The Importance of Men (A Biblical Theology of Men’s Ministry)

“Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” – 1 Corinthians 15:45

warren-wong-320130-unsplash

We believe God loves the world. He created it, and with it, us. But the world is far from His design and intention. It is full of sin and all its friends: death, destruction, and dysfunction, on personal, relational, and social levels. 

The events of last week in Parkland, FL only go to show this to be true. Sadly, it seems that we are not even that shocked anymore that such a tragedy could happen, seeing as it hits our collective radars fairly frequently these days.

Comedian Michael Ian Black provided what I think is an insightful commentary on not just the horrible event in Florida, but one of the underlying issues that help make these tragedies reoccur.

In this thread of tweets, Michael Ian Black has identified that men generally speaking do not know what it means to be a man, what role or purpose we are to have in society, or how to express our masculinity in life-giving and affirming ways.

He’s right.

We don’t.

Not only do we have a problem that we all feel as men, but we can’t even have the conversation! What hope is there?

But it was this statement that grabbed my attention (and the attention of Twitterverse as a whole). He is absolutely correct in identifying the source of the problem.

“Boys are broken.” Yes.

But not just boys.

Everything is broken!

Death. Destruction. Dysfunction. These are normal ways of describing life as we experience it now. And not only is it killing us, we hate it.

We all experience life this way. But what happened? Why did things get this way for us, our relationships, and our world?

It is this way because of a man.

Adam

Adam, the first man, chose to reject living under God’s Word back in the Garden of Eden and in this way he rebelled against his Creator. All of creation was bound together with Adam, so as he fell from his position of grace, all things and everyone descending from him fell with him.

And yet, God’s heart, His love for His world never changed. He still loved the world He created, even though it fails to love and honor Him in return.

What does God do about this love for a world that is far from Him in every way?

He sends a man.

Jesus

He sends His Son, Jesus Christ, to become a man, so that man can finally and fully be redeemed out of sin and into righteousness (the state of being right, approved).

He became a man, so that man can be restored out of brokenness and into the image and likeness of God Himself (the state of being who we were meant to be originally).

He became man, so that man can be renewed out of guilt, shame, and bondage to sin and all it’s friends (death, destruction, dysfunction), and walk instead in new life as new creations (the state of becoming more like Christ, living a resurrected life in all of life).

He became the man when God His Father vindicated His sacrificial death and perfect life by raising Him up from the dead and seating Him at His right hand, reigning and ruling over all things, and leading His people to be agents of His new creation world in the present.

And now that man, that perfect man who is redeeming, restoring, and renewing all things to Himself sends out men to live as redeemed people, restored sinners, and renewed saints for the sake of the world around them. 

Disciples

Men continue to be the method God uses to reach the world and make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.

The church will succeed in its mission when men are redeemed by Christ, restored to His fellowship, and renewed in His image, and live out His life for the sake of others – every man, woman, and child, starting at home and moving out to the rest of the world.

Men live in and out strength when they live for the sake of others.

It is true of Jesus.

And it’s no less true for men today.

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45

 Growing as Men at Christ Church

On Saturday, March 10, we will be launching our Men’s Leadership Training at Christ Church Mansfield for any and every man who wants and commits to growing in the gospel and live for the sake of others.

We will work through what it means to be children of God, loved by our Father, saved by His Son, and empowered by His Spirit to grow in grace and strength in service to others.

For details and to save your spot email me: chris@christchurchmansfield.com 

 

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “The Importance of Men (A Biblical Theology of Men’s Ministry)

  1. You start with a number of incorrect observations by Ian in order to get a correct conclusion.

    “Michael Ian Black has identified that men generally speaking do not know what it means to be a man, what role or purpose we are to have in society, or how to express our masculinity in life-giving and affirming ways.”

    “No commensurate movement for men who are still generally locked into the same rigid, outdated model of masculinity and it’s killing us.”

    Nikolas Cruz was not acting by an “overembracement” of masculinity or suffering from some outmoded sense of 1950s morality. His father died in 2004, his mother in Nov. 2017. He’d been living with relatives or foster parents in a situation where he had, let us say, not a strong set of paternal influences.

    While it is absolutely true that Cruz surely was in error with his understanding of what it means to be a man, the reality is that his generation (and the generation before him) has been emasculated into not understanding what it means to be a man. Rather than this event being caused by a failure of men to grow out of our masculinity, it was caused by a complete absence of any expectation that men should act in any particular way? Certainly it was not an “overembracement” of masculinity by Cruz that caused this.

    “So men (and boys before that) don’t have language for modes of expression that don’t readily conform to traditional standards. To step outside those norms is to take a risk most of us are afraid to take. As a result, a lot of guys spend their lives terrified.”

