The Weight Room Down at Hotel California

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Introduction

There is no one single cause of the cultural disintegration that we see happening all around us, but one of the more significant factors has been the impact of a horde of fatherless boys coming of age. Not only have many fathers been absent, the boys have grown up to manhood in institutions—like schools, colleges, and companies—that have been conquered by feminist sensibilities. With some of these boys the response has been one of rage, and with others it has been a collapse into a fatal acquired sense of helplessness. These are the boys in the basement. Other boys—not having had any men around to teach them how to be a man—conclude that perhaps they ought to try being a girl. Not knowing how to be a boy, they think that maybe they could be better at something completely different.

Father Hunger

But tens of thousands of others are simply ravenous to learn what they should do with their massively under-educated and under-prepared masculinity. One of the symptoms of our widespread gender-fog about sex, sexuality, and roles is the massive following that figures like Jordan Peterson and Andrew Tate have garnered. The answers offered need not be orthodox—they just need to look and smell like answers of some kind. With someone like Peterson, his answers make enough sense that he is in danger of becoming a Christian himself. With Tate we have someone who is brash enough to say “this is the way,” and all the sheep without a shepherd don’t know any better.

Change the metaphor. I am not vouching for all the cooks—I am just saying that it is obvious that the boys are famished.

Here’s another indicator. Consider the fact that the You Tube channel, “Dad, how do I?” has 4.5 million subscribers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TATblk1LUQI

One of the tragedies of our time has been the way in which respectable evangelical leaders have helped to dismantle “stereotypes” that they considered damaging because they were thought to be “forms of idolatry.” The end result is that their respectable strategy of drifting along behind the world’s agenda helped to foment an almost total confusion. There is a kind of evangelical thought-leader who—well, to be perfectly honest, is the kind of person who uses terms like thought-leader—but as I was saying, who used to bridle at statements like “boys like to play with trucks and girls with dolls.” They bridled at such statements consistently over the course of so many years, and yet are now dismayed and confused over the fact that surgeons are taking parents’ money to perform double mastectomies on perfectly healthy teen girls. Moreover, they do not see the straight line connection between these two sets of behaviors. Someone ought to tell them about it.

They are like the architectural reformers who persuaded the dean of the cathedral that all the stone in the flying buttresses was a waste of perfectly good rock, and that it could be better used to build an empowerment center for junior high girls out back of the cathedral. When the cathedral collapsed one day, no one was more dismayed than they.

There have been a handful of orthodox Christian teachers speaking to this screaming need, as seen by the book It’s Good to be a Man (Foster/Tennant). And, as it happens, the documentary with the same theme and name just dropped this last week. You can have a peek at the trailer in the first few minutes of this interview.

Like a Father Would Speak

This is all to the good. There are now a number of voices out there, saying what needs to be said. Their number is increasing all the time, and I thank God for it. These are voices that are saying what needs to be said, and grounding it where it needs to be grounded—in the Scriptures. Here is another good example. Young men today need fathers in the faith, and should not be a source of shame to them that they do. The shame should be found in the fact that there have been so few willing to speak or write in that role.

Consider me a strong supporter of all these scriptural teachers who instruct men on how to be men, and who do not wince when the feminists tell them to. So much is really very encouraging. Consider me a fan of the rising new guard. I am going to addressing some pitfalls that the new guard is facing, but I still like the new guard’s way of doing it rather than the old guard’s way of not doing it.

So with that said, what I want to say here is intended to be a kind of fatherly voice to the upcoming fatherly voices. I don’t think I take too much on myself when I say that decades ago I was among the first to begin warning that much of complementarianism was simply a form of right wing egalitarianism. There were other faithful voices saying the same back then, like the Baylys and others, but by and large it was pretty lonesome. That is not the case today, and I rejoice in all the reinforcements. But if you will indulge me for I short time, I want to speak to you all the way a father would speak. If you don’t like something I say, just chalk it up to my dotage.

I am not writing this as an opposition coach, but rather as your coach, preparing us all for the upcoming games. This is a really tough schedule, and we can’t afford too many missed tackles or other rookie mistakes.

