Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Who da man?

"Clothes maketh the man", apparently. What a load of old tosh: I've seen Daffyd on Little Britain. QED. But then, what really does make a man a man?

I've just realised this week how much I hate the term "in touch with his feminine side"(*). It often gets used as a compliment these days, denoting a guy who is sensitive and empathetic and not some lager-swilling, odorous lout. I mean, some 'blokes' need a slap 'cos they sashay through life on a mist of pot pourri and with a Body Shop bag of goodies and a handshake like a dead trout, but still others take it too far the other way. Leaving all the housework to the missus and flirting with female colleagues does not make you more manly. There's nothing like a good pizza-guzzling LAN party with the boys, fragging each other in a deathmatch, but I'm also happy to hang out with a bunch of women, have done on occasion, and still enjoy myself; it's not because I've got a strong "feminine side" but because I'm confident enough in my masculinity to not be threatened by that environment. So, again, what makes a man a man?

If you ask me, I'll always look to the Bible for the definitive truth, and to Jesus Christ as the definitive man. Now, I know He was King of all creation in the form of man, and that He was perfect in every way, untainted by sin of any kind. But that doesn't disqualify his example: in His demonstration of what it is to be a man He was strong, empathetic, not afraid to cry, honest, responsible, standing up for what He believed, practising what He spoke, unwavering in His devotion to the Father. For starters. So, if I'm to be a real man the way God intended, I need to be willing to be counted for what I believe, to be willing to tell my mates the truth if needed even if it may hurt (whilst practising sensitivity to the context, obviously), to not be afraid to tell them I love them too, to take the lead in my household and adopt responsibility for my wife and daughter's moral welfare, to not be overbearing or dominating in my leadership but serving Jennie and Amy in ways that make them both know they're loved like princesses and I'll be there for them, to not fear a good cry, to know which fights to pick and which to walk away from, to lead younger men by example, to demonstrate to the world who a real man is and point the way to Christ every time.

I'm trying, I really I am. And I often screw it up. But I'm trying, and that's the point.

(*How many women are praised for being "in touch with their masculine side"?)

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