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Why Men with Breasts?

Author
Category Articles
Date March 11, 2011

Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me! (Job 38:3)

After Elihu, the fourth of troubled Job’s friends, exhorts him to consider the glory and wonder of God and his providence, the Lord answers Job out of the whirlwind. God did the same with Elijah (1 Kings 19:11), and prefaced his vision to Ezekiel in like manner (Ezek. 1:4), and Nahum tells us that God has his way in the whirlwind (Nahum 1:3). The man who had lost everything because God allowed Satan to sift him like wheat (Job 1:9-12, 2:3-6), after listening to his three friends castigate him, urging him to ‘own up to his sin’ so that God may again renew him, spends chapter thirty-one asserting his integrity and saying, among other things, ‘If I have walked with falsehood, and my foot has hastened after deceit, let him weigh me with accurate scales, and let God know my integrity (Job 31:5-6). In chapter thirty-two, however, Elihu’s anger burns against Job because he justified himself before God. That is, Job was more concerned with vindicating his good name before Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar than he was in defending the holy name of the sovereign God of all grace, power, and authority. After Elihu finishes God then speaks to Job and ‘takes him to the woodshed’ with a series of rhetorical questions meant to settle once and for all the authority of God who sits in the heavens and does as he pleases (Psa. 115:3). But as God begins, he tells Job to gird up his loins like a man. In the modern vernacular we may say, ‘Alright Job, buckle your chinstrap. It’s time to play some football.’ He says, ‘I will ask you.’ God was planning to ask Job his many questions meant to bring Job low, and God mockingly commands, ‘And you instruct me.’ In other words, ‘After I am finished with you, then you try to tell me what’s up.’

Last time1 I put forth the notion of the feminization of the western man, and gave nine or ten characteristics of it. I promised to give the reasons for this dreadful phenomenon, and I mention nine of them now.

First and foremost is the loss of the doctrine of the sovereignty of God in American culture, what we typically call Calvinism. The feminist Ann Douglas,2 certainly no friend of Calvinism, correctly observes that nineteenth century Victorian sentimentalism did much to gut Calvinistic orthodoxy, that the American culture of that time seemed bent on establishing a perpetual Mother’s Day. She says that the loss of Calvinism brought a fully humanistic, historically minded romanticism. In other words the authoritarian and patriarchal Calvinism that taught a God-centred view of life gave way to a feministic, romantic world view which,

Secondly, yielded a man-centred or Arminian theology. Though the roots of Arminianism appeared as early as the late 1740s in America3 they had firmly taken hold through the preaching of Charles Finney in the 1820s and had morphed by the late nineteenth century into the literary transcendentalism of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Subjectivism in lieu of objective truth began to rule the American mind and emotions.

Thirdly, this has led to a plethora of cheap grace theologies that have overwhelmed the American church at the present time. Dietrich Bonhoeffer warned about it in his classic The Cost of Discipleship and Richard Niebuhr did the same when he lamented we now preach that a God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.4 The end result for men today is they tend to sit in their small groups and talk about their failures and make little progress in holiness of life.

Fourthly, this has led in our day to psychotherapeutic preaching. The secular priests of the day are psychotherapists who by-pass the atonement of Christ and the authority of Scripture in order to bring emotional and psychological healing. Preachers as pop-psychologists have been a problem for at least the last fifty years in the American church, causing men to focus far too much on their mental and emotional state.5

Fifthly, imbibing deeply from Dr. Benjamin Spock, the parents of baby-boomers coddled their children, neglecting to demand obedience and submission, and consequent generations have taken this to whole new levels, stressing the need to build children’s self-esteem. So now we don’t keep score in Little League baseball games and give kids trophies for simply playing but not winning. Some schools now want to eschew grades altogether.

And when we add, sixthly, the affluence most of us enjoy in our culture, then we begin to understand just how soft our boys are. We give them far too much stuff, including undeserved compliments. We coddle them and we are making them weak.

Then seventh is our technology. The vast amount of screen time modern boys have is killing them in numerous ways. Many don’t read. Many don’t think or use their imaginations. Due to text messaging many don’t know how to write. Many don’t work, don’t exercise, and far too many of them are obese from sitting in front of the screen.

Eighth, because we tend to coddle our boys we have made them tea cuppers, extremely sensitive and weak emotionally. They can’t accept correction or criticism. Mothers and fathers tend to be helicopter parents, always hovering over their boys, waiting on them like they are kings.

Ninth, due to our affluence we tend to give our sons far too much, too early. While many find Donald Trump’s lifestyle and persona distasteful I still admire the fact that he would not give his children more than $20.00 at a time and he made them all work. Does a sixteen year old boy really need a new car? Does he really need all the new technology just because you can buy it for him? Doesn’t this aid and abet laziness and irresponsibility? Doesn’t this set unrealistic expectations for him, like expecting a well paying job and four weeks vacation right out of college?

So parents, especially dads, what is the remedy? Realize the obvious. Your sons are different from your daughters. By all means, pick up your two year old daughter when she falls down and hug and kiss her. But don’t do that with your two year old boy. It’s not a good idea to treat him like a delicate flower. Don’t make a big deal about him falling down and skinning his knee. Tell him to get up and keep going. Demand that he accept more and more responsibility as he gets older. Limit his screen time. Too much television, computer, or video games is a real killer intellectually, spiritually, and physically. Little boys need to play outside with other little boys. They need men around them. They need to get dirty and wrestle and learn to handle their differences. They need to stand up to bullies and be willing to fight them if necessary, if they cannot talk themselves out of the situation. Spank them when they disobey you, even when they are teens. Is this shocking? It shouldn’t be. Most men my age remember being spanked by a coach or principal when in high school. The rod is God’s prescription (Prov. 13:24, 19:18, 22:15, 23:13-14, 29:15).

Dads, you are rearing future men. Tell your sons daily that you love them. Hug them, kiss them, even when they are older, but hold them accountable to godly behaviour. They will answer the call. They want structure. They want to be challenged. They want to become men.

Notes

  1. See the website article ‘Men with Breasts’.
  2. The Feminization of American Culture, Ann Douglas. See pages 6-13.
  3. Jonathan Edwards was alarmed by this and addressed it in his classic treatise entitled Freedom of the Will. Just prior to his death he wrote to John Erskine saying that the notion of self-determination of the will is ‘almost inconceivably pernicious.’ Jonathan Edwards: A Life by George Marsden, page 437.
  4. The Kingdom of God in America, Richard Niebuhr.
  5. David Powlison takes up this issue in his chapter ‘How Shall We Heal Troubled Souls?’ in The Coming Evangelical Crisis.

Rev. Allen M Baker is Pastor of Christ Community Presbyterian Church in West Hartford, Connecticut.

www.christcpc.org

Al Baker’s sermons are now available on www.sermonaudio.com.

If you would like to respond to Pastor Baker, please contact him directly at al.baker@christcpc.org

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