I found this video on Yahoo. Anything that deals with masculinity and how it is played out in culture fascinates me and I am drawn to it. This is a story of a 6th grader who was beat up and bullied for being a male cheerleader.
Before we get into this though, let me point this one cultural observation out. His mother is there with him in the interview, but you never once hear the boys father mentioned. That my friends, my fellow men, is a travesty. I love that his mother is standing up for him, but where is a man to teach him what it means to be a man (please withhold judgement on me until you read the rest…)?
Regardless of what your stance on whether a man should be a cheerleader or not - let me ask you these questions:
Do men have to be into sports?
Do they have to be rugged?
What does being strong mean?
What if your son cries?
Can they be into fashion?
Can they like to cheer or dance?
What if your son wants to be a ballerina?
What if he wants to learn to style hair?
What if your son wants a pedicure or manicure?
What if your son wears cardigans and wants to be an equestrian or dog trainer?
Masculinity is a complex and difficult thing. Men, we as fathers, brothers, friends, mentors, etc., get to model Biblical masculinity.
Let me ask you, what does that mean?
Biblical masculinity means being like Jesus because He was and is the only perfect man. That means, that He alone was truly masculine. Let me tell you, Jesus was tough, strong and masculine. But he was also emotional (properly), he wept, cried and grieve. Jesus had righteous anger. Jesus had perfect love. Jesus had perfect sacrifice. Jesus was a perfect leader. Jesus was a perfect provider. Jesus had a perfect relationship with His father. Simply put, biblical masculinity means being like Jesus. Jesus had perfect love, so we should love our sons regardless of what interests they have and support them in it.
After all, Jesus loved us even before we got cleaned up and came to Him. So, if Jesus can forgive our sins can’t we love how our son may have a unique appeal to cheer-leading?
“The first clear manifestation of heavenly life in the individual is recognition, hearty confidence, that Jesus really is the Anointed One, Christ, Lord. This is not primarily a profession. It is a gripping realization of what is the case. It is not possible for the unaided human being to arrive at such a condition.”—Dallas Willard
My life and backstory is quite interesting. See, I have had the fortunes of not being stuck or tied down into one singular cultural picture. It is something I didn’t even realize I was taking for granted until I hit college and got older.
There are several big ways (just to name a few) this plays out but let me just walk you through them.
I grew up in Orange County, which is arguably, the most diverse area in the world. Surveys and statistics show that OC is the most culturally and religiously diverse area in the world. If you sample the entire world’s religions and cultures/races, supposedly, every single one of them is represented in OC. I’m used to the cultural rainbow of diversity and I love it.
I was born on Saturday and in church on Sunday (that means that I have been inside the walls of church, Christendom, Christianity, my entire life). I know that culture really well, from the side of the liberal to the side of the conservative to the land of the middle.
I grew up my first 5 years of schooling going to a public school then I was home-schooled. I know the two diametrical opposite cultures. I understand them both - the pros and cons. Each culture is different and unique (some more unique then others).
I went to a Junior/Community/2-year college in Costa Mesa, CA. That itself is a different culture - it has been joked that community college, OCC for instance, is simply high school with smoking or the 13th grade. I think those are both fairly accurate…
I went to a public university. Now that is a different mentality entirely. I loved it. There was something about the campus, CSUF, that was such a beautiful picture for how the church should engage it’s city by being a city within the city. College campuses are great examples of it.
I was a Religious Studies major at a public university. That’s right. Now that itself is an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Cultures fascinate me and the only way to study culture is to be absorbed in it. I loved my 5 years of college. They formed me because it taught me how to live missionally and study missiology (study of culture for mission).
Now, however, I am throw in my metaphorical Kansas (think Wizard of Oz) - a private, conservative, Christian university for grad school. I could spend hours comparing the differences between Biola and CSUF and they are diametrical opposites for many reasons - obviously. But so far, after a month, it is interesting watching a campus of about 6,000 students interact.
If you want to learn about the Christian sub-culture and how it is portrayed hit up a Christian university. It is fascinating and you will learn a ton - especially when you have the means to contrast it with your public university.
Let me make this clear, I am in no means bashing Christian universities. Simply speaking, there is a big difference - especially from a cultural standpoint. There are many fine things about Christian universities - for instance, i truly do see a sense of community among the students (a beautiful thing) that public universities (in Orange County at least) lack.
