Skip to content

A Jesus for Real Men

2008 May 13
by Mike

I have to admit: I get weary of the modern “masculinity movement” in the church that wants people to rediscover the REAL Jesus — the Jesus who’d love to kick your butt.

It gets as silly as this. The parody is silly, but so is the interview it’s based on. (“The problem in the church today: it’s just a bunch of nice, soft, tender chickified churchboys. Sixty percent of Christians are chicks, and the forty percent that are dudes are still sort of chicks.” Ummm, speak for yourself, Pastor Driscoll.)

The best thing I’ve read on men and the church recently was this article in Christianity Today by Brandon O’Brien entitled: “A Jesus for Real Men: What the New Masculinity Movement Gets Right and Wrong.”

Listen to some of this brilliant, gospel-formed writing:

“The masculinity movement would have us emulate the glorified Jesus — the one who will return on horseback and brandish the sword of judgment. That is certainly the Jesus we worship. But it is not the Jesus we are commanded to imitate. The only times Jesus appears in Scripture as a warrior are in his pre-incarnate debuts in the Old Testament and post-resurrection glory. Our model of behavior, then, is the suffering Son, not the glorified one. Humanity in the image of Christ is not aggressive and combative; it is humble and poor (Phil. 2:5ff). We are most like Christ not when we win a fight, but when we suffer for righteousness’ sake (Eph. 5:1-2; 1 Thess. 1:6; 2:14).”

45 Responses leave one →
  1. May 13, 2008

    Wait just a minute. Church growth in the U.S. has largely flat-lined over the past 25 years. Church leadership is 99% male. But the problem has been the church has become too feminized? Wow – I guess anything truly does sell to some group of believers at any given time.

    Our local Expo Center had a Friday night of “Christian Wrestling” or Rrassling – led by born-again Nick von Erich – that will go over well with Driscoll. Sorry I missed it. I heard the “Sleeper Hold for Jesus” was awesome.

  2. May 13, 2008

    Good, solid thoughts, I might add!

  3. May 13, 2008

    Great Post. It never occurred to me how feminine I had become in the mysoginist world I live and work in!

  4. May 13, 2008

    Mike, I am so with you on this. I am so tired of people trying to make men more masculine….you have to hunt, fish, be the provider, the discipliner, be the tough guy in order to be what Jesus wants…don’t get me started.

  5. May 13, 2008

    Thank GOD (literally) that people are talking more about this. No, I’m not male, but I read Wild At Heart (and the counterpart, Captivating). I was frustrated, angry, sickened and annoyed. These polarizations are obnoxious. The church isn’t too feminized, nor is it too masculine. It’s made up of HUMANS who, best as I can tell, come in two models: male and female. And no, I’m not denying there are differences between males and females BUT in the world in which most of us live today, males and females now both have many of the same needs, many of the same struggles, many of the same… well, lots of things, actually.

    What I hate most about these “biblical masculinity” movements is that they demonize the feminine. Everything seen as feminine or “chikified” is a negative by definition. So angry does this topic typically make me that I’m not even forming particularly coherent thoughts in this comment. Sorry ’bout that. But while we’re talking about gender relations, I have another tangential point to make.

    Sure, there’s a benefit to gender-centric biblical groups, probably. But sometimes subdividing the body is the last thing we need. We don’t need to wall ourselves off by gender, age, life situation, etc within the body. Yes, I agree, there are times when those are positive things, but it seems to be the only paradigm we’re capable of functioning in. We don’t seem to know how to define things beyond dividing up the flock — for EVERYTHING.

    Oy.

  6. May 13, 2008

    I think the whole masculinity movement hurts itself when statements like these are made about “chicks & dudes”. The church loses people (male and female) when it fails to present the Gospel in a language they understand. With this aspect I understand where they are coming from, but think they are failing to pinpoint exactly why there are fewer men in the church than women. Language is where the disconnect is, and speaking in mainly masculine language only speaks to half the population (as does feminine language).

  7. clint permalink
    May 13, 2008

    “Humanity in the image of Christ is not aggressive and combative; it is humble and poor (Phil. 2:5ff).”

    Does this apply to politicians?

  8. May 13, 2008

    I have to agree with my brother on this. I disagree that the “new masculine movement” is only talking about a war-torn Jesus. There are many aspects of Jesus in the gospels that are ignored in today’s church. When the language is all feminine, which it is, it leaves men like myself out of the conversation.

    I’m not going to lean on Jesus’ bosom.

  9. May 13, 2008

    I also loved, “Wild At Heart”, “Why Men Hate Going To Church”, and Brad Stine and his GodMen conference.

