As a straight white male, I already check all the boxes. Then add that I’m a Christian and a conservative and American, and that I am husband to a stay-at-home wife and mother, and that we have eight children and homeschool them.
If you too check those boxes, we are the oppressor. We are the villain. Behold the bogeyman, it is us. All that’s wrong with the world is ultimately our fault.
There is no winning this game except to surrender all power to others and abdicate. Give everyone else a turn at winning, and sit this one out.
Though even there, abdication is no guarantee of absolution. Once the vacuum is created and things fall into shambles, that too will be our fault, most assuredly.
And if times are good anyway, and we succeed after a fashion, they will say we built our so-called success at the expense of the less fortunate. We didn’t build that. Someone else built that. Our gains rightly belonged to the losers, and our earnings should actually be defined as stealings.
No wonder average testosterone levels in men are dropping like a rock in recent decades. Testosterone levels increase in fans of winning sports teams, and our team has not been winning.
But it’s more than that. Our team is not supposed to win. And it feels these days like it’s not even allowed to win.
Check out and you will be called a quitter and a wimp. And you might be pitied as a victim to some folks. But we’ve already established that personal suffering does not make one virtuous. So don’t expect accolades and praise in that direction either. If anything, the pity will feel like salt in a wound when there’s nothing for it except to wait until the payback quota is said to have been filled, and the cup of wrath against us has drained.
But double down and get in there anyway, and you will be criticized – win, lose, or draw. There is just no avoiding it. For every win the clock will be reset and the bitter jealous ones will say this or that egalitarian cause has been set back, and thus they will justify redoubling their efforts.
What does it mean to be “good men” in such circumstances?
Perhaps we shrug. Shake off the petty and incessant criticism. Work as unto the Lord anyways.
And maybe what it means to be good men is that we turn our back on the frivolous, unscrupulous naysayers and walk away from them. They’re not really listening anyway, except if you count their tireless quest to find something they can use against us.
But in that case, we might as well dig in to what God’s Word says about what is true and good and beautiful. Think on these things. Hang our hat on that. Kick up our aching feet beside that fire at the end of the day.
Don’t misunderstand me. The ultimate goal is not to get our testosterone levels back to pre-war levels. But our ultimate goal is to love and serve God with all our being, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, and to provide for the needs of our own households. Therefore, we men had better pay some attention to the sorts of things that go into facilitating, or else in their absence erode our capacity.
Only a silly person would say they don’t have time to stop for gas when they’re running on fumes. So what if you’re already late for an appointment across town. You’re not going to make it there at all, brother, unless you stop and fill up.
And whatever the teeming throngs of godless, worthless idealogues want to say about both burning fossil fuels and contributing to society via toxic masculinity, however you define that anyways, at the end of the day we are ultimately giving an account to our Maker, not them.
As Theodore Roosevelt once famously said in a speech at the Sorbonne in April of 1910, just 112 years ago this week:
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
Maybe just maybe if we embrace that kind of advice and wisdom again we will see not just our average testosterone levels rise, we’ll see a lot of other attendant problems in society smoothed over and tamped down as well. And maybe just maybe that mindset is the functional equivalent for men of stopping for fuel when your gas tank is approaching E.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”Joshua 1:9 (ESV)
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