On Throwing a Ball

The situation described in the following letters is entirely fictitious, including persons, names, crimes, sins, relationships, circumstances and all particulars. The kind of situation that is described, however, is all too common and my hope is that biblical principles applied to this fictitious scenario may be of some help to individuals tangled up in a real one.

Dear Tomas,

So from your last letter, it appears that I need to follow up a bit more on what I meant by the “tokens” of masculinity. I trust that what I wrote was clear, as far as it went, but your questions—as they frequently do—went down to the root of the matter.

You asked how it was possible to inculcate such tokens of masculinity and femininity across a culture without “reinforcing stereotypes.” That is an outstanding question, and if you don’t mind, I would like my answer to be high and inside. It is not possible to do this without reinforcing stereotypes. But I want to go one step beyond that, and ask why we are so allergic to stereotypes. Why are we on the edge of revolt whenever someone generalizes about anything? Why do we stereotype stereotypers?

The initial answer someone might offer would be that stereotypes are a breeding ground for bigotry, racism, animosity, discrimination, and prejudice. Once we start allowing people to generalize to any extent about collective groups of people, even if the generalization is ostensibly complimentary, the door is then wide open to mistreating individuals simply on the basis of their membership in a group—regardless of individual talents and achievements. What begins with flattery often ends with battery.

So—the argument goes—if we allow people to say that blacks are disproportionately good at basketball, we have thereby opened the door to any and all negative stereotypes. Why not insist that everyone be treated on a case-by-case basis? Bringing it back to your situation, let us say someone were to mention in your hearing that homosexuals are limp-wristed and don’t know how to throw a ball, would you feel a sensation of pique or outrage rising up within you?

If not, you are pretty unusual. If so, the outrage would come from at least two places. The first place is that you know it would take you about ten minutes online to find open homosexuals who do know how to throw a ball, and who have done so with the great applause of cheering crowds. Not only so, but the person in question can throw a ball ten times better than the bigoted schlub who made the comment. “Take that.” You would therefore want to say that the generalization is false and stupid.

But before saying that a generalization is false, you have to acknowledge that it is a generalization. Let us substitute in another comment, where a person says in passing that men are taller than women. That is a generalization also, and it would take me less than ten minutes to find exceptions. There are plenty of tall women in the world, women taller than most men. We are looking at two bell curves, and the rightward long tail of the women’s curve shows numerous women who are taller than the fat part of the men’s bell curve. So a generalization is just that, a generalization. Nobody takes the axiom that triangles have three sides in order to try to make a bell curve out it. It won’t curve; triangles never curve.

Someone might object and say that the problem arises if someone makes a generalization that is disparaging. But that is not a biblical response either.

“One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith” (Titus 1:12–13, ESV).

Paul knows there are exceptions because he quotes one of them—a Cretan prophet who was apparently not a liar. Paul believed him at any rate. The assessment is disparaging, but the problem mentioned is also not a lost cause. This is why Paul tells Titus to rebuke them for their ethnically-grounded laziness, so that they will learn how not to be that way. Apparently in Christ Cretans can get their act together. But in order to get to that desired outcome, the ministerial duty of Titus is to grant the legitimacy of the stereotype. It existed for a good reason.

But the second reason that your gorge might rise at a stereotyping comment is that the comment stings. In other words, not to put too fine a point on it, do you know how to throw a ball? Even if the stereotype is generally unfair, is it unfair in your case?

At this point, a number of objections and retorts might start crowding into your mind, many of them filled with resentment. “Your father never taught you. He was too busy. Your mom laughed at you once when you tried to imitate your athletic cousin. You always preferred books to sports. Is that so wrong? You always despised the jocks at school, with their preening, with their adoring females, with their stupid letterman jackets.” If not all that, stuff like all that.

On top of it all, a theological objection rushes to the front, elbowing the other objections out of the way. “You don’t seriously mean to say that a man needs to know how to throw a ball in order to be right with God? What century are you from? For pity’s sake . . .”

But the answer to that is “of course not.” The issue has nothing to do with the ball itself, or with the throwing. Who cares? The actual issue is whatever it is in your heart that wants to resist and reject the idea—leading to my central question, which is why are you resisting it? You are testing yourself to find out whether the stereotype is profoundly true in your case—whether or not it is true in any other case.

