Where are the men?
This past week I have gotten a few emails about Mark Driscoll's article in The Washington Post about boys who essentially never grow up and turn into men. He writes:
Rather than moving from boy to man by this succession of sociological transitions, we've created something called adolescence. It's a third life stage in the middle between boy and man. We don't know what to call them so we just call them guys. These are boys who can shave.
Driscoll's basic argument is that we are growing a generation of boys who enter adulthood as… well, boys. They don't make the transition to being "real men" who Driscoll sees "Creators and Cultivators." He draws sharp distinctions between metrosexual and retrosexual men. He states his ideal:
Men are supposed to be producers, not just consumers. You're defined by the legacy, the life, and the fruit that come out of you, not by what you take in. But most guys are just consumers.
I am the father of three young men and this issue does matter to me. I do think we live in a culture which has become increasingly hostile to men. Today, women outnumber men in college (57% of college freshmen are… freshwomen) yet we continue to provide women with affirmative action style placement preferences. Boys are forced into a female mold in school, and gender confusion is the reigning theme in the entertainment we enjoy.
I am not sure how to evaluate all of this. I do think that in the church world, pastors are, I hate to say it, plagued with wimpy-ness. They study hours per week, counsel people, and do public speaking. In my experience, the majority of our pastors are pastoral – they excel at relationships, writing and reflection, and the pursuit of people's hearts. Those are all good things and are biblical. They don't, however, equate with the types of traits we often see in our great leaders (for example, Churchill, Lincoln, Moses, or Paul). They aren't, for the most part, "butt-kicking leaders." The idea is, frankly, humorous. We want our pastors to be caring.
I was just doing some wimpy studying and read about Luther's nickname: The Wild Boar. He was beer drinking man's man if there ever was one. Where is today's Luther?
Creators and cultivators? Give me a break, Mark. We don't need more artistic men nor do we need farmers.
We need men who will take risks.
I don't believe that there is any area of ministry which promises more risk than global missions.
Unfortunately, American men are too wimpy for global missions.
Just in our organization alone, Pioneers (which I think is fairly representative of the larger missions world), 60% of our single staff are women. In the hardest places I observe more women serving then men. I challenge you to visit Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea, Pakistan, or any of the other "tough places" in missions today. You will find more women than men.
From my exposure to the global missions world, women are the risk-takers.
Missions is a risk-taking enterprise. I have lived in war zones, visited disaster sites, climbed mountains, trekked, biked, hiked, and explored all over the world. When bringing the gospel to these places you are faced with opposition, hardship, and fear. You need to be ready to go without encouragement, lead those who are fearful, and follow the Star Trek mantra; "Boldly going where no MAN has gone before."
Men, where are you? I am really asking… Why are men missions-averse?