Julian Freeman

Freed to live through the death of another.

Tag: Biblical Manhood (page 1 of 2)

Guys Who Have My Respect

 

There are eight things I love to see in guys; nine which garner my full respect.

1. The guy who does what he should–all the way

A guy who is faithful in all the little things is hard to find. This guy simply knows his job at work, his role at home, his place in church, and all the tasks that go along with them. And he brings those tasks to completion. He is reliable, and he has my respect.

2. The guy who consistently does what he didn’t need to

This is a guy who goes above and beyond. He offers words of encouragement and timely phone calls. He offers apologies for the smallest things that twinge his conscience. He seeks to draw out people that he didn’t need to love. He is thoughtful and caring, and he has my respect.

3. The guy who really romances his wife

This guy doesn’t date his wife because it’s the cool Christian thing to do. He really knows her and continues to woo her and surprise her. He takes initiative in planning evenings at home, dates and conversations. He works hard to make her swoon, he shows me what ‘Christ and his bride’ looks like, and he has my respect.

4. The guy who is a good friend

A guy who remembers what you’ve told him and upholds you in prayer. A guy who is willing to hold you accountable, not just at your weekly accountability meetings, but with all of life. He is faithful, loyal, and willing to have tough conversations and make meaningful observations into my life. He has my respect.
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CNN: ‘The Demise of Guys’

From the CNN Health Blog:

Is the overuse of video games and pervasiveness of online porn causing the demise of guys?

Increasingly, researchers say yes, as young men become hooked on arousal, sacrificing their schoolwork and relationships in the pursuit of getting a tech-based buzz.

Every compulsive gambler, alcoholic or drug addict will tell you that they want increasingly more of a game or drink or drug in order to get the same quality of buzz.

Video game and porn addictions are different. They are “arousal addictions,” where the attraction is in the novelty, the variety or the surprise factor of the content. Sameness is soon habituated; newness heightens excitement. In traditional drug arousal, conversely, addicts want more of the same cocaine or heroin or favorite food.

The consequences could be dramatic: The excessive use of video games and online porn in pursuit of the next thing is creating a generation of risk-averse guys who are unable (and unwilling) to navigate the complexities and risks inherent to real-life relationships, school and employment.

Read the rest here.

Okay, so now that they’ve told us what we already know, can we finally get back to a place where we admit that men & women are wired differently? For a while it seemed like we were supposed to believe that it was only social conditioning that made boys & girls different. So how do we explain why this problem is so heavily man-biased?

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Why Backyards Matter

 

What would you see if you looked in my backyard? A sandbox, a patio, some trees, a garden, a shed, some room for the kids to run, and a fence to keep them from running too far. At least, that’s what you’d see at first glance. But if you looked closer, you’d see more.

Upon closer inspection, you would see that the grass is patchy. The retaining wall is leaning. The tree branches that are hanging precariously over my neighbour’s shed need to be cut back. The shed has a bees’ nest in the top and a chipmunk house in the bottom (they made their way through some rotten wood). Yes, there are some things in disrepair.

Right now there are weeds that need to get bagged and some grass seed that needs to get spread. There’s lots to do. Some of it isn’t done because I’ve prioritized other things — and I think it was wise. On the other hand, some of it isn’t done simply because of bad decisions and some measure of irresponsibility on my part.

If you come into my backyard, you’ll see my weaknesses and my shortcomings.
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It’s Sexism

As a man who lives with and cherishes his wife and three daughters, there are few things that I find as frustrating as seeing young girls demean their value and objectify themselves by the way they dress. Many of the styles young girls find themselves drawn to these days make me wonder, ‘Why are they wearing anything at all?’

Feminism Divided

Feminism has won the right for women to dress however they want, right? Men have forever been hushed, and trained not to speak about what a woman wears, right? But here’s the thing: A house divided against itself cannot stand. If the goal of feminism was to increase our awareness of the inherent value and dignity of women, but the clothes they choose to wear actually diminish their dignity and value, which side wins? And if we, as men, know that we think differently about inappropriately dressed women, but don’t say something then aren’t we in fact contributing to the diminishing of the display of the dignity and value of women?
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On the Creation of Women

In the beginning God created all things, but according to Genesis 1, the climax of God’s creation was humanity. God literally ‘saved the best for last.’ He made them alike, male and female, in his image, after his likeness. He created them with distinct beauty and inherent value and dignity. They were (and are) equal, but different.

Does the Bible Attribute Less Value to Women?

