For men who want to be men, we have to fight two things: society and ourselves.
But it is fighting ourselves–or rather, toughening ourselves up, that makes us so we can change society.
I’m convinced that most of what passes for Christianity in America (and probably Europe too) is a pale, softened, feminized reflection of what the Apostles had and what their immediate predecessors had. Men were strong and resilient in the choice of certain death at hostile dictators and a backwards culture. They boldly led their wives and families around the known world to spread the Good News, without fear. Our generation, when we even make it to church, we tend to either hear feel-good messages designed to tickle the ears, or outdated ‘beam me up, Scotty’ theology that makes us wimpy Christians.
I’ve been at the mercy of feminized Christianity off and on for more years than I would have liked. I hung around with the hippies in the ‘prayer rooms’, trying to appease Jesus by singing songs at him 24 hours a day. I thought that spirituality was all about embracing Jesus as a Bridegroom, the whole Song-of-Solomon-being-a-parable-for-Jesus nonsense. (Today I take Occam’s Razor to the book and I see it as a book of romantic, sometimes erotic, poetry.)
I’ve seen Christians re-discovering grace, discovering that God destroyed sin and destroyed us on the Cross for our freedom. If you’re not preaching grace so it can be interpreted as a license for sin (the same accusation levelled at Paul), then you’re preaching it wrong. But what we see now is that the grace movement has emerged from the thought of an angry Father and Son to the image of…well…the land of teddy bears and marshmallows. Some of us went from the idea of an abusive God to the polar opposite: passive, loving, gentle, and never offensive. As always, the truth is in the middle, the via media.
When I think about a father, I think about my dad teaching me how to drive, yelling at me when I was stopping at a green light or missing nearby cars in my mirrors, laughing as I would make my second car, which had a manual transmission, buck like a bronco across the parking lot and then die. I think of long hours spent taking my old Buick Regal apart to replace the fuel pump and alternator. Burn myself or cut myself a bit? It’s all right, just suck it up.
Dads are there to toughen you up in addition to providing you love and stability. If half of the weak twerps on college campuses who call themselves ‘Social Justice Warriors’ (there’s nothing war-like about them unless they’re wearing bandannas and protesting; perhaps we could call them ‘Sad Jellyfish Weasels’?) had had a real father tell them to ‘suck it up’ and stop being so weak, there wouldn’t be a problem with that. But no, the millennials had absent fathers or distant fathers who didn’t know how to raise kids, or didn’t even want to raise kids. This problem with weakness and lack of strong guidance goes all the way back to the Baby Boomers, the original children of privilege. Fortunately, I was one of the lucky few Gen-Xers with an intact nuclear family and Christian values, which helped keep our family together and helped keep me together through all the years of hell I suffered at the hands of mental illness.
I want to help reshape the picture of modern Christianity. I want to see Jesus as a man’s man, a conqueror who laid down his sword and died for humanity, to defeat sin and the grave forever. I want to read Paul, Peter, and John in the context of strong men who walked for days and weeks on end, sometimes going without food and sleep, to tell people of Christ everywhere.
To do that, I need to become strong. I need to change my mindset. To do that, I am reading the book Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich so I can toughen up my mind and body. Scott Adams’ How To Fail At Everything And Still Win Big is also important, and I plan to work on his persuasion reading list so that while I am strengthening myself mentally and physically, I can learn how to influence others for good.
The other nonfiction book I’m reading off and on is The Jesus-Driven Life, by Michael Hardin. I like Hardin because he embraces mystery in spirituality but he’s also a no-nonsense fellow who doesn’t pull any punches (at least as I have encountered him on Facebook in the past).
Physically, I am working on finding a good martial arts studio that combines sensible cost with a serious attitude towards the study. I’ve figured out a way to make myself watch my eating and lose weight by making a system out of it: making it like a game. I don’t want to share any details on that yet because I’m only five days into it and I want to make sure it’s a viable, sustainable system first. So far it’s working pretty well.
In order to shape the world around us, Christians need to get strong. There is plenty of good we can be doing in the world–defeating globalism, socialism, feminism, Cultural Marxism, racism, immorality…all sorts of clear and present dangers. The dragons we have to slay now are not physical, but are ideas in peoples’ heads that are weakening us and causing them to be susceptible to every whim of the poisonous culture around us. Sometimes these ideas are helping weaken our countries’ borders and making our citizens unsafe. We, as Christian men, should be doing something about that.
As Christians, we should be leading the world. As men, we should be shaping Christianity into an effective force. I want to see Christians with backbone, modern Crusaders with guts who can stand up against Islamic invasion, globalism, and liberal insanity.
In order to fix what’s around me, I am fixing myself, by the power of Christ within, and by good guidance. Are you strengthening yourself? If not, isn’t it about time?