. That’s fine. But it is difficult to see the logic of caving into our animal lusts on one hand and then saying that we shouldn’t just cave into all of our animalistic tendencies–including brutality and selfishness. By picking and choosing which instincts are “better” you are creating a theology based on a faith in your own group’s logic–just like Christians.
        I personally feel that many of the children I worked with in disadvantaged schools would have loved having a father around. Free love didn’t go according to plan. My friend who grew up in a commune said it was the loneliest place in the world for a kid watching all of the adults sharing themselves with each other while neglecting children. Of course this is anecdotal but the many kids growing up in single parent homes because sex was just a natural thing are the ones who suffer. A complex issue of course.
        I only wish that we didn’t all have to play the Crossfire game.

        Peace.

      • Adrienne,

        An opinion does not deserve respect and serious consideration simply because it exists. If someone went proclaiming the Moon is made of Gorgonzola, do you really think people would have an obligation to engage that claim seriously? Having different ideas isn’t the same as one person liking Baroque music and another preferring jazz; it’s not that kind of a choice. The reason I criticize Boykin and his ilk so scathingly isn’t just because their claims are “different,” but because their claims are idiotic, contrary to reason and manage to be both homoerotic and homophobic in the same breath; because their claims are a transparent attempt at validation, striving to conform Biblical Jesus to their brutish and vulgar view of ideal manhood, so as to give it the patina of religious obligation (e.g., you aren’t a real Christian man if you don’t stink). The mechanics of rhetoric are such that treating a claim you disagree with seriously requires a starting assumption that the claim has merit; in other words, you start with the assumption that the claim is true and then you proceed to dismantle it. There are some ideas meandering about in this world that I simply will not dignify with such an assumption, even if it’s purely rhetorical. I do not have to respect an opinion that’s hateful, irrational and contrary to the very “evidence” that its author claims to rely upon. In fact, I believe that I gave Boykin far more respect in my essay than he deserves.

        As for your opposition to “militant” feminism, I was not aware that feminism was a violent movement. I don’t usually ask people to back up their claims, but in this particular instance, I’d like to see some evidence. Care to furnish some links to impartial, verifiable sources? Did feminists ever blow up buildings or transportation? Was there ever a massacre of men by feminists? Did there ever come a time, in all of the history of feminism, that the rate of violence by women against men exceeded the rate of violence by men against women? I think not.

        And sorry, but I don’t buy this whole “separate-but-equal” nonsense. In a society that’s fundamentally inequitable – whether by virtue of misogyny, or racism, or sharp class divisions, or some combination of these things – it’s always possible to claim that the oppressed occupy an “equally important role”. One group rules, the other is being ruled. Equal, right? After all, how could society function without a sizeable underclass? You can’t have a ruling class without it. Sorry, but none of this “equally important” crap justifies treating half of humanity as servants and mere life support systems for uteri.

        When I explore people’s nostalgia for traditional gender roles, it always boils down to aesthetic preferences – a romantic view of some mythical past where men were strong and benevolent masters and women were pampered, respected, adored subordinates. At the risk of sounding patronizing, life is not a romance novel. In the real world, there is nothing romantic about having no right to vote; no civil rights to speak of; no legal recourse against an abusive, unfaithful or profligate husband; no access to education; and no economic or professional opportunities, save for prostitution or marriage (which, in a traditionalist society, is just another form of prostitution). There is nothing romantic about a world – like the anti-feminist world in which I was reared – in which little girls are ordered not to play with “boyish” toys; in which young women are taught that having intelligence and academic interests is something to be ashamed of, something to be minimized and hidden, because “real men” don’t want “competitive” women and prefer simpering dingbats who take everything on faith and can be endlessly edified and corrected; in which a woman’s worth, and her “success” in life is defined strictly by how advantageous her marriage is, while her personal qualities and all her accomplishments, such that would be lauded in a man, are treated as essentially worthless. It’s not romantic – it’s dehumanizing, insulting and psychologically damaging in the extreme. I understand some people’s aesthetic preference for hoopskirts and “chivalry”, but the human cost of that preference is entirely too high.

        As for the supposed scourge of single motherhood, you have to recognize that one factor here is that women who find themselves in abusive and inequitable relationships now have a chance to escape. Do you seriously pine for the days when men who were almost never home were considered “good fathers”, and when wives and children had no choice but to endure beatings because the law would not allow them to leave? Sure, having a dad is nice, but growing up in a single-mother household sure beats the hell out of growing up with an abusive father. The complaints of those who wring their hands over single motherhood would have more weight with me if people like you recognized the behavior of certain men and the role of culture as crucial factors in that phenomenon. And speaking of culture, people like Boykin, who emphasize slovenly physical masculinity as the human ideal and smelly muscular men as the only people worthy of hanging out with, perpetuate the culture where men feel they have to assert themselves through violence – which, of course, often ends up being directed at women and children.

