Vacation Day 3: I go to church

Vacation Day 3: I go to church

Since the election I haven’t been attending any church services.  I’m kind of in a holding pattern as a friend of mine is in the initial stages of church plant I want to help out with.  It will be awhile before that gets started so I decided to go to my girlfriend’s church.  During the service I ran in to someone who didn’t appreciate my arrival.  This person doesn’t seem to approve of my girlfriend’s relationship with me.

The whole situation has prompted to me think about men in general and how so many of them really don’t know how to be a man in a relationship.  I was really in love with a girl years ago.  She decided that she would marry some other guy.  Someone I didn’t think much of at the time (I could have been biased hehe) but I accepted her decision.  Women, like all people, have the right to make decisions about who they are going to spend the rest of their life with, and those of us pushed to the sidelines really need to suck it up and move on.  The world doesn’t revolve around me. Despite the fact that this woman’s decision hurt terribly she wasn’t responsible for my feelings.  I had to respect what she wanted for her life regardless of how it impacted me. 

Why is it so hard for some men to respect women as real people who can make their own decisions?  Why can’t we do our part to empower and encourage women to become the person they want to be? 

  1. #1 by Marc Vandersluys on July 26, 2004 - 10:40 am

    I wonder if often it’s just an issue of pure jealousy and poor self-esteem, rather than anything to do with sexism/chauvinism (not that that justifies the accompanying attitude).

  2. #2 by Rev. Mike on July 26, 2004 - 11:39 am

    Personally, LT, I think you’re just trying to drive up your traffic by goading your readers with a question to which you know the answer. >:)

    One response, though … doesn’t your question as stated imply at a certain level that it is within men’s prerogative to determine whether or not to “empower” women? That seems like a strange place to start that discussion. Classical liberalism ala John Locke starts the natural rights discussion with God-given “inalienable rights,” and it’s my sense that any progress that feminism has made has come from self-assertion, not our assent to their status.

    “Why can’t we do our part to empower and encourage women to become the person they want to be?”

    “Encourage” is my proper role. “Empower” presumes it’s my place to “grant” them something that derives from God.

  3. #3 by Evers on July 26, 2004 - 12:51 pm

    Heh heh. Sounds like Mary Jane giving Peter Parker a chewing out at the end of Spider Man 2.

  4. #4 by Leighton Tebay on July 26, 2004 - 1:15 pm


    I think you are getting a little picky over words. My church/theological context isn’t particuarly liberal so I’m not really familiar with all the lingo in those circles. I was just writing thoughts that came to my mind.

    The kind of things that I mean by empowering have more to do giving other people what we can so they can be free to do what are called to do. This might be everything from some words of encouragement to taking the kids for an afternoon.

  5. #5 by Rev. Mike on July 26, 2004 - 9:52 pm

    But, but, but … Leighton, if I can’t be picky about your wording then what else would I bring to the conversation?

    Seriously, though, I raise the question because I’m absolutely amazed that a woman hasn’t jumped all you over this yet. Your context may not be particularly liberal, but these are exactly the kind of statements that in my experience get people quite up in arms and get one accused of condescension.

  6. #6 by Leighton Tebay on July 27, 2004 - 10:43 am


    I think I get what you are saying. I probably could have used a different word than empowering. The essence of my message works for both men and women, and I certainly didn’t mean to imply that men hold the things women can’t get for themselves so men should give them up.

    I think my comments would make a lot more sense if I could talk about the specific situation I’m in.

  7. #7 by Bene Diction on July 29, 2004 - 11:02 pm

    Turn the questions around…do women empower men?

    Do women do enough to encourage men to become the person they want to be?

    Maybe it’s more of a personal experience than a whole gender thing?

    Hey LT – Mike kind of has a point. How come no female readers jumped in here and chewed you out?

    Blog on!

  8. #8 by LT on July 30, 2004 - 8:21 am


    1) Yes

    2) In many cases no

    3) I still see special differences in the sexes. Although not everyone follows the norm. Men and women are different so they should probably help each other out in different ways.

  9. #9 by Beck(ers) on July 31, 2004 - 11:16 pm

    Personally, I liked what Leighton said. Maybe that’s why none of us women jumped on him for saying it…

    We empower people by giving them things that they couldn’t just take from us, and that only we can give. I can empower my husband to be a leader in our home by giving him my trust and respect. He empowers me by doing the same. It’s not about women being weak and needing men to “give” us power, it’s about all people having the ability to freely give something of themselves to lift up those around them. I don’t find the idea of being empowered by a man to be even a little offensive, because we all have the same power, to empower or to degrade. (Degrade? not the exact word I was looking for, but I’m a sleepy new mom, so cut me some slack all you nitpickers out there:)

  10. #10 by Toni on August 2, 2004 - 1:56 am

    Rev Mike – I think you’re trying to be a little too much the liberal.

    Beck(ers) has the key. The only real flaw in LT’s comment was that it should have read “people” instead of “women”. And empowerment comes out of serving them, not merely assigning them some rights. Speaking as someone with 23 years of partnership experience, we quite quickly learned about ‘rights’ and their inadequacy in relationship.

    However, as a practical observation, men are often the more dominant (at least in non-liberal circles) and sometimes DO attempt to determine women’s futures by force of character. In that context, LT’s request to step back and encourage women to go forward with their own choices is actually very positive.

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