30 April 2022
"The ultimate truth is caught, not taught."
I learned that quote years ago from a private conversation I overheard. I wish it were possible to write a book about manhood, but it simply is not. I've even been through some courses that tried to teach it, but they failed. Not that nobody learned anything, but that the crux of what godly manhood is cannot be made a cerebral exercise. It can only be awakened, not built from scratch. It has to be in you already. Since God is faithful, we must assume that the problem is: Just how deeply hidden is the manhood He gave you?
One of the critical elements on manhood in Scripture is that you take your role very seriously, but not yourself. That's nearly impossible to teach. You have to see it in life in order to understand it. That's the whole point of Covenant faith in the first place. We are supposed to build a community of faithful in which we all learn from each other. People of conviction will recognize the truth when they see it. So the only way we can teach Covenant manhood is to have some men whom God raises up to show the others.
Over and over again, the biblical image of godly manhood is that of a shepherd. It's no accident that King David -- the quintessential godly man -- was a shepherd first. Everything good about his character as king was shaped by that experience.
So, it is possible to exemplify in narratives what a man looks like in context. I would encourage that; write those stories. Granted, in humility we naturally aren't going to tell stories about our own successes without hiding behind some kind of anonymity. If you happen to know something you did turned out right for God's glory, offer it as a third-party narrative. Otherwise, stick with stories that can be told. We need a body of legendary stories about doing manhood right according to the Covenant. That's a very important part of what the Bible records in the first place.
The other part of the record is the narrative of failures. We need those, too.
Jesus did it right. He simply asked a group of men to follow Him around according to the protocols of discipleship. These men lived in His armpits for several years. But until the gift of the Holy Spirit, nothing they learned did them any good. After Pentecost, they were suddenly very clearly echoes of the Messiah, each a man of some caliber on his own. This is the model for a covenant community of faith. When a man gets noticed and people want to hang around and learn, he needs to take on disciples.
It's just barely possible that we could see a little of this online. We need reports of this kind of thing working well. But if it's not actually happening in real life, there's nothing to write about, except attempts to relate some of what we can learn from the Bible. Thus, the biggest issue is learning how to read the Bible with a Hebraic approach so we will know what it actually says about manhood.
We've got a long way to go on this issue.
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