Required Reading

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Grasping at manhood
How do we avoid the imbalanced cultural ideas of manhood that lead to toxic masculinity? Here’s one Christ-centered answer.

“Masculinity doesn’t need saving by false cultural definitions of what a man should look or act like. It needs to be stripped of all its cultural impositions and measured against the perfect man, Jesus Christ. Everything else, left unchecked by Scripture, can be toxic.”

Cultivating Self-Control
There’s perhaps nothing more critical to long-term success than self-control, and yet it’s so devalued today.

“The virtue of self-control does not win popularity contests today. In a 2012 University of Pennsylvania study, respondents ranked their own twenty-four personal skills from top to bottom and assessed self-control as dead last. We should not be surprised. Many of us came of age with the background music of Laura Branigan’s 1984 pop hit “Self-Control”: “You take myself, you take my self-control. . . . I haven’t got the will to try and fight.” No one makes grocery store tabloid headlines for saying no to adultery, addiction, or anger. The zeitgeist promotes the right of self-expression, lack of restraint, and the affirmation of Nike’s now thirty-year-old iconic slogan: “Just do it.””

Don Bailey goes on to point us to the source of Christian self-control

The Bible uniformly maintains the godly necessity of self-control. Proverbs 25:28 says, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Living without a defense brings perilous consequences—the weeds of our impulsive thoughts, words, or actions take over all that is beautiful and good and choke it out. In contrast to the pagan philosophers, who extolled stoic restraint through effort alone, the believer’s confidence is not gained through mere arduous exertion. Rather, self-control is animated by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Gal. 5:22–23).

The Apollos Project – Help! I Caught My Son Looking at Porn
My favorite parenting book is Chap Bettis’s Disciple-Making Parent. Here, Chap writes about what to do if we make that awful discovery.

“Well, it happened again. I received a call from a church leader I know fairly well that lives in another part of the country. During a routine update of filtering software, he and wife discovered his 16 year-old son had disabled it. In addition, his son had been lying about other things including his schoolwork. Now this was all out in the open and the family was in tatters. Since I could visualize his situation with my friend, I expanded on some similar things I had said in this article to the mother of a younger son.”

Raising Future Husbands and Wives
One for Dads and future Dads.

“There’s a myth out there that is ruining marriages and probably reducing the number of marriages as well. It’s the myth that we can spend our childhood and adolescence putting our personal success before our need of personal character development and the needs of our future families. A selfless habit of mind will not suddenly appear in marriage. There’s a myth that if we meet Mr. Right or Ms. Perfect and exchange vows at the altar, magic marriage dust will fall upon us both, and we will walk out of that service transformed into selfless people, ready for the real-life demands of marriage. There is no magic marriage dust. We walk out of the service with the same deeply entrenched habits and dispositions that were rooted in our heart when we walked in. Only now, we have so much more responsibility. As parents of future husbands and future wives, perhaps we should think less about training up gifted standouts and focus more on training up men and women who will be prepared to succeed where Tiger Woods fell short.”

Four Words that Describe Today’s Pre-Teen Girls
The four words are “insecure, depressed, lonely, confused.” I post this article for Dads raising daughters in this challenging culture. Dana Gresh has done a lot of good work to help parents raise secure, joyful, connected, and purposeful girls. See her new book, Lies Girls Believe: And the Truth that Sets them Free.

He Made Me Lean on Him: Four Tips for Your Twenties
Samuel James is a fine thinker and writer (see his blog here). Here he reflects on his twenties:

For many of us, the twenties are (at least as we perceive them) the most formative decade of life. Adolescence recedes, and the last shadows of childhood give way to the people and places that will linger the longest in the soul for the remainder of life. Most people think of the defining landmarks of the twenties as college, career, and marriage, but there’s even more than that: friendships, relocations, new rhythms of life. The twenties are a rich, fertile time. They were that for me, even though there was much I squandered…When I reflect on my twenties, I see the sovereign mercy of Christ, the grace that restores what the locusts take away, but I also see sin and mistakes that I would give much to do over.

Theology Professor Launches ‘Christian Man Academy’ to Combat Destruction of Biblical Masculinity
Here’s an article on the Christian Man Academy. And on Monday, Carmen LaBerge interviewed me about Combating Toxic Masculinity (interview starts at 3.15).