Eugene Cho

Thank God that I am a man and not a woman.

It’s likely that some of you will take offense at the title of this post. But if you read through the post, it’ll certainly make more sense in the larger context. But for what it’s worth, I was intending to entitle this post, “Fortunate to Have a P*nis” and maybe I should have but ultimately, I just didn’t want to receive too many rebukes and tense emails. Seriously, who wants emails about genitals?

Seriously, it’s not my intent to be sensational or even controversial but simply to make an important point.

So, what is my point?

I am fortunate to be a man.

Or to put it in other words, I’m fortunate to have a p*nis.

As I recently preached at my church or in another blogpost about the silence of women in the Church, there’s great privilege and power in simply being a man. This is why I contend that the treatment of women is the oldest injustice in human history. We can talk equality and equity all day long and while we can acknowledge how far we’ve come, we still clearly live – even in 2011 – where there’s great advantage in simply being a man.

How fortunate?

Consider this statistic from UNICEF and UN:

Women give birth to 100% of the human population. In addition, women do about 66% of the world’s work, produce 50% of the world’s food, but earn 10% of the world’s income & only own less than 1% of the world’s property. [You can also read more about these statistics from The Global Poverty Project.]

If the average distance to the moon is 394,400 km, South African women together walk the equivalent of a trip to the moon and back 16 times a day to supply their households with water.

Or how about the story of Sahara, a woman I met in Kenya who walked nearly 200 miles to escape a devastating drought.

But it’s not just situations in the developing world, it’s also here in the home front.

Case in point? Compensation. While these numbers need to be taken in light of context and factors such as industry, maternity leave, expectations, etc., the inequity in compensation still needs to examined:

That’s because U.S. women still earned only 77 cents on the male dollar in 2008, according to the latest census statistics. (That number drops to 68% for African-American women and 58% for Latinas.)

But industry doesn’t tell the whole story. Women earned less than men in all 20 industries and 25 occupation groups surveyed by the Census Bureau in 2007 — even in fields in which their numbers are overwhelming. Female secretaries, for instance, earn just 83.4% as much as male ones. And those who pick male-dominated fields earn less than men too: female truck drivers, for instance, earn just 76.5% of the weekly pay of their male counterparts. Perhaps the most compelling — and potentially damning — data of all to suggest that gender has an influence comes from a 2008 study in which University of Chicago sociologist Kristen Schilt and NYU economist Matthew Wiswall examined the wage trajectories of people who underwent a sex change. Their results: even when controlling for factors like education, men who transitioned to women earned, on average, 32% less after the surgery. Women who became men, on the other hand, earned 1.5% more. (via Time Magazine)

My point: I’m fortunate to be a man or to put in anatomically, to have a p*nis.

The mechanisms, systems, institutions…the whole matrix…gives clear advantage to men. Just consider some of the recent destructive news and controversy surrounding men like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Donald Trump, Dominique Strauss-Kahn (the ex-chief of the IMF), Bishop Eddie Long, and Congressman Anthony Weiner.

It’s not my intent to condemn these fellow men to eternal judgment. Nope. Not at all. But I do have a point:

What would have happened to these individuals had they been women? What if we were talking about  Anne Schwarzenegger, Diana Trump, Dominique (?) Strauss-Kahn, Bishop Ellen Long, and Congresswoman Angelie Weiner?

Hmm.

Jim Wallis nailed it in one of his recent posts, entitled Zero Tolerance, about this inequity and injustice:

It’s a constant storyline in the media involving powerful men in politics, sports, business, and even religion: Men behave with utter disregard for the dignity and humanity of women — using and abusing them at will, and somehow believing that they are entitled to do so. These men seem to think that the ordinary rules of decent behavior do not apply to them. We have a never-ending cavalcade of disgusting stories about men cheating on their wives and mothers of their children; abandoning old wives for new ones; serial philandering as a way of life; sexually harassing and assaulting women; and even committing rape. But when all is said and done, the perpetrators are still playing basketball, football, and golf; they are still running for political office, and are still at the helm of the institutions of the economy, and even the church…

As the secret stories are revealed, there is great interest and perverse excitement in the media. The pain and suffering from the women involved, and the invisible hurt of the children, are brushed aside. Instead, the women are subtly, and sometimes directly, blamed. And sometimes, in all-male circles, there is a wink and a nod, and, most disgustingly, even a little envy of the powerful men who get to break all the rules when it comes to women. The primary outcry is from other women who, in the name of equality and dignity, lament this continual pattern of abuse.