Avoiding Man Cave Sororities for Men

So recovering genuine masculinity is not an easy thing to do. There are ways to get it wrong, and there are ways to overshoot. The fact that you have begun to sing the bass line does not mean that it is impossible to sing flat or sharp. Sometimes a number of Christians wince at the way some guys sing about these things online, but not because they are singing bass—rather it is because they are singing sharp. Or flat. There is an important difference between masculinity and machismo.

Whenever masculinity is valued, as it ought to be, there will be counterfeits of it from the hypocrites, along with unsuccessful attempts at it from those who are sincerely trying, but who do not yet know how. Take the tie as a metaphor. They want to know how to tie the neck tie, but they can’t tie the neck tie. And there are varying degrees of this lack of success. For some, the knot is a little too big, while others tie it on like it was a headband, like they wanted to be Cochise or something.

There are men online who really want to be men, and they are pursuing it avidly. Great. Do so more and more. Now one of the things commonly urged (by them and upon them) is that guys need to get off their butt and hit the gym. But there is a danger here. We live in a time when it is not that difficult to get men to hit the gym in the same spirit that a famous woman influencer has on Instagram in getting everyone to ooo and aaa over her hoop earrings. That’s not how men do it. It is actually not how real women do it either, but those issues are different, and that is another topic for another time.

When a man successfully benches 300 lb. and he posts the fact on Facebook, the thread of affirmation that frequently follows this news is just like the influencer with the hoop earrings being told that she is “stunning and brave” for just going for the silver ones. Sometimes, when men talk about how awesome they are being at the gym, I expect their friends to come into the thread with a “you go, girl.” And non-ironically too.

When actual men work out together in the real world, they spend a lot of their time making fun of each other. Guys working out like guys don’t spend very much time on the affirmation neck rubs. And so it appears to me that a lot of this might be some kind of a juke move—calling someone “king” because of how many times he curled fifty pounds might not be just a simple compliment. Perhaps there is the additional goal of annoying the feminists.

But there is more to being biblical than annoying feminists. Living biblically is hard, and annoying feminists is easy.

It was my father who taught me to “always act, never react.” This is a challenge because reacting to the egalitarians really is far too easy. The egalitarianism of our age really is terrible, and it has brought us 200 pound “body-positive” Victoria Secret models, along with a prohibition of body-shaming. And so many of our guys say, “You know what? I am going to body shame even harder.” But that is not the way.

A Christian leader today is not worth anything much if he is not being accused of racism or misogyny. He is also not worth anything much if there is actual substance behind the charge. It is necessary to be slandered in this way, but it is equally necessary that it be slander.

Structural Narcissism

There is a temptation that some of our young bucks are now being confronted with, which is the idea that masculinity can be identified with what you can get in a gym that covers its walls with mirrors, like the weight room down at Hotel California. We live in a culture that makes self-absorption easy. They have greased all the skids.

I am going to need you to work with me here for a minute. Hear me out. One of the things we need to recognize is that the fitness world is structurally narcissistic. Narcissism is the spirit of self-absorption. Christian discipline, including the discipline of working out, is the practice of learning to deny yourself. But this is hard to do when you are being encouraged to take selfies of your biceps. And we should perhaps be a bit more suspicious of words like selfies.

It is a very short step from watching yourself in the mirror doing those reps to inviting all your Instagram friends to watch you doing those reps also. And look at me, look at me is not a masculine move.

“Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.”

Proverbs 27:2 (NKJV)

Every sensible person around here admires masculine strength and toughness, and it was a central feminist failing that refused to admire it. But I am here talking about the kind of muscular men who got that way fishing in Alaska for 30 years, or carrying sheetrock at multiple build sites, or working on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. And I am also talking about the man who works out in a gym without caring about the mirrors, because he is building his strength in order to serve others. His is not a spray tan masculinity. He knows that man looks on the outward appearance, while God looks on the heart (1 Sam. 16:7).

And the same kind of thing goes for secondary male characteristics, like beards. Beards make a statement out in the world, and it is part of God’s design that they do so, as I argued decades ago in Federal Husband. I admire the Sennacherib look. But we live in a generation where we have to work hard to keep things like that from becoming lumbersexual—bromantic affirmation of one another’s beards just comes off as gay. It is like insecure girls online, telling one another how hot they are. Not a healthy take for either sex.

