Monday, August 25, 2008

The next installment about the church and men will be up tomorrow and that’s the bottom line cause Gary Fox SAID SO! Oh wait…I’ve been watching that Stone Cold video from last time too much, sorry about that.

None the less I came across this short clip from Mark Driscoll addressing an issue which will go hand in hand with the over arching topic we’ve been into dealing with men. Here Driscoll addresses the issue of “provocative language” which in the next several installments I will contend is vitally needed today from behind our pulpits if we ever dream to capture the fascination of “real men”. Take a look and let me know what you think in the comment section.

22 comments:

Mark Jones said...

The only thing in the past few blogs I can agree with is that we need to reach men. I disagree with a "defined" method as well as the latest textbook definitions of "manhood"... Most seem to be written by guys who were beat up as kids and now want to write tough and speak to large church gatherings as "men"...

I guess that when Scripture says that we should communicate wisely (boldly, but without foul language) in Ephesians 4 and that we should look at individuals as sheep without a shepherd in Matthew 9 that it isn't for our time.

I have a problem with defining typical manhood by a wrestler who obviously had a following or that if you don't intimidate people and get in their faces you aren't a man.

When will we stop reading books on how to reach people or be a man. Mark Driscoll ,I like him, but the accounts he uses were illustrations given by God to display to ISRAEL their sin.

As I have said before... men, women, children alike will be drawn by one who is true and authentic.

Scripture is clear... We (believers) need to GO and AS WE GO we need to PREACH and as we PREACH we need to MAKE DISCIPLES...

I don't mean to "dis" this, but guys aren't looking for church. If anyone works in the real world as I have for 20 plus years or served in the military with white, black, Indian, Asian, Harley riders, golfers, etc. They don't care what kind of language you use or whether you ride a Harley or what church you are affiliated with... They want to know if YOU are for real. When it comes to battle, do they KNOW you have their back? Do they know that you can be trusted? Do you stand for anything or fall for everything? I don't have to drop "f" bombs to make disciples and I don't have to get tattoos (although I am considering a few), and I don't have to have a Sam Adams; but I do have to be like Christ (Ephesians 4-6)to show all of the above qualities.

I have heard so much crap about how to reach men, post moderns, moderns, etc. When you and I get out in the world and engage the culture without the Christianeze and reveal who Christ was through our actions, men will gather and so will their families...

I have seen golfers, hunters, farmers, cops, alcoholics, and drug addicts (all men) changed. I didn't have to do anything but strive to be like Christ. I simply let them know that I was there if they needed help and MEANT it... I bailed hay, went fishing, went to a bar, etc. They know I am for real and they tell their friends... I let them say whatever they want, but return conversation with discernment and truth... IT WORKS... IT IS BIBLICAL...

Example... You opened your house and fed people... You are beginning to look REAL, AUTHENTIC to your neighbors... Many are men... They are watching... You didn't have to become anything, but REAL...

Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. (Colossians 4:5-6 NASB)

I love you man... but you can't have my Pepsi (I agreed not to drink Bud Light)...

We will just disagree...

irreverend fox said...

thanks Mark,

the only thing I find ironic is that you just demonstrated the very attitude I have been (and will be) contending MUST be demonstrated in order to reach, raise up and train unchurched men.

you were confrontational, uncompromising and a tad bit aggravated (you even said "crap") which inspires, revs up and grabs the attention of men. This comment was not wishy-washy, half hearted or sweet-hearted.

I'm not exactly sure what you are disagreeing with, cause again, I believe you just demonstrated the very attitude I'm trying to get church leaders to become more comfortable with.

Thanks Mark…pastors and friends can be in one accord and not always see eye to eye…thanks for demonstrating how such a thing can happen.

irreverend fox said...

Mark...also...I do assume that when you say "the only thing in the past few blogs I can agree with is that we need to reach men" that you are exaggerating for effect. I've just skimmed over what I've written and watched the Driscoll clip again and found many things I'm sure you agree with.

Those who don't know you should know that.

Mark Jones said...

My point is... BEING YOURSELF AND WHO GOD CALLED YOU TO BE will reach men, women, and children alike...

