Today a short video to start the conversation:
Scoop has written much on this topic already, but I wish to turn our attention back to it because it is such a pressing problem and because it is topical: Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern’s tour of Australia and New Zealand has included talking about this important subject. Paul Joseph Watson also talks about it and he will continue to be influential as he campaigns for UKIP.
How can the Church promote a positive image of masculinity that will benefit congregants and society as a whole? One of the first steps is to return to the Old Testament and preach it in context. Too much preaching today is New Testament focussed. I know I will draw opprobrium from some quarters for saying this, but it needs to be said: it is shameful how illiterate parts of the Church are when it comes to the Old Testament. We need to stop the proud boasts of people who claim they only read the New as if that makes them wise. Without the context of the Old Testament, much of the New will not make sense.
So many of the heroes of the faith come from the Old Testament. The Epistle to the Hebrews tells us to look to them as role models. The people listed in that Epistle are men. That is not to say that women lack positive role models in Scripture – far from it – but we need to look at the stories of these men so that we can prepare boys to become positive contributors to society.
The stories of the Old Testament serve as important discussion points: they show us what to do (and what not to do) and they help us explore and deepen our understanding of essential virtues. Perseverance in the face of adversity is a common motif: Jeremiah had a long prophetic career in which he was verbally and physically abused; extra-scriptural tradition tells us that he was murdered. He serves as an important parallel and contrast to David: David suffered but eventually became king in glory; Jeremiah, on the other hand, was largely unappreciated in his time. Sometimes the glory does not come until after we’re dead.
Jesus, of course, is the greatest role model of all – but for some people He is intimidating. People feel that they could never be like Him. So perhaps the answer to this problem is to work our way up, to start with the flawed heroes of the Old Testament and learn how the Christ refines what they represent. When Christ shows us meekness, we need to understand that it is not weakness: it is strength under control. When we deny strength, we deny a fundamental part of the aspirations and character of men.