January 1, 2011
At the core of many of the current issues facing our society is an issue far too little discussed – the question of what it means to be a man in this world. There are a multitude of symptoms pointing to a significant problem: the increasing cohabitation rate which helps men avoid a sacrificial commitment to a wife and family; the tragically high number of children born outside of marriage, who will never have a stable male figure as part of their lives; the absence of healthy role models for boys in so many areas of life. Add to that the fact that the “Great Recession” has had an enormous impact on men: a common estimate is that eight out of ten jobs lost were formerly held by men, and there are questions about whether many of those jobs will ever return. For the first time in the nation’s history, more women are employed than men. As well, women outnumber men at virtually every level of higher education. And sadly, the plague of pornography shows no signs of abating.
We live in a new world, where changed economic and vocational realities have changed the landscape. And I find no reason to bemoan the passing of many cultural stereotypes. The rugged “Marlboro man”, who needed no one but himself, was hardly a worthy model. And the recent news that Hugh Hefner is planning to marry another 24-year old ex-Playmate model only shows how pathetic the Playboy model is. The models presented by Hollywood may be mildly entertaining, but they are far from inspiring, and usually deeply flawed. The constant propaganda of the homosexual lobby only contributes more confusion to the scenario.
Al Mohler has said it better than I could: “A true masculinity is grounded in a man’s determination to fulfill his manhood in being a good husband, father, citizen, worker, leader and friend – one who makes a difference, fulfills a role for others, and devotes his life to these tasks.”
We are not meant to do that alone. Our most obvious need as men is the enabling power that comes through a dynamic and growing relationship with the Lord. However well we were fathered by our earthly fathers, we need what only the heavenly Father can do within us.
But we also need one another. We need those who are older, veterans who can show us the way by the lessons they have learned through success and failure. We need those who are around us, peers sharing our life circumstances who can speak both grace and truth into our lives. And we need those who are coming behind us, for whom we will be accountable and determined to show the way.
Nothing is a higher priority for a man than to make 2011 a year he walks with God into the realities of what it means to be a true man of God. In this edition of Connections, you will find more about Men’s Ministry at Trinity, which provides many tools that will help you make that a reality. Man up and jump in!