A few weeks ago a group of my friends and I got together for a dude's getaway to a remote stream in the North Georgia mountains for some trout fishing and rowdy fun. The fishing was great but the weather not so much. Not to be denied, we endeavored into the water without the poles after putting in upstream. A torrential downpour ensued, and it was exhilarating. It was like when I was a boy and was given permission to play in the rain. The fishing may have stopped but the manly fun did not. We walked on those slippery stones and fell over the over again with increasing laughter plunge after plunge.
It was a memorable and majestic day to me. I thought to myself, "When will I ever do this at home?" The answer is sadly never unless we are away on a trip like this. The stream danced and dodged through the woods like Ali fighting Frazier in the "Thrilla in Manilla." The beauty of the stream gripped me with its masculine charm and rugged intensity.
This was no normal day in the back-country, and these are not normal days in this country either.
The question begging to be answered is, "Will men stand up for themselves, their brothers and form a manhood that will break cultural stereotypes and reach for a greater glory?" This is a dangerous question in our highly volatile culture that seems to be bent on a redefinition of manhood while doubling down on the radical feminization of men. Culture changes like the oceans tides so we need something more substantial to plant our flag. The vitriolic condescension of the radicals shouts, "Down with men!" and sarcastically spouts, "Where are the men?" We can either submerge into ourselves or emerge as men of honor, courage and strength. I choose the later. I live under the pretense that Edmund Burke's quote is dead on, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for the good men to do nothing." Not on my watch. Let's be good men of action.
So let's start with a few questions.
What kind of man do you want to be?
Who do you want to become?
Gents, there an enemy at the gate. Manhood is under siege and the onslaught of accusations and misunderstandings against masculinity and manhood aren't fading away like pigment on a oak leaf in autumn. I would like to catalyze this writing with a simple but profound understanding.
Men and women are different. Earthshaking, I know. Okay, probably not. But indulge me for a deeper look. Men like Eldridge and Murrow have said that the movies and dreams that we are drawn to reveals a deeper desire and difference within men and women. I am just saying. I haven't met a man who rallies at the thought of binge watching "Christmas in July" on the Hallmark Channel, but I bet if you could, you would binge watch war movies, Rocky, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, etc. That tells you something about your deepest desires. Murrow, in his book Why Men Hate Going to Church, said, "Men fantasize about saving the world against impossible odds and women fantasize about having a relationship with a wonderful man." This is a generalized statement of course but men and women, when thinking objectively and without a redefining agenda, could obviously see a parting in the clouds within this cultural confusion.
Just saying that men and women are different is still lacking. This phrase needs something else to substantiate the claim, so I will say it this way.
Men and women are equal, but they are not the same. Equality ≠ sameness
Here's yet another way of saying it.
Form fits function.
C. N. Zueck
What I would like to consider is the pristine and ancient writing that depicts gender and gender differences, the Bible. Here me out. I am not gonna be preachy so stick with me. Here goes.
God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
Genesis 1:26 (NIV 84)
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Genesis 1:27-28 (NIV 84), emphasis mine
Mankind of comprised of both male and female, masculine and feminine. Both are image bearers of God and both have equality. They are equal in God's eyes and by His design, but they are different in the display of His image. Furthermore, men and women compliment one another.
In verse 28, the two genders are given equal standing, but have different functions.
male [man, being of a masculine sex]
Dominant Masculine traits: Competition, Victory, Achievement, Conquest, Strength
female [woman, being of a feminine sex]
Dominate feminine traits: Harmony, Intimacy, Nurturing, Cooperation, Vulnerability, Love
Again, form fits function. Notice how Wilson explains this necessary dichotomy.
"A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants, and the women receives, surrenders, and accepts."
One gender is not superior. To the contrary, they should both be expressing gratitude and thankfulness for how they complement one another and also, displaying their own uniqueness. Earlier the verse said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule..." That they may rule.
By design mankind [male and female] have been elevated over everything else in God's created order. This is a startling reality. Humanity displays an image and likeness of God to rule [dominion, exercise authority.] Both genders are equal in value and unequal in function.
Here's an example of likeness or bearing an image. These are the Zueck men (above). I am on the right, my son next to me, and then my Dad and nephew. The similarities are obvious. Similar build, facial features and sarcasm [you have to trust me on that.] I took on some of my Dad’s other qualities and behavioral mannerisms. Some good, some not so good. But the similarities are striking and undeniable. I bear his likeness and to see my Dad is to see me in 25 years. We aren't a perfect match, but identical twins are never identical either. Shall I digress.
When the bible says that males and females are made in the image or likeness of God it means that he has given us some attributes of himself that have a defined purpose in mind. Those distinctive qualities that were mentioned above are simply the dominant qualities; males and females share some of the qualities but not with the same potency. As men and women we complement one another in a way that honors the Creator and follows in our design. Male and females both display something about God for the care of His creation, and the care for one another. Here's an example: men need the vulnerability and softness that a women offers and women need the strength and sacrifice that a man offers.
Let's walk in the middle of a minefield for a bit...
You can be male without ever really being a man, but you cannot grow as a man without growing in masculinity.
C. N. Zueck
This means that there are many boys with chest hair that are masquerading around like men. They are hallow, plastic, posers really. If we are honest, many of the issues today that men have to deal with is there own lack of proper application of their masculinity. It's no wonder. Lewis prophetically posed of this endemic , "We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful." Men have either been passive so people wonder, "Why do we even need a man?" or they have been overly aggressive/abusive and has led to people to say, "Why would we want a man?" These are fair critiques and only a shallow man would say otherwise. We need to grow in our masculinity and continually refine one another. These are things that keep me up at night. I am in the fight with you gents.
My mission at A New Kind of Man is to equip men to become the very best version of themselves. I believe that when men gain mastery in the areas of their masculinity: women will be elevated, marriages will be restored, the fatherlessness in our society will be reduced, communities will be safer, barriers in cultural differences will come down, our kids will become happy and healthy, and finally and most importantly, God will be honored.
So as we forge our way into these tepid waters, we need to bring some wounds into the light, challenge one another when we falter, and encourage one another when we are down. This is what manhood is all about.
Being a man means your masculine strength is to be used to benefit others by leading, providing, and protecting through physical strength, spiritual growth, and relational integrity.
C. N. Zueck
Let's put on the new man...
Chad N. Zueck
Founder of A New Kind of Man