Ever Google images of Jesus? It’s kind of scary. He has this unblemished skin, radiating with light. The perfectly coiffed beard and smooth hair. His doe eyes gaze at you like a puppy who wants his head scratched. I’ve recently spent a lot of time thinking about where men fit within the church. And not in the overtly macho, chauvinistic way that individuals like Mark Driscoll like to portray themselves. I don’t believe in the subordination of women. I’m talking about just the way we talk about Jesus, religion, and the church. Ministries at every church I’ve been to have revolved around family, children, or women. I’ve found few people who have ever known any church to have a “Men’s ministry”. Why?
The problem I’ve seen with men’s ministries is they model too closely to every other ministry. It’s build around group togetherness, openness, introspection, and study. Men want to debate and compete. No church want’s a men’s retreat where you come home and tell your wife “We camped, grilled, and paintballed.” “Well, did you connect with anyone?” She’d inquire. “Kinda, you know Joe the head elder? Apparently he was an amateur boxer in college. We’re gonna start working out together.” Your wife would walk away confused. She’d write a letter to the pastor and say “your recent men’s spiritual retreat didn’t change my husband the way I had hoped.”
Think about who Jesus and the disciples were. Jesus was a carpenter. A contractor by today’s standards. Because of his profession he probably had meaty calloused hands. It’s not like there was a Lowe’s around, so he would have had to cut his own lumber which means he likely had strong arms and broad shoulders. The disciples were no different, think Deadliest Catch. They weren’t casual bass masters sitting out all night with rod and reel. These men had thick legs and necks. Their backs were strong from pulling in net after net of fish. Remember James and John wanted to call down fire on a town that didn’t welcome them (Luke 9:54).
So why would our model of Jesus be any different? Why would men of the church have to be clean cut, proper, Ned Flanders’ of the world?
While the gospel is built upon grace, peace, and love that doesn’t have to soften Jesus or the church. You can turn the other cheek while still being able to take a bunch; and you can love your enemy while having the power to defeat him.