Men’s Ministry tomorrow at 8:00a. I had that rare experience this week of coming across someone (thanks to Hani Rizkalla) who is saying clearly what I’ve been thinking vaguely. His name is Aaron Renn, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Among many other things, he writes a blog/email called The Masculinist which, unlike efforts by my generation to define a biblical manhood, seems to speak more accurately about the culture of the Bible, our current culture, and the differences between the two. Join us tomorrow for a discussion of what it means to be a Christian man in a (metaphorically speaking) transgender world.
To provoke prayer, here are a few data points Renn cites in his introduction to his email The Masculinist (which I know is a slightly odd name, but it’s better than it sounds). The next three bullets are from his email:
- Seven million prime working age men between 25-54 are unemployed and not even looking for work…These are the so-called “NEETs” – Neither Employed nor in Education or Training. This is part of a pattern of delayed adulthood; fully 35% of men ages 18-34 live with their parents compared with only 28% who live with a “spouse.” Matt Chandler calls these “boys who shave.”
- Only 26% of adult men are of normal weight, with the rest overweight or obese…Only a quarter of men meet government standards for aerobic exercise and strength training…Men are even chemically less masculine today; testosterone levels are in decline, falling by as much as 22% in recent years.
- None of this is to suggest that everything is great for women…Despite vast social changes that favored women in the wake of 1960s second-wave feminism, they are actually less happy than before. One study concludes, “Measures of women’s subjective well-being have fallen both absolutely and relatively to that of men [over the last 35 years]. While the expansion in women’s opportunities has been extensively studied, the concurrent decline in subjective well-being has largely gone unnoted.” A recent study in Great Britain found a “sharp rise in unhappiness” among young girls. A stunning one-quarter of women take psychotropic medications.
As always, our role is not to carry the burden of fixing all this, but to figure out what it means to be faithful to God in the context of it, by his strength and grace. He may use our faithfulness and courage to fix it, and we can and should pray that he does, but ultimately that’s his business, not ours. Duties are ours; outcomes belong to the Lord.
Quick note: There are a couple changes coming to worship this Sunday, the most noticeable of which will be our standing for the reading of the word prior to the sermon, and the offering having moved to the meditation after the sermon. An announcement before worship on Sunday will briefly explain, but the primary drivers were: a greater intentionality in every element of worship, embodied regard for the word of God in a day of declining confidence, and time savings.
- Pastor Eric