I am a white male. That’s what I’ve always been. That’s what I always will be. I can’t help it. It’s how God made me. If everything was equal, there would be no problem with that. But, things are not equal. I am privileged in this culture. And, God did not make me that. The systems that have been built over centuries have ensured that I would have a privileged position in society. These systems are so deeply embedded in our culture that most of us who are privileged don’t even realize that we are. It’s just ‘the way it is.’
Recently, Tony Jones, a highly educated, white guy made a presentation that rubbed some people the wrong way. One of the people in attendance,Christena Cleveland, called Tony out for being exercising his privilege. Jones responded with obviously hurt feelings. Now, at first, I didn’t see all that much that was offensive in Jones’ remarks. Shoot! I’ve probably said similar things myself! As I reflected on it, though, I became more and more uncomfortable. Then, a few days later Jones, I think in an attempt to show how egalitarian he is, posted a request for women and feminists to join in his blog. Again, an understandable response from a privileged person who sincerely believes that he is above reproach in these matters.
This morning I visited the blog of
Well, it’s been nearly a week since the news broke that Michelle Knight, Gina Dejesus and Amanda Berry had been found and released from hell. I was in the kitchen when my wife started to carry on about something. I walked to the living room and she said that Amanda had been found. We watched intently as the story of horrific imprisonment and abuse began to unfold before our eyes. Relief! The families’ hopes had been realized. Gina’s mother had been the ‘point’ of years of hope for her daughter. “Never give up hope!” became a rallying cry for her and the countless others who supported her and Amanda’s families.
I read a blog today written by a man about women and abortion. The author is a retiree from the L.A.Sheriff’s Dept. named Tony Miano. I think that this is important to remember. I’ll reference it later.
Anyway, the blog is at:
In it Miano laid out his position on abortion and the woman’s responsibility in it. Now, I’m a man and I will not get into this debate. Which is something that Miano should have done. What I do want to address is his argument and method. Particularly, I want to focus on his language and theology. Both of which are poor.
His purpose in writing appears to be to encourage women to reconsider the choice of abortion, or to reflect on the consequences of the abortion after the fact. In this process, he seems to want these women to turn to Jesus Christ for salvation. Of course, he provides the usual steps to take to do this…through faith, repent and ask Jesus to be Lord and Savior. Prior to this invitation he does his best to show these wayward female souls the error of their way. He accuses them of “murdering their unborn child,” of deciding to “kill their child,” of wondering about “such depravity that leads a woman to slaughter her own child.” He is magnanimous enough to “give abortive women the benefit of the doubt and assert that most women later regret killing their unborn children.” He hopes that women will regret and feel what he refers to as “godly grief” that will produce repentance. Now, for some who read this may support Miano’s effort. From a modern, literalist point of view he seems to be heading in the right direction. Abortion is sin, therefore, those who have abortions are sinners who need God’s grace. But, Miano doesn’t stop there.
First, he has singled out women as the sinner, or from his law enforcement background, they are the ‘perpetrator.’ As such, they must be brought to justice. This is misogyny. For every woman who chooses to terminate a pregnancy there is a man who did the impregnating. Now, I realize that in the U.S. the father has no say in this issue. There may be many who oppose the choice of the woman. But, that doesn’t negate his responsibility in conception. Miano did not mention men’s responsibility at all.
Second, he is standing on a soap box deriding human beings for whom Jesus came. Many of the women that he simply wants to give the “benefit of the doubt” are dealing with issues and feelings that NO MAN can ever understand. In this he is spouting vitriol from a position of privilege. This would have been a time when it would have been best to shut up.
Third, he misrepresents God. By painting the Father of Jesus as One who is out to get vengeance on wayward people is a horrible misreading of the gospel. Jesus came to usher in God’s realm and to reveal God’s character as One who loves the Good Creation and those of us who inhabit it. To use Christian code to bash people is just wrong.
Fourth is his arrogance. He is clear that how he has read and understands the biblical text is absolutely the only proper way to read and understand it. Sorry, Tony, but it’s not. Perhaps if he would have actually gone to a reputable institution of higher learning he would know that. But, nothing in his posted resume indicates this. He was in law enforcement. In this position he would have accepted the dualism of right and wrong and black and white. There is no room for gray or colors with this thinking. And, of course, he is always right.
Miano advertises himself as an ‘itinerant preacher.’ But, I wonder what it is that he preaches. It seems to be hate and judgement. I’m pretty certain it’s not the Good News of Jesus Christ.
As promised, here is part 2 of my musings on missions.