Masculinity and Jesus

There is a good post over at Internet Monk about the wrong kind of male leadership. Michael Spencer basically outlines what he thinks is wrong with some of the perspectives we’re seeing on male leadership at present and encourages men to repent and seek forgiveness instead of standing up and saying, “I’m the leader.”

I thought that he made a particularly good point in one paragraph,

Right now evangelicals have a lot of teachers and preachers insisting that men need to be more manly. That Jesus wasn’t a girl. That Christian churches need more wild men, chest hair and biker dudes. Somewhere in there, there are still some men talking about how to honor, serve, love and care about their families, but the current twist of the fad is more along the lines of style, not substance. Announce the way things are going to be from now on.

I’ve heard a lot recently that Jesus isn’t some “pinko commie” or a long-haired hippie who just wants us to love one another. I’ve heard people say that rather, he is incredibly masculine and wants men to be men. This normally means being “masculine,” whatever that means, and also being “the spiritual leader of the house,” again – whatever that means. I take less issue with the spiritual leadership issue, though I think people wrongly interpret that. I take more issue with “being men,” and trying to pass this off as something Jesus would want.

To be sure, there are things that separate men and women. I don’t think we need to be ashamed of that. However, it worries me because love and empathy tend to be seen as feminine, and as such some in the Church are discouraging men from showing, or even having, these types of attributes. I don’t think that is healthy. Jesus showed love and empathy all the time. Sure, he got angry – but the norm is not overturning tables, its talking and discussing. Certainly a fair amount of wit is involved, and Jesus shows people their place at times. But it doesn’t involve physically striking them. I’m not saying that all of these people are encouraging men to fight each other. But there is certainly a soldier motif that appears in some of these writings and conferences.

I think the healthier thing for the church would be to help men realize that Jesus was masculine, but that being masculine does not preclude empathizing with people or being kind and loving to others. I think one of the most important things for men to realize is that it is okay to be open, and yes – it is okay to cry.

Excuse me, its time for me to go beat on my chest like a gorilla – I’ve been told it’ll help me get closer to Jesus.

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