The Mess of Manhood
”The questions surrounding manhood today are controversial and often spark unending debates, diatribes, divisions, delusions and demonizations. Many men struggle with a warped, wounded or weird vision of masculinity.
A short wade into the man-o-sphere and you discover versions of manhood from Archie Bunker, Mr. Brady, Homer, Mr. Rogers, Rambo, Phil Dunphy, Caitlyn Jenner, or Peter Griffin. The models of manhood are a pantheon of gods and devils and everything in between.
Where can a young man go to discover who he is supposed to be when so many boys these days grow up with no fathers, absent dads, dysfunctional, demanding or distant stand-ins or steps?
Unfortunately, places and organizations like the BoyScouts, Schools, Religious institutions and Nonprofits that used to be trusted and safe spaces of mentoring and modeling are becoming distracted, detrimental, delusional or even dangerous.
How do we grow healthy, helpful and holy men today that can provide, protect and procreate in a manner that builds and instead of destroys our communities?
I am sure that I don’t need to wade into the argument from a statistical and historical point of view, these last few weeks have given us the desperate picture that we need better answers, deeper connections and much higher visions of manhood in our day.
Too often in religious circles, folks just bark or bite about “The good ol’ days”, “Returning to the Bible”, “Getting back to our roots”, “A revival of traditional faith and values” and though there is much truth in these gasps for a greater past, many people when they look at the Church or the Bible come away with confusing conclusions about just what version of manhood the Normies are pointing to as models of masculinity?
Christians and churches can be confusing communities of weird, wacky and warped places of frankentenian versions of manhood. These pulpits and podiums provide hacked, slashed and sewn together bits and pieces of favorite bible stories, fancified Americana, geographical or cultural idols, temperament tainted tale-telling, media regurgitated, kneejerk, blowhardism or Harlequinized or Hanibalized Hero worship.
Jesus is either wrapped in a Kale and Hemp dress or a righteous version of a Marvel demigod coming back to open up a can of whoopass-taroid imploding apoacalyspe.
Boys often spin out of church into College thinking God is just a figment of our cultural imaginations, hallucinations, bred in bigotry or bruised and battered upbringings.
“The Bible says so…” has become a kitchen junk drawer that once opened, harms more than helps anyone come to definitive conclusions about what God is like and how he wants men to act in this world.
I confess, it’s a difficult mess, but the times demand us to engage the hearts, minds and hands of our boys and men with prayerful, intelligent, loving, faithful, strong, sanctified and serious presence, plans, purposes and projects.
The Bible can’t and shouldn’t be reduced to merely a blueprint for making men, it’s a historical record of God’s saving work through time in the lives of all kinds of men. Taken in totality the Bible is more like a woodshop full of tools and supplies for making, fixing, deconstructing and restoring men. It’s part instructional manuel, diagnostic tool and life experience journal. It contains the stories of great and godly men and grotesque and godless men.
We need a Jesus centered vision of manhood that is rooted in a biblical presentation of manhood that includes the whole of scripture. Jesus is the revelation of all of scripture, not the editor of it. Too often Jesus is presented as the ‘Pure-flick’ answer to Scripture or new download content that rewrites the main storyline with a more popular, sanitized 2.0 covenant that is “Safe for the whole family”.
We need the Holy Spirit at work in mature men of all ages, to walk with men for meaningful amounts of time, to help support, guide, equip and repair men who are learning to become who God intends them to become.
When we look at the Bible we see the story of man that provides hope, even in the horror of it all. We are shown a God who is at work in all men, and through Him we can develop a balanced and biblical vision of manhood.”
-Excerpt from my sermon: Reclaiming a Balanced & Biblical Vision of Manhood:
“Why the Creation Order Matters”