I have noticed that when it comes to issues of masculinity, lets say even, overt expressions, maybe hunting or fishing, or men who launch into some of this, there are many reactions out there. One of them is what I want to talk about. It is the one that says, "Oh, come on. That's not what a man is. A man is one who has Jesus as his guide, all that stuff is just external ego trying to earn manhood."
It is very dismissive towards a man's quest. Essentially saying, there is no reason to do that. Just be Godly. Follow Jesus. that is the way to be a man. there are a few books, that kind of lead you in that path, and can be rather reactionary towards the whole "men's movement."
I must admit, I agree. It is really about Jesus. to glorify him, and enjoy God forever. but my question, really, is how do we ultimately get there?
I think that is what is so beautiful, in my opinion, about some of these uber masculine things. they tell us something about what we deeply desire and long for inside. for the same reason, we could ask a porn addict, what are the images you look at? At first, we would rather say, dont look at porn. bounce the head. control your flesh.
but for most, from what I found, even personally, its a band-aid on a grand canyon divide. but what if inside all those desires, was a deep longing for God? And what if we honored the process, and even affirmed it?
Dan Allender says, if you are going to sin, enjoy it.
Most of us deny it at the time, give ourselves illusions of why we are sinning, till we fall, and feel the shame, and then beat ourselves up in the process. But what, if you actually threw a party for your sin? And really named what it was you wanted?
It sounds so wrong, but I think where it takes you is to actually naming what you want. and since Evil did not create our heart, and longings of the soul, to name our desire is to bring us to God, and his desires for us--ultimately. That is where the process leads us. As Chesterton writes, "A man knocking in the door of a brothel, is actually knowing on the door of God."
One thing that I think would be helpful for those looking at pornography is to name what you really want? You are not realy just looking for a naked woman, right? What specifically are you looking for in that moment? Large boobs? A wild girl? Specifically what scene are you after? What are you searching for?
And then, what specifically deeper than that scene are you really looking for? What's in that image that awakens or numbs, or is your heart searching for? Simple beauty? Are you needing to be violent because of some odd reason of life? Do you need to just be taken away by someone in control?
I think our desires might tell us about something even deeper, that ultimately points us to a God who can meet us.
I think it is the same pathway with masculinity. Why does rolling in the dirt men's stuff appeal to many men? Why might a man want to go buy a gun? I think, because there is a need in the heart, that is searching for God. I believe our desires, reveal our design from God. and to tell that man, don't roll in the dirt, is in some form to deny the pathway to which we meet Jesus. Isn't it always in our brokenness, and sin, and mixed in with longing, and desire? Why would God ask us to pray? We need to name our desires for him in its midst.
I am finding, the more we move into trying to awaken, and stir young men's hearts towards the gospel, and masculinity, a very strong current of this negativism, and a thinking, "isn't this cowboy and Indians?" type of thought. While, if we stay there, yes. But, the beauty of the gospel, the beauty of our hearts is we move towards God, whether we know it or not, we move towards our design, even when evil might trick our eyes of why we are there. It is our blindness that keeps us stuck.
But almost, always, almost always, it is a knock on the door of God. and what I pray for, is not more men to dismiss it, but a legion of men, who can honor the process, honor the man who is there for a reason, and move him deeper into those desires. by not dimissing them, but awakening him to a bigger gospel, and a deeper masculinity. we dont need more pessimism, but men who have been through that process, and can honor the young man in it as well.
I find that most of the men who write this whole masculinity thing off, are men, quite frankly, who have never risked stepping into that process themselves.