During Biblical context and during the times of Jesus, the Pharisees and other religious leaders prayed numerous times each day. It is reported that customs dictated they pray at least three times/day. And during their prayers, they always thanked God for three specific things (amongst others I suppose):

  • God, thank you that I am a Jew and not a Gentile.
  • God, thank you that I am free and not a slave.
  • And lastly…God, thank you that I am a man and NOT a woman.

This is why the Gospel of Christ is so powerful and important.

His death not only reconciles sin but his life reveals the true reflection and way of the Kingdom. The apostle Paul captures this vision of the Kingdom so compellingly in Galatians 3:28 when he subverts the dominant worldview through the lens of the Kingdom:

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Such powerful words. Such beautiful vision of what God intended and promises to restore. And so with that vision and path in mind, may we all work together to create a more just world where we can honor and celebrate the unique ways in way God created us rather that using our differences to manipulate, exploit, and rule over.

Even in my personal brokenness and inconsistencies, I covenant to keep being an advocate…

but in the meanwhile, I’m blessed to be a man. Or anatomically speaking, that I have a p*nis.

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37 Responses

  1. Sejin Park says:

    I am blessed for my penis when I keep His intentions pure and Holy.

  2. There’s a whole list of factors that go into the wage of an individual. The thing is that those factors, historically, have always made it more difficult to find education, work, or wage equality. The fact that more women are graduating than men from college and unemployment for men is higher than women are indicative of change in the marketplace. But the differences amongst the genders in wage earnings aren’t as alarming as you’d think.

    For instance, men are 8 times more likely to negotiate their salaries. Expectations are also on women to accomplish more at home while men are portrayed as the bread winners. Another interesting note is that a man’s self-esteem is typically lifted with higher wages, a woman’s self-esteem, however, must be raised before seeking more pay. Which brings me to the real issue.

    I’m more concerned about the treatment of women in the workplace than their wage. Which is more of what Jim Wallis was referring to in his blog. There is no economic excuse for the mistreatment of women, in the home or the workplace.

    The great emphasis here, however, shouldn’t be on gender equality. To me, that is focusing on the symptom and not the cause. The cause is a lack of Biblical manhood and I believe that to be the foundation for almost all gender inequality complaints.

    • Eugene Cho says:

      Garrett: Thanks for the comment. Agree about the variances and factors regarding wages but the Time article about wages changes since sex changes blew me away.

      While I partly agree with you about “the lack of Biblical manhood,” we need to focus on both the symptom and the cause.

      • Lou says:

        I was told years ago that I should not study to be an astronomer because “it was too physically demanding for a woman” (in spite of the fact that one of the first and most important in the field was female!)
        Also, I later worked building boats for 1/2 the wages of the men working beside me and I produced 5 times as much per day than any one of them. My money fed my children and a disabled husband but – who cared?
        Thanks for the info. A good article!

    • Andy M says:

      To a large degree I agree with you, but I would say that when women are consistently paid less for their work than men in the same positions, that is mistreatment right along with sexual harassment and other things.

      My mother worked as accountant for a small rural business for over 20 years. In my opinion she was mistreated in many ways, though I admit much of it was more from the personal issues of the owner rather than because she was a woman. But she struggled to get every increase in pay she ever got, even though she was paid well below what she should have been paid. Her low salary was one way among several in which she was mistreated. It is not a separate issue.

    • Elena says:

      I don’t believe that the term Biblical manhood is found in scripture, although I do understand that you are making reference to what many have interpreted the bible to say about the role of men in the context of church and family.
      For many this term has become synonymous with the viewpoint that the bible endorses the subordination of women to men not only at home but in church leadership. What I think this discussion boils down to, at least in the context of Christianity, is the differing interpretations of key passages of scripture.
      It is interesting to note that Eugene’s reference to the Old Testament Jewish prayer, which was still practiced in the time of Jesus, is evidence of just how long lived societies patriarchal structures and mindset are. The Old Testament takes place in a time of history when the patriarchal structure was the norm in most societies, and in fact it still is today.
      Enter Jesus’ coming and the New Testament reveals to us an ever unfolding revelation of God. Scripture makes clear a new order of things has come. Still many are planted firmly in the idea that God identifies himself as the male gender, and that men alone are endowed by Him to rule and reign.
      Many, many atrocities against women have taken place because of these beliefs, a belief still held strongly by both men and women.
      If you have not already, I would encourage you to do some reading on the implications of holding to a complimentary biblical interpretation of male and female roles, Unfortunately this position is an attempt by many well meaning Christians to wrap the very ugly idea of male ruler-ship in a very biblical sounding explanation.
      Without meaning to offend, I say emphatically that until we as Christians begin, not only to fully embrace the truth that God has never intend nor endorsed the hierarchical idea of one gender having to submit in greater part under another, but are willing to rise up in outcry over the inherent injustice that this position continues to endorse in the name of God, the atrocities will continue.
      You cannot hold to this interpretation and refuse to recognize that by supporting this idea you are also supporting the continued abuse of countless numbers of women around the world.
      If you are interested in finding out more on this subject you can go to cbeinternational.org
      Often times the search for truth takes us far outside our comfort zone.

