The Core Sunday Gathering

October 2, 2011

Series: The Sexes
Week 3: The Patriarchetype

Question: What is a perfect Gentleman?

        -[SLIDE] Read excerpts from “How to be a Gentleman”

        -It’s tough being a guy, right, ladies?

        -But aren’t these really just a bunch of stupid cultural rules? Why should I care about being a gentleman?

                -Why should I listen to anything society says about masculinity?

                -Especially when society can’t make up its mind what it means to be a real man.

        -[SLIDE] There’s a new show on CBS based on this book, with the same name. Apparently it’s really stupid.

                -But it highlights that dichotomy… how the culture pulls men in two separate directions.

                -[SLIDE] On the one hand, you should be  •educated  •logical  •cultured  •sensitive  •well-dressed  

                -But at the same time, you should be  •funny  •adventurous •athletic (or fanatic)  •tough  •handy

                        -Do you know any guys who meet all these conditions?

                        -Ladies, is this the kind of guy you want? Because he might have to be schizophrenic to fit it all in.

        -There’s another set of expectations still, if you’re a Christian Man.

                -The mainstream church, by and large, takes the first list, and adds  •spiritual  •forgiving, etc.

                -[SLIDE]But there is a movement now to masculinize Christianity for the guys. There’s a verse they often use…

                        -Assign Scripture: Matthew 11:12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been

                                forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.

                -So let’s be forceful! Let’s bend iron bars and sing raucous songs and punch each other in the face

                        -Then we’ll take up an offering, have an altar call, and head to lunch.

                -But this Greek word, translated “forceful” and sometimes “violent” doesn’t have a good English equivalent

                        -When you take Jesus’ overall message into account, the best words might be “earnest” or “persistent”

                        -And yes, there’s something masculine about that. Stubbornly chasing after the kingdom.

                        -Never giving up in your pursuit, your quest, to find the heart of God

                -And the good news is that this is not just the territory of guys. But it is a way that guys can set the example

-The Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac & Jacob) seem to try and set that example… to be that Archetype of manliness

        -Thus we find ourselves trying to look up to them as our “Patriarchetypes” But do they really measure up?

-And we have to ask: What is “Biblical Masculinity?”

        -We Christians tend to think of the Bible as a resource for true masculinity.

                -But the first man to ever exist (Adam) was highly impressionable. So was the Father of our faith (Abraham)

                        -Both men easily cowed to bad advice from their wives, and failed to take responsibility for themselves

                -So where is real masculinity found?

                -[SLIDE] Is it in our height? Saul was the tallest guy around, but a dud. David’s tallest brother was rejected

                -[SLIDE] Is it in our strength? Samson was the strongest man who ever lived,

                        -but he was weak in the faith, and was defeated by Delilah

                -[SLIDE] Is it in our legacy? Jacob was Israel’s namesake, and had 12 sons,

                        -but he was a mama’s boy, and a hopeless romantic. Not bad things, but not manly things

                -[SLIDE] Is it in our leadership? David was Israel’s greatest king,

                        -but he was moody, and sensitive, and loved Jonathan more than any woman

        -His this “Biblical Masculinity” really drawing inspiration from the Bible?

                -Even Jesus seems to come up short. 

                        -Although he was an able-bodied carpenter, he seems much too merciful to be truly manly

                        -He openly wept over Lazarus’ death, and he taught the whole “turn the other cheek” business

                        -And what real man would fail to speak up to defend himself in court? 

                        -And let himself be wrongly executed? -Doesn’t a real man fight back?

-Once again, we have to decide who gets to define our terms for us. Who gets to make the rules?

        -Any macho man can pretend like he makes his own rules, sets his own terms, but it’s just not true.

        -Every one of us has a source. We’re all looking for someone to tell us how to be. What’s a man, what’s a woman?

                -And the default voice in this is our culture around us. Mainly, pop culture.

                -Advertisers, Screenwriters, Music & Film Producers, Fashion Designers, etc.  

                -Are these people really the experts on Masculinity and Femininity? Do they want what’s best for you?

-If we’re looking for true masculinity, the Bible really is a good place to look

        -Problem is, Pop Culture has graciously volunteered to define Biblical Masculinity for us as well.

                -And out pops this bar-bending, guitar-shredding religion.

        -But what if we actually let the Bible speak for itself when it comes to manliness that God endorses?

        -Noah’s dogged obedience over 100 years, building the ark (doesn’t hurt that there’s a lot of hardware involved)

        -Gideon’s courage that came only from God’s calling (and not from his pedigree or tough-guy reputation)

        -Daniel’s civil disobedience when he was told what to eat, and whom to pray to. (and staying calm among lions)

        -Joshua’s military victories, which came only from his time spent in prayer (not in training or body-building)

        -And most importantly, Jesus provides the ultimate example of masculinity, when we understand masculinity

                -Instead of bringing our own stereotypes to the Bible, looking for support

                -When we truly understand strength, we see it perfectly in Jesus

                -When we truly understand courage, and risk, and stamina, we see them perfectly in Jesus

                -We look at his displays of civil disobedience that go beyond Daniel’s, we discover unbelievable strength.

        -But Jesus’ greatest masculinity is displayed in his SURRENDER.

                -Going like a lamb to the slaughter. Our culture would find no correlation between a real man, and a lamb

                -But it was Jesus’ inward power that enabled him to keep his mouth shut, and fulfill his eternal purpose.

                        -It took far more strength for him to remain on the cross, than it would to defeat his executioners.

-And that is the nature of genuine strength, of true masculinity, and it’s something that both men and women can seek.

        -That nature being that it cannot be gained until it’s lost.

        -First you have to surrender it, sacrifice it, sign off all your rights to it. Samson clutched it. Jesus gave it up.

                -Because it’s not by strength, nor by power, but by God’s own Spirit, that the world is transformed.

        -The only real masculinity existing in the world is what God has returned to those who lost it all.

                -He only gives true life to those who are dead to themselves

                -He only fills the empty cup, and he’s not done till it’s overflowing

                -John the Baptist prayed that he would decrease, and God would increase in him

                -Paul says that he was being poured out like a drink offering, ready to receive anything the Father had to give

                -And Jesus says that unless we pick up our cross and die to ourselves, we cannot have his life.

        -It’s not till we have surrendered everything fake, that we can receive what’s real.