Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Men Being Men!

At the gym I saw a man on CNN talking about the anniversary of the #metoo movement.
I didn’t catch all of what he said but he did say, “We have to let men be men”.
This seemed curious to me.
When I heard it I wondered what he meant.
I spent Friday night and most of yesterday at Camp Calumet as the Speaker for the Men’s retreat.
At meals we took some time to talk about what it means to be a man.
There are of course lots of images that come to mind about what it is to be manly.
These are perpetuated by Hollywood, and popular culture.
They are mostly images of men with big muscles shooting guns, yelling, fighting wars, or acting detached and cool.
We see this in the Rambo movies, the James bond movies, and war films that over glorify what actually happens in war.

It got me thinking about the men in our congregation.
What is it that we know about being a man?
I want to show you images of men in our congregation being men.
(If you didn’t make any of these pictures take no offense.)
You can see that the images of what men in our congregation do is really different then what we are told in Hollywood movies we should be doing.
We can see men serving their families, loving their partners, giving of themselves.
They are pictures of men being tender, caring, and loving.
Like that person on CNN know many people that would say that men have been stripped of their manliness.

What does Jesus tell us about being a man?
Jesus this morning reminds his disciples that being a man is not about having power over others.
It is not about being domineering.
It is not about being controlling.
It is not about getting our own way.
It is not about using violence to get what we want.
It is about giving our lives for others.
It is about serving the people around us.
Because Jesus didn’t come to dominate us.
Jesus didn’t come to force us to love God through violence or corrosion.
Jesus came to serve us, to show us what love looks like.
Jesus came to be non-violent.
Jesus came show us how to be vulnerable and caring.
Christians follow Jesus.
And it should not be among us the way it is in the world.
The way that it is in our politics or in the movies.
It is the way of love.
It should look like the pictures I showed you of the men in our congregation.

Here is one of the big problems is that we are even trying to decide what a man should do.
The question shouldn’t be about men and women.
It should be about our humanity.
What does it mean to be a good human being?

One of the things that is so disturbing to me about the way that women are treated in our society is the way that we try to dehumanize women by making them sex objects.
Or by fitting them into previously constructed boxes of what we think a women should do, or be.
We have lost our way as we try to take away what it means to be a human being, and instead insisted that, “Men should be men, and women should be women.”
What if Jesus way would be the better way?
What if we saw each other not as objects to be ruled over and pushed around, but fellow humans who needed us to serve and love?

Because ultimately this is how God thinks about us.
God doesn’t see our gender, our race, our religion, our politics, and our economic status.
Those are all superficial categories.
God sees the person we are deep in our souls.
Underneath our skin God see our fears, hopes, dreams, our scares, our abilities, and our short comings.
God sees us as complete human beings complex and Wonderful.

The disciples themselves are good example of this.
We have been having almost four weeks of the disciples not getting what Jesus is trying to teach them.
Even though Jesus keeps giving the same lesson over and over.
Even though right before our Gospel this morning Jesus tells them that he will die for the sake of the world.
They still don’t get it.
They still want to rule over others.
They still want it to be like it is in their minds.
And yet, Jesus doesn’t give up on them.
He doesn’t yell and scream.
He just keeps teaching.
He knows them deeply.
He knows their flaws, and what they want this all to mean.
I sometimes wonder, why he picked these twelve at the beginning.
When he came down to the sea of Galilee and he saw James and John tending their nets.
He must have known that they were not the smartest.
He must have known that they would be hard headed.
He must have known that they wanted to go from the bottom to the top.
And yet, he choose them anyway.

He looked through who they were on the surface, to understand them on a deeper level.
God does the same with all of us.
God looks into our humanity.
God looks into our souls.
God asks us to see other people as human, as loveable, as children of God.
What a great thing to know.
That I am not tied to the world’s thoughts on what it means to be a man or woman.
I am not tied to what others think I should be or not.
Instead I can be me.
I can be a tender man.
I can be a fierce woman.
I can be who God made me to be.

Finally, we have to look to Jesus.
And we have to think about the ways that his death and resurrection changed the world.
How does it change us?
How does it make us more than what people see, what the world tells us?
Jesus didn’t die so we would be trapped as a man or woman, but so we can live free as God’s child.
Jesus put to death any system that tries to dehumanize us, tries to dominate and control us, and rises in its place a system based on love and service.
Like the disciples we are not always ready for those old systems to die.
We try to sneak in and still think we can rule and control others.
Through God’s grace Jesus comes to us again and again to put the old systems to death, and rise in us new things.

I hope for all of us the dying of the old systems so that we may live.
If you are man I hope you have the freedom to live as loving, gentle, caring people.
If you are a woman I hope that you are able to live as God has empowered you to.
Mostly I hope we all live as God’s children serving each other, as Christ has served us.

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