taking men’s ministry back toward Jesus

“If my kingdom was of this world,” Jesus told the authorities when he was arrested, “you might have seen some fighting from my followers. But I’m not what you expect! This is not how God works!” – John 18:36 (author paraphrase from In God’s Image)

BookCoverPreview - In God's Image

Today I’m setting aside some time to prepare for the Wednesday evening men’s Bible study I help lead at church. It’s one of five men’s groups WFPC offers, designed to help us encourage one another in our ongoing journey as disciples of Jesus.

We’re studying In God’s Image: what the New Testament teaches about being a man. I just finished reading this week’s chapter on Vulnerability, and it has some strong Faith & Thinkology elements I’d like to share this morning.

First, the reading notes the stark contrast between A) how Jesus modeled the image of God in a human being, and B) the way strong manhood is advertised not only in North American culture but in many contemporary men’s ministry settings. “It turns out that those of us who identify as 21st century Christian men have a lot to learn when it comes to bearing the image of God as represented in Christ” (In God’s Image, page 54).

It turns out that those of us who identify as 21st century Christian men have a lot to learn when it comes to bearing the image of God as represented in Christ (In God’s Image, page 54).

Thinking seriously about my faith is flat out incompatible with much of the strident, bullying, sexist, reactionary, domineering, judgmental, politically slanted, exclusionary tone too much of the world has got used to associating with the public face of Christianity.

In contrast, Jesus modeled vulnerability, and surrender. Christ was wide open; no defensiveness, no hiding. The Master bared his soul; it was one of his greatest strengths.

When Saul – one of the chief investigators and prosecutors of the first century religious police – met Jesus, he had to learn to allow vulnerability to make him stronger. “Paul’s early career was characterized by the opposite of vulnerability, and he knew right away that he had to die to those parts of himself that stood in opposition to the Gospel of Love… He capitulated to Jesus. The more Paul yielded his reliance on the letter of the law, his need to be in control, his insistence on being right, the more he was able to live for Christ” (In God’s Image, page 56).

Paul’s early career was characterized by the opposite of vulnerability, and he knew right away that he had to die to those parts of himself that stood in opposition to the Gospel of Love… He capitulated to Jesus. The more Paul yielded his reliance on the letter of the law, his need to be in control, his insistence on being right, the more he was able to live for Christ (In God’s Image, page 56).

Why is it so hard for us to understand this? We want to prove our manhood by lashing out, by taking control, by dominating our opponents. But this isn’t the way of Jesus. The way of Jesus – and therefore the way of his followers – is arms wide open, heart laid bare, exposure, vulnerability.

– DEREK



Categories: faith, kingdom of God, Men's ministry, message, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

4 replies

  1. Derek,

    I really loved this post! I do tire of seeing images of Christian men that are judgmental, over reactionary and dominating. When I look to Jesus I do not see this. I have also have had a disconnect with how Jesus is presented in much of popular Christianity and how I see Jesus in the Bible. I am going to pick up your newest book. I am really looking forward to reading it! Thank you for your ministry!

    Sincerely,
    Aaron V. Lopez

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks much, Aaron. I really appreciate it. We are experiencing a real passion for Jesus here – there is hope for men’s ministry in less right-leaning congregations!

    Like

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