No Time for Weak Men

Men, we find ourselves in this civilizational moment facing a pivotal decision. Will we allow this scourge of abuse and exploitation against women, children and the vulnerable to continue unabated? Or, will we recover who we are created to be?

 

Is a real man safe? “Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

Weak men are dangerous men.

Someone once said, “Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, weak men create hard times.” Easy living, loose morality and affluence have led to a decadent culture.

America has arrived at a civilizational moment, a crisis point, and it is no time for weak men. As men we’ve bought the idea that passivity and weakness are virtues. This idea is shaped by movies we watch, music we listen to, games we play, and how men have been taught to view their role in society.

Someone will say, “It sounds like you are advocating for violent men or toxic masculinity.” If you mean abusive, terrible, evil men? Absolutely not! Nor am I referring to a man’s physical strength or capabilities to commit violence. I am referring to men who demonstrate moral strength and virtue. Let’s call this type, “Good Men.” Good men protect against evil men. Good men who display moral courage are the antidote to weak men and men who demonstrate ‘toxic masculinity.’

Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world where good men at times must resort to violence in order to defend against evil. That is reality. That is the reason why we have military, police, security guards, etc.

Morally weak men

Morally weak men are like doorways that allow evil into homes and societies. Moral passivity and weakness are detrimental to the vulnerable, women, children, the elderly, families, and civilizations.

Since the 1960s men have been portrayed as predators or witless oafs. Many pathologies exist, including radical feminism, secular humanism, and the rejection of objective morality. Pornography has lured men into sexual fantasy just as violent life-like video games have lured men into pseudo-conquest. Sexually explicit and violent music lyrics catechize generations of boys to believe exploitation, violence, and personal pleasure define what it means to be a man. Set within the modern social environment of psychologized expressive individualism… boys grow up lacking necessary skills required to successfully fulfill their vital responsibilities of manhood. In other words, boys physically mature into adult males who don’t possess moral courage and virtue. They do not know how to be men.

A distorted vision of manhood eventually leads to decadence and destruction. The tyrants and monsters of human history were all weak men. History reveals weak men always prey upon the most vulnerable.

Don’t confuse physical strength, wealth, celebrity, or political power with moral fortitude. Hitler, Stalin, and other ‘strong men’ were in fact extremely weak. Bullies are weak and insecure cowards. Thus, weak men are dangerous because they commit evil against vulnerable people. Unfortunately, at times good men have also been known to allow evil to be perpetrated against the weak.

It has been said, “For evil men to accomplish their purpose it is only necessary that good men should do nothing.” (Unknown). This is true of Hitler’s Holocaust against 6 millions Jews. Good men stood aside while evil men abused, tortured and murdered the weak. It is true today as ‘nice guys’ and dare I say some ‘good Christian men’ stand aside while women and children are abused and exploited.

“Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.”
Proverbs 25:26

We are witnessing good men fleeing the moral battlefield – allowing women and children to be exposed to the onslaught of the enemy.

Drag queen strip shows in schools, boys claiming to be girls competing in girls’ sports, chemical sterilization, medical mutilation, the rise of pedophilia, sexual grooming of children in schools and on social media are a few of the atrocities men are allowing to occur. Thus, men become accomplices to such evils by refusing to speak up or otherwise defend the vulnerable.

When I survey the cultural moment in America, I observe bold women standing up for themselves and children against evil. However, very few men are entering the moral fray. There is a strange silence. Where are the men? Where are the defenders? Where are the ranks of courageous men who belong to the armies of the living God?

Have we forgotten who we are as men?

How can we (men) who claim to “love our neighbors” who are made in God’s image allow those same neighbors to be harmed?

Men are called to be good and formidable enemies of evil. Men should be capable of appropriate violence for the protection and defense of the defenseless and weak. At the same time, promoting what is good, true and right. We are to pray, reason, having sharp minds and warm hearts. We are to use our voice to speak against the spirit of the age that is destroying lives and robbing our progeny of a future.

The devil kills in the womb if not actively resisted. He slyly attempts to destroy the future fertility of society by ensuring the children of today are rendered incapable of following God’s admonishment, “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28a). The devil would love nothing more than to sterilize a generation thus robbing the future of human flourishing.

In his novel, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” C.S. Lewis writes about a conversation between a little girl named Susan, and Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. The protagonist and star of the book is Aslan the Lion. He is all powerful and benevolent. He is king over the entire land. Little Susan has never seen or met Aslan the Lion. As you can imagine, she is a bit scared of meeting such a powerful being. Susan asks Mr. and Mrs. Beaver about Aslan.

