Top Ten Things re: Manly Men

With the recent flood of revelations about men’s unwanted advances, it is obvious that women are tired of being groped and objectified. So as an add-on to my post on Manly Men, I offer my list of Top Ten Things Women Find Attractive in Men.

Considerate of, but not dependent on parents
Thoughtful of others
Attends to personal hygiene
Aware of and not intrusive of personal boundaries
Interests beyond sex and sports
Understands and uses manners and dress appropriate to the occasion
Has wider emotional expression than angry and not angry
Is true to his word
Good sense of humor – never at other’s expense
Protective, but not controlling.

Gals, if you find such a gem, take him home to meet your parents.

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Manly Men

I like men. As my mother used to say, “They are the best opposite sex there is!” Which is why I am disturbed by what I see happening to them in today’s culture. As a woman with a fair number of years behind me, I believe it must be difficult for boys to sort out what it means to be a man today.

What does it mean to be a manly man? Is it the chest thumping “Me, Tarzan, your Jane,” brute? Newspapers stories of wife-beating, baby-abusing, cursing louts are common. Too common. The self-gratifying narcissist, seldom seen years ago, is now warned against in social media. It is only a matter of degrees between the cold-hearted, woman-destroying narcissist and the self-centered man interested in his “woman” only for sexual gratification.  And maybe her cooking.

Another version of the chest-thumper is the idea that being a man means beer drinking, being pot bellied, semi-unkempt, and rough talking. Wearing his cap at the table, burping vigorously, he eschews manners as effeminate. Any sign of gentleness is considered a weakness.

In contrast to the self-absorbed sex machines, or perhaps in response to them, culture has tried in the last 50 years to emasculate men, convincing them that being touchy feely like a girl is the way to go. The idea seems to be to remove men far from their past roles of bringing home the deer kill for the family. The man’s hunting, bread-winning prowess provided food; his strength provided protection. And the woman did everything else needed. People somewhere decided the original plan needed to be changed. Now we have a generation of men who do not know who they are or why they are here.

As part of this trend, fashion designers are bringing out clothing lines which make men look like they are ready to be clowns in a vaudeville show. All of this is attempting to remove the identity of a man as a man.  In the confusion that follows, homosexuality naturally seems to make more sense.

Perhaps all the above is a distortion of what a man is truly designed to be.

But what is a manly man? Does it mean it is a given that their interest in sex means that making passes at women is natural and comes with the territory? That to expect otherwise is foolish? Is it possible to be strong and kind, masculine and safe? Creative, productive, reliable? And have their sexual urges under control? I believe it is possible, and we need such men to step up as role models for the young teen boys who are entering a time of seeking who they are to be.

There should then be more positive news about men and hopefully less daily revelations of male lewd behavior. What the country needs is manly men of strength, honor and integrity. There are some, I know; may their tribe increase.

Stuff

 

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Inventories and taking the census raise mixed emotions.  We are sorters and counters at heart. At the same time we have some more important things to do right now like catching the latest show on TV.  So classifying, enumerating, and sorting just have to wait until… you can’t find that thing you know you have someplace.

Do you know just what you have?  Do you even know where it is?  Do you care?

Being orderly of mind and stuff is for some an inbuilt character trait. Watch for the child who carefully arranges his blocks with all the animals on one side facing outward.  There is a budding accountant, a future enumerator, a bean counter who will drive his spouse crazy with his attention to detail.  The boy who sorts and re-sorts his baseball card collection is an incipient museum curator. For the rest of mankind orderliness is or has to be imposed from without.

Why the reluctance to dig in and make lists of the household contents?  We long to be organized; books are written on how to bring order out of chaos in our lives, beginning with our ‘stuff.’  Most people have a junk drawer; for some, that describes every drawer.   Because of the unwillingness to dig in and inventory, untold hours are spent in archaeological digs in drawer and closet hunting for that elusive, faintly remembered item.

Once we bite the bullet and decide to dig in, itemizing each object and recording its location, we tend to respond in different ways.

Way no.1—Turn and flee to a favorite distraction.  The Procrastinator Route.

Way no.2—Immediately find a treasured item which side tracks the project while you go down memory lane.  The Historical Route.

Way no.3—Get note pads.  Sharpen pencils.  Draw straight lines (where’s the ruler?) to make orderly columns.  Puzzle over how many columns of information you need.  Redraw the columns.  Find that it is too late now to start since you spent so much time getting everything ready.  Start dinner, instead.   The Well Charted Route.

Way no. 4–Dig in and begin.  Stay with the project even if it takes days, weeks.  Read those books on organization.    Spend a little money on notebooks, or files, or boxes or drawers that will be needed to get the job done.  The Efficient, Orderly Route.

