Archives

 

The following new individuals and organizations have joined NCMM in January:

Hearts Matters

We welcome these ministries and for-profit organizations who along with the other members of NCMM are together, building men.

I’ve often written and talked about the rapid decline of chivalry in the culture and the resultant accelerating rise of boorish, passive behavior in men. Not too long ago an article appeared in The Atlantic magazine written by Emily Esfahani. It is well worth a read. Check it out HERE

Esfahani cites a wonderfully illustrative story of Samuel Proctor, Pastor of Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church.

“Apparently, he was in the elevator one day when a young woman came in. Proctor tipped his hat at her. She was offended and said, ‘What is that supposed to mean?’ The pastor’s response was: ‘Madame, by tipping my hat I was telling you several things. That I would not harm you in any way. That if someone came into this elevator and threatened you, I would defend you. That if you fell ill, I would tend to you and if necessary carry you to safety. I was telling you that even though I am a man and physically stronger than you, I will treat you with both respect and solicitude. But frankly, Madame, it would have taken too much time to tell you all of that; so, instead, I just tipped my hat.”

As insightful as this secular article may be, it does not address the ultimate source of our notion of chivalry. But we know chivalry as the union of the disparate strands of manhood – fierceness and gentleness. Of course, these two strands find their full, balanced source and expression in our Lord Jesus Christ in the tender and tough excellencies of His humanity. A chivalrous man is a Tender Warrior.

May 2013 be the year when by God’s grace the culture experiences a renewed longing for chivalry and it (and the church) find chivalry’s expression in the lives of millions of men who love Jesus – The Tender Warrior.

by Dave Brown, Director, Washington Area Coalition of Men’s Ministries (WACMM) and Chairman, Foundation for Manhood

The following new individuals and organizations have joined NCMM in December:

Key Life Network

Kingdom Bound Men Foundation

We welcome these ministries and for-profit organizations who along with the other members of NCMM are together, building men.

The following new individuals and organizations have joined NCMM in September:

Hope Yourself UP

Christian Men United

SpringHills Community Church

Aaberg Ministries

Lifetree Institute and Books

Fist Baptish Church Salinas

Live Bold Ministries

Knights of the 21st Century

Berean Baptist Church

Faith Driven Business

Southern California Seminary

Christ is My Savior Ministries & Man Up Menistries

We welcome these ministries and for-profit organizations who along with the other members of NCMM are together, building men.

Are you superfluous? If you’re male, you just might be; at least according to the Opinion Pages of the New York Times. They recently ran an Op-Ed piece entitled “Men, Who Needs Them?” In it, biology and criminal justice professor at Boise State University, Greg Hampikian asks the question, “Does ‘mankind’ really need men?”

He points out that “women are both necessary and sufficient for reproduction, and men are neither.” Us guys merely contribute a “infinitesimally small packet of DNA” to the whole process, then step back and watch mom take over from there, nurturing the child both within the womb and outside it.

The idea of male detachment in earliest phases of child development is nothing new. Years ago Walter Trobisch wrote about the man waiting to hear the good news from the delivery room:

“This waiting-room experience is so painful for him because it underlines a fact that he can’t deny: he can never give birth to a child. After he has begotten the child, he is no longer needed. He has fulfilled his biological function. Now they can get along without him.” (The Misunderstood Man, InterVarsity Press, 1983)

Thirty years later, Professor Hampikian points out men are no longer even needed for conception:

“If all the men on earth died tonight, the species could continue on frozen sperm. If the women disappear, it’s extinction.”

Does that remind you of old science fiction movies about planets inhabited entirely by females? Not surprisingly, Professor Hampikian extends his Who-needs-men thesis by suggesting that “we should perform a cost-benefit analysis.” After citing some statistics about women graduates and female longevity he concludes his article with one redeeming virtue of men, and that offered by a female colleague. “They’re entertaining,” she says.

Really? Is the sum-total of men’s worth on this planet being reduced to a source for entertainment? Have we now become superfluous?

You might get the idea that I’m a disenfranchised male, pleading for a more noble valuation than to be entertainment for the lovely ladies in our lives. And it would be true, but only half true, because cultural degradation of value occurs for both genders. Consider the repression of women in third-world cultures, or even in the top echelons of corporate America.

This idea of measuring the value of a person by his (or her) function is utilitarianism run amok. Am I less of a person because I can’t change the oil in my car? Or play the piano? Or run a four-minute mile? It’s no different than calculating the chemical cost of the human body ($4.50 by the way) and drawing the conclusion that we’re really economically superfluous.

The value of a life is not determined by a utilitarian cost-benefit analysis, however. Your life and mine has value because it is endowed by our Creator. And that makes us far more valuable than mere fodder for entertainment.