I am just using this as an illustrative point, and have no idea if you can throw a ball. If you can, then use another stereotype of homosexuals that you do fit. If you can’t throw, then learn how to throw a ball. Take lessons if you have to. And because you don’t want to do anything to be seen by men, make sure to drive two towns over for your lessons. The issue—and I want to stress this—is that the central good that will be done for you spiritually will be happening in the car on the way over to the lessons.

And now I am pretty sure I have generated more questions.

Cordially,

 

Photo by Alejandro Escamilla on Unsplash

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Adeleta
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Adeleta

I’ll throw one in for the girls: if when considering the idea of wearing dresses on a somewhat regular basis, in “your heart there is something that wants to resist and reject the idea… why are you resisting it?” One thing that startled me about the transgender debates is how applicable the arguments are to christian feminism. Accept who you were made to be- most women today have worked hard to masculinize themselves. Where are the soft and gentle grannies from yesteryear? Why do we see this great divide of ones who have given themselves over to sloveliness and others… Read more »

Kevin Brendler
Guest
Kevin Brendler

“We [women] are all too masculine.”

It was inevitable when women began praying like men, with heads uncovered.

But you can’t fall up the hierarchy.

When God’s Order is despised, men fall into effeminacy and women become like beasts. Femininity marred is not masculine; it is grotesque.

Nathan James
Member

Your assertion that a fallen man becomes like a woman and a fallen woman becomes like a beast is really terrible. Men are not more human than women. I’m sure you know the appropriate bible verses from Genesis that make this clear.

UriahWhitestone
Guest

Well put.

insanitybytes22
Member

“At this point, I wonder how many comments Pastor Wilson would have if MeMe did not comment…” Let the record show MeMe has patiently waited all day for someone to comment. MeMe gets the distinct impression there are many people who only comment here because they are hoping for the chance to kick MeMe. “But before saying that a generalization is false, you have to acknowledge that it is a generalization. ” The flaw in Pastor Wilson’s reasoning is that we never do that. The human heart does not make a generalization, embrace a stereotype, and then remain open minded… Read more »

Justin Parris
Member

“Pastor Wilson should come to Seattle.”

We’re in the same neighborhood. That explains a lot actually.

insanitybytes22
Member

It explains why we should become allies and not enemies.

Justin Parris
Member

I imagine the further away we got from abstracted theology and philosophy and the closer we got to actual practical solutions, the farther we’d come from being one to being the other. A trait we both share is a general disappointment and dissatisfaction with the choices and behaviors of the church and church culture. It isn’t surprising if we’re experiencing the same churches.

Katecho
Member

MeMe wrote:

It explains why we should become allies and not enemies.

Perhaps someday MeMe will come to recognize Wilson as an ally, and treat him as such.

Justin Parris
Member

Given that she waited and watched for hours before making a comment just to speculate on how people react to what she has to say, I doubt how she sees Wilson has a great deal to do with Wilson.

JP Stewart
Member

Are you saying that in her eyes, it’s all about “Me” (both of them)?

Justin Parris
Member

lol

Well, what I mean is that someone who’s primary interest was in dealing with Doug’s actual content would most likely just post what they had to say. She both waited, and then made special mention of the waiting. It comes off as a sort of “I certainly hope nobody picks an argument with me…….you jerks.”

That said, it’s obviously not a fair bar of evidence. Though it does build with how frequently her response to what Doug says isn’t actually talking about what Doug said.

Oscar
Guest
Oscar

“Perhaps someday MeMe will come to recognize Wilson as an ally… ”

Are you sure they’re working towards the same goal? I’m not.

Katecho
Member

I’m assuming that MeMe is genuinely interested in the well being and healing of abused women. Wilson is strongly allied with that goal, and I hope that MeMe can come to acknowledge that, in time, and start treating him accordingly.

OKRickety
Member

MeMe said: “The flaw in Pastor Wilson’s reasoning is that we never do that.”

Interestingly, that statement is itself an “all or nothing proposition”. However, just like “all men are rapists”, it is not true.

