Q&A With "No More Christian Nice Guy" Author Paul Coughlin
- Tuesday, December 06, 2005
His sarcasm, especially toward the Pharisees, destroyed my perception of Christ as a "nice" guy. I couldn’t explain away Jesus’ sarcasm, which C. S. Lewis appreciated as well. Yet nice people aren’t sarcastic. Therefore, Jesus wasn’t always nice. It sounds simple and maybe a little odd, but that was one of the biggest insights that launched this unique message and ministry that is exploding across the country and outside the U.S.
CB: In "No More Christian Nice Guy," you question the belief that women are more spiritual and moral than men. Why is this important to you?
Coughlin: Because there’s nothing in the Bible that supports this belief. We are all equally sinful and in need of God’s grace.
People say that women are more moral and spiritual because they attend church more regularly. But more men would come to church if they wouldn’t be forced to conform to a dangerous caricature of Jesus as "meek and mild." Also, most church services are more inclined to address feminine sensibilities than masculine interests.
It’s also an example of what I call "genderism," which is similar to racism in prejudice and destruction. It encourages the false belief that what women deem as important is more important than what men deem important. If the church wishes to create genuine unity between the genders, it will listen to both genders equally.
CB: You talk about women sharing power in their homes. Explain this idea.
Coughlin: Men don’t have much of a say in their homes. Many aren’t even consulted when it comes to decoration.
Their wives usually control most if not all of their social schedule. And some wives misuse this power by cutting out their husband’s friends and sometimes their family. This is abuse by another name.
Wives have not been encouraged to restrain their verbal strength the way husbands have been told to control their physical strength. Wives shouldn’t misuse their verbal superiority when arguing. They should withhold this strength in order to make their verbal disagreements more fair and beneficial for everyone involved.
Some women don’t understand or appreciate masculinity given how an entire generation has been raised to be suspicious of men. Fathers must not allow this lack of appreciation of masculinity to be unleashed upon their sons. Fathers must not allow mothers to shame young boys for being boys.
CB: Can you explain what you mean when you say that Christian men have it worse than non-Christian men when it comes to relationships at home and at work?
Coughlin: Christian men are expected to be mild and amiable, though Jesus was far from mild and amiable. They aren’t expected to show much emotion either, especially passion, since the "ideal" Christian man is primarily stoic. This makes him emotionally unavailable, which statistically leads to divorce.
Christian men have heard countless sermons on what it means to be innocent as a dove, but very few on what it means to be wise as a serpent. Some translations say "cunning and shrewd as a serpent." As a result, they are ill-equipped to take on dishonest and deceptive forces at work. They are naïve, and we don’t respect naïve bosses, co-workers, husbands, or fathers.
They have been told for decades that personal integrity alone will help them succeed in life. This is naïve and detrimental both at home and at work. It goes against what Jesus told us.
CB: Why do you argue that Christian men need a more flexible code of conduct?
Coughlin: Because the current false expectation to be nice instead of good is filling them with smoldering resentment and anger. This damaging expectation goes against their masculine design. The Man Box must be expanded to include both tender and tough behavior – depending upon their circumstances.
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