Your thoughts? What other cultural messages have you heard that seek to diminish personal value?

 

© 2012, Leary Gates. Leary is the President of the Board of the National Coalition of Ministries to Men (NCMM). He is also the founder of BoldPath Life Strategies, as well as two high technology service businesses and a number of non-profit organizations. As a business man, husband, and father of four teenage and adult children, he confronts daily the stresses and challenges that many men face in integrating their calling as men of God in a variety of settings. Follow his blog posts on his personal website at LearyGates.com.

The following new individuals and organizations have joined NCMM in August:

Careers with a Purpose

Carolina Region Coalition of Men’s Ministries

Charleston Christian Men of Integrity

Church of God

Hislight International Ministries

Pinnacle Forum

We welcome these ministries and for-profit organizations who along with the other members of NCMM are together, building men.

After running the luxury liner Costa Concordia aground on the French coast back in January, its captain was labeled “Chicken of the Sea” for abandoning his ship and trying to save himself. There were other reports of cowardice among men on-board. An Australian woman reported, “We just couldn’t believe it — especially the men, they were worse than the women.” A grandmother recalled, “I was standing by the lifeboats and men, big men, were banging into me and knocking the girls.” A third passenger said, “There were big men, crew members, pushing their way past us to get into the lifeboats.” So much for the honor code of the sea, “women and children first”.

C. S. Lewis once observed, “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 then bid the geldings to be fruitful.” When a culture devalues the traits traditionally considered manly virtues — courage, honor, duty, protectiveness, heroism – and consider them obsolete, sexist or politically incorrect, we should not be surprised when many men behave crudely, cruelly and cowardly.

Yet we are often heartened and encouraged by stories of men who do what men are called to do and wired to do. Such behavior should remind us that God never leaves us “without evidence of himself and his goodness.” Acts 14:17

On 9/11 evil men turned airplanes into bombs and crashed them into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, murdering nearly 3,000 people. We also saw that day courageous men running into those buildings to save hundreds of lives. There was another brave group of men that day on-board United Flight 93 who lined up behind Todd Beamer as he called out, “Let’s roll.” and prevented another flying bomb from hitting the US Capital. Great evil brings out the best in good men.

On January 8, 2011 in a Tucson Arizona parking lot when Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot by a lone gun man, Daniel Hernandez in the midst utter chaos sprang to action clearing Giffords’ air passage way and applying pressure to her forehead to save her life. Great evil brings out the best in good men.

Last month in Aurora CO great evil once again unfurled its wings and snuffed out thirteen lives out and wounded seventy-one others. In a theater of horrors we now know that the moment the shooting started three young men — Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn, and Alex Teves — reacted instinctively to sacrifice themselves for others. Pushing their girlfriends to the floor they made themselves human shields. They embodied Jesus’ words in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Great evil brings out the best in good men. We are also reminded the words of Paul in Romans 5:20, “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”

The mother of Jansen Young, Jon Blunk’s girlfriend, said that Blunk, 26, pushed Jansen under the seat. “He was 6-feet-2, in incredible shape. . . . He pushed her down on the floor and laid on top of her and died there.”

Alex Teves, 24, did the same, pushing his girlfriend, Amanda Lindgren, to the floor to protect her. His aunt reported: “He pushed her to the floor to save her and he ended up getting a bullet.”

Matt McQuinn, 27, dove in front of Samantha Yowler and took three bullets. Samantha was hit in the leg as well, but survived.

What makes men such as these?

It seems there are men who believe there are things worth dying for and the “Aurora Three” died for the innocent women sitting next to them that ominous night. Their instincts, unlike those of the Captain and many men on-board the Costa Concordia, were to protect, not run away. This is not an old fashioned notion or a social construct but an outward expression of how God has wired men to live unconditionally and sacrificially for others; anything else is a counterfeit masculinity.

Commentator William Bennett writes, “In an age when traditional manhood has been increasingly relegated to fiction — capes, masks and green screens — these three men stand as real-life heroes. Their actions remind us that good triumphs over evil, not just in movies, but also in reality.”

© 2012, Dave Brown is a pastor and the director of the Washington Area Coalition of Men’s Ministries (WACMM) and has been the men’s pastor at McLean Bible Church in McLean, Va. He served 30 years in the federal government’s Senior Executive Service (SES), including eight years as an appointee of President Ronald Reagan. He did his seminary work at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Reformed Theological Seminary. He’s been a leadership consultant, university administrator, member of the board of directors for the C.S. Lewis Institute, chairs Foundation for Manhood and is the blogmaster for the National Coalition of Ministries to Men (NCMM).