Churchill’s BMI

A related temptation is that of thinking that we can red-pill our way out of this mess, and that we need lots of burly men to step up to the microphone. But when burly men step up to the microphone, the results are not necessarily good.

In an online discussion about all of this Andrew Sandlin joked that the ideal male shape was “round like a pumpkin.” This struck the wrong note for some observers, who thought that young men today, hungry for role models, would never follow a pumpkin into battle.

But okay. Consider the example of Winston Churchill. “We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, We shall never surrender.” But what was Churchill’s BMI score? Did he have any right to talk like that? Does anybody care? Did anybody care back then? Did he have to look like Conan the Barbarian in order to be credible to the British people?

If someone moves the discussion to Christian cultural influence and leadership, I would be happy to ask the same BMI question about Spurgeon. Or about Chesterton. Or about C.S. Lewis. One time George Bernard Shaw, who was a beanpole, walked up to Chesterton, patted his stomach, and said, “What are you going to name the baby, Gilbert?” Without missing a beat, Chesterton replied, “If it is a boy, John, if a girl, Mary. But if it turns out to be only gas, we are going to name it George Bernard Shaw.”

Biblical presence and leadership mojo is the confluence of a host of factors, and weight can actually be one of them. There are different ways to fill a pulpit. If a man waddles up to preach, that would be truly unfortunate. Nobody wants to hear Eglon bring the Word to us this morning. But I have also seen men who have what I call an authoritative pulpit presence, and their size was a genuine part of it. A small man can have that presence also, as John Piper most certainly does, but many other factors have to go into that.

We are not gnostics, and bodies do matter. But different bodies matter in different ways, and when God prepares to paint His picture, He mixes His paints in strikingly different ways. I have before defined masculinity as the glad assumption of sacrificial responsibility, and when that is done, the results can be really good. They can be good in different ways, and in different areas. A Navy SEAL giving his testimony to a bunch of high school boys can really show them what sacrificial masculinity can look like. But God is not limited to just one way of doing things. Remember that Sandlin’s self-deprecating joke was also masculine.

And while I am in this neck of the woods, I should mention something about the ways different generations of men should talk to and about each other. It is a temptation for young men, distressed at the absence of fathers and grandfathers in their lives, to backhand some older men who were not among those who abdicated their responsibilities, backhanding them with an ok boomer attitude. That’s not good. But it is an equivalent temptation for such older men to climb up on their dignity in order to tell the punks to keep a civil tongue in their heads. That’s no good either. The Bible tells young men how to remonstrate with older men (1 Tim. 5:1). And the Bible also tells older men how to speak to younger men, the way fathers do (1 Cor. 4:15). And those instructions go triple for any online interactions.

Pretty Women Walking With Gorillas

Another theme in all of this wonderfulness is the way of a man with a maid. One of the very helpful things that Aaron Renn has argued in his newsletter The Masculinist is that being a beta male, or perhaps even a gamma male, is actually not sexy. This argument clashes sharply with the soothing arguments presented by evangelical, um, okay, thought-leaders, soothing arguments which try to reassure men into believing that dish soap suds are too an aphrodisiac.

But the metrics of attraction can be pretty mysterious sometimes.

Pretty women out walking with gorillas down my street . . .
There, here comes Jeanie with her new boyfriend
They say that looks don’t count for much
If so, there goes your proof

Joe Jackson, Is She Really Going Out With Him?

Winning the affections of a godly woman, and leading her successfully, is largely a matter of confidence in the Lord. It is not rooted in the externals, although the externals are certainly affected by it, and do have something to do it it all. Renn is exactly right about what women find attractive, but there is a nuance even here. Remember that the serpent is much more subtle than all the beasts of the field. Confident men work out, but so do insecure men. Working out should be working out your confidence, not trying to work something in. The altar sanctifies the gold, not the other way around.

And a man who is actually leading his wife and his family is a man who should be comfortable in his own home. The whole home, I mean. Many men have come to believe that they are being a macho man if they are allowed to have a man cave at their house—like Bonaparte hanging out at Elba. But being allowed to decorate the place where you were exiled is not exactly the range of freedom you should be looking for.

The problem is that men shouldn’t have to get away from the women in order to act like men. The women need the men in their lives to act like men. Men should be at home in the domestic realm of the household—but not domesticated.

