I’ve narrowed it down to three different types of guys our culture predominantly tells us we should be like.
The Prolonged Adolescent: The Hangover
The prolonged adolescent is depicted very well in the movie, The Hangover. This guy is, according to Mark Driscoll, “A boy that can shave.” He is a man that is trying to prolong taking responsibility as long as possible so that he can remain young and have fun. Historically, there’s always been two stages in a man’s life; childhood and manhood. This had nothing to do with physical shape. It had to do with responsibility. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” In today’s culture there is this middle stage of life between being a child and being a man, and the last thing we want to do is give up our childish ways. This stage is often reffered to as adolescence. It is expected and even appreciated by most American families. It is the stage when a man leaves for college and does things such as, “walks away from the faith for a while,” “sows his wild oats,” “lives and learns,” and “learns the hard way.” However, this stage of life, which shouldn’t be expected in the first place, is being prolonged even past college. I honestly don’t get why so many youth pastors act like it’s expected for their students to walk away from their faith in college. Why is that being preached? I mean why not walk away if you’re acting like it’s expected right? In many movies today there is this idea that you can proudly be this adolescent guy even in a marriage at the age of 40 (40 Year Old Virgin & Hall Pass). God has called us to take responsibility as men. There is no waiting until a certain life mark happens such as graduation, a professional job, marriage, or even retirement. Responsibility is something men must aim for as soon as possible. I know Call of Duty, ESPN, and Candycrush are cool and all but is it possible there are greater things to be done? Ed Cole said, “Maturity doesn’t come with age; it comes with acceptance of responsibility.”
The New Jock: Blurred Lines
Traditionally in America, in order to be a ladies man, you needed to be a jock. It didn’t matter if you were uneducated, as long as you were athletic and in good shape. Imagine Ethan from Lizzie McGuire. That guy was an idiot. But every girl liked him. However, I think there is a new kind of ladies man, which has less to do with physical build and more to do with confidence. Confidence is a good thing. Heck, it’s the reason so many good girls end up with bad guys; because the good guys weren’t confident enough to ask them out. The problem with a ladies man, much like the musicians in Blurred Lines, is that they change what it means to be a woman. To men like this, women are an object and a game. Worse, they don’t hide it and many girls go along with it. Girls that find their identity in the opinion of men are highly affected by men like this. They see the kind of girl that guys go for and they will change the way they look, dress, talk, and act so they can be like her also. Just look at the girls in this picture! That’s instegated by the approval of men, not women. Ironically, I think girls have more influence over guys like this than the guys have over the girls. The moment girls don’t let guys get away with their crap, these guys crumble. Lord willing, it forces us to mature.
The Good Guy: Noah
Let me start by saying that the previous two guys are promoted a lot more outside of the church, but this guy, he plagues the church. In my experience, the grand majority of girls I know date this guy. I mean why not? He’s a good guy! At least he’s not a bad guy! I guess the only problem with girls dating good guys is that we’re not called to be good. We’re called to be godly. So let me differentiate the two. One is a good leader while the other is a spiritual leader. One will go to church with you while the other is going to drive you to be more like Jesus. One passionately pursues you while the other passionately pursues Jesus. In the end, it all comes down to Jesus. I’m not saying godly guys are perfect. I’m not even saying good guys aren’t Christians. I’m saying, for godly guys, Jesus isn’t just some thing to them; it’s everything to them. It doesn’t describe them. It defines them.
I first realized how big of an epidemic this was a little over year ago. I shared a quote by Matt Chandler and it just blew up on social media. I couldn’t check my Facebook for a week because over a thousand people shared this picture, which just isn’t normal for me. The quote is spot on when it comes to “neat Christian boys” and godly men.
I thought Ryan Gosling was the perfect depiction of the good guy because he always plays that character in his movies. It feels weird to say something is wrong with Noah from The Notebook. But when you put things into perspective, his character is flawed as well. He lost the trust of Allie’s parents because he had her out too late, where he was actually about to sleep with her. He’s a drunk. When Allie returns, he has to break things off with a war widow he is sleeping with, which frees him up to cause an affair with Allie, who is caught half naked the day after by her mother. However, we skim over all this because he’s a good guy. I would even say he has good intentions. I asked a few girls that I respect what it is about Ryan Gosling and his characters that make him so desirable. Unanimously, they all agreed that the guy he normally plays always tend to have some big character flaw, but all that is overlooked because of one thing; he passionately pursues the girl he loves. So I guess the question is this, do girls want a guy that passionately pursues them or a guy that passionately pursues Christ? A man that is godly or a man that is good enough? I think Blue Valentine gives a good idea of what can happen when the relationship is fully based on each other rather than a foundation in Christ. In the moment it worked, but no significant other can hold the weight meant for God. Fortunately, there is a better role model for all this.
This is the man we’re called to be like. Let’s be honest, this is not naturally desirable. It’s not popular, it’s not glamorous, and it’s definitely not easy. He was humble, he was strong, and he sacrificed everything. Jesus was marked by an unconventional, unconditional, unbelievable love this world has never seen before. He lived the life we were suppose to live and He died the death we deserved to die. Moreover, who models responsibility, confidence, and passionately pursuing someone more than Jesus?
This blog isn’t so much saying, “Don’t watch movies or TV.” But I think it’s very important to be cognizant of what image is being preached by pop culture. When I look at the types of guys our culture predominantly feeds us, I see parts of myself in all three. If we have a skewed image of what it means to be a man, it affects everything: our family, our friends, our future, our legacy. A man’s ability to lead a woman spiritually is completely dependent on his ability to follow Jesus. So ladies, don’t look for the man who will meet all your needs. Look for the man who will send you to the God who can. Because in the end, we can’t but He can.