- Monday, March 23, 2009

True Masculinity

John Eldredge

I have been reading this book Crystal lent me. I must say that it is quite a book. Many times I found myself near to tears as I read the words imprinted, as if the author was speaking personally to me. Something so special about this book... It's more than being inspirational, more than trying to be special; it isn't preachy, nor does it attempt to teach.

It speaks.

When I was young, I used to wonder what makes a man a man. Does swinging the hand makes a man a girl? What about having long hair? Or a thin body (like mine) that can't grow fat no matter how frequently the man goes to the gym and sweats himself out? Or what about no hair where there's supposed to be hair? Do those make a man less a man?

So if you have bulging muscles you are a true man? Or a deep voice and angled and defined bone structures? Or a straight line of hair like a railway trail leading from your navel to you-know-where (your amazon bush)? So that's what make a man a man?

The media portrays the perfect male as being horrendously handsome, with a toned body, ruffled hair and a little facial hair. But we all know that not all guys can be as handsome as Brad('s) Pitt (just for the fun of it), or Orlando('s) Bloom, or Johnny('s) Depp. So does it mean that those guys around us are less male?

I used to think a lot about all these. And this book answered a lot of my questions. Here are some (long) excerpts I especially like from the book. If you are interested, get the book! You have to read it, whether you are a guy or not.

If you are a guy, this book will help you understand what masculinity is all about. How can a man understand where does masculinity come about? From whom will the man learn how to be a man? And so forth.

If you are a girl, I am sure you are very interested in learning about the opposite gender. There are tons of gold within this book you'd be surprised to find out.

So read on. I'm warning you, they're long. And if there are any typos, do forgive yours truly, as I took the time to type them but not proofreading them.

Wild at Heart: Discovering The Secret of a Man’s Soul

Page 35 – 38
I’ve noticed that so often our word to boys is don’t. Don’t climb on that, don’t break anything, don’t be so aggressive, don’t be so noisy, don’t be so messy, don’t take such crazy risks. But God’s design – which he placed in boys as the picture of himself – is a resounding yes. Be fierce, be wild, be passionate. Now, none of this is to diminish the fact that a woman bears God’s image as well. The masculine and feminine run throughout all creation. As Lewis says, “Gender is a reality and a more fundamental reality than sex… a fundamental polarity which divides all created beings.” There is the sun and then there are the moon and stars; there is the rugged mountain and there is the field of wildflowers that grows upon it. A male lion is awesome to behold, but have you ever seen a lioness? There is also something wild in the heart of a woman, but it is feminine to the core, more seductive than fierce.

Eve and all her daughters are also “a stem of that victorious stock,” but in a wonderfully different way. As a counselor and a friend, and especially as a husband, I’ve been honored to be welcomed into the deep heart of Eve. Often when I am with a woman, I find myself quietly wondering, What is she telling me about God? I know he wants to say something to the world through Eve – what is it? And after years of hearing the heart-cry of women, I am convinced beyond a doubt of this: God wants to be loved. He wants to be a priority to someone. How could we have missed this? From cover to cover, from beginning to end, the cry of God’s heart is, “Why won’t you choose Me?” It is amazing to me how humble, how vulnerable God is on this point. “You will … find me,” says the Lord, “when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13). In other words, “Look for me, pursue me – I want you to pursue me.” Amazing. As Tozer says, “God waits to be waited.”

And certainly we see that God wants not merely an adventure, but an adventure to share. He didn’t have to make us, but he wanted to. Though he knows the name of every star and his kingdom spans galaxies, God delights in being a part of our lives. Do you know why he often doesn’t answer prayer right away? Because he wants to talk to us, and sometimes that’s the only way to get us to stay and talk to him. His heart is for relationship, for shared adventure to the core.

And yes, God has a beauty to unveil. There’s a reason that a man is captivated by a woman. Eve is the crown of creation. If you follow the Genesis narrative carefully, you’ll see that each new stage of creation is better than the one before. First, all is formless, empty and dark. God begins to fashion the raw materials, like an artist working with a rough sketch or a lump of clay. Light and dark, land and see, earth and sky – it’s beginning to take shape. With a word, the whole floral kingdom adorns the earth. Sun, moon, and stars fill the sky. Surely and certainly, his work expresses greater detail and definition. Next come fish and fowl, porpoises, and real-tailed hawks. The wild animals are next, all those amazing creatures. A trout is a wonderful creature, but a horse is truly magnificent. Can you hear the crescendo starting to swell, like a great symphony building and surging higher and higher?

Then comes Adam, the triumph of God’s handiwork. It is not to any member of the animal kingdom that God says, “You are my very image, the icon of my likeness.” Adam bears the likeness of God in his fierce, wild, and passionate heart. And yet, there is one more finishing touch. There is Eve. Creation comes to its high point, its climax with her. She is God’s finishing touch. And all Adam can say is, “Wow.” Eve embodies the beauty and the mystery and the tender vulnerability of God. As the poet William Blake said, “The naked woman’s boy is a portion of eternity too great for the eye of man.”

The reason a woman wants a beauty to unveil, the reason she asks, Do you delight in me? is simply that God does as well. God is captivating beauty.

Page 55

Dave runs into Bob in the church lobby. Both are wearing their happy faces, though neither is happy at all. “Hey, Bob, how are ya?” Bob is actually furious at his wife and ready to leave her, but he says, “Great, just great, Dave. The Lord is good!” Dave, on the other hand, hasn’t believed in the goodness of God for years, ever since his daughter was killed. “Yep – God is good, all the time. I’m just so glad to be here, praising the Lord.” “Me too. Well, I’ll be praying for you!” I would love to see a tally of the number of prayers actually prayed against the number of prayers promised. I bet it’s about one in a thousand. “And I’ll be praying for you too. Well, gotta go! You take care.” “Take care” is our way of saying, “I’m done with this conversation and I want to get out of here but I don’t want to appear rude so I’ll say something that sounds meaningful and caring,” but in truth, Dave doesn’t give a rip about Bob.

These are only small parts of the entire chest of gold! There's so much more to it, and I don't think I have the energy and time to type out page by page, word for word. This book has made me reconsider my Christian walk and my identity. For me, it has been a very challenging and inspiring book. I wonder what would it be for you. =)

So what are you waiting for? Go grab the book and read! You won't regret! Trust me.

1 comment:

Andrea Kong said...

I read the other one by Stacy and John Eldredge, Captivating for women =)