David Petraeus and Tiger Woods were two of the most revered and respected apex predators in the masculine pecking order. Both breathed the rare air of cult status in the most coveted zones of male glory: battle and sport. They were disciplined warriors who possessed the spoils of manhood while simultaneously achieving “role model” status bequeathed to those who are professionally transcendent. Both were also known best for wearing the color green. The four-star general who hunted America’s enemies in Afghanistan suited up in green fatigues and the four-time Masters Champion dawned the iconic green jacket at Augusta National sealing his own mythic status. Their icon status and aura created a perception that they were also morally sound, emotionally mature and relationally committed to their families. Men and women, young and old, presidents and endorsers alike swallowed these two personas until one day both men lost their cultural “anointing” thanks to spicy and public revelations of sexual indiscretions. Their falls from grace were painful sucker punches to their admirers and to a nation that covets its’ national treasures.
The news outlets acted like a pack of wild hyenas with a fresh kill, eating the flesh off the story as fast as possible without much energy or thought going toward the very real moral and emotional conflicts resonating within these sad events. Predictably, journalists set to work dissecting the events, profiling the mistresses, and providing plate after plate of consumable journalistic gossip. This dance of detailing the logistics of immorality while never commenting on the actual moral angles of the story is the oxymoronic state of our news community. So what we got with the Woods and Petraeus affairs were the juicy details and “twinky” analysis bereft of any useable intellectual nutrition or meaningful insight from very painful stories about men. God forbid we hold up a mirror and actually learn from the mistakes we make as men so that we can identify the landmines and affirm the healthier patterns actually practiced by good men.
Suggestion: why don’t we stop shaking our heads at men and start exploring the powerful dynamics in these stories that are common to all men? Why not talk about the very real psychological, moral, and spiritual dynamics at the root of these lapses versus just “tabloiding” the symptoms for advertising bucks and social media buzz?
Okay, why not.
Understanding the heart of a woman is an oxymoron.
Key word? Moron. That’s because only a moron would be arrogant enough to bloody their nose on the rock of the unthinkable. But I am not your average moron. I am a conflicted moron on a mission. The Yin in me says to the Yang “just give up already, accept emotional kindergarten.” But the Yang fights back and says, “the pay-off dude, think about the pay-off if you figure out what she wants!” The prospect of the pay-off wins again and the Yin taps out. But that’s another bone of contention: the pay-off. That certainly has changed over my 30-year dance in the shifting sands of relational intimacy. What once was the effortless and easily secured warm fuzzies of the dating years (complete with over-laughing and pretend listening) has morphed into the intentional, quasi-mature pursuit of communication and emotional intimacy. That last admission will cost me a 100 point debit off my “man card” but I have learned that the risking for my relationships reaps “phat” rewards.
- Thu Jul 23, 2015
- 1 comments
Our world has fallen head-over-heals in love with love – an idealized version of it that swallows massive amounts of our mental, emotional, social, and financial resources. “We all” pursue it. Chick flicks, romance novels, music and newsstand magazines all depict it. Advertisers appeal to it. Some brokenhearted people avoid it. And we download the sentiment of it with 90% of music selections.
And yet, God designed it. Love is a matter of the heart, and biblically, the heart is the center of our emotions and will. Oh, and by the way, since God has designed it…. The enemy is after it.
Our hearts are under fire by a culture that romanticizes, fantasizes, and strives to realize love its’ own way apart from God. It’s a brilliant tactic by “pseudo-love’s” main sponsor – Satan. Think about it. The more distracted we can become by it, the less we can connect with the true purpose for it.
When Jesus was asked to rank the most important commandment in Mark 12, I imagine if He had a microphone He would have turned up the volume and shouted:
- “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” --Mark 12:29-31
My son is eighteen and headed to college.
In my humble (but accurate) opinion he is dating a diamond. His girlfriend is an amazing, strong, secure, faith-filled, and beautiful young woman. Major thumbs up on my side. But before we do a deeper dive into his private life let’s be clear: I am not a meddler in their connection. They have a great foundation in God, they openly discuss things I didn’t touch ‘til my thirties, and they are as realistic, hopeful, and cautious as any young adults can be about the future. They don’t need me at this point but they involve me in their relationship. I can’t imagine that ever happening with my dad back when I was dating Ryan’s mom in college. Different times, different father-son connection, and different family cultures are to blame for that. So, it’s working out for me. I am close to this evolving relationship trying to stay objective and properly attached. It’s a new consideration for me: what do I want for my son and this relationship at the ripe old age of eighteen?
WANTING THE RIGHT THINGS
Presently, I would put these desires for his relationship at the top of my list and into my prayers:
“I was lied to.”
These strong words and the attached feelings flowed forcefully from the tall, super intelligent and beautiful woman responding to my talk on third wave masculinity and femininity. I replied, “How so? What do you mean?”
“I bought into the whole feminist message of power femininity, power sexuality, and power economics for women. Then I met the man of my dreams who swept me off my feet. A good man. A strong man. A loving man. A ‘keeper.’ But I had spent so much time focusing on being strong, blaming men and being independent that I did not know how to partner, enjoy, and affirm him to build a strong marriage and family. I now am re-learning what feminism failed to tell me about men and marriage.” She had met a third wave man and is now joining millions of women on a similar journey that transcends the narrow elements and borders of feminism. She is becoming a third wave woman (i.e., a blend of traditional and progressive) that:
• Acknowledges the glaring shortcomings of both traditionalism that devalued the female voice and vision and feminism that overvalued the same as the end-all
• Recognizes that men have a vital role, real value, commendable strengths, and the ability to be great partners with women
• Appreciates and is not afraid to advocate for healthy male culture that benefits women, children, and justice in the world
• Stops blaming, labeling, accusing, and bundling the male gender into a group who cannot be morally driven, emotionally mature, and relationally disciplined
• Starts encouraging, partnering, respecting, honoring, and leveraging positive masculine strengths toward individual, marital, and family health