What’s True Manhood All About?
Last week, a friend of mine kicked off a discussion for a group of men at ONE TH1NG, part of a series there on “biblical manhood”. That morning, only a few exits in either direction on GA 400 and at the same hour, a couple thousand men stepped into a new season of “Seven” at North Point Community Church and Brown’s Bridge Community Church. I half expected ONE TH1NG to be ghost town. Instead, the room was packed with 67 guys, riveted on the topic of manhood. In groups of 4 to 5, they processed out loud: “What does God have to say about manhood and is manhood as badly shipwrecked as it can be?”
Who’s the Man? Cut to the chase, most men today operate out of poor definitions of manhood given by poor definers, generally speaking, such as: bad fathers, absentee dads, sitcom fathers, country music, rap music, you get the point… It’s hard, following popular examples, headlines, or even our own churches, to see where all the true men have gone.
Every one of us can spot “something” wrong when we see a bad example. We just can’t always put our finger on it, let alone model it full time. I’m with you. Ask 10 people what their definition of a man is, and we’ll likely get a hobbling Frankenstein monster formed from some of the worst scraps of “all of the above”. God’s word isn’t silent on the matter. But, we’ve got to look at how bad the damage is before we talk about the cure.
Ron Dunn contends there are three “hoods” we can either move through or stay stuck in:
- “Malehood” – doesn’t take any effort: you’re either born with male genitalia or not.
Boyhood – a season of life when a male is dependent and irresponsible. Often characterized by ungodly strategies such as lying, demanding, blaming, retreating, or relinquishing.
- Manhood – taking responsibility under God’s rule.
It’s Really That Bad Bottom line, while men are born into malehood and boyhood, many walk into adulthood ruled by their malehood, or refuse to relinquish their boyhood, leaving millions of women either scratching their heads or taking over men’s roles because they’re fed up with the resulting void of leadership:
- 40% of children born last year were born out of wedlock. Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy and criminality.
- Young men who grow up in homes without fathers are twice as likely to end up in jail
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes
- and on… and on…
Fatherhood matters. It requires manhood, not malehood or boyhood. Watch, as we turn the tables:
- Children with Fathers who are involved are 40% less likely to repeat a grade in school.
Children with Fathers who are involved are 70% less likely to drop out of school.
- Children with Fathers who are involved are more likely to get A’s in school.
- Children with Fathers who are involved are more likely to enjoy school and engage in extracurricular activities.
Fatherhood is only one example of manhood gone wrong… Listen to Albert Mohler from last week and you’ll hear how the “he-cession” is being followed by a “she-covery” and how manhood gone awry is impacting the culture at large. Or, maybe you already get the point.
Feeling Adequate or Above?
Maybe you’re doing just fine. Maybe you’re living the dream, abiding like a champ… Until you compare yourself with your heroes. Today I got my weekly e-update from friends at Centurion Advisory Group. Great info on what’s going on with the Dow, Bernanke, etc. Today, they note the recent release of the purely Satanic game “Grand Theft Auto, V” produced sales of over $1B. Then went on to point out a few matters regarding manhood:
At age 20, Bill Gates founded Microsoft. At age 21, Thomas Edison created his first invention, and Steve Jobs co-founded Apple. At age 22, Samuel Colt patented the six-shooter, and at age 24, Johannes Kepler defended the Copernican theory, and described the structure of the solar system. At age 25, Orson Welles directed and starred in Citizen Kane, Charles Lindbergh became the first person to fly the Atlantic solo, and Alexander the Great became King of Persia.
At age 26, Albert Einstein published five major research papers in a German physics journal, Ben Franklin published the first edition of Poor Richard’s Almanac, and Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Italy.
I’ve wondered if we haven’t emasculated a generation of young men, urging them toward a safe, risk free life, instead of encouraging them to use all their passion, energy, and idealism to solve the problems of the world. Too many, it seems, are content to live out their dreams of changing the world vicariously, through a video game, rather than charging the hill to make the world a better place.
As adult males, we must begin to recapture our purpose: responsibility under God’s rule for His glory. In Genesis 3, when the Fall took place, God didn’t go after Eve for her sin – he asked Adam, as He’s still asking us today, where he had, as the man responsible, failed God, himself and Eve. God commanded all the men to meet with Him three times a year (see Deut. 16:16), promising to care for their families and fields while they were away. God clearly takes manhood seriously. And, He hasn’t left us in the dark on it.
|Mel Gibson, as Lt. Col. Harold Moore calling
in “broken arrow” on desperate men.