      • Again, my point is that progressives and in that I’ll include some feminists have a fantastical hope for some utopian future. All attempts at utopia have failed. My reading of the Bible is that women are to be treated with respect. Others read it differently. If you don’t like people to be judged you have to get the plank out of your own eye. You are making a dismissive judgement call against someone’s views you deem idiotic. I actually don’t care about who stinks. I don’t believe the past was a utopia and I have studied enough history to see that all attempts at social engineering have ended tragically.

        By name-calling all we do is behave like spoiled children. I did mention that some of my views come from personal experience and really I don’t have to write a research paper to prove my worldview to you. Men have every right to explore their masculinity just like women now have the right to explore their masculinity. It takes a lot more faith to believe this brutal world that’s been around a long time will ever improve much by blogging. As I said your hope is in humanity. Mine is in God. Anger makes true understanding of the deeper things we seek too difficult and wasteful of our time.

        I’m curious which culture has ever done it right. My mother took in foster kids who were abused dreadfully by their mothers–so again–men are not any worse than women. And for the record “people like you” as a phrase shows your prejudice. I really do wish you the best. I think we actually have more in common than you think but our faiths are just different.

        Peace and Love (I do admire your writing skills).

      • frasersherman on said:

        Ahh, social engineering! You mean like telling people to live according to a particular interpretation of the Bible? Or according to their imaginary precepts of what “natural” is like? Or is it only people who argue for equality who are engineering?
        For the record, I’m not striving for utopia. I’m striving for improvement. And that is achievable. In my lifetime alone we’ve gone from Jim Crow and outlawed homosexuality to legal equality for nonwhites (however flawed it may be in practice) and a slow but steady equality for gays. Likewise women have the right to be hired and paid without regard for their gender, can take out loans without their husband’s signature (assuming they have the financials to pay it back), use birth control legally, serve in the military … Despite all the pushback from the right, things have been better. I keep writing to see the arc of the universe continues to move toward justice.

      • However we try as humans to rid the world of greed, violence and corruption it comes back in other forms. I don’t agree with any person, religious or not, engineering me. Christianity is a choice. God invites us to his table, we decide if we want to come. I know you’ve said that you had a bad experience with religious people down south. Jesus had a bad experience with religious people though he did say that he didn’t come to change God’s laws. People have debated what that means for centuries.
        My point from the start is that while you don’t have to respect an opinion you disagree with, only when you show respect to the person holding that opinion will you ever have honest, decent debate. I assume having been a liberal, a conservative, a vegan, a non-believer, a missionary etc over the course of my life that behind the theories most people have been given a heart and mind that crave very similar things. Men searching for answers to their questions about what modern manhood is supposed to look like should be applauded. At least they’re thinking. Women also have the right to explore what it means to be a woman and different women are going to answer the questions differently. I hate stereotyping every liberal or every Christian. Life and people are so much more interesting than that.

        As far as the world being a better place for women I would have to say that America is one small place in a big world and for many women in America life’s not all that great. Men and women are deserving of compassion. The world is an unjust place and I admire people who work towards making life better. I just don’t think man alone can resolve the underlying corruption of the world.

        All the best,
        Adrienne

      • Okay, Adrienne, would you debate Hitler respectfully? Like, if Hitler said that you are subhuman garbage and should be exterminated, would you be like, “Well, certainly I respect your opinion and I see your point, but on the other hand …”, etc. Would you respect a pedophile respectfully, if he argued it should be legal to rape infants?

        Not comparing Boykin to Hitler or a child-rapist, just challenging your assumption that every opinion should be “respected” just because someone holds it, regardless of content.

      • Every person –not every opinion. You’re right. A man talking about sweaty manhood is a tad different than Hitler. But, what good would it do me to jump up and down calling Hitler names? This is where it gets crazy.The sweaty type of man we love to hate fought World War Two. We both could find the most horrifying liberal, Christian, whatever. I’m assuming most people aren’t Hitler. Some people think abortion is murder, some people think it’s a woman’s right to choose. I don’t think that every person having an abortion is evil. I don’t think every pro-life activist is evil. I’m that rare person who had to choose an abortion in order to save my life so I’m no super Christian who hasn’t struggled being a woman. I’ll just say that I’m tired of rants. They don’t work.
        In a free society everyone has the right to say stupid, evil, gross things. We have to be tolerant of those stupid ignorant people or we will no longer be free. Actions–killing, abusing tiny animals etc are different than words. If Hitler was silenced do you really think another wouldn’t follow? Bring on Stalin–the man of the people.
        The problem with constant ranting is that it often times brings on intolerance and violent action. Anger feeds anger. I wonder what MLK would think.

