The Real Man in a Sea of Posers

By Brian Congdon


This three-part article is designed to address the question:

“What makes a man genuinely masculine?”

It may start a fire. To address such a complicated topic is to draw a dividing line from the most sincere and loyal among us. Neither an answer manual nor a textbook for men, this writing will look at the intended design of man, sans claiming a new design1. To do so we must debunk a few myths fallen males have popularly defined as benchmarks. The style is intentionally evaluative; those unable to tell the difference are likely to confuse it with criticality, or condescension. In dominantly feminine values-based societies, appropriately firm evaluation is frequently put in the same parts bin as unloving, or ungraceful conduct. The two are not even related. Receiving a rebuke may not be fun, but with redemptive intent and purpose brings life. Jesus’ treatment of the Pharisees is a good standard. Was His severity aimed at them, or at the evil spirits or attitudes (crookedness, legalism, self-righteousness, etc.) they embodied? In the same verse in which he scolds them, He turns to them with immense compassion as though a mother speaking to her own children2.

Truly loving exhortation exposes and supplants false beliefs or practices with correct ones. If our vision of God doesn’t include this, then we are poised to learn something new today since it is His nature to reveal hidden things3. We must remember that God is “Boss”—the one true Righteous Judge. This is His style! 4 Divine justice will be accomplished both in this age and on the final Day5, not due to this author’s writing or inherent biases. It is respectfully written and intended for all people, not just men. For the gung-ho literalist, the contents will probably not make much sense. But writers don’t cease authorship just because a few can’t yet comprehend. It is OK for eyes to open gradually—our willingness to learn and grow can directly affect the process. A wise man once said “there are no shortcuts.” It is true. In the spirit, we can’t skip grades, no matter how simple the appearance.

This will be a message of hope and edification for those seeking authenticity and who are willing to obey God above all else. But for those heavily invested in self-built identities that are “masculine” only in appearance, this writing will deliver a devastating hammer blow. Authentic structure must be built into us—we do not build ourselves. There is no such thing as a self-made man if we follow after Christ, his example. A critic needs zero skill to point out deficiency. On the other hand, to effectively build others in the image of a holy God requires several decades of longsuffering, corrective transformation, and responsive obedience. Christ spent 30 years being made into a man, and 3 in ministry. A ratio of 10 to 1.

Everyone loves a prophetic word when it is uplifting, sensitive, and personally encouraging. Few invite or accept a “hammer word” that exposes, tears down, and displaces deceptive mindsets or beliefs. Yet, the latter is necessary to plow the hard ground and disperse the seed of fresh Biblical truth. In proper timing a great harvest can result. In Jeremiah 23:29 it says: “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?”

People object to the shattering of fraudulent paradigms because they have invested so much in them. They conveniently forget that life simply can’t flow very well (or for very long) until the debris is out of the way. Restoring life and order are the whole point, not the breaking into pieces (albeit fundamental)! A God that did not love us would never correct us. Critics will likely balk, clinging to the notion that God never tears down anything before He builds. All the real prophets who lived, and from whom we derive foundational books of Scripture, beg to differ6. And Jesus asks, “Can old wineskins hold new wine?

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