I say all this because some of the online manosphere stuff is becoming more and more like a man cave. It is an isolated and self-referential masculinity. But men need to learn how to behave like men everywhere they go. They should be men when they lead their families to worship, men at the dinner table, men when they are teaching their children, men when they mow the lawn, men when they take their wives out to dinner, and men when they go hunting with the boys.

And here is the optical illusion. They don’t go hunting with the boys the same way a sailor goes on shore leave. That is not his masculine “getaway”—it is not his “guy time.” All the time should be guy time . . . for the guys. All day is girl time . . . for the girls. Everybody should be what they are all the time. So a hunting trip should not be a reprieve from the girly world he has to live in. It is simply one more of his masculine activities, lined up next to all of his other masculine activities. One of his other masculine activities is reading to his daughters.

I speak in dark parables.

Tu Quoque, Pal

At some point in a discussion of all such matters, especially if I am involved in the discussion, somebody is going to wheel on me and say something hurtful that rhymes with tubby. I bring this up so that you don’t have to feel awkward in thinking about it.

Now it is quite true that when my grandchildren tell their grandchildren about me—as I certainly hope they will do—it is not likely they will feel compelled to use the word svelte. Unlike so many of you, I don’t have to jump around in the shower to get wet. These are the plain facts, manfully acknowledged.

Such being the case, there are those who believe that I should be disqualified from weighing in on any topics like the above. For example, I remember one time when someone online backhanded a comment I had made on this topic by saying that I clearly had no idea what the inside of a gym looked like.

And so here is the point where I can feel the apostle Paul might tap me on the shoulder, suggesting that perhaps I would be out of my mind to talk like this. But he talked like this once, and so here goes anyhow. I have gone through three-a-day football practices in August for one of the championship high school football programs in Michigan, and consequently know what it is like to have my body tell me that it might be high time to throw up. I went through boot camp back when they knew how to run those things. I then spent the course of many years in the gym lifting weights such that, if you allowed me to select from a row of my critics, I could bench press the equivalent of two of them together. And I only discontinued that regimen in my forties in order to build my own house, which involved a goodish bit of heavy lifting, and also which, to my great pleasure and delight, is a house that has not yet fallen down. Since that time I have been busy typing, which has been a different kind of arduous. Many people don’t realize how heavy these metaphors are, particularly the gaudy ones, and I carry them around all the time—just for you.

But with all that said, let us be frank, you and I. I could afford to lose a few pounds, and no harm done. And yet if someone with a wand offered to take away twenty pounds in exchange for all the sabbath meals I have enjoyed with my people, my response would be something like “not for twenty million dollars.”

Comments are open because these things need to be discussed. But, as always, whenever comments are open, remember to behave.

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Anon
Anon
1 year ago

Thank you for this. The never react but act quote was helpful.

Emiller
Emiller
1 year ago

I’m not a young man in search of a mentor, but I certainly appreciate this elucidation of why there are so many of them and the need for them to be selective in their choice of advisors/examples. I was fortunate to have solid manly Christians in my life from a young age, but I have not been blessed with sons of my own to whom I could pass along that heritage. I’ve read bits of your writing here and there that work around the edges of mentoring non-family young men who are seeking such counsel (such as possibly sons-in law),… Read more »

Jon
Jon
1 year ago
Reply to  Emiller

Emiller, I agree. Doug what say you? Do you have your thoughts collected somewhere?

Joel Ellis
Joel Ellis
1 year ago

Amen. And thank you. We thank God for you, brother.

Zeph
Zeph
1 year ago

You will find a significant number of young men, especially unbelievers at your local comic book shops playing the Magic card game. There are a LOT of young and not so young men who have been doing this for thirty years. Magic came out around 1991. I believe the reason for this is that their masculinity has to be expressed somewhere. If you can’t slay a dragon in real life, then slay one in a game with other men providing the camaraderie.

elizabeth
elizabeth
1 year ago
Reply to  Zeph

Young women at comic book shops, also.

Zeph
Zeph
1 year ago
Reply to  elizabeth

Some

L
L
1 year ago
Reply to  Zeph

This is certainly true of video games. Most video games are marketed toward young men and the most popular ones almost certainly involve some expression of heroism and dominion over the world.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  L

I’m not sure about GTA, though. My daughter played it through the COVID shutdown and, any time I asked what her character was doing, it always seemed to involve a drug deal!

