The Modern Brawny Man!
This blog post was imported from my old blog.
If you have not figured out by now, I’m by no means a “brawny man.” Furthermore, you should also know that I have issues with accepting the “quick fixes” both the world and church try to give for the transgender and homosexuality issues today. I’m sure you can imagine what my feelings were a few months ago when my church announced a one-day men’s conference. To make my concerns worst, it was also being organized by men that I considered being the traditional stereotype of a brawny man – or at least they try to be.
Everyone should be aware that gender identity has become a hot topic in today’s society. It comes as no surprise to any of us that there was always evidence of gender oppression throughout all of human history, most notably is the oppression of women during the 19th and 20th century. However, I believe today we are seeing the opposite. I believe men are now being discouraged from expressing feminine traits – at least the modern-day standard of feminine. When men show these traits, the world likes to say “Are you sure you aren’t gay?” or “Maybe you were supposed to have been born a woman.” Regardless of how the world says it, it normally cuts deep for most men, usually starting from childhood and remaining dormant for most of their adult life. On the opposite side of the spectrum, many Christians from all walks and beliefs say something just as equally hurtful. I’m not going to say what most of these things are precisely since it could only grow the flee breeding cesspool for nasty theological debates. However, I’ll at least say that Deuteronomy 22:5 is probably one of the most theologically debated verses. Which I’d like to talk about in a future post.
Sadly, these kinds of theological debates have caused me to put distance between those with less than popular opinions. I’m connected with a wonderful powerful GOD-fearing church, however, it still yanks my chain when I think about how I’m still not 100% certain on where my church stands on gender identity. I know they believe homosexuality is a sin much the same as adultery. But to be perfectly honest, as do I. I’ve yet to encounter any verbally preached theology that I disagree with in my church. So I would expect you could understand when the subject of transsexualism comes up, I feel a bit lost and many times fearful to even ask what my church believes. To be clear, I have very little fear that my personal theology is wrong in the eyes of GOD, meaning I believe every Christian will one-day face their savior and learn they had someone wrong. (i.e., believing that all babies should be christened or not doesn’t mean you’re going to hell.)
Since my theology aligns with my church so well, how come I fear to ask what their stance is on transsexualism? It’s possible that the devil’s voice is trying to hold me back much like when I was faced with telling my mother that I liked to crossplay a few years back. I try to forgo asking and summing it up as that one thing we might disagree on, however, I still can’t bring myself to living without knowing. I’m open and willing to hear their point of view if the opportunity was ever given, sadly that hasn’t happened and if I really want to know, I’m left with having to ask. I fear that if anyone in my church body or family learned that we disagreed that they would likely outcast me.
When I was preparing to attend the men’s conference, one would hope I could finally learn what their true beliefs were regarding transsexualism, however, I felt that wasn’t my case. Instead, I feared the entire weekend would be nothing but speeches that men need to be more masculine and they would overlook the reasons why so many men struggle with masculinity in the first place. Rightfully, I had reason to worry. Many of the previous men’s group meetings were exactly this, I had been to enough of them to witness it and I wasn’t keen on attending those every two weeks.
So fast forward to Saturday Morning, June 18th, 2016. The sermons preached were on par with a good Friday night revival service and surprisingly there was no masculinity mongering that I had previously expected insight. However, there was one comment made by our senior pastor that caught me off guard. He got up front and made a comment about the bathrooms. Since this was a men’s conference, they had decided to “relabel” the women’s bathroom as be acceptable for the men’s use for the duration of the conference. When I had walked in that morning, it reminded me of a men’s conference I attended in Indianapolis many years ago with my father where they had done the exact same thing – taped “Men” overtop the women’s restroom sign. He started out by pointing out the number of boys present at the conference who thought it was taboo for them to now to be allowed to see the inside of the girl’s bathroom. I remember one boy a couple stalls over from me announcing to another boy, “It’s boring in here, it’s no different from the boy’s bathroom. They just don’t have urinals.” Yes, I used it too out of curiosity – is that a problem? lol. And I could go on a rant about the problems created by 98% of bathrooms being gender-segregated but I digress.
Our pastor continued, “You know what the world needs to know about gender identity? … Knowing if you’re a man or woman is easy; if you bend over … and pickup … the ice cube … you’re a woman.” Following his comment, the room went strangely quiet and I believe he thought he might have made a sexist joke by accident. However, he went on, “No matter if you wear pants, dresses, skirts, or whatever. If you kick the ice cube under the fridge, you’re a man!” This somehow resulted in the room then breaking out in laughter.
While some might have been sensitive to the joke, I understand what he meant by it. What he said afterward is what peaked my interest, he admitted to never saying very much about gender roles or gender identity from the pulpit – which proved my theory that he chooses his battles and gender topics aren’t one of them. He is already known as a very controversial preacher with his beliefs about revival and the end times, so I can understand that he wouldn’t want to throw gender topics in the mix as well. He obviously covered his tracks by claiming he would ask they remove that comment from the conference CD, so take it that no one will hear him make those comments ever again. However, I felt what he said proved something that I suspected this entire time, he doesn’t believe in the brawny man.
Following the conference, we had some great fellowship and to my advantage, there were no farting or burping sessions. In fact, it was oddly enjoyable that coming to the end of the conference the general opinion was that not all men are like Gideon. I believe our guest speaker, Cliff Graham said it the best, he said, the common ideas of what makes a man a man is not and that you don’t have to be a muscular man to be a man. A man is someone that when he comes home and the family comes under attack, he goes full hulk [in the spirit] and rips the throat out of the threat and spits on its corpse. He even said that World War 2 was only won because a geek figured out the Japanese encryption code and this guy was mocked by not only his superiors but his fellow men for not being as manly as the soldiers on the battlefield. In the end, the war ended because he used his God-given abilities.
This was a teaching I could stand behind. In a perfect world, I understand I was put in a position to defend my family. I might be under 6 feet tall and have a youthful posture and I’m also constantly underestimated by people. But I now know that these are not weaknesses but instead are strengths. I am who I was intended to be, even if that’s an underdog with questionable hobbies.
I would like to extend these characteristics to women as well. To the women who have no husbands or find themselves in a time of crises that can benefit from the application of valor and courage. This allows for them to back their husbands up when they might take a fall or are unavailable to fight. My spouse has done things like this for me from time to time. I believe that we are children of GOD, all need to show the fruits of the spirit and be prepared to take the lead. GOD never intended for one gender to be subservient over the other, so why do we treat it like he did. We treat men and woman as complete opposites.
Anyways, I was taken back by the conference and I want to thank the men who spoke and showed what a real man was, even if they wear a dress and have a flamboyant personality.
Personal Note (08/25/2018): It’s unfortunate that since I wrote this post, I never found out much more about what my senior pastor believes in regards to gender identity, more specifically transsexualism. I overheard some things preached by his sister (who pastors at another church) that disturbed me and my brother shared some things he preached at the 2018 men’s conference that