Description of Masculinity – Part V

Audio: Dean Beezer

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant ‘To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.”

Here she is! We have just pulled her from the bed of another man! What a disgrace! This woman must die! The great prophet Moses had commanded in the scriptures that such a sin must be judged by death! What say you, Jesus the righteous? The sequel of a life of courage will typically present itself in this format. There are those instances where established tradition, authority, and expectation will have to be circumvented in pursuit of a higher principle. It is in such situations that the virtue of courage shines brightest. Jesus, our master teacher has instructed us concerning discerning “when” the virtue of courage is fundamentally necessary.

In our previous study, we noted the “what” of courage. In that study, we stated “Being submissive to our Father’s will sometimes bring us into conflict with this world.Courage is radical submission to the will of God. It is that stance of defiance and disposition of resistance to anything which brings us out of alignment with God’s will. Since this is what courage entails, let’s briefly look at an observable principle concerning “when” the virtue of courage will be necessary.

Courage is the capacity that allows us to take risks, make sacrifices, and be, as Martin Luther King Jr. said regarding Christian faith, “dangerously unselfish.” We will find that courage will become necessary “when” our resolve concerning a conviction or fundamental godly principle is challenged. Without a firmly held belief system, courage becomes unnecessary. Conviction precedes courage! There will be people, places, and perspectives that will cause us to question our commitment to those first principles. However, courage helps us to withstand and grow through ongoing pain, suffering, isolation, and related difficulty. Righteousness requires it, and the Bible commands us to be bold and courageous more than 25 times. God takes courage and its lack very seriously.

Jesus in his response to the angry, passionate mob, eager for justice, contended with three (3) common sources of human spinelessness. These are; 1) a dominant perception or ideology concerning reality; 2) the impression and expression of reality as interpreted and experienced by many and 3) the weight of a global/public/peer opinion concerning reality. In our next study, we will critically evaluate these key traits to demonstrate how we can use Jesus’ example to display the virtue of courage, “when” the time comes.

Description of Masculinity – Part IV

Audio : Dean Beezer

Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

“With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity” – Mark Twain

A critical playground observation was made by renowned family psychologist, Dr. James Dobson. He observed that children from Christian homes tend to swear less. Additionally, Christian children are far more inhibited than their secular peers, and in the wrong way. They’re less likely to establish healthy boundaries with other kids. They’re less likely to stand up for what’s right, to defend themselves or others. Children grow up to be adults and unless this issue is corrected, it becomes the case where absence of courage transforms into an adult dysfunction. The absence of this virtue will impact the depth to which every social, spiritual and intimate relationship flows.

Courage is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation, whether for ourselves or for others. Courage is pivotal, because in order to truly possess any virtue, a person must be able to sustain such virtue in the face of difficulty. Truth be told, in our churches, homes and other social spaces, we have a pandemic of spinelessness and most of us have already tested positive for the cowardice-virus.

Courage is the foundational virtue upon which others rest. To study the fate of the future in an accurate and meaningful way, one has to evaluate the past. There is an analytical and systematic correlation one will always discover, when any matter is analysed by observing the “what,” “when,” “where,” “how,” and finally the “why” of a thing. This is the principle of the Aristotelian metric of logical analysis. Let us try and use this method to briefly look at the “what” of courage.

One may be inclined to assume (as I had in the past) that Christian boys are placed at a disadvantage by being taught to be humble, loving and patient. These are critical virtues possessed by our Lord Jesus Christ, which our boys are to be trained and exhorted to exemplify. However, these virtues are not the only virtue Jesus demonstrated. At the Passover in Bethany (John 12), Mary broke a very serious custom when she anointed the feet of Jesus. Amidst the outrage, Jesus said “Let her alone!” in a defiant stance of support for the action of Mary. This was done before elders and other religious elites!

