Here is more insight from Alastair Roberts. He notes our society has difficulty with male virility because of what he calls, “gender-integrated environments.” How do we deal with the male libido? “When historically male spaces become gender-integrated,” maintains Roberts, “men must tone themselves down in practically every realm of life.” Men then become stunted, needing to repress their natural strengths.
Male virility left repressed will leave men undeveloped and starved for meaningful expression. Roberts believes, “many men feel an unmet hunger within themselves and perhaps also a sense of shame at their emasculation.” Men become “unhealthy, repressed or impotent” when they must restrain themselves in ever “collapsing distinctions” between the sexes. “Men can’t become men by spending the overwhelming majority of their time in contexts where women are heavily represented,” Roberts warns.
Roberts assumes the following – “When we integrate the sexes throughout society and lose meaningful and productive realms of all-male or all-female society….men and women become stunted and we experience a sort of self-alienation…Virile masculinity takes up space and makes it difficult for women to occupy that space on equal terms.”
Masculine virility was loud and clear as I listened to “sports talk” radio on our long road trip to North Carolina recently. The passion, excitement and seriousness with which the hosts and the audience dialoged about college and pro football was intense. With all the critical issues in our culture, sports talk seems to be the one place where men seemed free to express their passion. There was fire in the belly for their teams and favorite players.
I wonder about the “fire in the belly” of the men who read this blog. Do you have the experience of Jeremiah when he said, “…his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it! (Jer. 20:9 NLT)? Do you know your voice as a man or do you feel impotent in your expression? The Palmist expressed it this way, “The more I thought about it, the hotter I got, igniting a fire of words’ (Ps 39;3 NLT).
If you are a follower of Jesus, God’s word is within you. God told Ezekiel to eat a scroll. “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll…..” (Ezk. 3:1). So he opened his mouth and God gave him a scroll to eat. God told him, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it” (3:3). God gave John the Apostle a little scroll to eat. “”Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey” (Rev. 10:9).
When we read about the stomach, you can be sure that both Ezekiel and John had digested what God wanted them to know. It became a part of who they were. Each man will express his virility, because of the word of God is within him, in a unique way that fits a man’s story and journey. Don’t let anyone silence your voice. It will lead to indigestion and emasculation.
Remember Paul’s words to young Timothy. “This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-control (II Tim 1:6-7 NLT). We need to hear this word, so as to not be intimidated or silenced.