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How the Christian ‘masculinity’ movement is ruining men

This picture of a muscular man is the first search result for "masculinity" on Flickr creative commons. Chandler Epp says that a notion of masculinity centered on physical strength and stamina is harmful to men.

GUEST POST BY CHANDLER EPP

I remember the first time someone called me “gay.”

I remember who said it. I remember how he said it. I remember the message he intended to convey.

For two fifth-graders playing at recess, this episode made no commentary on sexuality. Rather, this barb was as an allegation of masculinity—my apparent, ungodly deficit of it.

No casual observer would have mistaken my nerdy, lanky frame for the next coming of Arnold Schwarzenegger, mind you. The 11-year-old me was weak, unathletic, and generally disinterested in matters that captivated most boys my age. According to the well-established rules of playground parlance, this shortage of manly attributes amounted to a crime against my gender. I later came to learn (and much later, unlearn) that this deficiency also was considered a crime against God.

Popular political commentator David French most recently espoused the prevailing conservative viewpoint on this topic when bemoaning the state of modern men for National Review. Riffing on a new study claiming that millennial males are physically weaker, on average, than their fathers, French concludes that today’s young men are “losing touch with a critical element of true masculinity:” their “raw physical strength.”

French says that being a man means being “a protector, builder, and fixer.” By way of example, he says learned to be a man by doing manual labor: changing the oil in his car, building a porch, hauling firewood. In a world of instant oil changes and electric fireplaces, he says, “today’s young males don’t have common touchstones for what it’s like to grow up being a man.”

“Men were meant to be strong,” French writes. “Yet we excuse and enable their weakness.” It’s this strong-versus-weak manhood paradigm that brought me back to that unforgettable day in the schoolyard.

The belief that manliness reveals itself through physical feats and shows of strength recalls long-lost worlds of Greek mythology and Middle Ages folklore, but even today, this notion remains surprisingly pervasive in Christian literature and culture.

Image courtesy of Thomas Nelson

Image courtesy of Thomas Nelson

The “masculinity crisis” is perpetuated in Christian self-help books like John Eldredge’s Wild At Heart, which ascribes glory to the man who conquers mountains, charges hills, and takes no prisoners (his loving wife excepted). Christian tomes grace bookstore shelves with not-so-subtle titles like The Dude’s Guide to Manliness and Act Like Men. The Manual to Manhood, the No. 1 book for Christian teens on Amazon, includes essays that instruct boys on how to fulfill godly, manly duties like grilling steaks, changing tires, impressing girls, and wearing the right cologne. Church men’s ministries are awash with military-inspired, chest-thumping curricula that liken life to war and equate strength with valor.

What do these depictions of manhood communicate to men who gravitate more towards the arts or classical literature instead of adventure and the great outdoors? What message do they send to those who connect more with God-as-the-great-Lover than God-as-the-ultimate-He-Man?

Not much that’s biblical, in my view.

The Christian Bible paints for us a view of manhood that is much more complex than these simple stereotypes allow. For every biblical reference to warriors like Samson or Saul, we read of characters like young David, a harpist, who through no power of his own defeated a giant. We meet Simeon, known for patiently waiting decades to see God’s promise revealed. Jesus himself notably refused to fight back, even giving up his life and physical body in a history-making display of spiritual strength.

A closer reading suggests that the Bible’s heroes aren’t meant to be models of outward toughness but exemplars of inner fortitude. So why have so many Christians accepted secular standards of masculinity as the basis for biblical manhood?

C.S. Lewis warned against this conflation of Western machismo and scriptural precedent in his seminal work, The Screwtape Letters. In it, the eponymous demon advises a devil-in-training to feed his target “the grand lie which we have made the English humans believe, that physical exercise in excess and consequent fatigue are specially favorable” and, therefore, worthy of divine aspiration.

Image courtesy of Chandler Epp

Image courtesy of Chandler Epp

Such misguided thinking, Lewis writes, creates “a condition of false spirituality,” in which the object of godly manhood is confused with that which mainstream culture portrays as truly manly.

Sadly, in many American churches, you won’t find an alternative to this vain portrait of masculinity but a co-opting of it. Not athletic? You’re not a man. Can’t shoot a gun? You’re not a man. Not dating? You’re not a man. Enjoy music more than weightlifting? Turn in your man card. That’s the message of the Christian masculinity movement.

When Christians casually throw around loaded terms like “real masculinity” in ways that reinforce—rather than rebut—secular formulas, we oversimplify a nuanced concept best expressed through eternal values, not earthly ambitions.

I’m of no illusion that the state of many modern men is strong in the metaphorical sense. We know, of course, of the negative impacts of couch-potato lifestyles and porn addiction on the American population. Even so, we must resist the temptation to lay blame first at our physical conditions before our spiritual ones. We must recover the idea that the marker of a true man is his moral strength, not his muscular fitness.

Popular Christian notions of manhood shame, repel, and ruin too many young boys and men who fail to meet those standards and who do not possess dispositions toward “typical” masculine behaviors. Rather than push them into wholesale rejection of the male archetype, we should instead call them to virtuous—and, yes, manly—aspirations of humility, service, kindness, and wisdom.

Maybe today’s Christian men should focus less on “acting like men” and more on acting like Christians. Surely, this includes speaking about gender in ways that are loving, hopeful, nuanced, and biblical. We owe at least this much to the boys in our schoolyards, ministries, and homes.

Chandler Epp is a communications strategist, creative director, and recovering politico residing in Washington, DC. He knows he’s a nerd because he asked for Microsoft Publisher software for his tenth birthday.

About the author

Jonathan Merritt

Jonathan Merritt is senior columnist for Religion News Service and a contributing writer for The Atlantic. He has published more than 2500 articles in outlets like USA Today, The Week, Buzzfeed and National Journal. Jonathan is author of "Jesus is Better Than You Imagined" and "A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars." He resides in Brooklyn, NY.

322 Comments

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  • Good article. I wonder however, if this masculinity movement is a reflex reaction to the changing societal dynamics that have been going on for decades and has increased in speed in the last decade. This movement is reverting back to the default setting of masculinity because it is safe. What is not touched on here as well is the “king of the castle” mentality associated with this. I have read some comments from various sites who want to revert to a 1940’s family dynamic to feel like the “man of the house”. What that entails is not a strong father figure where one is engaged in the children and household, but is every bit about being revered (simply for being male), feared (including physical actions against wife and children), being waited upon (does not need to help or be involved in any household activities). In other words, they do not believe that feminine equality is needed, wanted, or beneficial. They are in essence, mourning what they feel they have lost, and the only control they really have is to make themselves physically intimidating. The recent “acceptance” (to varying degrees) of homosexuality, gender issues, feminism, they feel the need to counter by putting forth this masculinity movement to reaffirm their vision of manliness as well. I also wonder as well if the dwindling of employment sectors where brawn is the most needed trait to work and provide for ones self/family to a more cerebral/educated/trained employment sectors (where male only dynamics are rarer) has not also contributed to this need to hold on to the “classic” definition of manliness. I just hope that with what was considered manly these men do not fall back into a more violent, domineering, negating of others attitude, because that is exactly why things have changed over the decades.

  • “Rather than push them into wholesale rejection of the male archetype, we should instead call them to virtuous—and, yes, manly—aspirations of humility, service, kindness, and wisdom.”

    Why not a “whole sale rejection of the male archetype”? Or at least a consistent effort to undo that archetype? After all, virtues like humility, service, kindness, and wisdom were *not* deemed incompatible with male strength and superiority in Lewis’ day or before. A kindler, gentler version of “masculinity” is still premised on value-laden differences between male and female bodies that are a huge part of the problem the author is addressing.

    I don’t think reforming masculinity goes far enough and that’s why any analysis of masculinity that is not informed by a robust feminist perspective will remain incomplete.

  • Young David was not simply a harpist, and shouldn’t stand in contrast to
    Samson or Saul. He was a warrior even before fighting Goliath. Shepherds
    were not weak – they were gruff, hard men who lived in the wild. He
    even killed a bear. And the idea that “Simeon … patiently waiting” is
    incompatible with manliness is somewhat strange.

    Additionally, the core of this article is wrong. I dispute this idea that Jesus was
    somehow not masculine. Everywhere he went, all throughout Israel and
    Samaria, he hiked. He was a carpenter, and carpentry is difficult work,
    as anyone who has done a little of it can attest. (Jesus, being Jesus,
    probably poured his passion and a great amount of skill and labor into
    the trade.) He slept in the wild, preferred the outdoors, sailed on
    ships, preached for hours upon hours, scaled mountains, and tested
    himself for over a month in the unforgiving desert without any food. He
    nobly bore the atrocious brunt of his execution with nary a complaint.

    How much more manly can you possibly get??? One cannot do all these things
    and not develop great physical strength. Sure, Jesus didn’t talk about
    hiking and hunting in his sermons, because those things are not as
    important as salvation, and besides, most people already knew they were
    important. To say the “masculinity movement” (which is a revival of
    something old and special) is ruining men, is an absurd and wrong
    statement. Men are designed for something – “Wild at Heart” and “The Way
    of the Wild Heart” are wonderful books that attempt to bring it to
    light.

  • I’d suggest democratizing machismo/a—making it an option for women as well as men rather than promoting the ewig weiblisch for all, replete with trigger warnings and safe spaces, whining and ‘sensitivity’. Granted, it’s lousy to be a boy who doesn’t fit his gender-assigned mold. It’s equally lousy to be a girl who doesn’t fit hers—who likes rough and tough, building, fixing, and fighting.

    What psychological sex difference there are, which may well be innate, are relatively small statistical differences over the population rather than across-the-board individual differences. Men and women at the gender-inappropriate tails of the distribution. And it isn’t necessarily linked to sexual orientation.

    As for the Bible, Deborah led the troops into battle, Judith beheaded Holophernes, and Jael bashed a tent-peg into some guy’s head.

  • I can’t disagree with anything. “Promise Keepers,” if it’s still around, was a toxic cesspool of religious hatred no different from an address by Ayatollah Khameini. A lot of evangelical preachers, being softer young men in general not unlike the typical sissy-nerd idealized in Norman Rockwell’s “Waldo” illustrations, often double down on the bullying and woman hatred. The whole antiabortion movement and the terrorism it spawns are nothing but deep down woman hatred.

  • You make some very good points. I do wonder, though, if there ever was a so called ‘default setting’ for masculinity? The writer makes a valid point about the arts. If, for example, Michelangelo had been fed this whole modern masculinity tripe, one of the greatest works of art may have never been created.

  • Masculinity and femininity are strictly cultural norms, local to a time and place. They are not necessarily deeply engrained as an indissoluble part of our consciousness and being.
    Masculinity is frequently defined in terms of what it is not– feminine. In other words, it is simply misogyny.
    Homophobia has played a huge role in defining what is masculine and what it is not. My friends, both gay and straight, both state that I am the straightest gay man they know. And I am absolutely gay– not a heterosexual bone in my body. Homophobia has created a negative definition of manhood, clearly nothing but culturally based. In Thai culture and Muslim culture, it is not unusual for men to walk down the street holding hands. In our culture, it screams “gay” to those who need to see it that way.
    Also, in our culture, heterosexual fathers are afraid to kiss their sons or be physically affectionate with them, lest someone call them queer. I used to hug my father and kiss him hello and goodbye well into high school, until I realized just how uncomfortable he was with it.
    and isn’t that just to sad?

  • You forget that David also ‘loved Jonathon’. There are many debates around what that term means exactly. Also, don’t forget, these writers, of these so called masculinity books fail to recognize that masculinity is about more than men being able to change the oil in a car, or building things with their hands. Hell, I can’t even install blinds in my home! Am I less of a man? Am I less of a man because I am bisexual? These authors reject science and trying to understand how our brains are wired for some fantasy ideal that they have come up with.

  • Most Bedouin shepherds are female and have been for thousands of years. Your ideas of masculinity are western in nature and therefore you miss the point of the article. The bible gives us examples of this.

    David was a mighty warrior who killed lions, and giants, and bears. David was tough. But he also wrote poetry (psalms). He made and played musical instruments (2 Chron 7:6). David was tender.

    Jesus was a carpenter, he picked fights with religious people, he drove out demons wherever he went, he made a whip and drove out money changers in the temple (John 2:15), and he endured the cross.

    Jesus was tough.

    But Jesus loved being with little children, he healed the sick wherever he went, he talked about flowers, seeds, and love, and he was affectionate (Phil 1:8). Jesus was tender.

