“It is painful, being a man, to have to assert the privilege, or the burden, which Christianity lays upon my own sex. I am crushingly aware of how inadequate most of us are, on our actual and historical individualities, to fill the place prepared for us.”
–CS Lewis, God in the Dock
From a biological standpoint, the Y chromosome is what makes us men. In fact, there are some Russian scientists that believe the Y will inevitably all together–perhaps in 10 million years or so. But what about societally? What about spiritually? As I posted yesterday, I'll begin today by stirring the pot.
What follows is the continuation of my own journey to understanding Biblical manhood (Read Part One and Part Two here). It's not complete, but it is where I am at this point. PostModerns and post-postmoderns fancy the idea of 'deconstructing' things–breaking things down into their 'essences' or 'cores'. In fact, as the renowned PM philosopher Jacques Derrida once said, "It is only through the process of deconstruction, by breaking things down to their cores, that we will ever break through onto something else."
If you ever figure out what the fat that means, you let me know. Because I sure don't. What I do know, however, is that I've yet to be convinced that Scripture ever really 'deconstructs' anything. At all. In fact, what it does is quite the opposite. Instead of deconstructing, it layers. It doesn't reduce much of anything, but systematically adds to the picture. (e.g. concepts of 'the kingdom of God' and 'the gospel' immediately spring to mind). So, in following with the pattern of Scripture, that's what I'll do here. Layer. Build on. We'll do addition instead of subtraction.
So, what does Scripture say about manhood? About the roles of men? Here's the first of a 5 or 6 part layering of what I am understanding about a Biblical manhood.
The first fingerprint I can find in Scripture is that of King. And although it's clearly central to the theme of the Scriptures (God is King of Kings), it's first appearance is in Genesis 1 where Adam, the prototype man, is instructed to 'have dominion' or 'rule'. Of course the theme runs completely through the OT in into the NT where Jesus enters the scene and is destined to rule 'with all power and authority'. It wouldn't surprise me if men in Scripture had bumper stickers on their camels, donkeys, and chariots that simply read, 'The buck stops here' (or the ephaph or denarius?!?). It was not a power issue, but an issue of responsibility. Obviously, there are lots of slope-headed brutes out there that see this as a divine right to rule with an iron hand and become the ultimate Boss of their little brick castle. (If that's you…you're pretty stupid…just keep with me through the rest of these and you'll see why…)
But his Kingship and Kingdom are not a reign of terror or some kind of barbarian rule. The heart of the king is a provisionary heart. The king looks ahead, watches over, and provides order, mercy, and justice. He is authority. He is leader. He is ‘the energy of just and creative ordering.” The king in man is in authority, yet ‘under orders’ to a higher authority. Just check out Ephesians 5:25-29 below:
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church…"
Abusive? Hardly. Barbaric? Nope. Chauvinistic? Not in the least. Unless you consider the act of 'providing' abusive. Or you consider abuse to be 'provision'. Either one is way off. But as King (ruler) you give all your energy to providing the best for your wife and family. The best of your efforts at work and the best of your time at home. They don't get the 'leftovers', but the first fruits.
Tomorrow, Pillar #2…