Newsweek & God Men: Give Me a Break

kinnon —  October 31, 2006 — 8 Comments

I really need to have a new category I call, Give Me a Break. The story behind this post would qualify as a GMaB. But first let me tell a story.

About ten years ago, Al Roxburgh (pastoring in Vancouver at the time) was visiting us in Toronto. We’d been talking about worship songs and I told him I had a great new one for his church. I grabbed the remote and played this song – by the Eagles – Get Over It. Co-writer Don Henley calls it an “anti-politically correct song”. It describes our “It’s All About Me” culture to a “T”. “All this whinin’ and cryin’ and pitchin’ a fit
Get over it, get over it .”

It’s the song that came to mind when I read Glen Lucke’s post on A New Kind of Worship: Cowboy Up.

Glenn Lucke responds to the Newsweek Story, “GodMen: PromiseKeepers With An Edge.” Glen comments:

Read the intensely self-conscious casting about for how to act as “a man”. These guys do the self-conscious thing one better: they’re not just gazing at themselves, they’re gazing at their hormones. (Count the references to testosterone.)

I read the article and watched the videos – and my head is still shaking (about 8 hours later). This is the polar opposite to the J-I-M-B dreck from my previous post – although “Christian Comedian Brad Stine” sounded an awful lot like the pastor from DCC mentioned in that post.

Last Saturday morning, 200 Christian men gathered in a downtown warehouse in Nashville for a day-long spiritual extravaganza. Inside, strobe lights flashed, and tracks by the Killers thumped from speakers stacked on either side of a stage. Four large video screens showed clips of karate fights, car chases and Jackass-style stunts. Then the music lowered and Christian comedian Brad Stine appeared. With his rat-a-tat delivery and aggressive style, Stine quickly whipped the crowd into a chorus of “Amens!” “A lot of guys out there wouldn’t have the balls to be here,” he shouted. “Are you ready to be a man? Are you ready to kick ass? Are you ready to grab your sword and say, ‘OK family, I’m going to lead you?’ Buckle up. This is GodMen!”

I think Glenn has a better handle on it when he says, “it sounds like Beavis and Butthead having a few friends over.” (Perhaps they need shirts that say, Jesus was a Man, Dammit, AND SO AM I!!) And Erin needs a loud “Amen” for her comment on Glenn’s post:

I don’t think they can become real men until they realize that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are not exclusively feminine traits, and that a church that teaches the need for these virtues has not been “feminized”.

GodMen® is just another marketing ploy to gullible people who think they have things bad. Newsweek writer, Eileen Finan got to watch Brad Stine “and his friend and manager Mike Smith” market test their concept – before they roll it out to a larger audience of whiners.

We have the luxury of endless introspection in our leisure oriented society. And we’ve turned navel gazing into an art form. I think Henley sings the cure, “Get over it! Get over it!”

UPDATE: Read the Pineapple Pundit’s take on this story.

Technorati Tags: , ,



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

8 responses to Newsweek & God Men: Give Me a Break

  1. I made fun of this earlier… I still can’t imagine how anyone would be willing to sing the testicular song in front of an audience.

  2. Did Brad Stine really say “balls” and “ass”? Is leading a family about kicking ass?

  3. Kathy,
    Hard to believe, isn’t it. It has more the feel of a Saturday Night Live parody of Promise Keepers, than an actual “Men’s Ministry.” (Not that I’m all that knocked out by PK.)
    I appreciated the perspective in your post.

  4. Great thoughts. Love the t-shirt idea! I came across Dave Murrow’s book “Why Men Hate Going to Church” and his website a while back. He makes all sorts of sweeping (false) assertions about the church. His main premise is that church isn’t a place that men want to be because it is too feminized. Read: relational. I don’t like sentimental dribble nor do I like fluffy preaching. But, since Christianity is all about an intimate relationship with Christ and His Bride, I think that these men are making excuses for their flesh.

    I don’t want men to act like women. That is just plain silly. I also don’t want churches to cater to one group of people. In fact, churches are to serve others and the people in it are not to be worried about being catered to. But, I also don’t want our churches to become like locker rooms or junior high schools, either. The men who follow this line of thinking use their rational to excuse all sorts of sinful, juvenile and stereotypically wrong behavior. We are supposed to leave childish things behind when we become adults.

    I think Godmen really cranks this whole concept up a notch. It will be interesting (and entertaining) to see where this goes.

  5. One of the things that has bothered me about “men’s studies” (we had one at our church about 3 years ago – were you in on that, Bill?) is that the focus is often on sports, in addition to the other things above.

    I don’t mind sports, but they aren’t my “raison d’etre” of being a man. Music has always been the expression of my masculine side – and not in the Rock and Roll sense. I find that many of the Brahms, Mozart, Stravinsky, Wagner and Beethoven Symphonies do more for my “masculine drive” than a monster truck rally.

    I don’t think that makes me strange – and I know it doesn’t make me “effeminate” either. Just ask my wife! I just wonder what happened to our society that everything around us has to be expressed in a physical manner, rather than in an intellectual one.

    Thanks for the post – I read Liam’s thoughts on this too. Must say I agree.

  6. Chris,
    Wasn’t around for that experience, thank God. Like you, I’m tired of the jock version of Christianity too often seen at men’s events. Although, you and Imbi would have more in come from a music perspective. I’m more the Steely Dan, Michael McDonald type.

  7. There’s nothing wrong with a man crying, sharing intimate details with close friends and family, or willingly making himself vulnerable.

    Just like there is nothing wrong with a man justifyably losing his temper, using course language, or offending people with non-PC anti-BS talk.

    The point of movements like this are that balance is always lost when cultural swings take place (ever watched a pendulum?)

    If you have a problem with either of those first two sets of actions (especially the second, from what I read in comments here,) then you have a problem with our saviour, Jesus Christ.

    He exhibited the first set of attributes, but he spent more time acting out the second. (Oh yeah — plus drinking, hanging out with “low-lifes,” and violating just about every “cultural” protocol of the day.)

  8. Not to proof-text my response, John but:

    Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    Or this from Jesus half-brother, James:

    My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

    And later in that same chapter: 

    If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

     And James returns to the issue of the tongue in Chapter 3:

    With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

    Now before I’m accused of being holier than thou, I don’t live up to these teachings.  I’m as big a sinner as the next man – but I really don’t buy what Stine et al are selling.

    Nor do I buy the picture of our Savior you’re suggesting, John. I don’t believe that Jesus ever lost his temper, used coarse language or spoke “non-PC anti-BS talk”. He did express anger, forcefully spoke the truth and laid down his life for us all. He was the perfect servant – by his own choice – see Mark 10 or Matthew 20. I very much doubt he sat around the campfire with his 12 disciples singing songs about testosterone.


What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.