The End of Men

September 24, 2010

It’s been a rough week for Bishop Eddie Long.

As an outspoken advocate against homosexuality in Atlanta, Long is now accused of coercing three young men into a sexual relationship with him.  Naturally, the media is all over this.

I’m not too familiar with Long, and many of you might not be either, because he’s just in a different circle from me.  I’m not going to spend my time even accusing or condemning Long, and you’ll see why in a minute.  But it seems like every few months, the church is just due for a scandal, preferably involving a sordid sexual affair. 

I don’t mean to detract in any way from the plight of the victims in these cases.  But ironically, it isn’t just the victims who are victimized, but as an honest man, I’m victimized and so are you, and I’m going to tell you why.

My Job Cannot Be My Top Priority

I’ve worked in a few different professions that bring me into contact with kids and teenagers.  I’ve worked as a youth leader, pastor and teacher of all different age levels from high school to elementary special education.  Men are valued in education because they are relatively rare, especially in special education, and men are valued in churches because they are seen as leaders and role models for kids.

Both of my professions have been stained by stupid, selfish men.

And every time another guy screws up at his job, I can’t make my job my number one priority.  I can’t make the kids in my room my top priority.  My top priority has to be my safety.  I’m not concerning myself with what the kids in my classroom need.  I’m concerned with how things appear.  For example, many of my special needs kids wanted a lot of hugs.  No, no, no.  Can’t do that.  Have to push a kid away, even if I know they desperately need a hug and aren’t going to get hugs anywhere else.  My coworker put himself in harm’s way to keep a young, crying, mentally disabled girl safe from her own dangerous actions on a school field trip, which required a lot of physical contact.  What danger was he in?  How his actions would appear to know-it-all strangers with cell phone cameras. 

We live in a world where a mere accusation is enough to ruin you, because we take this stuff seriously.  Kids know that they can call child services and get their parents arrested for no reason.  Because of that, I have to look at every kid and ask myself, “Is this kid capable of destroying my life?”  There’s just no room for trust.  Did you see that Dateline special where child actors were acting lost on the street, and almost none of the men stopped to help?  Most men are too scared to even come near a helpless kid, grow a mustache, or wear tiny basketball shorts like the good old days, for fear of looking like a sleezebag.  Believe me, I look good in tiny basketball shorts and a mustache, but it’s not worth it. 

You could say that being mindful of my relationships with students is a positive outcome, and it certainly is.  But it has unintended consequences.  The result is going to be more and more men avoiding jobs that involve children, because the risk of even being accused of impropriety is too high.  And now that people are all keyed up, searching for pervs in the pulpit or classroom, the risk is higher than ever for us honest guys, while most of the real pervs are unemployed slobs who watch the Disney channel all day.

Hello, I’m a Predator!

When it comes to sex scandals, there really is no such thing anymore as “innocent until proven guilty.”  If you’re accused, you’re guilty.  And with this attitude, the atmosphere at work has been transformed.  I went to employee training a few weeks ago, in a room filled with women.  The sexual harassment video featured numerous video clips of male actors harassing women.  There was no such thing as a woman harassing anyone.  The message was clear: ladies, you should be afraid of the five men in the room.

That’s not fair.  It was embarassing to me.  Men don’t victimize others.  Very few men victimize others.  But no matter how well my co-workers or church members know me, they just might, for a second, wonder if I’m the next guy to molest some kids.  Because every child molester is the guy you’d “least suspect,” right?  Guilt by association.  As a Christian, a pastor, a teacher, and a man, my character is slandered and my credibility questioned because of the actions of others.

The End of Men

We know another sex scandal is a black eye on the church.  It destroys our credibility.  Why would we believe the crusades of Bishop Long, if they turn out to just be the insane ravings of a closeted homosexual who hates himself?  Of course, by extension, anyone who is against homosexuality must be a closeted homosexual, goes the logic.