    The following are ways that men can be tough and tender:

    Tough

    A man is tough in the way he handles lots of responsibility.
    A man is tough – he doesn’t make excuses.
    A man is tough – he works hard and does what he needs to do to provide for his family (1 Tim 5:8)
    A man is tough towards anyone attempting to hurt or harm women, children, and the weak.
    A man is tough towards the devil and his demons, setting people free from demonic lying, stealing, killing, and destroying.
    A man is tough in the way he perseveres through obstacles to lead.
    A man is tough in the way the he disciplines his children (Prov 23:13).
    A man is tough in the way he receives correction and sharpening (Prov 27:17, 12:1)
    Tender

    A man has a tender heart towards the Lord (2 Chron 34:27, 1 Pet 3:8).
    A man is tender towards women and children.
    A man speaks tenderly to his wife (Hos 2:14). He is not harsh with her (Col 3:19).
    A man is tender – he lives with his wife in an understanding way (1 Pet 3:7).
    A man is tender – he’s affectionate (Phil 1:8).
    A man is tender with his children, not provoking them to anger, disciplining and instructing them (Eph 6:4).
    A man is tender – he engages in acts of compassion (Hos 11:8).
    A man is tender in the way he receives correction without offense (Prov 27:6).

  • It seems that to say that masculinity and femininity are “strictly” cultural norms is to completely relativise them, and strip them of all meaning. No, they are not only cultural norms, although those do come into play. God still created us male and female, and that, in and of itself, predates culture.

  • male and female are not the same thing as masculine nad feminine, else we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

  • It says right there in the book of Outtamybut:
    For verily I say unto you, if thou canst not changeth the oil, the surely, thou aren’t a man, because all men changeth the oil. That is the way of men. so saith the lord.

  • I never said they were the same thing, but there is a relationship there. If there is a relationship, than masculinity and femininity are not “strictly” cultural. They are to some degree influenced by biology.

  • I have to wonder if the author of this article has actually ever read some of the books that he was complaining about. For instance, if you know anything about John Eldredge and his ministries, he talks about stories and books that he has read as much as the perceived masculine things he enjoys. He also started out as one of these so called theater geeks. Until a few years ago, he lead his own theater company.
    To me, this article seems like nothing more than a hit piece against anything that goes against a man working to find out what it means to be a true follower of Christ. That is, of course, unless you sit down, be polite, and make no waves.
    I am saddened that anytime the word masculinity or manhood is used in the christian realm, there are people that are stating that it is out of place.
    If you ask me, it’s the feminization of the church that has caused men to check out and stop attending church all together. Today’s man would be totally bored in most church services. How do we fix that? We tell men that there is something wrong with them because they aren’t a nice Christian man. Until we wake up as a church, the abysmal church attendance by men will continue.

  • Michael, have you read any of these writers, or are you just making assumptions on what they are about? I have friends that are very similar to you that have read books like “Wild At Heart” and were still able to find practical things to take away from them.

  • “If you ask me, it’s the feminization of the church that has caused men to check out and stop attending church all together.”

    Of course, blame it on women and femininity. As I said below: Masculinity is frequently defined in terms of what it is not– feminine. In other words, it is simply misogyny.

    Or putting it nice biblical terms: “And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” 13Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

  • You can call it whatever you want. Look at the statistics. Most men have checked out of church. They are bored. You can wrap it up in whatever labels you want to. Like I said, until you address men where they are at, we will continue to see the decline in men attending church.

  • I guess then that all that truth about god and his message to the world, and all of that religious belief and how important it is…
    really isn’t all that important after all.

  • I’m not sure how you made that jump. It’s not that black and white. Look at who Jesus called to be his disciples. Fishermen were not necessarily considered wimpy. Have you forgotten that Jesus turned over the money changers tables in the temple in a fit of anger? All I am saying is that both can live together we should work to help men to be in touch with their meeker side, but to tell them they are wrong to be what the world sees as masculine is not the answer either.

  • Carlos, that was quite irrelevant, because I never asserted that a man can only do “tough” things to be manly.

  • Evidently the Apostle Paul needs your advice on this, Jonathan. He’s still stuck in the masculinity-is-strength paradigm, and he needs to lose his focus on acting like men. Like you said, he should focus more on just being Christian. Can you believe he was backward enough to write this:

    I Cor 16:13 – ” Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”

    He thinks that being watchful against enemies, standing firm against an onslaught, and being strong are defining attributes of masculinity. What a buffoon. It’s crazy that we should teach or expect boys to admire men who show these traits in the physical realm. I only wish it were possible for you to go back and educate him in proper postmodernity.

  • And more and more women have been quitting church, too… I guess I can just assume it’s because churches are too masculinized?

  • you are correct, just not at the level of men checking out. I think we need to re-think how we present church in general. What we are doing right now obviously isn’t working.

  • Sick burn, bro. You destroyed his whole piece with a single verse from 1 Corinthians and some snark. In the same letter, Paul tells men it’s probably best to remain unmarried (barring the apparently unmasculine weakness of will when it comes to ladies). Does that mean married men aren’t masculine enough for Paul? I dunno. Context is hard.

    “being watchful against enemies, standing firm against an onslaught, and being strong” are still masculine qualities. But they can look different. Judging masculinity by outward displays of machismo or physical resilience is problematic and absolutely not inclusive of the whole definition. If I read Chandler’s piece correctly, that’s exactly his point. I can’t deadlift for $&%! but I teach my toddler how to take care of himself on a playground. Masculine?

  • You are way off – Bedouin male youth are the ones who always do the extended-range herding – and because of their desert environment it’s goats and camels, not sheep.
    The females do milk the animals and prepare the meat and leather after butchering – but they stay in the camp to do most of the preparation activities for the males who will go out for extended periods of time.
    One of the major reasons the Bedouin do this is because they have a deeply patriarchal form of society in which their daughter’s “honor” is especially prized – a young girl or woman, on her own in the wilderness could be vulnerable to attack and sexual assault.
    A sexually assaulted or raped female would be considered a “dishonor” to her family, who could not protect her, and it would reduce her chances of being married off to another tribe.

  • I wonder if Steven Anderson’s latest challenge to arm wrestle the ladies in his congregation to “prove his manhood.” ever actually read the same Bible I did. He also preached on how “real” men stand up to pee because of the verse “him that pisseth against the wall.” meant that only women squatted. *eyeroll* He’s perpetuating this hypermasculinity to the point of the ridiculous. Sadly I don’t think he’s doing this out of a desire to demonstrate the ridiculousness of it all but in a sad attempt to somehow prove he’s a manly man. (He comes across to this woman as overcompensating and foolish.)

  • So, if you are the “recipient” in male-on-male intercourse, does that make you less “masculine”?
    According to traditional cultures, even ancient greek and roman culture, where male-to-male relationships were often idealized – Yes, it is considered not masculine to be the recipient because it is an imitation of the receptive position of the female in sexual intercourse.
    Should you feel guilty about it? I don’t know, that’s on you.
    In my opinion, being LGBTQ, by itself, doesn’t make someone a “bad person” – but, neither does it make someone a “good person” either.
    It’s a sexual preference.

  • If civilization were to fall tomorrow and the surviving humans had to forge a life in the wilderness, the masculine and feminine roles/abilities would take a much greater precedence.
    As it is, the role of modern technology in the developed world has mostly removed the need to behave in traditional masculine or feminine ways.
    But there is still the genetic, hormonal and biochemical processes that developed over millions of years that govern human behavior – we can’t escape that.

  • This is wrong on so many levels. A real man is well rounded and being a warrior or physically fit is just part of it. I am so sick of the wussification of the Christian man. This writer has some serious issues with his past and chooses to look at his manhood through that 11 year olds lens. Most of us had similar instances happen when we were young but most of us grow up, get through them and become healthy well rounded MEN. I will NOT apologize for my manhood or shrink from the true nature God gave me. I am physically fit, I work very hard, I am a protector, provider, and I love others with that same passion. Most of you that I see commenting are a danger to younger men, please do not mentor any boys . If you want to act like a girl then do so on your own. If this offends anyone then that’s a good thing, Christ offended many people that He called on the carpet when He walked His 33 years.

  • So – having qualms or doubts about abortion and having a belief that abortion is the extinguishing of a human life, not just extracting a “clump of cells” is just “woman-hatred”?
    Killing abortion doctors and bombing abortion clinics is terrorism and murder – but having reservations or disagreeing with abortion is not.

  • Jesus also drove out the moneylenders and told his disciples to sell what they had to buy swords.

  • Chandler is just a douchebag who’s simply trying to rationalize how lame he is. And I may have missed it, maybe he has come out as gay, but this has gay weasel words and slants all through it. If you’re gay, admit it Chandler. If not, quit spewing their propaganda.

  • YOU are the one taking things out of context. The Bible is full of verses such as Jeremy posted. If you’re not a Christian, then fine, but quit playing this game.

  • Obviously you never went to a promise keepers event. How does anti-abortion equal hating women? Do you even think logically at all?

  • Have you been to a church lately? Is today opposite day? There is a “masculinity” movement in Christianity precisely because the church is almost completely failing to reach any men and the ones it is reaching are almost exclusively academic, artsy, techy,
    etc… Not all men are meant to be meek, mild, musical or in a musical! Most men, in
    the church, who show the slightest bit of “masculinity”, are quickly shut
    down and passively shamed as backward, closed off, simple, and non-spiritual.
    Everything about the average church, from the decor to the music and
    the message, is designed for skirts and skinny jeans! Less than 10% of churches have any type of on-going, regular ministry devoted to men, but they all have women’s ministries, very few have any kind of sports/athletics ministry, but more and more have “creative arts” ministries. Seriously. the reality is that if you are in touch with your emotions and are willing to express yourself, the vast majority of churches will embrace you and probably put you in charge of something. If you sing, play a musical instrument, do graphic design, paint, etc… C’mon, you’re in like Flynn! On the flip side, if you have a beard to keep face warm, in your tree stand, while deer hunting, and not because it is trendy, don’t like to talk about your feelings, read books, or sing, the church has very little to offer and has almost no use for you, except for your blue collar tithe/offering! So, no need to worry. The movement and books aren’t working! Wild At Heart is 15 years old (I was surprised to see it referenced.) and Promise Keepers (I had to try to outdo your dated reference.) has all but fizzled out… I’m pretty sure the only shift we will see is a slight increase in the grilling skills of some worship leaders. (No offense meant
    by any of my generalizations and stereotypes… I just get a little worked up
    and playful because of the stats and facts of the matter!) Grace & Peace

  • Allegedly, and, also allegedly, he told people to turn the other cheek and love those that hated them.

    Oh come on – it’s a story. The Gospels weren’t written by Sts M, M, L and J – that’s just marketing. Why should anyone think that the interior is true when the exterior is known to be false?

    Deciding how to live one’s life based on a choice of dubious religious writings isn’t very sensible is it; unless all one wants is to transfer the responsibility for one’s mistakes to a mythical dropbox for errors.

    Seeking to dodge the responsibility for one’s mistakes wouldn’t be very manly though would it? Nor, come to think of, what most people would consider to be Christian either.

  • So many of you missed the point – and that’s okay. We all make mistakes.

    First off, he does not say being a physically fit, hard working, a protector, provider (and so on) is wrong or something to be a shamed about. What he is drawing attention to the fact that maleness and masculinity are not monolithic; these are diverse paradigms in which men of all shapes, sizes, and dispositions appear. He is saying that arguing that manhood consists of one macho, physical, masculine vision is incorrect: there are bakers, scholars, soldiers, programmers, politicians, and scientists.

    Secondly, the traditional Christian vision of masculinity has little significance from a Biblical standpoint. How do we identify Christian men in our modern society? By those who join the military? Those who cut trees? Those who lift weights? Those who own guns? No.. rather, “by their fruit you will recognize them” (Matt. 7:16), which are “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23). Nothing about manly men there.

    Thirdly, be the best person you can be in all aspects of life, but don’t think that being physically strong will make up for not loving your neighbour, for an absence of weakness, or forgetting to be gentle. That is what is important.

  • The glory of young men is their strength. Proverbs 20:29
    Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 1 Cor 16:13

  • So many of you missed the point – and that’s okay. We all make mistakes.

    First off, he does not say being a physically fit, hard working, a protector, provider (and so on) is wrong or something to be a shamed about. What he is drawing attention to the fact that maleness and masculinity are not monolithic; these are diverse paradigms in which men of all shapes, sizes, and dispositions appear. He is saying that arguing that manhood consists of one macho, physical, masculine vision is incorrect: there are bakers, scholars, soldiers, programmers, politicians, and scientists.

    Secondly, the traditional Christian vision of masculinity has little significance from a Biblical standpoint. How do we identify Christian men in our modern society? By those who join the military? Those who cut trees? Those who lift weights? Those who own guns? No.. rather, “by their fruit you will recognize them” (Matt. 7:16), which are “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23). Nothing about manly men there.

    Thirdly, be the best person you can be in all aspects of life, but don’t think that being physically strong will make up for not loving your neighbour, for an absence of weakness, or forgetting to be gentle. That is what is important.

  • Interesting post, but let me digress from the “masculinity” aspect for a second:

    The phrase “loved Jonathan” does NOT mean David was gay, nor mean David was “bisexual”. (On a related issue), Ruth’s decision to “cleave” to her widowed mommy-in-law Naomi, does NOT mean Ruth was playing around with Mommy-in-law in bed.

    In both cases you’re looking at God-honoring special family-type devotion, a God-given tight-knit-ness of the spirit, not a bunch of messed-up boudoir business.

