At our men's retreat over the weekend, I used the following quote as a springboard.
“Guys are in trouble these days,” says Garrison Keillor. “Years ago, manhood was an opportunity for achievement and now it's just a problem to be overcome. Plato, St. Francis, Leonardo DaVinci, Vince Lombardi—you don’t find guys of that caliber today. What you find is terrible gender anxiety, guys trying to be Mr. Right, the man who can bake a cherry pie, go shoot skeet, come back, toss a salad, converse easily about intimate matters, cry if need be, laugh, hug, be vulnerable, perform passionately that night and the next day go off and lift them bales onto that barge and tote it. Being perfect is a terrible way to spend your life, and guys are not equipped for it anyway. It is like a bear riding a bicycle. He can be trained to do it for short periods, but he would rather be in the woods doing what bears do there.”
-Garrison Keillor, Sunday New York Times
The feminization of society (and, consequently, the church).
The 70% of men in prison who didn't have a father at home.
The 40% of male teens who went to bed last night without a dad at home.
The generation of men raised by women.
All of these things have contributed to this widespread adaptation of males adopting one of two identities of manhood: chauvinism or feminism. Just as God is outside of time but has both revealed Himself and created us within the scope of time for our sakes, God is also outside of gender, but has both revealed Himself and created us within the scope of gender roles. And without a Biblical understanding of manhood, we adopt a chauvinism or a feminism…either of which seem to be a perversion of what is reflected in scripture.
I'm pretty convinced that we (men at large) still don't have much of a clue as to what those look like…but after the weekend, I'm encouraged. I'll throw out some of the details as the week unfolds and we can dissect them and compare it to scripture.