But scandals don’t just end credibility.  They end something else.  There are still some people who believe that men are necessary, even beneficial every once in a while.  Perhaps a man comes in handy when a pickle jar needs opening, or when the rim of your toilet needs to be peed on.  But the people who believe men are useful is shrinking, and every scandal is another nail in the coffin for men.  Each scandal proves that men only hurt others.  At the rate we are going, the end of men is coming. 

Women now outnumber men in colleges in America.  In the next generation, women will become more the leaders of the world than they ever have been.  And as that happens, there will be a growing desire to “stick it to the man,” literally.  More women will decide, as some already have, that men are useless.  They aren’t needed to make babies.  They aren’t needed to raise babies.  They aren’t needed as leaders, teachers, pastors, or anything else, because they can be replaced.  And if men are nothing but a bunch of wild lunatic monkey phalluses who only hurt others, why not just replace them and get it over with?

What crosses your mind when another scandal breaks?  Is the end of men coming, or the end of any sort of credibility in the church?  As men or women, parents or church members, how to these scandals affect you? 

65 responses to The End of Men

  1. It’s sad, but I agree with everything you have just said…well, almost. I happen to believe that men are very important.

    When I hear of another scandal, it saddens me. Because so much stuff gets said, and nobody checks what they hear or are passing on and elaborating. So nobody hears the full truth (unless it gets printed in small print in the middle of a paper or magazine). Society, it seems, thrives on the ‘bad’ news in the world.

    • It would seem at ,least for christian men a question of what is a man ,or woman’s place in marriage ,church ,and the world. In short whats really in it for us ,about God.

  2. I am saddened by any scandal within the church, firstly for those directly affected by it, and secondly for us as a greater church community.

    I think your comment about men was spot on. It does seem like the world is shying away from men, avoiding them because they see the scandals and the poor actions and decisions of some very high profile men.

    But men, apparently, are content to let this happen. The less that is expected of us, the more we can watch football and not be bothered by stupid stuff like reading books, or being pillars of our community and leaders of our families.

    For men in the church, this is doubly important. Not only is the world turning away from men, it’s turning away from the church. Bishop Long’s scandal is a double whammy, telling the world that men always abuse their power, and that the church has nothing but scandal and pain for those who join.

    And the rest of us men are content to sit at home, play our video games, and say, “I’m glad that wasn’t me!”

    What we should say, what we should scream from the mountain tops, is “That is NOT masculine behavior, and real men are not like that!”

    I’ll climb off my soapbox now…

    jj

    • Nice comment, JJ. You’ve taken my own comments and convicted me for my own contentment to just be thankful it wasn’t me! Wow. :)

      • I convicted myself too, I think. As I was typing that, I was reminded of many times in my past where I have retreated, been silent when I should have spoken, or tried to take the easy way out…and I almost didn’t comment, because that would make me a hypocrite, wouldn’t it?

        *sigh* Not perfect, just forgiven, right?

        jj

  3. Weak men live lies that hurt innocent people!

  4. I love your style of writing. Yeah, the scandals are frustrating, but I don’t worry as much about the reputation of the church, because that’s a lost cause. It’s too broken down in to 20,000 demoninations, or whatever you said the other day.

    I don’t think it’s the end of men. There’s always a remnant!

  5. Thank you! As a woman who was severely abused for years by male relatives, I love to hear men stand up and decry mysogynistic, abusive or lazy behavior in men. Sadly, it’s rare.

    A real turning point for me was hearing author Steven Arterburn speak at a Women’s Conference. When he apologized to women on behalf of the men who’d hurt them, I was stunned. I began sobbing and could not stop. I had never heard that from any man.

    Men, please do not retreat into the background. True manhood is Christlike in that it is less concerned with one’s image than defending and protecting the weak regardless of their age or sex.