[Mr. Beaver said], “Aslan is a lion–the Lion, the great Lion.”
“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he–quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver. “If there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” asked Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe (He’s a lion). But he’s good.”

Men are created for greatness but are fallen in sin. However, a lost man can be redeemed in Christ. He can be made an heir of the King and put on mission. Men are capable of great violence and strength. But, men are to be disciplined and self-controlled. Men are to be like sheathed sword – under the control of God’s spirit.

Meekness is not weakness
The Bible refers to this ‘controlled strength’ as meekness. “Biblical meekness (Greek, “praýs”) is not weakness but rather refers to exercising God’s strength under His control – i.e. demonstrating power without undue harshness.” It is a blend of gentleness and strength. (Strong’s Concordance 4239)

The same father who must hold his baby daughter with gentleness and care must also be willing and able to physically defend that same baby girl from someone who intends to harm her. To allow a child to be molested or harmed would be evil.

Fear of man is Satan’s primary snare for weak men.

“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.”
Proverbs 29:25

The Puritan, John Flavel writes the following in his book “Triumphing Over Sinful Fear“, I’m going to quote him at length.

“Fear drives people out of their proper station, out of their proper place and duty and into Satan’s ground… When troubles and dangers come to a height, fear begins to work at a height too. The critical hour is when fear is high and faith is low, temptation is strong and resistance is weak. Satan knocks at the door and fear opens it, yielding up the soul to him, unless special assistance arrives from heaven.

As long as we can profess religion without any great hazard to life, liberty, or estate, we show much zeal in the ways of godliness. But when it comes to resisting unto blood, few will assert it openly.”

Flavel goes on to say something very germane to our modern context, “The first retreat is usually made from a free and open to a closed and concealed practice of religion.” In other words, fear causes good men to become weak men who then privatize their faith, limiting it to inside the home and church.

He continues, “We fail to open our windows to show that we do not care who knows we worship God (Daniel 6:10). Instead, we hide our principles and practices with all the art and care imaginable. We seek to escape danger by letting go of our profession. If the inquest continues and this refuge can no longer protect us, then we give some open sign of compliance with false worship (i.e. virtue signaling). We do it in order to avoid being marked out for ruin. Then, fear says, “Give a little more ground and retreat to the next security. We comply externally with what we know is forbidden, hoping God will be merciful to us as long as we keep our hearts for Him.” (Flavel, John – Triumphing Over Sinful Fear 1682)

If the fear of controversy or criticism or cancelling or offending spiritually dead people keep you from speaking truth and defending the weak, Repent! Repent of your sinful fear of man. Join me in this hour of repentance.

In conclusion, men, we find ourselves in this civilizational moment facing a pivotal decision. Will we allow this scourge of abuse and exploitation to continue unabated? Or, will we recover who we are created to be?

Is a real man safe? Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”

Men are called to be formidable and good. Men are called to serve God’s purposes in their generation.

“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”
Proverbs 28:1

Be the kind of man others would want by their side in battle!

 

Related: Revolution of Man Podcast: Ep. 2 Cancelling Women and Girls

Leaders are Readers – Books I’ve Read Since January 1, 2022

There are no ‘experts’, there are only expert learners. It doesn’t matter whether you are 10 years old or 100 years old, there is always something new to learn.

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

One of the best ways to become a better leader is to read voraciously and widely.

Why? Because leaders are readers. Not only does reading widely help you learn new skills and qualities of leadership, reading and learning keep you HUMBLE. When you think you’ve somehow ‘arrived’ in your respective domain of vocation or station in life… think again! That’s hubris. “Hubris born of success” is first mark of decline in an organization or team (see Jim Collins’ ‘How the Mighty Fall‘).

There are no ‘experts’, there are only expert learners. It doesn’t matter whether you are 10 years old or 100 years old, there is always something new to learn. Learning keeps your brain active. Healthy curiosity and learning are life giving.

On January 1, 2022 when I set a goal to read 13 books in one year. In the spirit of learning, below is the list of books I’ve read so far. Please note, perhaps you, like me have learning challenges (dyslexia, ADHD, etc)? That’s okay! I read very slowly. Sometimes I must re-read entire books. In a future post, I’ll share some tricks I use in my reading journey.

