At the end of our summer, Lea and I were at the Alongside Ministries International Conference in France. While there, I had a great conversation with a fellow from California. We wrestled together through what it means for a man’s passions for struggle, sacrifice and risk to be excercised in the context of the Christian Church. It seems like we’re told to lay those aspects of our masculinity down when it comes to faith and worship. I couldn’t disagree more.
I think the Bible gives us many examples of risk taking, passionate, gutsy, blood-sweat-and-tears, men who were identified as servants and worshipers of the Lord without having to dress up and tone down. Unfortunately, these innate aspects of masculinity are also in high demand in the world and are quite naturally put to the service of capitalism, the exploitation of sexuality and war. What does it look like for Christian men to exercise these same passions in the context of the contemporary Church? I’m always on the lookout for snippets of solid Christian thought that can paint a picture of what this might look like. This one comes from the PC(USA) Book of Order in its chapter on the Church and its Mission. Try substituting “the church” with your own name. It reads like a Marine Corps recruiting advertisement. I love it!
Called to Risk and Trust (G-3.0400):
“The Church is called to undertake this mission even at the risk of losing its life, trusting in God alone as the author and giver of life, sharing the gospel, and doing those deeds in the world that point beyond themselves to the new reality in Christ.”
Now that’s a church worth I could live and die in!
(That’s for you, Michael.)