Increasingly, our culture is refusing to let boys be boys. Comedian Brad Stine calls it “the wussification of America.” The newly prevalent attitude is that if you are a guy, and you have a spine, you must be a Neanderthal. Masculine strength is scorned and has been replaced by a new standard of masculinity that is disturbingly effeminate. This of course is linked to the gay movement, but it has become so pervasive that you can find the “new type” being represented in all sorts of contexts…even the Church.
The idea of the “sensitive guy” today is not what it used to be. The “sensitive guy” used to be a tormented hero (e.g. Marlon Brando, James Dean), who needs a pure female to rescue him from his inner conflict and work a redemptive change in his character. Today, the sensitive guy is not merely rescued by his female counter-part. He’s expected to submit to her. If he doesn’t, the knee-jerk reaction is, “Well why don’t you just drag her by the hair to your cave while you’re at it?” In short, loving authority is now equated with being a jerk.
What are the observable results of this feminizing trend in the Church? They are legion, but here’s one: Nice, young, evangelical Christian guys, under cultural pressure to downplay their masculine instincts, are becoming “sensitive” instead. This is tangibly manifested in many different ways, including effeminate haircuts and earrings (???), but another key factor in this process has been the introduction into the evangelical world of “love songs for Jesus.” We’ve seen a massive increase in the number of these types of songs among evangelicals in the past two decades, until now you pretty much can’t swing a dead cat without bumping into one on the radio or in a worship service. And any guy who might feel uncomfortable singing them fears that he will be challenged by his guy friends, “Well I don’t feel ashamed to sing a love song for my Lord and Savior. What’s wrong with you, don’t you have a heart for God??” Under such an indictment, perhaps he swallows very hard and continues to sing “God, I am so in love with you.”
Or maybe he doesn’t. Maybe he says, “Forget this” and walks out. And maybe he doesn’t come back.
Simply put, men who come to church in order to escape a world trying to steal their identity are finding that the same process is taking place there too. At that point, either they are assimilated, or they are driven away. Neither of these options is good. And meanwhile, a whole generation of Christian boys are being taught to accept emasculating language without a trace of contrary instinct.
Is this a healthy thing? Should we be encouraging young men to “find their feminine side?” Or should we encourage young men to be… well, young men?
I appear not to be the only one who is concerned about these trends. I now yield the floor to Brother Paul Washer:
Men, here’s what I want you to realize. This will help you later on when you get married. Let’s say all hell’s breaking loose and everybody in the world has just come to your office with signs: “Down with you.” Everybody hates you, the world’s falling apart. Happens to me about every other day [laughter]. I get in my car and I drive home and I’m trying to get my heart right, and when I pull in that driveway, I do not get out of that car until I’ve settled some issues. It’s not about me, it’s not about my whining, it’s not about my needs, it’s not about my emotions, it’s not about any of that goofy stuff that people are telling you as men you need to be concerned about. My only concern is getting out of that car and walking into that house strong and joyful. ‘Cuz the burdens I’m supposed to carry as a man, my wife is not supposed to carry, nor are my children supposed to carry.
See, you’ve been told that you need to marry a woman who can just “carry you” basically, that you can “share all your emotions with.” Just die to your emotions, okay? Just die to all that psycho-babble and everything else you’ve been told that you ought to be feeling inside. Say “no” to your feelings and like my wife says, “Man up!” And just do it. Carry the burden. Cast your cares upon Christ, because your wife was not created to carry your burdens. Children were not created to carry your burdens. And brothers in Christ can carry some of your burdens, but guys, I want to tell you honestly, I see Christian guys get together sharing their burdens, and they sound like a bunch of just girls. They’ve been trained to talk a certain way … There is a biblical casting your cares upon Christ, and there is one brother strengthening another brother, and that is good, and sometimes we all need that, but guys, we’re just so… You know, even the Christian songs today, I hear some of these guys singing these songs and they’re just whining about all their feelings. Makes me want to throw up. It’s not what you are. You’re being re-created in the image of something that’s not biblical. Again, don’t take this to an extreme … but be very careful. They’ve turned men into little emotional wastebaskets. And that’s not what we are.
The man has spoken. Can I get an Amen?