1. Our Bodies Tell God’s Story: Discovering the Divine Plan for Love, Sex, and Gender – Christopher West

2. Carpe Diem Redeemed: Seizing the Day, Discerning the Times – Os Guinness

3. The Kingdom Unleashed: How Jesus’ 1st-Century Kingdom Values Are Transforming Thousands of Cultures and Awakening His Church – Jerry Trousdale & Dr. Glenn Sunshine

4. Another Gospel?: A Lifelong Christian Seeks Truth in Response to Progressive Christianity – Alisa Childers

5. Art and the Bible – Francis Schaeffer

6. Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling – Andy Crouch

7. The Stress Effect: Why Smart Leaders Make Dumb Decisions–And What to Do About It – Henry L. Thompson

8. The Lord of the Rings (Part 2) Tale of the Two Towers – JRR Tolkien

9. QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life – John G. Miller (note: I read this once per year)

10. Hinge Moments: Making the Most of Life’s Transitions – Michael Lindsey

11. The Dust of Death: The Sixties Counterculture and How It Changed America Forever – Os Guinness

Currently reading: Dominion – How the Christian Revolution Remade the World – Tom Holland

In addition, I read my Bible almost every day. I use a devotional reading plan and I read a Proverb daily (there are 31 Proverbs). I also read Psalms and Ecclesiastes often. I have an ESV Reader’s Bible that contains no verses, no references, and no chapters – enabling me to read huge sections of scripture without feeling like I’m chasing rabbit trails. It is a joy!

What books are you reading?

Reflection: The grand story of the place we inhabit

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

In the beginning God created all things and He set all things in a particular order.

All things are held together and move in certain ways.

God created the place His creatures inhabit.

The realization that God cared enough to share the story of creation with His creature called ‘man’ is astounding. This begs the question, “Why would God even bother to create or share the story?”

The simple answer is, God is all powerful and He is good. God sharing His grand creation story of the place that we inhabit, live, move and have our being is a demonstration of divine love and mercy.

The response is awe-struck wonder!

“Lo, these are but the outskirts of his ways: And how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand?”

– Job 26:14

Tone Police

Tone Policing is a logical fallacy (ad hominem). “The ad hominem fallacy occurs whenever the character or circumstances of an individual who is advancing an argument is criticized instead of seeking to disprove the argument provided.”

[Philosophy Lander.edu]

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

I’ve observed a disturbing trend in the American church.

Tone Policing is a problem among leaders. It needs to stop immediately. Are you a church leader? You are held to a higher standard.

What is Tone Policing?

Tone Policing is “a conversational tactic that dismisses the ideas being communicated when they are perceived to be delivered in an angry, frustrated, sad, fearful, or otherwise emotionally charged manner.” [dictionary.com]

Wikipedia says, “Tone policing (also called tone trolling, tone argument, and tone fallacy) is an ad hominem (personal attack) and anti-debate tactic based on criticizing a person for expressing emotion.

Tone policing detracts from the truth or falsity of a statement by attacking the tone in which it was presented rather than the message itself… it prioritizes the comfort of the privileged person (in authority) in the situation over the oppression of the disadvantaged person.

While anyone can engage in tone policing, it is frequently aimed at women as a way to prevent a woman from making a point in the discussion. It is a means to deflect attention from injustice and relocate the problem in the style of the complaint, rather than address the complaint itself.

Note: Women can be guilty of Tone Policing. This is directed at male church leaders.

Tone Policing is a logical fallacy (ad hominem). “The ad hominem fallacy occurs whenever the character or circumstances of an individual who is advancing an argument is criticized instead of seeking to disprove the argument provided.” [Philosophy Lander.edu]

Often times, a personal attack using tone as the offense is converted into a strawman fallacy by someone I’ll call the “Tone Policeman.”

[Cue the siren and the red and blue lights]

A Tone Policeman assumes the role of; victim, hero or social justice warrior in order to coerce, criticize, or manipulate. Accusations of tone crimes shame, silence, degrade, abuse, or bully in order to achieve a desired result (submission or silence).

Interestingly, Tone Policing contains a resemblance to Herbert Marcuse’s “Repressive Tolerance” with a more pronounced psychologized expression. Think ‘Cancelling’ someone based on their tone (expressed emotion).

Tone Police reside in the domain of organizational power and authority. They typically employ psychologized therapeutic language in order to manipulate. They create an offense where there is no offense.

Tone Policing is a speech code similar to Political Correctness. Instead of censoring certain words or phrases, Tone Police attempt to govern intent and meaning based on vocal inflection or perceived emotion. Both Political Correctness and Tone Policing are extremely toxic and unloving.

How is Tone Policing used?