  6. “Do not retreat” great point, Lisa. Terrific post, Matt! So sad this is true. Have you seen Darrin Patrick’s video promoting his book? Serious punch in the gut for men in the Church: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnN2PrIQijw&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  7. Yeah, even as a woman I hate that hugging is some taboo thing — I can’t even begin to imagine how awful it would be as a man. Incredibly depressing (especially spoken as someone who loves. to. hug.). If we ever get to meet at a blogger meet-up or something, I’m totally going to hug you. Just so you’re prepared.

    These scandals make me sad, but mostly I remember that they’re news precisely because they’re rare. Probably not as rare as I’d like, but still rare.

    And it reminds me to guard my words when I want to get real soap-boxy. The more grandiose the stand, the harder the fall. As we’ve seen time and time again.

    • I don’t know Alise I’ve worked at several churches that had scandals where male lay leaders abused children… and out of the considerable number of churches I’ve been a part of over the years the majority of them had sexual scandals involving the staff. I’m afraid it’s not as rare as we would like it to be. It is sad that the behavior of those people makes it harder for the rest of us to be free to reach the kids.

  8. Very sad Matt. I am sorry even your comment about peeing on the toilet seat didn’t break the sorrow that I feel.

    I used to teach computers to Pre-k through 8th grade at a Christian school. My own kids also attended school there. Hugging was part of the love the teachers showed to students. I am affectionate with my kids and friends – and very much enjoyed the students there. I even had a one-on-one with a special needs girl who graduated college last year!

    Parents thought it was great that there was a man around the school – especially the parents of itchy 6th and 7th-graders. I loved the work.

    Then the Priest Abuse Scandal broke here in Massachusetts. Within a few days, there was a question raised about my “affectionate nature.” Someone saw me with my own daughter sitting on my lap. The principal defended me at every turn.

    The school sent home “Affection Permission Slips.” Only about 30% of the school parents would allow displays of affection with a male teacher and almost 100% voted for woman. What was most painful was that parents did NOT tell their children they had opted-out. It made for some very uncomfortable situations, where one child received, and another didn’t. I had 1 and 2nd-graders in tears.

    So, I am with you. Do the background checks, leave the classroom doors open, and treat everyone with equality.

    • Holy crap. Affection permission slips? Oh, and I was going to note that I bet fathers and daughters had better watch how much PDA they display. But it’s better to hear from a guy who knows. Pathetic, isn’t it? Good for your principal. The kind that will actually defend their own teachers is becoming rare too.

      I am surprised that the parents went for affection with female teachers since little boys are just at that perfect level when it comes to hugs with women. Just saying. Parents may think they’re innocent, but they like hugging attractive teachers for a reason.

      • LOL – Perfect level.

        Yes, the principal was awesome. She had seen me with my kids for a few years before I got the job. I also worked at a Christian HS, and there was NO TOUCHING students!

    • David your comments almost made me cry. This situation is so messed up.

  9. Well said!
    At least within the church there’s generally some awareness of the need for men socially and spiritually. Secular society seems more and more suspicious and distrusting of men and manhood. It’s okay to make sweeping generalizations about men and their motives, but you’re a misogynist if you make similar comments about women. Obviously the history of misogyny, repression, and abuse women have experienced weighs heavily on society, but that’s no excuse for marginalizing the role of men.

  10. Matt, this idea of don’t even think about hugging kids started about the same time that the paddle was taken out of school in the mid 80′s. I remember going through student teaching in 1991 and the first thing my advisor told me was NEVER to touch a student.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sexual harassment video where a woman was doing the harassing. Tech guys, your next assignment is to make a balanced video showing that it does happen.

    The fact that these scandals break in the church is just one more excuse to people that are looking for a reason not to go to church. It may be true that we like to read about the bad news, but we never want to investigate the people hurt by the fall of a church leader, the pew-stuck people. It becomes another reason for them to sit back. They don’t get involved because they don’t want to be falsely accused.

    As a guy who sits in his cubicle writing, there are a lot of computer users that say “it is so much safer here in the box than it is in the real world.” Withdraw to gaming, divide us and conquer.

