Manliness is next to godliness
Diane alerted me to that headline in the LA Times. The article describes the GodMen movement, a masculine worship service geared for manly men. It is a welcome alternative to the feminine spirituality I ranted about last month. Some of it is refreshing, and some goes to far.
Take the lyrics of one of the GodMen house band’s songs:
Forget the yin and the yang
I'll take the boom and the bang….
Don't need in touch with my feminine side!
All I want is my testosterone high
I don’t know about a “testosterone high,” but I can sympathize with their revolt against the philosophy of androgyny which has infiltrated Christian spirituality.
I also like what John Eldredge was quoted as writing in Wild at Heart:
Christianity, as it currently exists, has done some terrible things to men…[Men]
believe that God put them on earth to be a good boy.
Men need to embrace their strength and their masculinity. Sometimes being nice is not the right answer. Men need to be willing to fight for what is right. Jesus was not nice to the Pharisees or the people who defiled the temple. Jesus was forceful and even violent when necessary. This is the masculinity which is lacking in the Church. It needs to come back.
That being said, GodMen does go to extremes and misses what is authentically masculine. Celebrating gratuitous violence and pranks is not very Christian. One GodMen disciple seems to have missed true masculinity all together:
Eric Miller, a construction worker, admits his wife is none too pleased when he takes off, alone, on a weekend camping trip a few weeks after the GodMen conference this fall.This guy was acting more like a boy than a man. Jesus calls men to put our strength at the service of love. Jesus demonstrated His greatest strength by emptying Himself and dying on the cross. We men are called to die to ourselves out of love for our God and our neighbor. Sometimes love is tough. Sometimes it is not nice. Sometimes the loving thing to do is to fight for what is right. But we are called to do all things out of love. Leaving your wife and infant at home while you go camping does not sound very selfless to me.
"She was a little bit leery of it, as we have an infant," he reports.
"She said, 'I need your help around here.' "Miller, 26, refuses to yield: "I am supposed to be the leader of the family."
Unfortunately, programs like GodMen are filling a void left by our churches. When the best a men’s spirituality group has to offer is to tell you to get in touch with your feminine side, something has gone wrong.
For a different look at the GodMen movement, check out Mary Angelita Ruiz’s post in First Things.
Saint John of the Cross, pray for us!