What I disagree on is becoming something we don't need to be to reach someone who needs to be reached. Perhaps I am assuming that the mentality with Mark Driscoll and the blog about Stone Cold is that we must become "cussing, drinking sailors to reach cussing, drinking sailors".

My concern isn't about language, alcohol, etc... it is about coming up with ways to reach a "stereotype" of what manhood is by definition among a few Christian authors...

ALL men are not rough, tough road ragers who can drink like fish.

Men are people in need of Savior... Regardless of whether they wear rainbow badges and hold hands or ride with other Hell's Angels on Harleys... Men need the same thing... Someone AUTHENTIC and REAL to show them a LORD and LEADER to follow... by example...

You still can't have my Pepsi...

I guess I misunderstand the need to be different from who we are when reaching men...

irreverend fox said...

Mark,

I could not agree with you more. I would never suggest one be fake and pretend to be Steve Austin in order to manipulate men into the church.

I'm not talking about style...I'm talking about substance. Why do we pull punches in our preaching? Why do we not share the whole council of God? Why do we sugar coat when God Himself at times uses harsh, crude and aggressive language?

I’ve not communicated that we need to have the Stone Cold “style”. I would suggest that we should adopt a bit of the Stone Cold “spirit” however. Stone Cold was HIMSELF. That is one of the things I'll be highlighting in the next several posts. In fact, if you understand the story...the entire Stone Cold character was a reaction Steve Austin had to the "gimmick" wrestlers of the 80’s and 90’s...he just wanted to be himself so instead of wearing face paint, blue hair and neon pink and green tights...he just put on black trunks and went out there as himself (in an amplified way of course...it was still big time wrestling). So to be "like" Stone Cold is to be yourself first and foremost.

I’d never suggest that we stereotype men as far as style. I do believe there are certain qualities that men are inspired by and other qualities men don’t respect and will not follow…and that cuts across the board (black, white, blue collar, white collar, rich, poor, young old…). I’ll be getting more into that soon.

Karen said...

I looked up the word provocative in Webster's Dictionary. It states that it is "provoking or tending to 'provoke', as to action, thought, feeling; stimulating, irritating"

PROVOKE: the 4th description - to call forth.


I think this is what ALL Christians need to do... To be provocative or provoking...means that our words should cause people to take action...to come forth...just by being who God created us to be. Who decided what was unacceptable anymore?
Who decided what was offensive? I can't offend you...you can take offense to what I say, but am I really being offensive or is it conviction? Am I (as a Christian) here to make life better for you...or is my responsibility as a follower of Christ to make you better for life?

Steve Fox said...

I don't hear a lot of disagreement from the posts that I have read. Everyone agrees we need to be real. We need to be relevant. We need to be concerned about people going to Hell. Some men see the world from one perspective, while others see it totally the other way. As the Apostle Paul teaches we need to be "all things to all men so that by all means some may become saved". I think the worst thing anyone Christian can do is share his faith, and then act holier than thou to the person he just witnessed too. If our attitude is that we need to clean up before we come to Christ, then NOBODY would ever want to know more about him. On the other hand we should never tarnish the name of Jesus Christ or compromise to try and fit in with certain groups. So the question is, where is that line? If I am in a group of people that like to drink beer, then I have the liberty to have a beer and meet them where they are, I dont have the liberty to get sloshed with them. (Drinking isnt a sin, being drunk is). Gossiping about your boss is a sin, using a four letter word is not a sin in some contexts. Calling someone a four letter word could be lol. I think you guys see my point. In all things we will never win the lost if we are not totally real. But being real isnt having perfectly combed hair and a bible verse for every problem a person has in their life. Sometimes a person just needs someone to sit on their back porch, crack open a beer, and say I love you man.I am here for whatever you need.

Zac said...

Hey Gary,

I think your friend is disagreeing not with the goal-- of reaching men for Christ-- but with what he sees as the means of doing so. I'll elaborate, and from here on I'm just speaking for myself.

