We live in a time where many people see masculinity as a threat (i.e. promotion of toxic masculinity), whereas it’s actually genuine masculinity that is under threat, and quite simply this is because men don’t know how to be men anymore. What is real masculinity? Well, to get that answer you will need to come along to the ‘Man Up’ equip class on Sundays at 10 AM (room 2) to find out in detail, but until then let me do some ‘mansplaining’. Jokes aside, our culture is seriously starved of Christlike visions of masculinity. Just think about the characters of men that have been depicted in media over the years; if this is any reflection on manhood then we are in trouble! Rambo, Homer Simpson, Family Guy, and pretty much any ‘father figure’ given to us in movies or sitcoms are for the most part incompetent, and at best are the butt of the joke, and if this is a case of art imitating life then men (and women) are in dire trouble.
Are men really incapable? Statistics are saying that men are stalling in manhood. Secular author of the book Manning Up, Kay Hymowitz, states this fact when she says,
Among pre-adults, women are the first sex. They graduate from college in greater numbers (among Americans ages 25 to 34, 34% of women now have a bachelor’s degree but just 27% of men), and they [women] have higher GPAs (grades)”.
The rise of women in our society has unfortunately been at the detriment of men, who have struggled to understand their identity and role under God. Christian commentator Al Mohler says,
The feminization of society, mixed with confusing cultural signals, has led many boys and young men to be uncertain and unaware of their masculinity and proper role. In a desperate search for a secure male identity, some are attracted to gross distortions. Some embrace a brutalized and arrogant posture while others retreat into insecure manhood, never understanding a man’s responsibility to lead”.
The masculinity problem in our day is not unlike the masculinity problem in the day of our forefather, Adam. It was in the garden that Adam abdicated his responsibility to lead and keep what had been entrusted to him; along with Eve he rebelled against the will of God to obey God and not eat of the tree (Genesis 3:6). They were commanded that they may surely eat of every tree of the garden, and they could eat and enjoy all of it! But they just needed to keep one for God (the tree of knowledge of good and evil). Adam wasn’t present in the moment when Eve was being tempted by the serpent to eat of that particular tree; he was absent in leading the woman that God had given him. It was after both their eyes had been opened that they became knowledgeable of their nakedness, and therefore hid their nakedness (Genesis 3:7). This also led to further hiding because they
…heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden”.
Men are just like Adam in having a tendency to hide. They do this by abdicating responsibility and hiding from their ultimate authority. Who are we really hiding from? Who are we kidding, for it is ludicrous to hide from God, since He is omnipresent (everywhere) and omniscient (knows everything). Men, we can’t hide, and neither could Adam. God calls out to Adam for he is the one responsible, and He says, “Where are you?”; this is not because God doesn’t know where Adam is, or doesn’t know what Adam has done! He says this because He wants Adam to know where Adam is, and for Adam to know what Adam has done. This call of God is extremely gracious in the light of man’s disobedience, for Adam should have pursued God, yet God is the great seeker of the lost! Adam answers the calling from God with excuses of fear and blame as the reasons for hiding. This response is one that is representative of most men; we know too well the tendency to abdicate our leadership responsibility, for our reasons for not being men or being present are often founded in fear, shame and blame. We can come with our mighty self-justified lists of excuses for why we didn’t obey God and do as we ought, or we also could blame our culture or our own earthly fathers. We hide from our responsibilities, and we hide from being called to account for our responsibilities.
The reality is that Adam is often the example we follow which results in passive cowardice that hurts our families and community. Rather, we should look to the second Adam who had many justified reasons for fear and blame, but set his face like flint and took the terror of the cross for the pleasure of God. He is the contrast of masculine obedience and leadership. If you want to be a man, you must know and follow the Man. Men, let’s hear again the gracious call of God calling us out from hiding, so that we would courageously take responsibility to live and lead in Godly obedience.
For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous” – Romans 5:19