Summary: A man’s role is to be: 1. A man of character. 2. A man of consistency. 3. A man of authenticity.
In the news this week, Rev. Rebecca Ann Steen has applied to return to pastoral ministry in the United Methodist Church. She has been on leave of absence since 1999 from the Baltimore-Washington Conference after serving for 17 years as a pastor. But her application for appointment has been blocked by her fellow clergy in the conference who have filed a complaint against her. It seems that the Rev. Rebecca Ann Steen was formerly the Rev. Richard A. Zomastny, who has three grown children and three grandchildren. Rev. Steen underwent “gender reassignment” surgery. And while the United Methodist Church does not permit “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals” to be appointed as pastors, this is the first case of a transgendered person to come before the church, and there is no established policy. This will have many people on both sides scrambling furiously until there is a policy formed, and the media will delight in the fray.
I bring this up because it is an illustration of just how confusing the culture in which we live is. Is Rebecca Steen a male or female, really? If Rebecca has a relationship with another woman now, does that mean she is a lesbian? If Rebecca has a relationship with a man does that make her a homosexual or heterosexual? These are problems our grandparents could not even have imagined. Our entire culture is embroiled in the most basic definitions of what a man is, what a woman is, what a family is, what right and wrong is. Certainly lost in all the confusion is the role of a man, husband and father. So this morning we want to look at these roles, but we do not want to be influenced by the culture, or even the opinions of good people, we want to know what God says about this important question of identity. The Bible says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). You were made in the image of God and it is important to live out that identity.
Weldon Hardenbrook has written a book entitled, Missing from Action: Vanishing Manhood in America. In it he talks about the identity crisis of the American male. With a great deal of humor he talks about different types of male roles he sees being promoted today. First is what he calls the Macho Maniac. This is the image portrayed by the Rambo, Dirty Harry, Diehard, Terminator films, and many of the other action films out there today. This is the model of a man who denies his feelings, keeps everything inside, never apologizes and tries to portray an aura of toughness. Then Hardenbrook talks about the kind of man he calls The Great Pretender. This is the Archie Bunker type who tries to build himself up by looking down on everyone else as incompetents. He is irritable and moody. He is filled with feelings of inadequacy but never seems to be able to come to terms with them. Another role model he sees being generated today is The Gender Blender. You are not sure whether they are male or female. Michael Jackson, Prince, Boy George, Elton John and many of the music industry’s celebrities. Their masculine identity seems to have been lost somewhere.