Tone Policemen attempt to relocate a substantive statement or argument into the domain of style or tone (expressing emotion). It is a deflection tactic that dismisses or ignores the core issue(s). The issue is not the issue, Tone is the issue. In other words, tone trumps substance or truth. A guilty verdict is pronounced by the one in power over someone else for expressing emotion (tone).

Most often a Man’s Game

Typically, the Tone Police tactic is used by men in authority to manipulate women who do not possess power. While women can be guilty of using the Tone Tactic, its most often men. Occasionally, men in authority use it against other men as a power play, defensive/deflection tactic, or psychological manipulation.

Ultimately, this is a passive-aggressive tactic wrapped in therapeutic language.

Left unchecked, a Tone Policeman will go on to gas-light, damage relationships, and toxify an organization.

Example: Mary brings a substantive problem to her male boss with urgency. Because women are perceived as more emotional than men, her boss (Tony) dismisses the substance of the problem. Then he makes perceived emotion (tone) the problem – regardless of the validity of the claim being made by Mary.

Tony says something like, “You know, Mary, I don’t appreciate your tone.” Or “I find your tone very hurtful.” Or “Your tone is so abrasive and harsh.” Or “Mary, you seem joyless, what’s wrong with you?”

Tony is saying, “What you are telling me is true but I don’t like the way you are telling me truth (tone). So, I’ll negate the truth and attack you personally based on your tone. You are guilty of expressing emotion!”

Content and validity are brushed aside while subjective tone is reframed as the issue.

Christian Tone Police take cues from worldly sentimentalities and pop-psychology rather than the Bible.

Sometimes, Tone Policemen produce man-tears. One can cry and lie at the same time, you know. Ask any parent of a 4 year old child. Other times, tone is attributed to body-language. “She had an aggressive posture toward me.” Or “I didn’t like the way she looked at me, it hurt my feelings.”

Most commonly, men in authority use this hurtful and deceitful method to silence or dominate women. Instead of trying to understand the substance of an issue, they create presumptions, inferences, and deflections.

Increasingly in America, we see grown men in Christian leadership roles wallow in feigned self-pity, contrived offense, psychological fragility, and hurt feelings. And men who have experienced actual abused or exploitation are overrun by a crowd of charlatans.

The Darker Side of Tone Police

Some Tone Policemen are so enamored with the spurious glittering therapeutic power of spells they cast, it’s astounding. They relish silencing and controlling others in order to insulate themselves, protect their psychological comfort, or dominate and humiliate others. These males are cowards and don’t deserve the title of ‘Man’ in a biblical sense.

Dealing with Tone Police

Remember, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” [Proverbs 15:1]

Bring the issue forward to one in authority with confidence. I recommend the following steps:

1. Write down the problem – This helps you articulate it and ensure you have a valid issue. To the best of your knowledge, is it true?
2. Pray over the issue and interactions.
3. Invite someone else to the meeting (if appropriate).
4. Take a few moments to breath deeply.
5. Be kind, be firm, be honest, and be courageous (Fear of man is a snare – Fear of God leads to wisdom and peace)

Dr. Henry Thompson says, “Have emotions but don’t allow emotions to have you.
James 3-4 teaches about our tongues and worldliness.

Self-awareness:

Tone Policing is subconsciously learned social behavior. It is catechized through culture via various means (family, media, entertainment, etc). That does not excuse it. If you are not self-aware enough to understand you are manipulating someone, you are not mature enough for leadership.

Responding to Tone Police:

If you are on the receiving end, take a moment and assess yourself and the situation. Then tell the Tone Policeman that their ad hominem (personal) attack is irrelevant to the issue at hand. Expose the logical fallacy and offer them an opportunity to re-address the issue. If they continue to pull the Tone card, tell them you won’t be manipulated or entertain it any longer. Leave their presence. If they continue, report it to someone else in authority [Follow Matthew 18].

Tone Policing is Sin:

Tone Policing is a sin because it’s a manipulation of another human being. The cure is repentance before God and reconciliation with those manipulated and harmed.

Warning to Tone Police:

If you engage in Tone Policing, you run the risk of alienation from community, co-workers, and friends who you depend on. Back-sliding and destroying your Christian witness become growing risks.

Additionally, you run the risk of misreading scripture because you will read God’s Word through a lens of ‘tone.’ That is dangerously thin theological ice.

Someone will say, “But wait, Jesus He was kind and gentle. He used a compassionate tone.” True, but Jesus Christ offered stern words and harsh language without sinning.

Read the texts below, see if Jesus Christ would be pulled over by the Tone Police and given a Tone Ticket for speaking the truth in an off-putting, emotionally-charged tone.