Zeph
Zeph
1 year ago

Who would you say has been the most influential godly pastor who has been under 5’10”?

James
James
1 year ago
Reply to  Zeph

Probably one of the apostles. One dubious tradition said that St. Paul was short.

Jennifer Mugrage
1 year ago
Reply to  Zeph

John Macarthur?

J-Poe
1 year ago
Reply to  Zeph

Not a pastor, but Isaac Watts was short and ugly – there’s an infamous moment in his life when he was rejected by a woman that you should check out.

Thomas Bauer
Thomas Bauer
1 year ago

Spooky stuff. This is the third message (book, pastor, you) over the last 48hours teaching me to act out of confidence in the Lord. I keep trying to prove something.

Righteousness and discipline seem to flow better from security in Christ then trying to accumulate righteousness and discipline to convince myself I am secure.

But then again, I have to judge others and myself by my/their fruit.

Jennifer Mugrage
1 year ago

Good words. It is possible to be in fairly good shape and also have a belly on you (goes for men and women both). Remember, all that weight is weight, which means that those of us with more of it are working harder on our hike or walk or jog. Especially uphill. Phew. And women can generally tell the difference between an effeminate, truly obese man, and a healthy older man who has a Sabbath belly. I have not noticed that young men are capable of making this distinction about women, but … give ’em time. Similary, I’m not sure… Read more »

Farinata
Farinata
1 year ago

The alpha-beta rank system is a relative concept. A man may be more or less dominant in a variety of spheres – if he is his own boss, then he is the alpha at his office – but if he is not his own pastor, he is relatively lower in rank at church.

The one place he may not be a “beta” is in his own home with his wife and children. And that kind of attitude, under guise of servant-leadership, has done a great deal of harm to the Christian family.

Jennifer Mugrage
1 year ago
Reply to  Farinata

Agree. And Doug seems to be referring to the beta a home when he mentions dish suds. But that’s not the way most people use it. I know plenty of women, myself included, who will tell you they are attracted to betas, but we obviously still want decisive leadership from our men.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
1 year ago

I absolutely agree with you. The character played by Robert Young wasn’t an alpha male but Father invariably did know best!

Cherrera
Cherrera
1 year ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

I’d say he was closer to alpha than anything else. He certainly wasn’t a

Modern beta”Servant leader” who was 99% servant and 1% leader”I have to check with my better half (the real head of the household, wink, wink) first” typeOf course all those are one-in-the-same and what you find promoted in most churches today.
https://youtu.be/K9TWJFHDhWE?t=36

Last edited 1 year ago by C Herrera
Jeff
Jeff
1 year ago

I’m 64. Play pickleball almost every day for 2-3 hours. Eat well; not as in ‘oh, just burned off 1500 calories. I can eat a half gallon of ice cream.’ The belly still doesn’t come off. I’ve asked my doctor about it he and basically said that’s just the way it is with some guys.

Jennifer Mugrage
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff

Exactly.

I know a black belt who is built like a barrel.

Will
Will
1 year ago

In almost all cases, a “black belt” is a meaningless credential.

Jennifer Mugrage
1 year ago
Reply to  Will

This person teaches at the dojong where my sons train. I’ve seen her in action. She’s the real deal.

I do realize it only takes a few years to get a black belt, and you get truly advanced after that, but if someone is teaching at a dojong, it means they are working out most days of the week.

Cherrera
Cherrera
1 year ago

You can’t outrun a bad diet or uncontrolled eating, though. That’s a truism from the fitness world. You can replace “run” with lift, bike, Crossfit, martial arts, hike, walk, etc.

Lance
Lance
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff

Big bellies in that situation are usually because of underlying stress that causes a little too much cortisol production.

Cherrera
Cherrera
1 year ago
Reply to  Lance

Well, you gave a lot of guys comfort there. That big belly and dad bod are simply due to stress! That sounds like excuses I hear a lot of women give. However, I think “voracious” eating/drinking was the primary cause.
How To Eat, Drink And Smoke Like Winston Churchill | Londonist

Last edited 1 year ago by C Herrera
Ken B
Ken B
1 year ago
Reply to  Cherrera

“Winston you’re drunk”!

