Act Like Men…

ImageIt’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Mark Driscoll or his Acts 29 movement. It’s also no secret that I have some major issues with some of the theology of Harvest Bible Chapel. But when it comes to this issue, I’d like to say for the record that “this” is not about “that.”

There’s a conference going on in Hamilton this week. It’s a conference put on by some of our American friends and by golly, aren’t we lucky that they managed to add a Canadian city to their tour. The “Act Like Men” conference has been held in Hamilton this weekend. Here’s the description:

Look around. What’s so desperately needed where we live, in our country and in our world, are men who embrace all that God created them to be. Men who are loud and ruthless about their own sin, but patient and full of grace in leading others. Men who follow God without limits and meet the needs of those around them without hesitation. To get there need radical surgery. It’s time to cut deep and get it all, and not be afraid of what that means. We challenge you to join thousands of men for a two-day conference this fall – to step up with us and Act Like Men.

Their title is based off of 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong, let all that you do be done in love.” (ESV) Although many translations choose to omit the phrase “act like men” and simply add “be courageous.”

I heard that this conference was coming to Hamilton a few months ago and couldn’t help but wonder if people would actually want to attend. I’m curious to know if it’s the idea of a group of men getting together, or the call to rise up and “be men” that draws the crowds? Perhaps guys get something from Mark Driscoll standing in front of them and yelling at them? I’m not really sure I’ll ever understand it.

Here’s the thing, I don’t have a problem with a conference for men. There’s lots of conferences that are have a gender specific focus like “Promise Keepers” or “Women of Faith.” I think that events like these can often be beneficial for people. But I do have a problem with a conference owning the title “Act Like Men!” And I have a problem with a few complimentarian male leaders standing in front of a group of men telling them how to be men.

Who defines what it means to be a man?

Does Mark Driscoll? Or Matt Chandler? Or James Macdonald? Does Driscoll yelling at you empower you to go out and get a job and be a leader?

What happens to those guys who just don’t make the cut?

I’ve asked this question before after listening to one of Mark Driscoll’s rants about men but I’ll ask it again. What happens to those guys who just aren’t so cookie cutter when it comes to the definition of a “man?” We all have those guy friends that are just not what the world defines as “manly.” We so easily label these guys as “gay” or “feminine,” and are quick to put them into a box. But what about them? Does this type of message and language actually demean those guys who don’t exhibit certain qualities? Because I have really good guy friends who wouldn’t know what to do with a hammer, and who aren’t always quick to “take the lead” or who tend to excel in areas we would label as “womanly duties.” So does this make them less of a man? While the conference obviously aims to focus on the ability to show love, I wonder what other messages will be slipped in the cracks. I wonder if there will be some guys in the room who leave secretly feeling like they just don’t reach the bar.

If someone held a conference that was called “Act Like Women,” how do you think that would go over? I can tell you right now that the feminist movement would be

ALL

OVER

IT!

Because who defines what it means to be a woman? Does it mean that she exemplifies the qualities of a proverbs 31 woman? Does she sew and cook? Do she work outside the home? Does she stay at home with her kids? Does she obey her husband? Is she quiet and submissive?

Can I look at a group of women with unique personalities and gifts and tell them what they must do to act like a woman? If they didn’t follow those rules then are they any less of a woman? Is there a double standard here?

Why are we sending the message “Act Like Men” when the message that we should be sending is “Act Like Christ?” Does Christ not reach out and unify male and female, Jew and Greek, those who are free and those who are slaves? Shouldn’t we instead seek to act more like Jesus instead of acting more like the disputed roles that society continues to argue about?

I don’t pretend to know what is actually spoken at this conference, especially since it’s clear that women are not allowed. I’d like to hope that some men do leave feeling encouraged and empowered to love Christ more and love those around them more. However, I can’t help but wonder about the type of message that a conference like this sends to people. I can’t help but feel compassion for those guys (and girls) who silently struggle to feel like they are enough and to feel like Jesus loves them right where they are. Does this type of conference leave room for those people? Could they feel safe there? I have my doubts.

It’s hard for me to picture Jesus standing before a guy struggling to find his identity in such a mixed up culture, and yelling at him to just “ACT LIKE A MAN!”

I have an easier time thinking Jesus might take the guy out for a drink and help him work out his junk.