In the days of his flesh, Jesus was described as Meek. Meekness means “yielding and being submissive.” What was Jesus meek toward? He was surely not submissive to the will of man, which is tainted with self-interest and is sometimes wicked. Jesus was submissive to His Father’s will. This is “what” we should be teaching our children. Being submissive to our Father’s will sometimes bring us into conflict with this world. Meekness isn’t false humility or timidity or fear of conflict. Meekness is knowing who we are, believing that what God says is true and then submitting to Him, because we love Him in response to His love for us. Courage is not inhibited by the consequence associated with following the will of our father. This is a lesson all boys should learn so that “when” the time comes, they can exercise the virtue of Courage.

We will continue to explore the “Description of Masculinity” in subsequent publications.

Description of Masculinity – Part III

Cultivating a Culture of Courage in Boys 

Audio: Dean Beezer

“I must uphold my ideals, for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out” Annie Frank

I can recall a small boy in a field somewhere, ages ago, tending to his father’s sheep. Yes, a shepherd boy, of the linage of Jessie, Israel’s future king, guarding a flock with all diligence. He was not the “best of the lot”. Well, at least where his family was concerned. You see, the purpose of God tends to find us in the customary, commonplace of our daily existence. Winston Churchill said it best, “the price of greatness is responsibility.” The path to courage is defined by responsibility. “We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future,” remarked the late 18th-century literary critic, George Bernard Shaw.

Tending to the flock of his father, David had space to develop his character as a courageous leader. Biblical courage is defined as the ability to do something brave out of motivation in the heart. Good courage always relies upon the supernatural empowerment of God to strengthen and motivate one’s self to be courageous as children of God (Romans 5:3-5). Bad courage relies on human abilities and motives such as the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride (James 1:19-27; 1 John 2:15-16). 

Following from his experience with defending his father’s flock, David was able to use his past experiences of defeating a bear and a lion, through divine empowerment, to face greater challenges in his future. David realized that divine empowerment came from God to subdue a lion and a bear. His confidence and courage were in God to give him sufficient power to fight a much larger enemy. This shepherd boy realized that the infinite and limitless power of God is constant, but the finite and frail chant of the enemy takes different forms. Some enemies may take the form of a bear, others a roaring lion, while some may parade as a champion giant. Regardless of the form, God empowers his brave soldiers with the courage to defeat them all.

The way to engender a culture of courage in our little boys is to provide a space where they are first taught about the Lord Jesus Christ and the empowerment his spirit provides. Where they begin to see themselves as children of a GREAT GOD, their confidence will begin to grow. Notice that David knew about the power of God before his challenges came. This is the error of almost all Christian parents. The teaching, training, and mentorship that boys need, should be engraved into their faculties from birth! Do not wait until they are at puberty. 

As we teach and mentor our boys, through training, we provide a space where they are given RESPONSIBILITIES and held ACCOUNTABLE. I would not advise us to micro-manage boys! This strips them of their innate virtues of being natural problem-solvers and independent thinkers. Boys are naturally territorial and this is a feature of their inbuilt instinct to protect. As they are groomed however, they should be taught how to convert this feature into a positive attribute. 

We will continue to explore the “Description of Masculinity” in subsequent publications. 

Description of Masculinity – Part II

Audio: Dean Beezer

Having described what Godly masculinity looks like, the quest is then to embark on reforming the minds and mentality of our men to a Godly, restored state of masculinity. I believe that the restoration of masculinity can be facilitated in our religious spaces via the following methods:

Firstly, preachers, teachers and leaders in general must speak consistently and confidently about the beauty of complementarity. We should confidently maintain and endorse biblical complementarianism. We must not make light of, or be embarrassed about the truth outlined in scripture which clearly approves and explains this concept. We must not denigrate the importance of this truth or its application in the church. We undermine both, when we make light of complementarity. The solution to a spiritual issue has to emanate from a spiritual source, the word of God, (John 6:63).

Secondly, Men need an authoritative presence. Weak leadership makes weak men. Passionless leadership, will never move men to great commitment. Men long for a higher calling. Men need a higher purpose. Our hearts leap within us when we see exhibitions of courage; when we hear tales of heroism and when we witness valiant sacrifice. Look at the way young boys gravitate towards super heroes! Give men a grander vision for their life, one marked by service, leadership, and devotion to great and noble ends in the Kingdom of God. This is a mentality that we will have to cultivate!

