A man and a Christian, too

Every week, I meet with a group of men who are men and Christians, too.

We laugh and poke fun at each other, talk a bit about sports.  Some of  us – not me – are good at building and making things.  We share our struggles.

Then, we get down to business – how to be Christ’s followers in this world.

Why do I mention that?  Because our group is more and more unusual.  Men are vanishing from church pews.  And many of the men who remain are there because their wives have dragged them to church.

It is phenomenon of our age – the feminization of the church.  I am personally glad that women have taken leadership in our churches because men have largely stepped away.  Someone has to shoulder the task of preparing the next generation of believers.

Why has this happened?  A number of reasons, I’m sure.  But one of them, I think, is that many men think that being a Christian is unmanly.

Particularly in the developed world, we men think of ourselves as strong, take-charge people who must not cry or show weakness.  Christians talk about loving others and admitting that they aren’t strong enough to go it alone.  They need God.

But there are still men – such as the group I belong to – who believe that men can be men and Christians, too.  They see Christ who was all man.  He challenged the religious establishment of his day and eventually was killed by them.  Yet he did it all out of love.

The early Christians were not sissies.

They were thrown into jail and some of them were executed.  But they did not surrender their faith.

Over the centuries, other men have plunged into dangerous circumstances, willing to give up their lives for what they believed.

In the Western world, we are unlikely to face death for our faith.  Yet the challenges to our faith are just as powerful.  They are big enough for a man – a man of God.

Jesus said long ago that “there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).  That’s courageous love.  It was what he did when he died on the cross for us as the Son of God.

Sacrificing yourself for others today may not literally mean losing your life.  But it does mean giving away something of yourself for others.

It was what Jesus did.  And he was a man.

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