Home > Excerpts, Leadership, Misogyny > Mario Bergner+ on misogyny (and leadership)

Mario Bergner+ on misogyny (and leadership)

9 October 2009

 ”    Some Christian men with unacknowledged misogynistic tendencies band together into fellowship groups exclusively for men.  Those who gravitate to such groups are inevitably looking for affirmation in their masculine identity.  Their desire to bond with other Christian men in a healthy way is right.  Unfortunately, these groups all too often become a playground for men to exercise their insecurities.  They play games, attempting to affirm their masculinity by assuming a role, rather than by identification with Christ.  The unique characteristics of some of these groups only express their brokenness.

These men often have grandiose views of themselves, vainly thinking that they are on the cutting edge of Christianity.  They are at the mercy of the masculine in isolation from the feminine, which results in a raw drive toward power in the male.  The tyrants of this world – Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Jim Jones, Saddam Hussein – are always males separated from the civilizing effects of the true feminine.

This drive toward power manifests as they confuse control for leadership.  Remember, control is a primary need in the heart of men with misogynistic tendencies.  They do not model to the world servant-leadership, as the Scriptures teach (though they may certainly talk about servant-leadership).  Rather they are quick to set up an authority structure by which they control those below themselves.  One might imagine this structure as a pagan ziggurat temple, which was a steplike pyramid.  On the bottom level are all the women in Christendom who are excluded from such groups.  One step above them are peon men.  Over them are other men, until finally at the top is one man, or a group of men lording over those below them.

You know that  the rules of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you.  Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be the first must be your slave.  (Matthew 20:25-27)

Most men who submit to such structures never fully exercise their God-given gifts and talents.  On the small group of men at the top are acknowledged to have insight, wisdom, and true giftings.  One pastor, a graduate from one of our finest seminaries, who finally left a church run by such a group told me, “I spent ten years sitting on seminary education waiting to be released into leadership, when in reality those above me had no intention of utilizing my gifts and training, lest they lose their control or place of authority.”

People who break out of these controlling groups are sometimes accursed of having a “disobedient and rebellious spirit.”  Christian women in leadership who exercise their God-given gifts are criticized by such groups and become prime targets of misogynistic projections.  When women insist on using their gifts in obedience to God, these misogynistic men consider them manipulative and controlling or accuse them of having a “Jezebel spirit.”

A major negative characteristic of these exclusively male “fellowship groups” is their ability to protect each other when confronted about their problems (sins) and their ability to deflect blame on others.  They have their counterpart in the seedy side of corporate America in the “good-old-boy” network.  This age-old alliance of unhealed and needy men exists to maintain power and to cover up each other’s shady dealings so that they might remain in power..          “

– from Bergner’s rock’n book, Setting Love in Order  (pp 145-147).

I particularly like this:

“..Rather they are quick to set up an authority structure by which they control those below themselves.  One might imagine this structure as a pagan ziggurat temple, which was a steplike pyramid.  On the bottom level are all the women in Christendom who are excluded from such groups.  One step above them are peon men.  Over them are other men, until finally at the top is one man, or a group of men lording over those below them…”

In other words, a church subculture that promotes the giftings of men-only, will inevitably produce more weak men than strong men

And, if Bergner+ is right about the strong men in such groups, they aren’t even strong in the ways that they were meant, from Creation, to be strong.

(ouch).

– Elder

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Categories: Excerpts, Leadership, Misogyny
  1. Kate
    13 October 2009 at 1:06 PM

    That may well happen in some places. I don’t think it means that a once a month or once a week men’s breakfast is a bad idea.

    • Elder Oyster
      13 October 2009 at 2:02 PM

      Hi Kate … thank you for stopping by! 🙂

      I don’t think Bergner+ is talking about a men’s prayer breakfast. I think it’s more one of those things “you’ll know when you see.” Some of the stories that I’ve heard about my grandparent’s parish, fit this description.

      – EO

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