  3. Amy Hauptman says:

    I watched your sermon online! Thank you for this! we’d love to stay connected with you eugene!
    -InterVarsity Chrsitian Fellowship, USA (www.intervarsity.org/blog)

  4. Ann F-R says:

    Thank you for your words & fellowship with sisters & brothers in Christ, Eugene. I agree that gender alienation (if that phrase captures your meaning) is the oldest injustice. It would seem that the story of creation and fall, culminates in Genesis 3’s prophetic foreseeing of self-perpetuating and sinful patterns of domination and manipulation in 3:16. But that is not the end of our story.

    For those of us who love Christ, there sometimes seems no worse oppression than to be told that Gen. 3:16 is God’s will. May we hold fast to our hope of & faith in God our Creator, who gives restorative reconciliation & life found in our resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ.

  5. [...] privilege and more recently, male privilege.  Today, Seattle pastor Eugene Cho posted this in his article “thank God i am a man and not a [...]

    • Marc says:

      Wow! You make me feel guilty for having testicles that produce Testosterone! And actually I think it is God’s work you are seeing! Maybe we should give women Testosterone to equall things out? I believe seriously that Testosterone is the reason for Man’s agression and persevierance, and to judge his posistion is to judge God?

  6. Greg Wheeler says:

    With great power comes great responsibility.

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  7. Alison Smith says:

    Thank you for advocating! I work for a parachurch ministry on the college campus. Thankfully my organization fully supports women at all levels of leadership, not just in word but in deed also. I feel genuinely encouraged to step into leadership roles- the key difference is having advocates who speak into my life & the lives of others. Unfortunately, it’s tough to find a church that does this as well.

  8. Eugene Bernstein says:

    Hi Eugene. Would you be able to expand/articulate on the unique ways God has made each gender? From the last section of the post, it seems as if it’s implied that the lines between men/women should be erased, except for that one part about “unique ways”.

    • Eugene Cho says:

      I’m not suggesting that lines between men and women be erased. We are created uniquely and beautifully and those need to be honored, treasured, and celebrated.

      As for expanding and articulating on those, I’ll let others do so. I just don’t have the energy. Thanks for understanding.

  9. Matie says:

    It seems to me, most of you GUYS, are not taking this seriously. Re- read your replies.
    I would like to ask: Why are men Like That? Why is it Ok for so many of them to treat women so badly in so many ways? Belittling. Men belittle women in so many ways all around the world — from hijabs to transgender wages to husbands expecting their wives to do all the work and speaking of “baby-sitting” when they’re taking care of their own children.
    Why? Why are you like that?
    Is it that you think you’re superior? Well, I know it is in many ways, in the blatant ways, but I got my own father to admit he thought men were superior to women. How do we live with that? How? And then you say we don’t have a sense of humour. Would you say that to a black MAN?
    You know, we were not made from any man’s rib. We came from our Mother’s Womb, as did you! Do her honor!

    • Lori Ventola says:

      I think we women need to take some responsibility, too. If we go about acting like we need protection and care, if we act like delicate flowers, and then we’re surprised when men take over and treat us like we have nothing to offer but our femininity / sexuality…why are we surprised?

      Let’s step up and take our part in the battle, in the work of the Kingdom. Jump ship if your church tries to hold you back. Go somewhere else and keep on working. If enough of us do that, the world (including the church) will figure it out.

  10. Matie says:

    And thank you, Mr. Cho, for your sensitive and reasoned post.

