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Christian Living

The F Word, Part 1

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.

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Where are all the Christian Single Men? Part 2

real menI’m still thinking about this. And typically I don’t carry on like this. But there were so many good comments that, in my mind, this deserved a follow up post rather than endless comments.

Dave Tucker (that’s my father-in-law everyone else) brings up an interesting wrinkle to this. Technically, in the US there are more baby boys born than girls… slightly. I wonder if it is safe to assume that slightly more boys die in childhood and adolescence since boys like to jump off things and work on more farms and stuff. But, by and large, roughly the same amount of boys and girls make it to an age where they should be looking for a spouse.

That still leaves a mighty problem though.
I’ve got 20-30 single women in my life who are looking for a Christian man. Preferably, one with a job, doesn’t live with mommy, showers more than once per week, and is more interested in holding onto them than an XBox 360 controller.

Dave Luke brought up a good idea, maybe these women should expatriate for their 20’s to meet a nice NorIrish boy. Since most women I know love an Irish accent this isn’t a bad idea. And all that stuff about Irish men being drunkards, violent to their spouses, and a few other stereotypes is just plain untrue.
(At least in the Christian community in Northern Ireland.) The problem with that idea is that it’s pretty difficult to get a visa into the United Kingdom with “looking for a man” as the reason for moving over there. Plus, the standard of living over there is so high they’d have to get married there and then immediately move to Michigan where it is cheap enough to live. (And we know NorIrish can’t say “Michigan.”

So, single women in my life looking for a nice Christian man to date and maybe one day enjoy Song of Solomon benefits… I have 3 bits of sage advice for you.

se-xbox shirtSage advice #1 Think about wearing game controllers. Either wear it as an accessory, or keep one in your purse. Occasionally taking it out, making eye contact with a cute Christian man, and hiding it again will send the message. Thanks to Sara for this advice. Get your se-xbox gear here.

Sage advice #2 Go to Bible college, Christian college, or anywhere else that harbors young men in an environment where video games aren’t allowed. This way you have them trapped. They will naturally follow their God-designed ways to seek after you when these “pseudo-women” have been removed. If college is too long or expensive, get a job at a Christian camp. They lock away men there too with no video games. But don’t get confused, while prisons do have men locked away without video games those men typically aren’t eligible for parole for a while.

Sage advice #3 Be Blunt. Let’s face it, most men are not that bright when it comes to figuring out woman-folk. In fact, that may be why guys like video games so much… they can figure it out. And if they can’t… they have the ability to make it stop until they have the energy to try again. So if you find a “humanous male-ocous Christiani” just let him know… pay attention to me, love me, treat me right, and I’ll be better than your best friend forever.

Christian Women Aren’t to Blame for the Shortage!

I just thought I’d put that out there as something obvious. It’s not that the Christian women in my life caused this problem. And I don’t think it’s a cultural thing we should just get used to. I think, as Adam R mentioned in his comment… guys need to be taught how to be men. And that means that the men in my life (including myself) need to make sure we continue to mentor young men past high school and into college. We need to force them to grow up. We need to help their parents see that babying them hurts everyone. We need to tell their moms that their boys aren’t their husbands… that their role is to raise a man, not substitute a husband. (This is a large problem, in my opinion.) We need to teach dads that their role is to raise a man, not get them into college so they can act like a boy 4 more years.

And we need to remind men over and over again that they will be irresistible to women when they take care of themselves, fall madly in love with Jesus, live on their own, make their own money, and treat women with respect.

On second thought, it’s just easier to move to Northern Ireland.