Aging and Complementarianism

Self-reliance. Power over women. Playboy. Emotional Control. Winning. Risk-taking. Violence. Dominance. Pursuit of status. Primacy of work. Disdain for homosexuals.
These eleven masculine norms thrive in youth and health, but as men age, many of them begin to show signs of negative mental health outcomes and lower positive mental health outcomes, in addition, men are less likely to seek psychological help. Aging for men, seems to be, loosing masculinity.
What are you when you can no longer function on your own? What are you when your strength fails you? What are you when you can no longer work? What are you when you can no longer call the shots? How then, do you define yourself? Are you still a man?
Complementarianism includes a theology of manhood. Masculine norms aren’t just typical behaviors of men, but God-given directions about how to live as men. So aging and losing masculinity, it also a kind of accidental heresy or backsliding, as men become frail, emotional and frustrated, unable to work or take charge, and if they lose their masculinity, they only thing they could become is like women – a betrayal of everything they stood for and have believed and have lived out all the years of their long lives.
This is one reason why I believe complementarianism is such a deeply flawed theology; but it’s mos devout adherents won’t begin to feel the sting of age for decades yet to come – so they might not realize how harmful it is for quite some time.


8 thoughts on “Aging and Complementarianism

  1. As a guy who once went to a complementarian church, I approve of this post. Seeing as I had the ‘better end of the stick’ it was easy to turn a blind eye to it at the time. But now I’m not in church anymore I see how backward thinking and fucked up it was…


  2. I’m 75 and steadily declining in many ways , but just as we accepted our youth and fitness so we must learn to accept our decline and our eventual demise. To believe we have the right to be forever young is pure conceit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know that most of Complementarian teachings date back roughly thirty years, do you think that their teachings are basically the same as what was taught before? Or are they different? I’ve never known a time where the church didn’t preach that “men lead, women submit”.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You are correct the church has always taught that women should submit to men an all important roles are taken by men. This follows on from all societies where men have taken leading roles ; even long before Christianity was on the scene men were in control. It’s only in the last few decades that women have insisted on having a voice and it started with women’s liberation. A good way out is to preach two people can be equal in value but different in function, but unfortunately it does not work since some functions are more important than others.

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    1. And I suppose it’s only coincidence that the more important functions are open only to men. Some of my churches forbade women from reading God’s word, taking up the offering, giving out communion, giving out official announcements – an easy way to figure out what they thought women’s roles were was: “out of sight, out of mind.”

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  4. Unfortunately many Christians have a good deal of cunning and they often use it to keep women in place. Both the church and the state need women to make them better places , it is time for women to take an equal responsibility to men in governing the world and the church.
    This applies to Islam and Judaism who also treat women disgracefully.

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    1. I really worry about where the church is going – I know of a group of head-covering Christians (per 1 Corinthians 11) and they wear all kinds of head coverings, including hijabs. It’s getting harder to tell the difference between the way Christianity treats it’s women and the way the other monotheistic faiths treat their women.

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  5. The problem is exacerbated by the exposure of sexual abuse in all sorts of places and by all sorts of people. Muslims can point the finger at slack easy going up to date Christians who don’t cover up and expect there menfolk to exercise self control. Civilisation is often a thin veneer covering our true nature with a suit and tie or flowery theological language. John the Baptist was far civilized living on locusts and stolen wild honey yet his moral fibre was something to be envied. Better an uncovered head goes with an uncovered heart than a covered head with a hidden heart.

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