Great post by Doug Groothuis…
A new movement is afoot, inspired in part by John Eldridge, author of Wild at Heart. Call it the Christian men’s movement. The thesis is simple and wrong: the church is feminized and, therefore, cannot attract me (or at least cannot attract “real men”). The solution is simple and just as wrong: to masculinize the church and create separate associations where men can beat their chests, spit, scoff at all things “feminine,” and glory in the power of testosterone.
One Brad Stine has formed a group called GodMen (sounds a bit pantheistic), which, according to Christianity Today, “provides a space in which ‘men can be men; raw and uninhibited; completely free to express themselves in a uniquely male way that only men understand’” (Brandon O’Brien, “A Jesus for Real Men,” April, 2008, p. 49). Pastor Mark Driscoll says that men are drawn to Jesus’ “calloused hands and big biceps.” This is, he says, “the Ultimate Fighting Jesus” (p. 49). I have never been drawn to these features of Jesus, if he even had them. They are not the point of the Incarnation. I am drawn to Jesus’ holy personality (perfect love and justice), his truth, his miracles, his death, his resurrection, his ascension—none of which require macho muscles and calloused hands. Those hands were pierced for us; that body was broken for us. That is what counts—for men and for women—for time and eternity.
The problem with the church is not that it is presenting a feminine Jesus, although some of the depictions of Jesus are such (another argument for not making any image of God.) The problem is that the biblical Jesus, in all his uncomfortable glory, has been eclipsed by worldliness. Now Jesus is not the crucified and risen Lord, but an idea to comfort us, inspire us to be who we already want to be. Instead of coming with a whip and driving out the money changers, he helps us make money to spend on stuff. Instead of heaving with paroxysms of grief and outrage over the death of Lazarus, he is saying nice things to get us to distract ourselves from the brutal realities of sin and death in our broken world. One could go on.
The answer is not to create a Jesus that fits the stereotypes of today’s masculinity. That is just more worldliness and should be repented of. Humans, male and female, are equally made in the image of God. The fruit of the Spirit is for both sexes. The gifts of the Spirit are for both sexes. The way of life for both women and men is to deny themselves (and the current worldly views of masculinity and femininity), take up their crosses and follow Christ.
Yes, men and women are different, each tend to have different strengths and different weaknesses in some areas. For example, how many women are addicted to pornography? How many men over idealize romance? But the answer is not to become more masculine or more feminine (unless one has sexual identity problems). The answer is to become more broken before God, more biblical, more filled with the Spirit, more of a sold out agent of the supernatural Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33).