Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Manning Up

BHT links to a post on masculinity. The author contrasts the "worldly male model:"
The first was communicated in mainly non-verbal ways. As John has put it, there was, at times, a ’Top Gear’ spirituality (Top Gear is a popular British TV programme where middle aged men salivate over an array of sports cars). You can guess the kinds of things – jokes about sports teams, jokes about baldness (lots of them!), jokes about scrotums. All the usual stuff. There was an uncomfortable insistence on making fun of the main speaker (Tim Keller) in a laddish kind of, ‘Hey, you big bald son of a gun. Not much hair on you is there? Baldy. You big bald son of a bald man. Ha!’ That kind of thing.
with the example set by Christ:
The other model of masculinity came in Keller’s talk on the cross. He took us to Gethsemane where Jesus was at His wits end, craving the support of friends, crying, sweating blood contemplating the cross. The furnace of God’s wrath lay ahead of Him. He begged His Father for another way. But there was no other way to save us. The prospect was simple: It was Him or us. And so Jesus said ‘Father, Let it be me.’

That’s a man.

Laying down His life for others, bearing shame in their place, accepting weakness to strengthen them. None of these things looked impressive. He looked like a total failure, naked and choking to death on a cross. He did not look manly. And men from all sides told Him so. They had all sorts of opinions about what Jesus needed to do to be a real man. They were all wrong. He reigned from that tree. Here was the manliest thing ever done.
OK, it's hard to dispute the central point here that the Christ on the Cross is the ultimate example for being a man, but I am not at all sure that there is an actual contrast in models here. Who is to say that Christ did not act the "Top Gear Lad" when He was just hanging with the disciples? Why are these things mutually exclusive.

All of life, even Christ's is not that sacrificial. The question is, will a gentleman "man up" as Christ did when he needs to? That has little to do with how he behaves when he is playing. Take this passage for example:
But let’s be clear – all natural masculinity is wicked. Masculinity as it occurs in its natural state is horribly and dangerously perverted. Whether the perversion occurs in the cowardly retreat direction or the aggressive domination direction, it’s a perversion.
That's just a bit much. We are all fallen indeed, but God's image still remains within us - many men are aggressive by nature, and I believe God created us to be so.

What seems apparent to me is that the person that wrote this post finds the sort "insult affection expression" unpalatable. Fair enough. People come in all varieties. My best friend, who sadly passed away a few years ago, and I always insulted each other - constantly. If we did not, that was the sign that it was time to ask "OK, what's wrong."

Then I have other friends that simply do not play that game, and still I have other friends that are hurt by it. It is part of being Christ's man to have the sensitivity to know which friend is which and to engage them in a way that does not hurt them.

Christ redeems all of us, and we are all different. Uniformity is not what God asks of us. Yes, he asks all of us to sacrifice, stoically at the time appropriate. But whether you like Top Gear or Jane Austin is truly secondary - just so long as you like it for the glory of God.

So the bottom line is this - if I hurt you, I am not a Godly man. But insult is not always harm - for some it is affection.

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