Maths and Musics and Malodorous Masculinities and…Marmots?

This is the only image I have of me and my Hohner.

It’s officially the end of summer, and I’m in a tailspin. Over the summer, I gave up writing fiction, began a course in self-study on mathematics, and promised myself I would become an accordion player. This all sounds lovely, but it isn’t. Whatever I do, whatever fallback I have to keep me sane and complete as a human being, is done at the edges of a life filled with education, house-cleaning, cooking, errand-running, and essential kid events. Next week, I must rediscover how to maintain any sense of autonomy when I begin teaching all four of my children. In my home-school classroom, I will have one kindergartener, a third-grader, and two high school students present on my class roll. They are, admittedly, the best part of my life, but home-education is difficult (hey, even they would agree)!

I don’t know what has happened over the summer. I feel ingrown in the walls of the house–perhaps similar to the woman in The Yellow Wallpaper. Somehow, our family has managed to drop church-going, which, I’m sad to say, started with me. I needed to have three hours to myself one day a week and, although I wouldn’t call the small Lutheran church we attend a sociable church, it is a limited social event. When I say it isn’t sociable, I don’t mean the people are uncaring. I mean they are intellectual. For that, I really love the people at my church. I don’t love rising at the crack of dawn for a social experience, limited as it may be. I should add that my husband has his own reasons for not desiring to rise early for an eight o’clock service. By no means do I wish to sully his intentions with my personal issues.

And this brings me to the last subject in my titled list: Malodorous Masculinity. I don’t find masculinity to be, in general, malodorous. My husband is very masculine, and he smells great. And, besides, I love him. But I find the backlash movement of Masculine Christianity to be more than slightly annoying. Here’s the thing, men–I know this will be difficult for you to understand, but hear me out–you have been in charge of virtually everything in the world for thousands of years. The church gives no exception to your rule of male dominance. Now that we live in an egalitarian culture–egalitarian in name, anyway–suddenly men can’t stand the barest of feminine influence in churches. It’s as if they’ve woken up and discovered that God created women, too, and they’ve collectively shuddered at the implications. Women, no! Arghhh! Now we must be faced with pastel colors, emotions, puppy dogs, babies, and relationships! Gone are the days when we men, alone, braved the great outdoors with heartiness and bravado, intellect, and strength!

Yes, we women are people, too. We contain souls and spirits, if not minds. I’m terribly sorry that the male intellect has woken up to the threat of us slobbering, sobbing women, who slip around in pastel aprons muttering, “The poor, wee wee men. They needs our loveliest love and caring. Shall we put up some floral curtains for them? Aye, that we shall. We don’t understand a word of the heavy words written in those funny little books in the pew shelves. Titter, titter, titter, what could that mean? Won’t you big, strong men read the multisyllabic words for us? I’m afraid they’ll make us cry.”

While you men wake up to the astonishing truth of womankind, I needs to do my maths studies. I don’t know if my poor, wee brain will handle it, though. Meanwhile, I suggest you join league with John Piper and Mark Driscoll, who push for a more masculine Christianity. Mark Driscoll, at least, is a real man who apes up his image for the world to see. Click the link, I dare you: Is that a pastel purple vest Mark’s wearing?! I think I’ll write a song about it and play a polka dedicated to the color purple, when I can find the time at the edges of my calculations…

p.s. It was an accident. I had a tab open with a picture of a marmot, and I control C’d it by mistake. At first, it was so funny to discover a marmot for a man, that I laughed for fifteen minutes solid and decided to leave it up. But when I went looking for the picture of Mark Driscoll in his lavender shirt, I couldn’t find it, and am now wondering if my eyes were deceiving me. Perhaps the vest wasn’t lavender. On the other hand, he seems to like purple shirts: Not that I care. I just happened to have recently wasted an unparalleled portion of my precious time arguing about pastel colors over at Mike Duran’s blog.



  1. I have thoughts that are many and they curl up under this migraine. So there aren’t good expressions for them now.

    But I do have a question. What do you plan for your maths?

    1. Katherine, I will send you an e-mail answering your questions/challenges from both your comments later this evening when I have some free time. I’m sorry you have a migraine. 🙁

  2. That’s an interesting take on the masculinity dilemma with church. I hadn’t really thought of the “how it has been”. I guess its kind of reaping what has been sown that men are now feeling devalued; told to be “nice”; not so noisy. Not to advocate football in church, I just mean that aggressive/dire deed side is called ‘unchristian’. I guess its kind of fitting. Since women have been told too often their aggressive/dire side is unchristian.

    1. I’m not sure if it is a dilemma. The church is more masculine than it is feminine, but it’s more gender neutral than it is masculine. That’s probably a good thing–although, come to think of it, Christianity is actually a feminine religion if you go with the analogy that the church is the bride of Christ. Anyway, I’m just thinking things through. Thanks for commenting.

  3. lol. Thanks for sharing your mistake. Quite funny. I didn’t know what a marmot was, or they are so cute.

    I haven’t heard much of the masculine backlash. Maybe I’ve been hiding under a rock? You make good points about the men being in control of the show.

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