BY SARAH CHO
“No, we are not going to do an issue on men. What could people possibly have to say about men? Women are the oppressed ones in this society. Here, how about environmentalism…”
I admit it. When the editorial staff began discussing the theme for this issue, I initially doubted that many people – male or female – would want to write about manhood. Here at Cal, it seems that passion resides on the side of the oppressed. Cal is the home of the Free Speech Movement. It is a place where activism played a critical role in the creation of the Disabled Students’ Program, the Department of Ethnic Studies, and the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies. The spirit of justice lives on, as we witnessed (and perhaps partook in) two campus-wide protests in response to fee hikes and budget cuts this year. And in such a climate, we are prone to compartmentalize people into two categories: villains and victims.
But this, dear friend, is dangerous thinking. As students and scholars, we want to do our part in explaining the world and changing it. But in the process, we begin to intellectualize the human experience and adopt labels that give us the right to speak: “As a woman who was raped, I condemn male perpetrators,” or “As an ethnic minority, I condemn administrative officials that pride in diversity without recognizing struggles that extend beyond slavery and war.”
And though these assertions contain truth, rhetoric and defensiveness often contribute to disunity and indifference toward each other’s sufferings. Thus, we must begin with our commonhood, that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Holding onto this truth, let us recognize that we – descendants of Adam and Eve – are the very causes of the sufferings in this world, which through Christ crucified, resurrected and enthroned, will one day cease. Also, let us recognize that we will always have with us those who, bearing names of whole communities, inflict pain, and that the best we can do to spur positive change is to become more like Jesus Christ, the perfect man and bringer of peace.
As you venture into our latest issue, I invite you to consider how people of different genders have distinct collective experiences, but also how uniquely the power of the Messianic gospel of God Himself, who suffered as a man in the hands of his own creation, manifests in individuals. Our culture deceives us into thinking that gender is a dividing line of struggles and experiences. On the surface, it is. But let us look further. Brothers and sisters, let us “spur one another on toward love and good deeds,” and recognize the unique way in which God has fashioned men and women (Heb. 10:24). He has marked his fingerprints differently on each vessel with the potential to radiate His majesty.
Men, may you live by and shine the light of King Jesus Christ, the most humble and greatest man to ever walk the earth. And women, let us pray for our brothers to be so in tune with the Holy Spirit that they may bear His strength, humility, radicalism, and beauty.
Thank you, as always, for your readership, support, and prayer.