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

Friday, February 26, 2010

Time to Stop

This is it. My last post for Biblical Manhood. I think for over a year (or two), I knew that I was going to be quitting this thing. I felt that God was leading me to "the next gig" in my life, but I wanted to get my parting shots in before closing down the blog. Now, it's going to be a bit sooner than I originally planned.

I have spent a lot of time involved in MRA and MGTOW activities for six or more years now. From my viewpoint, my break from the scene is not so much a change of conviction about the things I have discussed as it is a change of direction and focus. There is still a lot of gravel that needs to be shoveled by someone. I still think misandry (religious or otherwise), gynocentrism, neo-chivalry (especially lifeboat feminism), biogynism, realmannspracht, and other forms of garbage thrown at men are a serious problem. I still consider these things to be intolerable and sinful. I still stand by my manifesto on Biblical Manhood (parts 1, 2, and 3). The manifesto is my personal stance against what I perceive to be some false doctrines about manhood in religious circles, and against some really bad ideas that are found even in parts of the "Manosphere."

Maybe the Lord will change my mind on some things. Maybe not. But I feel convicted that he wants me to put an end to this. No one has threatened to fire me, turn me in, or report me to the Gender Correctness Police. I haven't been seduced by a female to soften my views. Brother So-and-So didn't call on me to repent of my views. I didn't get "straightened out" by a therapist. This is simply what I feel to be a work of the Holy Spirit on my heart.

I still believe there are too many broken cisterns that men are trying to drink from (Jeremiah 2:13). Women, sex, status, money, health, power, careerism, approval of the crowd--these are the ones that come to mind. Granted, some of these things are permissible. Yet the Word of God is clear. Men are made acceptable by the blood of Jesus, not the broken cisterns (Romans 4:25). Joy and the peace "that surpasses understanding" comes from God (Galatians 5:22; Philippians 4:7), not the broken cisterns. Completeness comes through Christ, not the broken cisterns (Colossians 2:10). Value comes through being added spiritually to the Lord's body (1 Corinthians 12:12-27), not through the broken cisterns. None of the broken cisterns are vital for a man to be the kind of man God wants him to be. Anyone who says otherwise is in spiritual bondage to a lie.

I end this post with a prayer ...

Let those who mock men be defeated in their counsel.

Let those who refuse to stand up for justice for men be defeated in their counsel.

Let those who bind heavy burdens on men that God does not bind be defeated in their counsel.

Let those who turn the blind eye to the suffering of men be defeated in their counsel.

Let those who diminish the God-given worth of men be defeated in their counsel.

Let those who equate manhood with sexual prowess, romantic success, being married, or having children be defeated in their counsel.

Let those who equate manhood with status, strength, worldly success, or power be defeated in their counsel.

Let those who are in power and who commit injustices against men be defeated in their schemes.

Let all falsehood be utterly defeated.

Let the Word of God stand forever.

Let everything that I have prayed which is according to will of God be granted.

In the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.

God bless you all.

[Edit: If you are interested in another blog primarily devoted to the subject of "biblical manhood" that is male-friendly and sensitive to what men really experience in church, then I recommend SingleChristianMan's place. He is not MRA/MGTOW like I am, but I find his writings insightful, edifying, and satisfying. Let me also say that appreciate you other compadres in the blogosphere that have read me and linked to me. You know you who are. Take care.]

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sexual Politics in the Churches of Christ

Last month, Eumaios wrote a post about the dynamics of male/female relationships in Churches of Christ. I found his comments on how men are treated by the women in that faith tradition to be instructive, and can personally bear witness to what he is saying. The various conservative groups in Christendom have their theologies and doctrines, but the tinge of human nature is ubiquitous.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

This one is for you, ladies ;-) ....