Bike Bubba
Guest

Your host spent several years in the Navy, specifically on submarines. I would severely doubt you could show him something he wasn’t already aware of. Congratulations on completely missing his point, though.

adad0
Member

“Let the record show MeMe has patiently waited all day for someone to comment.” Oh Memi, I had all day to say “Doug Wilson throws like a patriarch.” ; – ), But I did not post first, because I figured there would be too many people who would not get the joke. Not to mention that patriarchs throw pretty well! For instance, when Moses threw his staff, at times it would turn into a serpent! But anyhoo, your comment, “it’s often the manly alpha men who are the gayest of all.” sounds like a stereotype comment to me! ; -)… Read more »

Daniel Fisher
Member

“we never do that” – this is a generalization, and an “all or nothing proposition” “The human heart does not make a generalization… and then remain open minded about it.” – this is a generalization, and an “all or nothing proposition” “The human brain does not recognize it as a stereotype and a generalization.” – this is a generalization, and an “all or nothing proposition” “We are all bigots of one sort or another” – this is a generalization, and an “all or nothing proposition” “We all do it.” – this is a generalization, and an “all or nothing proposition”… Read more »

Bro. Steve
Guest
Bro. Steve

I was in a church once where a couple of teen girls took it on themselves to give man-lessons to a sissy boy. Maybe that’s a good idea for Tomas. Learn some guy stuff from the girls who actually know what they’re looking for in a guy.

Justin Parris
Member

Strictly speaking, I wouldn’t think the best people to teach you how to play football are people who only ever watch it on tv.

Edit: It occurred to me that my comparison could be confusing. I mean that women only see what being a man is from the outside. Not that women don’t play football.

Bro. Steve
Guest
Bro. Steve

The problem with a man doing this is that he looks like a queer with a boy toy.

Obviously, the place to correct an effeminate son is at home. If the home fails in this regard, there is very little backup available from the church.

The same is true, by the way, for helping über butch women. That Is best addressed at home.

Bike Bubba
Guest

I also received a few lessons in manliness while young from the young ladies in my acquaintance. I think it’s good when a man steps in, though, especially (as Steve noted) if he can demonstrate real manliness and not something that makes people wonder if there’s pederasty involved.

JP Stewart
Member

Dunning meet Kruger (referring to certain comments, not the blog).

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
Guest
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp

It won’t curve; triangles never curve.

Until the Supreme Court says they curve.

Dave
Guest
Dave

The Supreme Court already declared that triangles curve with the Obergefell decision. That being said, the triangle is still a triangle, the french curve still a curve and the straight edge still straight regardless of what the court declared.

Mike Sweeney
Member

Well said, and duly noted on Paul’s use of generalizations. I still see a problem with calling someone to learn how to throw a ball. Shouldn’t the command to the effeminate be as simple as stop pretending to be a woman? Paul goes on and instructs Titus with objectively moral behaviour, “that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.”

Jane
Member

“Shouldn’t the command to the effeminate be as simple as stop pretending to be a woman?”

Okay, what does that mean? What does one do? How does one conduct oneself from day to day that is “not like a woman”?

After years and years of practice acting more like a woman than a man, a man might just need some practical instruction in being a man. How to throw a ball seems like as a good a metonymy for this process as anything else.

Katecho
Member

Jane wrote:

How to throw a ball seems like as a good a metonymy for this process as anything else.

I’m sure Wilson would agree with a number of other practical suggestions besides throwing a ball, but the willingness to actually do such things is itself the changed heart that is really being sought after. I think this is why Wilson says:

The issue—and I want to stress this—is that the central good that will be done for you spiritually will be happening in the car on the way over to the lessons.

Jill Smith
Member

Ball throwing seems so fundamentally irrelevant to me that it’s hard for me to grasp. I suppose the equivalent might be asking a young woman to just try wearing a dress when she feels with every fibre of her being that putting on a dress would violate her core identity. I have met young women who feel that way; they feel as weird about wearing a dress as a young man might feel.

Nathan James
Member

Well, the point was to discuss tokens of a thing, not the thing itself.
“violate her core identity” – addressing the conflict between self-conception and cutlure’s tokens of your biological gender is really the entire exercise.

Mike Sweeney
Member

Pratically I would agree. And not only learning how to throw a ball, but time spent with other ‘hard’ men playing baseball would be very good.