  10. May 13, 2008

    …and “No More Christian Nice Guy”.

  11. May 13, 2008

    GODMEN PRAYER

    Father of the heavens and the night; stretch forth Your almighty arms to strengthen and protect us. Even as You gave Saint Michael, Your Angelic warrior, power to do spiritual battle in the heavens, so give us power to command the darkened skies.

    Guide and direct us in the advancement of the Gospel. Give us the courage to face all obstacles that might keep us from finishing our race. Send Your holy Angels to protect the men around this country; those called to fight this spiritual battle. Sustain us in the hour of danger with knowledge of Your mercy.

    Watch over our families when we cannot. May Your presence give them comfort, and Your love lend them the courage to face each day, confident in the knowledge that You will never leave them or forsake them. Protect them with Your unfailing mercy and grace.

    Grant that wherever we serve, we may be loyal to Christ. Make us to choose the harder right over the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half truth when the whole can be won. May we ever embody the principles upon which the GODMEN are founded and serve proudly with the memory of those who have gone before. Give us the courage to fight, to win and the faith to die rather than quit,

    AND ALL THE GODMEN SAID AMEN!

  12. Gary H permalink
    May 13, 2008

    I’ve read all of John Eldredge’s book and, frankly, I’ve never understood the ‘manly-man’ criticism of him. Sure, a lot of his illustrations are based on his outdoor-zy activities, but that’s just because those are the things that appeal to him. Like I said, I’ve read all of his books and benefited a great deal from them, but I’ve never ridden a horse or climbed a mountain. I don’t believe I have to do those things to be a “real” man and I don’t think Eldredge believes that either. I think his critics forget that his first book was entitled “A Sacred Romance” (“You mean God wants to ‘woo’ me?!”)

  13. Gary H permalink
    May 13, 2008

    I’ve read all of John Eldredge’s book and, frankly, I’ve never understood the ‘manly-man’ criticism of him. Sure, a lot of his illustrations are based on his outdoor-zy activities, but that’s just because those are the things that appeal to him. Like I said, I’ve read all of his books and benefited a great deal from them, but I’ve never ridden a horse or climbed a mountain. I don’t believe I have to do those things to be a “real” man and I don’t think Eldredge believes that either. I think his critics forget that his first book was entitled “A Sacred Romance” (“You mean God wants to ‘woo’ me?!”)

  14. May 13, 2008

    I want someone to explain to me how the language at church is predominantly feminine. I don’t see it. In fact, until maybe 3-5 years ago, it was usually predominantly masculine. So, please explain.

  15. Kyle permalink
    May 13, 2008

    I’m glad you bring this up Mike. I read the article you linked and I agree strongly with it. Brandon O’Brien makes a well worded and calm argument for balance. When I was in college at a state school in a less churched part of the country, we could put out flyers for a campus ministry event that was pretty gender neutral like going to a go-cart track. The new people that would show up these events were overwhelmingly female. We really had to work to get guys to come to anything. I went to a Promise Keepers event and it was enjoyable but still didn’t do much for me. I was in real need of fellowship with other men and I sensed in many of the men in our church. In 2001 I did a search for “men’s ministry” on the internet and got 1/3 the number of hits as “women’s ministry”. Today you’ll still get less but it’s more like a 60/40 split. I know that’s pretty weak research but I’m just pointing out that I think there was a real gender inequality in the lives of most churches and these efforts are closing that gap. However, in many ways, they go to far. (isn’t that where the Fall starts?) I don’t care for most of it. I can take it in small doses but don’t really care for the mantra. I don’t know where this leaves me. I really desire to have relationships with other men that aren’t just getting together to cry on each other’s shoulders but at the same time, don’t have to be “all sports all the time”. Thanks to Brandon for identifying how we shouldn’t be doing men’s ministry. I wonder how he feels we should.

  16. Scott permalink
    May 13, 2008

    I think we’re just dealing with cultural issues here (yeah, I know everything is a cultural issue). I don’t think our culture knows what a man or a woman is. Sure, David “whooped” it up on some pretty tough enemies, but he also thought that Jonathan’s love was “better than the love of women.” I don’t think we understand that kind of same-gender friendship at all (among men or women). Too often we hyper-sexualize everything so that any kind of intimacy or sensitivity or even empathy is seen as “chickified.” Then we see strong, secure women and assume they must also be lesbians.

    Most of these guys (Eldredge not included)are applying the same narrow cultural bias they impose on most men to Jesus. Of course they’ll do that– they want to see Jesus as “masculine” but they don’t know the first thing about what God created as truly masculine… or feminine for that matter. So Jesus, if we saw him on the street today, would have to be driving a jacked-up 4X4, chewing Redman, and talking about football or the stock market (depending on his education)in order to be seen as really “male.” This is just another of Satan’s ploys to reshape our interpretation of Jesus based on worldly lies.

