Required Reading

Every week, I’ll publish links to articles that will help us to become men of God.

How the Left Gave Us “Toxic Masculinity”
Gene Veith argues that “Toxic Masculinity” is the result of the overthrow of traditional models of masculinity and family life.

Traditionally, marriage civilized men by channeling their sexual desires into a loving relationship and parenthood.  And it channeled their aggressiveness into protecting their family and working hard to provide for them.  The fathers, in turn, taught their sons how to treat women and how to discipline themselves so they could grow up into effective adults.

Who was responsible for mocking these “1950s” families and for encouraging young people to rebel against it?  Today marriage has all but disappeared in the poor working class of all races and single mothers are raising their children with no father in sight.  But middle class and wealthy families too are torn by divorce and family dysfunction.  And the Sixties, with the sexual revolution and the counter culture, threw out all restraints on principle.  A consequence of all of this is both the despair among young people (listen to their music) and “toxic masculinity.”

Helping Students Fail Well
We’re all going to fail, especially if we push ourselves and attempt great things in life. One of the ways to bounce back from failure is to learn from it. Here’s a summary of the lessons listed in Joe Keller’s article:

Failure produces perspective: We are broken people living in a broken world

Failure reinforces responsibility: Don’t blame others but take personal responsibility.

Failure exposes emotions:  Our emotional responses to failure help us understand our desires and motivations.

Failure deepens dependency: It makes us realize our need for God and for others in our lives.

Failure cultivates courage: We learn courage by facing up to our failures, learning from them, getting off the floor, and facing the challenges again.

As Joe said: “The cumulative effect of learning from failure begins to far outweigh the benefits of giving in to the fear of failure itself.”

How Jesus Trains Husbands
What does it mean to love our wives in a Christlike way? And, how we can evaluate whether we are succeeding? Guy Richard answers both questions in this article.

“Self-sacrifice” sums up his answer to the first question. His conclusion is worth re-reading:

I often hear men say that they feel like they are giving more in their marriage than they are getting out of it or that they are giving more than their wife is giving. My response is usually something like this: “Congratulations! That is exactly the way it is supposed to be.” God calls us as men to give ourselves every day in service to our wives, to lay ourselves out sacrificially—to spend and be spent—just as Christ gave Himself sacrificially in every way for His bride.

He answers the second question by pointing to Ephesians 5:26-27 and asking: “Is my wife growing in in sacntification, in Christ-likeness, in spiritual beauty?”

I have found this to be especially helpful in diagnosing the condition of my own marriage and in determining how well (or not) I am loving my wife in a Christlike manner. If I am giving myself sacrificially to my wife, then I should expect that over time my wife will become more and more beautiful. Her beauty is the test by which I know how I am doing as a husband. If she is bitter or beat down with discouragement or feelings of insignificance, then this is an indication that I am probably doing something wrong

Why you can’t seem to tackle your administrative task list
Few of us enjoy administration, but unless we develop administrative competence and reliability, we will never develop leadership credibility. This article proposes four different categories of administrative types:

  • The Super Doer
  • The Reluctant Doer
  • The Admin Avoider
  • The Admin Denier

Solutions and strategies are then offered for the different types. More details can be found in the new book, Life Admin: How I Learned to Do Less, Do Better, and Live More. I’ve just ordered it myself and I’ll post a review of it soon.

The Disappearance of Honor
This is an outstanding issue of Tabletalk on the much neglected topic of Honor. It’s worth reading each of the articles. To get a flavor of them, here’s an extract from Burk Parson’s editorial:

Honor is no longer merely laughed at today, it is now mocked, ridiculed, and despised. Along with dignity, respect, and decorum, honor is not fading away due to misuse, it is actively attacked and assailed from every side. Honor is assaulted not only from the world but also from within the church and from within the home. Many parents no longer highly esteem the value of honor in the home. Although some may teach honor, few actually do anything to reinforce it. Many men don’t show proper honor to their wives, and they even sometimes laugh when their children speak or act dishonorably to their mothers. I am repeatedly shocked to hear children speak disrespectfully to their parents, yet the shock begins to wear off when I see their parents speak disrespectfully to others, particularly online. Similarly, few wives honor their husbands as they ought, and it seems that some women find Paul’s teaching about submission entirely reprehensible.

5 Lessons Jordan Peterson has Taught the Church
Many thoughtful Christian critiques have been posted about Jordan Peterson. Esther O’Reilly wonders if the critiques have been too focused on what Peterson gets wrong rather than what he gets right. She wonders if “there is a hesitance to confront the weaknesses Peterson might have exposed within the Church itself,” and asks, “Is Peterson getting something right that the Church has been getting wrong? It’s easy to run down a list of things Jordan Peterson could learn from the Church. But could the Church learn something from Jordan Peterson?” She then proposes five lessons for the Church from the Peterson phenomenon.

1. The Church must authentically meet men’s emotional needs

2. The Church must satisfy the intellectually curious

3. The Church must not be afraid of questions

4. The Church must not be afraid of the dark (meaning the sadness and suffering in people’s lives)

5. The Church must be willing to stand up.