    The gay theology mess IS a real mess (straight from Hades), and pro-gay Bible claims have been thoroughly refuted already by laity, clergy, and scholars alike — pretty much anybody with access to a Bible and 10 minutes of actual study.

    May Christians vigorously stomp on all that gay theology mess 10,000 more times this month, just for the cardio exercise alone.

  • Men do need to learn how to hug boys and men, that’s true.

    My Dad was uncomfortable hugging anybody until his late 50’s or 60, when he started attending a black Baptist church where the preacher told all the men to hug each other every Sunday till they got used to it. Then he started hugging us kids, which was a bit late but still kewl.

    Me, I hugged my kid from the microsecond he was born. I learned my lesson early.

  • Aleksi
    I hear you and agree with a lot of what your saying, but I have a different take away from what the author is saying, and no one can deny the ( I’ll call it) the chickafication of men within the modern church, which has really driven men into the background instead of the forefront which is where they are supposed to be. In fact it has driven many men to just plain give up and let the women lead. That is why we see a lot of the masculine men programs in the church today, it’s to get men re-engaged, and I applaud it.

  • ¿Quién es más macho?

    Apparently, conservative Evangelical men are insecure in their manhood.

  • And I stand by what I said. Our churches are afraid to preach what may be considered masculine parts of the Bible for fear of offending someone like the author of this article as well as someone like yourself.

  • you can stand by what you said all you like. I’m not offended at all– I am an atheist. My point was simply that all of that godly devotion apparently is not as important as being properly entertained.

  • It’s pathetic, as well as somewhat amusing, that you, a fully indoctrinated TrueChristian™ with zero self-awareness, would refer to Ben in Oakland as a “sad little brainwashed wuss.”

  • “Look at the statistics. Most men have checked out of church.”

    Maybe we are ignoring an ‘elephant-in-the-room’ which is that these men who “have checked out of church” may have finally confronted the reality that their religion is mythical and delusional hogwash.

  • My complaint isn’t with people properly being entertained. If the gospel is preached properly, I believe no entertainment is needed. As far as you being an atheist, you absolutely have that right. Just like I have the right to my beliefs.

  • A sexual orientation isn’t the same thing as a sexual preference. A sexual orientation is a gender relationship orientation. A sexual preference is what “type” of that gender really catches your eye.

    ‘I like big butts and I cannot lie’ is a sexual preference. I need a soulmate who is a woman (or a man) is a sexual orientation. If she or he, depending on your sexual orientation, has a big butt, all the better… at least for me.

    Bisexual people fall in love with the person, regardless of that person’s gender.

  • Since when did God give a tinker or tinker bell’s damn whether you had 18 inch biceps or not or whether you killed a bar when you were only 3. The biblical literalist who pick and choose Levitical texts to suit them and ignore those they don’t like, such as your widow having intercourse with your brother or killing those who do not observe the Jewish sabbath have so many homoerotic fantasies they will keep the gay porn business in business for a long time. Masculinity or femininity for that matter is culturally defined not theologically defined and frankly God cares what is in your heart not your pants!

  • And that’s a good thing. Your kids are lucky in that. my father never learned that lesson.

  • Wow, you’d think the author sat down during the national anthem or something based on many of the comments he’s received.

  • Christ offended people- and so did the pharasees, the Roman overlords and many other people in the Bible. The author of this piece has clearly offended you. Offending someone is not a mark of being right. Don’t apologize for who you are, don’t shrink from who God called you to be- and please don’t try to make others apologize and shrink because who they are doesn’t fit your expectations.

  • Um, you seem to have forgotten the Bible story where Jesus proved someone wrong by challenging them to an arm wrestling contest, or the one where he had is disciples break him out of prison, or the one were he determined which disciple was best by having them run a foot race. So, obviously Jesus prioritized physical strength and war in some instances. Other than those though your point seems pretty solid.

  • Libby
    Really don’t want to be disrespectful to you, but why are you here? This is a men’s discussion for men about men. My wife would never chime in on a men’s discussion about men, and likewise I would never chime in on a women’s discussion about women. See this is part of what I’m talking about. Let the men debate and discuss… let iron sharpen iron.

  • Hey, if you know the difference between a sexual orientation and a sexual preference, you’ll be happier.

  • But yikes, some boys might be gay!!! Oh dear, what to do? SPORTS!!!! CHOPPING WOOD!!!! Some boys will turn out to be gay. And no amount of sports is going to change that. Deal with it. Nor will it change straight boys who have little to no interest in sports or chopping wood. However it will annoy the boys who really want to play sports with other kids interested in sports, and it will annoy the boys who have other interests like chemistry or chess, and would like to pursue them, and you’ll still have the identical amount of gay or straight boys at the end of high school. Some day maybe these dolts will figure that out.

  • Negative. True masculinity is about self-sacrifice, regardless of physical strength. If you are strong as an ox yet unwilling to sacrifice, you are effeminate. If you are a 90 lb. weakling but will sacrifice your life for God, you are like the perfect man: Jesus.

  • I can’t even describe the terrible logic in this article. It doesn’t even define Biblical manhood, and it ignores the fact that for centuries the church has disproportionately attracted the softer male. The “masculinity movement” only exists to add the missing part of the male population back into the church. And the books he references do not eliminate the “harp-playing David” from the masculine definition. It makes me think that the author hasn’t read them. Let’s not forget that the young David had killed a bear and lion BEFORE God used him to defeat Goliath. Perhaps the author is not familiar with the Bible either. If he’d read WHY MEN HATE GOING TO CHURCH or JESUS MEAN AND WILD, he might recognize that the church has no problem getting the softer males in the pews.

    To the author: Quit whining, grow up, and be a man.

  • There’s only one kind of man who calls others “sissified”. It’s the ones who carry around a tape measure, consumed with paranoia that things down south aren’t up to snuff and might be in retreat even more. The greater the bluster, the lesser the goods! Ha, ha!

  • The Christian “masculinity” movement is what I would call “smash mouth Christianity”. Some Evangelical churches are even turning to MMA style fighting where Christian men can prove their “manliness”. You aren’t a “real man” until you’ve beaten the hell out of another man apparently.

    Of course it’s based on the historical patriarchy of Evangelical Christianity: white males are in charge, women keep silent and stay at home, blacks have few rights, and gay people are locked up. The Evangelical groups behind it constantly pine away for 1950’s America, which is no surprise. Sexist, racist and homophobic is what it is.

  • “Doctrine”? Ha, ha, ha! That tape measure sure does loom awfully large for the insecure. Don’t worry dear, as every woman will tell you, (although some men never seem to believe it, and we find that pretty tiresome) it’s not the size of the boat but the motion of the ocean. You don’t look more “manly” by calling other men “sissified”. You look like an unpleasant, insecure bully. Nothing less attractive or more off-putting than that.

  • Jesus was a builder and a street preacher. David was a king and a soldier. A man after God’s own heart it calls him. Not to mention as a boy he chopped the head off of a giant. Gideon led his 300. Abraham rescued Lot. The only real hero of faith that I can remember not being very “strong” would be Jacob and even he wrestled with God. Muscles are not required but I’m boldness and courage would be a requirement for sure. Gifts of the Holy Spirit. I imagine it would be quite awesome to not focus on masculinity at all and just focus on Jesus whatever that looks like in our flesh.

  • “Maybe today’s Christian men should focus less on “acting like men” and more on acting like Christians.”

    Bullseye! Not really much more needs to be said IMO. How about we ALL concentrate on acting like Jesus 🙂

  • Jeff, if you choose to live according to self-imposed rules that’s fine, but please don’t expect others to adhere to them. Libby (or any other woman) has every right to comment on this very *public* thread 🙂

    I don’t find your comment, “If you want to act like a girl then do so on your own” offensive, but I do think it’s funny. ‘Girls’ do amazing things all the time! And btw, even God “acted like a girl” 😉

  • Another article to tear down traditional manhood in favor metrosexual wimps and sissies. Even straight men now act like flamers. It is what they have been indoctrinated with in school, culture, and the media and because of absent fathers. Cultural Marxism at its best.

  • Very well said and very true. The sissification of the church has been under way for decades. There may be excesses in the above mentioned movement but on balance it is greatly needed, Whatever happened to Promise Keepers? Apparently the sissies and women kicked them out.

  • Little to add to what’s largely already been said here. As one who was always more academically rather than athletically inclined I can empathize fully with the author. A well written and thoughtful piece by and large, though I do worry for millennial males for reasons other than the silly ones cited by the author: i.e. changing the car’s oil, etc. However, parenthetically, mental toughness is a desirable attribute that seems to be in short supply among millennials, at least among the ones I know. Having scanned most of the comments in this thread, the author definitely touched a raw nerve, which only means this topic needs further elucidation

  • Your assertion regarding the authorship of the Gospels is without evidentiary foundation. No need to reply, I can anticipate your arguments, I’ve heard them before, they don’t hold water.

  • We all believe in something and there is always someone else who believes it is “delusional hogwash” as you put it. I could spend hours or even days picking apart other religions (including evolution), but it would solve nothing at the end of the day. You would still be firmly entrenched in your beliefs purely based on your statement. So why would I go down that road?

  • Carlos V F – thankyou so much for your post. A list I’ll be keeping as my husband and I raise our sons to be men of Christ rather than those who worship physical strength as the ultimate identifier of their masculinity.

  • What is a man? What makes a man? What does a man “do”?
    I’d recommend reading “The Way of Men” by Jack Donovan for some insights.

  • And your anticipation, as with the belief that the names on the covers reflect true authorship, may possibly be correct – as in “I can’t disprove it”.

    Most scholars of the Gospels as historical documents do not believe that they were written by the named individuals, nor by people who would have known the Christ (assuming such a person existed). They are probably amalgams of stories, some verbal, some from lost documents, some possibly made up to enhance the wow-factor, which were put together and marketed. Don’t assume that sticking to evidenced facts has always been regarded as a requirement for a successful sales pitch and bear in mind that celebrity endorsement as a marketing tool is not a recent invention.

    Of course, you may know better than the scholars, an indication of your supporting evidence would be good – then I, and those who know more than I, might have to revise our ideas mightn’t we?

    Currently we don’t know who wrote the Gospels, a lot of what they contain is uncheckable but some is demonstrably incorrect/so unlikely as to deserve dismissal as historical fact. When one knows (as in scientific “know” rather than religious “know”) that key elements of an hypothesis are incorrect it requires a stupendous dollop of confirmation bias to assume that the untestable bits are valid.

  • Most scholars of the Gospels as historical documents do indeed believe that they were written by the named individuals, and by people who would have known the Christ, who most definitely exists. Epic fail. Try again, sweetie.

  • Huge # of women have had abortions or reserve the right to have one for them or get one for their daughter, therefore if you disapprove of the practice of abortion you must be judging women. Judgement of women is not allowed.

  • There is a growing pile of evidence that suggests otherwise, despite repeated attempts by the intelligentsia to prove otherwise. You are correct only in that societal behavioral norms vary from culture to culture. For example, insulting somebody by refusing a meal, or offering the wrong hand to shake in a greeting. Certain parenting behaviors certainly fall into that category, and obviously do effect social practices. But masculinity, and femininity are distinctly different. Those difference arise out of how we think, and feel, both of which are rooted in our differing physiology, and then are subtly influenced by culture. Every culture in the world has acknowledged that men and women have different behavioral tendencies, and those tendencies have been remarkably consistent, across time and culture. For some reason ours is obsessed with eradicating gender and trying to do so under the premise that its an entirely social construct, despite the growing body of evidence that shows the opposite. I heard a great interview on NPR of a lesbian who started taking massive (dangerous) amounts of testosterone. She explained that prior to the t. when she saw a beautiful woman who she felt attracted to, in her mind she would starting fantasizing about what she thought her interests might be, if they like the same books, activities, and so on. After the t. her thoughts became very pornographic. The interview asked her if she noticed if anything else had changed. She admitted that for the first time in her life she became interested in math. The interviewer quipped that she had “just set us back 100 years”. The fact is the male and female brains are wired differently and are effected differently by our endocrine system. One obvious indicator is that fact Intelligence is also distributed differently within each gender. The list goes on and on. http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/12/male-and-female-brains-really-are-built-differently/281962/

  • I know all I need to know about that fascist organization. A woman has a right to control her own body; it’s none of your business whether a woman obtains an abortion or not. The thought that government gets to decide equals hatred, just as the institution of slavery confirmed the hatred of African-Americans.

  • It seems to me that the author is projecting a bit. For years it seems that many churches were designed primarily for the feminine. Not all, but many. Men who did typically did not fit our understanding of masculinity were the norm, or at least hid it well. Now church’s all over America have been rethinking where men fit in. Now that traditional masculine virtues and traits are being embraced and accepted, and places where men typically struggle are being addressed hopefully in a real an “authentic” way. In the minds of the men who perhaps are not interested in physical activities, hunting, fishing, and so on, it probably brings to mind years of high school gym class. They then begin projecting their own perceived inadequacies into the equation, even going so far as to criminalize those behaviors as being ungodly, not realizing that nobody is judging them, or looking down on them in anyway, but are just seeking the same thing as the author is: acceptance and dignity.

