Tag Archives: holy-spirit

What Is a Man?

Scattered Words: Men, , homosexuality and the exgay movement

“Ben”:http://scatteredwords.com/ has a written an excellent starting point on determining just what it means to be a man. Before I comment further, however, I highly recommend taking a moment to give his site a read. He is extremely eloquent at describing his struggle and journey to become ex-gay under the power of the Holy Spirit, and his honesty and eloquence are very refreshing.

Ben points out that our culture seems driven to squash the man as God designed him:

bq. But still, I think the “man” question is an important one for me and a lot of other guys, gay or straight. It’s really not good to be a man, emotionally or physically, anymore. Our culture doesn’t really value guys anymore. That confuses the issue further. The things that make a guy a guy are often the things our society wants to quash.

Part of why this is the case, I think, is because men have become demonized in our society. They are generally viewed (particularly by the liberal movement) as drunken brawlers, lazy louts, wife-beaters, rude and crude savages, etc. Unfortunately, to some extent men have brought this image on themselves, but even more unfortunately, it is, I think, the minority of men who have somehow created this image. Perhaps, a more correct view is that those men who are so boorish and cruel and ugly as to make headlines, as to draw attention to themselves, have been thrust even further into the limelight as to generate a very negative stereotype of what men are. The result is a dishonest and inaccurate definition, both of what a man is and what a man should be. I kind of doubt that this was any planned conspiracy to demonize men (except maybe for some branches of militant feminists), but nevertheless, what we have are men who have been made impotent in our society, who are not allowed to be strong and masculine, because those are the very features that are frowned upon and viewed, seemingly, as threatening.

Whatever men actually are now, there _is_ a clear definition of what men _should_ be. The Bible, particularly the “New Testament”:http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians%205-6&version=31, spells it out pretty well, and Christ (and His Father) is an excellent example of masculinity. Here’ s a few of the characteristics that come immediately to mind: strong, both emotionally and spiritually; tender-hearted and compassionate; self-disciplined; sensitive to the needs of others; self-sacrificing; conscientious; loving. Notice, though, that just about every single one of these characteristics are also applicable to women. That is because the very traits that make strong, masculine men also make strong, feminine women. These traits bring out the best in our respective genders, allowing us to live up to the full potential of masculinity and femininity, as God designed them.

What seems to happen, though, is that men fail to be strong, in any capacity, are weak in character, show lack of discipline, are completely negligent at seeing, let alone meeting, the needs of others, and so on. Our culture is so self-centered that the common philosophy of self-servitude reigns supreme, and rather than being true men, the male species is little more than a group of very large 8-year-olds, who have not yet learned what it means to have a strong sense of character and morality.

Fortunately, not all men are like this, but enough are that it is a problem. I think the solution is to get the focus _off_ the men who fail to be men and _onto_ the men who are doing it right, the men who are very masculine, who are secure with their masculinity, and who display the kind of sensitivity, leadership, and strength of character that so many in our society lack. And what is so great about this approach is that we rarely have to look much further than our own family or social circles to find just one man who serves as a terrific role model for all. No one’s perfect, of course, but then again, that isn’t the expectation (or at least, it shouldn’t be). The expectation is that we try to live up to our potential as men, strive to fulfill our roles in society as God created them. In so doing I think we will find that our families are stronger, our morals more clearly defined, and a whole host of society’s ills made better.

Is It Wrong to Be Right?

“Everyone who is consumed with being right and a little too uptight about being exact and so on shoudl take heed of my little girl’s quote: “‘R’ is for ‘Bunny'” was her response when we were doing flashcards the other night. The letter R was on one side and a picture of a rabbit on
the other.”

In this postmodern society, it is less important for an individual to be right than it is to make sure that no one’s feelings get hurt, that the social relationship is preserved and without conflict. It is more important to avoid offending anyone, to avoid telling anyone that they are wrong, than it is to make sure that the information you have and believe is true and accurate. The unspoken rule now is that it might just be wrong to be right because it might hurt someone’s ego or damage their self-esteem.

The trouble is that this approach is dangerous. I think it may be a part of why so many of our generation are unable to articulate what they believe, why their worldviews and values and standards waffle and waver so much. No one is allowed to be right, at least not obviously so, because of the effect that being right might have on others. There are countless examples in our society where what is right and true and correct is passed over in favor of what looks and
feels best. In the end the final result is shallow and meaningless, leaving everyone without guidance and direction.

Biblically, I believe we are called to seek out that which is right and true, to know what you believe and to know it so well that you can defend it to any who would attack it. Certainty and confidence are powerful allies and can set your course straight and honest. All things have a right and a wrong, but often it requires experience and wisdom to discern the difference, and wisdom is so dearly lacking in our society. How can there be wisdom when one is not allowed
to be right? How can there be wisdom when one is not allowed to speak his mind and give voice to truth and discernment? So, we must try everything, sifting it carefully, using wisdom and the
guidance of the Holy Spirit to determine that which is right, setting it in a place of prominence so that it may gleam forth and draw others toward God.

Spiritual Disciplines

Mastering the spiritual disciplines begins, for me, with the physical disciplines. I’ve gained another 20 lbs. or so the past few weeks (even though my lifestyle and eating habits have not changed over the past year or so). As a result, I believe, I feel fatigued much of the time and my mind is constantly foggy. My goal is to exercise an hour a day at least four days a week, drop roughly 50 pounds, and get back near my ideal body weight.

I believe that to fully master the spiritual disciplines, one must also master the physical disciplines. It’s necessary to master one’s own body, to bring it into subjection, making it the temple of the Holy Spirit that it was meant to be. I need more discipline in my own life, and the best place for me to start at this point is disciplining my body. It’s going to be tough because I’ve grown used to the lack of activity, but in the end, it will all be worth it.

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On another note, I’d like to throw a question out to my handful of subscribers. I have been told numerous times from numerous sources that I am a gifted writer, that I am very eloquent in presenting my thoughts, even in a rough draft. As a result, I’ve been kicking around the idea of beginning a newsletter to share some of the lessons of life as I learn them. (If anyone is familiar with Scott Garber’s Unconventional Wisdom, it will probably be something similar to that.) The question is, if I were to do that, would anyone be interested in subscribing? At this point, I’m just curious as to what the interest levels might be, as it might be a while before I would such a project off the ground. Also, if there is enough interest, I’d be interested in getting ideas for titles for the letter.

Relief

This will very likely be a shorter post than I would like, since it is late, my stomach is empty, and I have a good-sized headache — but I will see what I can do to stimulate some thinking.

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Tim Wilkins, former homosexual and founder of Cross Ministry, frequently points out that the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality, but rather holiness. It follows in my mind that this can be said of everything, that the opposite of is not its logical opposite, but holiness.

I Peter 1:13 – 16 (NIV) — Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy” (emphasis added). Ephesians lays out further specifics of this principle.

I think we should be relieved. This, in some ways, makes it easier for us to live Christly. Instead of focusing on a list of do’s and don’ts, we can focus on what it means to be holy, what it means to be like Christ, our example of the Almighty. In the process, if we are striving to meet that goal of holiness, the do’s and don’ts have a way of taking care of themselves, via the work of the Holy Spirit.