ZBE Publications

Thoughts on a Real Man I

In Rants, Relationships on February 1, 2011 at 4:53 PM

Per the request of my (new) friend Loren; I was ask what I consider to be a “real man.” Now this question is very opened ended, so I am going to take add some prepositions to this phrase to help speak specifically to this subject. In the post, I will attempt to answer this question:

How does a Christian man act and behave in the modern world?

And with this I have already implicitly proposed that a real man recognizes, accepts, and identifies himself with God through the GOSPEL; he is a Christian. You see, a “real” man first and foremost recognizes that there is a God and he is not Him. This is humility in the truest sense: that a real man knows that he was not created for himself. He knows that he is not object, essence, purpose, or culmination of creation. He is a testimony, a servant, and a worshiper of the Creator.

Real men live humbly in the glorious truth that they have been redeemed (recreated) in a fallen creation to once again be who they are: the bearer of God’s image. (Hebrew: צֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים‎ Latin: Imago Dei)

Yet, this basic humility is not weak, self-deprecating, or lacking. Only when men embrace their true calling to bear the image of God in the world can they have the power to change the world.[1] They are, in fact, meek. The essence of manhood in our modern world should be characterized by meekness, a forgotten virtue.

Meekness, in the simplest sense, is defined as power under control. Or in a more accurate sense, it is power coupled with wisdom. Meekness shows itself when men recognize that they are God’s visible representation to the world and at once are motivated to go forth a change the world while also humbled by their place in it. Real men see, desire, and fight for truth in the world. They are, as Moses was, meek.[2]

Now that we have laid the groundwork, what does a man of meekness do in the modern world? Here is an abridged list by solely on the author’s opinion:

  1. Real men lead and love their family, their church, and those entrusted in their care.
    1. They stand on the perimeter and stand watch over their family, their church, and those in their care.
    2. They are not afraid to lay down their lives for their family, their church, and those in their care.
    3. They do lay down their life for God and His Kingdom. (Martyrdom is honored and not mocked.)
    4. They look out for the needs of widows (elderly), orphans (neglected children) and prisoners (addicts and downtrodden).
    5. Real men are protectors of women and not predators.
      1. They abhor, destroy, struggle against perversion, pornography, strip clubs, the sex trade, and anything that hints that women are objects of sex.
      2. They are not afraid to befriend the homosexual, the prostitute, or the molester; for they not only seek protection for the victims, but also redemption for the perpetrator.
      3. Real men do not put wants before needs.
        1. They spend money and resources responsibly.
        2. They are producers in the world, and not consumers.
        3. Real men seek education wherever they can.
          1. They are trying to learn more about their wife, their friends, the children, and anyone else they come in contact with.
          2. They promote literacy and the arts as vital to the preservation of their culture.
          3. Real men serve in their community.
            1. They are not afraid or too self interested to run for public office.
            2. They stand up for righteousness and give a voice to the suppressed in the public sphere.

Men who value these areas of life are “real” men in my humble opinion. Whether or not they cry when watching The Notebook, drive a nice car, have tattoos, watch UFC, or wear boxers over briefs; these things do not define real men.

For more on the masculine culture within the church, read or watch Mark Driscoll. He’ll get you fired up.[3]

We have neglected two very important pursuits of real men; integrity and devotion. I only take to the time to acknowledge and add that real men are real men first at home and then in public. They value integrity. Also, the value deep relationships that come through day in and day out devotion; first to God and His Word –then to his wife followed by his children, family, and church. He is firmly resolved to devote themselves to eternal things in his daily life.

These example behaviors set men apart from boys, and real men apart from impostors.

I submit that real men are works in progress, pursuing these actions in the modern world. They are real only in the sense that they reflect reality; that their only aspiration and hope is found in the GOSPEL of truth. They rely wholly not upon themselves, but humbly seek wisdom so that they may be moved to meekness; satisfied in their manhood bestowed by God.

Real men are visible representations of an invisible God.

[1] The other attributes that God displays to us transform us; properly understood. By mercy, God withholds his wrath from us; by grace is crowns us as heirs; by faith He knows us; and by love He changes us. All of these truths are found within the GOSPEL.

[2] Numbers 12:3 KJV Note: Other versions translate meekness as “humble” or “very humble” which is supported in direct translations, but I argue that meekness carries the meaning of the text. Also, rabbinic tradition supports a view that Moses was ultimately meek, and not humble in a strict sense.

[3] Youtube: “Macho Man” / “How Dare You” / “Church of Dudes”

The Elephant in the Room

In Personal, Relationships on February 22, 2010 at 9:55 PM

Some of my friends have discreetly asked me why it is that I am not married or engaged at this point in my life. They assume, correctly so, that is has to do with finding the right woman. I’ll admit that my preferences have changed over time. As one close friend noted, the older a man becomes, the pickier he becomes. This is in contrast to women who seem to become less picky and settle as they get older – generally speaking of course.

To clarify, my current singleness is not a result of some subconscious qualm I have with relationships; nor do I view my singleness as problematic. And for the record, my singleness is not a result of not knowing great godly women with impeccable character. However, upon reflection there is a particular type of woman that I am specifically attracted to. I am not convinced that she exists, but please allow me to describe my future wife now.

If there is an ideal woman, then she is an honest one. Before I describe what I specifically mean by honesty, I want to first address the common meaning of the word honesty.

Most people use the word honesty in a relationship to mean that one should carry no secrets from the other. This is a fair definition. Moreover, most people value honesty in a relationship because it provides a sense of security.  In a relationship a person is attracted to the others’ positive characteristics; that they are cute, funny, godly, et al. The traits are all well and good by themselves, but they may be illusions.  Therefore, we ask and demand honesty of the other person to ensure that they are who they appear to be.

I mean the same thing as I look for honesty – only more so. I look for a woman that can give and receive honest thoughts.

Simply stated I hope to find a woman

Fundamental Problems: Part II of IV

In Developing Theology on February 2, 2010 at 9:52 PM

Fundamentalists have made themselves a punching bag in some evangelical circles, and moreover, have become the red-headed stepchild to the so-called mainline denominations. Many Christians have little sympathy for a group that has so many rules and fallen dangerously close to legalism. I admit that I once used the word legalism too liberally. I once labeled and condemned any Christian that had absolute standards of conduct as being a legalist. I once was all too eager to call fundamentalists, “legalists.”

You see, there are only a few universal insults circulating within American Christian churches. One of the most potent is to be called “Pharisaical” referring to a group of religious zealots and teachers in Jesus’ time on earth. From the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, there was a very real tension between the Pharisees and Jesus. Many times over, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for their lack in understanding the Law even though they have extensive knowledge of it. The Pharisees stood opposed to Jesus although Jesus invited them into his fold to be made right with God. They were, by their estimation, already right with the Law. The New Testament records that Jesus did not just stand by and allow this open rebellion against the Kingdom of God. No. He swiftly and graciously called the Pharisees and scribes what they were – a brood of vipers. When all was said and done, it was their damnable good works that kept the Pharisees from salvation. They rejected Jesus because they did not need him, for they had the Law. They were legalistic because they kept the Law for their salvation.

With this in mind, a thinking man cannot equivocate Fundamentalism with legalism, a point that becomes clearer upon reflection.  Fundamentalism may be guilty of creating a plethora of rules, but not one of these rules is guilty of justifying the soul. No fundamentalist has said that he abstains from this habit or that for the sake of Heaven. He abstains for the sake of integrity.