“Madam you are ugly, but in the morning I shall be sober”.

James
James
1 year ago

I may not be a typical young man, but I can see (and I think anyone should be able to see) that there is a world of difference between a five-hundred-pound buzz-cut woman with purple hair and a lovely, albeit somewhat plump girl with a pretty face and a sweet personality, who looks and acts like a normal girl.

Jennifer Mugrage
1 year ago
Reply to  James

Thank you ❤️

James
James
1 year ago

I may or may not be a typical young man, but I can see, and think everyone else should see, that there is a world of difference between a surly five-hundred-pound woman with buzz-cut purple hair and a lovely, somewhat plump girl with a pretty face and a sweet personality, who looks and acts like a normal girl.

J-Poe
1 year ago

It should be a given that men and women are gonna gain weight as they get older, so I find it a little silly when people are repulsed by women with some flab, like, what world do you live in? Haha

Cherrera
Cherrera
1 year ago

I’m not sure if Churchill is a good example. He sometimes enjoyed breakfast in bed until 1 PM and spent a lot of time in the bathtub. It worked for his role in the war, but wouldn’t work for a commander in the battlefield. It wouldn’t even be practical for most men today, even with remote work and much more comfortable conditions overall. I get that gym culture can turn men into narcissists. But I also get that it’s easier than ever to be a glutton and obese. Chips, beer and Little Debbie snacks weren’t available at 6 locations within… Read more »

Ken B
Ken B
1 year ago
Reply to  Cherrera

Churchill is an interesting case. In his earlier years he served in the British Army and took part in the last ever cavalry charge. Was spared the worst of WW1 though.

As a rich man he may have softened up a bit after that, but he proved to be a warrior when it came to WW2, bravely able to rally a country on the brink of defeat and make difficult decisions that sent large numbers of men to their deaths.

Internal bravery may not always be reflected in external appearance!

Billy B
Billy B
1 year ago
Reply to  Ken B

Shouldn’t we expect our leaders in war to actually lead? I think holding them to that expectation would greatly decrease the amount of wars we’re required to fight.

Cherrera
Cherrera
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy B

Yep. I’m opposed to our involvement in the undeclared war on Ukraine, but if we’re going to support it, Biden and Harris should be leading from the front!

Cherrera
Cherrera
1 year ago
Reply to  Ken B

An exception doesn’t make the rule. A 30-year old junk food junkie, couch slob who says “But Churchill was fat!” isn’t impressing anyone. Here’s one of our woke, young “Christian leaders.” No wonder young men flock to Goggins, Jocko, Peterson, etc. instead.

JM.jpg
Ken B
Ken B
1 year ago
Reply to  Cherrera

Yes but you don’t have to worry about your woke Christian leader because he self identifies as Matt Damon …

Rob
Rob
1 year ago
Reply to  Ken B

Ken, Just dumping these comments here for no personal reason….. We of course need the brave leader that comes along ever so often (Reagan, Churchill….) and are elevated for good reasons but for me, the ones that make the difference in the long run are the fathers (and mothers) who tell their sons (and daughters) that there will be no personal social media, iPhones or unsupervised internet use, etc. until they are of age and even then with expectations of responsible use. In this culture that requires courage that most do not have. This is the war that has ever… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Rob
Adrian Gaty
1 year ago
Reply to  Ken B

The young Churchill also staged a thrilling prison break in Africa, something straight out of a Hollywood movie, surviving miraculously in the desert, and becoming an international celebrity for it. He also deliberately traveled anywhere in the world there was any fighting and fought his way to the front lines in search of glory. … Nonetheless, the Pastor’s overall point is right on! It’s one I’ve used myself for years in my medical practice. Yes, my job requires a certain amount of diet and exercise preaching, but I never launch into those sermons without first reminding my patients of the… Read more »

L
L
1 year ago

My husband and I were just having a discussion about Peterson and Tate. Young boys are desperate and yearning for masculine figures in society to tell them they are allowed to be men. This has led to the likes of these two figures being lifted up in pop culture, for better or for worse. It appeals to them because, on some level, it works.

This is a fantastic commentary about why boys need godly fathers. Now do one about girls?

