A world away, a men's rights movement is afoot.

Welcome to the matriarchal society of Meghalaya, India, where, in a vast reversal of traditions the world over, property names and wealth are passed along from mother to daughter instead of father to son. Women have the luxuries, opportunities, and advantages typically enjoyed by men. Even the preference for baby boys is gone; as one Khasi man told the BBC, at the hospital, "If it's a girl, there will be great cheers from the family outside. If it's a boy, you will hear them mutter politely that 'whatever God gives us is quite all right.'"

And the Khasi men are experiencing the crippling prejudice, discrimination, and oppression that women throughout history have known all too well. Keith Pariat, a leader in Meghalaya's men's rights movement, told BBC reporter Timothy Allen that they "do not want to bring women down …. We just want to bring the men up to where the women are." According to Allen, Pariat was "adamant that matriliny is breeding generations of Khasi men who fall short of their inherent potential, citing alcoholism and drug abuse among its negative side-effects."

The story is depressing and frustrating.

I am troubled by the injustices and oppression that Meghalaya's men experience. I desperately hope they gain equal rights and that women's attitudes toward them shift from contempt to appreciation. If Khasi women speak up for these nearly voiceless men instead of taking advantage of their traditions, the men's movement stands a chance.

Yet I am realistic. I know that such cultural shifts occur at sloth-like speeds. No doubt during the in-between, the male suffragettes will face bitter opposition. No doubt Khasi women and even other Khasi men will heap moral scorn upon them, accusing them of upsetting the natural order, defying God's will, and of being ungrateful for their divinely appointed lot in life. I am sure many Khasi men will cope by forfeiting their hope altogether and resigning themselves to the apparent futility of fighting the deeply entrenched system. With broken spirits, perhaps they regard their gender as a crippling curse and feel consigned to second-class citizen status.

What a moral tragedy these Khasi men face. And, if we are to believe reports about current trends, American men are facing their own tragedy.

Of course, men in the West still enjoy vast preferences in most sectors of public life, including in professional hiring, government leadership, and, some charge, the church. They aren't experiencing anything close to what their Khasi brothers are. But if recent reports and cultural analysis are to be trusted, men here seem to be on the decline. They no longer dominate in business and higher education. Why this is so remains a matter of debate. Psychologist Philip Zimbardo suggests it's due to arousal addictions: excessive internet use, gaming, and a seemingly insatiable appetite for porn. Theologian Roger Olson suggests that the American public schooling system has shifted in a way that seriously disadvantages boys.

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What can be done to prevent a Khasi-like tragedy for men in the West? In her landmark Atlantic essay, "The End of Men," Hanna Rosin writes:

Researchers have suggested any number of solutions. A movement is growing for more all-boys schools and classes, and for respecting the individual learning styles of boys …. Most of these special accommodations sound very much like the kind of affirmative action proposed for women over the years—which in itself is an alarming flip.

It is fabulous to see girls and young women poised for success in the coming years. But allowing generations of boys to grow up feeling rootless and obsolete is not a recipe for a peaceful future …. the men's-rights groups that do exist in the U.S. are taking on an angry, antiwoman edge …. Far from being celebrated, women's rising power is perceived as a threat.

Perhaps the dire situation in which American men find themselves is partly fueling the recent shrill chatter about gender in evangelicalism. Perhaps this is why prominent pastors push for what some call biblical masculinity (as fellow Her.meneutics contributor Rachel Marie Stone so thoughtfully covered). I believe these sincere pastoral pronouncements miss the mark, failing to consider the entire testimony of Scripture. But as Rosin indicates, there is reason for both men and women in the church to be alarmed over the portrayal of men as dopey, brainless dolts—slaves to their sex organs, sports, and video games—and over the forecasts of men's demise. Like Meghalayan culture, the church cannot flourish at the expense of men.

However, like the Khasi women who dismiss the plight of the Khasi men, thereby contributing to their oppression and demoralization, many men (and women) within the church still dismiss or outright malign godly women who decry prejudice and marginalization. Women especially who cry foul are demonized and have moral scorn heaped upon them. They stand accused of being unbiblical, of upsetting the natural order, of defying God's will, and of being ungrateful for their divinely appointed role in life.

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Must the flourishing of Christian men in the church entail the limiting of women's roles? Must those women who are gifted by God be forbidden from employing their gifts for the edification of the body of Christ, prohibited even from teaching men in Christian colleges and seminaries? How many Dr. Kloudas have to be unjustly fired or never even given a chance simply because of gender? Why can't we revel in the goodness of God and delight in how he has scattered his gifts abroad?

Let's bid adieu to the men-versus-women mentality, and to our contest for dominance. Let's embrace biblical notions of shared power, humility, mutual submission and sacrifice, and the unfettered use of our spiritual and natural gifts within the family, church and world. May men continue to speak out on behalf of women—and vice versa—so that the church and society can truly thrive.