A few years back I was at the mall one weekend with my mother and my sister. They were off doing their stuff-- looking at clothes, shoes, make-up, bed-bath-and-beyond stuff, etc. I was hanging out at the bookstore, the science store, and the video-games store. It came time to leave and we met up at the food court. Mom and Rachel had had a great time together-- bought out the whole mall, of course. One thing that I thought was quite insidious, though, was that their make-up purchases had included samples of make-up for guys. No, they didn't call it that, but that's exactly what it was... and they had sent it home with the women. I laughed and ridiculed the hell out of it, of course, and that brings me to my point: men hate being targeted for marketing ploys. You can conjure up a manly ad campaign for foundation and mascara all you want-- men who still think their own thoughts will know that kind of stuff is for homosexuals. You can't sway our opinions with a tear-jerker commercial or even with pretty girls-- we want real reasons, real challenges, and authenticity.

Maybe there's also a paradox here-- being self-conscious about being manly isn't very manly, and maybe that just goes back to authenticity. Maybe American Churches don't see a lot of men because of the various pathologies of secular culture, where men no longer really know *how* to be men: the gay rights agenda has culturally destroyed notions of male camaraderie, while feminism has taught men that they have no real gifts that set them apart from women.

In Orthodoxy, I think the focus is not on appealing to typical male passions, but upon their healing and Christian transfiguration through life in Christ. This life which the Gospel calls one to is less like "blessed assurance" and more like "onward, christian soldiers." It is a battle within our hearts as we take the Victory of Christ and by our living (i.e., working) faith do battle with the devil, the flesh, and the world.

Finally, let me say that perhaps there is another problem-- a distorted view of God's grace and salvation. God's grace is free, but it is not cheap. The cost of grace is all that we have and all that we are, laid down before the Feet of the Master. For even as your quote from St. John Chrysostom (greek for "the Golden-Mouthed") reveals, faith does not get us declared righteous by some divine referee... much more than that, it is faith which enters into us and MAKES us righteous with Christ's own righteousness.

Read the life of St. Anthony the Great-- and ask yourself what drew all those men out into the desert to wrestle with demons and become aflame with divine grace. Then you'll know how to draw all men unto Christ.

irreverend fox said...

Karen,

you said: "...but am I really being offensive or is it conviction?" I can not tell you have many times that question has rolled through my mind the past two weeks. great insight...I think you are dead on.

Steve,

you're a super star (inside joke). great points AND THANKS FOR CHIMMING IN! if Christian leaders of the West truly "got" what you just suggested we'd see the next great awakening for sure! it's gonna take the leaders and pastors with resources to catch the vision (one way or another).

zac,

first of all...you are so dang smart that I need to read your thoughts a dozen times to make sure I'm keeping up with you! lol. I'm pretty sure we're on the same page.

to all...

I've just opened this can (of worms...don't be thinking "woop ass" just cause I posted a Stone Cold video, lol). I am in no way suggesting Stone Cold Steve Austin is the model Christian man, not at all. As a missionary of Christ I'm simply asking us to observe the culture and ask "why Stone Cold?" why were the men (saved and unsaved) of our culture so fascinated, entertained and even inspired by this guy.

That's it. Why? Why are we so uninspiring to them? Is it that men are just less spiritual than women? Or is there something about Stone Cold, a way in which he connected and communicated with men that just plain "clicked". Can we, as missionaries have for 2,000 years, assimilate and redeem parts of this while abstaining from the obvious sinfulness of it?

I think we can. In fact...I think Church history is full of people who had some of the redeemed qualities admirable in Stone Cold. Authenticity, boldness, conviction, passion, strength, hard work and drive just to name a few. Look at Paul...a first century "Stone Cold"...look at John the Baptist...flip to the Old Testament and look at Obadiah or Micah. Read the Psalms...they're not all mushy love songs.

So...I'm just asking the questions "why did Stone Cold connect with men, why is this not the case in the Western church and what can we as Christian learn from Stone Cold about connecting with men?"

As I said in the original article...Stone Cold engaged all types of men (as Mark pointed out, not all men are the same). While I'm sure there are some men who didn't care for him...most thought he was pretty cool. Why? Was it 100% pure sinful lust for middle fingers, beer chugging and violence or was any of it redeemable?

before we draw conclusions about where I'm going with all of this can we allow me time to finish the series? lol...

Zac said...

Good responses, Gary. Speaking of the honorable Forerunner and Baptizer of the Lord, the feast of his beheading is this Friday. If you wanna meet us for liturgy, it's at 9am.

irreverend fox said...

zac,

really? can I bring any friends? I can't speak for them, but I think I might have two missionary friends who I might be able to talk into joining us if that is ok...