  • “Qualms or doubts,” are personal matters. It is perfectly reasonable to believe it is appropriate or not for yourself. Expressing an opinion as to what other women should do however is to deny their moral agency. The sense of entitlement to do that constitutes a form of hatred.

  • In some other cultures, notably Latin America and Western Europe, church is by and large a woman’s sphere by default. The Mexican Revolution was particularly anticlerical and priests are forbidden from voting and serving in elective office. When men have become fanatically devoted to religion – things such as The Inquisition, The Thirty Years War, Heaven’s Gate, Scientology, The 700 Club, 900 foot Jesus, etc., it has primarily been in order to use religion as a tool to obtain power and control over others.

  • I think the point is that we’ve got too many sissies. Perhaps after WWII we had too many muscle heads (though I doubt it), but now we have the opposite problem. French often says stupid things, but I believe he’s right here.

    God made us male and female and he doesn’t expect us to all act like women.

  • I guess that would all depend on your beliefs. Which of course we all have a right to our own views.

  • One of the great moral advances of modern times has been the elimination of dueling, in the formal sense, in Western culture. Thus it is not a surprise that keepers of corrupt institutions find it laudatory when it suits their purposes.

  • Can we agree that there is a spectrum of masculinity? It is good to mention the bible. God makes it very clear that he uses men who are more and less masculine. I think people get afraid that you’re attacking masculinity itself because so many SJWs like to do that nowadays.

  • This seems appalling. It seems “let iron sharpen iron” as used here means “let one generation pass its prejudices and bigotries to the next.”

  • It is precisely to protect the young men from people with your oppressive views that we make a point to devote extra time to mentor young men.

  • It’s interesting how advocates of oppression cannot refrain from the use of violent metaphors.

  • “Wild at Heart” is a book-length version of manspaining, which is a male’s explanation for his own bad behavior.

  • Living Liminal
    I suppose in certain ways I do live by self imposed rules, but those rules come from what is taught through scripture and I do not and will not compromise. If a man calls himself a believer, and a follower of Christ then I do expect those men to also subscribe to those same rules of conduct without compromise, and I call others out on their compromises all the time, which is something we are called to do. If I seem a bit upset by the things I see and read here it is because I see a falling away, an eroding, a compromise of those scriptures.
    I never said that Libbey couldn’t comment, I was asking her why she was commenting since she’s not a man and never will be. Women do, do amazing things and I don’t believe I said one time in my comments that they haven’t or that they don’t. I am though speaking to men, men that in this day and age need to step up and act like it, stop shrinking from their God given responsibilities, stop shrinking back from the leadership roles in their families, with their wife and children. I see women too many times having to take a role that God never intended them to take, because men aren’t. In many cases they are shrinking from those roles. Oh and BTW that last comment of yours, God never acted like a girl, He came as a man and acted like a man every moment of everyday He walked the earth. He was raised as a carpenter and built things with His own two hands and helped supply for the family, He addressed issues of His Heavenly Father in and out of the Temple with no apologies for the way the a dressing of those issues were taken by others, He was a true leader with zero compromise, He was tempted by the enemy and showed us how to combat those attacks, at times He was angry at the compromise He saw happening around Him, He was passionate, He showed empathy for others, compassion, and love. I don’t end with love, on the contrary God is love which says to me that all of those things He was, showed love. He showed us how to be men, well rounded yes but He was masculine. Only a Real man could have taken what they gave Him in the end, a woman could not have, they aren’t built for it, He made us men and women, unique and different for a reason. So yes girls, women do some amazing things, actually a lot of things us men cannot do, but no He NEVER acted like a girl!

  • Lol, I never encountered all this concern with masculinity in my Catholic grade school or high school (emphasizing high powered academics). When we were kids we boys were free to go on adventures throughout NYC (in mixed age groups). The skinny, smart kids always came along. Their conversational contributions, often witty, were much appreciated. Some guys did rather daring things but anyone was free to hold back without criticism. All the things I see in writing about bullying and boy behavior seems so exotic to me. And yes, in our neighborhood we knew some who were called and called themselves “flaming fags.” To us they were someone’s brother or cousin and OK. For some reason (probably lack of parental condemnation or even criticism) we knew they were different but different was not a negative and we enjoyed our encounters with them (they were very friendly).

  • Personally, I think we have far to many people who are far too obsessed with the personal details of the lives of other people.

    But then, I’m a liberal.

  • Lol, I’m a big, very strong person even in my 70’s. But I come from a long line of physically strong, very nurturing men and exceptionally strong women often with very successful careers (some of whom were not so good at nurturing), As a kid I could calmly take care of difficult babies and younger kids. This exceptionalism was probably due to growing up in an immigrant neighborhood mostly of Irish and eastern European Jewish people with a few other ethnicities thrown in. We also visited nearby Harlem to play with black friends and they were always welcome on our block.

  • Traditional manhood being torn down by wimps and sissies?

    I guess that all of you traditional men are just not as tough as your press kits claim.

    Masculinity is such a delicate, delicate flower. It needs to proper hothouse to thrive.

  • I forgot to mention that some of us were from professional criminal families (hijacking, burgling in rich neighborhoods, stealing on the docks). The men and boys in those were very masculine but nice. And, what counted to our mothers, they had good manners.

  • I believe that women should have the right to have an abortion, particularly in the 1st trimester, in which the embryo is still in the zygote stage.
    I also believe that women over 18 years old should have access to abortofactent pharmaceuticals, which create a forced menstruation.
    I have ethical reservations against late term abortions, in which the fetus’ nervous system is more developed – unless the mother’s heath is in danger.
    I also believe that contraceptives should be available to all – including teenagers.
    My point is that abortion may be a necessity – but making abortion something to be proud of and to scream it out to the world, to me, is repulsive.

  • I am not against the right for a woman to have an abortion – I’m also not against women who choose NOT to abort for personal/religious reasons.
    I have my own personal disagreement with the contingent of feminists who advocate promoting and cheering about abortions.
    Is abortions a necessity in many cases? Yes.
    Should abortion and abortofactent pharmaceuticals be legal and available? Yes.
    Should contraceptives and sex education be available? Yes

  • The main trouble with this article is that it treats certain attributes as mutually exclusive when they are not. Nothing about encouraging men to be physically strong prevents them from playing a musical instrument. David is such an odd example to pick given that he was a warrior, surpassed Saul in renown (the women of Israel sang “Saul has killed his thousands and David his ten thousands”), and when David wanted to build the temple for the Lord, the Lord told him no precisely because he had been a man of war. If we were to read Scripture closely and more accurately, we would see that there is no contradiction between strength and tenderness and that, yes, men need to be *both*.

  • Yes, me too. I think all of the TrueChristian™ fanatics who are obsessed with brainwashing their children need to keep it to themselves or be chastised for child abuse. They should not be turning innocent children into brainwashed fanatics like themselves before they are old enough to think independently.

  • Traditionally, gay men have had to be much stronger than the likes of you . . . in order to survive in a hostile world overrun with authoritarian bullies like you who self-identify as manly men, get patted on the back every time they attack someone outside of their supporting mob of manly men, and are accustomed to being part of the majority making all the rules that everyone else must live by.

  • Again, the problem is treating certain attributes as mutually exclusive. And for a number of reasons which until recently was commonly understood, men are called upon to use their physical strength more often than women are, which accords with the fact that men are, in fact, typically stronger than women.

  • Did Jonathan and David mess around? No one knows. Some would like to think they did, and others are horrified by the very idea, but the facts of the case will never be known. However, what we do know is that to apply the modern concept of homosexuality to these characters in this ancient story is revisionist to say the least. The men of those times had their own cultural practices and ways of being that definitely included sex with other men for lots of them, though not all.

  • If that’s what he got out of Wild At Heart, he needs to read it again. In fact John Eldredge’s (you might want to at least spell his name correctly), “self-help” book, is more about the healing the wounds of a man’s heart more than anything else. It sounds like Mr. Merritt’s heart was severely wounded.

  • This cri de coeur erects a giant straw man; namely, that strength = masculinity.

    Strength is just one of the many virtues that make up a positive and integrated masculinity.

    Also, it doesn’t matter how small or weak or disinclined an individual man is. He can still take good care of his physical body, and maintain a level of fitness that allows him to carry out his daily activities with a reserve left over for emergencies (large and small).

    Physical strength alone makes a brute, and possibly a bully. Discipline, restraint, discernment, reason, etc. are also virtues, but are pretty useless without the physical strength to carry them out. Even in the presence of injury, illness, or age, one can display strength: witness the legless Marine who recently “stood” for the National Anthem by lifting himself to an erect position and balancing on the arms of his wheelchair. He has no legs, but he stood.

    The author quoted (tendentiously) C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters; l will also quote Lewis, and closer to the mark:

    You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more ‘drive’, or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or ‘creativity’. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.” – The Abolition of Man, p. 37

  • The trans-hemisphere connections of the brain say differently.
    The endocrine system says differently.
    The mechanisms for release and uptake of endorphins say differently.
    The distribution of intelligence across the population says differently.
    The distribution of spatial reasoning across the population says differently.
    The distribution of muscle tissue, particularly in the upper body, says differently.

  • All of those things say that the bodies of men and women are different. It doesn’t say anything about masculine and feminine.

  • You can’t separate them.

    The superficial particulars of what is “masculine” or “feminine” vary from culture to culture. There are certainly very small percentages of individuals who do not even fit the strict biological definition of “male” and “female”.

    That said, for millions of years of evolution and millennia of human history, and across the vast majority of human cultures, men have gravitated to similar roles and activities and women have gravitated to others.

    There are always exceptions, but those exceptions do not disprove the strong general tendency.

    The saddest part of the “social construct” narrative about masculine and feminine is that it sets everyone up for failure and disappointment, and probably does very little to make those who don’t “fit in” (like the author of the article, apparently) feel better about themselves.

    You have a point about homophobia, but I’d like to think we can separate the negative contribution of homophobia to the definition of masculinity in this culture from the idea that there is a basic, biologically-determined set of behaviors that define “masculine” and “feminine”. (I’ve no interest in defending the former. It’s the latter I think has merit.)

    Re: …the straightest gay man they know. That’s a perfect description of my boss. He is traditionally masculine in every way I can think of, but he is attracted to/partnered with a man.

  • It’s interesting how those who trade in unsupported ad hominem assertions cannot refrain from objecting to vigorous, physical metaphors.

  • Somehow, knowing the rationalizations others employ for their behavior doesn’t make happier.

  • “Misogyny” is the new “racism”; i.e., “I don’t like what you’re saying, so shut up.”

  • Funny thing; all those crazy things my grandfather used to say (that made me shake my head when I was too young, too “cool”, and too “forward-thinking” to listen) has turned out to be truer (i.e., more accurate to observed reality and practically useful to me) than all the so-called wisdom imparted to me by secular educators and enlightened religious thinkers.

  • It’s all subjective rationalization – but if it makes this guy feel better about his sexual orientation or preferences, then fine.
    In the end, it’s his life and I don’t care enough to get drawn into arguments over these thing – which really should be his personal business.

  • I know you’d love for the advocates of a traditional masculinity to shut up, but I don’t think that will happen.

    Shutting up would just prove you right, and we can’t have that.

  • “Masculinity is frequently defined in terms of what it is not– feminine. In other words, it is simply misogyny. ”

    Everything, EVERYTHING is defined by its opposite.

    Thus femininity is defined as “not masculine”.

    Thus, according to your logic, femininity is misandry.

    That seems like absurdity and hyperbole.

  • That was certainly not my point, or the point of the article. But If that’s what you “know”, then remind me not to ask you any questions.

  • Certainly not what I am saying, nor what I believe.
    The worst insult you can throw at some men is that they are feminine.
    I would suggest you read a book called “Which way out of the men’s room”, about misogyny and its link to homophobia, from a gay man’s perspective. quite interesting.

  • Attempted shaming/insulting over a question of identity ( “Masculinity is such a delicate, delicate flower. It needs to proper hothouse to thrive.“) is a common rhetorical device for silencing. It’s perfectly reasonable to assume that shutting him up was your purpose.

    You aren’t the first person to play the “masculinity: toxic and to be feared, or fragile and to be mocked?” game.

  • Again, not my point, not what I am saying, not what I believe. But believe whatever you need to. But before you do, be sure to read the comment I was responding to.

    Im not the one saying that metrosexual a and wimps are tearing down masculinity. He is. I don’t believe the statement. He does.

  • I read the comment, and I read your response.

    If you were not mocking him for complaining about it/believing it, that was not clear.

    (And, if you haven’t figured it out, I’m paying you a backhanded compliment on your use of rhetoric. “If that’s what you know, remind me not to ask you any questions.” Touche’.)

  • Ok, so now we know what isn’t masculinity, but what is? I like John Piper’s answer of what it means to be a man and not a woman explained in his talk entitled, “Some Sweet Blessings of Masculine Christianity.” Basically, masculinity entails “over-arching male leadership and an ethos of tender-hearted strength and
    contrite courage and risk-taking decisiveness and readiness to
    sacrifice to protect and provide for the community.”

