Calling All Men
Living Stones Series: First Published in All Around Old Bridge Publication – October 2018
By Pastor Lloyd Pulley
Take a look at this playground from the early 1900s. If you are a mother, a lawyer, or an insurance agent, it may be your worst nightmare. For many men, however, the playground presents a challenge they can’t help but want to conquer.
This picture shocks us because it is so different than the playgrounds of today. Modern playgrounds are focused entirely on safety and are equipped with nets and rubber pelts to break the slightest fall. We work to make sure no danger could befall a child, and yet, the more dangerous playgrounds were used to raise the greatest generation ¬– those who fought in World War II.
Few would disagree that men have been softened today. Compared to the strong, brave, risk-taking men of yesteryear, men today do not have the same bravery or resolve. Perhaps they have been softened, at least in part, by the lack of danger that made past generations what they were.
The emasculation of this generation is something widely recognized by leading scholars and writers alike. Book after book details how and why men of today are radically different from what men used to be. Psychology Today published an article that declared America was “a nation of wimps.”
Many attribute this to the increased female influence boys grow up with today. The number of boys growing up without fathers has dramatically risen since the 1950s and leaves boys without a meaningful male figure in their lives. Boys also have a high number of female teachers during elementary school, making it more likely that they grow up with more feminine influence even into their adulthood.
This kind of influence can make men more prone to handle things in a feminized way. This is not calling men effeminate, but rather feminized. Feminized men are more likely handle things in a soft, gentle way instead of displaying strong leadership qualities. Feminized men are more likely to look to the approval of the group or their own feelings for validation instead of following what they know to be virtuous. The result is men who process life more like women. We certainly need strong (and hopefully godly) women, but we also need men to be men.
Young men need to learn to take responsibility. Parents need to take the responsibility of ensuring their boys grow up employable and marriageable. In the military, boot camp breaks a man down before building them up the right way. Boys need to be broken down from selfish, childish ways and made into men. This process just does not happen without strong men.
A biblical example of forming a man is seen in the account of Gideon in the book of Judges. Gideon had fear and doubt despite being called a mighty man of valor. To work out that fear, he was challenged to go beyond his natural ability. He was stretched not coddled. This is exactly what we need to see more of in our generation.
Brett and Kate McKay in their blog, The Art of Manliness, speak of the ancient word, “thumos”. Thumos carries with it ideas of ambition, honor, passion, courage, and boldness. If thumos is not developed in a man, he will only ever be a nice guy who cannot stand up for right. If thumos is not harnessed and put into its proper place, it will produce a man ruled by his own ego and passions. The goal, however, is having thumos in balance, producing a man capable harnessing his manliness toward a goal.
With these concerns in mind, Calvary Old Bridge will be holding a Men’s Conference on Friday, October 26th and Saturday, October 27th open to all men. This conference is designed to encourage men to learn their ultimate purpose as men and be challenged to live as a man. The conference will feature worship, messages on the subject of biblical manhood and plenty of iron sharpening iron. The conference will begin on Friday night at 7pm and will included teaching from Pastor Ken Graves, Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Bangor in Maine. After letting out for the night, the conference will resume Saturday morning at 8am and run until the early afternoon.
Throughout the conference, there will be times for men to connect with each other, lift each other up in prayer, and build the connections necessary to walk well with Jesus in daily life. Men of all church backgrounds are welcome to come join this conference. For more info, visit ccob.org.
In our confused culture, I often look at my 9-year-old granddaughter and wonder where the man is who is being prepared to lead her as a husband in 10-15 years. We cannot afford to let masculinity fall by the wayside in our churches. We must commit to being men who raise men who will stand out in their generation.