The Gospel According to the Washington Post
The headline of the recent opinion piece by Christine Emba in the Washington Post caught my eye. “Men are lost. Here's a map out of the wilderness.”
While that could be a very good lead-in to talk about the Bible and its message, the content of the article pointed 180º in the other direction, as it dealt with the author’s perception of the struggles young men are having today in knowing exactly what is expected of them in terms of masculinity.
I won’t go into detail here, and the best thing would be to read the article yourself, but summarizing, the rise in women’s rights and position, including their earning power, in some cases where the woman in the relationship makes more than the man, creates complications. There’s the danger of being “too manly” and thereby triggering the accusation of “toxic masculinity”.
The cultural pressure to accept gay lifestyles and drag queen performances as normal further adds to the confusion in men’s minds.
The author actually has some things right in her article. She unabashedly uses the terms “men” and “women”, avoiding the convoluted inventions of genderless terminology. (Listen to Podcast ITLT-4-E “How Foolish are the Wise” for a fuller discussion on this point.) And although in her discussion, she refers to the “far-right” or “right-aligned” views of masculinity, or “traditional masculinity” as she said in one phrase, she does admit that the new definition of masculinity must take into account the fact that there are differences in gender at birth and ignoring them or eliminating them (making the new masculinity feminine, in essence) is not the path forward. There is a need to “allow for varieties of masculinity”, she says, but the one telling sentence was this, “People need codes for how to be human.” Then came the clencher in the follow-up sentence, “And when those are not easily found, they’ll take whatever is offered, no matter what else is attached.”
Her statement “People need codes for how to be human” is 100% correct…as far as it goes. Where does it fall short? The author fails to see that there is already a code for how to be human: it’s called the Bible, the Word of God. But by ignoring or rejecting the very idea of God (not one reference to anything divine or supernatural of any sort), any code given by the creator of humans is automatically discarded. And as she goes on to say, “And when those [codes] are not easily found, [people] will take whatever is offered, no matter what else is attached.”
Is it any wonder the writer sees confusion in the minds of men who are looking for guidance about how to be a man? By discarding the one, authoritative code for human behavior, there arises the need to create a code. And apparently—obviously, actually—everyone who offers a code will express what they personally believe should be the framework for masculinity. Now who do we listen to? Who has the final, authoritative answer?
As I said in the beginning, the title of the article would be a good lead-in for talking about the Bible. The Bible says “Men are lost”…but when the Bible says that, it means “Women are lost, too.” Everyone is lost. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
Men are lost. Here's a map out of the wilderness. The second part of the title, while offering a measure of hope, falls short of the Biblical standard. The Bible doesn’t offer A map for our way out of the wilderness, the writer’s description of where men are lost. It offers THE way. In answer to Thomas’s question, “How can we know the way?” John 14.6 Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.” The wilderness the author refers to is only in this life, but the Bible’s description of our lostness extends into eternity.
Men are lost. But so are women. They just don’t realize how lost they are. And, yes, there is a code that tells us how to be human, a map that shows us the one Way out. Isn’t it sad that the Washington Post came so close to the truth and got it so wrong? One more Gospel without any Good News.