So some of the discussion in the comments to the previous post about angry husbands made me think of something else that needs saying.
It is not possible to say everything at once. If I write a post about angry husbands, it is not, by its very nature, a post about slothful wives. I could write a post about slothful wives, and maybe someday when I am a much braver man I will do so, but that hypothetical post wasn’t this one.
But I have noticed that whenever I address certain particular temptations that various natural groupings in the Body are in fact prone to, the troops sometimes tend to rally in problematic ways. Specialized admonitions have a long lineage in Christian epistolary exhortations. Husbands, do this. Wives, don’t do that. Children, think about this. Servants, take care to fold the linen right. Paul tells husbands not to be bitter, although I am sure he would grant that wives can be bitter too (Col. 3:19). He tells children to be obedient, even though parents are themselves capable of being disobedient. The Scriptures tell rich people not to love money even though poor people can also love money. Now when someone in the twenty-first century church undertakes this perfectly natural pastoral duty, loud objections begin. This indicates, I would argue, that the prevailing power of identity politics is seeping into the church. What do I mean?
The lines of the antithesis are between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. Our identity is supposed to be Christ, and my only tribal tattoo is my baptism.
But feminist politics fights to establish identity politics, and if you accept the importance of their divisions you have actually joined them, whether or not you are their side.
As such, identity politics represent a false antithesis. For them, the division, the fundamental divide, is between men and women. But for Christians, the fundamental divide is between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, between righteousness and unrighteousness. The antithesis was established, in the first book of the Bible, between God’s people and those who are not God’s people.
But among God’s people, there are men and women both, children and adults both, blacks and whites both, Chevy owners and Ford owners, and so on. Identity politics wants to take one of these lesser identities, and turn it into a fundamental identity.
Unfortunately, Christians sometimes get swept up in this, or perhaps are just affected by it. Thus, if I write a blog post letting angry husbands have it, there is a tendency among some men to sympathize with the man, just because he is a man, and regardless of how unsympathetic I made him. If someone identifies with a fictional composite, created to be in the wrong by definition, then it shows how much our reflexes have been trained.
So back to my earlier example, if I were to write a blog post about slothful wives, there would be a tendency among some women to get defensive on behalf of all women. This is idolatry; it is it is identity politics. This is not a hypothetical, incidentally. It has happened here from time to time.
If a man defends an ungodly man, over against a godly woman, this is a display of the problem. If a woman defends an ungodly woman, over against a godly man, this is a demonstration of skewed loyalties. And that is one of the enemy’s great objectives — to skew our loyalties.