Being a Christian Man

When  I was a growing up my father would often exhort me to “be a man.” He would summon me to courage and responsibility and to discover the heroic capacity that was in me. St. Paul summoned  forth a spiritual manhood with these words: We [must] all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ, so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming. Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ. (Eph 4:13ff)

But today, too many Christian men are passive fathers and husbands. They have not matured in their faith but remain in a kind of spiritual childhood. They are not the spiritual leaders of their home that scripture summons them to be (cf Eph 5). If they go to Church at all, their wife has to drag them there. They do not teach their children to pray, read them Scripture, or insist that they practice the faith. They too often leave this only for their wife to do.

Gratefully, many men do take their proper role. They have reached spiritual manhood and understand their responsibilities in the Lord. They live courageously and are leaders. They are the first up on Sunday morning leading their family to Church and they insist on religious practice in the home. They intitate prayer and Scripture reading with their wife and children and are vigorous moral leaders and teachers in their family, parish and community. They are willing to battle for the truth and speak up for what is right.

You see the Lord is looking for a few good men. Are you a Christian Man? Have you reached spiritual manhood? This is not the kind of manhood that comes merely with age. It comes when we pray, hear and heed scripture and the teachings of the Chruch. It comes when we couargeously live the faith and summon others to follow Jesus without compromise. When we speak the truth in love and live the truth. It is when we fear God and thus fear no man, for when we are able to kneel before God we can stand before any threat.

Here are two good websites for Catholic Men. Let me know if you know of others.

If you’re a Christian man or aspire to be one, I hope you’ll find this video as inspirational as I did.

12 Replies to “Being a Christian Man”

  1. Amen. I don’t know about you Lolo, but I’m tired, I’m ready to rest for a while. I need holy men in my life and in the church. A man can take my spot anytime. Man-up Catholic men and take the lead, I’m ready to sit down and relax, real womanhood is calling me. (LOL)

    1. jj, your comment reminds me that the vast majority of those I see assisting with the liturgy – cantors, readers, Eucharistic ministers – are women. (For some reason the vast majority of ushers are men.) Not only at the Catholic church my family attends, but the Lutheran one as well.

      What is UP with that?

  2. At the link below, you’ll find dozens of (audio) talks from recent Catholic men’s conferences, as well as some very good bible study talks. I’ve learned a ton from the talks I’ve listened to thus far.

  3. I had the great fortune to attend “Christ Renews His Parish” ( CRHP ) at Immaculate Heart of Mary parish in Burlington, KY this past weekend. To call this a “men’s retreat” is a misnomer. There was absolutely no retreating from anything. We were twenty men, dedicated to our Lord and our faith, re-committing our lives to our Christianity. This was the 14th such CHRP event at our parish and will continue to grow and strengthen with God’s spirit leading the way.

  4. Cynthia, I don’t know what’s going on with our Catholic men. If I had the answer, I’d write it in a book and give it away for free.

    Just one brief thought. Women can become anxious when things don’t get done or fixed “right away”. We panic. Men tend to be more logical and detached when trying to fix problems or being involved in a church activity. I’ve noticed this not just in church but in our families. Let’s face it Cynthia, we are not wired the way they are. I will admit, that men of today are under a lot more pressure to prove themselves than my father ever was in his day. (men compete with women far too much, in all areas of life). Msgr Pope and Laura Ferstl have several blogs on this subject of the difference between men and women and their roles, so I won’t repeat it here. What I do know is that men and women were made to compliment each other not to compete.

    I think if women just relax and let men do what they do best, they will rise to the occassion, but not when we want them to, but when they are ready. I’m learning to relax and just wait. I’m an A type personality so this is very challenging for me. What a journey. (lol). Pray for me.

    1. I agree. I hadn’t really thought about it until you mentioned it, but as a woman I do tend to panic a little if something isn’t done right away. And it’s also true that the less we hound the men to do what we want them to do, the more they will do it. For instance, when my mom yells at my little brother to clean his room, chances are he won’t do it until HE can’t tolerate it anymore.

  5. I agree with JJ that we need more good Christian men. At the young adult retreat I went on (the one with Archbishop Wuerl) last week, I found that there were quite a few good and holy young men there. In terms of dating those Christian men, the good ones don’t care about my past, and are supportive of me in my job, and they help me grow in my faith. There are some Christian men who want a completely untainted woman, and I tend to get very uncomfortable around them, because let’s face it, who is truly untainted in today’s world? We’ve all had our struggles in life and in faith. We’ve all made mistakes and done stuff that we regret. And the best Christian man for me is the one who doesn’t act holier-than-thou and judge me for past deeds. Unfortunately, those Christian men are few and far between.

