Many men today believe that being passive is a virtue. Physically, socially, romantically, and spiritually we think that if we put off making decisions and evade definitive action, our action (or lack thereof) is consonant with Christian maturity. We have grown up believing that men are stupid, boys stay boys for roughly thirty years, and decisions should only be made when excessively thought through. We’ve subscribed to a soft version of Jesus, Jesus 2.000, who is soft, mild-mannered, and endlessly weepy. All this has brought great harm to the church.
This week, I want to examine the ways in which men act passively and the world encourages us to do so. We’ll think about the way society portrays men, we’ll think about men and decision making, we’ll think about men and romance. In all, I hope we stimulate some thought and produce some godly action.
Here’s a fun story about one man who took the matter of physical masculine action very seriously (From Mark Chanski’s Manly Dominion):
“A few years ago, I was studying early one morning in my basement office when my wife poked her head in and told me about how she couldn’t take her usual morning walk. The neighbor’s bull (that’s right, horned bull) had gotten loose and was wandering the neighborhood. “I’m afraid he’s going to gore me!”…
My manliness having been awakened, I realized I couldn’t let the bull endanger other people’s wives or children either. But I knew that I as a city boy was no match for the bull. The neighbor wasn’t home, so I went across the street to get Mike, the beekeeper. Mike is a rustic fellow known in the neighborhood for his courage in facing aggressive beasts. His plan was for him to grab a bucket of grain from the neighbor’s barn, and with it, entice the bull back through the barn door and slam it shut for the capture. All went well until the bull actually neared the barn. Instead of following the bucket of grain Mike had tossed into the barn, the bull charged—actually charged—the beekeeper! I was horrified. Mike would be gored and pinned against the barn wall. But then Mike did something extraordinary. He grabbed the bull’s horns! That’s right, he literally grabbed the bull by the horns! The effect of the beekeeper’s forceful grab and jerk was striking. The seemingly fierce bull stopped in his tracks: he was stunned, intimidated, and subdued. Quickly, Mike thrust the bull toward the barn door. The beast acquiesced, and Mike slammed the door shut behind him.” 62
And, just because you could have guessed it was coming: that’s taking passivity by the horns.