Doug’s Bib

Once again, Doug Giles asserts his manliness and heterosexuality with a call for men to accept independence and responsibility: a point Giles demonstrates by, er…whining about men who are different from him (or, at least, different from his self-image). Doug is fascinating for three reasons. Firstly, in his weekly column he consistently reveals his insecurities with a complete lack of self-awareness (last week it was a complaint about the “culture of castration”). Secondly, there is the massive disjunction between the man and the message: while obsessive-compulsively asserting rowdy masculinity week after week, in his photo he appears preened and coiffured, while his church meets in a plush hotel in a rich part of Miami.

But thirdly (and this is why I keep coming back to him), Giles likes to appear as a regular guy putting commonsense ideas before the conservative public, when in fact his role to promote specific ideological trends within Christian fundamentalism. Giles himself is a hack with little of his own to say – all of his ideas are derived from others.

As noted previously, Giles’s views on masculinity derive from both the Charismatic and Reformed traditions. His brother-in-law, Mell Winger, is a Charismatic, and is the author of Fight on Your Knees: Calling Men to Action Through Transforming Prayer, which appears to bring together ideas of Christian masculinity with “spiritual warfare” ideology. Giles has also studied at James Kennedy’s Calvinist Knox Theological Seminary.

Today, Giles presents us with a reading list which takes us further into the world of the Christian masculinists:

It is up to us middle-aged old boys to preserve and perpetuate the grand testosterone fog God created us to live in for the next generation of young warriors.

One great way to do this is by buying these killer books:

Future Men by Douglas Wilson
The Church Impotent by Leon Podle
Raising Modern Day Knights by Robert Lewis
The Code of Man by Waller Newell

Well, I won’t go that far, but I will check them out.

First, Leon Podle. In fact, it’s “Leon Podles”, not “Podle”. The full title of his book is The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity, in which he argues that changes in Roman Catholicism in the Twelfth Century have made Christianity more attractive to women (and, his articles suggest, homosexuals) than to most men. A review in John Neuhaus’s conservative Christian First Things journal (not my usual reading) had this to say:

Masculinity is not a mere function of biological maleness, Podles tells us…Boys become masculine only if they break this oedipal attachment, thus opening a “psychic wound” that is the basis of their inchoate masculinity. If a boy fails to “dis–identify” with his mother and identifies instead with his father, he fails to achieve masculinity, and is likely to become homosexual, masochistic, misogynistic, or pedophilic…Podles takes these scientific conclusions and misapplies them, essentially arguing the following: Psychoerotic separation is characteristic of the masculine; a psychoerotic separation is a separation; therefore, separation itself is characteristic of the masculine. He implausibly generalizes that any separation of any sort indicates masculinity—and he perpetuates this logical error throughout the book, reducing his argument to a kind of caricature: Because He transcends creation, “God is, therefore, utterly separate from creation…A transcendent God is a masculine God.” Podles claims that God’s separating the light from the dark proves his masculinity. The Israelite patriarchs sinned whenever fleshly “communion with the wife” led one of them to “feminization, to the loss of separation that makes him a man,” as with Adam, David, and Solomon. Abraham “fell prey to uxoriousness” and had to recover his separation by sacrificing Isaac. In Exodus, God makes a distinction between the Israelites and Egyptians, continuing “to act in a masculine way.”

One might think that the unprecedented “communion” of the persons of the Trinity might indicate that the New Testament offers a less separate, more “feminine” version of God. Not so, says Podles. The New Testament tells us explicitly that God is Father and Son, and that we are all called to “initiation” (i.e., baptism) and martyrdom. Jesus introduces “a new principle of separation: no longer observance of the Law, but faith in him,” and takes the cross like a man. (“Masculinity entails initiation; initiation involves pain—the greater the pain, the more profound the initiation.”) In the Apocalypse, we discover that Christ’s enemy is Satan, and the true Christian life is shown to be spiritual warfare (a masculine image).

This is pretty silly stuff. Podles has other historical missteps as well, too numerous to mention here.

Here is Podles’ bio:

Leon Podles is president of the Crossland Foundation and a contributing editor of Touchstone magazine. Among the numerous journals for which he has written are America, The American Spectator, Crisis, and American Enterprise…He earned his doctorate at the University of Virginia and his bachelor’s at Providence College. He has also studied Old Icelandic at the University of Iceland.

Other bios add that he used to be a federal investigator. Touchstone can be seen here. The Crossland Foundation appears to be some sort of regular charity.

Second, Robert Lewis. Lewis’s book is published by Focus on the Family. He runs the Men’s Fraternity, which sells “Proven Manhood Resources” with titles like The Quest for Authentic Manhood and The New Eve. To make sure only real men come to his weekly meetings, he holds them at 6:00am.

Third, Waller Newell. Newell is a sort of Canadian Mike Adams, based at Carleton University. His website has a blurb for the book Giles recommends:

The Code of Man examines and answers a little understood yet pivotal conundrum facing Americans today: why, after winning the Cold War and defeating the evil empire, American men began to wage a war on themselves. Newell uses scores of fascinating sources to explore the variations of how the manly heart has been understood throughout recorded history. He discovers a fundamental consistency to how, until quite recently, our ancestors understood manly honor and pride.

Newell has been interviewed by the Dallas Morning News, and the interview has been archived on Free Republic. His thesis seems to be usual one that everything was great until the 1960s. However, many of the Freeper commentators were offended by his positive words about John McCain and Nelson Mandela.

Finally, Douglas Wilson. As it happens, Wilson is currently echoing around the blogosphere, following an article in the North Carolinian News Observer (link snagged from Steve Gilliard’s News Blog and Jesus’ General):

Students at one of the area’s largest Christian schools are reading a controversial booklet that critics say whitewashes Southern slavery with its view that slaves lived “a life of plenty, of simple pleasures.”…One of the authors, Douglas Wilson, a pastor in Moscow, Idaho, wrote a book on classical education upon which the school bases its philosophy. Wilson’s Association of Classical and Christian Schools accredited Cary Christian, and he is scheduled to speak at the school’s graduation in May…

“Doug Wilson and Steve Wilkins have essentially constructed the ruling theology of the neo-Confederate movement,” said Mark Potok, editor of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report.

Wilson runs Credenda Agenda, and seems to be a kind of Christian Reconstructionist (although he dislikes Gary North). According to the publisher’s blurb for Future Men:

Future Men is a Christian guide to raising strong, virtuous sons, contrary to the effeminacy and sentimentalism of contemporary culture.

As we look to Scripture for patterns of masculinity for our sons, we find them manifested perfectly in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the one who set the ultimate pattern for friendship, for courage, for faithfulness, and integrity.

A philosophy professor who has had dealings with Wilson gives his account here. Wilson is a contributor to the work of Coral Ridge ministries (e.g. here, and here), which is run by James Kennedy, the man who awarded Giles his MA at Knox.

3 Responses

  1. Outstanding bit of research! Keep it up – you have an excellent blog going here! Be well, Dave H.

  2. After reading some of the stuff of Mr. Doug Giles I am finally convinced that Darwinism is right and we are very closely realted to chestthumbing apes. Some guys more some guys less.

  3. […] was noticed that it was being used as a textbook in a Christian school in North Carolina. I noted at the time that Rev Wilson was a kind of Christian Reconstructionist, with links to D James Kennedy. […]

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