  11. It’s unfortunate that a handful of cases have such a detrimental effect on so many others. I know it’s the sensationalism of it, but I wish instead of focusing on a microscopic few, we could find a way to encourage the multitudes who are trustworthy.

    We do need men to step into roles working with kids if kids are to understand what good men look like. We need men to lead, if kids are to learn what leadership looks like. That doesn’t mean that we don’t need women in those roles, too, but it’s not healthy for it to be all one or the other.

  12. All too aware of the danger of my position. I teach Sunday School with my wife, I’ve coached girls swimming, I’ve been a youth leader, I have kids (ages spanning from 15 to 30) over to my house every week for Movie Night. …I try not to think about the “what ifs” and trust God to protect me as I try to follow where He leads me to serve. But every time I read things like this my paranoia gets a little worse…

    ~Luke

  13. I would agree with your assessment that men are on the way out… if it weren’t for God. God has a heart for men and though these scandals (and basically the world we live in) can be so frustrating. He has a definite plan, and it involves men and women together as the body of Christ.

  14. It’s not just men who are affected by the threat of appearing predatory or inappropriate. My sister is a preschool teacher and she CANNOT touch a child’s “private area” if that child has an accident. She has to verbally direct the 3 or 4-year old child in how to clean him/herself. How far are we going to go with this ridiculousness?

    As to scandals like this, they sadden and confuse me. How can someone profess to be a man (or woman) of God and lie so blatantly? What do they tell themselves to justify it?

  15. “Kids know that they can call child services and get their parents arrested for no reason.”

    Kids may think this but it isn’t true and I’m sad to see it written out here.

    As a foster parent and a Masters student in Social work I would like to let you know that CPS has no interest in grabbing kids and arresting parents. The primary goals of any Dept. of Social Services are protection of the child, stability of the family and following the law.

    If a disgruntled teen makes a call to CPS there’s a chance (albeit small if no one else has ever called to make a report) that an investigator may stop by the home to talk to the teen and his/her parents. If the home isn’t squalid and the child doesn’t have evidence of abuse (bruises in different stages of healing, burns, cuts, obvious marks from being struck with an implement) then the investigator will say “thank you for your time” and walk away. They may call teachers to do due diligence but they are not out to drag anyones name through the mud or haul anyone away.

    • I only wish that was always the case. I also foster, and kids have a lot of power these days; especially if they complain to a teacher or therapist. Most parents are never arrested, you are correct. However; I have seen a few parents end up in court because of accusations from kids. It is humiliating, and as Matt said, causes folks to hyper-vigilant; diminishing the desire to discipline their kids in any meaningful way.

    • I may have unintentionally exaggerated, and I see your point. But I have heard of plenty of parents being visited whose teens are just being rebellious. Meanwhile, I’ve called the hotline for students, and nothing comes of it, as you say, there has to be very obvious evidence of abuse.

  16. At the risk of revealing my multiple personalities, let me say I completely agree. And completely disagree. :D

    I agree that if we let masculinity or men themselves be villainized because of the actions of bad men, we will lose more than we can afford to. My children benefited from having a father in their lives as much as they did from having a mother. I don’t want us to get to the place where men are dismissed and told they’re not important, their opinions don’t matter, and they have nothing useful to offer. And I know how hurtful that is because I’m a woman and that is what a lot of men have been saying to us for years.

    That’s the other part of this. It’s hard for me to get completely on the bandwagon because in many places women are still only valued if they stay in their places. You report that male teachers are highly valued because there are so few of them, but in male dominated fields the reverse is not said of women. The few women in IT and engineering fields are often spending their whole careers just fighting to be taken seriously or be heard at all.

    My point is that it would be easier for me to get emotionally, instead of just intellectually, behind crusading for the rights of men if I saw some indication that most of them would do the same in reverse. Men were pretty content to see half of the world marginalized when it wasn’t their half. I feel the same way when I hear white people complaining about “reverse discrimination” when they didn’t spend any time fighting the regular kind because they viewed it as someone else’s fight.

    So I will continue to be in your side and fight the good fight that all of us need to be heard, taken seriously, and valued. Just want to go on the record as saying I don’t think it’s worse when men are marginalized than the fact that women have been for the last couple of millennia.

  17. I always appreciate your thoughts on gender roles! That’s an interesting idea that men will become obselete – but I don’t see it happening, even if we women do take over the world. Because, well, you’re fun to have around. Deep down, most women desire and need healthy male affection and validation. If they don’t find it in relationships with their dads, brothers, husbands, etc, they may look for it in harmful places. But that’s another discussion.

    Sex scandals break my heart, and make me so angry at the abusers whose actions harm the entire Christian community. BUT they also make all that more appreciative of the solid, upstanding priests, men of God, etc who really do want to serve others.

  18. I had a really good laugh, while at the same time saying “amen” to everything you said. I am so angry at the feminizing of the whole culture, and the degradation of the male, just because he is a male. It is truly a work of the devil.

    Men, stay close to Jesus! Listen to Jesus. Obey Jesus!

    That’s my advice.

  19. This is so true, and sad! You made me laugh right out loud! Anyone who has even volunteered at a church knows these feelings! It seems like the minority in our country is now the straight male, and he is a target. I am so sorry for this. :(

  20. This makes me think of the little girl in England who drowned after wandering away from her day care, and a man saw her but didn’t stop to help because he was afraid of being accused of abducting her. And the even sadder thing is: He probably would have faced such an accusation if he had stopped. A lot of stuff has gotten the wrong way round, and it does come down (as you point out) to a few bad apples.

    • I have to respectfully disagree that it is sadder that he might have faced an unjust accusation than it is that a girl drowned because of his fear. Fear is never a good reason to not do something that is right, and a little girl died.

  21. I’m really torn on the issue. Personally as a teacher I love seeing men work with kids, both in schools and also in churches. During the last gulf war, when a lot of the men in the church I was on staff at were overseas fighting, we set something up where their wives could drop their kids off at the church and we would babysit them and play with them on Friday nights for a few hours each week. I always made sure we had tons of guys there to be with the kids and I can’t tell you what a difference it made to those kids… they missed their dads.

    On the other hand as some one who teaches kids music privately and also mentors kids, I think all of us, not just the men do have a responsibility to make sure everything is safe and above reproach. It is sad that there is so much fear and distrust now. But I personally have personally seen way tooooooo many scandals involving adults abusing kids. Those kids are so precious to God. I’m more concerned for their safety than the extra inconvenience it causes those of us who work with them. I just look at it as coming with the territory working with kids. I do hate some of the same things you mentioned above. But I work with abused kids too and every time I look in their faces, and try to encourage them and help them put their lives back together, I remember why those safeguards are so important.

    • Oh yeah, the safe guards are important. I’m surprised that you as one person has seen such a considerable number of scandals. I’d like to say that is a fluke, but I don’t think it is.

      • I wish it was. I think part of the problem is that people tend to give people the benifit of the doubt a lot in churches. Part of it is having a church culture that doesn’t always have a good place for people to turn to for help when they are contemplating that kind of behavior. Its so much better when people can get help before they act out. It does make it harder though for those of us who are trying to do things the right way. Recently I was working at a camp for abused foster kids for a week. Those kids were craving attention and contact and it was really hard to have to avoid contact with them.

  22. I have to disagree with you on one point… No one looks good in tiny basketball shorts and a mustache, believe me!

    But other than that, I agree with everything you said. Yup everything. ☺

  23. Great post, Matt.

    Another thing that bugs me is the way that movies so often portray men in a bad light – a husband who is unfaithful to his wife, a father who ignores or abuses his kids. There are so few positive portrayals of men and yet we somehow expect our young guys to be ‘inspired to greatness’?

