My dad is tough. A union shift worker, weightlifter. The only holes in his jeans came from work. His honesty cut through the fluff. I suppose he was afraid, but I have never seen it. His parenting style leaned on, “I will give you something to cry about.” So when I found him reading his grandmother’s journal, tears sprouting, I was floored.
A politician is writing a book on Manliness…. has the world ever wanted something less? Can you imagine the chapters: “How to hoodwink voters”, “Feel good when you sell out to corporate America”, and of course the climax “Stay fit by running away during the capital riots”… a political take is the antithesis.
During the Sonscape retreat our leader shared that when his father was dying, he would drive hours to be be by his side. He would leave on Friday and be home to preach Sunday morning. After months, the wear was showing and his elder board asked if he was okay. Talking about his dad, tears began to flow… at his annual review, they reprimanded him for being “too emotional”.
I told dad I have never seen him cry. “Sean, it is okay to cry. There is a need to be tough in the moment. Don’t cry when you skin your knee or when people are being mean… but after the crisis, you need to let go. And there are times, especially when a loved one dies, you need to cry.”
The world does not understand balance. The need for strength. Unbending. Unwavering. Jesus, bleeding from the whip, before Pilate. But there is also the need for weakness. Vulnerable. Helpless. Jesus weeping before the tomb. Jesus crying out to God, “let this cup pass”.
In Jesus, rather than a modern book, we find the word we need on manliness (and womanliness, simply humanness).
** Note: There is need to help boys and men in our society (check out this article by David Brooks). But their need — just as all of humanity — is not to learn from a politician or social media. Instead to learn from Jesus. Which means to know first they are loved as God’s creation. Accepted, they will learn tough is not for self-defense, but to take the cross for others.
This Sunday we are praying the Psalms. The chapters show the wide experience of human life: anger, joy, fear, hope, shame, dreams… all are sung to God. Sometimes cried out! Each week we will look at Psalm 107 (Sunday is verses 1-9). I hope you will join us at 10:30 in person or streaming live on Facebook and YouTube.
We are also sending out daily Psalms to pray daily. You can receive them with our church app or click here to download a pdf for next weeks prayers.