With the release of the latest Bond movie, lots of blog entries, articles, and general chatter about Bond as the example of über-manliness has been floating around. What else we would expect from the world? But the problem I fear is that many in the Church believe the same thing.
I fear that biblical men look at a man who is tough, adventurous, good with women, great at his job and think he’s the ideal man; something to aspire to be like. But they fail to see his flaws: the inevitable melancholy from this work, his lack of any real moral compass, his failure to have any real relationship with a woman, etc. Bond – especially in the books – is never portrayed as a man who is content with his life. Yet, many men still see in him a kind of role model; all they wish they had.
And the reality is, if that’s true of men in our churches, then it’s the pastor’s fault.
How can I say that? I say that because it means we have failed to present biblical manliness in such a way that it draws men to pursue it. We have failed to present God’s vision of true manliness is such a way that it draws them away from the world’s false ideas of masculinity.
So what’s the solution? The solution is to preach the truth! Consider doing a series that zeros in on the life a godly man. Preach on someone like David, Nehemiah, or Joshua. These men were tough as nails – even leading in battle. But they also had tender hearts for God and followed him with passion and zeal. Their skill in war and leadership were only matched by their devotion to the Lord.
Why not go right to the source and preach on Jesus himself! Show that Christ was in every way the perfect man. Show that he could get mad – burning mad – not over stupid things, but eternal matters like hypocritical spiritual leaders. Show that he was a man of integrity who never compromised or bowed to pressure from others. Show that Jesus displayed tenderness and compassion towards women, not because he wanted to bed them, but because they were people who deserved it. Show that he maintained close friendships with men. Friendships that went beyond sports and frivoloity, but were rooted in spiritual life and community. Show that Jesus was supremely devoted to God. That his joy and satisfaction came in fulfilling God’s will for his life. Show Jesus as the supreme example of manliness – an example that the men in your church will want to imitate. Show a vision of manliness that can bring lasting satisfaction because it is rooted in God himself.
Unless someone else gets to it first, I’d love to write a book about this. But until that (unlikely event) happens – open the Book and preach, brothers!