    No wonder people start believing there are no good guys out there.

  24. dear matt,

    what a dilemma! we want our children to be safe
    but have created the witch hunt played out in
    “doubt.”

    when i hear that someone has been accused of a
    terrible act, i try to remind myself that there has
    to be NO proof to make an accusation.

    after we confronted an abusive young man and
    forbade him to be around our daughter, his first
    response was, “i’m going to tell everyone that
    YOU abuse her.”

    unbelievable. but that is what he has been
    taught . . . somewhere.

  25. Matt,

    The plight of men seems to be on everyone’s radar these days. Do you think our brand is too damaged to recover? Maybe we need to rename our gender to escape all the negative press.

    My last blog asked who wears the pants in the family … and what kind of pants are they? (Turns out they’re khakis.)

    Dave

  26. I have come across the same distrust as a church volunteer. I volunteer as a one-on-one for kids with disabilites and help facilitate their inclusion in church as much as possible. It has been my experience in working with kids with special needs since high school that these children tend to be much more affectionate then other children. Yet it is a policy at my church that we are not supposed to be affectionate with these children, even though we all go through background checks, there are several adults in the room, you are never allowed to be alone with a child, and all of the rooms have large windows looking into the hallway where any number of parents can see you. What are you supposed to say to a child with autism who come up to you and asks to sit in your lap?

  27. I agree with you completely. It’s good to hear someone finally stand up and point out how much more important and valuable men are than women, in both school and church settings. After all, women can’t be expected to be role models or leaders!

    And you couldn’t be more correct that the world is really cracking down WAAAAAY too hard on sexual abuse of children. It should be much harder for allegations of child abuse to be made. Although that might make it harder to catch the child molesters, it’s much more important for good Christians like us to be able to hug all the children we want.

    Finally, I agree entirely that women attending college is a bad thing and will eventually lead to a war between the sexes, in which men are entirely eradicated. Stupid women – wanting to attend college. Who do they think they are? Men?!?!?

    • Wow Jay. I’m glad you see things my way. Obviously, everything you said is all the exact words I used. I literally said, “men are more valuable than women both in school and church settings.” I also said it’s really important that I’m “able to hug the children I want.” Except my examples were about children who wanted hugs from me, and the need to touch a child to keep her out of danger.

      • Sorry – I think I misunderstood your post. I thought I had found a kindred spirit who believed (like me) that men were more valuable than women, that children should not be protected from sexual abuse, and that there was an upcoming war between the sexes that men must win.

        I have some suggestions to prevent future misunderstandings:
        Instead of “Men are valued in education…” and “Men are valued in churches…” you could just say “Both men and women are equally valued in education and churches because they serve as teachers, leaders, and role models for our children.”

        Instead of characterizing child sexual abuse victims as knowing “that they can call child services and get their parents arrested for no reason,” you could show sensitivity and agree that the rules regarding conduct around children actually do far more good than harm. Basically, take the position you ascribe to your readers that “being mindful of my relationships with students is a positive outcome.”

        You could remove the section beginning with “Women now outnumber men in colleges” and ending with “women will decide … that men are useless [and they] can be replaced.” This unfairly implies that women attending college is a bad thing with the inevitable outcome of war between the sexes.

  28. This post struck me as sorta whiny: “But Mommy! It’s not faaaaaiiiirr!” Well. So what? Life isn’t fair. And yes, when men in authority use their position of leadership in harmful ways, the repercussions often affect innocent bystanders. My childhood church imploded after a sex scandal was exposed. Some of the men in leadership took this “it’s not faaaaiiiirrr!” position and frankly, that does nothing to help the victims.

    I realize many men are decent, loving, respectable, good men. I’m married to one. These are men who don’t whine about things being unfair. They get up and get stuff done. They act differently. They LIVE differently.

    I personally don’t think the image of men–as a whole–has been damaged. But if good men want a respectable image, perhaps they will have to earn it.