    Men my age and older (50s) know what is it to be a man. We don’t spend our lives terrified. Certainly no Christian man does (or should), but let’s ignore that for a moment. When we play along with the secular world and do not argue with their multiple internally inconsistent statements regarding the differences between men and women, we cannot even begin to talk about masculinity. It’s already a lost cause.

    Women make babies. Men take care of women who have or may make babies, which occasionally calls for putting themselves in harm’s way to protect their shared future. Every real man knows this – it’s hardwired for most of us way back in our heads, and is buttressed by programming about what it means to be a man in all sane societies. However, we are doing everything we can to pretend this is not real, and that men and women are interchangeable, irrespective of ordinary biology.

    To me, the most scary part of all this is that men who are being deprogrammed away from this innate understanding of what they are for, and women are so busy trying to show they are no different from me, that no one knows how to proceed in the world of male-female relations.

    But all of this is lost in the essay above until you get to the quote on which you focus:
    “Deeper even than the gun problem is this: boys are broken.”

    Yes, of course, and no one can disagree with the rest of your piece. But the lead is half of the essay, and it includes misguided statements irrelevant to the point which are both misleading at best, and which detract from what you are trying to say.

    Nickolas Cruz was a 19-year-old disturbed child who was a product of a broken home, bad programming, insufficient oversight, and Original Sin in full blossum. Combined with, as you might say, several sets of broken government systems, this tragedy was the very predictable result. But it was no lack of a cultural masculinity upgrade, but a failure to install the basic everyday everyman morality understood by all of our gender since the Old Testament days.

    King David told his son how to be a man; I see no reason to depart from this teaching:
    When David’s time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying, “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn..” 1 Kings 2:1-3 (ESV)

    Paul assumed that we all know what it is to act like a man:
    Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.1 Corinthians 16:13

    I don’t think that men today are terrified only because they receive teaching at war with how they are preprogrammed to act. We’d do better to commit ourselves to the fundamentals what worked until abandoned before we decide that we need to fix it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good stuff Warren. Thanks for the comment. I think though Michael Ian Black shares yours (and mine) actual conclusions (ie brokenness) and lament that culturally we as a whole aren’t transferring to boys and men what that really means (generalization, but believe that’s what he’s expressing as frustration). I’m willing to affirm his conclusion and frustrations even if they are arrived at through some meandering or misunderstood rationalizations.

      Like

    • Also, how do guys like you and your generation, and those of us in the Church, appropriately use our principles and opportunities to be a blessing to the rest of society perhaps not sharing our same privileges (ethical, moral, not necessarily financial)?

      Like

      • There’s no short cut. We have to be involved in the lives around us to the extent that we can. Paying higher taxes for innumerable federal agencies to send down checks to various state programs who fail to do their jobs is not a sufficient response; in fact, it is contrary to a proper response. I think we should be able to agree that government agencies at every level were insufficient to do the work here even when that was their job. The foster family that was took in Nikolas Cruz was making an attempt, but obviously too little, too late.

        I get that people want to talk about individual responses, but we do have to remember the political components of the failure. We have to stand up and say “That’s stupid” when people say that women and men are the same, or that traditional masculinity has failed in a place where it was so clearly not employed or part of the problem. I think it has to be identified as part of the problem. These are not nameless people who push these ideas. They don’t bubble up out of nowhere. People come up with ideas and then they are implemented, and ordinary people have to say, “No, men and women are different.” “There is absolute truth.”

        How about something as crazy as: “Generally, children should be encouraged to understand that they are boys or girls, based on their biological equipment, and it’s child abuse to begin gender reassignment based on childhood whims.”

        I find a lot of moralists, preachers, and philosophers who want to connect tragedy to the gospel, but we also need to use the gospel and eternal truths and point out that one does not have to even be a Christian to learn from the time-tested guidelines provided in the Bible.

        When people leave behind what has worked for time immemorial based on their own logic, they need to be reminded that the “what works” should not result in everyone else having to change their own lives so they can be calibrated for the macabre.

        Your very first quote from Ian implies more gun control is required – as apparently the men who can decide who gets a gun are NOT broken…no, no, there are Wise People who can make these decisions. (Because that’s what all gun control is.) But we don’t hear about that.

        It’s just a real struggle for me to take a teaching that begins with an assumed political truth that is wrong. There are dozens of failures which contributed to this tragedy, but “not enough gun control” is the least of those failures.

        I’d suggest that we focus more on those who do know how to act, and were doing the job on that fateful day.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/selfless-service-jrotc-remembers-three-slain-in-florida-high-school-shooting/2018/02/19/1e3138f2-158b-11e8-8b08-027a6ccb38eb_story.html?utm_term=.1ae228d69863

        Liked by 1 person

      • Again, good stuff. I personally don’t agree with his conclusion about needing more gun control until we get the “broken boys/men” figured out. But I couldn’t figure out how to only include the tweets I wanted to reference without the Parent tweet being included.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s