I am just going to apologize on the outset because I have a feeling that feather’s will be ruffled with this post. (Bare with me, it’s a long one)
Even the culture around us knows that there is something happening to our men. Manhood is being pushed farther and farther away as though it only begins in your 30′s. And no longer do we have any real expectations of our 18-29 year old men. The Christian church experiences it in the lacking committment level men seem to have in terms of service to the church and leadership in the home.
It’s an epidemic.
Many well-known church leaders have come up with their own solutions. John Eldridge has been teaching that the root of man’s heart is wild, so guys should get back to their warrior roots and ride horses and poop in the woods. It’s a Brave Heart/Gladiator cure. This will ignite a passion in the man’s heart and in doing so, he will want to protect and lead the damsel in distress (women).
And then their is the Mars Hill/Mark Driscoll solution. But Driscoll seems to be more concerned with men being metro and girly. So to try to get men to stop wearing purple and plucking there eyebrows, his remedy is a manhood boot camp retreat where guys are yelled at into submission (or should I say leadership). Black paint on the church walls will surely make the service more manly and then men will want to come to church right?
Another solution is to cut out all songs that force men to talk about loving Jesus. It is too sissy for men to pour out deep affections for Christ. So no more lyrics like, “Jesus I am so in love with you” or ” O Lord your beautiful, your grace is all I need.” The uncomfort level is too high for testosterone, so pick another song please.
I am not claiming to be an expert on this manhood deficiency issue, because I know there are many factor’s that have played into the problem.
But I am not sure warrior mentalities, sarcasm about girly men and emotionless music is the solution to this problem. I am not convinced this is a sustaining way for boys to become men. It may persuade them in some way, but I’m not sure it will last.
The reality is that men in the East are very affectionate not just with each other but in their speaking and worship to God. In fact men hold hands and greet each other with cheek kisses without the fear of being called effeminate or dare I say…homosexual.
Our Western culture is facing different struggles then the East and we respond accordingly. This is our response: Men shut off the affection faucet. And before you know it they find it a struggle to even care about much at all. Work, family, church, Christ, are all just things getting in the way of trivial desires. Football, video games, and beer take the drips of affection left for a man to give, not because these things are fulfilling but because our culture calls them manly.
Now please hear me correctly. There is nothing wrong with enjoying sports or having hobbies. And no one culture does everything right. But there is something woefully perverse when the winning of a hockey game makes your heart sing over and above the worship of Jesus Christ.
Listen, not all men have to be touchy-feely, easily-brought-to-tears, emotionally loose guys in order to be real men. Personalities vary, that much everyone knows. The main point is Godliness. And the best example of Godliness is…well…Jesus. Jesus was a man. He worked hard and learned the trade of carpentry most of His life (Mark 6:3). He also dedicated time and effort into the learning and teachings of Scripture (Luke 2:39-52). And He was a man of emotion, showing just anger and yes, even tears of sorrow (Mark 3:5, Matthew 21:12, John 21:12). He led (Luke 5:8-11) and He served (John 13:3-5).
Another example is David. He was a soldier, a warrior and a King. You can’t get anymore “manly” than that, and yet he was deeply affectionate for God. Even writing song’s to God like, “I love you, O Lord, my strength,” (Psalm 18:1) and “My heart overflows with a pleasing theme…” (Psalm 45:1).
Only something in the root of our heart can pour out that kind of love for God. And it is this kind of love that makes a man. It is this kind of passion that can make a man lead, love and serve his wife (Ephesians 5:25), guide his children (Ephesians 6:4) and provide for his family (1 Timothy 5:8).
Men, you are called to love your God with all your heart, soul and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5). This will require some affection and sentiment. But it will make you a man.