Introduction to Strength of a Man

Introduction to...

Strength of a Man

Most of my friends consider themselves real men. They're outdoorsmen and sportsmen. They hunt and fish. They hang their snowmobiles upside down under the snow cornices on West Mountain. They hie themselves across the desert in 4X4s at what I consider terminal velocities. I have one friend who pulled a grizzly bear off of his wife with his bare hands. I saw another ride a log down a canyon wall. He almost broke the sound barrier on the way down; he did break two ribs at the bottom. But to hear him tell it, it was the thrill of a lifetime.

Yet for all our macho, we men are mostly uneasy about our manhood. None of us seems to know for sure what it means. We have to be told: Real men don't eat quiche. They don't bunt. They don't have "meaningful dialogues." And rarely do they think about the meaning of life. Real men love John Wayne, Monday Night Football, chain saws, and Coors.

These efforts to define our manhood are funny; they spoof the affectation and humbug with which we support our sagging male egos. Avoiding quiche is a good symbol of our uncertain sexuality. But what impresses me most is that it's done, that we find it necessary to be told what it means to be a man. Our ignorance must be a measure of our confusion. Few of us understand that true manhood is not a matter of power displays and aggressiveness; it is a function of the activity of God. In the beginning it took God to make a man, and it still does.

We have a lot to learn about being men. I know I do. I doubt that many of our hunting and fishing buddies, for all their high jinks and good humor, can help us much. But there is One, the manliest man of all, who invites us to learn from Him. He wrote the book on the subject, the manual that goes with man. I offer some thoughts on that book and what it reveals about man. I share them because I love men and I want to see them come into their own.

From the Book: Strength of a Man Discovery House Publishers, Box 3566, Grand Rapids, MI 49501 (1-800-283-8333).