Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Blueprint for Manhood That Does Not Involve Lego Movies

My wife and I watched a bit of a show last night that profiled men who make Lego movies. Yes, you read it right. A Lego movie. It took one man five hours to "shoot" five or six seconds of "film." The "filmmaker" was disarmingly cheerful and honest, confessing to being a nerd and having started his "career" when in high school and friendless. Though I liked him, I couldn't help thinking a central thought: what a waste of masculine energy this is. An additional thought corresponds: there but for the grace of God go I. Even now, being saved and taught, I'm a work in progress, and I myself am striving to live what I say in this post.

God has equipped and called men to be aggressive providers and lords of the earth. He has called us to take dominion both in a physical sense (Gen 1:26-28) and in a spiritual sense (Matthew 28:18-20). Such instincts thrive and are best used when a man accepts his role in life and not only accepts responsibility in a variety of spheres but welcomes it. The man, gifted and commanded by God to be the leader of his family and the provider for his family, becomes in reality what in essence he is by pursuing responsible outlets for his instinct to lead. He seeks a wife, and thus becomes a unit depicting Christ and the church, a role of incredible significance. He and his wife seek children, and thus the man becomes the first representation of God to his offspring and the lord and pastor of his home. He wisely evaluates himself, and then sets out to find work that maximizes the strengths and predilections given him by God for the purpose of work. He makes himself a cornerstone of a church, serving in it, speaking well of it, taking on responsibility in it. In these ways and others, a man becomes in reality what he is essence.

Few men today have such an understanding of manhood, and fewer still have a plan--or have fathers who have a plan--by which this essence will be actualized. In coming days, we will think through a brief plan by which fathers can train their sons to be godly leaders and lords of the earth. For now, by way of introduction, it is enough to note that men who could be fulfilling the above outline for manhood are doing things like those spoken of in the introduction. The poor deployment of manly resources and abilities in the current day is staggering. If you don't believe me, test my hypothesis. When you interact with culture, look to see what men are doing. Are they inhabiting responsible roles and living productive lives? Or are they making Lego movies? And spending countless hours constructing the best fantasy football team? Or composing songs in vain hopes of a record deal? Or playing video games until their eyes bleed? You answer the question--what are men doing?

There is nothing wrong with relaxation and recreation. I don't condemn the above activities and participate in some of them myself. But there is a definite problem when men turn diversions into pastimes. It's one thing to spend a few hours in a week on your hobby, it's another thing to spend night after night on it, neglecting your wife, family, and church. This is happening en masse in the culture, as men take their God-given ambition, aggressiveness, and ability and spend it on diversions that have little lasting effect and lead them away from maturity into immaturity. About the only thing men take seriously these days are unserious things--sports, games, and entertainment. In coming days, we'll look at a plan--a very humble plan, but an attempt at one--that can lead men away from a wasted life and toward a realization of their natural potential.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dearest Cousin Owen,

I agree that too many people do spend an unnecessary amount of their time tinkering/ indulging in fantasy hobbies. It is sad when others, especially loved ones, are put on the turned off back burner.

But it is not fair to look down upon those professionals and yearning artists who have found something special, possibly even in communion with God, and possibly with out the path of marriage. You wrote “The man, gifted and commanded by God to be the leader of his family and the provider for his family, becomes in reality what in essence he is by pursuing responsible outlets for his instinct to lead.” People are all created differently. God intentionally made us different but all in his likeness. So I do not agree when you say that men, in the male and people sense, need to take up a spouse and create children. God can live through art. God can live through a sweaty athlete. He can even exist in a lego movie. I do not believe that God would create so much talent in people and then ask us to only use one method of communication to get his message and love and word out. What a waste of energy!

If a person is so consumed in his hobby or fantasy that they either can not form a relationship or forgets the ones (s)he has then more reaching needs to be done. Technology has a launched an incredible new outlet for self entertainment. It is an addiction. But those people need to be reached out to and not judged. Being asked to step aside from something that brings enjoyment is a painful withdrawal. This Lego guy may seem to be slacking on his “masculine energy” but maybe his movie has more to say then “Hey I have nothing better to do with my life.”

-Your Cousin, Hannah

ps-Lego movies require an incredible patience and eye for visual sensations to create. Bill made one about a pirate vs. solider chess match.

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lords of the Earth, eh? Read some Betty Friedan.

6:01 PM  
Anonymous Danny Slavich said...

Owen, this post helped me, and I'm glad I read it.

6:47 PM  
Anonymous Jeremy Tong said...

This is not in reference to you, Owen or anyone in particular, but cannot the same be said of blogging? I know of man men at our beloved Seminary who spend countless hours writing on their's and other's blogs. These blogs are updated multiple times a day and, while they are often interesting and edifying to read, I can't help but wonder what they are neglecting in the process. Are not hours of blogging a day a use of time that may be better spent on other activities... evangelism, discipleship, scripture reading and memorization, prayer? We are to redeem the time for the days are evil.

Just a thought.

4:56 AM  
Blogger trenthunter said...

Owen, I enjoyed a browse around your site this evening. And, of course, your intro compelled me to youtube (if I should use that as a verb!) "lego movie." I came up with this:

Amazing, sir!


9:22 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home