Mike Sweeney
Member

“Okay, what does that mean? What does one do? How does one conduct oneself from day to day that is ‘not like a woman’?”

If the guy is wearing makeup and a dress, he could start with that. I’d bet money that the effeminacy Paul saw in Christians coming out of pagan culture, was pretty close to the stuff we see on magazine covers and in the church today.

Jane
Member

But that’s just scratching the surface. That takes care of the first day — but there is so much more to be done. And I don’t think in this scenario we’re talking about the guys who wear makeup and dresses anyway — not the men who are consciously trying to be women, but the men who are living effeminately.

Mike Sweeney
Member

If you take a look at the list of sins that are listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9, I would say that every one of them has a specific command that can be followed with practical instruction. I have a long history of sexual immorality, and will probably be in some form of an accountability group for the rest of my life. The command to myself is to be sexually pure. The command to the greedy is to be generous.

Jane
Member

This particular post is talking about the particular issue of effeminate behavior, not homosexual intercourse, cross-dressing, or anything else. All of those things are issues to be addressed, but the context here is helping a man who has lived his life not as a man should, learn to do so. So yes, obviously, the command to the effeminate, is to stop being womanish. But what’s being addressed here is not the whether, or the what, but the how. That takes practical instruction. I’m not sure why getting into the nitty gritty, using rhetorical examples to demonstrate the overall idea, is… Read more »

Mike Sweeney
Member

To be honest, I thought this was a one-off following the discussion generated by Pastor Wilson’s review of Bayly’s book. I had no idea there were other letters written to our friend Tomas, and if I knew, I would have read them before making my original comment.

Thank you so much for seeing that. I was missing a big part of the picture.

Jane
Member

That does explain it! I can certainly see the validity of your objections on the assumption that this was Wilson’s total counsel to young man in this situation!

Mike Sweeney
Member

As an aside, I was reading the passage in Titus again, and it appears that the ones being sharply rebuked are the false teachers, so that the “they may be sound in the faith” refers to the “whole families”.

insanitybytes22
Member

“At this point, I wonder how many comments Pastor Wilson would have if MeMe did not comment…”

Thanks guys, for totally proving my point. :)

For the record, I really would like to address the substance of Pastor Wilson’s posts.

Justin Parris
Member

Yes. Certainly it has a lot to do with you, and nothing at all to do with it having been the middle of the day on a Wednesday.

CHer
Guest
CHer

C’mon, Doug. This section is becoming a circus, albeit a predictable one. You’ve banned other trolls with clear agendas. Time to get rid of another one. She’s had more than enough time to clean up her act, stop hijacking threads and end personal attacks on you an others here.

insanitybytes22
Member

He could ban me but then I will simply take my objections to my own blog. I actually approve of his right to express himself, and I kind of respect Pastor Wilson, so I would prefer not to object to some of his ideas elsewhere. That always seems mean to me, like talking behind someone’s back. So my little Antifa friend, I have no intention of cleaning up my act, nor are my complaints a personal attack on Pastor Wilson. There is an old fashioned notion where one can disagree and still like the other person. You should try it… Read more »

CHer
Guest
CHer

The projection and lies continue. You ask me not to reply to you? Then stop replying to my comments, if you have the self-control.

CHer
Guest
CHer

And for the record, this is how MeMe demonstrated her ability to “disagree and still like the other person” on the previous post:

“But the truth is you really haven’t got anything else to do with yourself, do you? No friends, no life, no real church, not the kind that actually knows you and cares about you personally.”

OKRickety
Member

My favorite example, perhaps because it was said about me, is: “So says the bitter, divorced man, who hates women.” Somehow, I don’t think she likes me.

Jill Smith
Member

I don’t think there is any self-control, or any understanding that her comments are vicious. It’s not possible that she would act that way if she could help herself, or if she understood how venomous–and over the top–she sounds. There is something scary in so much spitefulness.

