Probably one of my favorite topics to spend time reading on, talking about, and working on is masculinity. Being that this is Father’s day weekend I am going to post a blog on it, so men, grab your cups and take it like a man!
- Tonight more than 17 million children will go to bed with no father, this does not include the children who have physically present fathers yet emotionally absent dads.
- Tonight/today hundreds are being beaten or killed in Iran at the hands of violent men.
- Today, millions of wives will go to be with a husband beside them, yet will be as lonely as if he wasn’t.
- Tomorrow hundreds of men will celebrate father’s day by cheating on his wife and children with another woman.
- Tonight many young girls will give themselves away physically and emotionally, because they don’t have a dad who cares for them, causing them to find their acceptance somewhere else.
- Today, thousands of young boys will seek role models in sport-athletes, pop-culture, and rap-artists because they don’t have a dad worth looking up to.
This is what we see from absent or overly aggressive fathers at 30,000 feet, but what about right around us? I am surrounded by marriages that are crumbling at the selfishness of men. I hear stupid comments like, “I just don’t love my wife anymore, but I’ll do anything for my children.” As if one of the best thing for a child isn’t to see a real man lead his broken marriage back to a place of beauty and wholeness. I see men saying things like, ‘I just don’t love her any more…’ and then blame women for being too emotional-when did love become a fluctuating emotion? Where are the Spartan’s? Where are the fighters? Where are the lovers? Where are the men who are not satisfied with just providing a pay-check, but driven to provide their family with love, touch, hope, grace, and security? Where are the men who care more about their sons and daughters than they do their own selfish desires? Where are the men who are willing to fight for their marriages instead of easily giving into ‘the greener-grass’ that’s on the other side? My biggest problem with all of this, is that I just described the condition of masculinity in the church! As a man of flesh, every time I hear of a man leaving his wife, forsaking his children, and breaking the vows he committed to in front of God and his family I want to literally beat the trash out of them with a smile on my face. But, I suppose that wouldn’t be the right thing to do either.
So what can we do about the greatest pandemic in the history of mankind? I can think of 3 or 4 elements that we as men can make a part of our life to begin to war against broken masculinity:
- Your Own Family: Outside of God this is your first priority! This is your first love! This is your life! If you can commit to a woman, and are willing to make babies, then you are to commit to them until ‘death do you part’! I realize that my daughters (all 3) will develop their view of masculinity based on what they see and receive from me. I realize that my son will learn what it means to be a man, based on what he learns from me. I realize that my girls will learn what to expect and look for in a man, based on how they see me love and treat their mom. I realize my son will learn what it means to be a husband based on how he sees me love and treat his mom. The greatest joy I have in my life is taking care of my wife. This last week many of you know we spent 6 days in the NICU with our newest addition, Eliana Wynn. The hardest part for me, was not being able to take care of this for Sarah. I get no greater joy than being her friend, her lover, her provider, and her rock. I realize in supporting and loving my family in a society where the family unit has been so fractured almost seems counter-cultural, but it is part of the remedy to our pandemic, we must become models of what we propose. Men just as Christ loved his church – sacrificially, unconditionally, and without limits – this is how we are to love our wives and children!
- Other Men: One of the most important ingredients in the life of a man, are other men. We need each other. We need to learn from of each other. We need to unload on each other. We need to hold each other accountable. Personally in my life the way this is fleshed out is three or four different ways: (1) My group of pastor-friends, Brandon and Tray are both older than I am and have kids older than I do. It is healthy for me to learn from them, to watch them, and be around them for influence sake. They have the right to speak into my life, and call me on Character issues they may see. (2) I have what I call a DNA group. We are a group of 3 guys, myself, Jacob, and Justen, that meet every other weekend and discuss what we are struggling with, what we are learning, we seek advice from each other and seek to teach each other. (3) Friends, I have a couple of great friends who I admire as fathers/husbands. One is a guy I do jiu jitsu with, David, he is a real warrior and his life shines as a man who is committed to his wife and boys. Another is my buddy Jeremiah, he is a shining example of a man who came from a home that didn’t best prepare him for masculinity, but he realizes this is his number one responsibility. I could go into more detail, but these three elements I believe are necessary in a man’s life.
- Pay-it Forward Mentoring: I am the product of a broken family. When my father left, I had three men step into my life that became a huge father-figure in my life: Curt Poole, Steve Johnston and Mike Shannon. Curt, as continued to be a heavy presence in my life being one of the best examples and mentors I could have. He is an amazing father, and one who has and continues to teach me many things. Due to the impact they made in my life, I have sought to be that kind of mentor to guys who have not had a present father in their life. I’m not talking about a one-hour a week mentoring, I’m talking about opening your life up them, letting them see the reality of your life, success, failures, short-comings, and strengths. On top of that, there are other organizations that create opportunities for you to make a difference in the life of young men, specifically Communities in Schools‘, XY-Zone.
- Committing to the Biblical View of Masculinity: I know many think we can just leave this one out, but it is the foundation of it all. I will not go into this one too much due to the length of the blog, however I will post links to resources that I believe will help those who want it: God, Marriage & Family; Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood; What’s the Difference; Pastor Dad; and who could forget 300!
So, come on men, step up to the plate, and lets start a movement of men who will truly make an impact in a culture that has begun to turn their back on true masculinity!