    Don’t buy in, boys!

    By the way… I’m the chickified dude who replied with a poem on the last post.

  17. greg permalink
    May 14, 2008

    What bothers me about what I have experienced of the masculine church movement is that the conversation often uses essentialist language to define what it assumes all men are like or what they should be. Eldridge’s Wild at Heart would have us believe that all men have exactly the same approach to the world, and any experience or desire that deviates from the rigid description of manhood presented in his book is seen as a terrible tragedy. The same could be said for Eldridge’s perspective of femininity. Eldridge often speaks as if he has access to the universal definition of masculinity, when he is really campaigning for a version of masculinity that is popular among a finite percentage of all men. Eldridge and Driscoll must ignore a large number of real men and women and a number of aspects of Jesus’s personality displayed in the gospel accounts in making their arguments.

    A number of Eldridge’s illustrations come from movies, as if screenplays are the highest expression of human masculinity/femininity. But, even if you embrace the idea that movies are the most relevant resource on which to build a universal argument about ideal manhood, Eldridge is still a biased selector of movies or genres that appeal to his interests. He ignores certain movies and embraces others to argue his point, much like a proof-texter highlights certain scriptures and ignores others when making a biblical argument. Of course, everyone does this. But what is annoying about Eldridge’s books is that his language seems as if he is unaware of his own bias when making universal claims about the true nature of masculinity.

    I generally like the idea of a church embracing any group of people (men or women) who have historically felt marginalized or unwelcome in the church. So, I can see how the voices of Eldrige and Driscoll have a valid contribution to make to the church. But, emphasizing gender differences to an extreme and promoting a glorified version of masculinity/femininity seems to fall short of the balanced humanity Jesus seems to call all men and women to follow.

  18. Roger B permalink
    May 14, 2008

    This discussion reminded me of what “No Appointment Necessary” that I saw on (http://purgatorio1.com)

  19. May 14, 2008

    Seattle Pacific University has actually added a gender studies class in response to an increasing number of their female students — who attend Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church — dropping majors, giving up on career dreams, etc., because their pastor told them their highest calling was to get married, support their husbands, and give him children. (not kidding … check out this 2007 feature story on Driscoll in CT)

    Mark Driscoll is a frat boy with way too much religious power for his own good. His influence is primarily due to his heavy-handedness and manipulative sarcasm in the pulpit, not self-sacrifice, humility, or love. The fact that this clown has followers is amazing to me… (I think he’d have quite a problem if some non-lime-green-sweater-vest-wearing “dudes” started stepping up in his church and challenging his leadership style …)

    I hate to see Eldredge clumped in with Driscoll on this one. While I disagree with some of Edredge’s conclusions about gender roles, I believe his heart is genuinely seeking God. (I heard him speak at a conference a few years ago, and his passion was evident)

    Driscoll mainly seems to be passionate about generating opposition in the blogosphere (then making fun of them for doing it). Most of all, however, he seems passionate about one thing — himself.

    (Harsh? Maybe so. But I’m sick and tired of seeing the wake of destruction this guy is causing in spiritual circles, and it pains me to ponder what secular Seattleites think of his neanderthal statements)

  20. May 14, 2008

    There is a poem that really speaks to this issue. It is by Bradley Hathaway. I will just post it here, I hope that is ok.

    Manly Man
    I don’t want my long hair, pretty green eyes, with ( no! I do not have on mascara. ) eyelashes, skinny figure, undersized t-shirt, hip shake too much when I walk confuse anybody. I am a manly man.

    Within this sissy frame, obviously rib laden chest lies a heart that beats to the drum of a native American ritual dancing wildness. It pumps an ever cascading supply of untamedness that a herd of wild mustangs have yet to grasp. If danger lurks about, I will seek it out. If adventure abounds, there I will be found. If a damsel be in distress, I will show her who is best. I am a manly man.

    Because I don’t flush, and I leave the lid up.

    I drive a 1988 Ford Pick-up truck. Girls don’t break up with me, I break up with them first. ( Except the last time, it didn’t really work out like that… ) I don’t shave the hair on my face ( Because I still can’t grow facial hair yet… ) But when I can, I won’t, because beards are tough.

    I fart, burp, and spit when I want, not caring who’s nearby. Disrespect my momma, and I will punch you in the eye. I am a manly man.

    Or am I? I tell my guy friends that I love ‘em. And sometimes, sometimes I even hug ‘em. Not because I’m gay, but because I love ‘em. And when I watched Bambi, I cried. And when my Me-ma gets mad, I still run and hide.