John the Baptist (the founder of my fine tradition of course, lol) is one of my hero's.

irreverend fox said...

zac,

did you have a chance to view the Driscoll video? if so I'd be curious to hear your perspective on it.

Tim said...

One thing that I think has been some small source of confusion is that people will probably confuse "provocative language" with saying we NEED to use certain four letter words. I think (as you well know) that Paul Washer uses some pretty provocative language in the sermons and snippets of his that I have watched, yet never uses those certain words. I think we need to provoke our culture to wake up. You're right that too often in our churches all we have is a bunch of Caesar Milquetoast preaching that is geared not to offend. Jesus wasn't afraid to offend. Neither were the Apostles. Offense should never be for the sake of offense, but the Christian message is offensive to the unbeliever. NO ONE wants to hear that they are a sinner headed for hell. NO ONE wants to hear that there is only one way to the Father and heaven. NO ONE wants to hear they can't do it on their own. If these things are preached with passion and conviction people are forced to wake up. This isn't to say preachers should all yell, spit, or suck wind, but within who they are they need to be passionate about what they are saying. When the Gospel is preached with passion and conviction...THAT'S PROVOCATIVE!

irreverend fox said...

good insights Tim. Paul Washer is quicking becoming one of my most admired preachers...he's very annointed (and doesn't scream or spit or "cuss" either).

Naomi said...

Karen,

Thank you. That's what I wanted to say. Amen Sistah!

Mark Jones said...

GREAT INSIGHT from all... I like PROVOKING thought...

Gary, I do agree with alot, but my question is define "real" men... What is a real man and who defines that? Is it the jock, the gangser, the rapper, the bow tied professor, the quadrapalegic in the wheelchair?

Also, the statement that most men admired Stone Cold, neither of us can truly speak for because there are many who don't know who Stone Cold is or was... Me being an Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage fan back when wrestling was real (lol)... Can state that many men didn't know who these guys were because they couldn't stand wrestling. However, wrestling fans loved Stone Cold. The Austin 3:16 shirts were like the wwjd bracelets... Many wore them and had no clue what they stood for... They were in "style"...

I think you are just trying to get my Pepsi (Bud Light)...

I now understand much more. Tim hit it head on with the "four leeter word" definition of provocative.

Many who know Driscoll and others know what provocative language he uses... He is nicknamed the "cussing" preacher...

Finally, there is a difference between confronting your culture and engaging it. Confronting can be abraisive although at times is needed, but engaging is coming along side and as Steve stated becoming all things to all men (actually Paul said it) but kudos to Steve...

Stone Cold was paid good money to act abraisive, did you ever hang with him in real life? I haven't...

irreverend fox said...

hey Mark,

great questions. a 'real' man is not a style...so the answer is "all of the above" plus more. regardless of style I contend there are very common threads which run through all types of men throughout all generations and cultures. while the "Stone Cold" style does not apply, I will contend the jock, the gangster, the rapper, the bow tied professor, the quadriplegic in the wheelchair would all (or nearly all) admire him for their own reasons...because they are men. They might not all dress, act, talk, have the same accent or listen to the music of Stone Cold...but I'm contending they'd all relate to and admire the underlying principles which Stone Cold amplified.

he is just one example. I could have picked John Wayne, Davy Crocket, Charles Barkley, Rush Limbaugh or Bill Cowher just as well. Stone Cold Steve Austin was a wrestling character which as a result made him amplify these qualities "over the top" (that's what wrestlers do) so he just stands out to me as the "ultimate" example. not only that...but he transcendended big time wrestling in the late 90's and has become a cultural icon, especially for men under 40-45.

I'm sure there are older men who are not familiar all that much with him...many of those men (and the men from their generation as a whole) are far more "churched" than the men and the generation of men who are familiar with "Stone Cold". but give me those men for an hour to show them an hour long documentary on the Stone Cold character and I believe most would in some way "get a kick" out of him.

