In May, the fourth annual Reaching the Unreached conference for people working in working-class and deprived areas was held in Speke, Liverpool. It was based around the letter of Titus (the details of the conference can be found here). I was asked to contribute to a final session, summing up the conference. I identified four themes that had emerged our time together. Here’s the first.
We need to think through what it means to be manly. Some of that means thinking through what it means biblically. But we need to do that in interaction with the culture:
- the wider UK culture
- your local neighbourhood culture
- the church culture
There are three common models in the culture:
1. The new man: serving but passive, fearful of imposing himself, the ‘pansy’
2. The absent man: not taking responsibility, living on the X-Box, never really growing up
3. The macho man: beer-drinking, aggressive, domineering in the home
The first two (new man and absent man) never take the initiative. The third (macho man) takes the initiative, but the agenda is selfish. We need another model of manliness:
4. The godly man: (1) takes the initiative, he is proactive (2) to serve and to resolve conflict (he is peaceable). He is neither passive not selfish. Instead he takes responsibility to serve others.
Listen to Paul’s description of godly men, of truly manly men: ‘Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless – not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.’ (Titus 1:7) ‘Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.’ (Titus 2:2)
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