Sunday, April 20, 2008
Post from Crowbar Massage
As a father, I wanted to share this post from my son Eric. It's an interesting read and of course his humor cracks me up; "Panty Praise", classic line. But more than that, I wanted to include my response to him, giving me a chance to publicly describe him.
One last word for the young Christian man: Do you want to grow up quickly? Then leave mommy's familiar, safe haven and venture out into the danger zone. As Leon Podles said, "Go find your Holy Grail; go meet the strange, meet the unfamiliar." Protect people; lead people; rescue people. Fight inequities and absurdities. Beware, young man, of parents and pastors who want to "mother" you. Avoid the secure; Fear over-protection; and happily accept the masculine task of the patriarch, the prophet, the warrior and wild man....Get to a place, young warrior, where pain is not a big deal, where you embrace resistance. And by your example, you will encourage others to resist self-doubt, squeamishness, indecision and the impulse to surrender and withdraw into the warm, wet womb of Wussville. -Doug Giles“Be on the alert, stand firm in he faith, act like men, be strong.” 1Cor. 16:13Act like men. I've been reading some challenging Christian pacifist material lately, writers from or influenced by the Anabaptists, the Mennonites and even the Amish. I have always wrestled with the "way of Christ" in the gospels and how to live that without being a quasi-male. I admit, I felt that the church world had a effeminate effect on me until my late 30's when I abandoned the prayer shawl for the camel skin coat. I purposed in my heart to leave the cushioned chairs of Christianity for a inner pursuit of something raw, wild and God willing, more attune to the man resonance going on within me. I have been rewarded in my search but at the same time after following some of those male tribal rhythms to their ends...I was left dissatisfied too. I found myself just as queasy at pounding my chest and strutting around singing testosterone like promise keeper songs as I was with the panty praise that was being produced by some of the CCM crowd. The goal of finding a way to express the inner voices of masculinity was more challenging than storming out of the sanctuary; ripping off my clothes and running wild in the woods while screaming FREEDOM at the top of my over-estrogen filled lungs. I could bang drums, pound sticks, clash swords, cuss and chew a cigar while chugging the latest NW micro-brew all while reading NEW-MAN or Blue Like Jazz and still not scratch the itch that was driving me mad. In some ways it was rewarding at times...like when I canoed alone into the wilderness to face my fears. And it was exhausting....self actualization is so...time consuming, I mean how many ways can a man shave his facial hair? In the end though, I am still on the hunt for a Christian ethos that isn't like some version of a man wearing ladies underwear....which men in the church often appear like. I think some of the conflict really came to a head when I found out that the homosexuals in California have a whole lumberjack subculture. Dang! You can't even wear suspenders and flannels as domain of the manly man attire. No offence to my gay readers...I think you would look better as a lumber jack than anything else but I digress. I started seeing more clearly that manliness is far more than Butt kicking boots and mountain climber attitude or swords, hair and godly sexual uninhibited freedom. You can get in touch with all your inner beasts and still in the end sound like a kitten trying to roar like a tiger. I mean look at the guy in the pic...come on...that dude is fruity and he is acting like HE-Man!!! Oh the humanity of it all.So the journey continues...maybe one can howl like the wolves and drink wheat grass while driving a Prius...and still "Act Like A Man". I know you can but deep down, a man wrestles with this kind of stuff on some level...I see it, I hear it...it ripples under the surface of many men I know. Even the world plays on this primal vein...have you seen the new "Your dad wasn't a metrosexual" ads lately? I am not alone in my observations...just maybe my conclusions.
Now that is the end of my son Eric's post. Here are the comments I posted in response--
"I agree, the guy in the picture just makes me squirm. I sympathize with this post but I honestly don’t relate to it in regard to the struggle. I see the evidence and examples of effeminate men in the church, and it is simply not masculine. It doesn’t bother me but I also don’t admire it. Just is what it is. So I have been thinking why I don’t relate to the inner struggle you speak of, and I think you speak for many. The best I can come up with is that in my generation men were simply admired more and cast that way through the various mediums of entertainment etc. A larger percentage of the population worked in agriculture and women dominated the office. I have never seen office work as manly, and I work in an office. When you are around hard working men from the fields and other labor industries, it requires a certain level of grit and determination that is admirable and influences a boy, a culture. I think part of the problem is our society shows its disapproval to the many men who have shirked their duty to home and family. Many homes are raised by single moms who are married, but the man is lost, either in boyhood, lust or addictions. So we see a continual stream of disparaging portrayals of men as buffoons: submissive to more intelligent wives and females in general; fathers children don’t respect; and a whole variety of subtle disgraces.
I’m sure there are higher thoughts and reasons way above me, but I’ll end by stating for the record; all of my son’s are masculine men, good providers, caring fathers and men people look up to. I can tell you this Eric, like I have told many people over the years, I think you are one of the finest Christian men I know. You embody the masculine traits I admire; you are self-reliant, bold and determined, mind open and assessing: rugged and handsome, loving and romantic to your wife, intimate and interested in your children. A force to be reckoned with physically, but tender and compassionate to those in need. Creative and inventive, but treasuring the simple pleasures. Still a man, with a man’s weaknesses, but humble under rebuke and ambitious to grow as a fuller man.
Now, I could gush about all my sons, and write a list far longer for each of them. Maybe I am somewhat biased, but I have never met a person that got to know any of my sons, that did not feel the better for it."