Recreation?

    It’s a Friday afternoon, and I’m sitting in a coffee shop attempting to write my first post for what I hope will be a successful and meaningful project, this website. I have some thoughts about the name I chose for this project – The Recreated Man – but first I thought it might be polite to introduce myself.
     My name is Josh. I was born and raised in a small town, and now live in a somewhat bigger town. I’m married and have three kids, two girls and a boy. I have a job. I have a mortgage. I often have too much month at the end of my money. And I find myself, even at the cusp of 40, struggling to find my place, a place where I know I belong. I presume there is such a place.
     I’m sure you’ll get to know me a little more through the writings that I post here, though it is not my intention to merely write about my own life and experiences. The purpose of this site is to explore the things that matter to men. But maybe I need to narrow it down further than that. After all, different things matter to different men in different cultures and sub-cultures. I, myself, am a white, Christian, American male, so the things that matter to me simply will not align with the things that matter to many of you. And that’s okay. I’m not here to try and convert people or change anyone’s mind. Contrary to the prevailing mindset apparent in the media, there are many of us who know how to have a civil discussion with those with whom we disagree. Among other things, I hope this website prompts thought and discussion, in that order. To have men thinking through life, and then discussing those thoughts with other men, is a path to change. And that’s what the title of this website points to.
     So…
     What is creation? According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, it is simply the act of making, inventing, or producing something. Men create a lot of things. Houses. Gadgets. Music. Art. Cars. Bodily noises. Beard oil. Guns. Prime rib.
     But what is recreation? This can really be defined a couple of ways. The more common understanding of recreation is that a person finds rest and refreshment from work through some enjoyable means. A hobby, if you will. But to recreate, according to Merriam-Webster, means, “To give new life or freshness to.” While resting from work or participating in a hobby may bring a sense of freshness or newness, there is, I believe, a deeper meaning to this. (Yes, I use the dictionary as a starting point pretty often. I was an English teacher for three years.)
     Before I go any further, let me reiterate that I am a Christian. Much of my worldview is shaped around my belief system. So, I understand that you may not believe the things I’m about to write. That’s okay. Just know that there may be underlying truths or views that we agree on, and that is what I’m aiming to expose.
     Moving on…
     In the Bible, the first two chapters of Genesis give an account of the creation of the physical universe and life within it. Whether you’re a Christian or not, just stick with me here. It was only a matter of time – we aren’t given a specific measure – before man and woman screwed things up. Living a peaceful, enjoyable existence in the presence of a loving Father simply wasn’t enough. There was one rule, one thing they weren’t allowed to do, and apparently that was enough to spark a desire for more. Human nature and free will can be a deadly duo.
     So things went downhill from there. Man, woman, the serpent, and the earth were all cursed in some way, and ever since we’ve been trying to claw our way back to a peaceful and enjoyable existence.  Now, I’m not going to get into the Christian belief system here, but this struggle to find a better existence is what drives us to find our place, our purpose.
     Now jump ahead to the end of the book. In Revelation 21, God – seated on the throne in the holy city – says these words: “Behold, I am making all things new.” Then he goes on to say that it is done, referring to this work of making things new and restoring the life of peace. Now, I realize that the context here is of things yet to come, but the work of making things new – of recreating – is not, I believe, limited to those days. In John 10:10, Jesus said that he came so that we could have life and have it abundantly. That is not simply a reference to the afterlife in heaven; it is a reality for those who come to faith in Christ, a reality that begins the moment belief takes root. And so begins the process of sanctification, of making a person holy. You see, biblically speaking, holiness is not a one-shot deal. At least, not in the sense that a person becomes holy. Holiness takes work – on the part of the Holy Spirit andthe believer. That process of becoming holy is a form of recreating.
     To be clear, sanctification, in my opinion, is only one aspect of spiritual recreation. To better the soul, a man needs to attack it from multiple angles, and holiness is only one of those angles. There’s also the development of character and integrity; the improvement of relationships; appreciation of beauty and the arts; the practice of self-discipline; and numerous others.
     So a man can be spiritually recreated.
     But the spirit (or soul, as I prefer to call it – mostly because of the music it brings to mind) is only one aspect of a man. Man is a composite of various facets. Ancient cultures had different ways of describing these facets, but most people today would simply refer to them as the mind, the body, and the heart/soul. Some may even separate the heart and soul, though I view them as primarily the same. So when I talk about being recreated, it’s about more than the soul.
     Social media teems with “body transformation” stories. Magazines and websites exist whose sole purpose is to explore physical fitness and improvement. Men and women look for ways to increase sex appeal or hide the physical signs of aging. Athletes strive to become faster, stronger, more efficient in their movements. Health professionals and scientists work tirelessly to find methods of extending human life. People want to be better physically, and the work done in efforts to reach that goal are another form of recreation.
     It could be that the most under-appreciated facet of the inner self in our culture today is the mind. Many people seek a higher education, but that’s not necessarily the same as recreating the mind. Romans 12 tells us to be transformed by the “renewal of your minds.” There is much more to it than getting a good education. Wisdom. Discernment. Understanding of the deeper things in life. The search for real truth (not the subjective “truth” popularized in today’s Western culture). There are a multitude of ways to develop the mind, but sadly, many men today aren’t pursuing this kind of growth and improvement. Don’t get me wrong; many men are. But it’s not the popular thing. I think that needs to change; men need to find ways to recreate themselves mentally and intellectually.
     So recreation is a process. It’s the ongoing pursuit of a better self, a pursuit with no endpoint, no finish line. As I sit here realizing just how long this post turned out to be, I realize that there is so much to learn and so much to be talked about in regards to personal improvement. That’s why this website exists, to push myself and other men towards the better self – in the mind, the body, and the soul.

2 Comments

  1. Well said my friend. Recreation is a constant struggle of successes and failures. However, we must never cease to strive to become more Christ-like. My shortcomings and failures keep me humble, but my love for Christ keeps me trying again and again. I fear too many become discouraged and give themselves over to defeat. They are the brothers and sisters that need us most. They have not turned their back on their faith in Christ. They have turned their back on themselves. They convince themselves that they are somehow beyond recreation and restoration. Thank you for creating this site. Keep up the fight and keep the faith.

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    1. Thanks, Jerry. I agree that many people either give up in defeat or get caught up in a cycle of starting but never following through. Recreation is a lifelong process, a constant uphill push that requires commitment and follow-through. Not that we never fail, but failure is a chance to learn and adapt. Good to hear from you, my friend.

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