Finally…I would not suggest that we “go Stone Cold” on the culture…they are sheep without a Shepard and ought to be given far more grace. I’m not going to be suggesting we “go Stone Cold” outside the four walls of the church at the culture. However…I would suggest we “go Stone Cold” all over the place at the people of God. Again, again, again…I’m not talking about style of dress or talk. John Piper “goes Stone Cold” as does Paul Washer and Alistar Begg. I’m not talking about style…I’m talking about substance and content. Stone Cold was unafraid of consequences and didn’t care who liked him (thus his constant habit of flicking off the crowd…he did it all the time…and people loved him for it strangely enough…). All Stone Cold cared about was what he perceived as doing the right thing, righting the wrong, evening the odds or whatever. Stone Cold had a moral compass (usually, lol) which one needs to be careful to see through all his cussin’, middle fingers and beer chugging. I’ll get into that more later.

Certainly we should not being going ballistic on the culture…that’s crazy. I’m not saying we get in the face of the unsaved man and give him the Stone Cold stunner or something. Now…if the unsaved man engages with us there would come a point where the spiritual Stone Cold stunner will need to be applied…yes…even on the unsaved. Such a “stunner” might sound like this: “look man…you do need to be saved because you are a convicted sinner facing the wrath of angry God who is going to toss you into hell someday, so you need to repent and flee to the Savior, Jesus Christ…” Does that need to be dropped the first time the unchurched man is engaged, no! But should it ever be dropped, yes! I think all of the “types” of men you mentioned would rather at some point we just shoot straight with them and stop caring about hurting their little feelings. Most men, regardless of cultural style, respect the straight shooter and totally disrespect the “sensitive” discussion facilitator. Most guys I know would just rather you come out with it and tell them if they are going to hell or not…don’t candy coat it. If you candy coat it most are perturbed pay no attention.

Thus the total lack of testosterone in the western church.

I'll write more later...hang on everybody!

mark jones said...

We are in agreement on 99% of your latest explanation... I agree that we AT TIMES need to go Stone cold within the church "walls"... However, you can only yell for so long before the child stops listening.

Example... Everybody has different personality types and everyone has their preference in preaching styles. The Apostle Paul related to churches through his letters with different tones. Peter did the same. Even the letters to the seven churches (from Jesus) in Revelations had different tones.

You know that I am not a Joel O, but I am also not a "preacher that pisseth on the wall"... (My dog does that and it tends to stinketh)...

My fear is the call is to beat down the brethren into what we want them to be instead of teaching them to do and be what God has called them to be... We need to be straight forward (with compassion and not just a passion).

Why do we act different among the brethren than we do among the culture? Speaking the truth in love is the way we should be to all people. However, extra explaining is necessary for the unchurched, but tone and language should be similar.

If someone off the street tells me they are struggling with homosexuality, I am going to share with them a better way, a right way to live that will help them understand God's DESIRE for their life... If a congregant comes to me and says they are struggling with homosexuality, I will go straight to Scripture and lovingly share God's DEMAND for their life... 2 different approaches with similar tones.

Their are times, however, when being Stone Cold is effective, but weekly can cause one to shut you out. They don't listen because they see no "love" for the brethren only discipline.

Thanks to all for engaging and clearing up what has been stated. I have now gone from maybe being 10% in agreement to 99%...

irreverend fox said...

as the great Ronald Reagan once said, "If you got seventy-five or eighty percent of what you were asking for, I say, you take it and fight for the rest later."

thanks Mark!

mark jones said...

I am just writing this to distract you from writing a new article... Is it working?

irreverend fox said...

Mark,

merely average men are so easily distracted from accomplishing their goals each day. not Gary Fox. no sir...I'm not exactly the average idiot.

I usually write during my "lunch break", on my day off or when all my church stuff is done for the day (writing is my hobby more or less)...so I'll be getting on it around noon I think...

Zac said...

Gary,

Sorry for the delay-- of course, all are welcome at any service. Hope to see you there.

Oh also, should probably remind you of our annual Russian Festival coming up in about a month. It's Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 7 and 8. Great food, music, russian culture, etc... the best kielbasi you've ever had. Plus they do Church tours and all that, too.

www.somethingrussian.com

Yes, I did watch the video. I'll try to give you more of my thoughts on it later, though... got class in just a little bit! I thought it was decent, and provocation definitely has its place, as the lives of the great Martyrs show us.