(Click picture to enlarge)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Religious Women Who Are (Gasp) Porn Users

From time to time, the religious status quo has to acknowledge the truth that the rest of us take for granted. A recent article at Boundless.org on female use of pornography is one such example. I just wonder this: When Christian women use porn, are they heartless perverts that demean and objectify men and children? Or are they poor little souls trapped in sin who need the love of Christ? I suspect there's a gender difference in how we "love" the sinner.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Some Thoughts on Christianity and MGTOW

In this post, I wanted to share a few thoughts about Christianity and MGTOW. There has been some talk on men's blogs about what the "solution" might be for men who are trying to stay afloat in a post-feminist world. I know what the solution is for the believing man, whatever his fate with the opposite sex may be (Romans 15:13). A man can spend all his time learning tips to attract women. He can read up on "inner game" all he wants, but as somewhat profitable as these things may be, they are insignificant compared to the power of the Spirit (2 Timothy 1:7). Indeed, "joy" and "peace" are fruits of the Spirit, not one's marital status or one's sexual history (Galatians 5:22). The one who has overcome the fear of man (Proverbs 29:25) has overcome the fear of woman, the fear of rejection, the fear of shame, and yes, the fear of indefinite loneliness.

Abide in Christ (John 15:4), draw near to God (James 4:8), ask for the Spirit and be led by him (Luke 11:13; Romans 8:14). What I am saying is not new. But I know that sometimes accepting a proposition intellectually is not the same as understanding it experientially. So seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33) and wait for the Lord (Psalm 27:1-14). Spiritual maturity does not come instantly and it does not come easily. You may be like Jeremiah. He was unable to take a wife and live a life in the context of a supportive community because, well, the community around him was under judgment. But even when others around you forsake you, you are never alone if you stand with God (1 Kings 9:1-18).

A Biblical understanding of MGTOW does not relish isolation from others, not even women. But what it does seek is peace and meaning in the person of Christ. So, when the churches fail, when the women of our culture go after the idols of our day, when those in power grow more tyrannical and corrupt, when men are marginalized and stripped of importance, when misandry flourishes, when society moves further away from God, a man can stand firm and unshaken in Christ (Matthew 7:24-25; Psalm 46). The saying that "Jesus is all you need" has fallen on hard times, probably because it has been used in too many instances to dismiss those who suffer from loneliness. But even so, some of us have at least a partial appreciation of its truth, even though the appreciation has come through many failings. It's a truth that helps us to not only survive the depersonalized structure of our modern society, but also to thrive. It keeps us from being tools for those with an ungodly agenda.

To men who feel alone, I say this: Don't thirst for the affection of those who are perishing. Look around you and discern. The people that mistreat you and that you are tempted to envy are like chaff. They will be blown away. Read Psalm 49 and Psalm 73. There will be those who will falsely accuse you of being bitter, envious, and insecure. Don't marvel at this; false accusations against the people of God are nothing new (Matthew 5:11). The women that demean you are enslaved by the spirits of bitterness and pride. If they refuse the healing of the Great Physician, what fellowship do you have with them (2 Corinthians 6:15)? They will sink. Don't be sucked into the wake of their demise. Your religious leaders may scoff at you, too, but remember that they scoffed at righteous men before the Babylonian Captivity and before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The wicked will not prosper--even if they stand before podiums in large auditoriums with stained glass windows.

I suspect there are those who will accuse me of a "sour grapes" attitude that masquerades behind piety. They don't understand. They don't have the slightest clue. And I suspect the reason they don't have a clue is because they haven't taken the idea of walking close to God in their personal lives very seriously. A lot of them are nominal believers, at best. If they were walking close with God, then they would understand what I am saying.

This is not about my wounded pride, although all of us struggle with it. The love of God that allows me to stand alone in the crowd if necessary is also the biggest challenge to my pride. How can I be prideful in anything if the very blessings of life I have are gifts (Matthew 5:45)? What accomplishments can I boast in if it is God's power that sustains me (Philippians 4:13)? Why should I be afraid of looking like a fool if I am a fool for Christ (1 Corinthians 4:10)? Why should I be afraid of facing up to my failures if, in Christ, all things are made new (2 Corinthians 5:17)? Why should I be afraid of being weak if, in Christ, his grace is perfected in such (2 Corinthians 12:9)? Why should I care if others say I have "no life" if indeed, I have given up mine for Christ's sake (Mark 8:35)? Why should I be worried if everyone is better than me if the One who is perfect loves me still (Psalm 18:30)? Indeed, it is his love that helps me to love others as myself (1 John 4:19).

