In the twenty-first century, the branches of Christianity opposed to the advance of progressive thought have essentially lost much of the ground they fought for. The more dynamic and colorful voices fought a culture war against abortion, pornography, and pop culture. Their efforts were less a brave act of counter-culture and more a loud shout of defiance before defeat.
The conservative versus liberal dichotomy has proven to be a false conflict, a red herring. It is, in reality, simply the difference between bold progressives and reluctant progressive. Both sides are essentially progressive, with the liberal foot on the accelerator and the conservative foot on the brake.
What is emerging in American society is a transition from a patriarchal ordering (male oriented and female and children subordinate) to a matriarchal ordering (female and children oriented and male subordinate). Regardless of how or why it happened or what should be done about it, the church needs to face it and face the conflict it is going to have with this type of society.
Christianity is a historic religion and both its holy text and the God it declares are masculine. The Bible is a male-oriented text, written by men to men, guided by a divine Father through the authority granted to a divine Son. There is no way to soften this or smooth it over without ignoring the majority of what is presented. Even though Christianity is a benevolent faith, founded as it was by the innocent sacrificing for the guilty, it is nonetheless a man’s faith.
We have the dominance of ideas that are forcing a transforming of American culture to a female orientation amidst a religion that is completely male oriented.
One major area this is manifesting itself is in the family. Men and women are still marrying, but the roles for each spouse are now confused. Who stays home with the kids? Who works and brings in the income to support the family? Who is the final arbitrator of decisions when there is disagreement? In the current state of equality, there is an attempt to make the roles and responsibilities fluid and distributed equally among both partners. However, this is proving to be a challenge because two working parents require a third-party to raise the children and decision-making brings conflicts because both command the status that comes with being the financial and material provider.
Suzanne Venker, writing for Fox News, recognizes this tension and offers a predicted solution:
… I do believe the one-income family, which offers a notably stress-free lifestyle, will make a comeback—the difference being that more and more dads will be the ones to stay home, which I think is a great compromise to the relentless work/family conflict.
To preserve the family structure from disintegration, as is happening with an economy allowing for two working parents, a return to the patriarchy of the past is simply not an option (called turning back the clock). What is an option is moving from equality to a state of matriarchy, where women are the dominant and oriented gender of society. This will inevitable require men to accept a place of subordination to their breadwinner wives.
Much of the conflict stems from the fact that men are just not laying down and accepting the new proposed and increasingly enforced order. The path of single motherhood with a career remains a staple for women until they can find a “good man,” one who will respect the place of dominance her success demands.
As more and more mothers become breadwinners, men are simply faced with two choices. They can either refuse to marry, refuse to be forced into a subordinate role, or they can surrender and accept a woman and child-oriented world. The biblical idea of men being the providing and protecting authority in a family is a thing of the past. It will inevitably put a biblical Christianity at odds with the surrounding culture.