There are only a few, unique individuals who ever find their way to Way no. 4.  They recognize that ordering their affairs is essential to save countless hours in the future.  Three years hence when the dishwasher breaks they will be able to answer the questions of warranty, place purchased and cost without turning the household on its ear.  Knowing where the files are kept, and when the kids had their DPT shots, and the number for that good plumber they had a few years back can save much aggravation.   But there is an investment to be made in order to reap the desired state of unruffled tempers and time saved in that future day.  It is giving a NOW time to the sorting, tossing, recording.  Sacrificing the present day pleasure of fun and games, loafing and lounging, for the unknown that lies ahead is seldom appealing, but that is the required investment to assure a good return.

Just consider: what would the universe be like if it were as orderly as your junk drawer?

There is More

-jvCyUZ3lky5XALq7VqfWgThere is more!

It is the norm to develop ideas and interpretations of life as we grow. This includes politics and purpose, relationships and religion, as well as spiritual realities.

For many, we picture a solid wall between us and the heavenly realms which are out there somewhere, unreachable and certainly not understandable.

Then we learn about Jesus and hear that because he died to pay for and forgive our sins, we can now have a relationship with Father and will go to heaven when we die.

This is where most people stay. Picture a solid wall, with a wall phone attached. There was no phone there until we accepted Jesus. Now we can go to the phone and call Father whenever we have a need. How cool is that! Some of us call frequently, others only when in trouble. This works for us as we drudge through life. When we die, we somehow are able to walk through that wall as Jesus did after the resurrection and enter heaven.  Good.

But our view never changes. We see our life, its problems, and the wall with its phone hanging there. That is all.

Jesus’ enormous suffering and dying only provided us a phone line? And possible streets of gold at the end of life?

The testimony of millions is a new life, somehow energized within when transformed by God, a new life which alters our priorities and definitely reduces the drudgery of life. But still, the wall exists in our mind to keep that new life confined. Being born again installs the direct connection phone line which is a great improvement to the old way, but it does not have FaceTime installed. We are left unable to see what the Father is doing, the way Jesus could. We read the promise that we will do more than Jesus did, but feel challenged to pray for someone to be healed of a head cold.

It seems that Jesus tore down the wall so that we can be fully restored to heavenly realities and we have resolutely rebuilt it. Any experience beyond the norm of earthly life is deemed scary, abnormal, and shunned as weird. Fear constrains us from entering into all that was made available by the complete work of the Cross. Any time we sense a nearness, or presence of Holy Spirit, or alteration of the atmosphere, we pull back and flee rather than staying in the moment, pressing into it to see, hear and learn more of the Father, of Jesus, of that other reality we call heaven.

It is a huge loss to us. We have been invited to a fancy dress ball with a fabulous feast, and we choose to stay home with a pack of snack crackers. And the phone.

There is more, much more, for those who pursue him. Press in; don’t pull back. Real life awaits.

Swearing and Theology

Swearing and Theology

Come, little children, and gather around. I will tell you a story about swearing. In days long ago there were two main swear words which would guarantee parental disapproval, often emphasized with a soap bar mouth washing. The first was “damn,” a word I heard from my mother’s mouth only once. Never was it seen in the newspaper, or in literature. If a man should accidentally let it slip in a woman’s hearing he would apologize immediately – “I beg your pardon, ma’am!” for no woman was to have her ears offended by crassness or profanity.

For those more extreme situations when a simple damn did not do the job of conveying the emotion of the moment, men would move on to the more serious “goddamn” or “goddamnit!” Then came the uttermost: “Goddamnit to hell!”

This “hell” introduces the second primary swear word that was off limits to children and women, and never seen in print except for Biblical messages warning of a fiery destination for the wicked.

Of course, people have always encountered frustrations when a simple “aw shucks” just seems too inadequate. Work-arounds and substitutions arose in their place. “Darn” was allowed in polite society, as was “Hades” the Greek god of the underworld. On occasion we would use H E double toothpicks, an oh-so-clever way to avoid the forbidden word.

The use of “damn” was so controlled by polite and public society that Clark Gable’s use of it in the movie Gone With the Wind was a shocker, making news and furor across the country. Grandmothers and preachers alike fretted about “what has our country come to!”

Few have stopped to consider what damn means. Its definition is to bring condemnation on, or to doom to eternal punishment or hell. It is ultimately a God function. Therefore, a seriously uttered “goddamnit to hell” is a declaration or prayer that the person or offending thing be consigned to the flames.

Years have passed. Those two words have almost disappeared. In their place has arisen an extensive vocabulary of swear words all of which focus on body parts and sexual function. There is no longer any such thing as polite society, with norms for speech. The words are part of print, news and literature, and every day conversation. Some people are unable to get through a sentence without using one or more of them, betraying a limited ability to communicate.