Ken B
Ken B
1 year ago
Reply to  L

Martyn Iles of the Australian Christian Lobby made the interesting observation that when he goes into schools teaching about male and female starting with Genesis 1, giving a broad outline of what God designed for each he can soon tell by the way they react those boys in the class who no longer have a father at home.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  L

I think there isn’t a national epidemic of motherless homes, and most girls do regard their mothers as mentors. The mothers may not always model good behavior, they may fail to set limits, and they may give unwise advice–but I don’t think girls, in general, feel cast adrift for lack of a tight mother-daughter bond. Girls also feel the lack of a father in the home but i think that, in general terms, a single mother has more influence over her teenage daughters than over her teenage sons.

L
L
1 year ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

When I was in high school, I was in a group of 10-15 girlfriends, all of which had daddy issues. None of us ever really talked about the fact, but in retrospect, I realize this must have been a huge part of why we gravitated to one another. We were all getting into trouble in similar ways, chasing after similar kinds of emotional fulfillment, primarily from young men (most of whom *also* happened to have bad relationships with their fathers in some way). And so when I look back at our behavior as young women, I can see that many… Read more »

me
me
1 year ago

I really admire men like Jordan Peterson and Jocko Willink for speaking common sense and stuff that used to be obvious. And I don’t care if they are Christians or not. They are helping a lot of people find a pathway to sanity and some kind of stability. (They are actually making a lot of money saying what any average WWII-era man would have said all day long.) The evangelical world has completely failed at this. Having said all that, I also admire Doug Wilson for preaching actual Christianity, which is masculine by nature. Absolutely nothing will change in this… Read more »

Rob Steele
Rob Steele
1 year ago

Let me recommend Starting Strength. No mirrors and an explicit disavowal of “aesthetics”. I started nearly two years ago in my early sixties and am stronger than ever, which maybe is not saying much. But I’ve reached my objective of not becoming a frail old man.

Adrian Gaty
1 year ago

Man, I love Chesterton, what a great line. I love Churchill, too, so kindly allow me to share this story of Robert Clive, from his History of the English Speaking Peoples, which I believe is quite relevant: https://gaty.substack.com/p/do-kids-need-adventure If y’all haven’t heard of Clive, well, in the before times he was so well known they made blockbusters about him and most every schoolboy knew his name. To his example you can add Teddy Roosevelt, Stonewall Jackson and Ulysses Grant, Andrew Jackson, and dozens of other boyhood heroes of yore. They don’t have to stay in yore, though. “Life doesn’t have… Read more »

Bugs (not Bunny)
Bugs (not Bunny)
1 year ago

Quote: “ With someone like Peterson, his answers make enough sense that he is in danger of becoming a Christian himself.”

Let us pray….

“Always act, never react” also good…another +1 for Jim!

Nathan James
Nathan James
1 year ago

I don’t think the mirrors in the gym are there because of narcissism. They are there so you can monitor your own form while lifting.

Andrew Trauger
Andrew Trauger
1 year ago
Reply to  Nathan James

…said the oiled-down, hairless preener in a spandex unitard, kissing his biceps.

Brandon K
Brandon K
1 year ago

I appreciate the approach here far more than previous attempts from other individuals. And I think the acknowledgement of “dotage” is wise and insightful. The concerns about “vanity” I don’t really get and therefore chalk it up to a generational thing. If we can take pride in building our house (and we should), we can also take pride in building our bodies. The fit male body is a glory to behold and we should put that on full display as the ideal of what God made it capable of. Now there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach here. By that I mean… Read more »

Aaron T
Aaron T
1 year ago

Excellent, thank you for this.

Phinehas
Phinehas
1 year ago

Thank you for your insight and perspective. All good commentary. We should clearly distinguish ascetics from strength, as they are not the same. Regarding hypertrophy and muscle maintain, much less gain, there is a difference between the under-30 crowd vs. the over 30 crowd which needs to be approached differently…but nevertheless approached. Sarcopenia is a real thing which is not helped in our subdivided, “sitting is the new smoking,” blogging, twitter manliness culture. So, the two-dimensional mirror on the gym wall is a good metaphor for the type of feedback it gives…two-dimensional and tinted by the rose-colored glasses you hope for not for… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Phinehas
Vick
Vick
3 months ago

So so good. Thank You Pastor Wilson!