While the bemoaning of the fate of Christian men (where are they?) by men and women have gone on for a very long time, I have a sense through the recent proliferation of blogs/posts by those within my social circle, that it somehow has reached some sort of tipping point. Many more people are talking about this not-so-old complaint. And so, I just wanted to add another voice, albeit probably a different one, in the conversation.
For today’s Flashback Friday, I’ve decided to re-post something I wrote back in the day (Feb.2, 2011 to be exact). While time have passed since I first wrote it, my feelings about it remains unchanged. I still hate the term “man up” and I still think it’s meaningless.
If you are going to comment, please remember to refrain from being mean, sarcastic, condescending, and other negative attributes. If you can’t be nice, don’t post it. Please keep that in mind when you’re commenting. Thanks.
A response to all the “There are no Christian men” blogs/posts
First of all, I have sincere and complete disdain about the term “man up.” While there are many societal and cultural conceptions of what man is, those things are ultimately bound up in its own cultural expressions. While I do not advocate some sort of relativization of definitions, I think it is important to realize that the concept of “man” is bound up in earthly descriptions that seek to promote its own cultural mandate for what a “man” should be.
If we truly believe that Jesus came down to earth to show us what true humanity looks like, I think it would be more appropriate to say “Jesus up.” The word “man” is bound up in too many semantical, linguistic, cultural baggage that it can sometimes be difficult to ascertain which qualities we are trying to call forth when we say the word “man up.” I would like to think that calling someone to “Jesus up” is synonymous to the call that Jesus has on both men and women to be more Christ-like.
Aside: when I see a woman who does not really exemplify a Prov. 31 woman, I don’t exactly write blogs/posts about how they need to “woman up.” If there is a challenge for men to be more like men, shouldn’t women be also challenged to be more like women?
In Christian circles, this type of thinking can lead into statements like, “real men pray” or “real men treat their wives well” or the like. While I do not disagree with such statements, what happens if I didn’t pray for a day. Is my masculinity negated by such an act? Is being a “man” a question of doing, or a question of being. Donald Miller, during an interview, probably said it best when he defined a man as “someone who has a penis.” (With recent medical changes, I would qualify that as someone who was born with a penis. I know that that definition could probably be re-visited for hermaphrodites, but I digress. Hopefully, you got the major point!)
Is there such a thing as Biblical manhood? While I have not read Piper’s book on “Recovering Biblical manhood and womanhood,” I would hazard a guess that most Christians would probably say that there is such a thing. At this point, I would say that the rules and regulations that God has given to humanity apply to both sexes. Obedience, submission, leadership are areas that God calls each and everyone of us to participate in and instill in our daily lives. While the expression of these things could potentially look different (complementarian vs. egalitarian), it does not negate the fact that no man or woman is exempt from exemplifying such attributes in their personal life.
Yes, I do believe that most XY individuals over the age of 18 yrs. old do not act in a responsible manner that traditionally such an age would call for. I also do not think that the Church has done a great job in discipling and mentoring young men to help them mature in their own Christian journey. It is a problem and it is an epidemic. We have created a generation of irresponsible, uncouth, selfish generation. (Of course, each generation have always looked down upon their youths. Egyptian artifacts would testify to this fact. So no, this is not a new problem kids.) However, instead of bemoaning and “challenging” men to be more like men, why don’t you help foster and create an atmosphere of encouragement for men to learn what it’s like to be men? Clearly, most of us have no friggin’ clue what it is to be a man. Does that mean you just keep on reminding us that we should be something that we don’t even know what it means to be what you are calling us to be? How can we be men if no one teaches us how to be one?
And this ultimately goes back to my hatred of the word “man up.” It points to no one and to nothing. The word “Jesus up” points us to be more like the Human Being that we all aspire to be.
I also think that women should be called to the same standard of being a woman as men are called to be a man.
One of the complaints being re-iterated is the fact that men are not leading and how women need/want to be led.
The passages in the Bible that most people look to for this type of thinking concerning the role of men and women are passages that advocate for male leadership within a marriage context. While I do not disagree that our cultural expectation is for the male to lead and for the female to follow, I do have problems when Christians exegete a passage improperly and not maintain logical consistency.
This is what I mean. If somehow you are going to promote an idea that a man must lead in a relationship (outside of a marriage context), then it follows that the woman must also submit to the man. Most women I know say that the idea of submission should happen within a marriage context and anything outside of it is outside the purview of those specific Biblical passages. In this, I agree with them. However, if you maintain that a man must lead in a relationship, then it must follow that you should be willing to submit to them in said relationship. You can’t have it both ways.
Secondly, each individual, either male or female, is responsible for their own personal walk with God. it is a PERSONAL relationship after all. That being said, a man or a woman, irregardless of their sex, should not expect another person to come along to lead them to Christ. That’s the Holy Spirit’s role. Yes, God gives help-mates along the way… but they should help, not initiate, a relationship with Christ.
In a romantic relationship, it is advisable and highly encouraged and recommended, to find a mate who would lead you to a better understanding of Christ and who would challenge you to be more Christ-like. Yet, when we die, we are called to take account for our own personal words and deeds, not the deeds of others, not even our spouses/lovers.
Men, we are called to look to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, and follow in His ways. Likewise, women, you are likewise called to the same high calling. All of us, men and women, are called to be Children of the Light. If one of us is not quite there in our Christian walk (and really, who isn’t?), let us exhort one another and encourage one another to be like Jesus, the ultimate model of what humanity should look like. We are ALL called to the same standard – and that standard is Jesus Christ.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus.