Real Men of the Bible
With all the blather about Alpha Males in the manosphere, I keep running into all this pitiful, silly overwrought detail chasing so characteristic of failed Western Civilization.
(If you are new to this blog, I’ll take a moment to point out we who strive to follow Jesus, or at least claim a general concern for pleasing the God of the Bible, had best get to know the intellectual culture of the Bible. God created a unique brand of philosophy in which to reveal Himself, and the West is hostile to that. If you are blissfully unaware of the difference, you’ll either have to learn it or simply take my word for it.)
The best way to learn biblical manhood is to absorb it on a level above the intellect, to contemplate and chew on it in your mind until the brain begins to obey the Spirit. The quintessential image of biblical manhood is the shepherd. What can we learn about the shepherd of the Bible?
The Real Man of the Bible has a mission. Nobody has to tell him he’s in charge. Either the sheep follow or he has better things to do. His sense of mission does not depend on community, because fellowship with others is icing on the cake and nothing more. He is driven against reality itself, when it comes right down to it, because any real mission from God starts with acknowledging reality is false. That’s why he has a mission. He has to make it obvious, while he may not have the power to correct the falsehood, he surely has the power to expose it. Every mission from God always relates somehow to exposing the truth.
He’d rather not go it alone, but will if necessary. Exposing the truth is a two-edged sword: You do it because you have to, and because you know it will help. If any sheep follow, he will take responsibility for making development of truth perception as plausible as the context allows. He tries to put the necessities in reach, or moves the sheep to where those things are. Simply having a powerful sense of mission and truth tends to make at least a few want to share the mission. He goes where the mission requires. While it may not be fun, and he feels the pain of sorrow the sheep experience, all he can offer is the comfort of his shepherd’s caring soul. It’s the caring sense he gets from the God who made him. It’s limited, and he doesn’t take responsibility for anything beyond those limits.
He may not always be in charge of the sheep, but he is always in charge of his own mission. He never acts like a frightened sheep. He refuses to be pushed down into that role. He never gets so distracted with petty personal need he can’t see something outside himself demanding his attention. He never forgets his mission. Thus, he does not take himself too seriously, and he absorbs a lot of petty personal crap because it simply does not matter. It’s part of the mission to ignore some lies. But he takes the mission seriously, and may well kill you for going to far in interfering with the truth. He doesn’t confuse his grasp of truth with the truth itself, but knows when something threatens the very integrity of his calling, when something is so hideous he has no choice but to strike back or risk losing his grip on the truth, and truth’s grip on him.
He gladly lets others share the mission, the task of shepherding. He can make tentative assessments, subject to refinement, of how the mission responsibilities can be shared. He can negotiate and give others room to fail, knowing he will himself. He has only one life partner (at one time, at least) whom he hopes to trust with his inner sense of identity. He recognizes her limits and trusts her to fail, too. He builds grace into his associations with everyone, because he knows that’s how people get along. He wants them to have their own mission calling, and prefers to company of other shepherds more than sheep, even as he expects the sheep to eat up all they can get of him. He guards those things he can’t afford to give away.
Still, shepherding can be very lonely. The shepherd has lots of time to look inside, to acknowledge the truth of what he finds there. That’s the basis for change, and the shepherd is so in love with the truth, he can’t be bothered to hide the changes which inevitably follow such introspection. Whatever it might cost him is entirely affordable. He can afford to be generous with some things, simply because they don’t really matter. God will supply a refill or make him strong enough to do without.
Everything is his best estimate within the context, and failure is sure to come at any moment. The Real Man of the Bible offers what he has to clean up his own mess, but doesn’t waste time trying to fix things out of his reach, things only God can mend. His only real question is not, “Who is responsible for this mess?” It’s always, “What do I do now?”
Real Men of the Bible expect to be driven. They seek to identify, as much as possible, the imperatives of their existence. Such an imperatives outlast his human life, and he never forgets that. He treats his human dreams and hopes as children who don’t always get it, can’t trusted, and can’t be pampered lest they destroy everything.
Get the flavor; taste the real manhood of the Bible. You’ll work out the details for yourself once you develop an appetite for it.