  11. On the religion front, I think some people have used the existence of male pronouns in texts to justify sexism towards women. I also however think one possible reason people try to portray God as female as a response to the first position in that even if they reject the final conclusion they react to the interim point . Another way of putting this to say God Must be female because having a Y chromosome automatically makes you a bigot. I personally think the only reason the bible uses masculine pronouns is because it’s a quirk of the English language that masculine pronouns are a catch-all whereas feminine pronouns are definite. This is more easily demonstrated with plural pronouns than singular ones. A group called men can include both males and females but a group called women must only include females. I can’t speak about other faiths but my understanding of Christianity is that there are no points of theology that even require God to have a gender as we would understand the concept.

    As one of the rare people people who believe in real actual equality, I think all examples of bigotry are bad. I think the wage disparity is a profound injustice. I think sexual harassment and adultery are immoral no matter what the person’s gender is. However, on the more interpersonal level of how people view and talk about the opposite sex, I think women don’t face the same censure for sexism that men do.

  12. Kristen says:

    It’s always refreshing every time I find another Christian man who believes I’m fully human and deserve to be treated so, and that Christ came to do more than enable me to go to heaven when I die– He came to save us all from the Old Creation with its injustices, inequities and bigotry, into a New Creation where no one is to be viewed any longer according to the flesh.

    I consider men who will lay down the privilege and power the world (and the church!) gives them in order to speak up for their oppressed sisters and raise them up, to be following Christ in the deepest sense. You are my heroes. Thank you.

  13. Tamara says:

    When I think of male privilege, I am reminded of some of the things Jesus said about last being first and the first last in the Kingdom.

    And I remember how Jesus said that people who receive recognition and honor during their lives have gotten their reward, but those who toil without recognition will be rewarded by their Father in Heaven. When the humble are exalted and the exalted are set down, I have a feeling these men are going to be singing a different tune.

    To those men who say “Thank God I’m not a woman,” my response is: You have your reward. I hope you enjoy it.

    BTW: This is not directed at the Eugene Cho. I am new to the blog and find it excellent and edifying so far. These are just thoughts in response to the real belief that many men have of their own inherent superiority.

  14. [...] Eugene Cho is apparently thankful, blessed and fortunate to be a man. [...]

  15. Sweet blog man! I found you via The Church of No People. Good stuff! :)

  16. [...] Or to put it more bluntly from my male perspective: I thank God that I am a man and not a woman.  [...]

  17. [...] Eugene Cho’s blog that I resonated with greatly.  Pastor Cho is also a great advocate for women.  The article by Dr. Michelle Garred, who is a researcher and consultant in international peace [...]

  18. [...] love pastor Eugene Cho’s reflection thanking God he is a man (tongue in cheek kind of) saying: “There’s great privilege and [...]

  19. [...] thank God that i am a man and not a woman (via Eugene [...]

  20. cloakedmonk says:

    Reblogged this on Cloaked Monk's Blog and commented:
    A really wonderful posting from Eugene Cho.

  21. PneumaKnitter says:

    I used to think these things, and definitely thought it was unjust how men “have it easier.” but i don’t think that way anymore; i think because he is the man, he has more responsibility, and if he is a godly man, he has the most responsibility; for to whom much is given, much is required, and Christian men have to answer to God what they have done with the responsibilities God has bestowed upon them…

  22. Diana says:

    Where can I read more about the Pharisees praying the three things that are specifically addressed in Galatians 3:28?
    ——
    And during their [the Pharisees] prayers, they always thanked God for three specific things (amongst others I suppose):

    (1) God, thank you that I am a Jew and not a Gentile.
    (2) God, thank you that I am free and not a slave.
    (3) And lastly…God, thank you that I am a man and NOT a woman.

  23. eguthaus says:

    Reblogged this on The Lines In The Sand: women for social change and commented:
    Alright, let’s get this party started ladies!

  24. sedo555 says:

    yes, thanks god, i am a man, being a male is a very lucky, because of lots of different females :)

  25. Bhodlela says:

    Your “preaching” is rather… DISTRACTING!!! I’m a man but don’t realy like the way you talk about women. Well, my opinion.

  26. Bella says:

    your mother must be sooooo…. proud #vomit

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One Day’s Wages

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My features over at @miir are hosting a book.giveaway + their world.class  tumblers. "Hot off the press! Eugene Cho, founder of @onedayswages, has a new book titled Overrated that will challenge you to actually change the world. We've got two signed copies to give away. Like this post AND tag a friend for your chance to win both copies and #MiiR tumblers." Good morning from Seattle!

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