Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Thoughts: One Problem With Christian Men

When it comes to observations, I have many. I figured I would start writing down some and here is one that has been on my mind for a while now.

I find it odd that when it comes to Christian men, it seems that the world's impression of them being weak, spineless, and judgmental men for many is true. Let me explain. Paul Coughlin, the author of No More Christian Nice Guy says "Christian men are expected to be mild and amiable, though Jesus was far from mild and amiable. They aren’t expected to show much emotion either, especially passion, since the "ideal" Christian man is primarily stoic." This is exactly what many believe Christian men should be like and unfortunately many actually are like. This leads to an unhealthy tension for those who want to follow Christ or have just considered becoming a Christian.

For Christian men this undue tension between exhibiting strength and being Christ-like is an unfortunate constant. This should not be. For the reason mentioned above, so many equate being strong to being wrong. They equate toughness and boldness to badness and rebellion. For many, being tough and bold is bad and definitely not something a Christian man should be. This is just crazy! Our culture, which over the past 3 decades has done all it can to 'feminize' and 'de-masculinize' men and has produced a generation of spineless, pathetic, self-centered men who don't have a clue what being a man is all about. This demasculinization unfortunately crept its way into the church , found a huge reception, and now has basically taken over. Man, who was created in the image of a Warrior God has bought into the lie and as a result been hindered from becoming the man he was created to be. He's been trained instead to be nice and to reject any and all 'aggressiveness' and 'boldness' because it's just not 'Christian'. Instead of promoting and encouraging men to become warriors and champions for Christ and for their wives and families, Christian men have been taught to be spineless, emotionless wimps! I agree that in our world today aggressiveness and boldness is not 'Christian', but it certainly is Christ-like! Today's Christian man is not what God intended when He created man! God created man to be strong, vivacious, and passionate. He created man to take a stand for righteousness, to fight for it, and give his life for it if need be but it seems that there is an overabundance of just the opposite in our world and especially in our churches.

This tension leads to many problems for men when it comes to relationships and life in general. The fact of the matter is that man really does have this inborn desire to be strong, aggressive, and victorious. He has a God-given desire to show aggression, to conquer, and to win! When this desire is repressed, it causes problems. Aggression, if not allowed properly to flow, will manifest itself in destructive ways such as anger, irritability, and even rage. How many men mistreat their wives or children, yell and scream at children and co-workers, or just flat out irritable all the time? How many Christian men do this? Then there are those men who just don't really know what to do and simply check out emotionally. Teenage boys will find ways of releasing aggression through sports (which is great) or through negative ways such as fighting, rejecting authority, and unhealthy sexual relationships. Could it be this simple? I think so. I am not saying that all sinful aggressive acts of men should be blamed on this, but I would venture to say much of it could. Think about it. If a man is not allowed to express himself in the way he was created to, frustration will set in and will cause him to express himself in unhealthy ways. Christian men today are frustrated men because they don't know how to be the men God created them to be. Most don't have a clue what it is he is suppose to be! Most men are frustrated, unsure, and insecure.

Aggression is power. It's a force to be reckoned with and when that force is stifled, it will begin to buck and kick and seek to get out anyway it can. When man believes it is sinful to even have those 'wild' and 'warrior-like' passions, he will seek to squelch them out and 'resist' these evil urges. When he does all he can do to silence this inner 'sin' he finds that it's not really that easy. He finds that after his well intentioned efforts to restrain this 'sinful' aggressiveness, he still loses his temper ,blows up, or hangs his head in shame and eventually just gives in and gives up.

Now if he never overcomes this lie, man will become nothing more than a beaten down shell of a man. His spirit shattered, his will depleted, and his desire for adventure and excitement history! Churches are filled with men like this. For many, they will find a comfortable place of existence and accept mediocrity and lackadaisical Christianity while others will attempt to compensate by taking on roles of 'leadership' within the church. These spiritually impotent men who do find their way into leadership positions feel the urge to become the 'caretakers' of the 'things' of God and honestly believe that they are doing something for God by caring for 'the church'. Even though it is not based upon them being a man of God , they find some meaning and significance in life. This new role for these men produces a false sense of pride, also known as arrogance, ensnaring them in a system of such that is absolutely foreign to Scripture. This fabrication has hurt and actually destroyed many churches. Because these men are not qualified, nor are they spiritually mature enough, they become the blind leading the blind. What they call church now has become anything but 'church'. They take that which is spiritual and attempt to run it by 'unspiritual' means. Real spirituality is replaced by dead religion led by men who don't have a clue to the things of God. For instance, how many deacons honestly know what the 'mysteries of the faith' are? I know men who have served as deacons for years who cannot lead a lost person to Christ. Deacons, men who suppose to know the 'mysteries of the faith' who can't even tell someone how to be saved. This is an atrocity and yet our churches are filled with them!

Well intentioned yet spiritually impotent men become keepers of the crypt dedicating themselves to caring for a dead, or at the most, a dying institution void of all spiritual power and maturity. These men find themselves in roles in which they simply do not belong and out of ignorance and arrogance begin to run the church. They hide behind dead religion, domineering wives, and the very institution responsible for such. The only excitement these men experience is when they get caught up in arguing about and complaining about petty stuff revolving around institutional things, i.e. 'church stuff'. I have seen men who should be sharing the love of Jesus and the message of hope and salvation with others be overcome emotionally with the overwhelming need to call a meeting to discuss the silly, the absurd, and the ridiculous. I have seen grown men blow up in a 'business' meeting over the fact that the youth wanted to sell donuts to help raise money for camp. I have seen it where the church had to vote on whether or not it was OK to have an event to reach lost people. What?!!! I have seen grown men spew venomous hatred to staff over the length of Vacation Bible School or the volume of the song service. When a man will hide behind church by-laws and man-made traditions and neglect the hurting, lost, and dying, something is terribly wrong! Men so caught up in 'taking care of the church' have missed that which is really important. What a shame! What a horrible shame!

I honestly believe Satan's goal is to break a Christian man all the way down and then deceive him to believing that it is his responsibility to protect the institution of the church and all of its traditions. This will keep him from doing anything bold or outrageous for God! It will keep him spiritually paralyzed. Churches are filled with these men. They may be Christians, but they are lost men who have been overcome by the enemy and have failed to become the men God meant for them to become! It's a sad state! Instead of the 'church' embracing and encouraging men to be men, it has done just the opposite. Churches are filled with men who have never been validated, who have never embraced their calling to be men, and who promote the very same thing to others. May God open our eyes to see this lie and may we sharpen our swords (and our wits) and become the Warriors we were created to be! God set us free in Jesus not be religious eunuchs but to live life with passion and make a real difference in this world! Now that's real life!

Afterthought: I must mention that I know many godly men who serve in churches as deacons, elders, SS teachers, etc. who truly serve the people and minister to them according the Word of God and are real men of God!