        I don’t really like the drinking game types of qquestions–If you were starving on a desert island would you eat an old person or a baby? Kinda silly.

        BTW, pedophiles are fighting for their rights as we speak–and who cares? What is moral truth anyway?

        Thanks for keeping me on my toes today. Though we may never agree, I’m respecting you as I write this :)

        Much peace, now I have to go back to shucking corn up here on the farm.

      • frasersherman on said:

        “We have to be tolerant of those stupid ignorant people or we will no longer be free.”
        I haven’t heard our host calling for them to be jailed, shot or suppressed, so she is being tolerant. Criticizing people for their statements isn’t intolerant, it’s free speech.

      • Once we start seeing people with different opinions as less than us, it doesn’t take much for a charismatic leader to convince us some people are expendable. If we believe in relativism as most moderns do then we must accept that whatever a person’s “truth” is, is fine. We’re all just having our own feelings, finding ourselves, etc. So all of this hot air is for nothing really.

      • frasersherman on said:

        If you haven’t noticed, I don’t believe relativism. I believe absolutely in equal rights for all, freedom of speech. However, you’re certainly entitled believe that makes me inclined to succumb to the siren song of fanaticism, feel free. I’ve been accused of much worse without losing sleep over it.

      • @Adrienne:

        You know, I often see the same people who complain about “relativism” also complain that people consider their words “out of context”.

        But for the record, I don’t subscribe to “relativism” as the Right describes it, and I don’t know too many people who do, either.

        As for the substance of your comment, recognizing someone as a despicable, or irrational human being, or both, and criticizing that person’s opinion as uninformed and, quite frankly, kooky, is not tantamount to devaluing that person’s life. As frasersherman pointed out, no one is calling for Boykin to be fined, jailed, executed, or otherwise legally coerced into silence. I am a big believer in free speech — but freedom from governmental restraints does not imply freedom from consequences; nor does the inevitability of consequences logically suggest that governmental restraints will follow.

      • Somehow a discussion about a kooky man led to an even kookier discussion about debating Hitler if he were still alive. I agree that we all suffer the consequences of our words and actions and I take the criticism that I lumped you guys in with our society-wide inclination towards relativism seriously. I apologize for that. I don’t know how the right sees relativism. I do see that extremists (on all sides) like to say they value everyone’s right to their opinions but then go ahead and bully anyway. To some people speaking out against abortion is about saving a woman’s soul. Some disagree with that and say it’s intolerance.
        The original point still remains that most people struggle trying to figure out life. Occasionally we all say stupid, weird things on the journey. I always preferred the teacher who didn’t belittle me when my thought processes were a bit shaky. Blood-thirsty murderers usually aren’t big on debating. The average person responds best to compassion and not the type of tolerance that’s delivered with a sneer.

        Now I really do have to get my woman’s work done–shoveling goat manure out of the barn. :)

      • frasersherman on said:

        i don’t believe we’re alone. We’re God’s hands, so it’s up to us to do it.
        As for respect: I respect people I disagree with to the point of defending their right to have an opposing opinion or a differing religious viewpoint. I don’t mock them for being fat, ugly or stupid and I don’t call them names.
        Any respect beyond that is something they have to earn. You talk about Christianity being a choice but I’ve dealt with and argued with people who believe it isn’t–or more precisely, that if you choose not to be Christian, you don’t deserve the rights they do. I argue with people who believe, absolutely, that women are inferior and should not be allowed to do anything outside the home, or have rights to disobey their husband. These people do not have my respect (I’m sure I don’t have theirs, but I can live with that).
        I’m fine if a woman wants to live in a complementarian marriage. Or with men exploring masculinity, so long as it doesn’t lead to “the only way to be a man is if my woman submits to my will!’ It’s the people who insist their way should be enforced by society and the law that I fight again.
        “However we try as humans to rid the world of greed, violence and corruption it comes back in other forms.” True. That’s a reason to keep fighting, not to just decide the effort is futile. Feminism isn’t perfect and it hasn’t brought about perfection but it’s made things much better for both genders.

      • You state that as if it’s a fact when it’s really just your opinion. Most men and women I know are often times confused by society’s demands on them. A careful reading of the Bible–especially New Testament clearly states that men are to treat women with love and respect. Cruelty is not an option. What people do with the info is another thing.
        I’ve actually met Liberals (gasp) who treat their wives like crap. But I’ll end here hoping you have a great day.