It also reveals the removal of God and God consciousness in the public square. Without God, damn and hell have no meaning. Without Him, we are left with only ourselves at our uncreative, physical worst.

It does matter, after all, what you believe even down to the way you swear.

Godless?

“The godless in heart harbor resentment; even when he fetters them, they do not cry for help.” Job 36:13

“The godless in heart harbor resentment.” This says those who have not had their hearts converted to and by the Lord harbor or hold on to resentment. It would appear from this statement that it is a given: godless = heart full of resentment. The question then is this true when turned around? Is it accurate to say that those who harbor resentment and bitterness are godless? Does resentment shut the door to God’s presence?

Resentment and its companion bitterness, two ugly attitudes of heart, are the seedbed for others as well. Left to flourish like weeds, they grow into hatred, desire for revenge, and murder. Self pity grows up like thorns in the flower garden, causing pain to those who come near. Bitterness poisons the soul soil so that joy cannot take root and its fragrance is lost to mankind. Resentment is the seed of division; true love and friendship wither in the presence of judgment and condemnation.

Is it possible for someone to love God, and proclaim to be a follower of Jesus, and at the same time have a deep root of bitterness within? Or are these proclamations hollow, without reality, because the two cannot coexist?

Coming close to faith in Christ, we learn about the reality of His Kingdom and our inclusion in it. He assures the would-be believer that accepting His offer of himself means that He, Father and Spirit all will come and make their home within. John 14:23; 17:23. Thus “en-godded,” people take on a new identity, new world view, a new way of living and loving.

But there is no space in the Spirit-filled life for the weeds. The reverse is true; the weeds choke out the life Jesus wants to live in each individual. We become godless to the degree we harbor, hang on to, nourish and dwell upon our resentment and bitterness. These attitudes have no place in heaven or earth.

Therefore, it is wise to get rid of them.

Resentment and bitterness can only be eradicated by the willingness to forgive and release the offender and situation. Hanging on to unforgiveness “because they deserve it,” destroys you, your flower garden, your future, making you become godless.

Jesus has a better idea. Let it go, and let Him in.

Musing on Tension

n38307511_31163642_738Musing on Tension
There is within me a shapeless, unformed stirring. Care, concern, burden? Idea? Perhaps the exercise of writing will help midwife this “thing” and bring to birth a form which can be dealt with, looked at, pondered over.

So, God help me. You alone know the hidden thoughts of the inner man. You alone know your purposes and plans for me. Let us haul to light this gestation to see if there is life in it.

Tension comes from two opposites or a split (dichotomy) in what was once one. I see the world in such a tension. The physical world, divinely created and ordered, is a masterpiece that beggars description. Much of our libraries, much of our accumulated wisdom, much of the efforts of our educational institutions is exploration and explanation of the world we inhabit. Of the accumulating of knowledge there is no end. Often we “liberated,” educated 21st Century scholars are no farther along in understanding than Adam who, at the beginning, was given the job of naming things. We name things thinking erroneously that in the naming is the explanation. To say the grass is green because it has chlorophyll tells us nothing about why grass is green.

In effect, we are trying to describe the totality of the earth and everything visible and invisible connected with it. But it is too much for the human mind either singly or collectively. The complexity, balance, beauty, design and even sheer numbers of things to be found in this world speak clearly of a Designer Mind far greater than any human can attempt to realize. We are in and of the world, yet it is beyond our comprehension. It is a spectacular, amazing world. From whirling electrons to whirling galaxies, hummingbirds to ostriches, delicate ferns to towering pines creation surrounds us with variety to delight the heart and stretch the mind.One Bead

In recent years the many scientific “truths” taught as almost absolutes have crashed in ruins as new discoveries, new technologies surface. Scientists have even been quoted as calling some findings “puzzling,” which generally translates as not fitting in with their firmly held mechanistic or atheistic beliefs. Tension has developed between science absolutists and Designer absolutists, each side sure of its position while certain of the folly of the others.

Tension itself enhances life. Breezes seem more gentle after a wild storm, the body self-destructs without pain to guard and warn, mountains without valleys are not mountains at all. Shadow and sunlight, freeze and thaw are counterpoised and yet help define one another. What is youth without age, joy without sorrow?

The world is full of examples of stress and tension that are beneficial: the hatching chick must peck his own shell, or die; the tree that is wind-tossed develops deeper roots. Tension in fact is part of the variety to be examined as part of the grand Design even if only partly understood. Studying the dynamics of “what makes the world go round” can only give rise to awe.  The two opposing views of this world, its source and meaning are both needed to give understanding to the other.