What I sit back and wonder is this.
Why do Christian universities exist? Do they detract from the local church? Did the local church fail and Christian universities filled the void of a weak local church that wasn’t concerned with it’s young adults? How can we get these natural clusters of students and communities on mission?
Welcome to my head after one month of grad school. There will be many more musings on my experiences. But I ask you, please share your thoughts with me. I want to hear them. I may be misguided or flat wrong in what I’m seeing. I long for your thoughts to learn from you as we learn together in community.
“waiting can be debilitating and suck our souls dry - unless it is marked by hope in God. Waiting, for the believer, is not the futile and desperate act of those who have no other options, but rather a confident trust that eventually God will set things right - even if he is not operating within our preferred time frame.”—Gary Thomas, Authentic Faith, pg 40
“Salvation, being saved, is then not a meager, merely human existence here, but life with a heavenly account flush in the transferred merits of Christ. It is human existence, to be sure - meager as it may be - but one in which the currents of divine life have at least begun to pulsate.”—Dallas Willard
i really do love Josh Hamilton. even though the Angels aren’t making the playoffs it is almost worth it so Josh Hamilton gets a shot to put his faith on display on a stage that can only help but make Jesus famous. that is exciting.
this story amazes me. it reminds me of Joseph who ran when Potiphar’s wife hit on him so he ran and left his cloak in their house. even, if he isn’t going to a faith event in Oakland, it is still an amazing picture of the sacrifice it may take to put Jesus on display.
what are your thoughts? what can we learn from Josh Hamilton?
“Do you expect me to keep from crawling back. Do you accept me when we both know my past. I know you’re out there somewhere. Come where I can see. Closer. Closer. Closer to me.”—Anberlin, Closer (via bethanyhamm)
“The world isn’t split into good people and death eaters. We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is what the part you choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”—Sirius Black (Submitted by: hobbitholes)
“So many Christians are childish – in the back seat, whining and complaining to the Father: “Are we there yet? Why aren’t we there? What’s going on?” And the Father says, “My son, my daughter, can you be quiet and enjoy the ride? I’m doing good things in your life. Can you stop worrying and just enjoy My company? Can you open your eyes to where you are and see the beauty of where I have you right now?” God wants you to enjoy the ride. And He Himself is the destination anyway. So there’s no sense in asking, “Are we there yet?” because if we are with Him, we’re there”—Britt Merrick (via Brianna Cox) (via chrislazo) (via kateegrace) (via davidmendoza) (via derekthornton)
“If God had perceived that our greatest need was economic, he would have sent an economist. If he had perceived that our greatest need was entertainment, he would have sent us a comedian or an artist. If God had perceived that our greatest need was political stability, he would have sent us a politician. If he had perceived that our greatest need was health, he would have sent us a doctor. But he perceived that our greatest need involved our sin, our alienation from him, our profound rebellion, our death; and he sent us a Savior. ”—D.A. Carson (via firstbreath90) (via derekthornton)
“Some people do not like to hear much of repentance; but I think it is so necessary that if I should die in the pulpit, I would desire to die preaching repentance, and if out of the pulpit I would desire to die practicing it.”—Matthew Henry (via derekthornton)
“I was never one to patiently pick up broken fragments and glue them together again and tell myself that the mended whole was as good as new. What is broken is broken - and I’d rather remember it as it was at its best than mend it and see the broken places as long as I lived.”—
“The world is not moved by love or actions that are of human creation. And the church is not empowered to live differently from any other gathering of people without the Holy Spirit. But when believers live in the power of the Spirit, the evidence in their lives is supernatural. The church cannot help be different and the world cannot help but notice.”—Francis Chan (via peacenotwar) (via derekthornton)
“What were we made for? To know God. What aim should we have in life? To know God. What is the eternal life that Jesus gives? To know God. What is the best thing in life? To know God. What in humans gives God most pleasure? Knowledge of himself”—
“It is true that God may have called you to be exactly where you are. But it’s absolutely vital to grasp that He didn’t call you there so you could settle in and live out your life in comfort and superficial peace. His purposes are not random or arbitrary. If you are still alive on this planet, it’s because he has something for you to do.”—Francis Chan
“In many cases, we may, by the rules of the gospel, be obliged to give to others, when we cannot do it without suffering ourselves. if our neighbor’s difficulties and necessities be much greater than our own, and we see that he is not like to be otherwise relieved, we should be willing to suffer with him, and to take part of his burden on ourselves; else how is that rule of bearing one another’s burdens fulfilled? If we be never obliged to relieve other’s burdens, but when we can do it without burdening ourselves, then do we bear our neighbor’s burden, when we bear no burden at all?”—Jonathan Edwards (via christiansimas)
“We shouldn’t worry about our lives, what we’ll eat, buy, or wear. God says the American dream is absolute foolishness. It’s exactly what Christians are doing and defending. God could take your life at any time. Don’t conform to the patterns of this world.”—Francis Chan (via shewashurrican) (via derekthornton)
“Men and women are not projects. If you don’t really love them, I don’t understand what you are really doing. You’re like working a project… if you don’t care about their soul then just shut up.”—Matt Chandler on homosexuality (and all other issues while you are at it)
Below are some quotes from the article - don’t read them out of context though, go read the article then come back.