    I agree with Cynthia BC too – I have also noticed how the vast majority of lectors, Eucharistic ministers, etc are women and for some reason ushers are mostly men. At my current church, there seems to be a good mix of men and women as cantors, lectors, Eucharistic ministers, etc, but practically all of the ushers except one or two are men.

  6. God created the woman to be vulnerable and dependent upon the man as a reflection of the Church’s vulnerability and dependence upon Christ. It isn’t an ordered goal to seek to make women be less vulnerable before men, which is often physically impossible anyway. Men should make it a goal to work toward the realization of the image of Christ’s self-sacrificial relationship to the Church. If the latter were to happen, we wouldn’t need to seek to free women from oppression, for “real men” would seek to serve the best interests of their women selflessly.

    Younger generations of men don’t seem to understand that when a woman subordinates to him, her role may be to submit to his will, but his should be to put her welfare above his own. If a man is selfish, and a woman submits to his will, she may be reducing herself to a doormat. Our young women are taught well about not being the doormat, but our young men no longer seem to be taught about service, duty and selflessness. So, our production of “strong” women and “weak” men continues. While this whole role reversal thing may have been bourne of (some) stupidity but it now continues out of necessity. I don’t see how we can expect our women to back down if our men don’t step up. JJ, you’re a better women than I, if not at least more patient!

    And Katherine, any “Christian” man who would think you “unworthy” because of past mistakes is a man who needs to take a long, hard look at himself. If a Christian man believes that God is loving, then each of your mistakes had some potential to be of good or He would not have allowed those events to happen in your life. And if he believes that God is merciful but does not extend mercy to you, hmmm? I think I’d wonder about that young man’s self importance.

  7. OK ladies. Let me take another quick stab at this.

    I think biblical submission is misunderstood. I’m not sure I’ll give it justice here but I’ll try.

    A Women should submit to the man only if he is in the will of God – Christ will. Anything else is not biblical or required. For example, if a man ask you to do something that is harmful to you or others or to commit a crime, you should not submit to it. I think we all would agree to that. The trick is not with these obvious none submissions but more with differences of opinions and prudence. Here is where our submission of our “will” comes in. Men need to know that you trust them. You have confidence in their decision making. This type of mind set can not be faked. If you don’t trust them they wont “do”.

    No man wants to compete with a woman, so they just give in and let you do it. I challenge myself and all woman, STOP don’t do and see what happens. Initially, they maybe in shock and not do anything, but wait it out. Men don’t move as fast as we do. Just try it and see what happens. Remember, don’t do anything, just WAIT. Wait I say on the Lord or should I say on the men. (lol)

  8. It’s a little ironic that almost all of the comments so far are from women- :D.

    Just a few thoughts:
    I imagine that most of the men who read this and regularly comment are active in their parish, and although because I have had to move around a LOT in recent years I am not currently serving as a lector or EM, I have often in the past, and intend to again as soon as I am settled. To be honest, I am a little surprised to hear comments about more women than men being active in those roles- it has not been my experience (except perhaps the cantor role- and I really wish more men who can sing would step up, as I like to sing, but am not very skilled, and having a male voice leading makes a big difference for me. But then would women have a harder time staying in tune?)

    I am hardly a perfect man, but I think my upbringing did leave me with a good sense of the difference between the roles of men and women- and I do have enourmous respect for women. I think it would be harder for me to respect a woman who thinks of herself as “vulnerable”,”dependant”, or “subservient” to men. The roles of men and women are and should be different, but does anyone really believe that women are in any way inherently weaker? God created Women as the ones carry and give birth to our children, among other things- and gave them the strength necessary to do that. Can you think of any role harder than that? Yes, a man should lead and protect his family, but a leader by Christ’s teaching is primarily a servant. I think that while a husband is the head of a family, the wife is the center, and generally has a better understanding of what the family needs at any given time. So a man should seek the counsel of his wife.

    Finally, I don’t think the problem is with “weak” men, and “strong” women, but rather selfish men and domineering women. Too many women exult in the ability they have to manipulate men, and too many men have no thought for anyone but themselves. I have read this elsewhere, and probably it is somewhere on this blog, but I think my experience supports the idea that this is a symptom of disintegrating families. Children without strong male and female role models directly in their lives grow up with malformed ideas about men and women. I was lucky- I grew up with a father who was active in teaching me his faith, and a mother who was nurturing and who taught me compassion by example.

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