Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Real Men are...Women?
Manliness is making the news.
Harvey C. Mansfield (that's Mansfield) has written a book entitled "Manliness," which claims that we need more of it. As a rejoinder, Ruth Marcus wrote this article for the Washington Post claiming that when it comes to manliness, less is more. Humorously, she writes:
Think about it this way: Is a trait exemplified by reluctance to ask directions -- "for it is out of manliness that men do not like to ask for directions when lost," Mansfield writes -- really what you want in a government deciding whether to take a country to war?
When the topic was debated on my favorite news program this morning, I noticed that many people called in to point out that "real men are compassionate."
To some minds, this might seem to define manhood out of existence. And perhaps it does by certain definitions. However, this reminded me of the compassion of Jesus Christ. Here was someone who was manly - indeed, the perfect man - and yet compassionate. Here is someone who stood down authority, yet defended the poor; who accepted the Roman scourge, yet wept over Jerusalem.
How can these seemingly separate traits be found in one person?
As I understand the gospels, the reason Jesus could serve others so completely, so selflessly, is because he was completely content in his relationship to God the Father. He didn't need to prove himself. He knew who he was, what he came to do, and whom he intended to please. Thus he could say:
"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)
Was Jesus less a man because he served others? No. As the perfect man he was able to serve others even to the point of death.
To become like Christ is not a matter of the will but of the Holy Spirit's work within us. But you can bet that if he's at work within us, he's making us more manly!
Ruth Marcus cites Mansfield as claiming that "manliness is 'the quality mostly of one sex,'" but "women can be manly too." Based on the women in church history who have given their lives for their faith, I would have to agree. Real men aren't insecure about this!
Posted by Ken at 9:22 AM