This is the final part of this long series.
Going full circle, contrary to what Jerry Boykin views as the warrior Christ with a gun in one hand and a beer in the other, the exact opposite is true. Glenn Scrivener, who writes one of my favorite Christian blogs, The King’s English, presents us with a very different Christ. (It’s an Anglican approach).
“…He is the peace-loving, pure-hearted, devoted, forgiving, perfect Man of Matthew 5. He is the guileless, giving, praying, fasting, self-denying, generous, worry-free Believer of Matthew 6. Without hypocrisy and without superiority, He is the single-minded, asking, seeking, knocking Pray-er of Matthew 7. And if you want a more pithy summary, verse 12 sums it all up: Jesus does not wait for others to treat Him well, He takes the initiative in treating them well. He does to others what He would have them do to Him. Instead of saying, “Your life for mine.” Jesus says to the world, “My life for yours.”…
Firstly, Jesus repeatedly preaches within the sermon that those to whom this teaching applies includes our enemies. He is not advocating a simple reciprocal arrangement between citizens who more or less want to get on in the same kingdom. His way includes counter-conditional love that is initiated by the wronged party. The command comes into sharp focus when you remember Christ’s teaching on turning the other cheek, etc. When every inclination within us is to do to unto others just what they have done unto us (retaliation), Jesus commands us to break the cycle of violence and do to them what we wish they had done to us (reconciliation).
The second factor to remember is that Jesus does not simply lay down this law – He is its Fulfiller. Jesus is the Lord of heaven who comes into His world to treat His enemies with the love that He should have received. And that is astonishing!…”
So much for Jerry Boykin’s approach. Unfortunately, he’s not the only one. There are godly men chest beating conferences that have popped up all over the country. It’s all about them, godly men trying to reclaim their masculinity. What is so ironic about men like Boykin is the fact that they are viciously homophobic, yet their version of the manly Christ is nothing but homo-erotic. Is something going on in Boykin’s closet?
“...The 200 men in the crowd clap stiffly. Stine races through a frenetic stand-up routine, drawing laughs with his rants against liberals, atheists and the politically correct. Then Christian radio host Paul Coughlin, author of “No More Christian Nice Guy,” takes the stage. His backdrop: a series of wanted posters featuring one Jesus of Nazareth.
“Jesus was a very bad Christian,” Coughlin declares. After all, he says, the Son of God trashed a temple and even used profanity — or the New Testament equivalent — when he called Herod “that fox.”
“The idea of Jesus as meek and mild is as fictitious as anything in Dan Brown’s ‘Da Vinci Code,’ ” says Coughlin, 40.
So what’s with the standard portraits of Jesus: pale face, beatific smile, lapful of lambs?
“He’s been domesticated,” says Roland Martinson, a professor of ministry at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. “He’s portrayed now as gentle, loving, kind, rather than as a full-bodied person who kicked over tables in the temple, spent 40 days in the wilderness wrestling with his identity and with God, hung out with the guys in the street. The rough-hewn edges and courage … got lopped off.”…”
I do wish it were funny, but it isn’t. These men, these godly men, these godly homophobic godly men who worship their version of a macho, homo erotic Christ have created a version of Christ that is exactly opposite to the reality of his life and mission. He preached kindness, love, tolerance, and respect for women. He preached turning the other cheek. They love to talk about the tantrum he had with the money changers, but he was railing against godly jerks like them. He hung with sinners. He loved little kids. He taught that women were no different from men, spiritually. If we were good enough to hang with Jesus of Nazareth, sitting with him, at his feet, like the guys, then what’s wrong with the godly, manly men of today?
Oh, they don’t understand sitting at Christ’s feet.
Once upon a time, in a different world, in a world where wood was at a shortage, people sat on the floor. Only the wealthiest had chairs. A wealthy Roman man would have a chair, which was carried around with him, by a slave. When Jesus of Nazareth was at Martha’s villa (she was quite wealthy and in control of her own fortune) he sat on the floor, on cushions. Tables for a meal were not like our tables, today. They were short. If it was a formal meal, people sat on lounges. (Ever seen Ben Hur?) Men and women ate together, unless they were Greeks, and Hellenic Jews, who adopted the Greek hatred of women. Christ was not Greek. In so many amazing ways he was very much a product of his Roman world.
So, there he was, at Martha’s villa, sitting on a pillow. Before he went into her villa, he would have bathed, outside, with those who were with him. It was tradition. It was about offering a cooling bath to anyone who visited. In a desert land, offering a cooling bath was the height of hospitality. Once inside, in something clean, sitting on a cool tile floor, in a room open for pleasant breezes, there would have been peace.
There were no guns, grenades, cans of beer, duck calls, or even beards. Their hair was short, and clean. They were clean shaven, like the Romans. Their teeth were brushed and they were wearing a form of deodorant. There was no manly sweat. The oils that had been offered for their body, after bathing were scented. Oil was used for the same reason we use body oil in the southwest. Skin gets dry and miserable. The is always a discussion about incense, scented oils, and body oils in the Bible.
No, this is not Boykin’s manly staunch of sweat. I suspect, if we wanted to understand what the scent blowing through the sheer curtains, with a light breeze was heavy with cedar, lemon, orange, cinnamon, bayberry, and probably some of the heavy incense they use in that part of the world. In other words, there was probably a distinct aroma of my favorite Burberry aftershave. (FYI: Boykin thinks women should not be in combat because of feminine hygiene.)
I wish I understood what was going on here, other than the fact that we’re dealing with a group of men, godly men who just don’t understand themselves or the world. They turn their lack of understanding into a hatred of women and a loathing of themselves. They are so busy trying to prove that they are men, masculine, and leaders that they spew verbal vomit.
“…As I have studied the topic of male spiritual leadership, I have come across this verse more than once and as I have gone through the Greek, I believe the ESV and the NASB translate this correctly where most translations get it wrong. The Greek word for courage–andreia–literally meant manliness. Courage was considered at the very core of being a man. The two qualities (courage and manliness) were linked hand in hand. The Greeks primarily thought of andreia in terms of valor and excellence on the battlefield. A man with courage was strong and bold. So, for many translations, they will translate andreia as “be courageous”. While they are not technically incorrect, I would go farther than just courage. I would say what the ESV and the NASB say: “act like men” or “be manly”. Paul was calling the men of the church of Corinth (the leaders; whom his letters were addressed to) to stop being lazy, stop being wishy-washy, stop sitting on the sideline letting their church and their families fall into sin. He tells them to step up, lead, and be men; the kind of men we are called to be….”
It’s quite sad. Not content to just be men who love Christ, they must be something else, turning the Gospel of Christ into something unrecognizable. I suspect, once it’s all over, numerous interesting sociological studies are going to be made of these godly men. They are so busy trying to prove their manhood and their importance that they forget to be followers of Christ.
In other words – they are abject failures in life. They have become such insignificantly little jerks, they must diminish the teachings of Christ, and everyone around them, in order to become godly, manly, homo-erotic smelly men. Like little boys, they struggle to prove their masculinity and the masculinity of God. Love has not part of the equation.