Let’s Talk About Patriarchy, Baby!

Education, Order

this guy knows


WE KNOW: Now that we’re in the second decade of the 21st century, we have to re-establish terms that seem to have been hijacked somewhere along the way. Presently, MASCULINITY means ‘the toxic, abusive, aggressive behavior of maladjusted men’ and that’s too bad. Today, PATRIARCHY means ‘cold, manipulative, condescending oppression by men at the expense of women’ and that’s a crying shame.


You’ve probably noticed by now, in this Viceroy community – well, we are a ‘boots on the ground household management’ kinda operation. We aren’t into footnotes and symposiums and big creeds. I’m sorry. There are some fantastic books, thinkers, and position papers out there that can help you do word-studies and theological deep dives on ‘the differences between the sexes’ and ‘Biblical manhood/womanhood’ or ‘a gender analysis of church leadership roles’ — all kinds of fun articles you can cozy up with by a nice winter fire. We will be pointing you to these resources as soon as we can. We geek-out on this stuff, but we don’t assume everyone does. Not everyone likes reading long books. We know. Around here – we aim for ‘digestible – grab and go!’

Most of our friends are moving so fast we need an energy-bar and cup of coffee and more ammo. That’s how we roll.

Viceroys, around these parts, need quick fuel and a point in the right directions to keep our household moving down the road. Today, we are limiting our scope and our commentary to our homes. Inevitably, however, somebody at some point is going to blow a whistle in your ear and yell – ‘You there! You’re talking about Patriarchy and that is a big red flag. Foul on you!

So let’s do a cursory (short/fast) treatment of PATRIARCHY so you can offer some sort of response to whoever is blowing that whistle. You should know that the term ‘patriarchy’ is a loaded/multi-faceted term. Two people can use that term and mean radically different things. Don’t believe me? You could read this article and look at all the variance in the usage: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jun/22/the-age-of-patriarchy-how-an-unfashionable-idea-became-a-rallying-cry-for-feminism-today

100-proof patriarchy – the extreme view of patriarchy in it’s most severe/undiluted form would like this:men make all decisions in the home, the local church, and the civic sphere. Women might be consulted with, privately, but only if the man wanted her input. He and his neighbors would make all the final decisions. Women wouldn’t hold leadership positions of any sort, etc. That is hard-line patriarchy and most everyone has utterly rejected it (I’m sure you’ve noticed). Saudi Arabia has not rejected this kind of patriarchy and that’s why they aren’t respected in international bodies: think head to toe coverings, women can’t drive, what’s the point in educating them… pretty nasty stuff. Misogyny. Gross. That ain’t us!

It is also associated with ‘toxic masculinity’ and that term is over-used/misused all the time. Objectifying women, denigrating their contribution, inputs, thoughts – none of that stuff is tolerated in our homes.

In our modern context, most of the King’s people don’t live like that, we fall somewhere within these two categories – big words, be patient:

1. Complementarianism – the view holding that men and women are created of equal value in the image of God, but have differing, complementary roles in the home and the church. The husband is the head of the home, and only men can be ordained as elders or preach in church.

2. Egalitarianism – the view holding that men and women are not only created equally in the image of God but are also equivalent in terms of roles for which they are eligible in the home and church. Traditionally, egalitarians have said the genders are complementary and not simply identical, but that there are no domains in which there is gender hierarchy. Men are not the head of the home and women can be ordained, preach, etc.

Many of us grow up in America with a firm commitment to position #2 – because we aren’t jerk-face weirdos. Right? I mean….right? I want to tell you that as wise and enlightened and wonderful as position #2 seems at first glance (and I might even wish it were a true path!) – it simply will not lead to life or the prosperity of our homes. Mark it. Test me to see if I’m right – run an experiment in your home these next 15 years and write in to tell me I’m full of crap. 

But I want to underscore something important, something that explains why we HATE patriarchy like we hate AIDS or cancer in our modern moment – patriarchy simply means ‘rule by father.’ It may surprise the modern thinker when he/she discovers: The entire universe was constructed by a Father who set structures and order in place – an architecture that places men as the head of their home. And it should be noted: headship speaks more to responsibility than it does to a peacocking ‘I get the last word, and my voice booms loudest, and I control the bank accounts so everyone better cower.’ Patriarchy means ‘who answers for this train-wreck of a household?’ – it means my clothes become threadbare before my wife or children’s wardrobe suffers. I pick up a second job on weekends if that’s what it takes to pay that light bill. 

Here are a few things that would pain a Kingly patriarch – a Viceroy:

a) a daughter develops an eating disorder and the light is dimming in her eyes – ALERT! Jump in there, Amigo!

b) a son is routinely burning his Saturdays on a Playstation gaming unit – the other son is looking at T&A on his Instagram account – you’re up, Slugger!

c) the wife looks exhausted and is suffering through a prolonged depression and can’t seem to find time to clean/manage the house – we just elevated to DEF-CON 2, move, man!

See, there is a tendency to focus on ‘who holds power’ and who ‘is oppressed’ when male leadership is tossed out onto the examination table. As much as the modern mind hates to admit it: the solution to oppressive patriarchy, toxic masculinity, and abusive male dominance….is … (grimaces as the shoulders shrug) – a better, more engaged patriarchy!

Gasp. Yep, it’s true. Most of the hate tossed at masculinity, fathers, and male leadership stems from badly demonstrated patriarchy.

The best patriarchs I know never thump their chest and bellow I RULE THIS DOMAIN! That’s stupid. Their strength is manifest in their calm, humble stance stiffened by a backbone that is doesn’t waver. They fail. They make blunders. They rally to other men for support and prayer. Humility follows the realization that he must get in the fight to love his family well and lead them into prosperity and wholeness.

Lastly, the reason our modern moment, our current cultural moment, hates the rule by fathers – is because they have rejected the Original Father. It should come as no surprise that they reject the King’s order.And sadly, men – even churchmen – have sacrificed the well-being/nurture of their wives and children in service to their careers. Ministers have done the same thing. Missionaries have done the same thing. There is a long track-record of wives and families suffering under a man who doesn’t rise to the occasion and lead his family well. Viceroys check other men who rule their homes with tyrannical words and brutal demeanor. It is not our way. It is not the King’s way.

We are on to better horizons – we mean to express the Father in the earth (just like our King did). We’re glad you are along for the ride! Let us know how we can help you step in and step up to your destiny.

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