  • And the worst insult you can throw at some women is that they are masculine.

    If masculinity is misogyny I fail to see how femininity isn’t misandry.

  • Nice drive by statements and simplistic name calling guys. Where’s your picture, your real name, full name. Most of you like to hide behind being anonymous. I guess it makes you brave to take your shots. I think at this point I have more respect for Libby than for any of you.

  • That’s not strength. That’s overcompensating bullshit for little boys who think that just because they have a penis, they should own and control everything.

  • Jeff, I was sticking up for you. Daniel A was trying to use the “misogyny” card to dismiss and disqualify you (#2 on the Internet Arguing Checklist).

    That said, it would not be possible for me to care less about what you think of me keeping my online activity private, or how much you respect me.

  • No Johnny, Givethedogabone is right. The earliest gospel, Mark, was written 40 years after Jesus died. None were written by the named saint. It was common practice 2 thousand years ago to append a name that would be more authoritative.

    The names of the writers aren’t critical to the strength or authenticity of one’s faith.

  • Carl, I believe the majority of “feminists” who are advocating not hiding one’s abortion have legislation in mind. One of the bogus arguments by anti choicers is that abortions cause terrible emotional problems for women so the antis are “protecting” those silly women who aren’t smart enough to take care of themselves. (So incredibly patronizing and demeaning.) So the women want to show that women who’ve had abortions are just fine and the anti choicers are wrong.

  • These kind of comments are hurtful. You are allowed to have differing opinions but articulated in this way communicates a basic lack of compassion and intelligence which is far more indicative of you than anything else. Please consider how you would feel should someone say these words to someone you care about.

  • “driven men into the background instead of the forefront which is where they are supposed to be.”

    Basing your argument on that central error zeroes out all the rest of it. You claim that men leaving the church is women’s fault? Please.

  • Jeff: Ohferpete’ssake. It’s hard to even know where to start. God as a pregnant woman, mother hen, widow, etc. The Hebrew word for “god” comes from the word for “womb.”

    Check out the boatload of metaphors for god in Isaiah and Proverbs and in Jesus’ parables and, well, all over the bible. Feminine imagery abounds.

  • The original word that has been mistakenly translated to “effeminate, homosexual” actually means “soft cloth.” We might think of terrycloth.

  • “many churches were designed primarily for the feminine”

    Flexpar, will you say more about this? I’ve been to a large variety of churches and I think I’ve only experienced that once or twice. What do you mean?

  • Hey Jeff, I really appreciate you taking the time to respond. What I understand from your comment is that you want to encourage males to grow up and learn to be adults, not live in perpetual childhood. You certainly won’t get any argument from me on that score. We each need to learn to take responsibility and contribute to the family/community in which we live 🙂

    The trouble comes when well-meaning people take it too far and insist that males must be “manly” men. Males, just like females, are born with a wide variety of personalities. For instance, my first son is dramatic, emotionally sensitive, and adores babies (always has). My second likes dangerous sports, loves to pull things apart to see how they work and had to be taught to recognise emotions. Both are ‘real men’ who have been raised to be responsible members of society, and yet their temperaments and gifts couldn’t be more unlike.

    There are some who would label my first son ‘girly’, because he’s not a macho stereotype. In fact, some might even say he “act’s like a girl”, but as he’s every bit the man God created him to be, it would be their problem, not his.

    With regard to my comment about God acting like a girl, I was referring to all the attributes mentioned in the bible likening God to a woman. Mother hen, nursing mother etc. (Humans were created in his image, and it takes male AND female to start to reflect that image.) Even Jesus did things that some men would consider ‘girly’, like crying and having emotions. So, in my book, God did (and still does) “act like a girl”.

  • I completely understand what your saying now. It is unfortunate that someone would label someone girly just because of the attributes of your first son, that is not right in any way. I also have 3 sons and they are also very different. I think I might have come on a bit strong here. I am seeing too many times these days a shrinking back of men and then women filling those roles that God clearly set up men to lead in. I do not blame those women for taking up that mantle, I actually blame the men for not acting as they should. I have a hard time with people saying men shouldn’t masculine, they should be, but they should also show the other characteristics of Christ. I appreciate your explanation. Now I will say the title of your book is not the words I would chose, but I think I understand what your getting at.

  • Not at all J. It’s apparently important for you to dismiss this. Tell me, how fluent are you in Koininia Greek? Have you studied it? Extensively? At all? I have, and was very lucky to study with top scholars like Rev. Drs. James Lindberg, Marc Kolden and others.

    Snide remarks like “out of context novelties” are prime examples of something truly “out of context.”

  • I have not disagreed with any advocacy of safe and legal abortion. I believe things like personal testimonies are helpful. I;m not sure what “promotion” of abortion occurs – no doubt there are occasions in which some may say to a woman considering abortion that they should get one, but I don’t find that inappropriate. I doubt “cheering” occurs.

  • Yes, me too. I think all of the Secularist fanatics who are obsessed with brainwashing their children need to keep it to themselves or be chastised for child abuse. They should not be turning innocent children into brainwashed fanatics like themselves before they are old enough to think independently.

  • I would disagree, Mark has been arguably dated to the 50’s. Further, you cannot definitively declare that the texts were not composed by the named sources. I think the disagreement here is probably based on the fact that you and Givethedogabone are appealing to a different set of scholars than the ones that Johnny Mydnyte and I would cite. Which leads us to another entirely different tangle. How does one quantify and qualify the expertise of so-called experts. A Ph. D. is apparently not enough, for I have been ridiculed on this site for citing Ph. D’s. who did not meet the philosophical standards of my erstwhile opponents. If we cannot trust the authors of the Gospels to be who they claim, why should we trust anything about the Gospels? For my part, I find evidence in the transformed lives of people down through the ages who have wholeheartedly taken their Authors at their word, and have had their lives blessed and healed by it.

  • I probably was not the guy in 5th grade who called you gay. But I was probably one of his friends. I like the writer learned, and am relearning some of the same lessons. CS Lewis I think would have said if pressed, the things that we consider to make up spirituality tend to begin where things like muscle mass end. Things that we consider masculin, those things that we pay our attention to, are not a good indication of the “who” a person is but rather a ” what” the person is. We are all a combination of both. If Christ is the model dont we learn more from Him by looking to see who He payed his attention to rather than what He payed his attention to.
    Hopefully the biggest bad A on the playground didn’t get carried off and crucified while all his bad A friend but one looked on. Hopefully there is something about Christ that inspires his followers that goes deeper than what they are and touches who they are. The lessons we have not learned can define what we we are, like the disciples. The lessons that we learn can define who we are, like the disciples.

  • The answer being offered by those sources might be wrong, but that does not mean that there is not a problem. There is a very real problem with men in this country. Look at the rise of the man-boy, the unmarried man in his 30s playing video games and living for his own pleasure. Look at the crisis of absentee fathers. Look at man-caves replacing shops and garages (the problem not being so much that men fix cars and build shelves, but replacing productive hobbies with passive hobbies). It is often characterized as a crisis of masculinity, but it could also be seen as a crisis of maturity, of boys never becoming men.

    So there is a need to do something. Maybe their answers are wrong, but that does not mean that there is not a need for answers.

  • John Eldridge said, in one of his books, something to the effect of, “This isn’t to say that you have to climb mountains or hunt elk to be a man.” John was more concerned with manly qualities like the willingness to take risks or being responsible for yourself and the people around you.

    Another good exploration of these ideas can be found in “No More Christian Nice Guy” by Paul Coghlin (recently reissued).

  • lol

    The default insinuation is that I’m not a Christian? I may be Episcopalian, but the last I checked, that still fits under “Christian.” I grew up evangelical, so I know my Scripture. And Scripture may be full of male machismo, but it’s just as full of male tenderness and vulnerability. They are not exclusive. Lifting weights and changing your own oil won’t change that.

  • “I like John Piper’s answer of what it means to be a man and not a woman”

    We could go back to Paul:

    Galatians 3:28

    There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

    And recognize that we are obsessing about distinctions that are irrelevant to God.

  • “This cri de coeur erects a giant straw man; namely, that strength = masculinity.”

    Actually, the author is not erecting a giant straw man, he is commenting on a very real trend in American society.

  • “in my Catholic grade school or high school”

    Of course, according to your other post, that would have been 50+ years ago, and society has changed in that time.

  • Like Josh Duggar, who molested several of his own sisters, and their friends, when they were prepubescent children?

    Or Pastor Keith Adkins? http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/pastor-caused-outrage-orlando-arrested-molestation-article-1.2767578
    How about Dennis Hastert, or Dave Reynolds:http://www.arkansasmatters.com/news/local-news/former-sherwood-pastor-arrested-in-child-porn-case

    And why limit your obsession to sexual abuse of children, and why only care about Christian children? There’s lot of sexual sin among conservatives:

    Like Jimmy Swaggart, Laura Schlessinger, Newt Gingrich, David Vitter, Rush Limbaugh, or Henry Hyde?

  • Malakoi. In Paul’s culture, as a euphemism for ‘effeminate’, it included such things as avoiding military service, as Donald Trump did repeatedly. It included failing in business, as both Trump and G.W. Bush did. It included trying to hard to be attractive to women. And yes, it included being physically soft, lazy.

    So, in our society of remote controls to save us walking three steps to the tv, anyone who has one would be malakoi. Do you have a remote control for your tv, stereo system? Please provide proof that you do not.

    And our cars, trains, airplanes; to a man like Paul, who walked a significant chunk of the Italy and Palestine, into parts of Africa, everyone of us with a car would be malakoi. How much time do you spend searching for the closest parking space, to save yourself from walking?

    And here we all are, relying on technology to communicate across distances, rather than getting up, walking, and talking to people in person.

  • Actually, the translation is fraudulent in that it presumes that Paul’s cultural definition of effeminate is the same as our culture’s.

    By Paul’s standard, you’d be malakoi, so would Rush Limbaugh, G.W.Bush, Donald Trump, Rick Warren, Ronald Reagan (also an adulterer), and many, many other conservative “role models” and “heroes”.

    Remember, Jesus said you’ll be judged by the standard you use to judge others, better be sure that there is no area of your life in which you would not be ‘malakoi’ from Paul’s perspective, before you wield that term against anyone.

  • Edward, the earliest I’ve ever heard for Mark is 70 CE. While there is not iron clad evidence, such as a statement by the disciple Mark saying, “I did not write this,” the likelihood that he did is very small. It was such common practice for writers to add respected names to their work for increased gravitas that it would be quite unusual for that to not happen here.

    “If we cannot trust the authors of the Gospels to be who they claim, why should we trust anything about the Gospels?”

    If you believe the gospels were divinely inspired, the name of the individual who put quill to parchment or animal skin is irrelevant. If scripture is holy, it’s not the writer who made it so.

  • False.
    Galatians 3:23-29
    23 Before the coming of this faith,[j] we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

    26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

  • About context: Proverbs 20 includes:

    3 It is to one’s honor to avoid strife,
    but every fool is quick to quarrel.

    10 Differing weights and differing measures—
    the Lord detests them both.

    27 The human spirit is[a] the lamp of the Lord
    that sheds light on one’s inmost being.

    29 The glory of young men is their strength,
    gray hair the splendor of the old.

    30 Blows and wounds scrub away evil,
    and beatings purge the inmost being.

    I Cor 16:13,14
    13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.

    And I Cor 16: 1,2

    Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2 On the first day of every week,
    each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your
    income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be
    made.

    Do post evidence of your weekly tithe, and its relationship to your income.

  • So… David playing the harp (historically considered to be a instrument only for women): sinful or not?

  • See also Bears (no, not the animals or the football team) and pressure in many gay male circles to have a chiseled physique.

  • This goes to the common stereotyping of gay people. That all gay men are “sissies”, and all lesbians act “manly” and dress like lumberjacks. It’s ridiculous of course, and has no basis in reality. And there are pressures in many communities to dress or look a certain way. Look at the pressure on women, for example.

  • “The “argument” was settled at Sodom and Gomorrah. The rest is just detail. IF you read Sacred Scripture you would know that.”

    According to God, the sin of Sodom had nothing to do with homosexuals, but you are committing it.

  • Don’t forget dancing in his ephod. 2 Samuel 6:

    14 Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.

    20 When
    David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul
    came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished
    himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”

  • If men really are less physically strong today than in the past, it most likely has to do with the changing face of industry in our country. Almost all manufacturing has gone overseas. Men have had to find work in areas that are currently available, and possibly these are less ‘physical’ types of work. I think it’s a huge mistake to draw any kind of spiritual analogy out of that. Inner strength is of much more value than physical strength. These manhood programs are a blight on the church, full of cliches and stereotypes and bad advice. How about: love the Lord your God with all your heart and strength and your neighbor as yourself? Good advice for men and women. There’s no need to complicate it.

  • “Meanwhile sodomites everywhere are confirmed in their sins by this
    specious violence to the Deposit of Faith and Sacred Scripture.”

    You know, for all the words you used, that doesn’t make a lick of sense.

    ” By manifestly remaining in your seared conscience you have the distinction of incurring a worse punishment that they.”