The following new individuals and organizations have joined NCMM in June:

Covenant Eyes

Rugged Faith Ministries

Men of the Word

Achieving High Performance Friendship

We welcome these ministries and for-profit organizations who along with the other members of NCMM are together, building men.

Have you seen the film, “The Artist”? It won this year’s Oscar for best picture. It’s the story of George Valentin, a silent movie star whose career is sunk by the advent of “talkies” in 1930. Valentin goes from famous to forgotten in a matter of months. He descends into a deep depression, refuses the help of others, and even attempts suicide.

America in 2012 is full of George Valentins.

Millions of men lost their jobs in the great recession. It’s been dubbed the “he-cession” because almost 80% of the job cuts fell upon men. Male dominated fields such as construction, finance and transportation shed millions of jobs. In 2011, for the first time in US history, more women than men were gainfully employed. Joblessness is running nearly 50% among young men in some European countries.

Men are suffering. They’re confused about their roles and their futures. What a perfect opportunity for the church to step forward and offer help.

Your church may want to launch a ministry for people who need jobs. Trinity Episcopal Parish in Princeton, NJ has offered a JobSeekers meeting every Tuesday since 1982. It’s billed as “an instruction and support group for people who are unemployed or changing careers.” JobSeekers has ministered to over 25,000 individuals over the past 30 years.

If you want to start a Job Seekers ministry in your church, visit the Career Transition Ministries Network Web site.

Unemployed men also need friendship and spiritual encouragement. It’s a great time to invite them to join a small men’s group, because they have one thing that working men don’t – lots of spare time. The bigger challenge is getting them to come.

Unemployed men tend to isolate themselves. They’re ashamed not to be working. They don’t want to socialize with other men because when guys get together they tend to talk about their jobs.

So be gentle but persistent when inviting unemployed men to join a small group. It may take a while, but many men eventually overcome their fears and end up happy members of the group.

If an unemployed man joins your group, caution the other guys not to talk about work. Keep the small talk focused on things every guy is interested in – sports, hobbies, family and the like.

The Bible is full of stories of men who lost their positions in life. Joseph was jailed. David was exiled. Elijah fled for his life. Jonah was swallowed by a whale. Hosea’s wife cheated on him. Paul was betrayed by his closest companions. Help men see that their unemployment is not a punishment from God, but rather a normal part of life. Encourage them not only to ask God for a new job, but to reveal his purpose for their lives.

It’s often difficult to convince a man of his need for God when he’s on top of the world. But when he reaches the end of his rope he’s often more willing to “humble himself under the mighty hand of God.” We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help displaced men gain a bigger vision for their lives. Let’s not waste it.

Author
David Murrow is the director of Church for Men, an organization that helps congregations reach more men and boys. In his day job, David works as a television producer and writer. He’s the author of three books. He lives in Alaska with his wife, three children, two grandchildren and a dachshund named Pepper.

[From Chapter 1 of Connecting with Other Men Beyond Work, Weather and Sports by Wes Yoder]

My dad never was a bitter man. For years, he was a legalist, stern about work and faith, but always with a song on his lips and a twinkle in his eye, a smile working the corners of his face. Unlike other legalists we knew, he fought his fears. Ultimately, he was a lousy legalist. His heart just wasnt into it.

In his early years, Dad viewed good behavior and performance equivalent with godliness, external proof of a credible inward and personal experience of faith. The better the externals, the better the proof you really meant it with God. But as the years wore on, the song of his heart gradually melted external performance in exchange for a deep understanding that God loved him and the rest of us, whether we could perform for God or not. You could hear his clear tenor voice while he milked the cows, while driving up the road, in the shop, and for years, day after day, singing around the dinner table with family and friends. Many times, he took the heat with his own relatives for not being strict enough with his boys. His kindness to me saved my life.

The details are no longer important because it is his story to tell, but it took Dad close to seventy years of his life to learn to walk in complete truth with his family. How long has it taken me? You? All I know is that now my dad is a free man, and his freedom has much to do with mine, as you will see. Your children are connected to you, for better or for worse, in the same way.

Question: James says, “faith without works is dead”. Yet, we know that works isn’t the catalyst but the result of our faith. Would your kids say your faith is borne out of your performance or would they just see the “externals”?

Check out this video clip of Wes telling the story of he and his father HERE

Wes Yoder is a pioneer in the formation of contemporary Christian music. He represented and helped launch the careers of artists including Amy Grant and Michael Card. In 1984, he formed Ambassador Agency, the first speakers bureau to assist thinkers and authors dedicated to a biblical world-view. His first book, Bond of Brothers: Connecting with Other Men beyond Work, Weather and Sports, is published by Zondervan.

Previous Next