Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Be a man

My daughter is a ballerina... just ask her, she'll tell you. She'll go so far as to twirl for you while providing her own soundtrack. She loves to dance, anytime, anyplace... it doesn't matter what else is going on, when she feels like dancing, dancing will happen.

This past weekend, we were at a motorcycle and car show (she also happens to love motorcycles and cars) at a local frozen custard joint. The show is part of a benefit and outreach event supported by our church's affiliated motorcycle ministry to help raise money and food for a local food pantry. While we were walking around looking at cars, and sitting on motorcycles, my lil lady decides that its time for some ice cream. So, we left my wife and son out perusing while we stepped into a much too crowded, filled with men (not just any men, but motorcycle and car men), custard shop. While in the middle of the crowd, this is the time when she decides its time to break into song and dance. She began singing the theme song to Angelina Ballerina and twirling. About 2 bars into the song she stopped, took my hand and said, "You twirl too daddy."

In these moments, I am reminded of the awesome privilege and responsibility that comes with being a father and a husband, but I am also saddened by the men I know who have no desire to serve in such a role. It is a catastrophic breakdown in the institution of family within our culture that men have been convinced that the job of husband and father is not manly. Through the scriptures, we are taught that the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of the husband is Christ. We are to be the spiritual leader of our home. I have recently heard it phrased that women are to manage the home, but men are to manage the woman... This is not some misogynistic, tarzan-esque call to belittle women. It is a call for men to be men. We are to love our wives as Christ loves the church. We are therefore to love our wives because Christ first loves us, we are to follow that example to first love our wives! Nothing else should matter in our relationship as much as that we will make the choice to first love her! The call to spiritual leadership is not a call to supremacy, it is a call to action, a call to servitude, a call to sacrificial love. It is a call to entrust to our wives the role they are called to, to be a mother and a wife, and to serve her through leadership in Christ-like love. Its a call to sacrifice everything we think we are in order to place our family above ourselves. Its a call to put down everything that hinders our family's growth, and pick up the reigns of the spiritual guidance that is our responsibility.

We choose, as men, whether we do so consciously or not, to take on the role of spiritual leadership. The moment we enter into the covenant commitment that is marriage, we are saying that we accept the role of spiritual leadership for our new family. You are accepting the responsibility of the spiritual condition of the woman. Your two fleshes are now joined into one, and you are at her head, while Christ is at yours, and when you choose to add children into that flesh, you are accepting the further responsibility for their spiritual condition as well. You are their leader, whether you accept it, or choose it, or ignore it. The responsibility is yours, and you will be held to it at the time of your judgement. They are each responsible for their own lives, but you are responsible for their leadership.

So, men, are we willing to sacrifice whatever claim we think we might hold on our manliness? Are we willing to accept that a true man lives his life in the example of the sacrificial love of Christ as our head? Are we willing to love our wives first, independent of her response? Are we willing to daily make a choice of our will to act in the promotion of the good of those to whom we are charged with leading, no matter the assumed cost? Are you willing to twirl with your daughter, while singing Angelina Ballerina, while surrounded by car dudes?

Are you going to do it perfectly?

No, you won't... I won't... I don't. But, at the end of your life, will you be able to look back and see that the progressive pattern of your life as the spiritual leader of your family was a consistent, persistent growth towards being more Christ-like?

When we choose to live as we have been called, we are men. Sometimes the most manly thing in the world is dancing and singing like a little girl. It was the other night for me. I hope that today, I will continue to move closer to God, and lead my family better than I did yesterday, and that tomorrow will be better still. I hope that maybe you will do the same, whatever that means.

Get a job, provide to the best of your current ability, love sacrificially, love unconditionally, do the dishes, scrub the toilet, sing songs, make a fool of yourself, pray, open the Bible in front of your kids, read it to them, teach them to pray, kiss your wife, hold her hand, make her laugh, lessen yourself, allow your family to see you struggle, allow them to see you grow, help your kids understand failure, help them embrace success, read to them, push them on the swing, catch them on the slide, take them to the ER, ask for their forgiveness when you do wrong, love them, punish them, hold them to a different standard than the world, pursue your wife, make her feel beautiful, go to church, serve, sing praise, cry no matter who is watching, be a man.

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