By Mark Singleton
Put a Christian manhood book into this blank (___________). It doesn’t matter which one. We all remember when we read that one manhood book. It gave us something that the tie-wearing choir boy had been screaming for all of his life. There was a sense of liberation. A feeling of “I don’t care anymore, I am a man! (While eating a ham-bone and having no shirt on).”
When you read this book, it brought freedom and hope that you had not felt much of prior. Afterwords, you might have signed up to go sky diving or picked a fight with the mailman. But in the end—years later—you find yourself still hoping for the adventure that you feel should be marked by your life.
I have seen this pendulum swing in my life. I was a good boy. I won awards for my conduct and had a good reputation for it. But I felt timid and thought at times my kindness was taken advantage of. When reading these books, I finally felt that I was ready to right all the wrongs in my life. I was going to confront every guy that ever disrespected me. I was going to be a mixture of Tyler Durdin from Fight Club and Jesus. And in some ways, that’s what I ended up doing. I listened to sermons on masculinity that reminded me how tough Jesus was. I began adopting every notion of masculinity that the world painted—or even some Christian authors and pastors painted.
It was thrilling.
But as time went by, I realized the many flaws within this version of “biblical masculinity.” It was not truly committed to what the bible was saying about Jesus or Masculinity. I chose verses that endorsed my aggression and drove them into the ground while ignoring verses that show Christ as being humble and compassionate.
I have since had to reevaluate how I handle situations.
Christ wasn’t a hippy, flower-power softy, but he also wasn’t an extra for the Expendables, either.
He was and is Jesus. That’s what I’ve needed to understand. The masculinity he portrays is what I need. I don’t need to make him more aggressive or less aggressive than he is.
He is fine. As is. Complete.
When I read the book of Revelation, I see Christ not only as the Lion but also the Lamb. That is a sobering thought. He is described in chapter 5 as being the The Lion of the Tribe of Judah who has conquered. He then immediately is seen as the lamb who was slain.
When we see Christ, we can’t ignore who he completely is. Yes, he is the conquering lion, but he is also the slain lamb. Realizing this helped me to see Christ in a more complete way.
Fast forward a few years and I am find myself raising sons. Do I want to raise them in a chauvinistic home where I lead them like a domineering dictator? No! In the same token, I see my role as being the head of the home and responsible to Christ for the direction to which our home goes.
I realize now that I don’t need to paint a misogynistic picture of Jesus, or a feministic picture of him.
Let the bible speak for itself. He is the man who spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well when it was not acceptable to do so, and he is the man who didn’t come to bring peace but a sword.
He is the Lion. He is the lamb.
I am praying that as my sons and I go camping, play sports, and eat red meat, they will enjoy the thought that at one time Jesus was a boy like them. He grew up playing games with other kids, and he grew in wisdom and stature.
I am praying that in moments where they are scared, hurt, and crying that I would tell them of the emotions of Christ—about his prayer in the garden of Gethsemane or when he cried over the death of his friend, Lazarus.
But hopefully, I can share with them the greatest truth about the masculinity of Jesus: He is the perfect man, and he is enough.
Mark enjoys writing on a range of topics from manhood to social justice issues. He is on the leadership team with New Breed Church in Louisville Kentucky. He enjoys spending time with his wife Kendra and three children (Oh, and he is an avid fan of Ale-8-One).
Connect with Mark on Twitter here.
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