    Like David, I wanna be a man after God’s own heart. And I’m not there yet, but I’m past the start. And when people talk, I try to listen. A spirit of compassion, that’s my vision. Surely I am a manly man. I want to be loved and have love and give love.

    And not just that romantic kind either. Although I am looking for that beauty. Not helpless, but wants to be rescued. The damsel in distress, man, woman, myth, true. I will fight for her, climb the highest tower for her, love her, share with her, delight in her, be her warrior, her protector. She will be my crown and I will be hers. My masculinity will be passed down and affirmed to my sons. And each of my daughters will know they are lovely, and deserving of authentic romance.

    Society tells me all day long that I’ve defined manhood completely wrong. But you ask any honest man, and he will agree. You ask any honest woman, and she too will see, that I am a manly man.

  21. May 14, 2008

    I owe Eldredge a tremendous debt. His stern exhortations to go in after my wife’s heart again and again and again, even when it seems to be doing no good at all, literally – and I mean LITERALLY – saved my marriage a decade or so ago.

    He does get some doctrinal things wrong – I’ve written copiously on that subject – but his heart does seem to be in the right place. That he selectively uses films to suit his purposes should not be a basis for criticism; the clips he uses are merely illustrations of ideas he already holds, and he knows that the visual media are powerful tools to convey them. The clips are merely parables; anything wrong with that? In fact, there’s a great deal RIGHT with it.

    The caricature of machismo is not an Eldredge thing at all. I recall at one of the Wild at Heart retreats when he used the robbery clip from Les Miserables, for example. Anyone want to argue that the priest’s paradigmatically Christlike response to being assaulted by Valjean is a macho thing? I didn’t think so. But the point Eldredge was making was right on: to follow Jesus is to embrace the wild inversion, the radical power of forgiveness to set people free from their baser impulses.

    To watch Eldredge up close and in person with his own sons is to see him much more clearly than some of the folks here appear to be willing to do. Yes, he is occasionally careless in his exegesis of texts, like the antitheses in Matthew 5. And yes, some men have taken his message and twisted it into something unrecognizable as discipleship to Jesus. But Eldredge and his ministry colleagues are really quite balanced with respect to the tenderness and compassion of Jesus. They are nothing like what is being portrayed here.

    One of the other commenters had it right when he reminded us that one of Eldredge’s earliest, most influential books was _The Sacred Romance_, which he co wrote with the late Brent Curtis, whose life ended virtually before Eldredge’s very eyes after an 80-foot fall. The book he wrote immediately thereafter? _The Journey of Desire_.

    Eldredge is a mystic. We need mystics, just as we need the forceful intellectuals. But he is uncompromising in his insistence that men recognize the spiritual forces arrayed against us in the forms of work, ambition, golf, passivity, etc. And he insists that we work prophetically to set one another free from those things.

    a grateful qb

  22. May 14, 2008

    Let men be men. Let women be women. Let the church be the church. Amen. And Awoman!

  23. May 14, 2008

    I agree, Steve. I wouldn’t at all put Wild At Heart in the same category as Driscoll.

  24. May 14, 2008

    “Our model of behavior, then, is the suffering Son, not the glorified one. Humanity in the image of Christ is not aggressive and combative; it is humble and poor (Phil. 2:5ff). We are most like Christ not when we win a fight, but when we suffer for righteousness’ sake.”

    I realize this post is about masculinity, but the above words are just as difficult for women to practice as men.

    This post, and its comments, brings to mind a couple of my more aggressive/ambitious women friends. Their frustrations with church are different. I don’t know that they necessarily want to kick your butt, but…that’s another subject.

    I guess living submissively in the context of community is at odds with how most of the world operates. It’s not natural to want to pick up the towel and serve behind the scenes.

  25. May 14, 2008

    “…sometimes subdividing the body is the last thing we need. We don’t need to wall ourselves off by gender, age, life situation, etc within the body. Yes, I agree, there are times when those are positive things, but it seems to be the only paradigm we’re capable of functioning in. We don’t seem to know how to define things beyond dividing up the flock — for EVERYTHING.”

    How true!! I’ve held the POV for years that the separation of our kids from “big church” is a huge mistake and helps along society’s model of kids keeping to themselves, away from any adultcontamination. How can older women mentor younger if we are separated into age related groups, same with men to younger men? If young marrieds are separated from the long-term marrieds, is not the latter’s valuable experience tossed in the ashcan of separation by age? And may I suggest that putting the singles, especially singles again, in a group by themselves has become the only solution most churches can find to “what do we do with them?” AND don’t get me started on the single parents.