CHer
Guest
CHer

True. Nor does she see the contradiction of demanding that multiple people stop interacting with her…while also saying she’s all about open discussion and free expression.

insanitybytes22
Member

“Nor does she see the contradiction of demanding that multiple people stop interacting with her…” You are not trying to interact with ideas at all, you and others are trying to troll me, specifically for the purpose of trying to kick me. I asked people to stop commenting about MeMe personally, to stop directing your comments towards me personally. I am not venomous, I am not spiteful, and I am not angry with any of you. I do get irritated sometimes with the constant personal attacks and I have snapped back. If you’d like, you could stop attacking me and… Read more »

CHer
Guest
CHer

” I do get irritated sometimes with the constant personal attacks and I have snapped back” It’s a lot worse than that and you know it. You’ve said awful things about Jill and some really bad things to OKRickety as well. Start by repenting for what you said to them, and for deliberately misquoting people. You don’t have to say anything to me, but you certainly owe them forgiveness.

insanitybytes22
Member

“You don’t have to say anything to me, but you certainly owe them forgiveness.”

I’m sure that’s a typo, but they are totally forgiven. Cheerfully, contentedly, forgiven. As are you.

Jill Smith
Member

I don’t think Jesus intended us to use forgiveness as a weapon against the people we have wronged. “Oops! I said evil things to you. Well, I forgive you. ” I am willing to believe that when you feel your ideas aren’t being treated respectfully, you lose control over your temper and you say things you would not say otherwise. The alternative is that you intend to be cruel and venomous, and that you see nothing wrong with that. For your own sake, I hope it is the first one. When you told me that I have no life, no… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

“Thinking that–and putting it into words—made you feel happy in the moment. It made you feel good about yourself.” Not at all, Jilly. That’s your heart and the heart of some of the men posting here, not mine. When I said that to you, I was actually thinking how sad, what a failure of the church, what a failure of us all. It was a statement of fact, not of condemnation. You will not believe me, you will now accuse me of lying as you have so many times before, and you will then rally the troll troops to try… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

What I believe about you is what your words show you to be. Not once in the heat of the moment, but over and over again. I don’t need to rally the troops. You give yourself away. I will no longer interact with you, MeMe. I have no words either to penetrate your denial of what is so clear to other people, or force you–even once–to confront your own motives. I have never encountered, either in person or on an Internet board, words as spiteful as yours, yet even now you pass them off as a failure of the church–or… Read more »

Justin Parris
Member

” That’s your heart and the heart of some of the men posting here, not mine. ” It is fortunate we have heroes like you around with super powers who can read people without error, negating the need to follow Biblical standards about condemning people for what you imagine to be the content of their heart. “you will now accuse me of lying as you have so many times before,” No, when you get accused of lying it isn’t because anyone suspects hidden motives. It’s because there’s incontrovertible evidence to contradict your claim already on the site. “rally the troll… Read more »

CHer
Guest
CHer

You don’t get to grant forgiveness people whom you have wronged. You’re not God or a priest/pastor. You’re the one who owes them forgiveness, but are too proud/stubborn to admit your sins.

adad0
Member

I know Memi! If Wilson blocked you, or selectively blocked some comments, he would be as bad as:

Barb Roberts
Sam Powell
Rachel Miller

Good thing Wilson is more forthright about open dialogue than those folks above!
; – )

OKRickety
Member

adad0,

MeMe has more in common with them than you realize. She has me on moderation on her blog, and she has selectively blocked some of my comments.

insanitybytes22
Member

Adad, I don’t like to bad mouth people across blogs. That’s just unkind and unnecessary. Also, all three of those people have been far more kind and gracious to me than many of you.

adad0
Member

Mimi, when I mention that: Barb Roberts Sam Powell Rachel Miller “blocked , or selectively blocked some comments,” that is a statement of fact. While it is a “bad” fact on their part, I am not “bad mouthing” them. Their own actions speak much more loudly and poorly of them than their own words do in that regard. By contrast some Rachel Miller posts: Bad mouth Wilson himself. Bad mouth Wilson’s wife. (and possibly Wilson’s children) Barb Roberts “Hall of Blind Guides” bad mouths: https://cryingoutforjustice.com/acfj-hall-of-blind-guides-resources-that-will-not-help-abuse-victims/ Doug Wilson John Piper Focus on the Family and many other ministries Sam Powell misunderstands… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

The problem being, you and others are trying to declare people the enemy and to demonize them rather than perceiving them as your brothers and sisters made in the image of God. To call any of those people the “fruitless deeds of darkness” is just all wrongheaded.

adad0
Member

Umm,…….Memi, the day after I have a web site featuring a “hall of blind guides” where I cast aspersions on ministries far more blessed than my own, that would be the day where some might begin to call me “wrongheaded”.

