22 August 2011

Gospel Men

I see four ways masculinity is expressed by Christian men today; three wrong, one right.

1. Soft exterior, soft interior. Effeminate inside and out, top to bottom. Yuck.

2. Hard exterior, soft interior. Posers. Macho. Insecure, covering it with how much they can bench.

3. Hard exterior, hard interior. Genuinely strong, willing to lay down their life for Jesus and family, but earnest to make sure everyone knows that about them. Not only wants to be strong in actuality but needs to be strong in image. Stiff not only in conviction but in demeanor.

4. Soft exterior, hard interior. Rock solid, responsible, risk-taking, calls heresy heresy, calls error error, willing to take shots for the good of the team, able to stick his neck out in elder meetings when the pastor is being maligned by fellow-elder-golfing-buddies--but all soaked in a gentle demeanor, seasoned with grace, someone the guy struggling with homosexuality would confide in.

The answer to the first two is not the third but the fourth.

Paul said 'Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men' (1 Cor 16:13) and he said repeatedly to do all things with gentleness (Gal 5:23; Eph 4:2; 2 Tim 2:25). I think in the past I've received the first thing to the neglect of the second.

A mature oak tree is immovable when the storms rage against it, but it's also beautiful, and invites shelter to others. Isn't that what gospel men should be?


Anonymous said...

Dane, this is brilliant! Thanks for sharing it brother. GBU, Marty.

Martyn Link said...

Thanks Dane, wise words to strive towards. Thanks for the encouragement.

Eric said...

What a lovely post! Superb, Dane. The image at the end is priceless.

Reed said...

Do you think this also applies to women? Are they not also to be soft on the outside but hard on the inside? I guess I'm not sure how this uniquely applies to men and not women.

(This is a legit question - I don't have an ulterior motive here.)

Andrew said...

Thanks, Dane.

Dane Ortlund said...

Hi Reed. Could we say that men are called to be oaks, and women cherry trees? Or beautiful grape vines?

pjclutterbuck said...

This rather reminds me of Paul Tournier's classic, "The Strong and the Weak." Neither is better than the other, b/c both have their inadequacies and insecurities. The strong guy is covering for his unacknowledged weaknesses, what Carl Gustav Jung described as Shadow projection. The weak knows that he's weak and decides to play the victim. I myself tend towards the latter, but I've known plenty of guys who play tough. Ultimately, we're all attachment-disordered and therefore fundamentally insecure. Only God can change that.

John McGrath said...

Thanks for your godly insight. You inspire me!