Macho rallying cries for Christian men?

For years I have been hearing coach-like rallying cries directed at Christian men. Cries that are loud, in-your-face, and macho. Cries like those you often hear yelled at a football game by coaches trying to get players “jacked up” for the big game.

And I wonder what effect these cries have on Christian men.

Do they lead men to humility, self-sacrifice, and a cruciform lifestyle?

Do they encourage men to get “jacked up” so they can “lead” by brute force?

I wonder which response is more likely.

My prayer is threefold —

May Jesus, Christ crucified, be the model for Christian husbands and fathers.

May the cross be a reminder of how we lay down our lives for those we love.

May Christian men be shaped more by the cross and less by the culture.

Spouse As Accountability Partner

I recently read an excellent article about marriage ministry by Todd Olthoff. He was passionate about marriage ministry in the church. He suggested that marriage ministry needs to be viewed as an integral part of the discipleship process at church rather than being something that falls outside the heart of church life. Perhaps, he suggests, this would help eliminate the temptation to compartmentalize our family life as separate from our spiritual life.

He also stresses the need for the church to encourage spouses to be the primary spiritual partners. Let me share an extended quote from the article:

“At a recent men’s retreat I had the opportunity to talk to the men about marriage. I asked how many of them wanted to see their character molded to look more like Jesus Christ’s. Of course every man was fired up from the retreat, so I got a resounding cheer of agreement. Then I asked them, “Why is it then that we go out and find a group of guys who don’t know anything about our wives or families and ask them to help us grow as we practice ‘controlled disclosure’ and only share what we know at some level is acceptable?” The group fell silent. Then I asked them when was the last time they asked their spouse where they needed to grow their character. I got a loud agonizing “Ohhhh” because each of them knew how real they would have to be and how painful true accountability is.

If we want to see couples in our church view marriage as vital to their spiritual health, we need to encourage them to see their spouse as their primary accountability partner and give them the tools they need to begin to help one another to grow to be more like Jesus Christ.”

Skyline’s marriage ministry has really impressed upon my heart the need for my wife to be a spiritual partner. Every once in a while there will be a day when Lourene and I can’t or don’t start our day together in prayer. I hate it when that happens. My day just doesn’t feel complete. If you don’t pray daily with your husband or wife, let me encourage you to begin today. There is nothing like it to join your hearts together in love.

Consideration

“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7).

The Pennsylvania State Police recently responded to an emergency call from a motorist. A woman in the vehicle was in labor near the Green Tree exit of Parkway West in Pittsburgh. By the time police arrived a baby girl already had been delivered. Beth Gardner, the mother, was no doubt thankful for the police who responded and for her two neighbors who were driving her to the hospital and stopped the car to deliver the baby.

Is it just me or is something missing in this story? Let’s see, we have the mother, the neighbors, the police and the baby. . . .

What’s missing?

Who’s missing?

Where’s the father?

Was he deployed in Iraq? No. Was he working deep in a coal mine? No. Maybe he was putting in overtime at a steel factory so the family would have food on the table? No.

He was watching the Pittsburgh Steelers football game — the all important preseason match-up.

I don’t know about you, but the first word that pops into my mind is an inappropriate, demeaning name questioning the father’s intelligence. How in the world could this guy miss the birth of his daughter to watch a football game? How inconsiderate can you get?

But before I heap judgment on the absentee father I need to remember two things. First, there may be more to the story than has been reported thus far (I can hear the cynics sarcastically saying, “Yeah, maybe the game was in overtime!”). Maybe there is more to it than what we are hearing.

And second, while I would never have missed the birth of a child for a ballgame, I have done some pretty inconsiderate things to my wife.

The language of this text – consideration, respect, and co-heirs – grabs attention and demands action. How serious is this matter of consideration? Peter says my prayers depend on it. That serious.

*based on a report from KDKA, September 1, 2006