Dr. John Piper has been an influential author in my life. I came to faith at 18 years old and read a few books that impacted me during my early years. His book, Desiring God, was one of them. While my views have diverged from some of his views, I still have much respect for him and his ministry.
Couple years ago, I finally felt comfortable enough in my own skin and in my pursuit of God that I chose purposely and intentionally to place myself in a position that I can listen to many diverse and divergent voices. These voices encourage me, sharpen me, push me, and often times in strange way, re-affirm my voice as I seek to honor Christ with my life.
I subscribe to the Desiring God blog and was intrigued by Piper’s article entitled, Over My Dead Body, Son. Now, I wish that several of the blogs I subscribe to would leave their comments open. I only respond to handful of my blog’s comments but in general, comments promote dialogue and that – in my book – is a good thing even if there are disagreements.
If you’re a regular reader, you know that I am in full support of women in all levels of leadership. But simultaneously, I’ve chosen to engage in friendship and dialogue with leaders and pastors with different views – for various reasons and so, I tend to receive a few shots from both sides of the fence. No biggie.
But having said that, I lean on more ‘conservative’ or traditional ways on some contemporary issues. For example, I have a really hard time with women in military combat. I really do. And while I wouldn’t vote to banish it or come to the same conclusion as Piper about boys and girls wrestling in competition, I don’t support it. It’s clearly different that the comparison with military combat because one is combat and the other is competition. But I still don’t like it.
I appreciated the spirit of Piper’s thoughts even though I disagreed w/ the entire reasoning of it because of the whole spiel and over-dramatization about men must protect girls rhetoric. And I also don’t agree with his claim that boys will start dreaming about their female wrestling counterparts:
If a jock from Northern Minnesota encircles her around the breasts and twists his leg around her thighs, trust me, he will dream about that tonight. Only in his dream she won’t have clothes on. And if he doesn’t dream it, half the boys in the crowd will…
Really? I disagree but regardless, on a personal level, I would come to the same conclusion as a father if my son was in the competition and about to face a female wrestler:
There will be no belittling comments about her being ‘a girl.’ There will be no sexual slurs. If you get matched with her, you simply say to the judges, ‘Sir, I won’t wrestle a girl. My parents have taught me not to touch a girl that way. I think it would dishonor her. I hope you will match me with a guy. If not, I am willing to be disqualified. It’s that important.’
I care about both girls and boys and the mentoring, nurturing, and disciplining that’s required to encourage them to grow as women and men that reflect the heart of God. Specifically, I worry about many men in our culture, church and society that act like young boys rather than men after mercy, justice, and humility. Okay, Go ahead and take your hacks but please be respectful in your conversation and critique.
- What about you?
- What are your thoughts about Dr. Piper’s analysis?
- Do you support this “wrestling competition?”
- How about women in combat military?
- Am I being duplicitous in my personal views?
Here’s Dr. Piper’s article:
Come on, dads, have some courage. Just say, “Over my dead body are you going to wrestle a girl.” Of course, they will call you prudish. But everything in you knows better.Yes, I am talking to the boys’ fathers. If the girls’ fathers don’t care how boys manhandle their daughters, you will have to take the lead. Give your sons a bigger nobler vision of what it is to be a man. Men don’t fight against women. They fight for women.
They called it history-making here in Minneapolis. Yesterday, Elissa Reinsma became the first female to compete in the state high school wrestling tournament. It was not a step forward. Some cultures spend a thousand years unlearning the brutality of men toward women. This is an odd way to make history. Relive prehistory maybe.
One cheerleader said, “I’m sure it’s weird for other people, especially if they’ve never experienced having to wrestle a girl.” That’s hopeful. Because it is “weird.” Most people feel it. But who has the courage to trace this sense of weirdness back to the profound principles of mature manhood and womanhood?
It’s just too uncool. The worst curse that can fall on us is to be seen as one of those nutcases who hasn’t entered the modern world. This is not about courageous commitment to equality; it’s about wimpy fear of criticism for doing what our hearts know is right.
Wrestling obliges you to grab, squeeze, and pull with all your might. If a boy tries not to touch or grasp a wrestler around the chest, or not to let his legs entwine with the other wrestler, or not to slam his full body length on hers, he will wrestle with a handicap. Of course, he is being taught that handicap is not a virtue.
Get real, dads. You know exactly what almost every healthy boy is thinking. If a jock from Northern Minnesota encircles her around the breasts and twists his leg around her thighs, trust me, he will dream about that tonight. Only in his dream she won’t have clothes on. And if he doesn’t dream it, half the boys in the crowd will. Wake up dads. You know this.
Manly gentleness is not an epidemic in our culture. Rap videos, brutal movies, fatherless homes, and military madness have already made thousands of women the victim of man’s abuse. Now we would make the high school version of feministic nature-denial a partner in this undermining of masculine gentleness.
When the apostle of Jesus tells us to live with our wives “in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel” (1Peter 3:7), he dumps a truckload of wisdom that fathers should build into their sons.
There is a way to honor a woman. That’s our job as men. This honor “understands” something. It understands that women are the “weaker vessel.” This has nothing to do with less personal worth and in many cases not even with physical stamina. It has to do with pervasive realities that shape the way healthy societies work.
It means that we should raise sons to think of themselves as protectors. Tell them they should lay their lives down to protect girls. Help them know that God designed them to grow up to be a picture of Jesus in their marriage. Nurture the instinct of a boy to fight for girls not against them.
I just watched a wrestling instructional video on line, illustrating some basic moves for the takedown and pin. These two guys are pressing and pulling on each other with unfettered and total contact. And it isn’t soft. It’s what we do not allow our sons to do to girls.
Okay, dads, here’s what you tell your son. You say, “There will be no belittling comments about her being ‘a girl.’ There will be no sexual slurs. If you get matched with her, you simply say to the judges, ‘Sir, I won’t wrestle a girl. My parents have taught me not to touch a girl that way. I think it would dishonor her. I hope you will match me with a guy. If not, I am willing to be disqualified. It’s that important.’”
Be a leader, dad. Your sons need you. The peer pressure is huge. They need manly restraints. They know this is wrong. But then they look around, and the groundswell of conformity seems irresistible. It will take a real man, a real father, to say to his son. “Not on my watch, son. We don’t fight women. I have not raised you that way.”