    Your slander of me is sin, and as a slanderer, you are self-barred from the Kingdom of Heaven, unless you repent.

    “Ezekiel doesn’t mince words.”

    Well, the passage I was referring to is actually God speaking, and in it, God explains what the sin of Sodom was, and does not mention homosexuality.

  • “Slander? No, that requires the use of the voice.”

    Nope.

    ” Still, speaking Truth is not libel.”

    You are not speaking the truth, or the Truth, so your point is irrelevant.

    ” You are in serious error and are believing in the lies of Satan.”

    Oh dear. You see, it was the Holy Spirit, Christ, and God, who told me, on separate occasions, that homosexual sex is not sin. So in your sentence above, you have committed the one unforgivable sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

    “Now’s an excellent opportunity to seek the objective Truth and reject
    the lies that are killing you and others who listen and follow them.”

    The lie that is killing GLBTQ people is the one you and your peers tell: “Homosexual sex is sin”.

    You are a false teacher, a slanderer, but really, since you’ve committed the one unforgivable sin, blaspheming the Holy Spirit, there’s not much you can say or do now.

  • “Just open your eyes to the Truth!”

    Nice conceited assumption, on your part, that I am blind to the truth. Your citation does you no good at all, but it does show that you reject Christ in favor of fallible humans.

  • Spoken like a true 60’s feminist–Betty Friedan couldn’t have stated it better! Ben, you’re dating yourself. That view has been superceded a few times since then. Have you carried a male baby in your womb? My female friends who’ve birthed children of both sexes tell me that boys are more active, and move around a lot. That testosteron thing gets pretty well engrained in the womb,

  • I didn’t say that men and women aren’t different. In many ways they are, but I think they are far more similar than different. Just like I think gay and straight are far more similar than different.

    What I said was in my first sentence.

  • Men who seek models of masculinity in Greek mythology need to be careful. Achilles may have been one of the greatest warriors of the Trojan War, but his dearest companion and friend was Patroclus. They may or may not have been lovers (although this being ancient Greece, it seems reasonable that they were). When Hector killed Patroclus, Achilles slaughtered so many Trojan warriors in revenge that the river Scamander was full of their bodies.

    And then there was the Sacred Band of Thebes, 150 pairs of male lovers who formed an elite fighting force that won every battle they fought, until they were defeated by Phillip of Macedon’s forces. Having a sexual bond with another man certainly didn’t mean “girly man” in ancient Greece, any more than it necessarily does today.

  • I absolutely agree with your last two sentences. I am familiar with the practice you describe of people assigning another’s name to their own pennings for the purpose you state. On the other hand, if Mark is as late as the 70’s, a point on which we do not find concord, that hardly would have been enough time for the actual disciple Mark to have attained the eminence you describe, particularly as his eminence is a function of his Gospel, rather than the early reputation he might have gained as an evangelist in the somewhat circumscribed world of early Christianity.

  • Josh Duggar didn’t learn that evil at church with his family. He learned that evil from becoming infatuated with the Secularist lifestyle and living it. He corrupted himself on Secularist pornography websites and Secularist dating/”hook up” websites. The same goes for those pastors. They’re not perverted by what they’re taught at church. They’re perverted by the constant message of perversion broadcasted at us by immoral, Secularist corporations.

    I’m not sure what you think the sins of Christians are proof of. Are you under the impression that my belief system involves all Christians being without sin? You should learn about what Christians actually believe before you badmouth them.

    God bless you.

  • “Josh Duggar didn’t learn that evil at church with his family. He learned
    that evil from becoming infatuated with the Secularist lifestyle and
    living it.”

    Nice fantasy.

    “I’m not sure what you think the sins of Christians are proof of.”

    Why do you create straw man arguments, instead of addressing what I have so explicitly stated? Do you want people to conclude that your dishonest, ‘perverted’?

    “God bless you.”

    Taking God’s name in vain is sin.

  • Why do you say, “that hardly would have been enough time for the actual disciple Mark to have attained the eminence you describe.”? My thinking is that Jesus’ behavior throughout the process of his death was so remarkable that it would have sped through the grapevine at light speed. I imagine the 11 (not Judas) would have quickly attained rock start status.

  • I’m a woman, and I’m sick of hearing “effeminate” used as a put-down to mean weak, ineffectual, or in any way of lesser value. Men are great. Women are great. Take your stupid imaginary competition somewhere else.

  • Yet it would not seem so according to the events and chronology described in the book of Acts, which is our best source for what happened with the Christian movement in the immediate aftermath of Christ’s Death, Resurrection, and Ascension. My sources indicate that Acts was written about 61 A.D. by the physician Luke, approximately 30 years after Jesus departed from the earth. In today’s terms, about 1986, not really so very long ago. But travel and communication were much slower in that age, the Roman Empire was vast, and Palestine/Israel was a relative backwater in the grand scheme of Roman political concerns. And Mark had issues of his own, as evidenced by the conflict which resulted between Paul and Barnabas (Mark’s cousin) when Mark gave up on the 1st missionary journey because at the time he was not tough enough or dedicated enough to endure the travails they endured. Happily he an Paul were eventually reconciled, but the larger point regarding the disciples’ reputations in the near Eastern world would encompass the mere back pages of the news of the day, except in those instances where miracles were recorded which helped to advance the Gospel, and even these would only resound locally. So it is not surprising that it took a few decades for the word to get around, and yet it was Paul, not the eleven that had the greatest impact on the Mediterranean region. But I still see no reason to suppose that the authors of the Gospels were not whom they declared themselves to be.

  • I think the Hebrew text indicates that he was completely naked. I should note as well that his response to his wife’s comment was that he was then going to take those slave girls to bed. See commentary in Tim Callahan, The Secret Origins of the Bible.

  • I feel sorry for you. You are very misguided. I was brought up as a Catholic, and never once was manliness or womanliness ever part of the indoctrination. Jesus spared the prostitute and the adulteress and even took a tax collector as an apostle. Who are you to condemn when he did not?

  • Texts that stress masculinity are covertly trying to preserve the patriarchal nature of the Christian religion in the face of ever more vocal demands of feminists (both men and women) for equality of women in the leadership of religion. For more than a hundred and forty years now, there has been a slippage in the male dominated control of the levers of religion. Ever since the ex cathedra proclamation of the Immaculate Conception to the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary and her role as Queen of Heaven, to the freeing of nuns from the habit to the ordination of women as priests in several Christian sects to the defiance of Rome by the American nuns, the role of women in Christian practice has been evolving. This has not been met with unanimous approbation by males. The assertion, for instance, of the role of a man as protector carries with it an implicit assumption that the female is weak, needs protection, and cannot handle the role assigned to males. The question remains open as to whether women will attain equality in Christianity or whether the patriarchal system will beat back the assault on the citadel.

  • It’s over five years old but “Play The Man” by Kevin Deyoung of The Gospel Coalition serves as a well written, nuanced rebuttle to Chandler’s argument.

  • Hi Croquet,
    Linguistically I find “effeminate” to be comparable to the word “obese”. For some, the word obese is very triggering and, to an extent, that’s understandable. However, obese isn’t inherently pejorative, it’s a legitimate medical term. Similarly, I’m not sure the word effeminate is inherently pejorative.

    P.S. I’m not sure what competition you’re referencing. Maybe we could play a friendly game of croquet? Loser buys Dairy Queen?

  • thanks Kangaroo52 – me, sweetie? WTF. (and he’s wrong about what constitutes “scholars” as well!).

  • “Most” does not = “those who say what I want to hear”

    “Scholars” does not = “people who know what the answer has to be before the question is asked”

    “Definitely exists” does not = “exists only as a few stray electrical impulses in my head and is mentioned in some very dubious, contrary and sometimes downright wrong stories”

    “fail” does not = “I’m unable to produce any evidence or make a rational argument so I’ll say something silly”

    “sweetie” – in your dreams Johnny, only in your dreams.

  • But the willingness to misattribute for marketing purposes demonstrates the lack of integrity current in that society.

    Given that the name on the can is false a reasonable person should question both the validity of the list of ingredients and the quality of the contents, shouldn’t they?

  • No, actually telling a woman she has masculine traits is the greatest compliment you can pay her–“You throw like a guy!” “You board like a dude!” Etc. Being compared to a man is a step up for women (“tomboy”), being compared to a woman is a step down for men (“sissy”).

  • Nevertheless, the women are physically very strong. To define a man with strength seems, in your view, to deny that strength is an attribute of women. But women are strong, and often have greater physical endurance than men.

  • Any person, male or female, who lives a primitive herding/farming lifestyle is tough and strong.
    Of course, a woman who lives a primitive lifestyle will be in better shape and have more endurance than a male who isn’t used to physical work.
    But if both males and females live the same primitive lifestyle, the males will be stronger.
    Women have close to 75-80% of a male’s strength in the lower body, but only 40-50% strength in the upper body compared to a male.
    Males have more motor units in their muscles than females – in essence, they have higher horse-power in their muscles.
    Where women excel is in graceful, balanced, fine precise movements – which is why females are better than males at such physical activities as ballet, competitive gymnastics, competitive diving. etc.
    Women also have higher pain tolerances than untrained males, because their nervous system is designed to bear the pain of giving birth.
    Don’t worry – both male and female humans suck compared to our nearest primate relative, the chimpanzee, which could rip off the average human’s arms and beat them to death with it.

  • If you believe the gospels were divinely inspired, the name of the individual who put quill to parchment or animal skin is irrelevant. If scripture is holy, it’s not the writer who made it so.

  • true masculinity: act like a man; act responsibly; act according to the word of Scripture

    muscles fade, but the word of the Lord is forever

  • “If you believe…..” I don’t – because I’ve looked and, as far as I can tell, there’s no good reason to do so – no evidence to support the idea and no need for one either.

    Some do of course, that’s their lookout and provided they don’t try to abuse vulnerable people I just feel sorry that they have such a restrictive view of life. It’s when they start to bully and threaten the elderly, the simple, the trusting and the young I get cross. And that goes for all text based religions, the Muslim, the Mormon, the Hindu etc. as well as the Christian, all employing pseudo-divine texts to shelter abusive and immoral behaviour by nasty people against other people.

    That’s all for a few days!

  • For fifteen years as a medical professional I worked the 3pm to midnight shift at the hospital while also being busy with raising my two sons. With much of my time being consumed with work and child rearing I longed to find a mens group In order to bond and pray with other christian men. Throughout that time I never found anything other than 5:30/6:30 AM mens prayer meeting on tuesday or wednesday…for years! I usually went to bed around 2:30/3:00 AM after work and 5:30 AM just wasn’t viable. However, I did notice that womens groups involved 11AM prayer group, 12:00 noon Womens Luncheon, 9 AM womens coffee chat and breakfast, 10:00 AM womens/toddlers trip to the zoo, etc, etc. I kept searching but never found anything different for the men over that fifteen year period! Do most christian men just pray before dawn, work til dusk, get home and take care of a house and on weekends fix things around the house and then barbeque for the entire family? I guessed that’s what they must have been doing as evidenced by the paucity of activities offered for men. The twice yearly offering of mens weekend hunting or fishing trips didn’t interest me as I do not do either. Why do todays churches have such minimal opportunities for men to just gather with other men in worship and prayer while offering a myriad of groups and events for the female members of the church? I don’t know..tell me if you can?

  • Seriously, don’t you find it ironic and/or illogical, at all, that men are told over and over and over to embrace diversity, that everyone is different, play nice. Then, they are told to conform and become something they are not, deny who they are or else they are ignorant, unenlightened, bigoted, hate-filled, cave people.

  • “men are told over and over and over to embrace diversity, that everyone is different, play nice.” Everyone is told that, not just males. You think that’s a bad thing?

    “they are told to conform and become something they are not”
    Wait. You are saying all men are unable to “play nice?” Seriously? That sounds like You are saying males are “ignorant, unenlightened, bigoted, hate-filled, cave people.”

    BTW, it sounds to me like you are writing in words that overgeneralize, exaggerate, and are intended to appeal to extremes that are actually very uncommon.

    I am a feminist and spend most, but not all of my time with people of similar bent. None of us have ever, Ever referred to men as “ignorant, unenlightened, bigoted, hate-filled, cave people.” Ever. That’s not what we think, though there are a few highly publicized exceptions that make attention getting sound bites.

  • No problem. You don’t sound at all like John Gardner. Look at the language he used. That’s a misogynist.

  • That’s all so early 2000s. Isn’t that over with now? Mark Driscoll and his hyper macho gospel is so passe.

  • To say that all Christian men must be namby pamby, shrinking violet wimps certainly shows a lack of understanding of basic Christian history. From the Apostles (many martyred in nasty ways, world travelers to pagan lands) to Pope John Paul II (Nazi-fighter, communist-toppler, skier, hiker, academic), strong men are the epitome of Christian virtue and action in the world. It is only the country-club atmosphere of most US suburban churches where men have to have “activities” tailored to them, club-like gatherings, and other pre-arranged nonsense. This makes them consumers of religion, instead of doers of religion.

