Being a Perfect Man

If you’re a Christian, you believe that Christ perfectly did the will of God, and was a perfect man on this Earth.

We keep hearing about what men are supposed to do in life and in marriage, and in the context we talk about it here it’s about pleasing women, and obviously this is a topic we are not happy with, in the sense of how the Church is generally dealing with it.

I was thinking about Ephesians 5, so often quoted about men loving their wives like Christ. But Christ was uncomfortably honest, Christ did the right thing even when people turned their backs on him for doing it, and Christ did give all–but not in the way people wanted him to.

So this has been something that has been troubling me since I’ve been writing for this blog. The idea that so many in the manosphere seem to be searching for some kind of solution, or angry at changes in our society. But I honestly think that this is avoiding understanding of biblical truth. We are called to be like Christ, but this is what Christ faced: being rejected, misunderstood, not appreciated.
So what are the churchian marriage counselors really selling? I think there’s a simple test of that. If they’re not promising blood sweat and tears with the possibility of it all ending in sorrow because all people involved with relationships once they grow up are making decisions on their own–then it just ain’t the Gospel.There is no formula that works but that way, the truth and the light if you are a believer.

 

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16 thoughts on “Being a Perfect Man

  1. This has been on my mind, too. Jesus didn’t pander–he did God’s will. And did so even when it was “unpleasant” and he didn’t want to (N.B. prayer in Gethsemane).
    When I was last in New Jersey I saw a bumper sticker that still makes me chuckle. It’s more realistic than most milk-sop churchian sentiments:
    “WTFWJD”

  2. The kind of gut level expression that bumper sticker represents is especially real when you do the street ministry that sojourner does with his church, or that I experienced for several years as a weekly prison ministry volunteer . I’m not saying we need to salt our language, but christianese vernacular will fall on its face.

  3. The great Ridley Scott film “The Kingdom of Heaven” explores just this issue; what does it mean to do the ‘will of God’? In one battle scene the Muslims yell “God wills it” while the Christians yell ” God wills it”. What is the will of God? The movie climaxes with the scene where Balian makes all the men defending Jerusalem, Knights. The Bishop asks, ” does making a man a Knight make him a better fighter?” ” Yes!” is Balian’s answer. The difference between a fighter and a Knight is the difference between morality and holiness. Morality is what you do; holiness is what you are. God’s will; that which pleases God, is found in what you are, is found in holiness.
    I do not believe that there is an “evil language of Mordor” Language is for communication. Men used to know this before Victorian Morality and Gentlemanly Behavior became the rage.

  4. Sojourner:

    Excellent points. Your perspective is Christian, not churchian. Most church folks would offer the prosperity gospel by stating that if the man were being Christlike his family would automatically mold into a perfect Brady Bunch family. Life is not that simple, as we here have come to know.

  5. But Christ was uncomfortably honest, Christ did the right thing even when people turned their backs on him for doing it, and Christ did give all–but not in the way people wanted him to.

    This could stand alone, you know. It needs to be said more from pulpits and in Christian marriage counselor’s offices.

  6. But I honestly think that this is avoiding understanding of biblical truth. We are called to be like Christ, but this is what Christ faced: being rejected, misunderstood, not appreciated

    Going to equivocate here a bit. If men are searching for a solution, then I have no equivocation, and for sure there are men who want to just put the toothpaste back in the tube which they think will lead to an ever tidy bathroom sink.
    But when the man is not saying that, and many are not, and he is complaining that he is wiping his toothpaste up with his hand towel but no one else is, and that innocent 3rd parties with no skin in are being affected, and that if he tries to get them to wipe theirs he is branded an outlaw. If men here are simply trying to do what men are actually supposed to do, interpret and bring the message to everyone for the edification of everyone, men and women alike, i do not get a sense of frustration at those men at all. I’m biased because i am one of them.
    While often the way things are worded may seem that the men are trying to make their lives easier, there is a quorum of men who actually are perfectly fine with suffering, long or otherwise, but see the sphere issues as a calling.
    I was asking myself during church, and have a post jiggered up for it, what would it mean if people could not divorce? or, what would it mean, specifically, if women did not have overwhelming support from law and culture to divorce and it was equal opportunity for men and women? It would mean, gasp, that they have to stay in unhappy marriages. That fits your core issue and men seem to do it way better than women.

