Reclaiming Masculine Christianity Pt. 2

When we look at the New Testament and the Gospels, after Jesus is born, we don’t really hear about Jesus’ father, Joseph. Many scholars believe that Joseph had died and Jesus had grown up with Mary as his parent. Jesus, being a Rabbi, had an extremely extensive education in front of him. He grew up in the Jewish education system with the teachers of the law, the Rabbi’s, within an overwhelmingly patriarchal structure (for better or worse). As a young child, Jesus went through something called Beit Sefer, where he had to memorize the complete Torah. Being that he was in the top of his class, he was not like the other boys his age who were pushed off to learn the family trade from their fathers. After this, Jesus continued so study in the next level of education, Beit Talmud. When Jesus started Beit Talmud, he was probably a pre-teenager. Once again, Jesus was at the top of his class, and would have been invited by the Rabbi’s to apprentice under them and complete his education under the Rabbi’s. This was called Beit Midrash. When we look at the use of his time as a child, Jesus was being ushered by men into his Jewish faith. He spent time in the temple, learned from men, and prayed with his heavenly father. Jesus’ life was spent around with the men of his time.

Psychologists believe that when boys hits his pre-teen and early teenage years, they often separate from their fathers. Their fathers’ approval seems less and less important to them. They start looking outside of them for their male-to-male validation. Boys bond with their coaches, their teachers, their youth pastors, their peers, etc. When teenagers hit the age of fifteen, something happens in their brain that says I need to do something big, something important. We tell ourselves that we are big, we are important. Oh, how tragic we are to believe we could achieve big and important things. Instead, most of us took one of two paths. Some became perfectionists. We got perfect grades. We went to the best school. We got an internship at some prestigious job. The rest, said the rules don’t apply to us. We’re going to create our own path. We were just really loud, and tried really hard just to get noticed. Studies show that a teenager adjusts better into adulthood, when they have someone to mirror back to them, true greatness. This is where having a proper support system (parenting, mentoring, counseling) is necessary for all teenagers.

Some scholars believe that each generation of men is getting less and less from their fathers than the previous one. Around 40% of kids don‘t have fathers because of things like death, divorce, prison, or abandonment. Likewise, similar numbers are shown for kids who grew up with emotionally absent or abusive parents. In this case, most boys don’t have good relationships with their fathers. So boys look elsewhere for their needs. Many people recognize their fathers as the skeletons of the family. Carrying the frames of financial support, but offering no heart, mind, or soul. What has been mirrored to most men is to remain to be a skeleton. To have their wives, their mothers, be the heart, mind , and soul of the family. This absence of the father, this is why it is so important that we have good pastors, teachers, and mentors to mirror back to our youth their personal significance and their ability to find themselves and their place in this world. Maybe, this is why Jesus took a group of twelve young men into his care and showed them his way.

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4 thoughts on “Reclaiming Masculine Christianity Pt. 2

  1. Leo Staley says:

    Someone once said that the reason God chose to present himself as Father was because he knew the world was going to be in much greater want of good fathers than good mothers.

    • Mike Friesen says:

      Great thoughts Leo,
      Maybe because Jesus had such a wonderful mother (and presumably Jesus was dead), this is why he needed to go to temple, to be in his fathers house. What do you think about that?

  2. Wow Mike. As usual really deep and of course as the totally imperfect father of three incredible boys…really exhortational. With a culture that discourages most masculinity, it’s a really excellent reminder that many of us men are THE model some young guy, other than our own son, will choose to emulate. Often they won’t issue a press release when they do, so we need to remember that we are ALWAYS having an impact. Being a man is a GOOD thing, and a very big calling.

  3. Ralph says:

    Not sure that I agree Jesus was formally taught to be a Rabbi. In addition to what we think of as ‘Rabbi’ today, the word can mean master or teacher, and can be a sign of respect, not just the title of a formally trained teacher of the law. I only know of one place this was addressed – John 7:14-19. That appears to say his knowledge came from his father, not formal training.

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