Thirdly, the creation, demonstration and preservation of the critical distinction between males and females should be encouraged by the leadership. From a tender age, the men should be groomed in the faculties of courage, commitment and confidence. This means that a visual demonstration of courage, commitment and confidence (not arrogance) should be observable in men or in a man who operates as a mentor. In the case of grown men, there should be strong mentorship first, followed by training. This sort of set-up has to be facilitated by men displaying the required and desired virtues.

Finally, we must intentionally enlist, equip, and empower men into leadership roles in our churches. Biblically, theologically, and logically, the indispensable ingredient to complementarianism is biblical manhood. One of the recurring arguments that undermines male leadership in the church is the absence of biblically-qualified male leaders. Let us be determined to blast this red herring argument, “What if there is no man to lead or preach?” strait into hell.

Can society flourish with a diminishing masculinity and the virtual disappearance of men? I think not. More urgently, can the church flourish without the reappearance of men? Absolutely not. Let us recommit ourselves to raising up a generation of godly men, ready to lead and serve the bride of Christ.

We will continue to look at the “Description of Masculinity” in our next study.

The Description of Masculinity

Audio: Dean Beezer

“We live in a mixed-up world. Whether you’re aware of it or not, two of the most important elements missing from today’s Western civilization are masculine men and feminine women”, (Anderson 2008). 

This perpetual state of “gender dysphoria” arguably started after World War II and has become a huge problem since the 1960s. An identity crisis now plagues our generation. Gender lines are so blurred and jumbled that it’s difficult for many boys and men to establish and settle into their distinct, God-ordained masculine role. Godly masculinity has an observable identity! Let’s look at the observable traits of this identity. 

CHARACTER

Godly masculinity demonstrates the qualities of sound character, rock-solid confidence, and strength. Such a man is unselfish, dependable, dominant (although not domineering), and a decisive leader. Yet, he is bold to develop the traits of humility, attentiveness and gentleness. In short, Godly masculinity strives to live as Jesus Christ did! True masculinity starts in the mind. It requires, above all, a balanced perspective on life. 

A confident disposition and a tendency to exercise initiative are key traits that identify the presence of stable masculinity. He has a “can-do” attitude and is eager to accept challenges and responsibility. He is not egotistical or arrogant, yet, he doesn’t put himself down or worry about what others think of him. Unhealthy masculinity can be observed where men have difficulty committing to cause; be it a task or relationship. Men must be able to commit, being that they will be required to Protect, Provide and offer Leadership. Committed men are sacrificial men! The hesitation observed in uncommitted men stems from the absence of confidence and a general lack of desire to be challenged. 

SUBMISSION

The qualification for being in authority is knowing that one is always under authority. Many men think that leadership is about being “the head,” when in fact it’s first and fundamentally about recognizing that God is the Head (Eph. 6:9; Col. 4:1). Godly Masculinity welcomes accountability, authority, and oversight. The foundation of godly manhood is cheerful obedience to lawful authority. A man is in no position to expect obedience from others, if he is not first ready to render it to those over him in the Lord.

In essence, one may observe the Character of a man and his approach to authority, to determine if such a man has the traits of Godly masculinity. In the absence of such, teaching and mentorship will be necessary to facilitate an alignment with the Godly expectation of masculinity. 

We will continue to look at the “Description of Masculinity” in our next study. 

Defining Masculinity

The Psychology of Masculinity (Part 2 of 2)

Audio: Dean Beezer

Having established the truth that a man’s mind is different from a woman’s, we are still left with the business of defining the psychological component to Masculinity. Why is it necessary for a man’s mind to be different from that of a woman’s?

In his book entitled “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,” John Gray went about explaining what he observes to be the main differences between the mind of a man and that of a woman’s. He notes that “Men are motivated when they feel needed while women are motivated when they feel cherished.” We should pay close attention to a man’s “need to be needed” because it is closely connected to his masculinity.