    Here’s the money part of my pending post…it fits here as well.
    I would ask then, what would it mean if one woman was born in South Sudan, if horse riding mujahedin took young girls and raped them and sliced off their breasts? Do we, you, me, men, women, pray for her? Yes, do we pray expectantly? Some. But here’s the rub, is the miracle of someone escaping there and having a new life, is that miracle a bigger miracle than the one where God restores peace to a marriage and then they are happy? How can we men see the contradiction in this and fail to bring that to men and women and the church? We can’t, and it says nothing about our own posture towards Christs (and our) suffering.

    ETA Elspeth says the right thing, because unless there is a couple in there, women do not get to hear this, and I can say that as a man and it not be necessarily motivated by my wanting a clean sink for selfish reasons

  7. I think, empath, that we are understanding one another but i’ll throw out this example.

    On that series “Soldier Soldier” there is an episode where a former sergeant major who has gotten a commission as an officer (we’ll call him “the lieutenant”) is having an argument with his wife. She wants to sing in a wine bar; he insists that it is unbecoming of an officer’s wife. She becomes very angry with him.
    This woman has never really been shown as fully supportive of her husband on the show–she expects his full support in everything but has a refrain with the other wives of “I didn’t marry the army”.

    So while they are arguing, she brings this up; he angrily suggests that this sounds like a mid life crisis effort to see herself as young again, whereupon she slaps him in the face.

    I felt that this epitomized something we’ve been talking about, about the biblical quality of long suffering. The lieutenant has been a soldier for I think 20 years in the context of the show. He has worked his way up from private to get his commission, and he has done this by deep devotion to duty. The show doesn’t mince the fact that this duty is sometimes very hard, and often requires you to put personal feelings aside to do it. Not only is his wife ungrateful, she is disrespectful and unrealistic.

    Her view of it is that she has the right to do what she likes, and that they are equals and she can act without consequences. To me, saying “I’m your equal” to a former sergeant-major and then hitting him is stupid, because the woman is clearly presuming on the female privilege of not being struck no matter how great the provocation.

    There is no notion of duty to her–no respect for sacrifice, no understanding of the fact that her husband’s choices are not made because he’s doing whatever he wants to; he’s accepting relatively poor pay and housing, accepting orders, risks of life and death even during training exercises because the duty is a worthwhile one he believes in. The wife, by contrast, is being asked to sacrifice very very little by comparison, and she is outraged at having to even consider giving up so little.

    So yeah I get that. My concern in writing the blog entry I did was that people are misguided when they teach that if we acted like Christ we would have better marriages.

  8. My concern in writing the blog entry I did was that people are misguided when they teach that if we acted like Christ we would have better marriages.

    Oh, for sure we are (quite literally) on the same page. I was seeing something else, and I dont run from it, even if its not what you meant.
    If it was not clear, I thought you were admonishing men to be Christlike and not expect a solution to the problems, but to accept HER rejection, HER “slap in the face”, HER leaving, and stay steadfast. That there is no solution, pat. Id guess we agree on that as well.
    Its one of the things about married game that chaffs me. I especially get chaffed not just when men write of it and how their marriage s changed, but i get very very suspicious when women chime in echoing that, even women writers I respect a great deal for how they plow unashamedly into ground never plowed by women. when they say “we want to be controlled/led/whatever….I get really squirmy because its too simple and because Ive come to agree with men who say that women are mostly unaware of what they do for what reason.

  9. even women writers I respect a great deal for how they plow unashamedly into ground never plowed by women. when they say “we want to be controlled/led/whatever….I get really squirmy because its too simple and because Ive come to agree with men who say that women are mostly unaware of what they do for what reason.

    It is squirmy. I assume I am among the women writers you respect but I am not ever sure if I have ever said it quite that way. In fact, I have been very open about the mental anguish it caused me to submit is several areas. From staying at home full time to husband putting the hammer down on my hyper modesty phase. If I wanted to be controlled I wouldn’t have been such a snot about those issues, to name two.

    BUT.. there is a great deal of safety and security because I know he isn’t tossed around on the waves of my emotions. trying this and that to diffuse whatever my issue of the day might be. Over time you do grow to appreciate it even when you hate it. Sounds contradictory I know but we’re women. Whaddya expect???

  10. Yeah I get you now. No, I think that exploring ideas like what can be motivating factors, etc, is a good idea, but I believe women make choices, and it often seems people don’t want to lay responsibility for those choices at their feet.

  11. Yes Miss Elspeth you are one of the ones I respect, keep your head….maybe even the one I respect he most!
    You are safe, I never squirmed about your remarks on that subject.

  12. To start off i will be looking for that bumper sticker.

    Emp this has been on my mind and heart which I find myself studying the life of Jesus and what God says while leaving everything I’ve been taught by the church out of it.

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