Friday, December 08, 2006

Stout Hearted Women (and men?)

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Father Mouser, of whom I wrote in the article "When is a doctrine a Frudiean Slip?" (the genius who thinks God is having sex with everyone, has struck again. I have a friend who really knows music. She's mostly in chruch mustic, but she knows music like Bach's sons knew the Bach scale. Mouser decides to attack her because she just wants some equality in speech of hymns. My friends Blog is thePsltery. She takes to task the hymn "rise up o men of God"

Rise Up, O Men of God
Text: William P. Merrill, 1867-1954
Generally sung to FESTAL SONG (SM)
Composed by William H. Walter, 1825-1893

For full text, follow this link.

First of all, this hymn reeks of "this text doesn't apply to me" to the female half of the congregation. Maybe once upon a time it didn't, but an inescapable fact of the English language is that it is changing. Women no longer consider themselves part of "men." And the fact is, especially considering the full context of the hymn text, this hymn never really means to address women. So do we really need to use a hymn that excludes (over) half the congregation?

Of course this is going to turn Mouser's world upside down. Like all good little peranoids, he dare not allow anyone to voice any opinion contrary to his own.He has risen up as a "man of God" to combat this
lattest assault upon civilization:

The complaints lodged by the blogger above provide a fascinating study in the doctrinal myopia of modern egalitarians and the foolishness this condition inflicts upon its victims.

Her criticisms (yup, this blogger’s a woman), are three. Let’s examine them in turn.

First of all, this hymn reeks of “this text doesn’t apply to me” when sung by the female half of the congregation. Why? “… an unescapable [sic] fact of the English language is that it is changing. Women no longer consider themselves part of ‘men.’ ”

Again we see the total insensitivity of the fundy. The women feel excluded by the lanague but they should not becasue they should just know better. He goes into a sopng and dance about "traditionally inclusive language." In other words, women are part of "men" or "Mankind."

First of all, this hymn reeks of “this text doesn’t apply to me” when sung by the female half of the congregation. Why? “… an unescapable [sic] fact of the English language is that it is changing. Women no longer consider themselves part of ‘men.’ ”

This kind of challenge sounded revolutionary and daring back in the Seventies (!), but now it just sounds whiney. The use of the masculine in English to comprehend both male and female is as common as ever, except (perhaps) in some highly rarified departments of English, sociology, and women’s studies in the intolerant corridors of academe.

What really sounds whiney is having to re-visit this issue, which should have been settaled in the 70's (he right about that, unfortuantley he's one of those who didn't get the drift). What's really whiney is carping about how women should just shut up and accept being part of "man."

But the Psaltery answered this argument already by saying that women no longe see themselves this way. They feel excluded by lanaguge that is not overtly inclusive in the modern sesne. But of course threatening this wonderful traditoinal hymn is just the greatest threat to the chruch since the the idea of women pastors. Why is it so much trouble just to realize that if people feel a certain way, that a certain kind of speech excludes them, maybe we shouldn't use that kind of speech so much? I've seen some real abuses and people feeling offended when they are clearly going out of their way to feel so, but his song clelary excludes women and it would it really be such a civilization toppeling move just to write something about women in the lyrics? The irony of it all is we know darn well women are not included. Mouser wont them let them rise up as part of the men who are called to rise up because he believes it's not their place to lead in any way or do anything great. So he really is condmening them to silence and wont even mention them. By "including" in the masses who are only mentoned as "men" he's actually excluding them by burrying them in silence. He says directly:

But, hymns do not need to address everyone. Many of them address only God. Others, like Merril’s, address subsets of the Church, in this case men. As a hymn, this one fits well within the mouths of all Christian women, who by this hymn call on men, whose allegiance is to God, to … well, to rise up and to accomplish a variety of tasks that belong to them to do.

In other words he's basically just admitting to the criticism. He's saying "Yea shut up and stay in your place and hope God riases up stong men to save you."

Moreover, there are other criticisms of the theology that Mouser ignores or doesn't grasp.

Secondly, the theology is simply terrible. Follow the link and pay particular attention to verses 2 and 3. "[The Church's] strength unequal to her task/rise up and make her great" simply isn't true. The Holy Spirit's power makes the imperfect Church equal to whatever task God calls us to do. It is not the strength of the male half of the church that will make the church great, it is the strength of the Lord Jesus himself.

Third, this hymn reinforces the church's historical error of thinking that men can more fully conform to the image of Christ than women can. Verse 4 is particularly bad about this. Women obviously cannot be "brothers of the Son of Man." And just as we need to not forget that there are men in the body of Christ, we must not forget that there are women in the body, as well. This hymn doesn't forget it, it ignores it.

"Rise Up, O Men of God" is not fit for either full congregational or for men's group singing. I suppose verse 1 is acceptable for the latter, if groups will stop with verse 1. But there are better hymns that express the need for all of us, including all the men, to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. It's not especially difficult to find and use them instead.

(EDIT: Thank you to the gender hierarchalist critic who made much of the fact that I typed a "u" instead of an "i" in the word "inescapable." What a terrible, horrible, unforgivable gaffe on my part! My typing error was by far the most supportable of your objections to this blog entry. By the way, I'm going to consider it a typo that you missed one of the "l"s in "Merrill" at several points in your rant against my blog entry. Your toss shattered a wall in your glass house, brother William.

Mouser responds to her:

What lies beneath this complaint is nothing other than vexation at the incarnation of the eternal Son of God as a human male. Because of that fact of our faith, it is inescapable that men have a capacity to resemble Christ in ways that women do not. Christ is the Bridegroom, never the bride. He is our brother, never our sister. He is our King, never our queen. He is the Son of God, never the daughter of God. God is Christ’s Father, never Christ’s mother.

In other words its a fair crticism that these guys (Mouser is part of a Patriarchal cult called the CCC, Chrsitian Complementarian Coalition) worship their own maleness. Of course they have not tumblaed to the connection between female personified wisdom in proverbs and logos, meaning that Christ is tied to any one gender. But of course since they set up their own gender as an idol they think he is. Essentially Mouser has has just admitted to Psaltery's criticism.

When the egalitarian protests that the Church errs by thinking in these terms, we learn from this that it is the egalitarian who knows neither the Scripture, nor the power of God – a power which stamps the human race with a shape, actually two shapes (male and female) which in their relationship to one another mimic the most fundamental relationships of all, that between God and His creation, between Christ and His Church.

Of course he says this because they have riased patriarchy to the level of divine command and worhsip it along side God. They think the male sex is enthroned as God's true form. Of course he says two shapes are stamped, but one exists to serve the other.

And, this is why the Bible, and the Church, and William P. Merril sing “Rise up, O Men of God!” The entire hymn is rooted in the Bible’s ancient sexual polarity, which itself springs from God’s very good design at the beginning of all things, and which moves to the glory of the wedding of the Lamb and His bride at the end of all things.

Exactly! In other words, men represent God and are called to do great things, and women aer called to keep their mouths shut and hope that strong men save them.

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