    Mainly, US men (including Christian men?) are feminized because they seek comfortable, unchallenging men’s group outings, comfy prayer breakfasts, and stadium-packing pseudo-religious services. These are only different from the larger society in the content (easy-going religious chatter and pep rally-like atmosphere), but in practice are not dissimilar to NFL games, business seminars, or other mass consumption inoculations against real work.

    Real men simply strap on the boots and go hunting. Real men who want to learn a skill, apprentice. Real men stop whining about stuff and simply do.

    The real problem with the “Christian man” is that he has no great struggle anymore. He has no mission which requires great sacrifice. He has no aspect of his Faith which will actually challenge his body, his mind, and possibly his beliefs. Of course, there are great needs in our society and beyond. But the suburban Christian male has chosen instead to hit the Saturday all-you-can-eat prayer breakfast and call that devotion.
    Real problems exist in the US: young men without Fathers in the home, drug use, run-down schools, and an obesity epidemic. Outside our borders, sex trafficking, true poverty, disease, and extremism are lapping at our shores from Latin America, the Middle East, and parts of Asia. In the past, strong Christian men, laced their boots, went abroad, healed wounds, and bound up the broken. This is hardly the zone for namby pamby, skinny jeans wearers. Sure, one can criticize the sins and excesses of past Christian men on Anglo-Saxon salvation missions, but you cannot criticize their courage and boldness.

    US Christian men should stop navel-gazing and look around. The best therapy for anyone is to work for the betterment of another – to get out of oneself. And this is a core tenet of this Faith.

  • Will be waiting for Jonathan Merritt’s next article, “How the Christian “femininity” movement is ruining women.” This is such a sad and biased article. Men’s ministries promote honoring women, helping men avoid pornography, teaching men to be honorable husbands and dads. In addition, most church men’s groups help men battle alcohol and drug addiction. The ideal of Christian masculinity is …. Jesus Christ. Groups that promote Jesus have nothing to worry about.

  • Our churches are made up of 70% women. We need more, not less, calls to a Jesus masculinity movement. We need to call men out to go into the mission field, lead others to Christ, serve their wife and children (if married.) Men need other men for friendship and accountability. We don’t need generalizations and stereotypes. Men need to live like Jesus Christ. That will be attractive.

  • So?

    The still had a very tender relationship, to such an extent that it bothered Jonathon’s father.

  • Men need other men to disciple them, father them, to wound them with truth and gentleness. They need to be heard by other men who can guide them through repentance and healing with loving questioning and sincere care. Men need to actively interact with other men through rituals and processes where they can visually and physically interact and go through trials in the safety of a group of other men. Men are meant to die to themselves by protecting their spouses and children. Being the one to blame. Yet they need to have other men to remind them that Jesus is the answer, and bears our burdens and shame. Shame is our enemy. The language of shame must be rejected and our true identity in Christ embraced. Wallowing in shame is a trap that makes us useless. Claiming who we are as men in Christ and believing it is the challenge for me. Taking responsibility for our wrongs, and having integrity are manly. Spending time with the weak. Listening to the needy. Many men in our culture have been taught to toughen there hearts and not cry. This is wrong. Being alive in our hearts and feeling our feelings and letting them show is being secure in who you are. When your heart is secure in being loved by Jesus and others you begin to look men in the eyes. You hold your head up. I am sad about the state of men in our culture. Acts of courage/faith towards intimacy with a safe man who we can trust to hear us leads to more courage. I need to hear another man say they get it and I’m not alone. I need to hear him tell me who he sees in me. I need to be held and to shutter at my core as I grieve. This is freedom to me and I can experience it in the Lords presence alone as well. Intimacy is difficult for me, but the answer to the emptiness and loneliness. I believe men are made men by other men through discipleship which should transform the man. I also need other men to confess their sins to me so I know they struggle too. The worst thing that can happen to a man/boy is that is protected from hardship and suffering. These are they trials that mold us. Wealth softens us. We need to face loneliness, fear, sadness at their depth. And a sort of rebirth of character occurs. But we cant do it alone. I think we would be stagnant. I will claim all this truth as truth for me. Thanks

  • I believe the Holy Spirit uses men to help each other overcome bad interpretations of ourselves from wounds we’ve received and to adopt new sanctified truth about ourselves. Such as that I am forgiven. It is often hard to connect our hearts and heads and experience this. But within a safe group of men, we can.

  • The problem is that there’s a lot of talk about how men should act and how women should act, but precious little about how Christians should act. Now, what did Christ talk about? I’ll take seriously these men-should-do-this-women-should-do (or most likely, do not)-that when I see Christ teach on this.

  • You don’t realize it, but your comments do show a disdain for femininity. BTW, the Bible uses a lot of female imagery for God. Google it.

  • I totally agree, but with the word “effeminate,” are you throwing a little shade at femininity? Many men do unconsciously.

  • But most don’t promote Christ. They promote dominating women and treating them like children (a man of quality wants a woman of equality, you know), and base their view of “true” masculinity on an extreme stereotype of masculinity, one that most men don’t fit. They deny men the right to be individuals and deny women basically everything. Most of these events ask men to divulge their deepest secrets. It’s interesting how church leadership wants to know a man’s deepest, darkest secrets. Sure, nothing manipulative or threatening there, no sir.

  • I wonder if any of those men that pushed the hyper-masculinity back then have reconciled to their sexuality yet.

  • The most sissified men I’ve ever known are those who think they need to strut their masculinity about, especially in the church.

  • I can’t take Piper seriously, and especially not when it comes to male/female relations. This is the same man who counselled women to “endure abuse for a season”, and tolerate getting “smacked for a night” by their husbands.

  • Nonsense. Stop spewing your opinion as if it’s fact. I’ve only been in the seminary 6 years. I think I’m a bit more familiar with contemporary scripture scholarship than you, if you’ll forgive me saying so. Long haired beatniks who pine for the 70s don’t count as credible scripture scholars.

  • A seminary may not be the best place to learn about evidence-based scholarship.

    To be fair to the seminary, your remembrance of what they tried to teach you may be imperfect.

    Ad hominins demonstrate your lack of confidence in your opinions. Look up “no true Scotsman”.

  • You haven’t exactly been citing sources for your personal opinions now have you? No, indeed you have not. I have a perfect memory, certainly better than, say, Hillary Clinton.

  • Deflection is a further indication that you have little confidence in your argument isn’t it. How do you imagine HRC is relevant to this thread?

    In case you really don’t know and are not just acting dumb – no-one has a perfect memory.

    Memory is a short cut, a story we tell ourselves – the brain is not capable of doing better because evolution has left us with a brain that works well enough at a price we can afford.

    What we call memory is not a videotape-like recall system – it’s a process by which we store a series of occasional bullet points. When we recall something we remember a few bullet points and then weave a story which links them together in a way which minimises cognitive dissonance. Memory may be true, but only if the imagined filler between the bullet points happens to coincide with reality – it seldom does but we usually have no way of realising it.

    One of the immense advantages of the scientific method over superstition; science refers back to evidence and discards that which is contrary to the best discernible data, superstition relies upon imagination and chooses that which fits least uncomfortably with preconceived bias and learnt irrationality.

  • Both Epp and his mentioned (and supposedly opposite) French, as well as nearly all other commentators about manliness, either ignore or are ignorant of what is really happening to mankind (including females.) The anti-human and anti-god so-called scientific community is, and has been for at least the past century, poisoning humanity in the vain attempt to direct evolution with hormones, in our food sources and in vaccines. Testosterone has been wrongly accused, convicted, and given the death sentence for being responsible for wars and violence. Ignoring the fact that most violent men are effeminate, and that most violent women are masculine, they have bent every effort toward the emasculation of men and the effemination of women via chemicals. They merchandise homosexuality constantly and enthusiastically while creating it artificially. Effeminate males and emasculate females are not produced culturally or socially, but chemically. In an improbable Nuremberg trial of modern scientists, death by hanging would be the only appropriate sentence.

  • Mr. Epp missed the big phrase too common in today’s church: “Man up!”

    As someone who has never been healthy enough to meet the physical standards of a “real man,” I agree with what’s being said here. A glance at the comments indicates the opposite, but my own experience is that if you’re not a camper, a football lover (I DESPISE sports!!!), or have a “man cave” (barf), then you need to be with the children or somewhere other than men’s ministry.

  • It’s the truth. You think Christian churches were maintaining the websites he was harassing women on or the pornography sites that corrupted him? That was all Secularists.

    I think you’re angry at the Church because it teaches against sin. You should try to look at it without bias to find out what the real truth is.

  • It is ironic and disappointing to observe how deeply Western politics has penetrated the lives of those who hold some semblance of Christian Faith. Ours is not a world of secular politics or Sexual Revolution intrigue, instead a Kingdom in which love is currency, service our mission, and forgiveness our air for breathing. Any gender typecasting Christians feel is cultural, not Christian.

  • Well, according to the Oxford dictionary, effeminacy is when a man has or shows characteristics typical of a woman. Yeah, that is still pretty subjective, huh? This is a difficult but necessary conversation for followers of Christ to have. The Bible teaches that effeminacy is sinful and the church needs to ask serious questions about where the boundaries are.

    P.S. Apologies for taking so long to reply.

  • Rocinante2
    Actually, I hit the wrong reply button. I meant to take another shot at Daniel. I apologize for that. I also need to say that I was letting way too much of what was being said get to me. As a Christian, I was not being very Christ like. Again, my apologies.

  • Apologize to the woman–NOW. How dare you.
    Now sit down and let the women speak.

  • Don’t be such a baby. I was joking. Christ commonly hurt people’s feelings if they weren’t comfortable with the truth. I know they’re all children of God and capable of brilliance. I’m weak-minded in many ways myself because I was raised Secularist.

    (I thought I made it obvious with the smiley face though that I was joking. Don’t worry–I love you even though you’re either a weak-minded, snowflake “Millennial” or the “Boomer” or “Xer” who raised one! 🙂

  • Because the modern church exists solely to facilitate social interactions for married couples and older folk, and as a diestic therapy session for women. The men are at best, an afterthought. Which is why no man attends, who isn’t dragged there by his spouse.

  • Désolé, mon anglais est trop mauvais pour une traduction littérale. J’ai bien compris qu’il est plus viril d’être fort intérieurement que de
    ressembler à Schwarzy… Quelle découverte! Je me considère comme plutôt
    intellectuel et absolument pas dégourdi de mes 10 doigts ni attiré par les
    grands combats militaires et je le vis très bien. Qu’on me dise
    que pour un homme je ne suis pas très doué ou attiré par des choses de
    cette nature je l’approuve complètement. Pour autant je
    suis bien content d’avoir appris à changer un pneu, à construire des
    tentes surélevées dans les bois. Je suis heureux d’avoir lu des histoires de croisades,
    de héros forts et vu tous les Terminator… ca m’a servi. Et c’est ce
    qui manque à beaucoup d’hommes aujourd’hui. Quand vous citez “French says
    that being a man means being “a protector, builder, and fixer.” By way
    of example, he says learned to be a man by doing manual labor: changing
    the oil in his car, building a porch, hauling firewood. In a world of
    instant oil changes and electric fireplaces, he says, “today’s young
    males don’t have common touchstones for what it’s like to grow up being a
    man.”, je suis d’accord pour dire qu’il n’y a pas que cela, loin de là. L’approche est réductrice. Pour autant ça ne doit surtout pas empêcher de
    favoriser l’apprentissage de faire griller un steack ou de changer un
    pneu. Ca peut justement permettre quand on est un peu trop intellectuel et
    sensible de devenir un protecteur, un constructeur et un décisionnaire
    intérieurement en comblant certaines lacunes. Il ne faut pas voir la construction de la virilité de manière subjective au
    regard de la petite lorgnette d’une personne intellectuelle et sensible, peu douée avec ses mains et qui ne comprend pas que ca puisse être utile pour lui. Quant au Christ, il était le fils du charpentier: il a bien entendu construit avec ses mains et ca a certainement formé l’aspect viril de sa personne dans son humanité.

  • I think both sides are correct, as you plainly describe it. There is a need to reinforce gender in a culture that is attacking it as the enemy. But you are correct, what makes a ‘real’ man is certainly not the activities, the appearance or even the ‘spirit’ in which one conquers the world they live in, it’s the fact that they allow themselves to exercise the gifts God has given them. Both genders are powerful, both should be fully allowed to express and operate in those gifts as given…but lets be frank, the war on gender makes it very difficult to feel anything but shame as a man in America. THAT needs to change.

  • This is the best article I’ve read in quite a while! I have two sons, the younger has fallen into the masculine image trap, lifts weights to bulk up and has a large tattoo that covers his shoulder and upper arm, but my older doesn’t strive for that “hyper-masculine” look. I’ve had some heart-to-heart talks with my older son, encouraging him to look for a mate with moral character and not fall for the unnatural ‘feminine’ characteristics that are promoted today. He was quick to point out how men are also objectified much like you describe, which drives the need to be hyper-ripped and strong.