Matthew 23:33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?”

Matthew 12:34-35 “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”

From Luke:

11:42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces….

11:46 “And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers….”

11:52 “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”

11:53-54 “As he (Jesus) went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak about many things, lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.”

Warning from Luke:

12:1-3…. “[Jesus] began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.”

What is the Alternative to Tone Policing?

Listen and speak truth plainly, firmly and humbly as before the Lord. Try to discern truth even as you are being harshly criticized or confronted by an emotionally charged person. Remember, you are a Christian leader! You have a higher calling. If you are so insecure that you resort to Tone Policing, you need to choose another profession. Or you can Repent!!! Ask for forgiveness! Then, work towards restoration with others!

“Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!”
[Pslam 139:23-24]

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” [Proverbs 19:11]

In all things, charity.

The prophet is specially called to critique and challenge the people of God when they have forgotten or betrayed their original calling. Thus Moses confronted the people of God over the golden calf, Elijah over the prophets of Baal, Jesus over legalism and hypocrisy, Martin Luther over the distortion of faith, and Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer over the idolatry of nationalism. Such prophetic critiques were often delivered with outrage, but they were not denials of the chosenness of those attacked. On the contrary, the purpose of critique is restoration, not dismissal. The prophets were specially called and their prophetic messages were special calls to bring God’s people back to the original calling from which they had fallen away.
Os Guinness

The Call

You are worthy and valuable

The truth is the truth regardless if you believe it or not. You are very valuable! You have so many fine qualities. You are made in the image of God. Therefore, you have intrinsic value and worth. No one, not even you can change that reality. The truth is the truth regardless if you believe it or not.

The Lord put a word on my heart that I must share with you. Not sharing would be to deny water to the thirsty.

Someone needs to hear this today…

Several years ago, I’ll never forget I heard Pastor Dr. Greg Cook talk about how we’re all “self-deceived deceivers.” Spot on!

Since I was a small child, I struggled with a deep-seated sense of worthlessness. Perhaps it was my upbringing or a traumatic event I can’t remember. It was a lie I believed about myself and that lie shaped my life in many ways for many years. It led to chaos, destruction, and casualties in the lives of others. But, over the years, Christ delivered victory. To God be the Glory!

To a greater or lesser extent, we all believe lies about ourselves and our value as a human beings. We believe a deception, then we deceive ourselves, then we deceive others by putting up a facade. Finally, we believe the facade is the real us – forgetting who we are. The false notion becomes so real that our lives can be built on a lie we believed long ago. Many times, we’re not aware that we’re acting on a false belief about ourselves.

Maybe someone made you feel worthless at some point in your life. The devil got a foothold in your mind and breathed out lies that you believe to this day.

Dear Christ-follower,

DO NOT believe lies the devil or the world have told you to believe about yourself!

The TRUTH is, you are so very valuable! You have many fine qualities. You are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Therefore, you have intrinsic value and worth. No one, not even you, can change that reality. The truth is the truth regardless if you believe it or not. Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead for you. He took your sin and worthlessness upon himself. He gave you the crown of life and the keys to his Kingdom.

Ask the Lord to reveal to you the lies you believe about yourself. Ask him to use other Christian brothers and sisters who love you to help you see clearly and believe the truth. Repent of believing a lie and believe the Gospel. Preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to yourself each day and believe it!

Here are some truths to believe:

– In Christ, you are WORTHY because He is WORTHY! (Roman 8:17, Rev. 5:12) That is TRUTH!

– You have so many fine qualities, talents, gifts and beauty in who God made you to be. There is only one you! This is TRUTH!

– You are loved by the creator of the universe, who knitted you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139). This is TRUTH!

– You did not choose the circumstances of your birth but, God ordained them in His providence (Acts 17:26). This is TRUTH!

– Before the foundations of the world, the Lamb was slain for you (Rev. 13:8). This is TRUTH!

– Therefore, you were, you are and you always will be part of God’s Story (Eph. 2:8-10). This is TRUTH!

– It is NO accident you are on this earth. Today was and is in God’s plan for you. This is TRUTH!

If you have experienced victory in Christ over deep-seated feelings of worthlessness, praise Him afresh today! Now, help someone else experience that same victory. Encourage someone, tell someone they are valuable and they have many fine qualities.

You have the power to influence conversations tonight by how you serve and treat people in your life today. What is the story you want told this evening? …. Begin by telling it now.

Someone once said, “All of Christ for all of life!” Make it so, Lord!