Men. My fellow brothers in Christ, what are we aiming for? What is our model, our prototype for how we should fulfill our roles as men? One of the main critiques of Christian men put forth by John Eldredge (author of Wild at Heart) and that one book No More Christian Nice Guy, is that the church has emasculated us. We are taught to be moral, to follow rules to be nice. The main problem, say the proponents and advocates of reclaiming “Christian masculinity” is we are molded and shaped to be nice, not good.

The topic can be boiled down to this exchange between the children and Mr. and Mrs. Beaver in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe,

“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thougth he was a man. Is he–quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if
there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees
knocking, they’re either braver than most or else silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells
you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s
good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

All silly machismo aside, have we become people who value safety above all else? I recognize that it’s not really PC to discuss gender roles as if there are differences in the roles of men and the roles of women. But isn’t that illustrative of the entire issue? I don’t think I’ve studied this issue enough to take a really educated stand, but I think I’m safe in saying that there are differences between men and women. There are differences in the way we think, in the way we interact, in our needs, differences that transcend physical differences (though of course they are tied to them, i.e. hormone’s, our bodies, etc…). So given that, and putting aside seemingly explicit Biblical references, is it such a leap to say that there are differences in our roles relative to one another, as well as in the church?

But I digress, I really don’t want to get into this issue (not right now, at least). I want to address my brothers.

I was thinking about my relationship with my dad today and as good as my parents were at supporting and raising me I realized that my dad passed on to me this idea that propriety is to be prized as the primary motivation for your actions. Part of this was that if we crossed him while he was angry, we were certain to be the targets of an explosion of unwarranted anger. No wonder I have passivity and conflict-avoidance issues.

This goes in to my previous post about honesty. I feel that we’re so caught up in avoiding awkwardness and hurting each others’ feelings, that we’ve forgotten to be good to one another, to truly love one another “as iron sharpens iron”.

It’s as if the church today has only gone half way. I LOVE the focus on The Father’s Heart, and it is indeed essential to our salvation and a true picture of who we are. But what comes next? We read when David says “The Lord is my strength.” and we say “yes, we can’t do anything without God”. But we fail to realize, that saying “The Lord is my strength” means that when we are abiding in God we HAVE strength. Another verse that comes to mind is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, ALL THINGS! What does the life of a man in the church look like? Safe or Good?

Perhaps the most emasculating thing for men about the faith today is that… it expects so little of us. You don’t want to lead? Fine, there are women lining up to serve. You don’t want to stand up for your beliefs? Fine, God can stand up for Himself. And of course, this is true! The Kingdom will advance, with our without faithful men, but what will happen to those men? Well if the Kingdom advances and they don’t… they get left behind.

Culture does the same thing. By equating manliness with wealth, or promiscuity, or prestige, the world has set us on a wild goose chase for a happiness and security that doesn’t exist.


One of the best things about Wild at Heart was the reminder that we are warriors. Again, not because it makes us feel cool, but we are warriors in the most basic sense of the word… we are warriors because we are at war. Like Kevin Spacey’s character says in The Usual Suspects, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist.” And it’s true. We will never be able to beat the enemy if we refuse to acknowledge his role in our lives. And like in all wars, we can’t fight them alone. Rambo is not a realistic picture of war. We need each other guys, to keep ourselves from falling. But that also means we have to want it. I sometimes get the feeling that I can’t speak into your guys’ lives, and that might be a problem on my part, but it might also be a problem on yours. Offending someone is much much better than letting them continue on a path to ruin, so we have to want it, to want to be good.

Guys, whether we like it or not, we are born in a society where we have been put in a position where we have more power than our sisters. Whether that’s right or not, I’m not going to go into, but it’s a fact. And honestly, I feel like most of the problems in society, especially in families, are caused by men not being men. Men using their priviledge and their power to abuse those who are weaker, and those men will answer for it (but if we don’t do something about this injustice when we are in a position to… so might we.) It takes courage and strength to do what we’ve been called to do, but those are the things we’ve been given, that Christ died to give us, and it’s our choice whether or not to actually do it.

I’m gonna end with this tight quote by G.K. Chesterton:

Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. “He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,” is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide or a drill book. The paradox is the whole principle of courage; even of quite earthly or quite brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if he will risk it on the precipice. He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to live, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine.


~ by justinhong on November 27, 2007.

7 Responses to “”

  1. THANK YOU!!! see, Wild at Heart can suck it, you should just write a book on Christian male development …and I’d actually read it hahaha .Yeah I definitely see men in the US church today failing to step up, whether it is a laziness or desire to create equality among the genders in providing access for women to serve (which shouldn’t negate their own responsibility). But before we can go into action I think we really need to re-examine how we understand the Father to be, because if we try to go into our faith journey by striving to please or serve because it’s the manly God thing to do yet fail to comprehend God’s love and power, then we’re screwed.

  2. JUSTIN! THIS IS THE POST I WAS GOING TO WRITE LAST NIGHT! And I am going to write it now šŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing bro, we’re thinking the same thoughts.

  3. oh youre such a man justin :)im not even supposed to be reading but i read the whole thing! well, except the quote. now hurry and get a gf. if that post doesnt do the trick, then youre prolly called to be single. forever.

  4. you’re really cool justin! :))i’m so jealous that pastor todd friended you!

  5. haha at john’s comment and lana’s comment

  6. This goes in to my previous post about honesty. I feel that we’re so caught up in avoiding awkwardness and hurting each others’ feelings, that we’ve forgotten to be good to one another, to truly love one another “as iron sharpens iron”.That’s really true. it takes courage to be good..I really liked this post. =)

  7. HI!  it has been a long time, no?  šŸ˜€
    in response to your quote: “Perhaps the most emasculating thing for men about the faith today is that… it expects so little of us.”
    i totally agree.  i see this as the effect of not living according to the roles God has for us in the bible.  defined gender roles aren’t pc, but i do believe they are biblical.  and GOOD and freeing and God-honoring.
    how neat that you are thinking about all these majormajor issues in the bible.  i am encouraged by your conclusions and by your journey.
    i’d recommend this site to you:
    and also this sermon by pastor dennis tuma: september 15, 2002, “men and masculinity.”
    shoot me an email sometime and let me know what you think!

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