    Being a female, I can easily see the effect “genderization” has on women, but we don’t often hear about the effect it has on men. The ideal ‘feminine’ image is a weak, silent, brainless, waif without any goals in life who must find a man and live vicariously through him which of course puts added strain on a man to protect (look and be strong) and provide for her (earn good wages) because she is unable to help herself. I agree with you that this is not biblical, “false spirituality” as you quoted from C.S. Lewis, and as such it is very harmful to the relationship between women and men who are to become “one” as God commanded.

    Since only those who keep God’s commandments are saved, it is critical that we seek the truth from the gospel to understand what they are. God does not show partiality Acts 10:34, partiality is a sin James 2: 1 to 9. All members of Christ’s body are equal, and our leader is Christ Matthew 23: 8 & 10. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” Gal 3:28. “If anyone says, ‘I know Him,’ but does not keep His commandments, he is a liar, and the truth is not in him” 1 John 2:4. We must separate ourselves from these false brothers and sisters who distort the gospel of Christ Acts 20:30 & Gal 1:7 to enslave us Gal 2:4.

  • Saying something ignorant with a smiley face is still saying something ignorant. The smiley face doesn’t negate your rudeness.

  • By studying the actions of protector and provider in the Bible we see that God fills these roles for His people. As Jesus said “do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans pursue all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” Matthew 6: 31 to 33. In Psalm 91: 1 to 7 it says “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!” For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper And from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.” Men who claim to be filling these roles are attempting to take the place of God in women’s lives.

  • In Matthew 23: 8 & 10 Jesus commands us to not be called teacher because He is our ONE teacher and we are all brothers and sisters, and to not be called leaders because He is our ONE leader. John Piper is violating this directive in calling himself “Pastor”, and his teachings deny equality in the body of Christ.

  • So you have a problem with my quoting the Pater Noster? Of course we should focus on Heaven, which is why we should listen to Christ and remain unified within the One True Church (even when there’s a horrible pope or perhaps even an anti-pope as there is now0.

  • If you believe the Catholic Church is the “One True Church” you’re wrong. Read your Bible and pray for the spirit of God to open your eyes and guide you in truth. Christ taught us how to pray but we aren’t to mindlessly repeat it because that is babble. Our personal prayers will have the same components but not the same words. Besides you quoted it sarcastically which is disrespectful of God, Christ and me.

  • Thanks. From an unacceptably non-feminine Christian woman (that means I’m not quiet and don’t buy into patriarchy).

  • For a start I prefer men who can read books and make their own decisions. All of this b****** is motivated by patriarchy. Women stuff=bad! Man stuff=good.

    If men want to grow beards and play rugby and lift weights and grunt, then let them. If they want to read books and wear skinny jeans and sit me down for an intellectual conversation….then I’m sure I can coax them into showing some very genuine, aggressive masculinity by the end of the evening.

  • They are also weird and become obsessed with super heroes and porn early on. I’ll never understand the demographic.

  • I did not quote it sarcastically. You are one bitter person!

    I believe every word of it and I forgive you your sins just as you should forgive mine. I’ve read the Bible many times in multiple languages and I’ve looked at the mistranslations and errors that false Protestant Bibles have. They’re only good where they’ve most preserved the translations of the full Bible. Protestants have removed entire books that make it clear that the One True Church is God’s only Church.

    Do you really believe Christ wanted your 40,000 self-contradictory Protestant/Evangelical sects when he called for unity in one Church?

  • Coming to this article now I’m sort of not surprised to see more than half the comments are from people who seemingly didn’t read the entire article. It is a common ailment these days.

    Rather than argue with anyone specifically though, I’d encourage people to ask themselves a question. Was Job a weak man? Physically he certainly was, but physical strength or intelligence are gifts from God. Job was not weak in the terms that actually matter. We all know that God does not spare people according to their skills or gifts. It is faith and faith in practice that matter. That and that alone.

    Whether or not you like sports or video games doesn’t matter. Whether or not you like art or fixing cars doesn’t matter either. Definitions of strength as a Christian that are based on such inane ideas will always find hypocrisy to be their best friend at the end of the day.

  • The masculine and sexual David and Solomon would be cast out of today’s evangelical church. Because they liked women, they would be forced to get accountability partners and confess each time they looked at a woman’s nicely formed back end.

    And yet, God not only approved of these men’s masculinity, he had one of them write an inspired book on sexual beauty and then he put it in the Bible.

    The church today has become captive to modernist political movements and left the purity of the gospel – which includes erotica.

    http://EroticChristian.com

  • It was a lot worse 120 years ago, when the pastors and the women socialized together, and the men did not show up frequently at church. I admit that we have problems – how about if we started talking about faith and allegiance to Christ again instead of making the r-word (relationship) our shibboleth for one.

  • And in the ’50s and ’60s boys who didn’t love sports were not made to feel all that welcome in the average youth ministry. Athletes have tended to be more open to the Gospel in the past than non athletes.

  • Chandler Epp is dishonest in the way he quotes Lewis. Screw tape actually says “are especially favorable to this virtue” meaning chastity, or perhaps even avoidance of masturbation. He adds, “How they can believe this, in the face of the notorious lustfulness of sailors and soldiers, may well be asked. But we used the schoolmasters to put the story about – men who were really interested in chastity as an excuse for games and therefore recommended games as an aid to chastity.”

  • I grew up in an explicitly patriarchal church and I assure you we were not taught that women stuff=bad. We were taught that gender is strictly binary and that members in each of those roles were expected to behave in accordance with different paradigms, both of which were highly and equally valued by that subculture. If you think being expected to be the provider for and head of a household is a cakewalk, then you’ve never been a man burdened by patriarchal expectations. And I assure you, if you are a woman, you have never been considered expendable. Patriarchy is not “rule by men”, it is “rule by fathers”, and not everyone is given that status when they are born with a penis. What we are talking about isn’t a male conspiracy against women, it’s a social structure that evolved in civilizations in which it was more felicitous than it is in ours. To speak nothing of the brute ethics germane to the question, we tend toward individualism, and so the idea that everyone should conform to binary gender roles is not good for us, whether we are men, women, or anything else. Patriarchy does objectify and oppress men as well as women, and I speak both from personal experience and from a familiarity with history and our own culture’s gender norms. By the way, I was alerted to this point by reading feminist literature and I consider myself to be a feminist, although modern academic feminism makes some outrageous claims that cannot be defended, most of which come down to a popular and misleading gloss on “patriarchy”.

  • Jesus Hiked – Yeah so did EVERYONE who lived during that time period you dope. It’s not like women had exclusive rights to horses.
    David did kill a bear but you know, most logically with the aid of dogs. Don’t try to sell your bs that he killed a bear by himself with his bare hands.

    Jesus did everything any other wretched human had to do in that time period. Especially if they needed to travel. Life was hard for everyone. You act as if women didn’t get on boats, walk over treacherous terrain or work their hands to the bones in the fields. Also many humans can survive for a month without food in extreme conditions as long as they have water. Guess what, bro? That includes women too.

  • If you were going to falsely attribute a gospel to make it seem authoritative, why would you choose Mark of all people as the author?

  • “I’m sure I can coax them into showing some very genuine, aggressive masculinity by the end of the evening.”

    So if I’m getting this right, you like men you can boss around?

  • Ironic that you, Her Leftness, feel you can give advise about playing nice. You don’t seem to like men, unless they’re effeminate –or eager to submit to your beating.

  • I think that there is a huge loss of men who are passionate for God
    because most churches don’t offer a men’s fellowship. Jesus spoke about and modeled how he wanted Christianity to be lived and he gathered 12 men around him to do that. I think every Christian man should have or be in the process of gathering 12 men to be close to, to connect with, to be authentic with, and to fellowship with.

    I invite all me who read this to consider starting a men’s fellowship in your church. Set up basic ground rules like confidentiality, sobriety, equal time for all to speak, etc. and listen to each other and pray for each other. My burdens became much lighter and I love the brotherhood that has developed with other Christian and non-Christian men in my life. I have led a weekly men’s fellowship in my church for over 5 years. I just asked my Pastor If I could do it and started doing it with his blessing.

    When I model honesty and authenticity and other men follow along with their own, I find out what true masculinity really is. Much of it is learning how to love my brothers, as Jesus asked me to do. Some of it is learning to love my enemies. Some of it is learning to take the huge beam out of my eye before I talk bad about the small speck of dust in anyone else’s. Men’s fellowship and healthy masculinity is about putting action to Jesus’ words in our lives. It is about supporting and encouraging each other. It is about defining accountability and supporting it in ourselves and others. It is about taking care of ourselves so we can love and take care of those we love. I love authentic, Christian masculinity!

  • Based on your article, which was very well written by the way, “Christian masculinity” seems to imply identity rather than definition. Christian men are defined solely by their acceptance of Christ. Although more men naturally lean toward masculine behavior, any inclination toward masculine or effeminate qualities is personal preference based on that man’s identity.

    There’s nothing wrong with a man identifying more with the masculine aspects of Christianity any more than there is him identifying in contrast, and neither quality need be dismissed. A man who identifies with David’s fighter/protector/leader qualities more than his song and poetry is no less a Christian than any other man. This argument will lead to division because personal preference is being enforced where it ought not be.

    It’s important to note also that David possessed qualities that were both sensitive and strong at different times for different purposes. Instead of dividing Christian men up by saying one way is better than the other, it’s good to remember that the body of Christ is made up of all different types of people, including men, with various talents, gifts, and traits [1 Corinthians 12]. Christian men shouldn’t be denied their different individual traits that make up the body of Christ.

    Being a Christian does not require a leaning in masculine preference nor does it require a leaning in a feminine direction. It requires a focus on Christ. In doing that, both traits will be attributed when necessary.

  • Sorry, you lost all credibility when you insinuated that King David was an effeminate harpist. David had already killed lions and bears by the time Goliath appeared. David was an example of a masculine man. He was not the effeminate man that you portray.

  • There is a lot to like and agree with in this article. You just have to get through the tripe. While I agree with the overall thrust of this article, especially this: “Rather than push them into wholesale rejection of the male archetype, we should instead call them to virtuous—and, yes, manly—aspirations of humility, service, kindness, and wisdom.”, I disagree with the idea that the author advances based on a completely crap reading and interpretation of David. The author wrote: “For every biblical reference to warriors like Samson or Saul, we read of characters like young David, a harpist, who through no power of his own defeated a giant.” Excuse me, that simply isn’t true. For EVERY reference to a warrior we have a counter-reference to a softer or more sensitive man? No. Not even close. What Bible are you reading? David actually got himself into trouble when he refused to do the Kingly and manly thing and lead his troops into war. Instead, he was hanging out back at the palace, bored out of his mind, and then saw Bathsheba. In addition, David wasn’t a “harpist”. This term is bogged down with modern, softer sensibilities about that instrument, and the clever insertion of it by the author falsely redefines David. David was first a shepherd who had the distinct duty of leading and protecting his fathers flocks. David wrestled lions and bears and killed them (1 Samuel 17:34-36), and of course gave credit to God, who gave him his strength, stamina, courage, etc., but it was still David who did it. Likewise, God was not the one who picked up five smooth stones from the stream, put one in his sling and then slew Goliath. No, David did that, and then gave credit to YHWH.

    The author clearly has little understanding of the way in which the men, in general, are hard-wired for the physical. Women are preoccupied with people/relationships, men are preoccupied with things (cars, guns, businesses, their bodies, etc). This is a biological reality that simply cannot be overlooked. In addition, the author seems to be unaware that the physical fitness or level of physical activity of a man will directly contribute to his porn habit. Porn habits/addictions are neuro-chemical in nature. It is the release of powerful endorphins that the man craves. These endorphins are released when the body is put into a high level of physical exertion. Men in the West don’t do a lot of physical things anymore as a bi-product of life, so they have to find other ways to release the dopamine (among others) that their body craves. Dopamine release reduces stress, anxiety, and wards off depression (most porn addicts could be identified as being severely or clinically depressed). The physical is, by God’s design, intertwined with the spiritual, mental, and emotional. We will always have to work hard with men to integrate these four aspects of their humanity. But the healthy recognition that with most men the most natural place to begin discipling them is with the physical just makes good sense, and isn’t “unbiblical” at all.

  • Just to the author. What thoughts do you have to the SHAPE idea?

    Biblical man…
    Submits to Christ
    Honors others
    Assesses and improves
    Perishes to provide and protect
    Engages wisely

    A few churches I’m connected to teach Biblical manhood in that context.

  • Some folks are missing the point of this article. What I interpret the author was trying to say is that regardless of if your provider, builder, warrior or intellectual, meek, sensitive a man is they will always be Men . Our human nature loves to quantify what a “real man” is by what they do but, in the Lord’s eyes the real Men are the one’s who rely and love him. Masculinity is complicated because each man is an indivdual and like the body of Christ God didn’t call us all to be the same. The same God who called Elijah called Jeremiah a prophet and they both shown different facets of God’s heart. We need to empower Men without demonizing each other as sissies or alpha’s. None of that is good for the benefit of the Kingdom. At the end of the day David was chosen of God and Saul rejected because one looked to himself and the other relied/lived for God.

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