Editorial note: I don’t normally do guest posts. But in this case I am making an exception. The following post is from a friend of mine, a local San Diegan with an advanced ministry degree from a well-known conservative university, whose perspective on life I’ve learned lots from in during our new found friendship.
Adam has been blogging a lot about fear lately—how fear robs us of the best God has for us, how God does not intend for his faithful to walk in fear afraid. God is our Father; He is our protector and provider; He is present; He is here. Be not afraid.
So what are Christian men afraid of?
I’ve watched men especially be afraid of one thing—being friends with other men. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen guys go watch sports or hunt together; they bump fists at church (and then put their arm around their wives) and then, juuuuust to push the envelope, a good ol’ men’s breakfast.
But authentic friendship? Real brotherhood? Well, the days of Promise Keepers are over. You can bag on that movement all you want but it at least it challenged the traditional status quo in our churches on men’s friendship: Keep it simple and shallow and no one gets hurt.
What are men really afraid of?
What’s at the core of this socially awkward mix? I mean, women do friendship well. They talk and share and get together. And don’t get me wrong, I understand that men usually bond over activities, but it just seems like men now are going through the motions of friendship but the bonding isn’t happening.
Christian men are afraid of being perceived as gay or remotely gay or a tad gay or even a little glitter pixel of gay. I can’t tell you how many men I’ve seen hug and another man nearby says, “That was so gay.”
I’ve heard men share about what is really going on in their lives and right before we get to the root of the issue they pull back and say, “Wow, I’m sounding like a big faggot right now.”
Ah, because gay men are continually wrestling with the emotional needs of a pregnant wife. It’s an epidemic.
Christian men hide behind the façade of not wanting to be thought of as gay as an excuse of not wanting to be perceived as weak or vulnerable. But in doing so, caving into this Christian manly homophobia. Consequently men come across as insensitive jerks by missusing the word gay.
My Two-Year Rule
I have this “two-year” rule.
Here’s the rule. Usually men tell me they have no real friends around them and that they are fine with just the family. Sure, they justify, they have some long distance friends. But they get along just fine.
When I hear them say, “I have no friends” I start a mental countdown of 730 days. At the end of those two years, something will be ruined because of their lack of friendship with other men: A marriage, finances, a father-child relationship, a career, or something else.
Why men need friends
God designed men to have community for the simple fact, left alone, we are morons. And when we hide behind a big pink triangle of an excuse for not having intimate male friends, afraid of the slighted perceived notion of being gay, we are destroying what our soul needs—Someone to tell us blunt truth about our lives, to walk with us, to challenge how we are treating our wives, our children and our career.
We need friends who know us deeply and intimately. (Wait, did you say intimately? Yes, yes I did. Are you uncomfortable with that? Intimacy.)
And it puzzles me that two men, especially if they are married and have children, are so paranoid about being perceived as gay? What are you worried about to begin with? I don’t get it.
And yes, I get it. Being perceived as gay may cause some damage there—some very real damage.
The Flipside of Your Labels
You need to know the cost of misusing those words, “faggot” and “gay” to describe your fear of friendship with other men, is just an an excuse for what you really need. It is destroying the potential authentic relationship that could very well save the other relationships around you.
And it will also cost you the friendships of those who struggle with being gay. Like me.
But that’s for another post.