Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Domestication, Feminization, Wussification Part II

My online conversation at Black Velvet Bruce Lee under the author's blog entry of Happy Metrosexual Fathers Day continued as another reader commented on my comments:

Mark W. Weaver, What happened 40 years ago that changed things around? I am curious.

So, I replied:

Let’s see. Where do I begin… ?

1) Prayer was taken out of the public schools (45 years ago)

2) The Supreme Court approved the murder of the unborn, allowing pregnant parents to discard their children because of inconvenience, thus devaluing “human life” in general (Roe v. Wade 35 years ago)

3) Playboy, Penthouse, and likeminded publications began the devaluing of women, telling men that its OK to yield to their baser instincts, and that women were merely objects to be possessed

4) Moral absolutism was rejected in favor of moral relativism

5) Universities ceased the practice of historic, classic, liberal education, and began promoting agenda-driven, political ideologies

6)LBJ’s “Great Society” and the birth of the modern welfare state released young men from their fatherly responsibilities and rewarded women for having babies out of wedlock

7) Filmmakers and television producers loosened their standards, showing fornication, adultery, violence, and crude language, all of which demean humanity

8)The wholesale promotion in public education of Darwin’s ideas of “evolution,” “natural selection,” and the “survival of the fittest” have reduced many of us to a life where only our wants and needs matter

9) The institution of marriage became weakened as more and more couples just “shacked up” without a marriage covenant, the divorce rate soared because marriage was minimalized, and the offspring of these relationships suffered greatly for lack of strong family ties, poor role models, and vision for life

All of these changes have sapped hope and stolen vision from us, especially our young. The idea of living for something larger than ourselves, and embracing the sacrifices required by such a vision, is now passé.

I’ll stop there …

Now, as promised, here is the remainder of my thoughts on Manhood and Manliness penned eight years ago.

Manliness in the Church. Scripture employs allegorical portraits of both construction projects and gardens to convey God’s principles. His first commandment to man charged him with fruitfulness, growth and the subjugation of the whole earth (Gen. 1:28). In essence God said, “Here’s the earth—build and plant!” Every time ground is broken for a construction project or the cultivation of the earth, man fulfills God’s Biblical command to subdue the earth.

Mankind is made in God’s image—both male and female. Building and planting come naturally to us. For centuries, men utilized their hands and tools to plant their fields and craft earth’s raw materials into finished products. Many of America’s most common names reflect our heritage from the trades: Chandler, Cooper, Glover, Mason, Miller, Sawyer, Smith, Turner and Webster.

When we use our hands to build and plant, to craft and create, we engage in the subjugation of the earth—we fulfill God’s first commandment. And creative activity is by no means limited to the male gender. Women also find great joy in crafting and producing. And many now work in the trades alongside men.

Made in God’s image, men and women bear both masculine and feminine qualities. Naturally, men tend to be more masculine and women more feminine. But it is not unusual for a man to cry or for a woman to make a logical assessment.

The Church of our generation contains both feminine and masculine expressions. Some pastors utilize teaching, sound doctrine and reasoned Biblical arguments to engage their congregants and guests. Others employ emotion to move both the lost and the saved. Altar calls generally appeal more to the emotional part of man than the cerebral. On balance, the current trend finds the American Church moving toward knowing God through emotional experience and away from an intellectual knowledge and understanding of God.

In truth, God desires that we know Him in all ways possible. God is Spirit and we must first have a spiritual knowledge of Him—we must be born of the Spirit. As we mature, our intellectual understanding of God grows alongside our emotional experiences.

To say that the Church needs more manliness means that Church life must include more than the joy of relationships with God and fellow believers. To be complete, we should be producing, creating, building and planting. We should be bringing in our manly earth movers and heavy equipment and demolishing vain imaginations, pulling down intellectual as well as spiritual strongholds, laying in spiritual infrastructure and erecting spiritual edifices for the furtherance of God’s kingdom.

God’s kingdom should be expanding and not simply absorbed in recovery, fellowship and times of praise and worship. Our minds should be expanding as well, learning more and more about God and His plans and purposes in creation. We should be taking ground for God.

Is it any wonder when our church marquis’ display messages like “Jesus Cares About You” that most of our churches have more women in their pews than men? Why not deliver a masculine message? “God’s Kingdom is Under Construction. Come in and Help Us Build.”

Over the last few generations in the western world, technology and progress have moved us from our fields and shops to factory production lines and offices with desks and computers. Much has happened in recent generations to strike at Christian manhood and manliness.

Today, Christian manhood is in recovery. With the growing influence of organizations such as Ransomed Heart Ministries, Christian men are slowly, painfully, beginning to rediscover what it means to be a man of God.

But how much have progress and technology denuded the Christian man of his manliness? What are the implications of a lack of manliness in the Church's ranks? Have 20th and 21st century Christians drifted away from the noble themes of godly manliness found in generations past, and in Scripture, and settled for a stripped down version of Church life?

I say we have.

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