Time off is a good thing. We are designed for work, but we are also designed to need rest. The biblical model for this is the sabbath day, one day out of the seven-day week when we just relax, let go of our ongoing responsibilities, and enjoy the day. I chose to do this for myself over the last six weeks, which is why there hasn’t been any content posted here or on The Recreated Man’s social media pages. It wasn’t all rest; in fact, it was actually one of the busiest times of the year for me in my primary vocation. With so much going on there, I felt it was good for me not to over-do it.
Now, this may seem counter-cultural. In fact, I know it is. One buzz word of recent years has been “grind,” and I’ve seen a flurry of memes in the last few months making use of the phrase, “Let’s get this bread.” Like I said before, we are designed for work; it’s in our nature, at the core of our species. But modern culture would have us believe that anyone who takes a rest is inviting disaster, or, at the least, minimal success.
I don’t agree with that. I think proper rest is vital to ensuring more success. Take, for instance, the way our bodies work. Any body builder, crossfitter, or marathon runner will tell you that a proper training regimen must include rest days. Why? Because without the opportunity to properly recover from heavy training, the body will not grow and develop as well as it could. This principle applies to every area of our being, I believe, so it’s important to take time off from work, from school, from training, from home life, and even, I dare to say, from family. But that’s for another article. The point is, we all need to take time for rest and recovery in life, and that’s what my absence the last six weeks was about.
You may be thinking, “Yeah, but you just launched this website, and now you’re already taking time off? What the…?”
It wasn’t entirely planned. My primary job demanded a lot between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. For those who don’t know me, I’m a pastor. My official title is Worship and Groups Pastor, but I do a little bit of everything at my campus, and my real focus is people. Yes, I work to build and train a worship team; I help create study groups and find leaders for those groups; I work on lighting and video for our services; I look at new equipment and instruments that might enhance our people’s worship experience. But I do way more than that. I minister to students; I train up others who can one day, hopefully, take my place and do a much better job; as much as I can, I make it a point to reach out to people during the week and meet their needs. The point is, when we approach the holiday season, things get pretty busy, and a lot of my time of late was occupied with other things. At first, I simply missed a week because of my schedule. Soon, though, that turned into an idea for rest, and eventually grew into something refreshing: a period of new growth and serious inner development.
Looking at the title of this article, you may feel like I’m getting way off track. I promise, I’m not just chasing a rabbit here. During my time away, seemingly random ideas that had been floating around my brain for the last few years suddenly came together, aligning into a singular project that begins on this website. If you’ve read my first couple of articles here, you know that I have a Christian worldview, and that my goal was not to promote Christianity, but, instead, to push men to be better. And even though there would be hints of Christianity sprinkled throughout, I didn’t want to isolate anyone.
If I’m honest, that was a bit misguided. I wasn’t consciously trying not to offend anyone; I genuinely want my ideas and articles to be accessible to everyone regardless of their belief system. Still, it was a slight betrayal of who I am and what I stand for. Don’t take what I’m saying the wrong way. I judge no one for their beliefs and practices. I love all people completely without regard for their ideas about life, love, religion, race, foreign policy, etc. Those things are not my concern. Jesus called me to love, even presenting it as the one thing that would make Christians recognizable to others (John 13:35). But if I am to present myself honestly to the world with nothing to hide, then I have to stay true to what is at the core of my being, and that’s the teaching of Christ.
What does this all mean? I’m glad you asked. Something that has been on my mind for a few years is the idea of masculinity and manhood. Our culture seems confused on this concept. Some people say masculinity is about doing all of the typical male things that we’ve done for the last hundred years. Others say men are consumed with oppressing others and dominating the culture around them. What I see when I look around is a generation or two living in confusion, not knowing who’s right, and choosing to, instead, make up their own version of masculinity or, worse yet, switch sides and claim femininity as their base of operations. There’s nothing wrong with femininity; please don’t twist my words. But I don’t believe it should be the at the core of manhood. That’s just a contradiction, and no one can permanently sustain an existence in contradiction. The state of manhood is a chaotic jumble of conflicting ideas and self-absorbed narcissism. Where does our culture get its concept of manhood, and is it authoritative? If so, is it an authority we should be listening to?
Personally, I believe God is the one who gives authority. I know some of you don’t agree, and that’s cool. Even if you don’t believe in Jesus as the Son of God, most people can agree that his teaching is worth reflecting on. Most people’s moral sensibilities align with the moral teachings of Christ and the Bible. Sure, there may be a few differences, maybe even some things you have a serious problem with; but generally, most of us would agree with the moral guidance provided by scripture, even if we disagree with the religious practices.
When I began considering the messed-up state of masculinity around me, I decided that I should go back to its source. After all, I believe God made man in His image, so if I want to understand what real manhood consists of, I should look at what the Bible has to say about man and God. Now, I admit, there isn’t a specific passage of scripture that comes out and says, “This is what a man should be.” And the Bible is not meant, exclusively, to be a manual of masculinity. But by examining the stories of godly men in the Bible and how they lived, and by studying the teachings of Scripture, I should be able to develop a pretty good idea of what God is like (since men are created in His image) and what he expects of us as men.
This idea grew over the last few years, but I wasn’t sure how to go about what I was trying to learn. Then, about five months ago, the idea for this website was born. I thought it would be good to help men recover not only an understanding of what manhood really is, but also how to work towards it. While I wanted, and still want, this website to be accessible to all, the idea of biblical masculinity has continued to stew and simmer below the surface. During my time of rest over the holidays it became clear to me that this website was meant to be the springboard into my study of biblical manhood.
All of this leads back to the title of this article. What will The Recreated Man be about this year and beyond? To be sure, there will be a noticeable shift towards a more biblical worldview. I hope that doesn’t deter you from following along if you don’t share my beliefs. I feel every man will benefit from the content I bring. Some will have a spiritual focus, but some will be intellectual, physical, and emotional in nature. And all will be applicable to men in 2019 and beyond. The content here will always be meant to encourage and motivate every man to be the best version of himself that he can be. If that interests you, then stay tuned…
If you’re looking for more, keep following along. As I work my way through the ideas I present here, I will also be developing a book on biblical manhood. Honestly, I never really thought I had anything to say that was worthy of putting into a book, but I feel like I’m being led that direction, so we’ll see what comes of it. I wouldn’t count on anything right away, but as things develop I’ll keep you posted.
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