Anne Douglas, in her book, The Feminization of American Culture, observed that the decline of Calvinistic theology in the churches, which provided the “preservative for all virtues, even those of gentleness and generosity,” was supplanted by a weak sentimentalism that could not provide the foundation for true virtue. She goes on to say that, “…adult politics have succumbed to infantile piety, Ecclesia to a nursery. Masculinity is vanquished in the congregation and, even more significantly, in the pulpit.” [p.19]
The rise of the effete, and even effeminate, minister as the picture of frailty emerges from the late nineteen century and carries through to our own day of metro-sexuals, gender-blenders, and worse. The chest-thumping counterpart to this has also added to the problem. The macho-man is a self-centered father who has no sense of what it means to love and sacrifice. Absent, abdicating, or abusive fathers have left a void in the hearts of children. All of this has led us to our aimless, postmodern, emasculated moment—“Who’s to say? Who’s to lead? Who’s to protect?” We are left without authority, guidance, or protection. All of these are fatherly provisions, and we are left empty and hungry.
Famines produce great suffering and death. The symptoms of being malnourished are evident in our increasingly gaunt society. How many of society’s ills: crime, violence, suicide; and personal conflicts: hatred, loneliness, bitterness, fear, aggression, immaturity, sexual confusion, and self-destruction; how many of these stem from fathers who have turned their hearts from their children and left them hungry, hurting, and hostile?