Until that day, save the “wrongheaded” moniker for Barb, not me! ????????????☀️

Does that sound reasonable?

Clay Crouch
Guest
Clay Crouch

MeMe, though we are probably miles apart on doctrine, I think we would be great friends. The next time I’m visiting my son in Seattle I will offer a prayer of thanksgiving for a brave woman. Keep the faith, fight the good fight.

Clay Crouch
Guest
Clay Crouch

Sorry, that’s probably the kiss of death on this blog.

Justin Parris
Member

It implies that she’s fighting the good fight, when what she’s normally doing is tilting at windmills and naming those windmills after Wilson and other visitors of the blog.

OKRickety
Member

@Clay Crouch,

You can rest assured that MeMe’s reputation will be relatively unchanged by your support. However, yours might be sullied if she were to speak positively about you.

I do wonder about your doctrine, because you imply that prayer is more effective when you are physically closer to the one being prayed for. As far as I know, God hears all prayers regardless of location.

Clay Crouch
Guest
Clay Crouch

OKR, you inferred, I wasn’t implying anything concerning the efficacy of prayer.

OKRickety
Member

@Clay Crouch,

Yes, being a careful reader, I inferred that your statement implied that location matters, so I included “imply” in my statement.

insanitybytes22
Member

Thanks for your kindness, Clay.

UriahWhitestone
Guest

This article is incredible and says very clearly something that a lot of people have been needing to hear for some time.

And this is coming from a 100% grade-A ultra-manly heterosexual who just happens to throw like a 5-year-old girl.

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Triangles may never curve, but you can make one out of three 90 degree angles.

https://www.quora.com/What-exactly-is-a-270-degree-triangle-and-how-is-it-even-possible

bethyada
Member

Triangles are defined in Euclidean space.

Jane
Member

I didn’t even read this article, but stuff like this just makes me want to curl up in the fetal position.

I don’t even want to hear the kind of stuff my son with the math degree studied in college.

Jill Smith
Member

Jane, I had a detached retina once and half the world went black. That is how my mind feels when confronted with anything beyond factoring a polynomial. Except that the descending curtain covers my entire consciousness and not just half.

Jane
Member

As long as it’s real-world stuff that when you add it up and multiply it and factor it, it does stuff that works in the real world, I can handle it, though I might not get it all. I actually did pretty well in calculus. But when you start talking about non-Euclidean geometry and imaginary numbers and all that sort of thing, I just whimper a bit. I’m sorry about the detached retina. As a severe myopic, I know my chances of experiencing that are better than average and that gives me the willies, too, as I’ve heard it (and… Read more »

bethyada
Member

Without imaginary numbers we wouldn’t have the best equation in the world.

OKRickety
Member

bethyada, I may be sorry I asked, but what is the “best equation in the world”?

bethyada
Member

e^iπ + 1 = 0

bethyada
Member

Though if we had got π correct it would be 2π. And the equation would be,

e^2iπ – 1 = 0

Jane
Member

I have absolutely no objection to them. I just want to leave thinking about them entirely to other people. :-)

Justin Parris
Member

Are we talking about Platonic triangles, or triangles actually represented in the physical world? Because the argument could be made that all real triangles curve if you look at the line closely enough.

Jill Smith
Member

And what about love triangles?

adad0
Member

J’, I suspect that love triangles have all kinds of crazy curves! ; – )

Nathan James
Member

That’s not a triangle. That’s obvious right?

Arwenb
Guest
Arwenb

Looks like it has three corners to me.

/refuge in etymology

Andrew Lohr
Member

“Stereotype: a behavior pattern you don’t want to think about”–Thomas Sowell.

Daniel Fisher
Member

Generally agree, with one caveat. I would recommend Tomas find a Christian man, a friend, a mentor, a father figure, who knows how to throw a ball…. and take lessons from him…he would learn to throw a ball, benefit spiritually from the ride to meet this man, and learn much, much more about masculinity in the process of engaging with such a man, more than if simply went to take lessons from some random instructor.