Being a man. Much of it involves standing up for yourself, for your friends and family, and the weak. And a lot of times, “standing up” means fighting back, physically or with words.
And then there’s being a Christian. Love your enemies and pray for them, even as they revile you. Be meek, because the meek shall inherit the Earth. Turn the other cheek.
These are in conflict, right?Yet there’s something strange brewing in the realm of Christendom. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
You see, something I’ve noticed, thanks to the Internet, is that there are a lot of young, passionate Christians–far more than I remember growing up. And these Christians fight back.
When the culture punches them, they punch back. Hard.
There is even some armed resistance in regions of the world where Christianity is being stamped out by evil religious fanatics who claim to worship the same God. There’s not enough, but at least it’s there.
I applaud this and am energized by it.
Here in America, things haven’t yet come to blows (though the so-called Antifa thugs are starting to change this).
In a culture hellbent on denigrating your beliefs, sitting idly by gets you nowhere.
And this is important, because culture is far more important than politics in and of themselves.
So three cheers for Christians who actually defend themselves. Using the weapons of Scripture and snark in equal measure, logic and reason coupled with fearlessness and effective rhetoric, we refuse to go quietly into that dark night of decline. In fact, the goal seems to be to increase the numbers of the faithful, and bolster the strength of our various churches.
You see, the prevailing culture has successfully turned Christians into John Lithgow’s character from Footloose (1984).
I’ve never seen the movie (there’s only so much Kevin Bacon I can take), but I know the stereotype all too well. In Footloose, Lithgow plays the villain, Reverend Shaw Moore, a fiery Christian preacher who hates dancing and bans dancing and music in his community.
Now, it doesn’t matter that Reverend Moore has powerful personal reasons for hating dancing and music, and later has a change of heart when he realizes that dancing and music are not the problems he thinks they are. Christianity in movies gets associated with hating fun. You see this in so many films, TV shows, and books.
The Jesus freak is always puritanical, bigoted, and violent. And nine times out of ten, a complete and utter hypocrite, who is usually stupid for good measure.
Why? Because Christ, of course.
I see a lot of this edifice eroding in the face of Christians who prove that you can be a churchgoer and bite back. Have a sense of humor. A sense of mischief, even.
This is all well and good . . . but is it really Christ-like?
In other words, is fighting back contrary to Christian teachings?
Is being a masculine man incompatible with being a church man?
It depends on who you ask, I suppose.
The prevailing mentality that it’s un-Christian to do anything but sit and take abuse seems to stem from absorbing the cultural idea of Christianity from second- and third-hand sources, those who either don’t understand scripture themselves, or who actively hate it.
And yet, this seems like a new phenomenon. The Christian world for almost 2,000 years fought back, and fought back hard. Whether against pagans like the Romans intent on suppressing them, heretics like the Arians who wanted to lead the faithful astray, or Muslim invaders during the Crusades (which were defensive wars, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise) or at the gates of Vienna (twice), up to the British Empire’s self-proclaimed mantle as defenders of the faith, Christians, while not always perfect, have a history of standing up for themselves.
And there’s nothing in the Bible that tells us to roll over and die.
Yes, martyrdom for the sake of the faith is a glorious way to end one’s life. But we aren’t encouraged to actively seek out martyrdom. That’s just dumb. And God, contrary to the (admittedly hilarious) Frank Zappa song, is not dumb.
“Turning the other cheek” gets invoked by people who want Christians to sit down and shut up. But this is an injunction against taking personal vengeance, physical or otherwise. Jesus defended himself a lot from the Scribes and Pharisees. Yes, He allowed himself to be crucified, but that was part of His plan.
He did forcefully kick the moneylenders out of the temple, after all, and used rhetorical warfare to fight back his enemies. He also eluded those who wanted to take him by force until the time was right to let them.
So Christians don’t have to let ourselves get walked over. We don’t have to let ourselves get shouted down without sticking up for ourselves. We don’t have to willingly remove ourselves from the public square. And we don’t have to be humorless, anti-fun scolds.
The SJWs have that last part down pretty well, and we can leave them to it.
What we do have to do is make sure we don’t start things, but we sure as hell can finish them.
I contend that masculinity and Christianity are linked and go together quite well, that it’s eminently possible to be a good man and be good at being a man, contra Jack Donovan, whom I respect and highly recommend you read.
The manly virtues are Christian virtues . . . minus fathering as many children with as many women as possible, of course.
Rock the boat! Jesus sure did.
But back to the immediate point: Self-defense or the defense of others is not a sin, nor does it run counter to Scripture.
The world is a nasty place, full of wolves. We are sent out into it “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”
“Harmless as doves . . .” That’s right: Don’t start stuff. But we can bite back.
Vengeance cannot be our aim, but we can bite back.
Thank God we seem to be realizing this in the sick, sad West.
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