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Dude! MAN-UP!

“The Meat and Potatoes of “Faith and Manhood.”

By Vinnie MacIsaac

A blog entry for men who are struggling with trusting faith.

Sorry ladies, but this one is for the dudes, feel free to eavesdrop and you will certainly learn our secrets but shhh… don’t let us know you are here or mention that you ever overheard this most private conversation.  It may be stereotypical to say, but there is still truth in it, men like to fix things.  And when we can’t fix things, we like to think about why they are broken and how we might fix them if we had better tools.  Some of us will even be tempted to drift off to thinking about which tools we need to invent to fix the unfixable that is before us. What we don’t like to do is admit we are powerless, unable, or need to have faith that God is in control. We want to control, and we don’t want to walk on any path that we can’t see where it is going. We want the tangible, the knowable, the certainty of being able to touch, hear, measure, study, and prove, and see a truth before we dare walk in it.

 Herein lies the problem with secular manhood and faith:  when one walks in faith he must surrender all control; put away the GPS, and venture out without a map or directions, and trust  God to get him to his destination. We all know how hard it is for most men to stop and ask directions no matter how lost they are; it is no different in matters of faith.

The mind may be in the eye of the body because it is the avenue by which information is received; even as the eye provides sight for walking in. However, the sight alone is not what is required to walk.  Sure, seeing helps us to walk, or at least brings an ease to it. But to walk, we must use our feet and legs. Likewise, the mind, the intellect, is a powerful and needed tool. But if we only use it to think about walking, contemplate walking, consider a number of deeply thoughtful theories on how one walks or learns to walk, then the mind has become a trap that has caged us in a world in which we never really go anyplace.

Thinking about moving, reading about the physics of movement, and understanding the complexity of human motion and all the different muscles, joints, and demands for energy the body requires for movement can only be helpful to me if I use it in actually moving my feet. To move one’s feet, to be in actual motion, will, in turn, bring with it all kinds of new dangers. There are things we may bang into, there are obstacles, once only read about, that now require navigation. And there is, above all, a real world of experience to interact with not just “navel gaze” about.

Why can’t we just ask for directions? Are we that afraid to look weak or in need of help?

The Bible has a lot to say about walking.  For example, it says to “walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.”  It tells us God has no judgments against those who walk in the Spirit.  It says there are “no laws against the fruit of walking in the Spirit.”  It even tells us that the very Word of God is a “lamp unto our feet” that we may plainly see where we step. It is no happenstance that the longest chapter in the Bible is a Hebrew acrostic poem begging us to remember its lessons. It declares, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

The very same Holy Scriptures also present a paradoxical construction “for we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7). So which is it? Is God directing us how to walk through the intellect, where we see and understand, study, and gain all proof?  Or is He telling us it is not about the intellect, it is about walking in faith because you know His deep, deep love for you? That as you walk, He will never forsake you? The latter involves the feet, the heart, and the danger. And a real journey with God for the “Man of God” is a “man’s man” journey. It will be filled not only with epic life changing enterprises, but also real perilous dangers and real wounds, that leave real scars that you can’t predict, avoid, or strategize around.

Jesus said it this way, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8) To surrender to such an uncertain and unpredictable power is, frankly, horrifying and fearful to anyone who is being truthful with themselves and not just faking their own existence. It is to truly die to self, to offer up your will as a sacrifice and all of self’s power to preserve and manipulate life. It means to, wholeheartedly, throw yourself into the loving, faithful, eternal hands of your God come what may! Such an action is not a job for young boys who are still mere children, who want to self- protect for future days.   It is, in fact, the job of real men, who are emotionally “man enough” to look death in the eye, and embrace it, full on, in one big old fat tremendous bear hug; for this is the only way a man can truly be alive.

Jesus boldly, cried out to us, “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it”. (Luke 17:33) He said His way of life, brings not a mundane daily existence and safety but a real life that is more than simple preserving the safe life, it is living in the abundance of the Father’s love and adventures He has for us (John 10:10).

The quintessential meat and potatoes of “Faith and Manhood” is this:  if your eye has metaphorically seen God, and your intellect is being revolutionized by the love found in His promise (Word) to us, then we must take the “leap to faith.” [1] This is a full-fledged, no looking back, leap off the proverbial cliff into the emotional world of a fuller experience of God, where love casts out age-old fears, and we are swallowed whole, not just in part (like Jonah), to faith in His control – not ours; to His love and stability that it may be the producer of our own stability and love in the bold, new life of abundance,  that His loves thrust us into. We walk as men, in faith, because the lamp is not only in the eye, but when we look closer, according to the Psalm; it is also in the feet.

Stop over thinking.

Manhood means to stop examining and over analyzing everything for absolute certainty and proof. But, rather, start walking in the great and perils of dangers that God is calling us to. It is about more then seeing, and measuring, and testing, and fixing, it is about walking, and walking into absolute unyielding adventure and risky business filled with personal and genuinely dynamic vulnerabilities. It is about not cowering in fear of the unknown like a mere child, but rather throwing yourself into the deep end of the unknown as a combatant solider who willfully chooses the possibility of death over the certainty of limited reason. It is about the maturity of manhood, that teaches us that we can never really understand how the broken pieces of this world and this thing called life and existence are fixed until we start embracing its brokenness, not in fear, but in the certainty that can only exist in the faith of a Warrior’s heart!

There is really nothing that cute about a man-child. Grow up already!

To my fellow brothers of manhood, I say to you, are you still a child, still living in fear of the unknown desperately thinking you must solve all mysteries of this world before living, or have you accepted the call of God on your life to Man-Up and put away childish fears.

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” (1 Corinthians 13:11 ESV)

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[1]“Thinking can turn toward itself to think about itself and skepticism can emerge. But this thinking about itself never accomplishes anything.” Søren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript.

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