Malestrom: Manhood Swept into the Currents of a Changing World

​Jonathan Parnell | July 13, 2015

It wasn’t long into the reading of Malestrom: Manhood Swept Into the Currents of a Changing World before I figured out that I don’t have a dog in this fight.

Carolyn Custis James, adjunct professor at Biblical Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania and contributing editor for Leadership Journal, has offered a creatively titled and poetically written offensive against the global epidemic known as patriarchy. That’s right—patriarchy. I have no attachment to the term. In fact, because of all the baggage, I would recommend it not be used in reference to God’s vision for men as expressed in Christian complementarity. Even if some proponents of its use envision a “kinder, gentler” version, as James recognizes, it’s not a term worth salvaging. Malestrom convinced me of this all over again, and therefore, her repeated jabs at “patriarchy” left me unscathed. I even shared her disgust for what she described. Patriarchy, as she defines it, is horrible.

Defining the Terms 

Definitions are the best place to start. The two organizing terms are “malestrom” and “patriarchy.” Malestrom is James’s pun-loving readjustment of maelstrom, a maritime word that refers to a powerful whirlpool in the sea. It carries the idea of confusion and tumult, and the malestrom, according to…

To read the rest of this article, visit