Mailbag

From The Mailbag

A selection of

reader letters

I believe you, I have heard your concerns about this new comment policy that has effectively shut down the comments section of my blog. The Mothership seems to be working on a solution. In the meantime, if you have something substantive you would like to say, email me at rod — at — amconmag — dot — com, and I’ll consider posting your words. If you ask me, I will not use your name. Be sure to leave clear instructions if you want me to edit out anything.

A reader writes:

Just back from a week at summer camp as an adult leader for my son’s scout troop. Although my children live in a traditional catholic environment, they do some things that are “outside the norm” due to the proximity of Scotland and the border. Scouts have been maintained safe by their inertia for many years.

Now that “scouts BSA” (formerly the Boy Scouts) also has girls, cross-dressing can actually be harder to see at first glance. Is it a boy or a girl who walks by? Perhaps it is a blessing that there are boys, because my son often doesn’t notice these things.

So, I know I’m not reporting anything crazy, nor unexpected. The transgender / genderbender craze in America is sure to spread among the Scouts. It’s impossible for it to not. Many years ago, the Scouts BSA had some restrictions that made it difficult for LGBT leaders and scouts to join. The only thing that holds it back now is the who manages scouting – mostly moms and fathers. You know what that means. You know the way it goes if there is no counter-cultural rule.

So among the camp counselors this year, there were a good 2-4 who didn’t, shall we say, dress according to their biology.

What do you do as a parent? Did you answer the survey with a comment? You would be labeled as a hater if you said anything on the survey.
Do you seek after authority, to try to rein this in? Is it possible to do this even though you try?

Do you encourage your son to be a counselor when he gets older? For a few months, would you let your child live with such people? You would be willing to sacrifice your child for the altar. Our troop has a really nice boy who is going to be a counselor this summer. I’ll pray for him.

So another institution is taken over, kids lose one more place where they can be a kid, and you have (sadly) one more example of why we need a Benedict Option.

Here is a letter by a Reformed pastor:

I read your blog today about the feminization of Christianity and the need to “man up.”Thought provoking for sure.
Then I read your Substack about the Reformed Church in the Netherlands and I was surprised to see that my thoughts were somewhat tracking yours…
Here are some observations in no particular order.1. The most disastrous consequences of hyper masculine church leadership are often the result of sex drives. The most destructive things men can do to the church are those who cannot control their sex drive (Ravi…long list here Canadas Bruxy cavey). Jesus knows this and commands suffering, cross-bearing, and rhetorical poise when faced with intense attacks. You must be willing to sacrifice your life for God, truth and the neighbor you love. But first, you die to yourself.
1.5 Hyper masculine Christianity is Islam. Rule, oppression, violence, and strict discipline are all hallmarks of hyper masculine Christianity. The recruits for hyper masculine Islam are always on the move. These men will command a man’s willingness to kill and sacrifice the enemies. 2.
2. All the boys went to Mass every Saturday night when I was growing up. My dad used to tell me that we were all Protestants and the Catholics always had more men at church. Why? Perhaps it was the ritual. Perhaps it was because the large, bloody Christ on the wall of the church, which is the main focal point, gave off a sense of fear and an urge to excel. Perhaps it’s me from an iconoclastic Calvinist upbringing that was shocked at such an image. It is still possible to see Christ’s arms extended with the grey-bearded God above, holding his arms and an ostrich above. His blood and water were collected into a communion cup. There was no mystery in theology. Blood, death, God, Christ. A church that still could pack the place at 11: 30pm on Christmas Eve. When we Protestants lost the visual arts, we started to lose everyone.
3. The other night, a group made Bible studies with young men. The discussion on the Virgin Birth turned into an interesting discussion about Anakin Skywalker’s mysterious birth. Their knowledge of George Lucas’ parody about the virgin birth was greater than that of Matt 2 and the theological implications. The truth is that myths are what men seek. If they don’t find it in church, they will search for lighter sabres from a faraway universe.
4. The Bible was kept by Protestants. An evangelical understands the situation. To keep everyone honest, Protestants hold the Bible as the only truth. The Orthodox worship the liturgy and the Catholics revere the dogma. :). We are now losing the Bible. The Greek and Hebrew requirements for my denominational seminary continue to be weakened. You don’t need to struggle and sweat through hard course work in order to become a pastor. You don’t have to be a man looking for an adventure. It drives me crazy. I chose Calvin Seminary because an old professor of Old Testament looked at me over his glasses and said “Seminary is school and it is difficult.” “As it should be,” my 25 year old self thought. My seminary education, while not as thorough as that of an MD should have been. A bad pastor can wreck a lot more souls than a doctor can. My seminary also actively recruits women, an odd thing since our 30 some years of women in office has yet to yield much more than 10% of pulpits as actually being available to women. They choose, and tend to be conservative.
5. Do I really want to combat the trans-issue? We are in some ways like King Theodon, when Gandalf declares “War is upon You.” Public school teachers have told me that they must lie to their parents in order to conceal a child’s trans identity. As part of their job, they have to support the June Agenda. We talk and I have meetings with them. This “fighting”? I’m not sure. People don’t come to church to hear what is blasted at them 24 hours a day everywhere else. It is a terrible thing to let the culture decide what I should talk about. However, I am in war and the enemy has a vote. An enemy is too important to be ignored. How does combat look?
-I have a Bible study for broken drug addicted young men.-our church keeps men at the upper levels of leadership, even though not all agree with this.-we have an explosion of little children and growing young families. In five years, where will we be? I don’t know how to fight.
6. It’s not something that many people understand. It’s not always obvious. We can adapt to any situation, but are often unaware of how dire they really are. It’s possible to use the word iniquity, which is a Hebrew term for crooked paths, lost ways, falling into the pit one dug and exchanging lies for truth, losing any sense of the truth… that’s exactly the problem.
7. Jordan Peterson: Why was he successful? It would be so nice to know.

Another person writing about men in church:

This is in regard to your second “men in the church” post.
That article you wrote about Anna, the young Catholic woman who had been struggling to find a husband, has stuck with me since you published it in 2019. An evangelical man who lives in a seminary town, I attended the seminary for eight years. Last year was my last. The gender balance in the seminary was similar to Anna’s complaint. However, it was reversed: there were more women than men at the seminary. It was expected as it is the main seminary in a conservative theological evangelical church that believes men only should be pastors. It was the most difficult environment I have ever tried to meet someone. I was being stacked against myself. I “competed” with hundreds of godlier men (and more handsome, charming, intelligent, and so on).
The churches, on the other hand, were a bit different. The churches I went to had more singles than the evangelical ones. Like the reader who referred to me at the start of this article, I attend now an ACNA church. What drew me to the Anglican tradition is what draws most young men to more liturgical traditions — the beauty and seriousness of the liturgy and the gift of an actual path to walk in terms of spiritual discipline. It is a shame, but also a blessing that I love my church. ), I now attend a church where there are currently precisely zero single women in attendance, apart from one or two who appear to be straight out of high school, which is a bit too young for this 32-year-old.
I actually asked my pastor about this when I first met with him after beginning to attend the ACNA church. Semi-jokingly, I mentioned that I worried about not finding a wife if he stopped going to baptistic evangelical churches. Most of the Christian singles in my town were also of this ilk. He assured me that there are plenty of Anglican women and joked with me about how he could possibly get a Catholic girl into Anglicanism. These Anglican women are probably in another congregation in another city, as I have not seen one in my parish for six months. This is not because I am bitter or unhappy. This is a strange fact that I have noticed.
(There is a saving grace for me, though, because I work at a fairly large classical Christian school, which sees an influx of young, single female teachers each year. Although it can be awkward to navigate workplace romance, there are still options. Online dating was a time-waster for me. The platforms were addictive. Although I understand that online dating can work for some, I don’t think I will ever do it again. )

This is because more and more young men will realize that the pool of possible mates shrinks when they move to liturgical churches. If Anna’s Australian experience proves it, Catholic churches may not be affected. They might find someone willing to jump with them if they come from evangelical circles. They need to be prepared for this reality. Pastors, and all other leadership in liturgical churches, need to prepare to matchmaker with their networks and find young women who share the same commitment to liturgical Christian life and discipleship. This is an old-fashioned approach but it’s the only option for those men who are not working in a Christian setting.

Reader Joan from Mass. writes:

for the first “Where Are The Men?” post
For all the digging Podles does into the beginning of the feminization of Western Christian congregations in the High Middle Ages, I’m surprised that he didn’t mention the most famous change from that time, the one still being debated: mandatory priestly celibacy. This changed the appeal of priesthood and made it more attractive to a different type of person. Although I have no idea about organizational dynamics, I know that one thing I know from years of being an employee is that the leader sets the tone. This includes the CEO and first-level manager for each sub-unit or team. While elite families placed their sons at the top of church to tolerate mistresses, secret families and tolerating power struggles, priests were more likely to fit in with the males of his parish and couldn’t relate. The church was less friendly to men of average intelligence, even though it didn’t change anything. The culture was shaped by this division, which lasted even after the priests were allowed to marry again.

I have previously heard that addiction treatment groups tend to be predominantly male, as addiction is a overwhelmingly male issue. A history of substance abuse, particularly if it is illegal, can be a red flag to many women. This includes women who are not afflicted by addiction. Before law-abiding females will trust him, a man must go through a lot.

Here’s a letter Harvard diversocrats wrote to faculty members and staff.

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