    • Dear Colleague Matt,

      My husband, a Jewish friend, a Buddhist friend and I (two men and two women, not two couples, all with Masters or PhD degrees) discussed this at great length the other day, and we agree with Elizabeth…please don’t whine.

      First comment. The Bishop will have his day in court. If it turns out he is convicted of sexual misconduct with anyone, ESPECIALLY if those persons turn out to be minors, he is a pedophile and a sick, sick man. We should not be minimizing the seriousness of this topic by whining about our own pet peeves. This is a topic that needs intentional discussion in the church/culture, and not a rush to other insignificant whimpers, (or to judgement for that matter.) Whether this a bad day for men in general or not is just a non-issue.

      But, since we did take considerable time discussing this as an issue after first wanting to discount it, I’d like to share with you the summary of our conversation. I think you should know.

      “… comments demonstrate naivete, over-generalizations and just plain wrong assertions. The assumption that just being a “good guy” should be protection from ever being accused falsely of sexual misconduct is silly.” “As men, we have to learn what women have long known, it is our responsibility to take the precautions necessary to protect ourselves… in women’s case from male assault and abuse, in men’s case from being in a position of being falsely accused.” “It is only in very recent history that a charge against a man, let alone a man-of-the-cloth would even be believed. Only within the last twenty years have women had any chance of proving rape against a male assaultant, and then still with a great risk of being disbelieved or worse.” “A white male in the United States of America in the year 2010 is still, and will be for a lot longer yet, a person of inherent preference and greater respect, despite any suggestions otherwise. This fact is changing and it couldn’t be fast enough!” I would say that most of us, male and female, have accepted the myth of male superiority as fact, since it is a fundamental thread in nearly all political, intellectual and religious pursuits, and all of the world is presented to us from birth in this context.” “Patriarchy is one of the greatest sins of time and culture.” “Men should have no rights afforded them that should provide them greater personal inoculation against potential accusation than anyone else. If anyone can be accused, then justifiably, so should all be. No one gets the free ride in this game, just because of what their job is, who they work for, what gender they are, what color they are, or what faith they profess.”

      Perhaps you will find these harsh, but they were very thoughtfully considered and can assist you in your search for wisdom.

      • As I’ve replied to several commenters, I realize how it may sound coming from a man, but I disagree that I am minimizing the issue. In fact, I’m saying that the issue is much bigger than we assume. In fact, if the Bishop is guilty, he’s not just abused his victims, but my students who once again have to stay away from their teachers. He’s abused kids by conditioning adult men to not help when help is needed. Look at commenter Emily M – she’d like to have a candid discussion with her youth pastor, but can’t because of how it would look. Look at David, a teacher who must push his students away when they reach out for a hug, though the female teachers don’t have to do any such thing. If we assume that every man is an island and his actions only affect those closest to him, that is minimizing the issue. The idea that because I’m a man, I have no place to say anything about this issue, I have no place to decry the actions of evil men also serves no good purpose.

        • Your last sentence captures a lot of the current atmosphere, Matt, and comments like the two above yours help prove it.

          What gets me is the number of people who seem to have no problems with false accusations being thrown around. I seem to remember a part of the Bible about not bearing false witness. ;)

        • Thank you for your rapid response, Matt.
          I certainly do think you have the right to say something about this issue! I think, though, that the reaction you post to this potentially heinous crime is disappointing. I meet with, and counsel others on how to meet with persons of the opposite sex and indeed same sex all the time. There are ways that can be done safely. There are ways that anyone, men and women can say “I love you” safely to another without crossing sexual boundaries. There are ways that persons can touch, comfort, and even hug other people without being inappropriate. It is a vast overstatement to say that you can do none of these things because someone has been quite possibly appropriately brought to justice for sexual crimes. You need to consult others who have dealt successfully with this throughout there entire careers and learn the necessary techniques for ministry that is safe, meaningful, confidential, genuine, compassion-filled and absolutely non-sexual. It is a skill set to master, not something for men or women to whine about.

