G. Shane Morris in an article for Breakpoint entitled “Men of Straw,” gives real help for dealing with the public dialogue about “bad” and “good” masculinity. He began by pointing to a means of writing on the subject of masculinity “1.) Pick a typically masculine trait (say, strength). 2) Create a false dilemma between this trait and an approved trait (say, gentleness). 3.) Pen an article expounding this false dilemma by using corruptions and exaggerations of the masculine trait to prove its incompatibility with the approved trait (for example, ‘traditionally strong men cannot be gentle’). 4) Redefine the masculine trait as equivalent to the approved trait (e.g., ‘The strongest Men are gentle’)”. You end up with men of straw.
Men, we always have to come back to the creation story to get our bearings as we face the gale force winds of “toxic masculinity.” The storm creates confusion, fear, mistrust and insecurity for men. How is a man to behave? Remember our maleness is not a social construct. We are created in the image of God. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen 1:27). Verse 31 tells us, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Gen. 1:31). We live in a time, when we have to pay a significant price for the failure of men to adequately reflect the image of God as being “very good.”
Morris’ comments can be helpful as godly men navigate the cultural minefields we will face in the coming days.
First, don’t let others categorize you by their definition of what it means to be a man. Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…”(Gen. 1:26). Each man is uniquely created by God to reflect his image. This is a matter of God’s design, not a social construct. Remember your heavenly Father said it was “very good.” Only God can affirm each of us in our masculine essence. It vital for each man to find affirmation from our heavenly Father. Only then can a man rest in his true masculine self.
Secondly, there is absolutely no reason why a man, affirmed in his masculine soul can’t not be gentle. But, a this is important – a man’s tenderness and compassion comes through his affirmed masculine soul. It is not expressed through feminized man, that is, a man who is not at peace with his masculine soul. Each affirmed man will express his tender side in a unique manner. Be assured a strong man can be tender and compassionate.
Thirdly, readily acknowledge that men have failed miserably in being the male image of God, thus not being “very good,” but in some ways “very bad.” It is now described as toxic. The irony of our time as expressed by the Babylon Bee is that the “least masculine society in human history decides masculinity is a growing threat.” I believe godly men who are affirmed in their masculine souls have a golden opportunity to demonstrate within the culture how a man can be both “tough and tender.”
Fourthly, reject outright the redefining of the masculine by those who are feminists and those who are feminized as men. They have no idea what it means to be a man standing straight and erect before his heavenly Father, coming in Jesus’ name and hearing by the presence of the Spirit deep in his soul, that he is “God’s beloved.”
Oh, God raise up a new generation of affirmed men!!!