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« Article: Lunch by Rachel Warwick | Main | Review: Resignation of Eve by Jim Henderson (Barna: 2012) - win a copy! »

March 01, 2012


Tony Britten

Great balanced interview Carl, women have a valued role in Leadership and senior Leadership in the church. As a retired police officer my best manager was a woman and I am an Elder in a church where the minister is a woman who is tending towards the Boadicea model and its great. (Hope she doesnt read this, but its meant as a compliment!!)

james hawes

I found Carl’s comments misguided, unhelpful and disappointing. It appears from my reading of this interview that Carl’s core aim is to win one million men to Christ and I found little evidence within his responses that there is any thoughtful attempt to grapple with issues of masculinity.

Carl makes some grand statements and core contradictions within this interview and in my view he is desperately seeking to avoid upsetting anyone – especially women but nevertheless exposing his traditional views of masculinity. On one hand he claims that there is not one way of being a man and he is not bothered by the nature/ nurture debate and doesn’t want to seek to create a gender war. However he then asserts that beyond biology men and women are broadly different and that they are wired differently and says neuroscience backs up his beliefs.

In terms of women in leadership Carl appears happy to accept it because frankly it is happening but only as long as they are act like blokes! He appears to be happy with women in leadership if they are lead like Maggie Thatcher and they lead him into battle.

I found his language to be deeply entrenched in patriarchal male theology with references to the language of war. Nowhere in this article did he express any challenge to traditional masculinity or did he mention the model of Christ. He says the code is in response to violence against women and yet offers nothing in how men can evolve and change apart from joining his movement. He offers nothing about how gender construction and patriarchy produce men who are emotionally restricted.

He alludes to the 90’s new man project but suggests nothing how men can practice the tenderness, warmth, empathy, courage, kindness to self, emotional intelligence, communication skills modelled by Christ.


I would agree with a lot of the above comment. Another couple of things I noticed (with the caveat that I appreciate its hard to explore all nuances in such a small space). The scientific assertions are a bit wobbly the nuerobiological consensus is not there it is only a media consensus about which research to report! Testosterone is never mentioned in the word of God and that's personally where I find my truth.

Everyone is an image bearer of God and everyone has something to teach us. The more different they are from us them more we can learn, when something jars its an opportunity for reflection and growth. So yes we need balance between different personalities but not just so that we can appeal to a range of people but so that those people are then in an environment where they will be challenged to grow in a holistic way not in one direction only.

Also reading this makes me think that we need to examine the interception of gender and class maybe? Is it perhaps also that in the same way middle class culture has squashed working class culture in the world this has also happened in the world? Don't feel equipped though as a middle class woman!

Jenny Baker

Thanks Jenny P - I agree that we need to be aware of how gender interacts with class. In education for example, there's understandably a lot of concern about the underperformance of boys - but under that banner headline, the reality is that it's white working class boys who are the lowest achieving while Asian boys on the whole are high achievers who do as well as girls. I think that shows just how much cultural expectations, role models and aspirations impact on how children do at school, and that it's not being male that's the problem!

Jenny Baker

Another thought - there are lots of things that don't get a mention in the Bible but that doesn't mean we can dismiss them. I'm intrigued by testosterone and the impact it has on character, if any, as well as on the physical body. Need to do some more reading!


Yes I know my comment about Testosterone was a bit flippant. Sorry. I just don't think science has got to an answer about these things and am tired of the weight of force these things seem to carry. I've been silenced in discussion so many times by the fact that men have Testosterone as if this explains everything. I'm afraid to admit it but I'm not sure biology is destiny. Testosterone may have an effect on character but the word of God does, of this I am sure.
Sorry also realised that I just left my name as Jenny which is probably v. unhelpful - sorry.

Jenny Baker

Don't apologise for having such a great name!

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