I’ve been watching this sermon on the “warrior heart,” by a southwestern pastor who’s written a book for men on the virtues of fighting spiritual battles. I don’t often use this space for sermon critique, but after thirty-some-odd years of hearing these kinds of rousing “stand up and fight like a man,” sermons, I’m ready to confess it–I’ve had my fill.
The sermon is, as should be expected, an un-nuanced first person shooter of a thing, a sermon wherein the pastor sets up all the problems plaguing men (fatherhood, porn, addiction) and takes them down with the rail gun of stereotype. Men are simple, he says. They cannot load the dishwasher, and delight in being told that their wives are hotter than they deserve. Men are uncomplicated. They only need a battle, a war worth fighting. See, e.g., Nehemiah.
As a preliminary matter, I wish I were an uncomplicated Conan with a thigh tat and a penchant for small arms (guns, not biceps, that is). I wish I were simple enough to delight only in being told that I “out-kicked my coverage” because my wife is so “totally smoke’n, bro.” But I’m not.
I also wish that life were as simple as finding something to fight for, that finding some cause to beat the crap out of (like poverty, or porn, or liquor) would magically elevate me to the status of Christ-indwelled. But it won’t.
I wonder whether relegating the Nehemiah passage to the province of the “warrior heart,” is a myopic interpretation, whether it strips the passage of meaning for the women in our local congregations. Can’t our women heed the call of God? Can’t they build walls, too? I wonder whether there are any women warriors out there. I reckon I know one or two.
And though I generally agree with the pastor’s comments regarding most men’s ability to properly load a dishwasher, I wonder whether a church will soon emerge that revels in a more holistic interpretation. But when I say interpretation, I’m not speaking of scripture–not really. Instead, I wonder whether the church will rise to the challenge of offering a more holistic interpretation of the human condition, of the warrior nature of women’s hearts and the complexity of men’s.
Reductionist theology is destructionist theology.
Hi, my name is Seth. I reckon I’m a Jesus Feminist.Want to receive my updates in your inbox? Click here. Also, follow along on Twitter and Facebook.