The Peter-Pan Syndrom
This is, bar none, the BEST sermon I have ever heard for men – 06 Luke_ The Birth of John the Baptizer (Start at around 33 minutes, to get to the good part!)
Every man in our society, aged 19-35 ought to listen to this.
Mark Driscoll is somebody I only discovered recently, but have absolutely been rocked by his teaching. Amazing what power the simple Word of God has, in the hands of an effective communicator!
In summary, Driscoll says that in most « normal » cultures (we are far from normal/healthy!) around the world, there are two stages of maleness: « boy » and « man. » There are several transitional markers which usually fall into place quite rapidly: getting a trade, buying a place, marrying, having children. In our culture, however, these normal transition-markers have broken down. Since there is a prologued gap between child and man, we have created a new stage of life, called adolescence. For some, this period never really ends.
I especially liked what he had to say about men being designed to be givers, not takers, providers, not consumers, others-centered, not inward-focused. Men are supposed to live their lives to empower others – not impose on others, use them and abuse them to facilitate a lazy, out-of-touch, ego-driven existence.
Let’s admit it – young single men in our culture have it MADE. They have tons of money to spend, tons of time to spend it, and no responsibilities to weigh them down. It is easy to purchase big « toys, » to pursue glamorous hobbies, to spend enormous amounts of time in purely selfish occupations.
This stage is great fun…But it’s not real, and it’s not healthy. It should not be encouraged, it should not be prolonged and – here is the really important point – it should not be held on to as « normal, » against which the responsibilities of marriage are « abnormal. » Men are called to « lay down their lives for their wives, as Christ laid down His life for the church. » (1 Cor. 5:25) Christ left all the riches, power, pleasures, authority, etc. of Heaven in order to live a menial existence and die a humiliating and painful death here on earth. If we are to follow Christ’s example, we men also need to lay down our lives – to set down the video-game controller, to sell the fancy truck, to pick up the punch-card and go to work, then come home and change diapers, resolve fights, learn to love and lead in the midst of chaos, then go to sleep exhausted only to wake up again and do it all over. This is real life. This is real adulthood – giving, not taking. Dying to self, not draining others for self. Attention, men – this is what you are called to do!!
Unfortunately, by the time most men get married, they have been single long enough to get comfortable in the « adolescent » stage of life. Tragically, some men try to go on living as bachelors all their married lives – ignoring their spouses and children, under-providing, not carrying their weight around the house, distant, distracted, always wistful for « the good old days. » What makes everything so much worse is that the marketing world has learned that there is an easy market here. Men are insecure about their manliness, and so the « buy this, you’ll be a man! » line works astonishingly well. Also, men long for « the good old days, » and so the promise of « buy this, you’ll feel young again » also works far too well. From advertising to programming to social pressure, every loud voice in our society is telling men that this strange, made-up-phase of life called « adolescence » is not only a normal, but it is to be normative: anything that doesn’t look or feel like adolescence is constricting, limiting, abnormal, unnatural. No wonder men see their families as a « ball-and-chain, » keeping them from « the good life. »
« Marriage is not about making us happy, but about making us holy » – that is a quote I heard which so totally encapsulates this concept. It’s time to grow up, men! It’s time to stand up to the plates. It’s time to stop taking and start giving.
It’s time to leave Never-Never land, and become a real man – now here, take this bottle and diaper and get to work!