    If I remember correctly, the Bible teaches there is neither male nor female in the LORD, so why don’t we just get on with how to break down the sub-rosa nasty barriers between the races, economical and educational groupings? Should we not be more concerned with how to teach and almost demand that our congregations’ members drop their “We-Them” bias? Encouraging us to open our arms to our neighbors that often are very different than we are, rather than worrying about up-building a silly gender identity, be it masculine or feminine? And the lost? They teeter on the edge of being lost for eternity while we fuss about silly ideas such as this one. Shouldn’t they [the lost] be our focus and not our self-centered concerns? Sorry! These arguments really aggravate me. Just get on with being who God has made us in Christ and the rest will fall in place. At least in my not so humble opinion. 😉

  26. May 14, 2008

    I am glad someone brought out the lumping of everyone in one basket. Driscoll and Elderdege are vastly different. I think many have taken Wild at Heart in a very modern way. Those with a Church of Christ heritage have to work not to do this. When Elderedge says there are 3 things common to man, he doesn’t mean it in a absolute (scientific) way. Don’t mistake his conviction for certainty. If you don’t get that, I am unable to convince you in a comment here.

    I know all the members of that ministry team and in fact most are not very macho at all. They are some of the most tender and compassionate men I have ever met. I won’t rehash what qb said.

    back to Mike’s original subject. There is a problem in most churches regarding men. Too many are checked out. Totally passive and not anybody you would want to be like. They look bored. That isn’t to say they are ‘chicks’. They need to be awakened somehow. Which takes me back to Elderedge. one of his basic views of the world is that we live in a world at war. Many don’t want to even discuss that, much less live in a way that acknowledges it. It is too charismatic or something. I don’t know what it would take if you don’t live that way and are reading this to awaken you but denying it will not lessen the effect. But, my take is most men in churches are checked out and they are needed and needed desperately.

    F

  27. May 14, 2008

    This is actually a topic that was asked of me (and others) in a setting that was predominately male. “Is there such a thing as masculine spirituality?” I understand that we are all spiritual creatures, but that we are also created male and female. A lot of times the physical practice of spiritual things is overtly gender neutral. Again in understanding that we all have a spiritual need and expression, yet not always understanding or at least expressing that these practices will and perhaps need to be expressed differently from person to person, let alone amongst different genders.

    I am a male, raised by females. It was not until my late 20’s that I was presented with “Wild at Heart” or came into a community of male mentors who spoke and practiced a spiritual discipline into my life that met a real need in my life. Is this to say that these things were not made available to me through a female influence? NOT at all. However, there is a sense of identity that was lost or never quite revealed within me, until godly men entered my life as mentors.

    I wonder if the whole “love and respect” analogy given by Paul (and really emphasized by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs http://www.loveandrespect.com) needs to be better explained. I have watched this series in a room full of married couples from just married to nearly 50 years of marriage with heads shaking and laughter ensuing as a revealing of differences between how women and men understand each other, as well as express their love for one another is different.

    All that being said, it is interesting that what is said through Sunday morning’s message, or through a medium like this is going to penetrate individuals in different ways. Thus to me only magnifying the lack of communication and understanding that often takes place in such a venue, but also the presumptions we often carry along with us until someone questions, or presents their beliefs on a subject (especially when it contradicts what we believed to be the case).

    We might not like what Driscoll has to say, but my own experience with guys to self not being involved in the church resonates with what he is talking about. I am almost 40 years old and single. I am like the HOPE Diamond in most congregational settings, as my demographic simply does not exist. Why? Even with nearly 7 years of seminary training, I find it hard to understand my role, place, and at times desire to be a part of the church – let alone what the church expects from me if anything.

    Perhaps all of this comes down to unstated but very defined roles for individuals, both in areas of what we bring and what we need in return. Ultimately, we end up with congregations that look, sound, dress, think, believe, etc. the same way. None of us, by ourselves or in our communities of faith, have a hard time accepting what it is to become Jesus to those around us, when we ourselves are alike. It is when a King David, or a Samson, or even a Rahab enters our midsts that want them to immediately change them or bring them up to speed in acting, thinking, and looking like ourselves (under the cover of acting, thinking, and looking like Jesus).

    Maybe Driscoll should be a reminder to us that in our attempt to define Jesus in our own lives, that we often forget that not everyone is like us to begin with…

    That was way too much.
    dps

  28. Terry permalink
    May 14, 2008

    I was thinking of the song that says I am not my own. When we become Christ’s messenger on this planet, we are neither male nor female. I wish the church would get this, I am just a Christian living under the kingship of Jesus. Christ tells us to love one another, not be like the Pharisees who thought they were better.