  5. I hate to burst your little bubble of filth, but the ancients had deodorant, soap, and the religion of Jesus of Nazareth (Hebrew) required that people be extremely clean, almost obsessively clean. I suspect Christ was cleaner and bathed more often than those who are obsessing with Boykin’s homo-erotic version the manly warrior Christ. They had toilets, brushed their teeth, shaved, and bathed, at least once a day, if not more often. Where Christ lived, people were offered a bath when they went to visit someone. It was a breech of civilized behavior if they were not. They were C – L – E – A – N. They had even discovered the connection between filth and disease, fancy that. A reading of the laws and requirements of the OT tell us how clean people were required to be. Boykin is an ignorant fool.

    SJR

    • Although I like tearing down misconceptions about pre-modern hygiene as much as anyone (piling on the “Dark Ages” is a particular pet peeve of mine), I deplore the rather reactionary triumphalism that often accompanies such comments. The ancients were cleaner than a lot of people think, but let’s not get carried away, shall we?

      You make a reference to the Judaism and its rules on hygiene. I suppose you are talking about the mikveh? Well, see, as it happens, there are a lot of misconceptions about the mikveh, and particularly its history. To begin with, ritual cleanliness is not to be confused with physical cleanliness. They overlap, sure, but they are far from being equivalent. The purpose of acquatic immersion in Judaism isn’t hygiene, it’s ritual cleansing. As such, it’s hygienic significance is questionable, to say the least. Frequency, for example is an issue: women generally immerse themselves once per month, and both men and women immerse themselves “as needed” — i.e. around the High Holidays and in the event of ritual pollution — again, emphasis on “ritual” here. So we aren’t talking daily or even weekly bathing here, we are talking about a ritual that takes place once every few weeks for women, and once every few weeks, even months, for men. And although Orthodox rules do require thorough bathing before immersion, you should not assume those are the same rules that people followed in Jesus’ time. Much of what is Rabbinical Judaism today coagulated in the Middle Ages. Shulkhan Arukh, the principal guide that observant Jews use today for reference on the Halacha (including the mikveh) was first published in the second half of the 16th century. Talk to some Orthodox Jews, and they will tell you the mikveh has nothing whatsoever to do with being physically clean. That’s what daily bathing (today) is for. Immersion is not bathing.

      Next, there is the availability of mikvaot and hygiene issues in the ancient times. If you visit the ruins at Massada today, the guide will glowingly point out the “numerous” ritual pools (there are four or five), plus a modest-sized Roman-style bath. Ancient people bathed all the time! he’ll proclaim. Except, this isn’t so impressive when you consider that even in its best days, Herod’s palace at Massada would have housed HUNDREDS of people, so a bath house the size of your garden-variety living room and four or five plunge pools didn’t offer a whole lot of opportunities for regular (much less daily) bathing to the general population.

      There are also very strict rules about what makes a mikveh “kosher”, that are further complicated by the historic scarcity of water in the Middle East. To be fit for ritual immersion, the body of water must be “virgin”. Natural bodies of water that are unpolluted by human activity technically qualify, but given that in the ancient times, rivers and streams were routinely used for disposing of garbage, dumping sewage and animal waste, and washing and dyeing, it would have been exceedingly difficult to find a “natural” mikveh. Artificial mikvaot must be filled with water from precipitation and completely sealed off. Again, given the scarcity of precipitation in the region, water in a mikveh would not have been changed for months, and since you can’t add anything to the pool to address stagnation, I’d venture a guess ancient man-made mikvaot were probably quite gross, especially since they were tiny. (Modern mikvaot use ultraviolet lamps and special mold-resistant tile to prevent stagnation.)

      Not sure what you mean by “toilets”. You mean indoor plumbing? Well, yeah, technically, ruins have been found with evidence that it existed, so again TECHNICALLY, not EVERYONE lacked that convenience. But come on. The overwhelming majority of people had to do it in an outhouse, and there was no sewage disposal system even remotely comparable to what we have today.

      Not sure what you mean by “deodorant”. Antiperspirant was not invented until the 20th century. You mean perfume? Jewish men are not allowed to wear perfume, so there is that. As for women, perfume was used “as needed” more as an aphrodisiac and a decoration than as a way to mask everyday body odor. And again, it was a luxury in which few people indulged.

      As for soap, it was used almost exclusively for washing clothes and utensils. Soaps did not begin to be used for personal hygiene until late Roman times.

      In general, I don’t think archaeological evidence — i.e., the number and spaciousness of bathing facilities versus population estimates — supports the idea that people in the Middle East in Jesus’ time bathed daily. And even if you take the Roman standard of daily bathing and apply it to ancient Israel, again — hygiene in Roman baths, by modern standards, left a lot to be desired. And the means to reduce general everyday body odor were very limited, at least for the vast majority of people.

      And let’s not forget, before modern urban hygiene infrastructure, people constantly came in contact with raw sewage and animal waste — Halachic rules notwithstanding. That didn’t exactly improve their natural aroma, either.

  6. Pingback: What Would Jesus Do? | Resident Alien -- Being Dutch in America

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