But then again, I’m just a woman.

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7 thoughts on “Act Like Men…

  1. I would say you’ve been misinformed, but you seem to have not been informed at all. You have chosen to create an opinion and an apparent synopsis of the entire conference based on it’s name and little to no other information. As a married man in my 20’s, my wife has encouraged me to be a stronger man of faith, and challenged me to be a leader and strong example of Godliness in the household. She actually suggested it might be interesting and that I check it out, even though I originally had no intention of going.

    I found that the purpose of this conference was for men to look into the scriptures and see how important it is for us to reflect Christ on our family because true men of faith are becoming an endangered species. To answer your question to who defines what it is to be a man, the answer is – none of them. They never claimed to be that example that we should follow. And yes, there is a cookie cutter, and his name is Jesus Christ. We just don’t have enough dough to fill be the proper shape, and that’s where He comes in to fill in the gaps.

    BUT – regardless of what society says, and however hard it may be to hear, or even for me to say – men and woman ARE different. Very different. Regarding your question about women being submissive to their husbands – the answer is yes, they should be – just as men are to be honouring, loving, and supporting. The bible doesn’t beat around the bush. You can’t pick and choose what is most convenient to believe. That’s why it is frustrating when people get so worked up about something that doesn’t sound comfortable to hear. We now live in a world of complacency, ignorance and passivity, and need to wake up.

    I don’t agree with everything these men say, and I don’t agree with some of the ways they say them, or maybe even the methodology of the churches they are involved with – but they have been put in a position to have their voices heard, and to make a difference and an impact on the Christian society. That doesn’t happen by chance. They share and attempt to spread and teach the word of God to the best of their imperfect human abilities.

    I pushed past the name and the ‘celebrity’ names of the speakers, and just took notes based on what they had to say though what the bible has to say. They’re not idiots, and neither are the 6000 men that chose to attend. Well, with that many people in a room i’m sure some of them are, but that’s not my call to make. I guess it’s fair that you share your opinion as I share mine, but for some reason I felt sick when reading your blog because of the lack of support towards something that is an attempt at reinforcing the future of our faith – even if it’s just by a bunch of men.

    God needs men to Act Like Men – like men of faith, and followers of Christ. That isn’t an omission to women, but in this specific case a wake up call to men. So instead of tearing down, why not help build up the kingdom of Christ?

    • It seems you’ve missed the point altogether. Perhaps you should read my follow-up post for more clarification. I’d like to think there’s a place for honest discussion and honest questions. It might just be the case that what you seem to think is tearing down the kingdom is actually promoting healthy discussion and growth for some people. But, to each their own I guess.

      • I read your follow-up post and from what I understand you are an honest and God honouring woman. When I wrote my comment I had read your post multiple times to make sure I knew what I was talking about, so I don’t think I really missed the point. I think what you wrote probably just comes across worse than you intended. The fact you had a negative backlash and had to write a clarification entry tells me I’m not alone. You are a good writer, and I believe you have a good heart, but be careful to not blur the line between honest discussion and ungrounded opinion. Ps when it comes to discussions on Christianity it’s never easy, I get that! I hope you don’t see this response as an attack. All the best.

  2. I guess if you lived more than 20 something years, you would have seen the utter destruction of what men used to be until the present. But since you haven’t experienced that, maybe you not be so critical of what these great men of God are trying to encourage. By no means are they saying men MUST be exactly this way or that, but the whole idea is that men have not shown up, stood up or lived up to the calling of who God wants them to be. I for one am humbled and encouraged that there is a movement to “wake up” and get with the program.

    Obviously we’re All called to live as Christ did, that’s much of Driscoll/ MacDonald and others point.
    You exemplified precisely how today’s culture is WAAAY too concerned with offending anyone and making then a huge ordeal about it.

    good job!

    • Interesting approach to a response. It starts off by criticizing the writer for her age in a sarcastic manner. Thus, I would suggest that you live by your words of caution in being critical. It is a blog set up to question and create discussion. It is quite obvious that you paid little to no attention to her honesty in admitting to not having all of the answers. And, if one short blog post is making a “huge” ordeal about anything at all than I would be shocked to see what you view as something of a grandeur nature. I fully understand what you are saying, yet let’s keep in mind how we use our sarcasm.

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