There are primarily two hormones that are responsible for the sex distinction we observe in humans. These hormones are Testosterone and Estrogen. In a healthy male, there is present within him the hormones Testosterone and Estrogen, with Testosterone being the more prevalent of the two. As a man ages, his levels of testosterone declines and may even reach close to the level of estrogen naturally produced within his body. Men are psychologically oriented to pursue a solution once a problem presents itself, and the presence of a problem sees an elevation in the production of testosterone. The increased production of testosterone in males lowers his stress level and makes his quest to find a solution to a perceived problem easier. You may read more about the correlation between testosterone and the male’s mind via this study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5128352/#:~:text=Recently%2C%20research%20evidence%20suggests%20that,stress%20(such%20as%20surgery).

The point I wish to establish however, is that link between a man’s “need to be needed” and the way his biology and psychology are adopted to fulfil this innate affinity to satisfy this “need to be needed” through protecting and providing. This feeds his self-concept and creates the precious commodity he values very much. This commodity is called respect. Men with “fragile egos” will not process well, what they believe are attempts to “disrespect” them. This is why “dis,” in Jamaica (“dis” is shortened for disrespect) may end in a deadly confrontation. The man sees his ego as a no trespass territory which must be respected. From as early as childhood, numerous studies have shown a desire in a male child for respect.

The psychology of masculinity essentially identifies how a man’s mind is aligned to execute his function as a Provider, Protector and Leader. The previously mentioned virtues such as courage and the wise exercise of both power and restraint are products of a man’s mind, if his masculine mentality is correctly developed. We will surely be exploring these points individually as we explore in full, the “Expression of Masculinity.”

We will look at “The Description of Masculinity” in our next study.

Defining Masculinity

The Psychology of Masculinity (Part 1 of 2)

Audio : Dean Beezer

The psychological distinction between men and women has been informally observed for ages to be a product of an individual’s biology. Being male, automatically sets the precedence for a man’s mental wiring. Likewise, a woman’s psychological inclinations are innate; being a fact of her biological reality. The truth that men are mentally (psychologically) different from women makes the clearest statement yet, that the psychological manifestation of masculinity, by necessity, will differ from a feminine representation. How though, is this reality of the “psychological manifestation of masculinity” observed?

Dr. Nirao Shah; a Professor of Psychiatry, Behavioral Sciences and Neurobiology at Stanford University published in the Spring 2017 publication of the Stanford Medicine, findings offering overwhelming scientific support to the widely held view that “women are from Venus, men are from Mars.” Shah, published data which offered scientific justification for the view that men and women are psychologically different. In an article posted via Stanford Medicine entitled; “Two Minds; The cognitive differences between men and women,” Shah stated as the aim of his extended experimentation and research was to allow him to “zero in on sex-associated behavioral differences in mating, parenting and aggression.”

Shah argues that these sex-associated behavioural differences are “essential for survival and propagation,” adding that “They’re innate rather than learned — at least in animals — so the circuitry involved ought to be developmentally hard-wired into the brain. These circuits should differ depending on which sex you’re looking at.” At first glance, a simple mind may quickly dismiss this observation to be localized to animals. However, prior to this observation, science usually did not admit a behavioural connection between sex and preferences etc. In 1991, just a few years before Shah launched his sex-differences research, Diane Halpern, PhD, past president of the American Psychological Association, began writing the first edition of her acclaimed academic text, Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities. She found that the ​animal-​research literature had been steadily accreting reports of sex-associated neuroanatomical (i.e., study of the nervous system) and behavioral differences.

The former president of the American Psychological Association; Dr. Diane Halpern, spent most of her life believing the lie that any observed psychological difference between a male and a female is merely a product of socialization. She, like many contemporary behavioural scientists, are now correctly of the view that our psychological masculine distinction is rooted in our biological reality. Dr. Halpern concluded, in the preface of her aforementioned work; Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities, “At the time, it seemed clear to me that any between-sex differences in thinking abilities were due to socialization practices, artifacts and mistakes in the research, and bias and prejudice. … After reviewing a pile of journal articles that stood several feet high and numerous books and book chapters that dwarfed the stack of journal articles … I changed my mind.

