Tag Archives: Christian Living

Be A Man

carving

In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.
~ Rabbi Hillel, Pirke Avot 2:5

A college professor tells how every spring he can count on having a stream of students come to his office for the annual Identity-Crisis Whinge.

“Professor, I don’t know who I am, I need to take time off to find myself. I need to peel back the layers that society has imposed on me and find out who I am at my core.”

He says that he’d love, just one time, to be able say, “What if you peel back all the layers and find that you’re an onion, with nothing at your core?”

Are You Your Roles, Or Something More?

There is a kernel of truth in the whinging of these collegial snowflakes (and yes, I know “snowflake” is a microaggression; I just don’t care.) There are roles for us that we are to grow into as we mature, as we move through the different stages of our lives, but instead of whinging about these roles, those who truly mature grow into these roles and learn to embrace them.

I get that I am an imperfect commentator on today’s society, but I’m pretty sure that much of what we are seeing from these whinging snowflakes is the desire to be like Peter Pan and never have to grow up and assume the responsibilities of being an adult. Instead of seeking to acquire skills to make a living for themselves and for any family they might create, what we are seeing is a collective flight from reality.

Starting with my generation, a rebellion against the “expectations of society” rose up, and society’s so-called norms were flouted as old-fashioned Puritanism. Instead, a follow-your-bliss mindset began to be propagated and was embraced by increasing numbers down through the following decades. We have finally arrived at the point where we are seeing the creation of a generation fleeing responsibilities of making a life.

I think that one of the reasons that Christianity is so unpopular with contemporary society is because it makes demands on its adherents to grow and mature in their faith, which includes assuming the roles and responsibilities of caring for yourself and for others. And by caring, I mean actually working for their benefit and support.

There is no other way to interpret such statements as:

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” (2 Thess. 3:10)

or

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Tim. 5:8)

The Role We Should Accept, And Gladly

Pure and simple, Christian men have roles and obligations that they have to grow into, as they mature and become men.

The quote at the beginning of this article is one that I’ve come across recently in my readings about the historical context of Christianity. It comes from the Pirke Avot, (The Ethics of the Fathers,) a collection of rabbinic teachings that predate Christ. Rabbi Hillel is considered the greatest rabbi ever (that’s why you will find Hillel Houses on most college campuses) and is obliquely referenced in the Gospels. (You will have to read my Scarlet Letter series to see his significance.)

I could attempt to tick off a list of the different roles that Christian men are called to fulfill: disciple, son/father, husband, church member, etc., but I would face the same difficulty of one preacher that I know of. He was asked by a man to give a list of sins that would keep a man out of Heaven. He refused to do so, saying, “I might accidentally leave off yours off the list.”

Instead, I’m just going to say that Christian men, be they meek or macho, must realize that there is a call on their lives to serve God and those whom God places in their lives. The apostle Paul studied under Rabbi Gamaliel, who was the grandson of the Rabbi Hillel I quoted, above. Given that rabbinic teaching was handed down from rabbi to disciple, and so on, it’s probably a given that Paul learned by heart, “In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.”

The reason I believe this is because the teaching showed up in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians…

“When I became a man, I put away childish things.”

It would be impossible to attempt to dictate what constitutes being a man, and I’m not going to try. But we do know that the Bible places on us the onus of growing in our faith and into roles of service and responsibility. If we can accept the moral strictures of Christianity, it shouldn’t be so hard to understand that we have a place within the societal structures of Christianity, as well.

After all, someday the older generation in the church is going to be you. It’s for darn sure that Peter Pan will have to grow up then.

CSL

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The Church and Porn, part 3

porn3

This is the last of a three-part series: here are the links to part 1 and part 2.

Okay, to summarize my two previous posts: Paul Byerly, of Generous Husband, started a discussion among CMBA bloggers about pornography and the efficacy of the Church’s response. This is something I’ve been thinking about, and so did my first post on making the main thing the main thing, and not wandering off on crusades. My second post was a brief (for me, anyway) look at some examples of how Christians have affected society in the past.

Today, I want to try to tie those two posts together in a suggestion/rant (take your pick.) Continue reading

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Filed under Christian Beliefs, Marriage & Sexuality

The Church and Porn, part 2

porn2

This is the last of a three-part series: here are the links to part 1 and part 3.

Members of the Christian Marriage Bloggers Assn. are in the process of discussing the damaging effects of porn on marriage, and how the Church is responding to it. I have been thinking about the issue of porn and the Church’s response, and I’ve come to the conclusion that much of our response, while not necessarily ill-advised, is merely ineffective. In my previous post, I presented the idea that when we choose to come against a sin, we do two things: we approach the fight in our own strength and not in God’s spirit, and we change our identity from Christians to Crusaders.

My thought is that we need to “make the main thing the main thing” by downplaying what we are “agin” and emphasizing the evangelism of our society. In essence, as some might deride it, return to that old time religion. It’s worked in the past, so why do you think that mankind is too sophisticated for God’s good news? Continue reading

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The Church and Porn, part 1

porn1

This is the last of a three-part series: here are the links to part 2 and part 3.

This is going to be another departure from what I usually try to address on my blog, but I want to respond to something that Paul Byerly asked of the members of the Christian Marriage Bloggers Assn. Without giving the text, I will say that Paul B. wrote of his concern about the damage that pornography is doing to marriages in our country, and asked if the Church’s message and approach in responding to porn should be changed. Continue reading

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