Definition of a Real Man #1

Posted: March 16, 2010 in christianity, culture, Uncategorized

This Wednesday the men of our church will be meeting to share their lives and support and encourage each other to live as the men God wants them to be and it got me to reflecting on the question What is a “Real Man”? When I first committed my life to Christ my whole world was disoriented. I had to rethink everything because everything was turned upside down. One of the areas where I had to readjust was in the area of masculinity and what it means to be a man. Our culture is all twisted up on what this actually means and for most we have a vague sense of what it means to be a “Real Man”. Sometimes we think it is about chewing tobacco, driving a big truck, having a chiseled body, or going to bed with more women than Wilt Chamberlain. Even as I sorted this out as a Christian I started to veer off course by thinking a “Real Man” was off doing things outdoors and seeking adventure. This idea of a “Real Man” was given to me as I read John Eldredge’s book Wild at Heart which I know was totally not the point of the book (No diss to John) but with so much wilderness/outdoor imagery it took me there. The problem is as much as I love the outdoors and a new adventure most African Americans in the hood do not have experience or opportunity to do such things. When was the last time you saw a black mountain climber? Nuff said.

So God has definitely been teaching me through the pains and problems of life what being a “Real Man” is and I want to share some of what he has given me as meditations on the Definition of a “Real Man”

Definition of a “Real Man” #1: A “Real Man” Prays

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16B

Prayer is one of those things that the world would define as not manly at all. To depend on someone else is totally not manly. A real man is rugged and independent and doesn’t need anyone especially some “Sky Fairy” that some call god. The truth of the matter is that everyone is dependent on someone. We depend on our mailman, our tax attorney, our mechanic. The thing that makes prayer a manly act is that a “Real Man” realizes that the best person to depend on is God the maker and sustainer of the universe. To put it simply a “Real Man” knows his place in the cosmos and where his real power comes from. Not his muscles, money, or education but his God. As I have encountered many men from Africa who embody this I notice that they pray like life depended on it and it changes them and actually works to bring about good for their life, family, and community. As I look at the early church and how it was formed from a group of nobodies to the most powerful force within the Roman Empire I see men who prayed. Men like James the brother of Jesus who wrote the scripture for our meditation. It is said that James prayed so hard that his knees became blistered and calloused earning him the nickname of “camel knees”. That’s hardcore. That’s a “Real Man”

Lord God I pray for all those wanting to know what it means to be real man and I pray that they find it on their knees. Give us the strength to resist the independence and pride of this world and drive us to fight for our families, communities, churches, and souls in prayer. Amen

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