What becomes immediately evident here, is that a man’s mind is intrinsically distinct from a woman’s mind. This distinction is not particularly a product of his sociological reality but entrenched in his biology and theology. There is a component of Masculinity which has to be nurtured. However, the successful nurturing of Masculinity will never be actualized without an admission and understanding of the unique NATURE of Masculinity. Remember, “Male and female CREATED He them” (Gen 5:2).

We will continue to build on the Psychology of Masculinity in part two.

Defining Masculinity

The Sociology of Masculinity

Audio : Dean Beezer

Hess, Markson and Stein (1990) defines sociology as: 1. The systematic study of human behaviour, 2. The groups to which one belongs, 3. The societies that human beings create, and within which their lives unfold. Sociology is an attempt to understand how membership in one’s social group affects individual behavior. Following from our brief review of the Biology and Theology of Masculinity, we would have learnt that 1. A man’s masculine identity is a fact of his biological reality, and 2. Masculinity is an “institution” ordained by God primarily for the purposes of headship, provision and protection. The social parameters of masculinity are essential to the development of a balanced and healthy masculine traits. Therefore, how can we observe the sociological manifestation of masculinity?

From as early as childhood, a growing boy begins to make observations of his world. Under the guidance of his parents, he is carefully instructed and directed in ways that are deemed acceptable within the social and cultural reality of primarily his parents. The child observes the behaviour of those around him and his primary influencers; such as his parents, and hence learns what will ultimately be what he accepts as socially appropriate. This essentially defines a process called socialization. This process was alluded to in the book of Proverbs ch. 22:6, which says “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The “way that he should go,” in this context, speaks to the correct path which is supported by the Biological and Theological reality of such a child.

The process of socialization essentially prepares the boy to understand the fact of his masculinity to be linked to his biological and theological reality. The declaration in scripture which says “Male and female created he them,” sends a resounding message of a critical distinction which must be preserved. Our boys need to be socialized regarding the proper use and expression of their masculinity. No boy is born a perfect gentleman. He has to be nurtured into becoming such a man. It is often said that the “child is the father of the man” because we can gaze into the soul of a society, by observing how it socializes its children, particularly the males. The boy, as he grows, learns (ideally from his father) how to lead effectively, learns to exercise both power and restraint, learns the virtue of courage and the principle of labouring unto provision. In every culture, the expression of these important traits will be represented differently. We will explore “Masculinity in the Jamaican Society” in subsequent devotionals. If a boy learns the correct expression of manhood from his father, what do we expect to happen in the absence of his father or a consistent father figure to impart this critical lesson?

The sociological dimension to Masculinity essentially is the training of a child through socialization, to attain and exemplify consistently the following traits; Leading effectively, Exercise with Wisdom both Power and Restraint, the Virtue of Courage, respect for Women, the principles of fatherhood and the principle of Labouring unto Provision. These traits will all be explored individually in subsequent devotionals.

We will next explore “The Psychology of Masculinity.”

Defining Masculinity

The Theology of Masculinity.

Audio : Dean Beezer

“…in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” Genesis 1:27. A fact of the incarnation of God in Christ (II Cor 5:19) is the undisputed truth that God walked the earth, robed in masculine flesh. This is significant, being that God is intentional and deliberate in his every action. Would it have mattered if God came in the likeness of a woman? The significance of the question raises the issue of God’s purpose in Christ and how manhood becomes the unique channel through which such purpose was actualized.

Speaking about the Lord Jesus, Hebrews 1:3 stated explicitly; “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.” II Corinthians 4:4 states; “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” There is a functional correlation between masculine mankind and God himself. The maleness of Jesus was an act of intentionality on God’s part. Nothing is impossible for God. The LORD could have caused a male to conceive, but he was INTENTIONAL about the preservation of the divine order established in creation. He caused a WOMAN to conceive and bring forth a MALE child. God has always been identified as the FATHER; which is an exclusively masculine role, and when he took on the FORM of humanity i.e., the flesh, he operated as a SON.