Sometimes skeptics try to make the case that the Bible runs women down of makes little of women. In my study last week, however, I was reminded of just the opposite. Here, in point form, are some of the evidences from the creation account of how highly Scripture views women.
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The Greatness of a Man

** This is written as part of the series 30 for 30: Reflections on Life at My 30th Birthday **

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Waves on the Shore

Just before my thirtieth birthday, I walked down to the beach by our house and ended up contemplating my life (I’m hopelessly introspective). I began to think: What have I done with my life? Am I successful? Am I a failure? Will anyone ever know my name? Does it even matter an iota? What will be my lasting mark on this world? My wife? My children? What will I be remembered for?

Sometimes I long to be great. I’m not sure why.  I’m pretty darn certain I’d do a really bad job at being ‘great.’ But on this night I got thinking about greatness, and what is the significance of being a ‘great man.’

As I once heard someone say, ‘Even the greatest of men is still a man at his greatest.’ That seems about right if I think about it.

That night I watched the waves on the water rolling in on the beach. There were millions of them. Tiny, little ripples, barely noticeable from any distance. They were rolling every which way, and there were more of these than any other kind. Then there were the big breakers. It was a pretty calm night, so these were rolling in slowly. Each one came roaring in, full of froth and everything impressive. But then each one died on the shore, and rolled back, absorbed by the giant lake from which it came. The same lake from which every wave came. And when it was gone, the next one was there; the first was easily replaced and quickly forgotten. Even the sand that the big waves moved rolled back to where it began.

That’s pretty much what it means to be a man. Some of us are ripples, some are breakers, but all are here for a time, then gone. Easily replaced, quickly forgotten.

So when it’s all said and done, and I think about ‘greatness,’ I’m pretty sure greatness is not something I’d ever want. I’d much rather just learn to be faithful with little than extrapolate my failures over a long period on a big scale.

Besides, Jesus defines greatness not by popularity or impact, but by likeness to him: by humility and service without selfish ambition or conceit. And if that’s the case, then maybe the ripples who are content to be what they were created to be are really the greatest after all.

Subduing My Realm

** This is written as part of the series 30 for 30: Reflections on Life at My 30th Birthday **

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According to Chandler

A little while ago I wrote a post about some sermons on manhood from Matt Chandler. My reflections for today, on being a man, are largely taken from the content of the first sermon in that series: Defining Masculinity. If you are a man or know a man, I highly recommend you give it a listen.

Farmer & Field

Chandler helped me by setting our identity as men in the creation account of Genesis 1-2. As he describes the narrative unfolding, he details how God creates the whole wild world, with a beautifully ordered garden (Eden), then places man in the middle of the garden and says, ‘Now make the rest of the world like this.’

Obviously there’s more to the story than that, but the simplicity of that perspective was helpful for me. He laid out the inner competitiveness and creativeness and ambition in man (which drives the rat race the whole world ’round) within the framework of ‘subduing’ and ‘ordering’ and ‘ruling over’ the created world. That’s what we were created for, and that’s what drives us as men, whether we know it or not.

The trouble, of course, is that in Genesis 3 man didn’t keep his world in order, but allowed chaos and disorder to rule (beginning with his own relationship with his wife when he abdicated his authority position when she was being tempted). The result of Adam’s disobedience is that now the whole world falls into complete disorder (including his own heart). All is subject to futility.

His work will be hard, and filled with failure. But he is still called to it nonetheless. And, as Chandler draws out, even the futility becomes evidence of God’s grace to us as the futility of our work is what drives us to call out to God for his mercy in the gospel.

A Guiding Framework

What has been so helpful to me is the guiding framework that this gives to my life as a man. As a man, I am charged with bringing order to my world. I must subdue my realm. So when I don’t know what to do, what decisions to make, what direction to take for my family, or my church, I fall back on this thought: I cam called to set all things in order. All things that are under my charge should be under my control.

And when I lack motivation to mow the lawn, discipline my kids, make things right with my wife, or make peace between relationships in the church, I remember that it is the calling of a man to subdue his realm, to put all things in order. Yes, there are challenges, frustrations, and failures, but having this simple, unifying direction for my life has been helpful.

The Big Biblical Picture

Of course this is all very simple. And yet, somehow, I spent the first 30 years of my life not really having the penny drop.

God created the world and ‘ordered’ it. He commanded man, his ‘son’, made in his image, to bring all things under submission to him. But after the first Adam and every man after him failed, a second Adam, the True Image of God had to come, to inherit all authority (Matt 28.19-20), and by his death and resurrection to have all things subjected to him. The end of this creation will come …

when [Jesus] delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. (1 Cor 15.24-28)

So the beginning is Adam called to subdue his realm, but failing. The end of the story is the second Adam reigning over all things, subduing even death — the greatest enemy. And we men are called now to live in the in between, still living with the futility of the curse all around us, but called by God to bring peace and order as we reign with Christ and bring his rule to pass, even now.

From cover to cover the Bible calls me to subdue my realm. That sounds like a manly challenge. May God give grace to make me faithful and diligent.

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