Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What does it mean to be a man?

What does it mean to be a man? I always thought that it meant the Terminator. Tall, dressed in black, a dangerous killing machine, and emotionally dead. No one and nothing bothered you. You remember hearing that guys don't cry, are not sad, and should have no other emotion other than anger. I even remember learning from those great authorities, my friends, that women were to look at, admire, and lust after, but never try to communicate with in a meaningful way. Real men just told their woman how it was going to be. Boy was I an idiot.

To encompass the mental idea of a man I even coined a popular video gaming phrase. Ownage or pwnage. I defined this as the consistent domination of your opponent in such a way that you were obviously the better man. Example: I owned you in that basketball game. Or That dude just got owned! (Dude was punched in the face.) So by extension if I owned others on a continuous basis, I was then Ownage. I even called myself the Ownage Masta. Wow, my arrogance knows no bounds.

I first got a small inkling that maybe there was more too this several years later. I became interested in what a man of God was like. I was rebuilding my own life from the hole I had dug, so I was looking for a different mold to follow. I started reading in the bible about some the most "manly" biblical figures. Jesus topped the chart, but I was hesitate to count him initially. He was God so what chance did a regular guy like me have a chance measuring up? Time to down the expectation a little. I started with some of the original "manly" men. The "OGs" of manliness, if you will. Prophets and Old Testament leaders. Moses (parted the Red Sea), Abraham (the father of God's people Isreal), Elijah (killed 900 preists of Baal by beheading), and Gideon (killed an entire army with only 300 guys after sending that rest of his army home). I had this preconception of what a man was. I thought that by reading these stories I would somehow unlock the secret to be more awesome and to be able to do amazing or epic things also. But that is not what I found while reading those stories. Moses told God that he could not speak well enough and to send someone else to free the Jews form Pharaoh in Egypt. Abraham was so impatient that God give him a son to start the nation of Israel that he had sex with another woman and then disowned his first son. Gideon asked God multiple times if he was doing right thing. He even made God wet and dry a small piece of wool to tell him to do it. Unsure much? Elijah, after the epic showdown on the mountain where God arrived and burned the waterlogged bull sacrifice disgracing his enemies, and Elijah personally beheaded 900 priests of Baal (wouldn't your arm get tired?) and then Elijah at his moment of extreme Ownage, is scared of the queen and runs into the desert to hide.

Wait a minute. This is not the picture I had in my head. Men were not supposed to do these things. Moses saying he cant speak, what a weak excuse! Abraham was impatient and had sex with a woman not his wife. Adultery and trying to rush God? Gideon so unsure of himself he asks God several times? Elijah, my favorite Old Testament figure, runs away at his moment of greatest triumph because he is afraid of a woman!!! These is not what I thought men were supposed to be like. Where was the disconnect? Was the bible wrong? No, the bible is God's Word. So what was the problem?

The problem was with my thinking. The problem was this unattainable image of the prefect, aloof, emotionless man. I was trying to be something that did not exist. I felt like an idiot.

Instead lets take another look at those bible stories. When Moses made his lame excuse God told him that he would send his brother to speak for him. In other words, you going. When Abraham wasted lots of time and effort trying to fulfill God's promise, God made Abraham's wife, Sarah, pregnant after she was 90 years old. In other words, wait, I got this. When Gideon was unsure, God not only reassured him, but also made the enemy army panic when Gideon arrived and they were so confused they killed each other! In other words, I am gonna do it, and you have no idea how, so just do what I told you to do. When Elijah ran for cover and collapsed in exhaustion under a tree, God sent an angel to say, " What are you doing here, Elijah?" I Kings 19:9 God was asking "What in the heck do you think your doing?"

In every one of these stories God was the one behind it all. All the "ownage" was God. So I had it all wrong. Being a man of God was not about the man at all, but instead all about God.

So I am now developing another definition for what a man of God is. Here is what I have so far. This is by no means a complete list, but rather a work in progress. A man of God realizes that without God he is nothing. Only by God's grace is he not in hell from the multitude of his own sin. Because he understands his new humble position, he gives others the same grace that God gave him. Meekness is not a weakness. God in his grace, bestowed on man responsibilities. A man of God is to attend to his responsibilities as if God is watching, because He is. These responsibilities include but are not restricted to; leading his family in God's way, caring for the "stuff" that God allows him to have, Being thankful for the grace and responsibilities. Relating to women in a manner respecting their place as the apex of creation. It was not perfect until women were created. To make an effort to understand their own emotions, so they will not flounder around like an idiot and trample other people, with harsh words, and angry actions. Showing and teaching what a man of God is to other younger, less enlightened men, (known as the brain dead, usually those under the age of 24 years old, also to include those living in their mother's basement).

This blog is part of my effort to do this. I hope to chronicle my journey discovering what it means to be a man of God. This includes manly behaviors like guns, sports, exercise, hiking, working, video gaming, learning, writing, and thinking. And every once in a while I may relate those things that God has chosen to reveal to me.

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