Borderline: Reflections on War, Sex, and Church

By Stan Goff

A former soldier-turned-pacifist offers a penetrating analysis of the links between war, masculinity and misogyny and Christian complicity in promoting them.

ISBN: 9780718894078


In his sharp, observant book, Stan Goff grapples with a problem crucial to modern Christian values. The sanctification of war and contempt for women are both grounded in a fear that breeds hostility, a hostility that valorises conquest and murder. In Borderline, Goff dissects the driving force behind the darkest impulses of the human heart.

The un-Christian history of loving war and hating women are not merely similar but two sides of the same coin, he argues, in an “autobiography” that spans two millennia of war and misogyny. Borderline is the personal and conceptual history of an American career army veteran transformed by Jesus into a passionate advocate for nonviolence, written by a man who narrates his conversion to Christianity through feminism.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 470

Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Stan Goff spent most of the final three decades of the twentieth century as a soldier – most of that in what is euphemistically called “special operations”. He is sometimes a writer, sometimes an “activist”, sometimes a husband, dad, and granddad, and sometimes a gardener.


Foreword by Amy Laura Hall

1. Introduction
2. My Acquaintance with a Christian Soldier and Serial Rapist
3. Forest Troop
4. Body Counts
5. Ontology of the Witch Hunt
6. Ecologies of Power
7. The Rise of the Lawyers
8. Misbegotten Man
9. Eros and War
10. Practice Makes Perfect
11. The Masculine Fortress
12. Torture and Redemption
13. The Pope’s Army
14. Sleepwalking
15. Genealogy
16. Bodies and Objects
17. Contagious Prefix
18. Just, Civil, and Total War – Sanctification of State
19. A Bodyguard of Lies: Girl Story and Boy Story
20. Origin Myths
21. Paradox of Domination
22. Disgust, Transgression, and Sex
23. Respectability
24. Progress and Fear of the Feminine
25. Shell Shock
26. Nation, Race, and Hygiene
27. The Art of Depression
28. Homos and Harlots
29. Second World War
30. Bombs, Babies, and ‘Burbs
31. The Herd
32. Taboo
33. Consent
34. Clarifications

Index of Names
Index of Biblical References


Endorsements and Reviews

Stan Goff is a remarkable human being, so we should not be surprised at this equally remarkable book. Drawing on feminist theory, Goff helps us see war as an expression of a perverse masculinity. His philosophical and theological insights throughout this book are stunning. Borderline is a must-read for anyone concerned with war and its effect on our lives.
Stanley Hauerwas, former Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke Divinity School

I’ve long wondered why so few male theologians made the obvious connections between sex and war. Stan Goff stands in this gap with striking candour, insisting the rest of the intellectual world join him. He makes a compelling case for recognising that perhaps the most profound product of the last century has been gender theory, and that until the church wrestles with its theological credibility, we cannot possibly be in full communion with God or our (female) neighbours.
Logan Mehl-Laituri, author of Reborn on the Fourth of July