"Christianity’s primary delivery system, the local church, is perfectly designed to reach women"
Is this a bad thing? If women are showing up, shouldn’t it be catered to them? Naturally, that would make sense…
“This church system offers little to stir the masculine heart, so men find it dull and irrelevant”
Jesus isn’t dull and irrelevant. He was a man too. Why have we let it become dull and irrelevant?
“men are drawn to risk, challenge and adventure. ‘But these things are discouraged in the local church’”
Shouldn’t the Gospel and following the Kingdom of God be a dangerous thing?
“the very definition of a good Christian has become feminized”
What are your thoughts on that? Is that good or bad? If Christian means “little Christ” was Jesus feminized? What does feminine and masculine even mean? What is the difference?
"It’s hard for a man to be real in church because he must squeeze himself into this feminine religious mold"
Are we squeezing masculinity and heterosexuality out of the church? What are we replacing him with?
“A study from the Hartford Institute for Religion Research found that the presence of involved men is statistically correlated with church growth, health and harmony, while a lack of male participation is strongly associated with congregational decline.”
This is why I am dreaming about planting a church. I dream of reaching out to those that refuse to step into the walls of a church, the church enigma, a young, single male.
I am always the underdog and I kind of like it that way. Although, I think it would be great to bring Ron into my world just a bit, no one invites us.
The great thing about the debate is it is fair. I speak for 20 minutes, then Ron for 20 minutes then we do an hour of questions and answers.
Why is the church so afraid to hear the other side? I think it would be a great outreach to bring the debate to a church but every time I pitch it to a church or Christian college they say, “We could never let him on stage at church.”
I don’t get it. But then again, these are often the same people who say I should not even be friends with him, let alone on a tour bus with him. I know Zacchaeus was a short dude in the Bible but how can we overlook that story and see the example Jesus set for us to go after people?
My friends, to those I don’t know that read my writing, this is a letter of apology and sorrow for those who don’t carry the name of Jesus well, for those who misrepresent Jesus and the Kingdom He has and is establishing…
Please know that not all Christians/people who love Jesus are this way. In fact, they shouldn’t be like this. Jesus wouldn’t be like this.
This is one man, of one church. Yes, I know these things keep popping up all over the place. I’m not in the business of justifying his words. He shouldn’t be encouraging this type of behavior but I cannot stop him from saying these things - I really wish I could though - more then you could even realize.
I hear things like this said out-loud, on national television and it really makes me cringe. I wish I could have a chance to sit down with everyone who doesn’t know Jesus and explain to you the beauty of the Gospel and why, after studying all the world’s religions, I still willingly, joyfully, faithfully, volunteer to serve and follow this carpenter from Nazareth who spent His time loving on the people who needed Him by healing them and talking to them about the beauty of His Kingdom that He ushered into existence on earth.
Most importantly, He died for them and us (me too), on the cross at Golgotha and rose 3 days later to reconcile them to Him - forever (because we can’t do it on our own). He redeemed them. Paid the ultimate price. Illustrated the ultimate act of love and sacrifice.
I could keep writing and writing about this beauty, but let me leave it here.
Does this Jesus sound like a man who would encourage the attacking of other religions or burning their sacred books?