I must point out here that I am not relegating the theology of the “Image of God” merely to physical appearance. God opted to operate as the father of creation. Masculinity was the channel through which humanity became existent; recall that Eve was created from a rib removed from Adam (Genesis 2:21-23). In the same way that God is the progenitor to creation, so too is the MAN (in principle) the progenitor to the human race. Eve essentially came “out of” Adam. This decision by God to be manifested to humanity as a man is consistent with the purposes of God in completing the unfinished task of Adam. What was the task of Adam?

In Genesis 2:15, Adam is instructed to “dress and Keep” the garden of Eden. In the original language of the Old Testament (Hebrew), the word “dress” came from the Hebrew word “abad” which means generally “to work or serve.” Additionally, “keep” (Hebrew shamar) generally means “to exercise great care over” but in the context of Genesis 2, it speaks to “taking care of,” “guarding,” or “watching over.” Essentially, the role of Adam may be summarized as follows: Leader, Provider, Servant, Protector, Submissive to Authority.

Finally, the man was commissioned to worship in the form of obedience. In Genesis 2:17 we read; “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” The Lord God expected complete submission from Adam (omniscience does not mean that God does not have expectations of us). Adam’s failure to glorify God in the earth through OBEDIENCE and SUBMISSION, was redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 22:42). The Lord Jesus became an eternal template for Leadership, Provision, Protection, Service and Submission to Authority.

The Theology of Masculinity establishes the fact of a Man’s God-ordained call to exist as a competent; Leader of his family, Provider for his family, Servant to his family and Protector over the Family, while displaying Submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Masculine intuition, if nurtured according to scripture, will see a MAN (whether married or single) displaying the following fundamental traits; Willingness to Commit, Courageous, Exercise of Initiative, Instinctively Protective and Respectful, Submissive to Authority and Graciously Providing.

We will next explore “The Sociology of Masculinity.”

Defining Masculinity

Audio: Dean Beezer

“Manhood is the defeat of Childhood narcissism.” At birth, our biological identity is firmly established and preserved in our genetic code. Within our genes, our gender, predisposition to certain illnesses, inclinations etc., are repressed, waiting to be stimulated by the variables in our society. It is not difficult for anyone to reasonably conclude therefore, that the idea of Masculinity is fundamentally defined by our biological composition but secondarily refined within our psycho-sociological spaces. Like our identity, the concept of masculinity remains a complex blend of biology, theology, sociology and psychology.

The Biology of Masculinity.

The United States’ National Center for Biotechnology Information, NCBT, in a research publication in February 2016 entitled “How Early Hormones Shape Gender Development” stated the following; “Increasing evidence confirms that prenatal androgens have facilitative effects on male-typed activity interests and engagement (including child toy preferences and adult careers), and spatial abilities, but relatively minimal effects on gender identity.” This may seem rather complex and somewhat abstract but we will be breaking this information down so it can be understood.

“Prenatal androgens” are chemicals in the body called hormones, which are involved with determining whether a developing baby becomes a male or female. The study done by the NCBT was aimed at observing possible connections between the sex-linked hormones and certain behaviours, typically observed predominantly in men or women. Behavioural tendencies such as type of toys preferred, being exceptionally good with Math and Science etc, are seemingly linked to one’s gender. The NCBT study went on to state; “Confidence has increased that early androgens affect gender development, in light of recent studies that confirm, extend, and clarify previous findings. Most promising, research has moved from asking whether hormones influence human behavior to asking how they do so.” Scientific investigations are no longer questioning “whether hormones influence human behavior” but are now concerned with the means through which they do so.

The point I wish to establish, based on the scientific data presented is simply that the distinction between male and female is inherently a fact of our biological existence. We are programmed biologically to exist and function differently in connection to reality. The Biology of Masculinity essentially defines how a male’s body is organized to identify and establish his sexuality, defines his biological function and positions his purpose.

In our next study we will continue our definition of Masculinity by looking at “The Theology of Masculinity.”