          In Christ, who did this himself for our sakes, Celticpaisley

          • You make an excellent point, and I agree with all of it (besides the idea that I’m making a vast overstatement). All I’m saying is what I can gain from my perspective. I know that in public school and church, despite being valued as a man, the distinct atmosphere of extreme caution was present when it came to returning affection given to us by children. I’m not saying it’s not a skill set to master. I’m saying, and other commenters have confirmed that not everyone sees it that way, that the only appropriate action is to not have a skill set at all, and to avoid human contact altogether.

    • Oh, Elizabeth Esther, you know I love you, but your background as you touched on briefly here, doesn’t really allow for you to see this issue in a balanced way.

      My husband does the kind of work that occasionally requires he visits a client’s home. He is always very leery about it when the client is a woman, going so far as to ask if someone else can be present. Not because he is going to do anything wrong, but because, in his words: “Heaven forbid something happens to this lady later on today and a neighbor says she saw a black guy leaving her house as around 3 o’clock.” And my husband isn’t a whiner either. He lives his life honorably and does what he needs to do.

      The fact is that men are being marginalized, stigmatized, and held up to suspicion in this culture on a grand scale. As Christians, we should be the first to speak out against injustice. Are some men whiny? Well, yes. I know that probably better than you. But when women complain no one denies that we have a valid point if it’s a valid point.

      As usual, friend, we can continue to agree to disagree.

  29. I think to call yourself “victimized” in relation to the actual victims of sexual predators is ridiculous. Are you inconvenienced? Yes. Stressed out? Absolutely. But you have not REMOTELY been victimized.

    Secondly, women every day make compromises and accomodations in how they live their lives because of the threat of assault. (Ladies, how many of you ever take a walk around your block on a nice night by yourselves after dark? Or take your time walking to your car in a parking garage?) So when I hear you talk about how you have to modify your behavior on your job, I think “welcome to how the other half lives”.

    • Kat, that’s exactly my point, that more and more men are making accomodations in how they live their lives because of the threat that is present to them because of the stupid actions of other men. I’m not trying to start a contest about who’s been more victimized. I’m just saying no man is an island, his actions affect everyone.

  30. From what I have seen, none of the commenters here are the teenagers who are the most affected here.

    That’s what I am!! :D

    It’s thoroughly frustrating to want to have a private conversation with someone (say, *gasp* my old youth pastor) but not being able to because of what people will say and the accusations that might come against him. Especially as a person who is very much a touch-feel person, it’s difficult to get close to anyone without having that element of touch.

    The situation is even more difficult for my current youth pastor, who is divorced and has a six year old, because people are much more likely to condemn him because he’s a single guy. Which, apparently, makes him more likely to be a perv.

    I disagree with one section in this post, and that is the “men are becoming useless” part. Men aren’t going to reach a point where they’re useless, and I’m tired of hearing that. Just because women are starting to take on different roles in society, that doesn’t mean the people who previously filled those roles are going to become useless.

    How ’bout instead of fighting over which gender is being victimized, we recognize the fact that we are all humans, and all equally useful to the rest of society? Wasn’t that the original goal of the feminist movement anyway? To prove that women are worth just much (not more) as men?

  31. Wow. Yeah, I know these feelings. I work in our church nursery with my wife. We work with infants to 4 year olds. And I have to high-five those little kids when they really want a hug. It’s a really sad state of the world that good guys are lumped in with all the wackos and perverts.

  32. The on-slaught of attacks against the Church only indicates that God is closer to giving the command to Christ to….”Go and get your Bride!!!”

  33. Uncontainable Spirit May 26, 2011 at 2:27 am

    It’s pretty cut and dry in my book. If society in general and church in particular wanted men who were leaders and by extension engaged fully, there would be engaged men. Neither society nor the church actually wants men to be engaged.

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