Thursday, June 22, 2006

what is a real man?

What is a real man? I want to know! I am currently reading four books on this subject. The other day I googled “authentic masculinity” and spent hours reading the different ideas and opinions of writers and bloggers. Later today I am going out to do “woman on the street” interviews asking this question to the women of Las Vegas (could be interesting). I must say that the last 40 years of change in sexuality and sexual roles have left many men wondering. They have also left many men feeling emasculated.

“What’s a real man? He's not a bully or a wimp. He transcends his own ego, his own fears, his own selfishness, and sacrifices himself as a gift to those he's called to protect.” Dr. Philip Mango

So often we see men swinging between these poles “a bully or a wimp”. To be a man certainly does not mean to twist the purpose of masculine strength to oppress others for selfish or insecure reasons. No doubt insecurity is at the heart of many masculine perversions. I can see that my journey toward a more whole expression of masculinity has been through wrestling with and overcoming my fears and insecurities. By the way, at their core, that is what men are-afraid. Afraid they won’t measure up. Afraid they might not have what it takes. Afraid of rejection. Afraid of failure-I could go on.

Often a man can swing the other way into a wimpish looking passivity. A place where he never disturbs the status quo. In one way it feels safer for him but in his heart that was designed by God to initiate activity and fight injustice he begins to feel a deep sense of inadequacy. Deep inside he desires to offer his strength-to make a difference-to show the masculine image of God in himself but how?

For me the answer is found in transcending self and fear through sacrifice. To “lose myself” for the sake of another. I have never felt better than when I’ve forgotten about myself long enough to focus on others. Men discover the truest expression of masculinity in giving themselves away. They are never more admirable than when they offer their strength in compassionate, unselfish, giving of themselves-especially when it causes them pain to do so.

To me this is why Jesus is the most compelling man ever. He is the ultimate male. He gave us the example of authentic masculinity to follow as He courageously went to the cross. His security in who He was, His purpose, mission, life, teachings, and sacrifice give me a clear definition of what it means to be a man. I want to follow His example.

“The truth is, a kernel of wheat must be planted in the soil. Unless it dies it will be alone—a single seed. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who lose their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” Jesus


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