  29. ben permalink
    May 14, 2008

    dps,

    How can Driscoll serve as a reminder to us that not everyone is like us? He not only advocates that every male should fit a certain mold, he does so by posturing this model against what he feels is an inferior model, that being “chicks.” What if he had said, ”The problem in the church today: it’s just a bunch of urban, poor, black-wannabe, white-boys. Sixty percent of Christians are black, and the forty percent that are white are still sort of like black people.” It makes no sense to me how his comment could be seen as anything but incredibly offensive, arrogant, and wrong. Living just a few hours from Driscoll’s church, I hear many reflections on how he operates, both positivie and negative. From what I hear him say, however, I just don’t get it. He bugs the crap out of me.

  30. May 14, 2008

    For some reason, a line from Star Trek: The Motion Picture comes to mind: “We all create God in our own image.”

    I guess for the dude who is so insecure about his own masculinity that he’s afraid to wear pink to church, for fear of being perceived as following a pansy Messiah, you’d have to expect him to create a completely imaginary Jesus with big honkin’ biceps and short hair – even though scripture doesn’t deign to describe Him physically in these ways at all.

    It doesn’t work to redefine Jesus as just another Norse warrior-god, because you would never catch any of them pulling punches while cleansing the temple, or conveying self-worth to an adultress, or washing someone else’s stinky feet. He’s not a smorgasbord of character traits you can pick a choose from. He is Who He is: the Son of God.

    Isn’t that enough for any of us?

  31. May 14, 2008

    Ben,

    Thanks for your response to my own. My intent was not to agree with his take (or even his insistence) of masculinity, but rather understand that he is obviously reaching a group of individuals that others (we/I) are not. My point was that even in trying to deny ourselves (thus taking on an attitude of no gender, no race, to politics, no etc. in the death to self) I find it interesting that we still attract and often seek out those who most resemble our past/current selves. Perhaps our tension with Driscoll (other than his tone/belief) is that he has pinpointed his target audience and has no qualms about it. While we promote, discuss, and even try to reach out to those different from ourselves, our tendency, for the most part is to simply remain homogenous in the way we look, sound, and act.

    Right or wrong, Driscoll is a reminder to us that we are not prepared or often times willing to reach out or be what certain individuals want or need. Not that I am buying into Driscoll’s theology, but it is a reminder to me to ask hard questions of myself in relationship to Christ. To simply discount someone else’s theology in turn is asking them to do the same with mine.

    I appreciate your questioning of my intentions here…

  32. May 14, 2008

    We also should use this as a reminder of not just who is already in the church, but those who are not. Why are men and younger generations not coming to church, and why are youth leaving the church at an alarming rate? We must take an inward look as the church at how we have failed them, but also be encouraged when they do come or when they return.

    Brian Simmons wrote a great book about this:
    Falling Away

  33. donald permalink
    May 14, 2008

    I was about to comment on how I disagree with Mike Cope, until I looked at the YouTube interview. Okay, that was ridiculous, self-serving, book promoting bunk.

    That being said. The whole masculinity movement is not all bunk. It’s not all about the “…the REAL Jesus — the Jesus who’d love to kick your butt.” A lot of it is about sucking it up and making hard decisions. A lot of it is about accountability versus passivity. Look, I don’t have to work on being passive, that comes natural. The fact is there are a lot of passive guys in church afraid to confront their kids, afraid to speak in public, afraid to share the gospel, afraid to disagree with their spouse, afraid to step up for themselves. Rare is the man who finds that perfect balance between a zeal for God, a genuine love of his neighbor, and a spirit of vigor mixed with humility. I can tell you as a man, I am drawn to them like a moth to a flame. Does that make me gay?

  34. May 14, 2008

    A grown man who routinely refers to women as “chicks” and men as “dudes” will not get my attention very long. There is no legitimate reason to use the slang of a 14 year old skate boarder to communicate with gen x’rs. Driscoll’s hip lingo is perhaps one of his lesser flaws in my view.

    “Gender equality” has become a hobby horse of sorts for the Mars Hill group. It is sort of a designer theology.

  35. May 15, 2008

    “Gender equality” has become a hobby horse of sorts for the Mars Hill group. It is sort of a designer theology.

