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May 9, 2019

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In a piece from The New York Times Magazine, Wil S. Hylton describes the deadly impact of toxic masculinity.
From the NYTimes Magazine: My Cousin Was My Hero. Until He Tried to Kill Me.

"Fraternity, dominance, adamance, certitude — these are the commandments of male identity. Maybe in societies deep through history, those qualities helped organize a world of chaos, but the antediluvian constructs of masculinity are easily weaponized in modern life. The virtue of strength invites abuse. Adamance enables intransigence. Restraint devolves to disengagement, and fraternity yields exclusion. The veneration of those traits is poison to young men."
And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. - Genesis 4:8
In a sense, to say there is a crisis of masculinity at present in America misses the scope and duration of that crisis. Masculinity in America has been violent and murderous from the beginning. That is to say, masculinity is today and has always been violent.

While the #MeToo movement has made profound progress addressing sexual violence in particular, our culture's confrontation with the more broad realities of domestic violence is far behind. We avoid this confrontation, even though the UN has determined that the most dangerous place for women around the world is at home.

It is important to note the particular violence of white masculinity, which malevolently operates at the intersecting American disasters of domestic violence and mass shootings (of course there are others but white male shooters are legion: from Las Vegas to Aurora, Columbine to Charleston). Our own President has a well documented history of violence against women; and of course we also know that he seeks to incite and entertain violence against minorities incessantly from his seat of power. 

The violence of men is the greatest threat to all those we love and to our society. Too much of Christian theology, past and present, has justified male violence. Christian theology must have something to say in the face of such widespread violence and its origins within the ontological crisis at the core of masculinity. Christianity must repent of its own violence rooted in patriarchy. Men must repent, specifically those born into white, cisgender, heteronormative privilege. Women and LGBTQIA+ people, especially those of color, must be put into positions where public policy and culture shifting authority are theirs to shape a new world.
Take action with Futures Without Violence, an organization providing groundbreaking programs, policies, and campaigns that empower individuals and organizations working to end violence against women and children around the world.
For the end of violence against women and children, for the end of all domestic violence, for the healing of victims, for justice, for a new world and future where all are safe in their homes and when they walk out into the world. Amen.
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