Reclaiming Masculine Christianity Pt. 1

Psychologists will talk about the natural crisis that a man finds himself in because he was a man born in a woman’s body. They say that a man must find his manhood, while a woman has already been nurtured into hers. A man must grow into his manhood through the help of other men, and through his own suffering. The tragedy, I believe, that we find in Christianity, is that we are not producing good Christian men. Brad Pitt’s character Tyler Durden in the movie Fight Club seems to get the picture when he said this, “We’re a generation of men raised by women. I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer we need.“ Unfortunately, Christianity is producing men who are either violent tyrants (who abuse their children and wives (in many forms), and start wars in their Church over theology and politics), or we produce good boys, who just follow the rules and try to skate through life without causing problems.

When we look at the one of the greatest disasters in our modern era, we must look at the role of relationships between fathers and their sons, or lack there of. When we look at our modern American context of fatherhood, most fathers are either physically or emotionally absent. Both of these are causing extreme damage to our homes. Families are not provided with the necessary masculine energy that both boys and girls need. What we now have are mothers left to initiate their sons into grown men. With this happening, we can see why so many men have attachment problems with their mothers (which causes problems in their marriages because only one woman can hold the space of primary woman). It also helps us to see why men are not given the necessary wisdom to move through their struggles properly. They were not provided a proper masculine identity.

When we recognize the absence of men from a little boy’s life, we can see why the world is filled with so many problems. The world and the Church have created men who not only don’t know how to treat women, but how to treat other men. We have produced far too many sexists, warriors instead of peacemakers, all because of a shortage of mature and wise men.

What does being a man mean? How do we help boys become men?

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13 thoughts on “Reclaiming Masculine Christianity Pt. 1

  1. tommyab says:

    i see this problem everywhere…

    but I tend to be merciful toward the men before us, because – poor them – nobody showed them anything. Nothing at all.

    we must also take into consideration the fact that our world have change more in the last few decades than it did in the 5000 years before.

    everybody is disoriented.

    the question I have been asking myself for a while is this one: knowing this, how do we, young men, become godly men able to have healthy relationships with men and women, and able to ouselves initiate younger ones to become men themselves.

    the answer I guess will imply something like findings our roots and example in Christ himself… but: easy to say. How do I do it here and now??

    • Mike Friesen says:

      I agree with you Tommy, it’s quite sad. Are you mentoring any teenagers?

      • tommyab says:

        not in the moment…
        but this is something I’ve been pondering about in the last few months.
        And I see the need for it.

        more generally speaking, it’s a issue of disciple formation

        and most of “classical” evangelicals folks don’t see any necessity for discipleship. Many of them assume that everything a christian must know to live a godly and Christ-like life is “infused” automatically by the Spirit at the conversion moment.
        I often hear statements about christians who act badly, often christians that are christians for many years, and people say: “how can they be christians and do that?”… The assumption is that if you are a christian, you KNOW automatically how to be, and how to live, and how to be Christ-like.

        The fact is that many people don’t necessarly know. And when they know, they don’t necessarly know how to act accordingly to what they know.

        Talking about “training”, or “mentoring” is seen as way too much “catholic” and almost blasphemeous against the Spirit who is supposed to lead His children, isn’t He ? The more I think about it, and the more I see that in fact, it is blasphemeous for our individuallistic mind: “nobody will show me how to live”.

        we just have capitulate to the spirit of this generation, who believe that every individual define himself by himself, alone.
        Sure, there has been abuses in the past, and over-conformity. but now, not only do our generation conform to each other in being non-conformist and “unique”, but everybody is alone in doing it.

  2. All through out the Old Testament we see God taking action then giving the people the command to remember what he did for them. When it comes to raising a child parents often teach their children things about God. They give them Bibles with their names on them in gold print and tell them to read it but it is rare to hear of parents sharing their personal faith journeys with their children. In Joshua 4:19-24 God had allowed the people of Israel to cross the Jordan and commanded them to set up 12 stones to remember what God has done. Parents should be doing the same thing. Setting up “stones” so that their children are able to see what God has done, is doing and anticipate what he will do.

    • Mike Friesen says:

      Good thoughts Travis,
      I think what I love about that whole journey and especially the Exodus is that God commands them over and over again to be strong and courageous, it means that strength and courage are necessary for the journey. I think God knew things were going to be hard, and that hardness of life is where the real transformational work happens. I think that’s why we need good men who can help lead us through the trials with wisdom.

  3. pamhogeweide says:

    I am tracking with you on your post and think you raise some great points. But I don’t like the title of this post anymore than I would like Reclaiming Feminine Christianity. Your post doesn’t reflect the title so I’m stumped.

    Why did you title it this way??

    (It’s your blog and of course writers can write and title whatever they choose. This question is out of curiosity, not a challenge to your right to write)

  4. Mike Friesen says:

    Pam,
    Thanks for your thought. When I look at the history of men and their relationships with the world, studies are showing over and over again that men are getting less and less out of their relationships with men. To reclaim Masculine Christianity, means that we do not claim this macho, chauvinistic Christianity that so pervades us but to claim the tradition, the truth of our manhood, rather than become violent or passive. It’s to reclaim the history and truth (at least my perception of it) of man hood, rather than take the claims that are (which don’t seem to be very healthy).

  5. Hmm. I think women have the same problem, actually. Check out today’s post on Her.Meneutics: http://blog.christianitytoday.com/women/2011/10/why_its_your_job_to_break_the.html

    People are trying to connect, but are so bogged down in the stereotypes of what society expects that to look like that it can be really tough. What if you’re a woman who doesn’t like crafts? What if you’re a man who isn’t into football?

    Personally, I think the purported “gender confusion” that is so rampant today stems more from insecurity about how we fit into the social norms than from anything else. I mean, I *am* a woman–I don’t have to learn how to be one! To insinuate that I do has some rather bizarre philosophical consequences.

    That being said, it sounds like the problem is a lack of good male role models, or patterns of male friendship? I don’t know the answer to that–but I would think that as in any relationship, there would have to be a priority put on being together, and perhaps a release of expectations about what that will look like? Intentionality without a specific agenda?

    As the mother of four boys, I find this conversation interesting.

    • Mike Friesen says:

      Jenny,
      Thanks for your thoughts. You are correct, men don’t know how to connect with each other very well. That’s something I will talk about in a greater depth. Also, men aren’t naturally taught some of the tools in how to grow as a human because of what we have been told of what a man does and what he is supposed to look like.

    • pamhogeweide says:

      Thanks for the link Jenny. I hadn’t looked in my google reader and would have missed that wonderful article! I left a comment, too!

  6. Neil says:

    I am liking this series so far. I look forward to finishing the whole thing. Thank you for writing on this topic.

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