Some Cultural Exegesis: What It Means to be a Man in the 21st Century
I can’t help but recognize as I live my life in this world system that people, by and large, live in defeat, and out of this posture people construct personal-identities, socio-cultural systems, and other coping mechanisms. While this observation might sound like I am going to reflect from a psycho-analytic mode; come on, you know me better than that! The following reflection will be from a Christian theological vantage point. I think what is prompting this is the new environment I have found myself in as a result of my new employment. There is such a range of personalities and statuses (in the world’s way of thinking about this) at play, it would be too hard to try and talk about each one; alas, this is not what I want to focus on in this post. Given the range of personalities and identities represented by folks in the ‘world’ (me included), there is a common thread I have noticed among the male species, no matter what status he finds himself in. The male species, without Christ (in particular), must fight! He must fight to be a man, and a man set by the world’s standards. He must be tough, crude, insensitive, and downright aggressive; there is no time to rest. A man, in a dog-eat-dog world must constantly establish and re-establish his ego.
And yet the absolute irony of this is that what it really means to be a man involves the exact opposite. What it really means to be a man looks like Jesus. A real man puts others first; he lays his life down for the weak, he loves his enemies, he prays for those who curse him, and turns the other cheek. A real man looks at people like sheep without a shepherd, and he points them to the true Shepherd. A real man weeps; he is not quick to defend himself, he is vulnerable to the point of death. But a real man is not a door-mat either, he does and is all of the aforementioned with intent, and from a real power, a power that is ecstatic, and that reposes in the reality of God’s life as the reality of his life. This man fights, but not with carnal weapons, but with weapons such as prayer, and living a crucified life. The real man is Jesus Christ, if a man wants to genuinely be a man, he will live from the ground of all reality, of all of humanity, in the dearly beloved Son of God. If nothing else, this post is a friendly-reminder to myself. God’s grace.