If my accusers had what I had more abundantly than me, I would be happy for them. But of course, if they did have it, their behavior towards me would be quite different, even if they still disagreed with me. Furthermore, if the Spirit of Christ leads me to repudiate either the tone or the content of what I have written over the last few years, then is it the end of the world for me? No. As the Apostle Paul said, "I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:8). Even through my failures, I am confident that God will continue his sanctifying work in me until the day of his Son's appearing (Philippians 1:6).

Here is the essence of a Biblical understanding of MGTOW: Go ahead and call me a loser. Go ahead, because Christianity is for losers (Matthew 10:39; 1 Corinthians 1:26-29). There is no need for me to be defensive about that statement because the victory is already mine in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57). I stand upon this confession:
"See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead." (Colossians 2:8-12, NASB).
I am not writing this for my own benefit; I'm writing for the benefit of the others. You see, many of you have tried to make it all about me. But it isn't really about me. It's about Christ, regardless of what you or I think about things. If I have said some things over these last several years that shouldn't have been said, then I apologize. Let what is good stand; let what isn't fall. If my counsel is not of God's will, then I will be defeated (Proverbs 19:21). The same goes for you. Take care.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Best Ones Are Already Taken

A lot of men like to complain about the fact that the "best ones are already taken." Well, it is true--in one very special sense. These women of which I speak are "already taken" by Christ. In a strange way they, who have already given their hearts to another, are the only ones men should be pursuing. Other women have given their hearts to romance novels, the American Dream, living it up, the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, or the pride of life (1 John 2:16). Many times, men are far from number one in a woman's life. So at best, a woman who has Christ as #1 will put her husband at #2, and not dead last (as is the case with not a few husbands).

You might retort, "But I've met a lot of Christian women who claim to put Christ first and they still treat me like dirt." Yes? And your point is? Do we need to rehash matters about the state of our churches today? Needless to say, religiosity, cultural conservatism, and the such like are not reliable metrics of spiritual maturity. Take the most conservative, Bible-believing congregation you like and compare them to the Pharisees. How will they fare? The Pharisees were moralistic (Luke 15:2), zealous about studying the Scriptures (John 5:39), and zealous about following the Law (Acts 22:3). You see, there many are who zealous for God's word and yet are not zealous to walk in intimacy with the One who authored it. Are they led by reliance upon God, Christ, and the Spirit? Or they led by their self-righteous expertise in knowing doctrine and performing religious acts? Now you know why so many conservative churches are utterly dead. They have forsaken their first love (Revelation 2:4) and have become country clubs for suburbanites.

Some would assert that Christian men "have no excuse" and that there are "plenty of women to go around" in our churches today. Those who assert this are looking at the matter though the eyes of man, not through spiritual lenses. The Bible is clear about the kind of woman a man should date or marry (Proverbs 31:30; 1 Peter 3:1-6). This simplifies the picking and rejecting to a great extent. It has to do with one's attitude, not a flurry of religious activity or putting up a front. It has to do with the heart, not the backside and where it is planted on Sunday morning.

So you see, when religious leaders tell me that I need to find a wife that helps me "glorify God" or helps me perform "kingdom work," I think they often do not know what they are asking for. They may think of church buildings, programs, funded ministries, grandiose missions, professional clergy, filled church nurseries, filled pews, filled coffers, good times ahead for their man-made denomination, middle-class values, a return to the 1950s in the general culture, or whatever. Being Spirit-filled does not equate to any of this. And being married to a Spirit-filled woman does not equate to any of this. It does look a lot like what one reads in 1 Corinthians 13.

The Christian man who has turned his back on the dating scene is not to be consumed with bitterness, selfish anger, vengefulness, or hate. But he doesn't need to bother with romance, either. True, he is called to love women as his neighbors (Mark 12:33) or as his sisters in Christ (1 Timothy 5:2), but he is also called not to cast his pearls before the swine (Matthew 7:6). Quite frankly, a lot of woman are acting like swine because their souls are in spiritual bondage to the Enemy. This includes a lot of churchgoing women who are deceived by their own religiosity.

I have said many times that a Christian man has no Biblical obligation whatsoever to date or marry. Now, it may be that God may individually lead a man to marry and put a desire in that man for a wife, but that is God's private work in somebody's personal life, not dogma to be bound on the body of Christ (Proverbs 18:22; 1 Corinthians 7:25a). The Scriptures still grants men the right to refuse to marry (1 Corinthians 7:37).

