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Friday, March 6, 2015

MMM Library: Patriarchy Posts

Back in 2011, when we were just a baby blog at four months old, we took on the issue of patriarchy. Let's revisit both posts.

Patriarchy Post 1: A Modern Patriarch

As my brother-in-law and I went on a walk around the park with our children and wives, I couldn't help but ask him his view on patriarchy. He seems to me to epitomize a good patriarch: he is humble, understanding, spiritual and leads his family as the Holy Ghost dictates. Because he is a seminary teacher, I tend to bend his ear on a variety of gospel topics since I feel he spends much more time ruminating about the things of eternity than I.

Coming from a home where only poor examples of patriarchs abounded, I have been cautious in my approach as my own family's patriarch. I know it's important not to be full of anger or abusive or chauvenistic; those were the obvious characteristics I viewed and knew to avoid. But, in a world that reverse-subjugates masculinity and patriarchy in the name of retribution for the past centuries of women being subjugated, I find it difficult to navigate my patriarchy. In other words, how does a man be a patriarch when most women and the world recoil at such a "mysoginstic" concept?

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Patriarchy Post 2: On Reluctant Patriarchy

As you can see by my name, I am a patriarch. Of the reluctant variety. (Abraham is, inconveniently, not my real name). I'll contrast reluctant patriarchs to Eager Patriarchs. Eager Patriarchs like being patriarchs. Being a patriarch makes their lives meaningful. Patriarchy is a crucial component of their identity as men; patriarchy removes the anxiety of trying to decide what it means to be a man or even having to live up to what it means to be a man. In an important way patriarchy removes the struggle for maleness. Instead, it hands it to them--as a "gift," if you will, an unearned grace, but because unearned entirely misunderstood and misapplied. Now they are men. Real men. Now they can go on with their lives and do manly things without the worry that such things might not be manly. Gone is the necessity to create what it means to be a man; gone is the necessity, really, to create anything at all.

I know this because I was at one time an Eager Patriarch, secure in my manhood, certain in my answers (and Eager Patriarchs are certain. Oh, they are all too certain of everything). My story begins as a newly married young man, in college studying for a future career in the healthcare industry. Life was good: it was Patriarchal (though I didn't know it at the time).

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