    Royce – You’re spot-on in your first paragraph, but you get Mars Hill wrong in your second. Mars Hill is promoting a complementarian gender perspective to the max in a local and national culture that looks at them and scratches its collective head. (and not in the “what peculiar people … I want what they have” sort of way)

    Most of this stems, in my opinion, from a tidal wave-like resurgence of Reformed Theology in Western Evangelicalism. John Piper is the elder statesman of the neo-Calvinist crew, and Driscoll his postmodern associate. Both of them — along with a slew of other nationally recognized writers, speakers, and pastors — have turned to fundamentalism as a reaction to an increasingly secular and unchurched West. (others, on the other end of the spectrum, have adopted a relativized Gospel of “whatever you want to believe”)

    Driscoll’s comments, though masked with salty, provocative, relevant lingo, reflect nothing more than old fashioned fundamentalism and biblical literalism. Many of us know where that path leads…

  36. May 15, 2008

    Amen to Steve Jr.

  37. May 15, 2008

    There are lots of issues in this arena. I wish there was an opportunity to discuss at length with all who have posted. Very briefly, I believe it is very easy for us humans to lump people together, form opinions, and promote our pre-determined agendas without knowing all the facts and the hearts of the people we easily criticize–in this case at least one of the writers/speakers mentioned. I find myself guilty of this tendency way too often. About the time I think I am a little bit more knowing and enlightened than other folks, the Lord humbles me pretty quickly.
    While I don’t agree with everything Eldredge says, I agree with those who have taken issue with lumping him in with the others. I have just returned from my second 4 day camp with John and his team. I have read all his books, not just Wild at Heart (or pieces of it), and listened to/watched many of his other resource CD’s and DVD’s. I have personally gotten to know one of the members of his ministry team and know him to be deeply passionate in his desire to be both a strong warrior for the kingdom and to walk in a spirit of humility, self-sacrifice, taking up his cross daily. In no way does the ministry want to produce butt-kicking, macho, self-centered, junior high simpleton men, or produce women who are Barbie dolls, airheads, and who let men do whatever they want to do. In fact, it is just the opposite.
    As one has already mentioned, I encourage anyone to read Sacred Romance, Waking the Dead, and his others. Eldredge’s newest book, Walking with God reveals a heart with an intense desire to be in an intimate relationship with the Lord, being a follower and not just a believer. I have seen men and women’s lives changed dramatically the last few years, with no small number of them greatly impacted by John’s ministry. The fruit has been amazing.
    I am one of those who have been positively impacted by this ministry. It’s messages have contributed in large measure to the healing, freedom, and joy that now reside in my own heart. Blessings.

  38. Jason permalink
    May 15, 2008

    For a really funny satire of “macho Jesus” writing, I recommend this entry from Brant Hansen’s ongoing “Awesomely Bold Leadership” series on his blog:

    http://branthansen.typepad.com/letters_from_kamp_krusty/2008/03/more-excerpts-t.html

  39. May 15, 2008

    Thanks for sharing this one, Mike. Good food for thought. I thought the quote from O’Brien was very poignant.

  40. Leland permalink
    May 15, 2008

    Ben’s comment was one of the top ten plays of the day. Probably number 2

  41. TN Lizzie permalink
    May 15, 2008

    RogueMinister posted a poem called “Manly Man.”

    I like this one better:

    You
    by Edgar Guest

    You are the fellow that has to decide
    Whether you’ll do it or toss it aside.
    You are the fellow who makes up your mind
    Whether you’ll lead or will linger behind
    Whether you’ll try for the goal that’s afar
    Or just be contented to stay where you are.
    Take it or leave it. Here’s something to do!
    Just think it over — It’s all up to you!

    What do you wish? To be known as a shirk,
    Known as a good man who’s willing to work,
    Scorned for a loafer or praised by your chief,
    Rich man or poor man or beggar or thief?
    Eager or earnest or dull through the day,
    Honest or crooked? It’s you who must say!
    You must decide in the face of the test
    Whether you’ll shirk it or give it your best.

    Nobody here will compel you to rise;
    No one will force you to open your eyes;
    No one will answer for you yes or no,
    Whether to stay there or whether to go.
    Life is a game, but it’s you who must say,
    Whether as cheat or as sportsman you’ll play.
    Fate may betray you, but you settle first
    Whether to live to your best or your worst.

    So, whatever it is you are wanting to be,
    Remember, to fashion the choice you are free.
    Kindly or selfish, or gentle or strong,
    Keeping the right way or taking the wrong,
    Careless of honor or guarding your pride,
    All these are questions which you must decide.
    Yours the selection, whichever you do;
    The thing men call character’s all up to you!
    __________________________________________________________
    Edgar Guest wrote some other great stuff for you Real Men!
    A Man
    Answering Him
    The Brethren

    I thank the men of God who have character! Thank you for letting me see Jesus in you.

    <, TN Lizzie

  42. May 16, 2008

    The last place I expect to be called “chick” is from another member of the Body of Christ. When I read things like this, it feels like the male part of the Body is telling the female part of the Body, “We don’t need you……chicks.”