What I'm getting to is this: A Christian man doesn't have to worry about what people think about his singleness if he is not even surrounded by Spirit-filled women in the first place. If he finds a woman filled with the Spirit, and if he is filled with the Spirit, there will be very little holding each of them back if the Lord is pleased to have them together. The two of them won't need a "mandate" and won't have much use for pretense and stratagems. Love has a way of accomplishing what coercion cannot.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Miserable Comforters of Men's Ministries

Anyone who has read the book of Job knows just how unprofitable his friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar were in his hour of need. Even though Job did nothing wrong to deserve his fate, his friends saw the situation differently. They insisted that Job must have sinned in some respect and that he needed to repent. After all, they reasoned, God brings favor to the righteous and punishes the wicked. At one point in exasperation, Job exclaims, "I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all" (Job 16:2, KJV). God himself sets the record straight at the end and gives Job's friends the 6:00 AM wake-up call:
It came about after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves, and My servant Job will pray for you. For I will accept him so that I may not do with you according to your folly, because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has." (Job 42:7-8, NASB)
The modern church doesn't have any characters like Eliphaz and his buddies, does it? To ask the question is to answer it.

I fear too many men's ministries are headed by "miserable comforters." They don't get it. Their theology is pat, simplistic, and lacking in serious reflection that comes from a concerted study of God's word and a modicum of spiritual growth. They falsely assume that the problems men face are largely self-inflicted. As Paul Coughlin has noted, women get "fellowship" groups while men get "accountability" groups. The "miserable comforters" will declare that if you only do "xyz" then God will resolve things. They don't want to listen. They want to discourse at length about their Mickey Mouse theodicy and assume that solves the problem. Sermonizing relieves them from understanding, compassion, and weeping with "those who weep" (Romans 12:15).

Here's a dangerous question to ask: What qualifies these people to minister? Are they ruling by decree? Or leading by example (1 Peter 5:1-3)? Really, let's think about it ...

1. Do they come from a tough background or where they raised in a supportive Christian home?

2. Have they ever experienced long periods of social isolation or alienation?

3. Have they ever struggled for a long time with sexual desire in the face of constant rejection from the opposite sex?

4. Have they ever lost their job, relationship, or something else comparable because of a personal failing?

5. Have they ever felt they were going nowhere with their life, being stuck in an unrewarding, dead-end situation?

6. Have they ever felt that their dreams have been dashed and that the doors have been slammed in their face?

7. Have they ever felt out of place in churches and among other believers?

8. Have they ever had to struggle with health problems at a young age?

9. Have they ever struggled with depression, serious backsliding, feelings of worthlessness, anger at God, feelings of being rejected by God?

10. Have they ever "hit bottom" with a serious challenge such as drug abuse, a prison sentence, contemplating suicide, etc.?

I suppose you or I could add to the list. I am not saying that men have to go through all of these things before they minister to others. On the other hand, if you see a pattern where self-proclaimed experts on "Biblical Manhood" act patronizing and condescending to men, and yet have never really struggled with the things many men struggle with, then take note. I fear that too many involved in "pastoring" or "ministering" to men grew up in the system, or were accepted early on because they "looked the part." Jesus, on the other hand, was "despised and rejected by men," "acquainted with suffering" and "tempted in all points" (Isaiah 53:3; Hebrew 4:15). Jesus understands what men go through. The others? I'm not so certain.

Jesus described his ministry this way: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18-19). But of the Pharisees he said, "They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger" (Matthew 23:4).

Do you feel free from the spiritual bondage of sin, guilt, dread, emptiness, and/or despair? Or do you feel weighted down? It's one thing to demand that people be holy; it's quite another thing to show them how to be holy by example. Gentlemen, test the spirits (1 John 4:1). Get out the litmus strips and see if your leaders are authentic. Maybe God, in his mercy, can work through them even though their motives are less than honorable (Philippians 1:15-18). Maybe they are in an acceptable relationship with God, but I really think many of them have misunderstood their calling. Perhaps the best thing they can do to advance the cause of Christ is to sit down and shut up.