Christine Emba, a columnist for the Washington Post, recently wrote an essay entitled, “Men are Lost. Here’s a Map Out of the Wilderness.”  She states, “Men find themselves lonely, depressed, anxious and directionless… They have no idea what it means to be a man.”  Going on she writes, “Past models of masculinity feel unreachable or socially unacceptable: new ones have yet to crystallize.  What are men for in the modern world?  What do they look like?”  

While men are told constantly to be “better” and less “toxic” it seems difficult to pin down what this means. Among modern influencers there is a tendency to minimize men’s issues or to even erase references to masculinity altogether.  One strategist admitted “an allergy to admitting that some men might, in fact, be struggling in a unique way and could benefit from their own tailored attention and aid.”  Men are expected to just shape up and simply “learn the code” expected of them. 

Convinced men are in crisis, Emba believes “it will require a positive vision of what masculinity entails that is particular.”  Most of what is offered to help men is descriptive rather then prescriptive.  Richard Reeves has observed, “As soon as you start articulating virtues, advantages, good things about being male… then you’ve just dialed up the risk factor of the conversation.”  “But,” he warns, “I’m also  acutely aware that the risk of not doing it is much greater. Because without it, there’s a vacuum.” 

Emba calls for “a new script for men.”  Gender roles of the past gave boys a script for being a man, but now we have a vacuum in our understanding of masculinity.  This, in Emba’s view, “gives us a chance at a fresh start: an opportunity to take what is useful from models of the past and repurpose it for boys and men today.”  Men as well as women need codes for how to be human.  

Implementation will be slow.  A new masculinity “will be a norm shift,” Emba believes.  If the crisis of men “is left unaddressed, the current confusion of men and boys will have destructive social outcomes, in the form of resentment and radicalization.”  In the end, the sexes rise and fall together.  Emba sees “the old script for masculinity on its way out.  It’s time we replaced it with something better.” 

Ms. Embra was not able to point the way out of the “gender wilderness” that our nation has created for men.  She sure has tried to point the way.  She stated in her article, “People need codes for how to be human.”  And although she and I may disagree on where to find the code, I believe it’s found in God’s revealed Word.  Here is a brief outline for it:

First, God created men and women to both reflect the likeness of God. “When God created human beings, he made them to be like himself.  He created them male and female, and he blessed and called them ‘human'” (Gen. 5:1-2).  Second, it will take authentic Christian men and women to interpret the code. Third, through a Christ-focused relationship with my wife, I can better understand the code God intended for me. Fourth, our marriage can be prophetic in our day: “This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one” (Eph. 5:32).

I desire to live out the new masculinity expressed in Scripture by our new (and Last) Adam and being made relevant in our current wilderness (I Cor. 15:45-47).  Men, our marriages and lives as godly men can be prophetic in our day, as we express the code the Lord reveals to us.