Tender Warriors

  • Linda Kintz


The advice and activism of Christian women that revalorizes traditional femininity in biblical terms has its counterpart in a growing Christian men’s movement and in psychological counseling based on biblical interpretations of absolute gender differences. In addressing the difficulties faced by families trying to cope with the physical or emotional abandonment by men, as well as the emotional and spiritual needs of the men themselves, the Christian men’s movement achieves a simple clarity: making promises and keeping them. This is joined to a pedagogy that teaches men the skills of communication and intimacy, filling a void for men who have heard contradictory messages from society and have tried, without enough guidance, to figure out how to be good fathers and husbands. The movement also speaks to many women trying to keep their families together in the face of men’s abdication of responsibility. Dismissing all the men involved in this movement as angry white males too quickly homogenizes them, overlooking the fact that many of them are, indeed, interested both in looking for community and in learning responsible behavior. Another important goal of the Christian men’s movement, the Promise Keepers, is to break down racial barriers among men, though the response to that appeal is reflected more in terms of African American clergy than attendees, who represent only 1 to 3 percent of the audience at Promise Keeper events.1


Popular Culture Male Friendship Football Coach Football Stadium Spiritual Awakening 
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  1. 2.
    Bob Horner, Ron Ralston, and David Sunde, Applying the Seven Promises (Colorado Springs: Focus on the Family, 1996) 8–9. The book is included in the kit entitled The Next Step: From the Stadium to the Small Group, multimedia package including videotape, audiotape, and booklet (Boulder: Promise Keepers, 1995).Google Scholar
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    Hans Johnson, “Broken Promises.” Church and State 48.5 (May 1995):9.Google Scholar
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    Connections among these various groups are often close but indirect, not conspiratorial, even if often secret. For example, the Council for National Policy (cnp), founded in 1981, is an organization of over five hundred members that brings together many of the groups who work to influence public policy, many of them supporters of Promise Keepers. CNP functions as an umbrella group for strategy and met on the eve of the Republican Convention in San Diego in 1996 to help write the Party platform. Some of its members are Ralph Reed Jr., Pat Robertson, Rev. Donald Wildmon (American Family Association), Beverly LaHaye, Phyllis Schlafly (Eagle Forum), Larry Pratt (Gun Owners of America), Bill Bright (Campus Crusade for Christ), Howard Phillips (Conservative Caucus and the U.S. Taxpayers Party), Paul Pressler (Southern Baptist Convention), Richard DeVos (Amway), members of the Coors family, Oliver North, Gen. John K. Singlaub (former head of the World Anti-Communist League), Ed Meese (chairman of the cnp), Dick Armey (House majority leader), Rep. Tom DeLay, Sen. Lauch Faircloth, Sen. Jesse Helms, Senate majority whip Trent Lott, Sen. Don Nickles, Gary Bauer (Family Research Council), Ben Bull (American Center for Law and Justice), Dr. James Dobson (Focus on the Family), Bob Duggan (National Association of Evangelicals), Mike Farris (Home School Legal Defense Association), Ed Feulner (Heritage Foundation), Ron Godwin (Washington Times), Rebecca Hagelin (Christian American), Reed Irvine (Accuracy in Media), Bob Jones III (Bob Jones University), Dr. D.James Kennedy (Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church), Alan Keyes (talk show host and presidential candidate), Connie Marshner (activist), R. J. Rushdoony (Chalcedon Foundation), John Sununu (talk show host), Richard Viguerie (American Target Advertising), Paul Weyrich (Free Congress Foundation), John Whitehead (Rutherford Institute), Dr. Henry M. Morris (Institute for Creation Research), and many businessmen, including Howard Ahmanson Jr., Robert Bates (Guarantee Mutual Life Company Omaha), John Belk (Belk Stores), and Nelson Bunker Hunt (Hunt Energy Corporation). Edward Erickson Jr., “Behind Closed Doors at the CNP,” Church and State 49.6 (June 1996): 7. See also Peter Eisler, “Conservatives Go Behind Closed Doors,” USA Today 9 August 1996: 2A.Google Scholar
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    Randy Phillips, “Seize the Moment,” Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper (Colorado Springs: Focus on the Family, 1994) 3, his italics. These are the seven promises:Google Scholar
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    Edward Galbreath, “Manhood’s Great Awakening,” Christianity Today 39.2 (6 February 1995): 21–28.Google Scholar
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    Harold Bell Wright was an American author who lived from 1872 to 1944. He wrote The Shepherd of the Hills (1907), The Calling of Dan Matthews (1909), and When a Man’s a Man (1916). Wright’s books were primarily about the open spaces of the Southwest and were “concerned with love and adventure and emphasized an incredibly wholesome morality and the superiority of the rugged natural man.” The books were extremely successful in the popular market. (The Oxford Companion to American Literature, 5th ed., ed. James D. Hart [New York: Oxford UP, 1983].)Google Scholar
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    Stu Weber, Locking Arms: God’s Design for Masculine Friendship (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 1995) 44. Blurbs on the first page are by Tom Osborne, head football coach at the University of Nebraska. Also noted is the fact that Osborne took his team to the Orange Bowl in 1994. Others who contribute statements are Coach Bobby Bowden of Florida State University (national champions in 1994) and Ken Ruettgers, left tackle for the Green Bay Packers. There is also praise from Dan Coates, senator from Indiana, as well as other Christian spokesmen.Google Scholar
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    John Hagee, Bible Positions on Political Issues (San Antonio: John Hagee and Global Evangelism Television, 1992) 75. He is described on the back cover as “a fourth-generation preacher in the tradition of his father and grandfathers before him,” who not only shepherds the 13,000-member, nondenomina-tional Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, but “is pastor to other pastors around the country through the Cornerstone Fellowship of Churches.” He heads John Hagee Ministries Global Evangelism Television, Inc., and produces a television show, Cornerstone, broadcast around the country, as well as a live satellite broadcast of Sunday evening services from his Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. He has also written Nine Bible Principles for Judging Prophecy, One Hundred and One Facts about Satanism in America, Should Christians Support Israel?, Turn on the Light, and Beginning of the End.Google Scholar
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    Jay Sekulow, “Time to Defend the Family,” Casenote: The American Center for Law and Justice 2.6 (1995): 3.Google Scholar
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    Keith Fournier, Religious Cleansing in the American Republic (Washington: Life, Liberty, and Family, 1993) 51.Google Scholar

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© Elizabeth A. Castelli 2001

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  • Linda Kintz

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