All is Not Lost: Calling Down Fire From Above
If you saw “We Were Soldiers”, you know the story of Lt. Col. Harold Moore, whose troops were vastly outnumbered and entirely surrounded in La Drang Valley during Vietnam. Mel Gibson, who played Moore, calls in “‘Broken arrow’… I repeat ‘broken arrow'”. This means the situation is so desperate that if friendly fire is not called in on your location (possibly killing and wounding some of your own men), you and your men are lost.
Manhood is in trouble. But, biblical manhood holds true, lasting solutions. God’s refining fire could wound or kill us in some figurative or literal way. But, it is the only option outside of total massacre. I have no excuses. Reasons, but no excuses. I’ve failed as a man repeatedly and like you, I don’t need anyone else to prattle on about how short I’ve fallen of the mark. I want solutions. And God, who is rich in mercy, has given me breath, heartbeat, and another day to get up and walk as He designed us all to. Will you join Him as He calls us to walk in those shoes?
If you’re a man in the Alpharetta/John’s Creek/Cumming/Roswell/Dawsonville area – join us at a table, no prep required, as we dive in again on what it means to be a man, God’s way, at ONE TH1NG this Friday morning at the Cabernet Steakhouse on Windward at GA 400 7AM to 7:59AM for part 3 of Broken Arrow.
Inbox on Fire?
Ever feel like a blind fireman on a high speed treadmill, putting out flames because they were “there” but working with no strategy or forethought? Ever think “If I ever do put out this fire, there’ll only be two more to take its place!”
Four months into a nice promotion I had a tangled ball of loose ends in a sky-high inbox and onscreen, over 1,100 unread emails!
That’s when I came across David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done.” I read it until 2AM and immediately implemented everything I could. 1,100 emails went to 0 in 72 hours and I was committed to stay on top of the pile. I now had power and perspective. It lasted… or so I thought.
Smelling the Same, Old Smolder?
Shortly after our marriage, Cristine made it really clear that I’d brought too much stuff into our small apartment when we merged lives. Inbox was on fire again. Silly me thought she was just referring to stuff that could be seen. There was plenty of that, but I also had too many commitments and unfinished business on my calendar and in my head. There was smoke on the brain and it was making life stink.
Our young family was gasping for air and the mirror clearly pointed to one of the prime sources of suffocation. While I had learned some great practices and helpful principles, but applications were limited to a few compartments of my life. The cause of the fire couldn’t have been my desk… but with so much smoke, how could we track down the source? We needed clarity.
David Allen says this:
“Most peoples’ to-do lists are just incomplete collections of unclear things. Most peoples’ organization is just rearranging piles of still unclear stuff.”
So what can be done to bring clarity and abolish clutter?
Let’s flip the pages of an even better book and see what God has to say. You see, clutter isn’t just about things… it usually starts with our thoughts. As I read the word, God showed me my thinking had been very, very sloppy and sloppy thoughts come from a sloppy heart. Taming the clutter meant subduing the disobedient parts of my heart… a heart divided against the Lord.
Ultimate Fire Emergency Plan:
God provides clarity like this: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5 He also teaches us that serving rival gods leads us to a place of confusion, contamination… clutter. “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” Sounds like conflict, right? But, a heart divided between building two kingdoms is the primary fuel for the fire. And, a mind “controlled by the Spirit [which brings] life and peace (Rom. 8:6)” is the elite fire team designed to tame the rebellious heart’s spreading flames.
Conflict and clutter can show up in a lot of different places… our schedule, our priorities, our check book, junk drawer, our trunks, our closet, our plans, our hearts, our minds.
Clutter isn’t just a fire starter, though -it’s also a mirror. It provides clues and important evidence. The challenge for us who seek to follow Christ is in accepting that the mirror is accurate without downplaying our idolatry and service to the rival god of “[our] stuff”. Walking away from that mirror without forgetting what you’ve seen will require a plan, an act of God, and a band of brothers to watch your back.
If you ever feel like you are working harder yet falling farther behind; if your email inbox is over 100; if you feel like you own some nice stuff, but your stuff also owns you; if you smell the fresh air of freedom, but the smoke is still in your lungs; then join us at a table this Friday morning at ONE TH1NG (The Cabernet Steakhouse, Windward Pkwy & 400 from 7AM to 7:55AM) where we’ll look into the only Word that brings eternal life and can set us free from sloppy thinking, a divided heart and the luring lie of multi-tasking.
Come hungry for the truth and fasten your seat belt.
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