  43. May 18, 2008

    I have not read Driscoll’s books.

    I loved Paul Coughlin’s “No More Jellyfish, Chickens, or Wimps.” It should be read by all fathers and mothers. It deals with confronting the abuse and bullying of children in our society. We do need men who will take initiative and responsibility. We need men who will demonstrate the courage to confront destructive behaviors around them. (Of course, we need women who will do the same.) We need to motivate passive men to become good men. Otherwise, our families, churches, and communities suffer from passive and irresponsible men. To paraphrase Bill Cosby, “When a family has no father, it’s a difficulty. When a community has no fathers, it’s a tragedy.” Let’s encourage and help the men in our churches to be active and responsible men in their families, churches, and communities. (We don’t need to diminish women in order to do this.)

  44. May 18, 2008

    Obviously, Driscoll is not behind this series of YouTube videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCNo_voO2l4. (Mike, don’t feel obligated to post this. The language will offend some, and everything else about it will offend everyone else.)

  45. Toni Pate permalink
    August 23, 2012

    I have taken my time and read everyone’s comments slowly and thoughtfully. I think conversations like this are so important because they help us all to try and express what we feel the Lord is teaching us and gives us a chance to hear what He is teaching others.
    I have a great concern about this issue and the extent to which it dominates Christian thought these days. I am very happily married, had a wonderful dad, and I have a wonderful grown son. In terms of their masculinity, all three played football- my son coaches lacrosse. My husband and son are also both artists. Does that take them down a notch? (Driscoll need not reply) No one in our household ever gave “examining their masculinity” or femininity for that matter, any thought. (We are all humans here too, and we never really questioned that either.)

    But my son’s mid-twenties age group of Christian young men is really being abused by all of this heavy -handed masculinity=Christian teaching. They are being pushed by local churches to embrace something that, in my opinion, borders on “some other gospel.” I could be wrong about where it comes from, but it appears to be coming out of an urgent push to recruit male church members. These young men are being told that the kingdom is in bad need of leadership, and that leadership is the prerogative of men, and that Jesus is calling men to step up and rescue the church. (Ditto… the household). It has the strangest resemblance to “Uncle Sam wants you” rallies.

    And yes indeed, they have found a target audience. But a sad one. Everyone wants to be needed. Everyone wanted to be the line leader since first grade. But when Jesus was asked about who would be great his answer was a counter-intuitive “the least will be greatest.” I disagree with churches tailoring a message to what the perceived needs are rather than needs that Christ pinpointed…whether it brings them in or not. I know plenty of people- and true, more of them are men- who do not attend church. Not one single one has said that they didn’t like the “soft Jesus” of church. More often, they say things like “It’s my one day off” (really? what is Saturday?) or ” I just think it’s boring” (really? but sitting by the pool all day isn’t?) or “Church people are hypocrites” (that one deserves looking into). There are plenty of people out there who aren’t attending church because of their selfishness. So…bring them in by appealing to that? NO! Who will undo that once they are in church? The only legitimate way is to befriend them and out of love introduce them to Jesus Christ.

    Now I would agree that the church and the home and society/ the world in general, are all needy. But surely we would agree that there is no need that trumps the invitation to follow Jesus. Jesus was a man. If part of his mission here on earth was demonstrating Biblical manhood then what does that say for his interest in women? When I read “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” am I supposed to be thinking that Jesus meant just “any MAN?” Of course not. Jesus didn’t call men to follow him to manhood. He called people- male and female- to follow him to the cross…and to life.

    I can hardly think how blasphemous it is to need Jesus to be anything more than he was in scripture. Heaven help any of us who make him more desirable to ourselves by sculpting him into image that appeals to our own sense of manhood.

    The passages in scripture that are referred to most often from Paul’s writings about manhood and womanhood are only “good news” (gospel) if they are “news” in some way. His whole premise is about freedom in Christ and enslaving oneself to Christ of your own free will. I do not believe that he ever meant for male headship to be anything other than a call to love as Christ loves…now that would be good news for the whole world-beginning with their relationships at home. Likewise, for women to respect men (wives for sure, but also women in general) that would be good news too! I do not take this to mean that men are not expected to respect their wives. And I bet even Driscoll and the Neo-Calvinists would not want it to mean that women are not to love their husbands as Christ loves us. Or are there people out there who think that only men can do that?

    The call of Christ is absolutely an open invitation to any and all who trust him with their all – and as Ephesians teaches- live accordingly. Men and women.
    Blessings on all of you men and women and on your sphere of influence for Christ.

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS