A blog for Christian men "going their own way."

Friday, November 6, 2009

Realmannspracht Is Still Stupid

Once again, it's time for me to drive a spear Phinehas-style through the fat, greasy body of realmannspracht. I notice the men who talk the loudest about who is a "real man" and who is not a "real man" tend to define manhood in ways that square nicely with their interests and agendas. How strange that the self-appointed "experts" on manhood contradict each other on some very fundamental points. I guess it's all a sophisticated version of what the Seduction Community would call DHVing. However, I prefer to dig deeper and ask some questions about the motivations of these "experts," who just happen to live in a status-obsessed age. For indeed, too many are attempting to connect manhood to some form of external attribute or token of importance. I guess in their hunt for "markers" of "manhood" they are not content with (or even appreciative of) the primacy of character or spirituality. Contrast their attitude with what the Bible says in 1 Samuel 16:7 ...
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
Of course, I believe non-biological "markers of manhood" in and of themselves are problematic. A man is a man by virtue of the fact that he is created in the image of God. We don't have the right to destroy that image either through deed or word. I want people to think about what Genesis 9:9 says:
"Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man."
Some only look at this passage as their go-to text for capital punishment and don't really think about the premise behind it--there is something sacred about humanity. If you don't believe that someone who is male is really a man, why don't you kill him? That's where such thinking leads. It starts with a thought and ends in the act (1 John 3:15).

The men who founded this country believed in the following proposition:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
But if a male is not really a man, then I guess the above statement doesn't really apply. In short, realmannspracht is inconsistent with Christianity and with the concepts of liberty and freedom that have made Western Civilization great. In the past, there were all sorts of classes of men who were deemed as being of less worth than others. Christianity transformed the world by challenging such nonsense. Over time, the vestiges of the nonsense has lingered in various forms such as murderous statism and racial prejudice, for example. But the sacredness of man's humanity has refused to be denied. Today, the lingering challenges to the sacredness of man's humanity take such forms as legal misandry, woman-firsterism, and status-based conceptions of manhood (physical strength, money, success with women, etc.). I defy the nonsense. I am not a utopian. I am a follower of Christ--not of Nietzsche, Darwin, or Oriental warlords. There are a lot of people who claim they care about men's issues. But the reality of the situation is clear: You can't claim to care for men if you deny them the right to be exactly that---men.

And for those who still don't get it, spare me 30 minutes of your time and watch the following video ...

"The Obsolete Man"


Anonymous said...

This is all kind of a crashing non sequiter, Anakin. What exactly is your point? The folks at Boundless, etc. don't deny the humanity or worth of men. Paul Coughlin, John Eldredge, and other thinkers about Christian masculinity etc. don't deny the worth or manhood of males of any sort. It increasingly seems to me - just my opinion -- that you are banging your head on a wall; your words merely sounding brass.

I'm all for the idea of "Christian Masculinity" and promoting it -- I'm also a nurse and a dancer. These are not "traditional" notions of masculine occupation or play to some, yet I am very comfortable in my observation of pressure on men to be "feminized" in church, and in saying that this is a bad thing.

What, exactly, are the bones you are grinding to fine meal? Where are we going with this?

Anonymous said...

I hasten to add that I agree with you that SoCons in general (excepting, say, Phyllis Shafly) seem blind to what Marriage 2.0 really means in the law, that it's idiocy to run men off from church because they don't agree to church-demanded "courtship" regimens, that Debbie Maken's manuscript should never have seen the light of day, etc; that Boundless often propagates the gospel of white-bread suburbia, etc.

Just sayin' -- where are we going?

Anonymous said...

I've always found it interesting - both in the Church as well as in the world, that the phrases "Be a man, " or "a REALMAN would...." always applies to something that goes AGAINST the man's interest. It's never somethig like, "hey, you just worked 60 hrs this week and it's your only day off....be a man and rest awhile." "You just had a 40-day fast? Go on, chow down, be a man, you're not supernatural you know." No, it's always marriage mandate crap, taking responsibility (hmm, I don't remember the last time I heard a REALWOMMANSPRACHT sermon, must have been working that Sunday, just saying)


Niko said...

Great post as always.

Deconstructionism at its best. When Man is no longer Man by virtue of being, God is no longer God.

The social construction of gender will be the act that kills the golden goose.

The single, educated, conservative, white, Anglo Christian male is singularly the most important man on the planet. He is the last bulwark against the great apostasy.

Continually denigrate him and he might just wander off into the Nitrian desert

TMink said...

PLease forgive me for going totally off topic, but I need to praise God for a bit. My wife and I have been under a lot of financial pressure, afraid we would lose the house, that sort of thing.

She applied for a new job, MUCH closer to our house and for more money. The early interviews went well, she was one of four, then she would be called if she made it to one of two. And we heard nothing.

It was hard waiting, especially for her as she has more trust issues than I. On the way home last night from work she found a voice message from the new company asking her to call, but it was Friday at 5:30. She called but nobody was there. Later last night, at around 10, she found an email from the company and it included the person who was hiring's cell number. But it was too late. We were excited as this did not look like a brush off, but that she had made it to the final round of interviews. But it was too late to call last night.

Meanwhile, this morning I was in a session with a boy whose mom is telling him to lie and say he does not love his father. The boy is matter of fact about it. I had the boy and his grandparents in the room, we were practicing not lying when people told us to. It was tough on him as he is only 6. I knew what he needed, he needed us to put our hands on him and pray protection over him, but I was nervous and afraid to do so. I was worried what the grandparents would think of me praying over their grandchild.

But I took a deep breath and did it. I could tell something was up as they left the child with me for him to talk and play for another 15 minutes. I was worried I had offended or alienated them.

When I took him out the grandmother hugged me and the grandfather kept shaking my hand, so apparently they were shocked by my asking that we lay hands on him, but they were not offended.

I got in the office and there was a message from my wife that she was offered the job. The company had decided to just hire her as she had the experience to take over for the woman who was doing the hiring and the woman who hired her might be moving up in a year.

My knees felt weak and my head a little light. Tears come to my face as I write this. Our God loves us so much and is so capable of knowing and meeting our needs despite our fear and sin. Praise His holy name. Thank you Jesus, thank you God.

I guess the lame tie in to this praise report is my lifting my brothers up and telling you to not despair. If you long for a good wife, pray for her and seek her. Our heavenly father loves us and hears us and He answers our prayers. Though the world hates us and the courts abuse us, God is for us. He made us men for a reason, to serve Him in various ways and He will provide for us.


Praise God.


Anonymous said...


Solid point. Who defines manhood? Christian men are frustrated because the rules have changed without their input, and Christian women casually incorporate very secular ideas into their expectations of men.

We are all men and women defined through the expression of God through us, and our love of Him in return. You aren't banging your head on a wall or simply making noise.

I agree with those who say a lot has been lost between men and women. Without betraying who I am, I will only say that you are on the right track. Men and women under the current "regime" of Christian thought (in re: dating and relationships and marriage) are emotionally starving to death. This is directly attributable to very unChristian ideals being incorporated into expectations of men and women through Christian leaders.

Christina said...

Dan (and anyone else here who follows this opinion):

You said,
I've always found it interesting - both in the Church as well as in the world, that the phrases "Be a man, " or "a REALMAN would...." always applies to something that goes AGAINST the man's interest. It's never somethig like, "hey, you just worked 60 hrs this week and it's your only day off....be a man and rest awhile." "You just had a 40-day fast? Go on, chow down, be a man, you're not supernatural you know." No, it's always marriage mandate crap, taking responsibility (hmm, I don't remember the last time I heard a REALWOMMANSPRACHT sermon, must have been working that Sunday, just saying)

Not so long ago, I posted a comment around here that contained a quote (or more accurately a paraphrase) from a movie called Lars and the Real Girl.

Lars' older brother defined manhood as sacrificing your own needs for a greater purpose.

Recently, I posted a blog post on what I was realizing adulthood meant - the ability to more readily and more easily choose to do what I don't want to do when it needs to be done over what I would rather be doing.

Mothers (at least good mothers) daily have to make choices that go against what they want - they really don't have much of a choice in the matter...sleep in for 30 minutes longer or get up and feed my children and drive them to school. I was reading a book today about a mother who was dishing out advise to mothers who feel inadequate and she recounted a day when her husband was sick, she was over stressed with needing to prepare for a presentation in the morning, had laundry to do, children to ready for bed, lunches to make, and a sick husband to care for...all this after a long day of working, cleaning home, and making dinner.

She was on her way up the stairs to help her kids ready for bed when she discovered cat vomit on the stair case and it was the straw that broke the camel's back. Though she didn't handle it gracefully (she threw a temper-tantrum as she cleaned it about how kids and husband can march past it and carefully step around it without bothering to clean it) and she desperately didn't want to, but she did it anyway - because it needed to be done.

And she apologized to her children and finished readying them for bed. (The husband never woke up from the tirade)

Point is - she did something she didn't want to do because it had to be done.

That's what adulthood is. I don't care if you throw in woman or man in place of adult - that's what it comes down to.

So if you come home from a 60 hour work week and your home is falling apart around your ears regardless of how hard your wife is working to hold things together, it is the adult thing to do to put aside your needs for a little while longer to help get things under control.

Same goes for women. Trust me, I'm learning that one quick.

Amir Larijani said...

Christina: I agree. That's one of the points that John Piper makes in his book This Momentary Marriage. That's part and parcel with forbearance.

Look at couples who've been married 40, 50, 60 years. You'll find that they are generally forgiving, patient with each other, and willing to do things that they otherwise would find unpleasant, because they need to be done.

Whether it's the man needing to take a second job, or the woman needing to provide sexually when she doesn't feel up to it, or the man needing to change a diaper while the wife is busting her ass in the kitchen, there are unpleasant tasks that grownups rise to occasion and do.