Facing a SERIOUS FAILURE


“We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

READ

Psalm 26:1; 1 Corinthians 16:13; Galatians 6:7

REFLECT

WHY IS THIS NECESSARY?

Years ago, Bonnie Tyler released the song in the 1980’s titled Holding out for a Hero.  The song starts out with “Where have all the good men gone?”  The song was very popular and seemed to become a rally cry for women as if they were screaming out to men everywhere to “MAN UP” and be the men they are looking for.  Unfortunately, that’s not really a recent development; men have struggled with the concept of authentic manhood for thousands of years.  The psalmist writes:

Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases to be, For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men. (Psalm 26:1, NIV)

The reality is that men are absent from critical areas of church, family, and community;  they must be intentionally engaged, equipped, and empowered to be the men that God has called them to be.  It’s not surprising though since there is so much “UNCERTAINTY” about what it really means to be an “Authentic Man”.  If you ask 20 people to define Manhood, I expect that you’ll end up with more than 20 definitions. There is far too much confusion about sex, gender, masculinity, identity, and even biblical truth about what it means to be a man.  This UNCERTAINTY about being a man and the catastrophic impact that it causes in the home and our communities should cause us to seriously reexamine who we are and what we need to be doing as men, fathers, husbands, sons, and faithful servants of God.

The IMPACT of Absent Fathers:  BY THE NUMBERS

  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million children in America — one out of three — live in biological father-absent homes.
  • About 41% of children born in the U.S. in 2012 were born to never-married parents. The percentage of births to unmarried women is more than double the percentage in 1980 (18.4%)
    • Source: Martin, J.A., Hamilton, B.E., Osterman, M.J.K., Curtin, S.C., & Matthews, T.J. (2013). Births: Final data for 2012. National Vital Statistics Reports, 62(9). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics
  • Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. In 2011, 12 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 44 percent of children in mother-only families.
    • Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Children’s Living Arrangements and Characteristics: March 2011, Table C8. Washington D.C.: 2011.
  • A study of 109 juvenile offenders indicated that family structure significantly predicts delinquency.
    • Source: Bush, Connee, Ronald L. Mullis, and Ann K. Mullis. “Differences in Empathy Between Offender and Nonoffender Youth.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence 29 (August 2000): 467-478.
  • Being raised by a single mother raises the risk of teen pregnancy, marrying with less than a high school degree, and forming a marriage where both partners have less than a high school degree.
    • Source: Teachman, Jay D. “The Childhood Living Arrangements of Children and the Characteristics of Their Marriages.” Journal of Family Issues 25 (January 2004): 86-111.
  • Adolescent girls who reported higher levels of relationship quality with their fathers were less likely to have sex before age 16, compared with adolescent girls who reported lower levels of father-daughter relationship quality.
    • Source: Ikramullah, E., Manlove, J., Cui, C., & Moore, K. A. (2009). Parents matter: The role of parents in teens’ decisions about sex. Washington, D.C.: Child Trends.

This is NECESSARY because:

Too many men are absent from critical areas in the home, in the community, and in the church.  Men must be intentionally engaged, equipped, and empowered to be the men that God has called them to be.  This is necessary because:

  • MANHOOD is UNDEFINED:
    • We need to MAN UP and WAKE UP and recognized that manhood is in a downward spiral and sitting on the sidelines is no longer an option
  • MEN are UNDISCIPLINED:
    • We need to MAN UP and STRAIGHTEN UP and make an intentional effort to till up hard ground of their preconceived notions about manhood and sow the right seeds to produce a harvest that matters.
  • QUESTIONS are UNANSWERED:
    • We need to MAN UP and FACE UP to the fact that the critical questions of life about identity, belonging, purpose, success, and legacy have gone unanswered in culture, but they are answered in Christ

RESPOND

“Dear God, I recognize that we are facing a serious failure in our culture, our families, and even in the church where men are very often not living up to the men you have called us to be.  Please open my spiritual eyes so that I can clearly see where I need to focus on my own life.  Give me a passion that I will WAKE UP and begin to take my responsibilities seriously, that I will STRAIGHTEN UP and make significant, intentional decisions to build a stronger faith and family, and that I will FACE UP to my own insecurities as a man and deal with the critical questions that are unanswered or sometimes even unasked. Give me the wisdom to see “Authentic Manhood” from YOUR perspective and the courage to stop chasing the things that distract me from living in your purpose.  Thank you.  I’m all yours in Jesus Name.  AMEN”